Author Topic: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity  (Read 18032 times)

bruce culver

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #360 on: March 17, 2017, 08:33:44 PM »
Unless it’s a very difficult gene to mutate. Or, if the gene is not so extremely difficult to mutate then following its origin as the human gene (or last of a number of mutations which produced humanness), other mutations could have occurred providing backup information or backup genes which would kick in if this gene were mutated back to its prehuman form. I believe these kinds of back up systems and gene redundancies are what make it difficult to have mutations in certain important genes.

If genes are „difficult to mutate” it usually means that their changes are mostly lethal. That is also the reason why there are some backup mechanisms. But why there should be one for morality gene? While morality is socially beneficial, occasional lapse from it is not usually lethal (unless the mob gets really angry). We do have evidence of people who seem to be organically incapable of moral judgements. It is quite possible then that psychopaths are missing the relevant gene(s). If that is so, then they should be considered non-human. In fact, by Rostos reasoning, even people with severe mental disabilities should not be considered human, as they do not „have this knowledge of right/wrong moral acts, duties, obligations”.

I think it is highly unlikely there is a morality gene, per se. There are apparently genes that determine tendencies towards either empathy or sociopathy, etc., but morality, per se, is more a matter of social learning and that would be function of abstract thinking and would require both an adequately sized cerebral cortex for somewhat complex abstract thinking and a certain level of socialization. I take the Adam and Eve fable, though certainly not as historically accurate, but as an allegory for the time when humans became civilized and started to develop a moral conscience. I doubt that in actual human evolution there would be any clearly objective dividing line between pre moral humans and moral humans, but there probably was some point, though it may never be clearly identified where human beings developed what we call conscience and it was probably due to a combination of genetic and social evolutionary factors.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #361 on: March 20, 2017, 07:31:28 PM »
bruce culver R355 p24
“Your arguments are awfully ad hoc is there any reason at all to believe any of your claims except that they help to rationalize your understanding of your religion with what we know about human history and prehistory?”

Accusations of ad hocness are notoriously vague and slippery. What one person thinks is ad hoc may seem very feasible and fitting to someone else. I think the only way we can begin to make any progress at this point is if you would try to point out what claims you think are ad hoc and why. Until you do so, I don’t see anything ad hoc about my claims and I don’t see any way to make any further progress.

“You say that no one has proven your claims false. Sorry, the burden of proof is not reasonably on us. How would one ever prove that the Adam and Eve story isn't referring to some couple of humans that lived hundreds of thousands of years ago? That's impossible. The only thing that can be said is that given the genealogies that also exist in the Bible and refer to Adam and Eve it is highly implausible that that is the case. If you think it is the case. The burden of proof is on you, because we have good reason to think it's not the case.”

No, the burden of proof is on you. Coyne presented an argument that claims there could not be a first human couple. I’ve shown a feasible way in which there could be. That’s all I need to do to answer the accusation. I’ve shown that the genealogies are completely irrelevant to the age of the first couple and I’ve heard no argument from you as to why they are not.

“At the very least you'd have to admit that if that is the case, the Bible contains some very misleading information. And if that is the case, then how could God blame us if we are mislead into thinking it is not a reliable source of information.”

No, the point is that we need to interpret poetic literature poetically and historical literature historically and literally. This is obvious to anyone who reads different kinds of literature.

But again, it is not always clear what portion of a poetic statement should be understood metaphorically. If you hear someone say they heard a talking snake or a talking donkey (Numbers 22.21-33), you would like to lock them away in a mental institution. (From your Reply349.) There is nothing incoherent about such an idea if we accept the possibility of a spiritual world in which a voice could be made to appear to come from an animal. Your argument amounts to, I’ve never seen it before so it cannot be. Like Hume’s Indian prince who refused to believe in the existence of ice because he had never seen it. No human has ever experienced a mass extinction from a meteorite hit to earth. Does that mean it cannot happen? If we had astronauts on the moon who see the meteorite hit, should they check themselves into the base psychiatric clinic? Your closed-mindedness in this regard would be a blockage to honest scientific inquiry. We need to accept what our senses tell us and work from there, not reject empirical evidence, whether hypothetical or actual, just because it does not fit our world view.
"The state of death is eternal, whatever may be its nature. . . . All our actions and thoughts must take such different directions according to the state of that eternity." Those who live in indifference to a matter so important to them are wholly unreasonable. Pensees

Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #362 on: March 20, 2017, 07:38:43 PM »
Jabberwock R359 p24
“If genes are ‘difficult to mutate’ it usually means that their changes are mostly lethal. That is also the reason why there are some backup mechanisms. But why there should be one for morality gene? While morality is socially beneficial, occasional lapse from it is not usually lethal (unless the mob gets really angry). We do have evidence of people who seem to be organically incapable of moral judgements. It is quite possible then that psychopaths are missing the relevant gene(s). If that is so, then they should be considered non-human. In fact, by Rostos reasoning, even people with severe mental disabilities should not be considered human, as they do not ‘have this knowledge of right/wrong moral acts, duties, obligations’.”

A morality gene would not produce death if one’s moral awareness is contradicted. It merely produces the moral awareness. It is not likely a gene for this particular function alone. It may involve many genes and it may be related to intelligence (particularly abstract thinking and self-consciousness), the size and structure of the cerebral cortex, etc. I agree that if the humanness gene(s) are mutated it would likely lead to death.

You raise the issue I was trying to avoid because it could surely lead to some very long discussions. Might some psychopaths not be human? Why shouldn’t a given mutation lead to a nonhuman offspring? Might some deformed offspring not be human? I fear such a suggestion because it could lead some to a Hitleresque ethic which could again allow something like the racial cleansing of the holocaust. Of course this isn’t just a problem for a Christian view of the origin of humanity. Secularists face the same problem. A child who is severely deformed physically and mentally, might it not be human? We just cannot know and therefore we must assume that all human offspring are human and deserve the right to life. As a Christian, I would tend to think that God would insure that anyone who can survive who is born of a human is human. That’s why I suggested the above mechanism for insuring that no mutations could occur which would produce a nonhuman. But even if we are rid of rational, moral, and any other characteristics which are normally understood to be present if one is human, God can still give it a human spirit. It may be a human spirit trapped in a nonfunctioning body. Perhaps the human characteristics will be expressed in a fully human body in a future life. The psychopath who has no awareness of good and evil, are we sure that they had never had such an awareness at one time but that they had repressed it to the degree that it could never again surface? This is a very rambling post, I know, but I only want to suggest some possible answers; a more systematic answer would be intolerably long. My conclusion is that even if it is possible that someone could be born with sufficient mutations to remove their humanness, that is something that only God can know. We must assume that all are human.
"The state of death is eternal, whatever may be its nature. . . . All our actions and thoughts must take such different directions according to the state of that eternity." Those who live in indifference to a matter so important to them are wholly unreasonable. Pensees

Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #363 on: March 20, 2017, 08:09:24 PM »
Mammal R358 p24
“we simply cannot have a coherent discussion regarding this topic if you are not going to respect some sort of historic integrity of the narrative. Even if we assume that the Eden story is all a mythical tale, one cannot ignore its biblical milieu and simply move it back into the Palaeolithic in order to serve another purpose. To do so will be intellectually dishonest.”

Because the kind of literature we have here, something called prose-poetry, I think I am respecting the integrity of the narrative. I’m not sure of what you mean by “historic integrity.” There are historic aspects of the writing and I think that I do sufficiently take them into account. You may want to show me how you think I do not (unless you think you have done so with your next statement).

“If we are talking about the Adam & Eve of Genesis, then I am afraid I have to hold you to this critical analysis that debunks each and every genealogical gap theory.”

So far we’ve just been going back and forth with a potentially unending “I’m right, you’re wrong,” “No, I’m right, you’re wrong” kind of dialogue. This will get us nowhere. I say my scholars destroy your scholars’ arguments and you say your’s destroy mine. So I think that our best prospect is to look at some of the arguments from your linked sources.

GAPS IN THE GENEALOGIES?
(Sorry, I just needed a headline so I could more easily find this later if I need to.)
Looking at your first link, AiG (Answers in Genesis) Young Earthers Ken Ham and Larry Pierce first admit that genealogies which use the term “son of”(as in C was the son of B, B was the son of A, etc.) can have gaps. But then they claim that when “yalad,” (“begat” or “fathered”) is used in a genealogy (A begat B, B begat C, etc.), it must always mean a direct father-son relationship. The important genealogies are in Genesis 5 and 11 and they use “fathered.” These are the genealogies they want to make sure have no gaps.

All that Ham and Pierce can show is that it is possible that the genealogies stating A begat B in Genesis 5 and 11 do not have gaps—at least from the passages they consider. They go to great lengths to establish this and though some of their arguments might appear feasible, almost all of them are far from conclusive. But let’s assume they are correct. If they are, then the uncontested fact that many of the B son of A genealogies do have gaps should tell us that the original writers of both kinds of genealogies were likely not seriously concerned about whether their chronologies had gaps or not. If one writer doesn’t seem to care, why should we assume that the other writer must be concerned that his list has no gaps? 

William Henry Green in his classic study “Primeval Chronology” (1890) has long disputed the YEC claims. As a very important example Ham and Pierce do not consider, look at Genesis 10.15-18: “Canaan, the grandson of Noah, is said to have begotten several whole nations.” (Walter Kaiser, ed., Classical Evangelical Essays in Old Testament Interpretation, 20.) This seems to me to be an example leading to disprove their claim very conclusively.

Ham, Pierce, and Sarfati’s (your second reference) are all just question begging. They think they have proven their case if they can show that it is not undeniable that the Genesis 5 & 11 chronologies have gaps and that they are in some way different from the chronologies which do have gaps. Genesis 5 & 11 give the age of A when he has son (or descendent) B and they use the term “begat” whereas the chronologies which unquestionably have gaps say B son of A and they don’t tell the father’s age at the son’s birth. Okay, they’re different in this regard. Why should this difference make any difference? Obviously we have no reason to think it does make any difference and we are still left with the possibility that the Genesis 5 & 11 chronologies do have gaps.

Among some of the arguments Green offers, he points out that the structure of Genesis 5 & 11 suggest that names are missing. “Each genealogy includes ten names. And each ends with a father having three sons, as is likewise the case with the Cainite genealogy (4.17-22). The Sethite genealogy (ch. 5) culminates in its seventh member, Enoch, who ‘walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.’ The Cainite genealogy also culminates in its seventh member, Lamech, with his polygamy, bloody revenge, and boastful arrogance. The genealogy descending from Shem divides evenly at its fifth member, Peleg; ‘in his days was the earth divided.’ ”

Henri Blocher (in his book In the Beginning) lists a number of other similar artificially structured elements in the Genesis creation account. These are some of the things which lead a reader to think it should not be taken as strictly historically accurate. Green then points out that just as Matthew’s genealogy (Matt 1) obviously cuts out names to make a perfect 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the Exile, and 14 from the Exile to Jesus, so Genesis 5 & 11 likely did the same kind of pruning.

You said, "I am afraid I have to hold you to this critical analysis that debunks each and every genealogical gap theory." It looks to me as though your debunkers have been debunked.

Concerning some of your other statements on this post, archeology does give us some tantalizing suggestions as to the possible religious and moral awareness paleolithics and other ancients might have had. But it still gives us little more than empty speculation. Nevertheless, just because we put an image in our minds of what a “cave man” is like does not give us reason to think that they could not have an awareness of sin, or of a creator, or of being loved. Just because someone uses stone tools tells us nothing about their religious and moral awareness.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 08:39:56 AM by DJensen11 (Dennis Jensen) »
"The state of death is eternal, whatever may be its nature. . . . All our actions and thoughts must take such different directions according to the state of that eternity." Those who live in indifference to a matter so important to them are wholly unreasonable. Pensees

Bill McEnaney

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #364 on: March 20, 2017, 09:43:26 PM »
Where's Dr. Craig's big scientific problem if an immortal human is what makes a human organism a human person? Maybe God decided to create human-like organisms who were nonhuman because their souls were nonhuman.  He might have thought, "Human-like bodies have evolved enough that I'm ready to create Adam and Eve by ensouling each of two bodies with an immortal human soul.  That will give me a first pair of human people who'll have human children.  Nonhuman creatures will predate Adam and Eve, but the rest of humankind kind will still have descended from Adam and his wife."

In his encyclical Humani generis, Pope Pius XII writes:

Quote
36. For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith.[11] Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.

http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis.html

Since he writes, "Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question", I'd like to remind everyone that natural scientists don't expect to conclusively prove any scientific theory, not even Neo-Darwinism.

Dr. Craig is a substance dualist like Descartes.  So he would tell you that Adam and Eve were spirits who lived in their human bodies in something like the way you would live in your home.  Since you're in it, it's not a part of you. That's consistent with the idea that God put Adam and Eve into their bodies, isn't it?

Mammal

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #365 on: March 21, 2017, 05:32:22 AM »
I think I am respecting the integrity of the narrative. I’m not sure of what you mean by “historic integrity.” There are historic aspects of the writing and I think that I do sufficiently take them into account. You may want to show me how you think I do not (unless you think you have done so with your next statement).
[snip]
This will get us nowhere. I say my scholars destroy your scholars’ arguments and you say your’s destroy mine. So I think that our best prospect is to look at some of the arguments from your linked sources.
[snip]
But let’s assume they are correct. If they are, then the uncontested fact that many of the B son of A genealogies do have gaps should tell us that the original writers of both kinds of genealogies were likely not seriously concerned about whether their chronologies had gaps or not. If one writer doesn’t seem to care, why should we assume that the other writer must be concerned that his list has no gaps?   

William Henry Green in his classic study “Primeval Chronology” (1890) has long disputed the YEC claims. As a very important example Ham and Pierce do not consider, look at Genesis 10.15-18: “Canaan, the grandson of Noah, is said to have begotten several whole nations.” (Walter Kaiser, ed., Classical Evangelical Essays in Old Testament Interpretation, 20.) This seems to me to be an example leading to disprove their claim very conclusively.
[snip]
Ham, Pierce, and Sarfati’s (your second reference) are all just question begging. They think they have proven their case if they can show that it is not undeniable that the Genesis 5 & 11 chronologies have gaps and that they are in some way different from the chronologies which do have gaps. Genesis 5 & 11 give the age of A when he has son (or descendent) B and they use the term “begat” whereas the chronologies which unquestionably have gaps say B son of A and they don’t tell the father’s age at the son’s birth. Okay, they’re different in this regard. Why should this difference make any difference? Obviously we have no reason to think it does make any difference and we are still left with the possibility that the Genesis 5 & 11 chronologies do have gaps.
Dennis, the articles that I referenced deal specifically with the most controversial passages that are contested by those who argue that there may be some merit in questioning the age of the biblical narrative. Don't get me wrong, I am not condoning an YEC stance. I am merely trying to place biblical Adam, Eve and their descendants within a credible biblical context in direct contrast with your (and others') ignorance of said biblically historical integrity. Genesis 5 & 11 are the most contested passages by those who argue for extended gaps in these genealogies and I thought that the articles that I referenced actually dealt with them in such a way to at least rule out the possibility of any serious, prolonged gaps. Keep in mind that the two main schools of thought put the age of the biblical narrative at either 4,000 BCE (6,000 old) based on what is regarded as the "reliable" Masoretic text, or 5,400 BCE (7,400 old) based on the "less reliable" existing copies of the Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch.

Your reference to Genesis 10:15-18 and your agreement with those who alleged that this passage could indicate that "Canaan is said to have begotten several whole nations" point to a deliberate attempt to force an agenda of defending the undefendable. It should be quite evident that the passage in question never implied such extravagant meaning. It merely states that said tribes descended from his children.

Which brings me to a vital point. It seems to me that those who pursue this agenda of trying to merge biblical accuracy with an old Earth reality do so not only at the cost of this so-called historical integrity that I am always alluding to, but also at the risk of a proper cognitive appreciation for the time difference in question. You have to try and wrap your head around this:
It has only been 2,000 years since biblical Jesus has walked this earth. Surely you can form some sort of time frame in your head and consider what has happened in that 2,000 years. Quite a lot!
It is therefore conceivable (just) that the time frame of events that are depicted in the OT could perhaps be close to 4,000 to 5,400 years, i.e. double that of "modern era".
However, to drag that time frame back hundred to two hundred thousand years (to the oldest human remains and to circa mitochondrial Adam) without compromising some sense of historical integrity is extremely hard to buy into. Yet, you have indicated on more than one occasion that you don't see any problem with that. Please try to understand that you require more or less 250 generations for each 10,000 years that you attempt to add. You are effectively trying to convince me and others that there are up to 200,000 years of lost time and thus up to 5,000 missing gaps in the biblical genealogies...why not just chuck the entire biblical narrative in the bin?

Now let me also add two other important factors to consider. Firstly, the Adam & Eve story must have been an extremely strong narrative to have survived almost 200,000 years of folklore, especially if one considers the fact that the very early homo sapiens would have had a very primitive, almost animal-like form of communication. Secondly, if the story survived that long among the people who eventually penned it down in the old Jewish scriptures (Torah), why did the story not make it into other cultures across the globe? As you know there are various different old myths re creation and the first humans among the many different cultures in the world. Why?

For the purpose of this particular discussion, I am ignoring the additional hundreds of thousands of years of evolution that predated the oldest origins of our East African ancestors.

Let me conclude with this - you are free to create your own illusion about this missing time in your mind, or to downplay it as much as you like...but please don't expect us to take you seriously.
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Mammal

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #366 on: March 21, 2017, 05:43:29 AM »
Nonhuman creatures will predate Adam and Eve, but the rest of humankind kind will still have descended from Adam and his wife."
No, the rest of humankind are not descendants of biblical Adam & Eve.
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bruce culver

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #367 on: March 21, 2017, 06:13:20 AM »
bruce culver R355 p24
“Your arguments are awfully ad hoc is there any reason at all to believe any of your claims except that they help to rationalize your understanding of your religion with what we know about human history and prehistory?”

Accusations of ad hocness are notoriously vague and slippery. What one person thinks is ad hoc may seem very feasible and fitting to someone else. I think the only way we can begin to make any progress at this point is if you would try to point out what claims you think are ad hoc and why. Until you do so, I don’t see anything ad hoc about my claims and I don’t see any way to make any further progress.

OK, what reason is there besides rationalizing your idea that Adam and Eve refer to two actual ancestors for any of the claims you are making?

Quote
“You say that no one has proven your claims false. Sorry, the burden of proof is not reasonably on us. How would one ever prove that the Adam and Eve story isn't referring to some couple of humans that lived hundreds of thousands of years ago? That's impossible. The only thing that can be said is that given the genealogies that also exist in the Bible and refer to Adam and Eve it is highly implausible that that is the case. If you think it is the case. The burden of proof is on you, because we have good reason to think it's not the case.”

No, the burden of proof is on you. Coyne presented an argument that claims there could not be a first human couple. I’ve shown a feasible way in which there could be. That’s all I need to do to answer the accusation. I’ve shown that the genealogies are completely irrelevant to the age of the first couple and I’ve heard no argument from you as to why they are not.

Sorry, I don't have time at the moment to review your argument to respond to this.

Quote
“At the very least you'd have to admit that if that is the case, the Bible contains some very misleading information. And if that is the case, then how could God blame us if we are mislead into thinking it is not a reliable source of information.”

No, the point is that we need to interpret poetic literature poetically and historical literature historically and literally. This is obvious to anyone who reads different kinds of literature.

I agree, and it's obvious to me that magic fruit and talking animals are genre markers of what we call fables, and we don't usually assume the people in fables identify actual historical characters. Now, there certainly is such a thing as legendized or mythologized history, but I think ample reason has been given here for thinking that this not the case with this story.

Quote
But again, it is not always clear what portion of a poetic statement should be understood metaphorically. If you hear someone say they heard a talking snake or a talking donkey (Numbers 22.21-33), you would like to lock them away in a mental institution. (From your Reply349.) There is nothing incoherent about such an idea if we accept the possibility of a spiritual world in which a voice could be made to appear to come from an animal.

Man, almost anything is epistemically possible. That's why I advise that we start thinking about what is more likely rather than what is possible,and realize tha appeals to the possible are extremely rear guard types of arguments. Physics tells us that it is possible that a knife could just spontaneously fly through the air and stab a person, but that argument isn't likely to get anybody exonerated in a murder trial, is it?

Quote
Your argument amounts to, I’ve never seen it before so it cannot be. Like Hume’s Indian prince who refused to believe in the existence of ice because he had never seen it. No human has ever experienced a mass extinction from a meteorite hit to earth. Does that mean it cannot happen? If we had astronauts on the moon who see the meteorite hit, should they check themselves into the base psychiatric clinic? Your closed-mindedness in this regard would be a blockage to honest scientific inquiry. We need to accept what our senses tell us and work from there, not reject empirical evidence, whether hypothetical or actual, just because it does not fit our world view.

This is utterly wrong. I NEVER said it is impossible that snake spoke to the first humans. My argument is that it is almost infinitely more likely given that we know human beings like to invent such stories and that talking animals are a common element of fabulous literature that this aspect of this story is as fabulous as the rest of it. You are the one that seems to want to make this an argument about what is possible and what is impossible. I am arguing probability here. It' just incredibly more probable that Adam and Eve are fictional characters than actual historical characters. Of course it is epistemically possible that I am wrong. It's also epistemically possible that the moon missions were faked and this was kept secret by an elaborate conspiracy, yada, yada.  Sorry, but looking at things in terms of probabilities is immensely more fruitful than always saying, "Well, it's possible that..."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLaRXYai19A
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 06:35:51 AM by bruce culver »
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Jabberwock

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #368 on: March 21, 2017, 06:27:02 AM »
Unless we assume a rather unlikely case that the change has appeared coincidentally in two specific individuals, there is another, rather amusing consequence of „single-gene humanity” theory. If the gene has appeared in Adam, then Eve did not have it (or the other way round). Thus the second (and third etc.) human was an offspring of a human and an animal. Was bestiality the actual original sin?
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bruce culver

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #369 on: March 21, 2017, 06:31:12 AM »
Where's Dr. Craig's big scientific problem if an immortal human is what makes a human organism a human person? Maybe God decided to create human-like organisms who were nonhuman because their souls were nonhuman.  He might have thought, "Human-like bodies have evolved enough that I'm ready to create Adam and Eve by ensouling each of two bodies with an immortal human soul.  That will give me a first pair of human people who'll have human children.  Nonhuman creatures will predate Adam and Eve, but the rest of humankind kind will still have descended from Adam and his wife."

In his encyclical Humani generis, Pope Pius XII writes:

Quote
36. For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith.[11] Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.

http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis.html

But "divine revelation" is sheer imposition in my opinion. I no more believe that the Christian Bible is divinely inspired than do I believe that of the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita. And although I might agree that the origins of living matter from non living matter are still a mystery. The "the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter" is all but proven from the facts at hand.

Quote
Since he writes, "Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question", I'd like to remind everyone that natural scientists don't expect to conclusively prove any scientific theory, not even Neo-Darwinism.

Right, but retreat to the possible is a rear guard argument. Of course, it is epistemically possible that all of our scientific knowledge is wrong and nature is a carefully crafted hoax to humiliate humanity for their vain attempts at unraveling the divine mystery of God's creation. However, I don't think that is even remotely as likely as that science is much sounder method of reasoning than reasoning from supposed divine revelation.

Quote
Dr. Craig is a substance dualist like Descartes.  So he would tell you that Adam and Eve were spirits who lived in their human bodies in something like the way you would live in your home.  Since you're in it, it's not a part of you. That's consistent with the idea that God put Adam and Eve into their bodies, isn't it?

Right and somebody else's conviction that the moon landings were faked is consistent with my belief that the moon is made of swiss cheese, isn't it?

« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 06:42:41 AM by bruce culver »
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bruce culver

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #370 on: March 21, 2017, 06:39:12 AM »
Unless we assume a rather unlikely case that the change has appeared coincidentally in two specific individuals, there is another, rather amusing consequence of „single-gene humanity” theory. If the gene has appeared in Adam, then Eve did not have it (or the other way round). Thus the second (and third etc.) human was an offspring of a human and an animal. Was bestiality the actual original sin?

That argument is just silly, because we KNOW that Eve was made from Adam's rib, and it was a HUMAN rib, not an animal rib!
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

Mammal

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #371 on: March 21, 2017, 11:13:42 AM »
I'd like to remind everyone that natural scientists don't expect to conclusively prove any scientific theory, not even Neo-Darwinism.
Bill, was this your own statement, or that of the Pope that you quoted? It is a weird way of conveying the scientific method and it gives an extremely skewed impression. Care to elaborate on this specifically?
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Bill McEnaney

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #372 on: March 21, 2017, 05:18:47 PM »
I'd like to remind everyone that natural scientists don't expect to conclusively prove any scientific theory, not even Neo-Darwinism.
Bill, was this your own statement, or that of the Pope that you quoted? It is a weird way of conveying the scientific method and it gives an extremely skewed impression. Care to elaborate on this specifically?
Mammal, I was reminding everyone of something that I believe about science.  I wasn't saying that Pope Pius XII agreed with me.  So let me explain my point.  Please forgive me because to explain it, I'll need to repeat what I've already said in some other threads.

To begin, I need you to remember that Profs. Dawkins and Krauss deny that they're looking for what you might call "truth with a capital 'T.'"  Someone or some group proposes a hypothesis, a possible explanation for some event.  Scientists design experiments to test the hypothesis.  Then scientists in different places repeat those experiments to see whether their results will support it.  If the hypothesis gets enough support to be a theory, they promote it to one.  But the never say something like, "Now that a million tests have confirmed our theory, we're absolutely certain that it's true."  With absolute certainty that it was true, they wouldn't need to try to falsify it anymore.  They would be as sure of it as they were that every dog is a dog.

Popper and I agree on what he calls the asymmetry between confirmation and refutation.  It says that although an inductive argument is always inconclusive when it confirms its conclusion, even one counterexample would be enough to conclusively disprove a false scientific theory.  Why is that?

Inductive reasoning presupposes the law of non-contradiction despite that some confused(?) physicists believe that some quanta have some logically impossible properties that give counterexamples to that law.  To see what I mean about induction and the LNC, please consider a concrete example.

Suppose someone filled a huge box with a million marbles.  Since you wonder whether each marble is red, you tell your friend Ronnie the robot to count the red ones.  So he does.  "Mammal," he says, "since I've counted 900,999 red ones so far, I'll bet they're all the marbles here are red, too."  Given your evidence and how many marbles you know there are in the box, it's highly likely that each marble is red.  But however hard he tried, Ronnie couldn't find the millionth marble, a blue one hidden in a spot that he couldn't see.  Though you two don't know it, your red-marble theory is false now and already was false before Ronnie tested it.  You thought all the marbles in the box were red.  But the blue one was non-red.  You contradict yourself when you say that though all the marbles in the box are red, at least one marble there is non-red.  After you find the blue marble, you'll know that your red-marble theory is false.  And you won't need to keep testing it.

The same sort of reasoning applies to any scientific experiment, including any experiment designed to test the theory of evolution.  Either that theory is true or it's false.  Each test result is like a marble that Ronnie counted for you.  Someday some experiment may reveal a counterexample to that theory.  Meanwhile, you and Ronnie's other human friends are still testing.  You're still trying to falsify that theory, to disprove it.  For it to be true, each proposition in it must be true, too.  Find even one falsehood in any and-proposition.  Then you'll know that the whole proposition is false, even if some parts of it are true.

There's plenty of evidence for the theory of evolution.  But some scientists still debate some parts of it.  Some believe that there's punctuated equilibrium.  Other deny that there's any.  Either there is punctuated equilibrium or there isn't.  You can't have it both ways. After all, it's self-contradictory to say that there both is and is not punctuated equilibrium.  Is the theory of evolution true?  Maybe it is.  But if you put together all the conflicting evolutionary biological theories together that the TOE seems to include, you probably will end up with a huge false conjunction that includes the implications of each explicit conjunct in it.  The TOE is a work in progress.  That's why I think Pope Pius XII is right when he teaches that it's not a proven fact.  If you ask me whether I believe it's a proven one, I'll need to ask you what version you mean.  You need to separate the truths from the falsehoods because no truth can imply any falsehood, let alone include one.

Please think about the laws of logic, entailment relations, and things like that because science presupposes them.  You can do logic without science, but you can't do science without logic and its laws.

Jabberwock

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #373 on: March 22, 2017, 01:37:38 AM »
There's plenty of evidence for the theory of evolution.  But some scientists still debate some parts of it.  Some believe that there's punctuated equilibrium.  Other deny that there's any.  Either there is punctuated equilibrium or there isn't.  You can't have it both ways. After all, it's self-contradictory to say that there both is and is not punctuated equilibrium.  Is the theory of evolution true?  Maybe it is.  But if you put together all the conflicting evolutionary biological theories together that the TOE seems to include, you probably will end up with a huge false conjunction that includes the implications of each explicit conjunct in it.  The TOE is a work in progress.  That's why I think Pope Pius XII is right when he teaches that it's not a proven fact.  If you ask me whether I believe it's a proven one, I'll need to ask you what version you mean.  You need to separate the truths from the falsehoods because no truth can imply any falsehood, let alone include one.

We have very good reasons to believe that the theory of evolution is true and very little reasons to doubt it. Thus it is reasonable to believe it is true.

The conflicting subtheories have no relevance on the truth of the overarching theory, unless you can show that the conjuction of those conjucts is false. And you cannot.
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Mammal

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Re: The greatest scientific problem for Christianity
« Reply #374 on: March 22, 2017, 01:37:58 AM »
Bill, a lengthy post with one purpose in mind...to create doubt in our evolutionary origin. There is NO DOUBT, Bill. Our species evolved from primates to hominids to hominins to Homo to Homo sapiens. There are fossil records and a full genome sequences for most living great ape species, including humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.

I recommend each and everyone who doubt this fact to read this series re the origin of our species that is published by BioLogos, a Christian-based science web site, starting here: Evolution Basics: From Primate to Human, Part 1.

I find your attempt to discredit science, the scientific method and the status of a well-established scientific theory such as evolution unconvincingly feeble, especially the dubious insinuations raised in your second last paragraph*. For the record:
Quote
The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.
The scientific method is a continuous process, which usually begins with observations about the natural world.
The best hypotheses lead to predictions that can be tested in various ways, including making further observations about nature.
If a particular hypothesis becomes very well supported a general theory may be developed.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method)
Quote
The strength of a scientific theory is related to the diversity of phenomena it can explain. As additional scientific evidence is gathered, a scientific theory may be rejected or modified if it does not fit the new empirical findings; in such circumstances, a more accurate theory is then desired.
A scientific theory is an explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can, in accordance with the scientific method, be repeatedly tested, using a predefined protocol of observations and experiments. Established scientific theories have withstood rigorous scrutiny and are a comprehensive form of scientific knowledge.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory)
The theory of evolution has stood the test of time now for more than 150 years. It has been subjected to the most wide-ranging and technological-advanced scrutiny available in the field of biology. It has gone from strength to strength through various modifications and by broadening its scope of study (the modern evolutionary synthesis and the creation of evolutionary developmental biology), but it has ALWAYS been able to confirm- and strengthen our knowledge of the natural phenomenon commonly referred to as evolution and descent from a common ancestor. In that respect it is for all intents and purposes indisputable.

*Edited to revert to my original text that was already copied in response hereto.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 09:02:17 AM by Mammal »
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