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The Church Courtyard => The Sacred Sciences => Topic started by: Quaremerepulisti on September 26, 2018, 10:28:13 AM

Title: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on September 26, 2018, 10:28:13 AM
While we're speaking of "reason", here's a question:

How does a theistic evolutionist actually convince himself that the God he worships is good, nay, love?

I'm not interested in hearing scholastic angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin intellectualised rationalisations and moral sophistry to justify the mere assertion of it, where it's just a conclusion reached and signed off on in the face of the quite apparent moral dilemma that punches one in the gut when trying to reconcile goodness and love with the fundamental nature of this world and all the death, violence and suffering of innocents supposedly in it beforethe Fall. This is were the atheists again show more integrity and honesty than the theistic evolutionists.

This is Sacred Sciences subforum, where if you are going to dismiss something as "scholastic rationalization" and "sophistry", you are actually going to have to show how it is the case by reasoned and logical argument (e.g. "semi-scholarly discussion"), and not just merely assert it.  Here are two responses.

Answer 1.  You're equivocating on "before".  Granted, that world was temporally prior to the Fall, but not necessarily ontologically prior to the Fall, God foreknowing the Fall would happen.  An effect can precede a cause in time (though not ontologically), such as is the case with the Immaculate Conception.

Answer 2.  There is plenty of death, violence, and sufferings of innocents in the world after the Fall, some of it recorded in Scripture as happening by God's own express order.  If you have a theodicy which can explain how this can be together with a good and loving God after the Fall, then it should also suffice to explain why this could be the case before the Fall.  Either suffering of innocents is intrinsically contrary to the goodness and love of God, or it is not.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on September 26, 2018, 01:32:29 PM
Answer 1.  You're equivocating on "before".  Granted, that world was temporally prior to the Fall, but not necessarily ontologically prior to the Fall, God foreknowing the Fall would happen.  An effect can precede a cause in time (though not ontologically), such as is the case with the Immaculate Conception.

If you posit the after-effects of the Fall as having also been extended by God to curse everything before the Fall, then what are you contending the fallen world fell from in the first place?  You would be negating the concept of a pre-lapsarian paradise, from which death first entered by sin.  You're saying, in effect, that there was never a paradise to have lost.  It's a nonsensical narrative that anyone could see has been devised ad hoc in order to harmonize with evolution. 

For all that you might argue in response, that Western theology has outlived its usefulness and been roundly quashed by science, how do you plan on contending with the charge that your nouvelle theologie is no better, since it's transparently just a matter of retrofitting and making things up as you go along?  "No man seweth a piece of raw cloth to an old garment: otherwise the new piecing taketh away from the old, and there is made a greater rent."
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on September 26, 2018, 03:05:47 PM
If you posit the after-effects of the Fall as having also been extended by God to curse everything before the Fall, then what are you contending the fallen world fell from in the first place?  You would be negating the concept of a pre-lapsarian paradise, from which death first entered by sin.  You're saying, in effect, that there was never a paradise to have lost.  It's a nonsensical narrative that anyone could see has been devised ad hoc in order to harmonize with evolution. 

I am sorry but I do not see a rigorous argument here, only a bare assertion followed by a bandwagon approach fallacy.

The bare assertion is that there never was a paradise to have lost, if it never in fact existed.  Your assertion is gratuitous and prima facie fallacious: you might as well argue that if I fail to show up for work and therefore don't earn a paycheck, there was never a paycheck to be lost, since it never existed.

And you never get around to actually showing how this is contrary to a loving and good God if it is in fact the case, while the traditional narrative of the Fall, followed by genocides, a global flood, and "nature red in tooth and claw" is perfectly in accordance with it.


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For all that you might argue in response, that Western theology has outlived its usefulness and been roundly quashed by science, how do you plan on contending with the charge that your nouvelle theologie is no better, since it's transparently just a matter of retrofitting and making things up as you go along?  "No man seweth a piece of raw cloth to an old garment: otherwise the new piecing taketh away from the old, and there is made a greater rent."

I don't plan on contending with that charge on this thread, except to say that theology should be the servant of truth and not the other way around, and one's theories should be revised to fit data, not data revised to fit theories, and that there is nothing wrong whatsoever in revising theories to fit data better - to fail to do so is pig-headed obstinacy.  In the meantime, please stick to the topic, which is theistic evolution and theodicy.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on September 26, 2018, 04:24:48 PM
The bare assertion is that there never was a paradise to have lost, if it never in fact existed.  Your assertion is gratuitous and prima facie fallacious: you might as well argue that if I fail to show up for work and therefore don't earn a paycheck, there was never a paycheck to be lost, since it never existed.

And you never get around to actually showing how this is contrary to a loving and good God if it is in fact the case, while the traditional narrative of the Fall, followed by genocides, a global flood, and "nature red in tooth and claw" is perfectly in accordance with it.

I'm not a position to argue for the theodicy of creationism, but clearly a god who permits only 7,000 years of misery is comparatively more merciful than one who gratuitously devises millions of years' worth.  The magnitude of offenses must surely matter somewhat.  If you had been told that one or two priests over the years had sexually abused children, you would probably not be happy about it, but you could stomach it on the notion that you're not about to let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch.  But when you find that it's been hundreds of them, and that the hierarchy was shuffling them around and not reporting them to the authorities, then you are far more tempted to say things like "the Church is an organized crime ring."

But it's true that your claim is nonsensical.  Either that, or you seem to be denying that the Fall ever happened.  (I believe the Fall is de fide, though I'm not sure if that counts for anything in your scheme).  The fact remains that it would be meaningless to speak of a Fall, or a consequent penalty, if the penalty was already being meted out beforehand.  It would be like going up to someone in a jail cell and saying, "that does it.  I'm putting you in jail."

I think you are blazing a competely new theological trail, QMR.  You're becoming something the label for which might be a "radical Scotist," or perhaps an "ultra-Scotist," or even a "gnostic Scotist."  You are taking Duns Scotus' hypothetical about the Incarnation and running with it into insanity.  You seem to be arguing, and correct me if I'm wrong, that there was no paradise, there was no Fall, and that the Incarnation was not intended for redemption.  (Oddly, it was Duns Scotus' view that a non-redemptive Incarnation would've taken place in paradise).  Since we are clearly not living in paradise, and since Christ Himself spoke of his redemptive mission, I am at pains to see any coherence in this brave new theology.

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For all that you might argue in response, that Western theology has outlived its usefulness and been roundly quashed by science, how do you plan on contending with the charge that your nouvelle theologie is no better, since it's transparently just a matter of retrofitting and making things up as you go along?  "No man seweth a piece of raw cloth to an old garment: otherwise the new piecing taketh away from the old, and there is made a greater rent."

I don't plan on contending with that charge on this thread, except to say that theology should be the servant of truth and not the other way around, and one's theories should be revised to fit data, not data revised to fit theories, and that there is nothing wrong whatsoever in revising theories to fit data better - to fail to do so is pig-headed obstinacy.

It's pertinent to consider this point, because the practice of revising one's theology to fit the data renders the Christian religion as observably fallible as any other human endeavor, wrecking all claims to divine revelation.  Liberal Christianity, which you are more or less proposing here, has been tried for many decades now, and it has proven to be a failure.  Unbeholden to tradition, theology has revised itself right out of relevance.  It's a pig-headed obstinacy all its own to believe that an implicitly fallible religion is going to persuade too many souls of its necessity.

This issue even lightly touches on theodicy itself, for if God is all-good, and theistic evolution is true, then why did he inspire his sacred scriptures to read so horribly at odds with eventual scientific discoveries?  That is the behavior of a trickster god, deceiving the faithful for millennia, and then popping a 19th century surprise that upends the whole project and sets brethren against brethren to quarrel over the correct exegesis, while millions of others throw up their hands in exasperation and quit the thing entirely.  A good and prescient god would provide a revelation that could withstand the test of all time and accumulated knowledge, and thus be stewarded with the confidence of divine security.  He would not give his faithful something that is merely provisionally true until the next time there's a variance with science. 

Such a religion (one constantly on a quest for revision) is qualitatively no different from those crazed millennarianists who predict the end of the world on a certain date according to the bible and then, when the day passes uneventfully, well, they "revise their calculations to fit the data."  The data being that they were obviously wrong—but don't worry, they found the source of their error and you can trust them this time that it'll really happen on June 27th, 2022 (until it doesn't).  No different, really.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Arvinger on September 26, 2018, 05:21:01 PM
I agree with Pon de Replay that theistic evolution is making theology up ad hoc to reconcile theology and modern scientific dogmas (yes, it is a dogma - Darwinian evolution, even if true, cannot be observed empirically in a laboratory, it will always remain an interpretation of certain data and material such as fossils, rather than empirical observation). I know that there are interpretations of the Book of Genesis which allow to cram evolution into it, and some of them might even be logically defensible. However, lets ask ourselves this question - if we'd use purely exegetical tools, would we arrive to conclusion that the Book of Genesis teaches theistic evolution? Of course not, and it was manifestly not intent of the author to communicate such a thing. A most natural, and consistent reading of Genesis is that which was believed by Christians for hundreds of years prior to Darwin. The theistic evolution readings of Genesis are largely eisegesis rather then exegesis of the text, and the idea itself is based on an attempt to find a solution which would preserve both scientific dogmas and authority of Scripture, rather than genuine search for truth.     
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on September 26, 2018, 05:52:10 PM
I'm not a position to argue for the theodicy of creationism, but clearly a god who permits only 7,000 years of misery is comparatively more merciful than one who gratuitously devises millions of years' worth.  The magnitude of offenses must surely matter somewhat.  If you had been told that one or two priests over the years had sexually abused children, you would probably not be happy about it, but you could stomach it on the notion that you're not about to let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch.  But when you find that it's been hundreds of them, and that the hierarchy was shuffling them around and not reporting them to the authorities, then you are far more tempted to say things like "the Church is an organized crime ring."

Well, theodicy is the topic of this thread, specifically the topic of theodicy of creationism vs. theistic evolution.  Now, by your logic, a God who permits only 200 years of misery is comparatively more merciful than one who devises 7,000 years worth.  Then, a God who permits only 2 microseconds of misery is comparatively more merciful than one who permits 200 years worth.  Then, a God who permits no misery at all is comparatively more merciful then one who does.  Etc.  The argument is, if there's a theodicy that can cover 7,000 years of misery, it can likewise cover 700,000,000 years of misery; time is not an argument, otherwise that very same argument could be used against 7,000 years.  You provide no reason to think this is not the case.

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The fact remains that it would be meaningless to speak of a Fall, or a consequent penalty, if the penalty was already being meted out beforehand.  It would be like going up to someone in a jail cell and saying, "that does it.  I'm putting you in jail."

You simply repeat your assertion, without even bothering to address the issue that God (unlike us) has certain foreknowledge of the crime, and while the result is anterior in time to the crime, it is still consequent to it ontologically.  Until you address these issues, I will simply gratuitously deny your gratuitous assertion of "meaninglessness".

Moreover, in Catholic theology the result of the Fall is not a punishment in the strict sense (unlike certain Protestant versions); it is the deprivation of additional gifts for which man and animals, etc., have no strict right to in virtue of their nature, but not the deliberate infliction of evil.  Catholic theology has to say this because otherwise man is being punished right from birth without him as yet being guilty of anything, and that would be unjust.  But that means, of course, that nature is, qua nature, red in tooth and claw.

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You seem to be arguing, and correct me if I'm wrong, that there was no paradise, there was no Fall, and that the Incarnation was not intended for redemption. 

You are wrong.  There was a fall and a quasi-Paradise in Eden.  But let me ask you this.  Why was there a Garden of Eden if the entire earth was a paradise?  If, immediately after the Fall, the entire earth became a non-paradise, why was it necessary to banish Adam and Eve from the Garden, which should no longer have existed?  What exactly happened after the Fall?  Non-carnivorous animals suddenly developed teeth, claws, the ability to digest meat, and the hunting instinct?  God worked miracles in order to ensure the "cursing" of creation?  You see, it's not only theistic evolutionists who have some tough questions to answer.

After the Fall, the Incarnation was indeed intended for Redemption but I'm with Scotus on the Incarnation happening even without the Fall.  Since God can't "change His mind" He must have taken His foreknowledge into account when He designed and intended things.  God is outside of time and sees all things in the same instant.

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It's pertinent to consider this point, because the practice of revising one's theology to fit the data renders the Christian religion as observably fallible as any other human endeavor, wrecking all claims to divine revelation.

Well, I'd say it renders theology as observably fallible as any other human endeavor, and it is, because it is practiced by fallible humans.  But at least this has the benefit of being honest.  And what's the alternative?  Insisting on a theology that doesn't fit the data?  How is that rendering religion any observably less fallible?

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This issue even lightly touches on theodicy itself, for if God is all-good, and theistic evolution is true, then why did he inspire his sacred scriptures to read so horribly at odds with eventual scientific discoveries? 

That ship sailed two centuries prior to Darwin with geocentrism, as you well know, and that I have termed it the Waterloo of traditional Catholicism, because it cannot withstand this critique, indignant denials and rants about "persecution" and "scientism" and the "arrogance of Galileo" and how this "isn't infallible teaching" notwithstanding.  The West had to revise theology so that the inspired writers weren't talking about reality as it actually was (which is how everyone interpreted the texts prior to that point), but only what sensibly appeared, even though a plain reading of the text gives no indication of that.  The West really has no good answer to this one, with its "dictator-God" model of Divine inspiration.  That's why I've gone over to the East, or one of the reasons.

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on September 26, 2018, 05:56:35 PM
I agree with Pon de Replay that theistic evolution is making theology up ad hoc ... if we'd use purely exegetical tools, would we arrive to conclusion that the Book of Genesis teaches theistic evolution?

OK, fine.  You'd also not conclude that Scripture teaches heliocentrism/acentrism using purely exegetical tools.  But let's please keep the thread focused on theodicy.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Arvinger on September 26, 2018, 06:04:56 PM
I agree with Pon de Replay that theistic evolution is making theology up ad hoc ... if we'd use purely exegetical tools, would we arrive to conclusion that the Book of Genesis teaches theistic evolution?

OK, fine.  You'd also not conclude that Scripture teaches heliocentrism/acentrism using purely exegetical tools.  But let's please keep the thread focused on theodicy.

Indeed, which is one of the reasons why I consider geocentrism to be a very real possibility. There are strong Scriptural arguments for it.
My point is that we need to interpret Scripture by the means of exegesis and understanding the intention of the author, his argument and what he intended to communicate. The moment you try to force onto Scripture ideas which were clearly foreign to the author and his intention, you are guilty of eisegesis and run into trouble. It is essentially the same thing as liberals do with the US Constitution - totally ignoring intention of its authors behind its specific elements, treating it as a living text understanding of which can be molded into whatever society dictates. Likewise, trying to force theistic evolution onto Genesis is to make Scripture a living text which can be molded into whatever current scientific dogmas declare.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on September 26, 2018, 07:53:02 PM
Indeed, which is one of the reasons why I consider geocentrism to be a very real possibility. There are strong Scriptural arguments for it.

Unfortunately, it's not a very real possibility scientifically speaking (no matter what Sungenis says), unless God works a continuous set of miracles.

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My point is that we need to interpret Scripture by the means of exegesis and understanding the intention of the author, his argument and what he intended to communicate. The moment you try to force onto Scripture ideas which were clearly foreign to the author and his intention, you are guilty of eisegesis and run into trouble.

It's not that simple.

It is impossible to interpret Scripture without a certain prior philosophical, hermeneutical, and linguistic framework.  It is also impossible, as a human author, no matter how inspired, to even write Scripture without such a framework.  This is simply the way humans are.  It's not surprising that wires could get crossed several thousands of years later.  Things are historically conditioned and there's no way around it.

Now, you don't think God literally "walked" corporeally with Adam and Eve in the garden.  But you can't prove directly from the text that it wasn't the intent of the author to mean that.  You assume that he did not and was only speaking metaphorically, because if he did, it would be a philosophical error to say God is corporeal, and Scripture can't contain error.  Similarly with the talking snake, and many other things.

But the same arguments apply for natural science as they do for natural philosophy.  To argue otherwise is special pleading.  Thus, if the author didn't intend to communicate truths of natural science (as he didn't intend to communicate truths of philosophy), it doesn't matter if the natural world is different than he thought.  That is the standard answer to literal six-day creationism.  We can assume that he did not mean to teach a truth of natural science but was talking metaphorically, poetically, it was a literary form of myth or allegory, etc., because if he did, there would be a scientific error in Scripture, and Scripture can't contain error.

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on September 26, 2018, 08:52:12 PM
QMR, the topic of this thread is, "what if theistic evolution were true?"  My answer is not that there is a perfect theodicy to creationism, but that rationalizing a theodicy to theistic evolution is even more difficult because the scale of the cruelty is so much larger.  The infliction of seven hundred million years of misery is objectively worse than seven thousand.  If this is not true, then there is no such thing as a "harsher sentence."  The defect in your own argument is that it's really no argument at all to say, "creationism has some misery, so it's no problem if my theology has seven million times as much misery."  To argue as much simply returns you to the bare-bones problem of theodicy itself, which is that there is no amount of evil whatsoever, in your view, that God could permit and not be omibenevolent.  In which case there is no reason to fret over the sexual abuse of minors by clergy—or anything else for that matter.  "Allah wills it."

The shortest answer to "what if theistic evolution were true?" is that it would mean the doctrine of the bible being divinely inspired comes into question, as the sacred authors were clearly not inspired to harmonize with the evolutionary scheme, and (inexplicably) provided instead something at odds with it.  As a result, you are forced to squeeze out of scripture things it doesn't say.  It would mean that liberal Christianity is the true religion, however incredible that may seem.  That religion will continue to dwindle, but it probably won't die.  We can't expect an end to it as cultish and spectacular as a mass suicide or a compound going up in flames.  It will plod on annoyingly, with rainbow flags, revised theology, jokes in sermons, and interpretive dance.

I have always, of course, agreed with (and liked) your summation of geocentrism as the Waterloo of traditional Catholicism.  All I am saying is that the proposed alternative (revising doctrines nearly into contradictions of what used to be believed) is no improvement.  That is the real Catch-22; the choice between a liberal Catholicism which is scarcely credible for its conceded fallibility, and traditional Catholicism, which insists on infallibility in spite of the Waterloos of its past.  As Donald Trump would say, "sad!"
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Arvinger on September 27, 2018, 06:55:03 AM
Unfortunately, it's not a very real possibility scientifically speaking (no matter what Sungenis says), unless God works a continuous set of miracles.

Well, so you say.

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It's not that simple.

It is impossible to interpret Scripture without a certain prior philosophical, hermeneutical, and linguistic framework.  It is also impossible, as a human author, no matter how inspired, to even write Scripture without such a framework.  This is simply the way humans are.  It's not surprising that wires could get crossed several thousands of years later.  Things are historically conditioned and there's no way around it.

Of course, these elements are important, but they are part of exegesis of the text - there are indeed many parts of Scripture which require knowledge of wider historical context and ancient languages in order to understand them properly, no question about that. But these elements are to be evaluated in context of the text and what is it supposed to communicate. Every book of the Bible was written for specific purpose, with intention of communicating a specific message, and the linguistic, historical, etc. framework is to be used in order to understand what is this message. To argue for theistic evolution, you'd have to demonstrate that the intention of divinely-inspired author was to teach such a concept in first few chapters of Genesis. Of course, such a claim does not hold up to basic scrutiny.

Theistic evolution is simply a desperate attempt to acommodate modern scientific dogmas into Christianity while at the same time paying lipservice to the authority of Scripture and Tradition.   

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Now, you don't think God literally "walked" corporeally with Adam and Eve in the garden.  But you can't prove directly from the text that it wasn't the intent of the author to mean that.  You assume that he did not and was only speaking metaphorically, because if he did, it would be a philosophical error to say God is corporeal, and Scripture can't contain error.  Similarly with the talking snake, and many other things.

That is a different issue altogether - of course, there are parts of the Bible which are metaphorical and literal. There is no problem in interpreting the text in metaphorical way if there are good exegetical reasons for and it does not violate the message of the text and/or the argument being developed. It is entirely different thing than forcing a meaning upon the text which its author and 2000 years of Christian tradition did not even dream of. It is really a theological version of the Supreme Court claiming that the US Constitution guarantees rights to same-sex couples.

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But the same arguments apply for natural science as they do for natural philosophy.  To argue otherwise is special pleading.  Thus, if the author didn't intend to communicate truths of natural science (as he didn't intend to communicate truths of philosophy), it doesn't matter if the natural world is different than he thought. That is the standard answer to literal six-day creationism.  We can assume that he did not mean to teach a truth of natural science but was talking metaphorically, poetically, it was a literary form of myth or allegory, etc., because if he did, there would be a scientific error in Scripture, and Scripture can't contain error.

If the context and exegesis indicate that the author was not talking poetically, metaphorically etc., but rather literally, we have to allow Scripture to speak for itself, rather than interpreting it through the lenses of secular and scientific presuppositions. We know that inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture extends to all of its elements, not just theological truths (the opposite opinion was condemned by St. Pius X in Lamentabili Sane), therefore inerrancy includes facts about the world, geography, history, place-names etc. Therefore, if it can be demonstrated through exegesis of Scripture that it teaches something contrary to current scientific dogmas, it is evidence that the scientific claims are wrong, rather than indicating we need to force scientific dogmas upon Scripture.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Kirin on September 28, 2018, 06:17:51 PM
You are wrong.  There was a fall and a quasi-Paradise in Eden.  But let me ask you this.  Why was there a Garden of Eden if the entire earth was a paradise?  If, immediately after the Fall, the entire earth became a non-paradise, why was it necessary to banish Adam and Eve from the Garden, which should no longer have existed?  What exactly happened after the Fall?  Non-carnivorous animals suddenly developed teeth, claws, the ability to digest meat, and the hunting instinct?  God worked miracles in order to ensure the "cursing" of creation?  You see, it's not only theistic evolutionists who have some tough questions to answer.

I can actually answer this part, though I doubt an Orthodox Catholic would find the answer satisfactory.

Eden was not a novel idea invented by the Jews, many cultures and societies; notably, the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians had a notion of their land being somehow more blessed or more perfect than all others.

Egypt for instance was the land of Ma'at, blessed and separate from a world of Chaos ruled by Set Egypt was a beacon of Law and Order; a paradise in a universe of darkness.

Eden is another rehash of Semetic patriotism. We are the descendants of the chosen people from (not necessarily residing in) the promised land. This is all the more important when you consider that the Hebrew Bible was not canonized until the Babylonian captivity where the notion of them as strangers in a foreign land had long been deeply internalized.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: John Lamb on September 29, 2018, 11:52:34 AM
Question for Old Earth Creationists / Theistic Evolutionists — Is a dog a domestic wolf, or is a wolf a savage dog?
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: John Lamb on September 29, 2018, 12:05:31 PM
What exactly happened after the Fall?  Non-carnivorous animals suddenly developed teeth, claws, the ability to digest meat, and the hunting instinct?  God worked miracles in order to ensure the "cursing" of creation?  You see, it's not only theistic evolutionists who have some tough questions to answer.

The answer for this is simple. In paradise all animals ate the fruit / herb of plants:

"And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat: And to all beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed upon. And it was so done."

Note: Eating the fruit of a tree does not harm the tree, any more than taking milk from the breast. So all living species were protected from death.

However, with the Fall the ground itself was cursed, so that the fruits & herbs no longer provided the same nutrition as before. Animals like lions who once may have eaten figs and nuts, now found themselves under-nourished on the postlapsarian fruits. Therefore, in order to survive, they turned to the other animals for a source of sufficient protein. It is hunger and the fear of death that caused the animals to turn against each other; take these things away and most animals (those who have not developed into highly aggressive predators) are benign. There are lions kept in captivity today which are raised on a vegetarian diet; obviously this is not the ideal for a modern lion, but the lion in paradise might have easily been sustained on the fruits of paradise. The teeth and claws are not difficult to explain. Nuts can be difficult to crack (look at how sharp & powerful the beaks of certain birds are), and the growing carnivorous/predatory capacities of certain species (like lions) can be explained by Darwinian selection. My friend mentioned a wasp that injects its eggs into a caterpillar, which then hatch and eat the caterpillar. Brutal, but this can only be explained as above: the wasp can no longer find an appropriate fruit host for its offspring, so it turns to an animal (which provides the right nutrition) instead.


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The Keeper of Animals under King Hsüan, of the Chou dynasty, had an assistant named Liang Yang, who was skilled in the management of wild birds and beasts. When he fed them in their park-enclosure, all the animals showed themselves tame and tractable, although they comprised tigers, wolves, eagles and ospreys. Male and female freely propagated their kind, and their numbers multiplied. The different species lived promiscuously together, yet they never clawed nor bit one another.

The King was afraid lest this man's secret should die with him, and commanded him to impart it to the Keeper. So Liang Yang appeared before the Keeper and said: 'I am only a humble servant, and have really nothing to impart. I fear his Majesty thinks I am hiding something from you. With regard to my method of feeding tigers, all I have to say is this: when yielded to, they are pleased; when opposed, they are angry. Such is the natural disposition of all living creatures. But neither their pleasure nor their anger is manifested without a cause. Both are really excited by opposition.

'In feeding tigers, then, I avoid giving them either live animals or whole carcases, lest in the former case the act of killing, in the latter the act of tearing them to pieces, should excite them to fury. Again, I time their periods of hunger and repletion, and I gain a full understanding of the causes of their anger. Tigers are of a different species from man, but, like him, they respond to those who coax them with food, and consequently the act of killing their victims tends to provoke them. This being so, I should not think of opposing them and thus provoking their anger; neither do I humour them and thus cause them to feel pleased. For this feeling of pleasure will in time be succeeded by anger, just as anger must invariably be succeeded by pleasure. Neither of these states hits the proper mean. Hence it is my aim to be neither antagonistic nor compliant, so that the animals regard me as one of themselves. Thus it happens that they walk about the park without regretting the tall forests and the broad marshes, and rest in the enclosure without yearning for the lonely mountains and the dark valleys. Such are the principles which have led to the results you see.'


Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on September 29, 2018, 12:11:07 PM
QMR, the topic of this thread is, "what if theistic evolution were true?"  My answer is not that there is a perfect theodicy to creationism, but that rationalizing a theodicy to theistic evolution is even more difficult because the scale of the cruelty is so much larger.  The infliction of seven hundred million years of misery is objectively worse than seven thousand.  If this is not true, then there is no such thing as a "harsher sentence." 

I deny both the premise and the conclusion following from it.

1.  That there is more time for evil to occur in theistic evolution vs. creationism and hence more animal suffering, I admit; that there is therefore less total evil to explain in creationism, I deny.  Creationism has many other types of evils it needs to explain that aren't the case for theistic evolution.

2.  That "rationalizing a theodicy" (meaning, one sees clearly why it is the case) becomes more difficult the more a given type of evil exists, I admit; that the amount of a given type of evil affects the validity of a theodicy in itself, I deny.  If God can have a sufficient reason for permitting evil X of a given type for the sake of bringing about a greater good Y of another type, then it is no argument how many instances of type X there are.  In the fact, the world is objectively better the more of type X there is, for that means the more of type Y there is.

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The defect in your own argument is that it's really no argument at all to say, "creationism has some misery, so it's no problem if my theology has seven million times as much misery."  To argue as much simply returns you to the bare-bones problem of theodicy itself, which is that there is no amount of evil whatsoever, in your view, that God could permit and not be omibenevolent.  In which case there is no reason to fret over the sexual abuse of minors by clergy—or anything else for that matter.  "Allah wills it."

Please don't straw man.  My real argument is, if there is a satisfactory theodicy for creationism, it will likewise be satisfactory for theistic evolution.  And theodicy does indeed say that there is no fixed amount of evil whatsoever that God could permit and not be omnibenevolent, as long as all that evil were permitted for a greater good.  If this is what you are arguing against, then you arguing against theodicy in itself and not the particular case of creationism vs. theistic evolutionism.

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The shortest answer to "what if theistic evolution were true?" is that it would mean the doctrine of the bible being divinely inspired comes into question, as the sacred authors were clearly not inspired to harmonize with the evolutionary scheme, and (inexplicably) provided instead something at odds with it. 

Yep.  But that is an argument to undesired consequences, if used to deny the antecedent.  Maybe the Bible being "Divinely inspired" does not mean that God dictated word-for-word what the sacred authors would write.  Maybe there was a Divine truth the sacred authors were intending to communicate, but were faced with limitations of human language, culture, presuppositions, etc.

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All I am saying is that the proposed alternative (revising doctrines nearly into contradictions of what used to be believed) is no improvement.  That is the real Catch-22; the choice between a liberal Catholicism which is scarcely credible for its conceded fallibility, and traditional Catholicism, which insists on infallibility in spite of the Waterloos of its past. 

How does conceded fallibility equate to lack of credibility?  And how is insistence on infallibility credible with the Waterloos of the past?

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on September 29, 2018, 12:35:34 PM
Unfortunately, it's not a very real possibility scientifically speaking (no matter what Sungenis says), unless God works a continuous set of miracles.

Well, so you say.

I do say.  Burying your head in the sand like an ostrich will not change the evidence.

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Of course, these elements are important, but they are part of exegesis of the text - there are indeed many parts of Scripture which require knowledge of wider historical context and ancient languages in order to understand them properly, no question about that. But these elements are to be evaluated in context of the text and what is it supposed to communicate. Every book of the Bible was written for specific purpose, with intention of communicating a specific message, and the linguistic, historical, etc. framework is to be used in order to understand what is this message.

Agreed.

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To argue for theistic evolution, you'd have to demonstrate that the intention of divinely-inspired author was to teach such a concept in first few chapters of Genesis. Of course, such a claim does not hold up to basic scrutiny.

This is a non sequitur.  All I'd have to demonstrate is that it was not the intention of the Divinely-inspired author to teach scientific truth about how the earth, stars, plants, and animals, came into existence.  If that it is the case, obviously, any scientific theory could be the case.

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That is a different issue altogether - of course, there are parts of the Bible which are metaphorical and literal. There is no problem in interpreting the text in metaphorical way if there are good exegetical reasons for and it does not violate the message of the text and/or the argument being developed.

Yes, but the point is you've a priori decided these texts must be metaphorical based on a philosophical conclusion.  What purely exegetical reason is there to believe "walked" doesn't mean literally "walked"?


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If the context and exegesis indicate that the author was not talking poetically, metaphorically etc., but rather literally, we have to allow Scripture to speak for itself, rather than interpreting it through the lenses of secular and scientific presuppositions. We know that inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture extends to all of its elements, not just theological truths (the opposite opinion was condemned by St. Pius X in Lamentabili Sane), therefore inerrancy includes facts about the world, geography, history, place-names etc. Therefore, if it can be demonstrated through exegesis of Scripture that it teaches something contrary to current scientific dogmas, it is evidence that the scientific claims are wrong, rather than indicating we need to force scientific dogmas upon Scripture.

But that's just the problem. Granted if it was the sacred author's intent to teach truths about the natural world, and if we are correctly interpreting what he is saying about those truths, then indeed a scientific claim contrary to that must be wrong.  But there's that "if" that goes into making those claims.  Analysis of context and exegesis are themselves human disciplines, every bit as fallible as natural science, since they make inferences and in fact in exactly the same manner, and so it's impossible to shield Scripture from "interpretation".  (The multitude of Protestant sects should be enough to convince you of that.)  Scripture hardly "speaks for itself" since it must be interpreted within the framework of analysis of context and exegesis; that's just the way human language is.  And we can only make inferences about context and linguistics thousands of years ago, inferences which in fact are far weaker than those which come from natural science.  You are simply an infallibility for exegesis which does not in fact exist.

This being the case then, scientific evidence which weighs (heavily) against a certain alleged truth about the natural world is evidence that conclusions of exegetes to the contrary are wrong.

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: james03 on September 30, 2018, 03:39:17 PM
If Theistic Evolution means God starting with a single cell, then letting evolution run, this is impossible.  Evolution, either with God involved only with the origin, or without God at all is dead.  We are early in the paradigm shift from biochemistry to bio-nanomechanics, but already realize the idea of an amoeba eventually turning into a whale is insane.

However adding God into evolution solves the fatal flaws.  I think the better term would be Evolutionary Creationism.  God supplies the needed information and eliminates the insane odds (with a 100 amino acid small protein, if you allowed one mutation for every second the universe existed, the odds say you never get a functional mutation.  This is one small protein).  You also eliminate the problem of irreducible complexity where there can't be natural selection, and in fact natural selection would work against you.

It's plausible.  If this is the method God chose to create, then I don't have a problem with it.

As far as life forming from primordial goo, that's dead.  But I know you aren't talking about origin, just the evolutionary process after the fact.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 04, 2018, 10:20:34 AM
Please don't straw man.  My real argument is, if there is a satisfactory theodicy for creationism, it will likewise be satisfactory for theistic evolution.  And theodicy does indeed say that there is no fixed amount of evil whatsoever that God could permit and not be omnibenevolent, as long as all that evil were permitted for a greater good.  If this is what you are arguing against, then you arguing against theodicy in itself and not the particular case of creationism vs. theistic evolutionism.

Yes, this seems to have become the case (that I am arguing more against theodicy in itself), so I'll leave this objection to the side for now.  I agree with your concession, "that 'rationalizing a theodicy' (meaning, one sees clearly why it is the case) becomes more difficult the more a given type of evil exists."  True for sure, and in terms of apologetics and evangelization, theistic evolutionists have a much greater mountain of misery to scale than do creationists.  So that's how I was considering the problem.  On the technical point, though, I see what you're saying, and you're correct: if God can permit any evil, whether large-scale or small, this immediately appears to contradict his omnibenevolence, so a theistic evolutionist and a creationist both have the same problem (in principle, if not degree).  To paraphrase Michael Wilson, "as usual, QMR, you've stumped me."  At the very least you've resolved this creationist objection by shifting the problem to "all theodicy" and not just "degrees of theodicy."  Well played.

Maybe the Bible being "Divinely inspired" does not mean that God dictated word-for-word what the sacred authors would write.  Maybe there was a Divine truth the sacred authors were intending to communicate, but were faced with limitations of human language, culture, presuppositions, etc.

"Maybe" indeed, as here you are on shakier ground.  We don't have to expect the bible to be the word-for-word speech of the Almighty.  We do, however, have the expectation that it will possess both truth (whether literally or metaphorically) and clarity (it will not confuse and it will not deceive).  The sacred authors may've been allowed a certain liberty of expression, but inerrancy assures that whatever creative choices they made, they would not bungle the message or get things wrong.  So, for example, if the Quarist supposition is true (that the punishment of sin was retroactively applied to everything before it), then the bible does not reflect this.  If creation was fallen from the get-go, then it is misleading that Genesis says God looked upon creation and "saw that it was good."  An inerrant revelation in accordance with Quarism would read something like, "and God saw that there was much agony and tribulation among the creatures, even death, for the world was cursed from the beginning, on account of the disobedience of the man whom He would make.  God foresaw man's sin, and punished all the world, both before it and afterwards, in accordance with His decree."

Instead, however, the bible gives no indication of a retroactively-applied Fall, and lays out the Fall in an unambiguously linear fashion: after it, things are changed.  It's only in the post-lapsarian scheme that the ground must be worked with sweat and toil, that animals bloodily turn against each other for food.  If things like this were the case before the Fall, then Genesis is deceptive in not saying so, and causing everyone who ever read it for three thousand years, including all the Church Fathers to come to the opposite understanding.  You are forcibly shoe-horning a bizarre novelty of a narrative onto a text that in no way can support it.  Add to this all the other blatant contradictions (such as Adam & Eve having parents in theistic evolution, and the bible, however poetically, saying that they were created specially and mentioning not a whit of parentage) and I'm sorry, you can peddle this stuff, but few people are going to buy it.

You may argue that no one is going to buy creationism either, but statistically speaking, the fundamentalist strains of Christianity are growing, whereas the liberal ones are hemorrhaging faithful.  The Church of England will probably always exist in some capacity as an official state religious institution, but it's theorized that it could be effectively dead as a communion of believers in twenty years (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8633540/Ageing-Church-of-England-will-be-dead-in-20-years.html).  A self-confessed fallible religion is simply not a good sell.  Saying, "we can chuck the traditional understanding of scripture and tease out new lessons for our current day and age" is pointless, since anyone can get life lessons from any text, whether it's the bible or the Ramayana or the Eddas.  It's especially meaningless if the task is to re-interpret the text to get it to say something the opposite of what it plainly does and always has.  That's what it means to say that fallibility equates with a lack of credibility.

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Kreuzritter on October 04, 2018, 10:22:17 AM
This is Sacred Sciences subforum, where if you are going to dismiss something as "scholastic rationalization" and "sophistry", you are actually going to have to show how it is the case by reasoned and logical argument (e.g. "semi-scholarly discussion"), and not just merely assert it.  Here are two responses.

When you present actual arguments I will do just that.

And, as expected, you missed the rhetorical point, which is that nobody really lives as if he took such autistic rationalisations of supposed moral truths seriously outside of the schoolroom, and while he might convince himself on an abstract intellectual level that, following from some set of assumptions, it's all well and good and have that deaden his natural innate feelings toward an author of such horrors, the reality of it remains: your "God", so-called, made a world not just of death, suffering and imperfection, but one in which the very principle of sustaining ones own existence consists of a vampiric parasitisation other things, living or not, and decided that the best way to bring about his own future incarnation was to take a bunch of poo-flinging simians and somehow poke their genes here and there over time in the grand bloody rat race so they could outdo their competitors in the killing-game and Adam's great-something bearded grandma could squirt out the first bipedal primate. And then he supposedly has the gall to call his work "good". Your "God", conceived as he is, is a bungling devil, and that's that. There is no pinhead argument that can touch upon the truth of this because its basic moral content that speaks immediately to the heart is not somehting that can be grasped, dissected and "understood" by the rational mind like a logical puzzle or an algebraic equation any more than can love, truth or the merest image of a living cosmos that impinges upon our sensual experience.  "Theistic evolution" is a blasphemy against the Most High.

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Answer 1.  You're equivocating on "before".  Granted, that world was temporally prior to the Fall, but not necessarily ontologically prior to the Fall, God foreknowing the Fall would happen.

I'm not "equivocating" on anything. "Before" in "before the Fall" has one and only one sense and I meant it. Now answer the question.

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An effect can precede a cause in time (though not ontologically), such as is the case with the Immaculate Conception.

And there is a vast difference between bestowing a free gift of grace merited in eternity into the past and making the temporal sin of one man in a sh**hole of God's creation responsible for God having created that sh**hole in the first place. And pigs fly in square circles, I'm sure. The world having been created as it is, as the working of some black devilry as already described, because Adam sinned at a future point, is not just an affront to justice but a freak circus show that places Adam in a world of death, suffering and all-round bungling imperfection and then expects him to show faith and obedience to the being who made it all happen. Yeah, good luck, "God". You, Calvinists and other masochists might be convinced to swallow that schtick.


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Answer 2.  There is plenty of death, violence, and sufferings of innocents in the world after the Fall, some of it recorded in Scripture as happening by God's own express order.  If you have a theodicy which can explain how this can be together with a good and loving God after the Fall, then it should also suffice to explain why this could be the case before the Fall. 

Non sequitur. This man is literally incapable of making any involved argument that proceeds on the basis of making step-by-step valid inferences according to the laws governing such. Just ask him to translate one of these "arguments" into a first-order language and see.

Here's my answer to your content-less assertion: I have yet to see such a theodicy.

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Either suffering of innocents is intrinsically contrary to the goodness and love of God, or it is not.

An irrelevant tautology. Say something meaningful or don't say anything at all.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Kreuzritter on October 04, 2018, 10:29:45 AM
This is a non sequitur.  All I'd have to demonstrate is that it was not the intention of the Divinely-inspired author to teach scientific truth about how the earth, stars, plants, and animals, came into existence.  If that it is the case, obviously, any scientific theory could be the case.

There is no such thing as "scientific truth" as opposed to other kinds.

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(The multitude of Protestant sects should be enough to convince you of that.)  Scripture hardly "speaks for itself" since it must be interpreted within the framework of analysis of context and exegesis; that's just the way human language is.  And we can only make inferences about context and linguistics thousands of years ago, inferences which in fact are far weaker than those which come from natural science.

As if it were actually possible to quantitfy and measure the "strength" of such inferences. Inferences which you, too, are forced to make, and which are not strengthened by your opinions on natural history with which they have no logical connection.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 04, 2018, 10:41:06 AM
Maybe the Bible being "Divinely inspired" does not mean that God dictated word-for-word what the sacred authors would write.  Maybe there was a Divine truth the sacred authors were intending to communicate, but were faced with limitations of human language, culture, presuppositions, etc.

Just to re-iterate (and thank you for being honest), this is the same approach to the bible that liberal theologians apply not only to evolution, but everything else.  They say the condemnation of homosexuality in the bible is due to the fact that "St. Paul was limited by his culture and presuppositions.  He was reacting against the orgies of pagan Rome, and did not have a fair understanding of homosexuality as a form of love and commitment."  The minute you open this door, you let in everything, and liberal Christianity becomes inevitable.  It all ends in rainbow sashes.

This also seems to get it backwards in terms of saying that the bible couldn't communicate the truth, but rather had to cater to the presuppositions of ancient Hebrews.  You seem to be saying that God could only give them a revelation of what they presupposed God could reveal.  Does faith, then, depend on how plausible the believer finds the revelation?  It also doesn't explain why the bible had to ignore the Quarist retroactive curse (and in fact it had to say the opposite).  Why would they be presupposed to reject that?  They weren't around at the time of the Fall, so on what grounds would they not find it credible?
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Kreuzritter on October 04, 2018, 10:49:45 AM
Indeed, which is one of the reasons why I consider geocentrism to be a very real possibility. There are strong Scriptural arguments for it.

Unfortunately, it's not a very real possibility scientifically speaking (no matter what Sungenis says), unless God works a continuous set of miracles.

This is a semantic argument.

In order to speak about "geocentrism" to be addressed by physics, one has to present the term in a sense understood by physics, namely of a mechanical model defined by physical concepts, in which those like "centre" and "motion" all have only a relativistic meaning and there is no absolutely "preferred" frame of reference; the results of the Keplerian model can in principle be translated into a system taking Earth as a non-inertial frame of reference that has the same predictive power, just as I can take that "moving" train as "stationary" or even an "accelerating" train as "stationary" and dealing with "virtual" forces. This is all just abstract mathematics used to predict things and addresses nothing whatsoever about essences and their absolute state of affairs.

Stop confusing the Ptolemaic model taking Earth as an inertial frame of reference at the centre of a finite Euclidean space as being equivalent to "the Earth is the unmoving centre of the cosmos".
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Kreuzritter on October 04, 2018, 10:56:02 AM
If you posit the after-effects of the Fall as having also been extended by God to curse everything before the Fall, then what are you contending the fallen world fell from in the first place?  You would be negating the concept of a pre-lapsarian paradise, from which death first entered by sin.  You're saying, in effect, that there was never a paradise to have lost.  It's a nonsensical narrative that anyone could see has been devised ad hoc in order to harmonize with evolution. 

I am sorry but I do not see a rigorous argument here, only a bare assertion followed by a bandwagon approach fallacy.

The bare assertion is that there never was a paradise to have lost, if it never in fact existed.  Your assertion is gratuitous and prima facie fallacious: you might as well argue that if I fail to show up for work and therefore don't earn a paycheck, there was never a paycheck to be lost, since it never existed.

Err ... no, and yours is equivalent to you not giving your employee his paycheck today because you foresee that, a month from now, he's going to stop showing up to work.

I wonder why why the f* he's going to stop showing up ...


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And you never get around to actually showing how this is contrary to a loving and good God if it is in fact the case, while the traditional narrative of the Fall, followed by genocides, a global flood, and "nature red in tooth and claw" is perfectly in accordance with it.

Is the implication here that the narratives of Exodus and Joshua are also non-historical?
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Kreuzritter on October 04, 2018, 11:26:16 AM
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You simply repeat your assertion, without even bothering to address the issue that God (unlike us) has certain foreknowledge of the crime, and while the result is anterior in time to the crime, it is still consequent to it ontologically.  Until you address these issues, I will simply gratuitously deny your gratuitous assertion of "meaninglessness".

God isn't "foreknowing" anything in this instance; he's creating something a hellhole, in which Adam will sin, because of Adam's sin in that hellhole. The "crime" cannot ontologically precede the creation of which that "crime" is a part. Capiche? Placing God outside of time and omniscient doesn't change this. You can squeal and squirm and pull your usual rhetorical manoeuvres, ad hominems and appeals to the authority of concotions of "natural theology", but that's a fact.

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Moreover, in Catholic theology the result of the Fall is not a punishment in the strict sense (unlike certain Protestant versions); it is the deprivation of additional gifts for which man and animals, etc., have no strict right to in virtue of their nature, but not the deliberate infliction of evil.  Catholic theology has to say this because otherwise man is being punished right from birth without him as yet being guilty of anything, and that would be unjust.  But that means, of course, that nature is, qua nature, red in tooth and claw.

Creation of something as it is because of that creation doing what it will do is a logical impossibility, and we don't even need to get into the question of it being a deliberate infliction of evil.

Adam doing something in a world that is already is as it is as a consequence of that doing is an absurdity, and so with the Fall and the world being rotten from the get-go because of. This bears no relation the order of things in the Immaculate Conception or the predestination of reprobates on account of their "foreseen" sins, which are actually sensible concepts and not a meaningless stringing together of words according to syntactic rules by a theological shyster.



Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Kreuzritter on October 04, 2018, 12:39:19 PM
Now, you don't think God literally "walked" corporeally with Adam and Eve in the garden.  But you can't prove directly from the text that it wasn't the intent of the author to mean that.  You assume that he did not and was only speaking metaphorically, because if he did, it would be a philosophical error to say God is corporeal, and Scripture can't contain error.  Similarly with the talking snake, and many other things.

Oh, but I do, and there's no "philosophical error" involved, as it doesn't imply corporeality of the divine ousia any more than does the union of one of its hypostases with a human body.

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But the same arguments apply for natural science as they do for natural philosophy.  To argue otherwise is special pleading.  Thus, if the author didn't intend to communicate truths of natural science (as he didn't intend to communicate truths of philosophy), it doesn't matter if the natural world is different than he thought. 

Here it is again, this "truths of philosophy" and "truths of natural science" and other phrases being intended as something more than mere appellations of propositions made within the fuzzy boundaries of some ill-defined intellectual activities. If "Yahweh walked with Adam" was intended metaphorically, that doesn't mean that the meaning of what was intended by the words does not constitute a "philosophical truth" or "scientific truth" or whatever else you want to call a proposition about actual reality, as opposed to a Jesuitic weasel word like "theological truth" for which we never get an explanation of what it is and what it means for it to be "true".

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That is the standard answer to literal six-day creationism.  We can assume that he did not mean to teach a truth of natural science but was talking metaphorically, poetically, it was a literary form of myth or allegory, etc., because if he did, there would be a scientific error in Scripture, and Scripture can't contain error.

You really have convinced yourself, haven't you, that belief in special creation by fiat ex nihilo, as opposed to evolutionism, only follows from a literalistic reading of the first chapters of Genesis and that metaphor and symbolism are contrary to a narrative being historical, nay, that "myth" is not taking on propositions about actual reality but rather some pie-in-the-sky, airy-fairy crap that is never explained.

But carry on. You love invoking "science" for some reason, but there is no room for you "theistic evolutionist" bumpkins and your theologising in science, not even on the side of intelligent design, and for the life of me I cannot understand why you don't just take your underlying assumptions and mode of thought to their logical conclusion and embrace your real god. I do say "theistic evolutionists" because that's what you are: bowing to the idols, even if not wholeheartedly, of empiricism, physicalism and human reason, and ultimately the image of your own self.

It's pathetic. "Theistic evolutionists" are like "male feminists" creeping up the arses of 5/10 green-haired broads for sexual brownie points but not getting laid like you hope to and losing your dignity to be laughed at by real men at the same time. Evolutionary scientists think you're pathetic, true theists think you're pathetic ... what else is there to say?


Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: John Lamb on October 04, 2018, 01:50:02 PM
"Theistic evolution" is a blasphemy against the Most High.

This is my basic conclusion as well, and it's why I oppose it. Atheistic evolution is just absurd; whereas theistic evolution, while not in itself absurd, is blasphemous. Theistic evolution is native to Hinduism; it cannot be reconciled with Catholicism without distorting everything (c.f. Teilhard de Chardin). Creationism is a foundational dogma because only a creationist cosmogony shows forth the goodness of God who became Man for our sake.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Arvinger on October 04, 2018, 02:43:08 PM
This is a non sequitur.  All I'd have to demonstrate is that it was not the intention of the Divinely-inspired author to teach scientific truth about how the earth, stars, plants, and animals, came into existence.  If that it is the case, obviously, any scientific theory could be the case.

Let's be honest - the sole and only reason why you and theistic evolutionists doubt that the author of Genesis intended to literally describe how earth, humans, animals etc. came into existence is not your exegetical examination of the text, but what modern science says. For hundreds of years nobody, including Catholic exegetes with great knowledge of Hebrew language, arrived to conclusion that Genesis does not intend to communicate literally how the world was created, because there is hardly anything in the text that indicates an allegorical/metaphorical meaning.   

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Yes, but the point is you've a priori decided these texts must be metaphorical based on a philosophical conclusion.  What purely exegetical reason is there to believe "walked" doesn't mean literally "walked"?

I've never conceded that, and I don't think there are sufficient exegetical arguments to interpret this case definitively. There is, however, plenty of exegetical evidence indicating that the author of Genesis wanted to communicate literally how the world was created, and the only reason theistic evolutionists doubt that is not exegesis of the text, but modern science. This is classic example of eisegesis.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
But that's just the problem. Granted if it was the sacred author's intent to teach truths about the natural world,

Again, you doubt it because of what modern science tells you, not exegesis of the text. There is a reason why Catholic exegetes never saw allegorical meaning in Genesis for hundreds of years.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
and if we are correctly interpreting what he is saying about those truths, then indeed a scientific claim contrary to that must be wrong.

I'm glad we are in agreement here. However, you do not follow this. You cast doubts on whether the author of Genesis intended to literally describe how God created the world, but you would never had these doubts without modern science which forces you to look for an allegorical meaning to avoid clash between Scripture and scientific dogmas.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
But there's that "if" that goes into making those claims.  Analysis of context and exegesis are themselves human disciplines, every bit as fallible as natural science, since they make inferences and in fact in exactly the same manner, and so it's impossible to shield Scripture from "interpretation".

Granted. But to make your point you need to present robust exegetical arguments which indicate that the author of Genesis did not intend to describe creation of the world literally. However, we all know that its not exegesis that brought you to this conclusion.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
(The multitude of Protestant sects should be enough to convince you of that.)  Scripture hardly "speaks for itself" since it must be interpreted within the framework of analysis of context and exegesis; that's just the way human language is.  And we can only make inferences about context and linguistics thousands of years ago, inferences which in fact are far weaker than those which come from natural science.  You are simply an infallibility for exegesis which does not in fact exist.

Yes, exegesis is not infallible. But that is the same type of desperate argument that R&R Traditionalists make in regard to Vatican II, which you rightly criticize - "well, Vatican II was not infallible". They are forced to say that because they see a clear contradiction between Vatican II and pre-Vatican II Magisterium. Likewise you are forced to say "well, exegesis is not infallible" because you see a contradiction between literal interpretation of Genesis and modern science. The problem is, exegesis overwhelmingly supports literal interpretation, which you throw under the bus to acommodate modern science and excuse it by a saying "well, exegesis is not infallible".

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
This being the case then, scientific evidence which weighs (heavily) against a certain alleged truth about the natural world is evidence that conclusions of exegetes to the contrary are wrong.

In other words, choosing between fallible exegesis of Biblical text and fallible science you choose science - it is a higher authority for you. That says all, really.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on October 04, 2018, 08:16:24 PM
Let's be honest - the sole and only reason why you and theistic evolutionists doubt that the author of Genesis intended to literally describe how earth, humans, animals etc. came into existence is not your exegetical examination of the text, but what modern science says.

True, insofar as positive doubt.  But let's have some honesty from the other side too shall we.  What this is really about is whether evidence or authority is to be preferred in making conclusions and inferences.

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For hundreds of years nobody, including Catholic exegetes with great knowledge of Hebrew language, arrived to conclusion that Genesis does not intend to communicate literally how the world was created, because there is hardly anything in the text that indicates an allegorical/metaphorical meaning.   

And if theistic evolutionists are right, then these exegetes were wrong, and we can't have that now can we.  It would mean they missed something in the text indicating an allegorical/metaphorical meaning or a type of literary form employed.  It would mean they are human and fallible.  THAT's what all this is really about.

Of course today (and for a long time previous), Catholic exegetes have and have had no problem with an old earth and Genesis, because science develops and progresses.  New things are learned, and older theories are thrown out.  For hundreds of years no one, even astronomers with great knowledge of the heavens, figured out that planets move in elliptical orbits.  There was hardly anything to suggest it.  From the natural science point of view, it's not surprising a similar thing should happen in exegesis.


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There is, however, plenty of exegetical evidence indicating that the author of Genesis wanted to communicate literally how the world was created, and the only reason theistic evolutionists doubt that is not exegesis of the text, but modern science. This is classic example of eisegesis.

It's a question of how inferences are made from evidence and just how certain is the exegetical inference that the author of Genesis intended to teach scientific truths.  "Plenty of evidence" != "absolutely overwhelming evidence that no one could reasonably doubt".

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Again, you doubt it because of what modern science tells you, not exegesis of the text. There is a reason why Catholic exegetes never saw allegorical meaning in Genesis for hundreds of years...

I'm glad we are in agreement here. However, you do not follow this. You cast doubts on whether the author of Genesis intended to literally describe how God created the world, but you would never had these doubts without modern science which forces you to look for an allegorical meaning to avoid clash between Scripture and scientific dogmas.

You keep begging the question, assuming that the conclusion of a literal scientific meaning is established beyond all doubt from exegesis.  If this is not the case, then it is certainly my prerogative to bring in evidence from other disciplines which casts more doubt on the conclusion.  And you can call an old earth a pejorative "dogma" all you like, but there is in fact abundant and overwhelming scientific evidence for it.

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Granted. But to make your point you need to present robust exegetical arguments which indicate that the author of Genesis did not intend to describe creation of the world literally. However, we all know that its not exegesis that brought you to this conclusion.

No, I don't.  All I have to do is show the exegetical arguments for the other side are not conclusive.

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Yes, exegesis is not infallible. But that is the same type of desperate argument that R&R Traditionalists make in regard to Vatican II, which you rightly criticize - "well, Vatican II was not infallible". They are forced to say that because they see a clear contradiction between Vatican II and pre-Vatican II Magisterium.

It is not the same type of argument.  There is not the same built-in guarantee for exegesis as there is supposed to be for official Church teaching.  It is a human science

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Likewise you are forced to say "well, exegesis is not infallible" because you see a contradiction between literal interpretation of Genesis and modern science. The problem is, exegesis overwhelmingly supports literal interpretation, which you throw under the bus to acommodate modern science and excuse it by a saying "well, exegesis is not infallible".

Well that's of course exactly what I deny.  To have an absolutely conclusive exegesis, and know for sure the intent of the sacred author, you would need to be a mind reader.

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In other words, choosing between fallible exegesis of Biblical text and fallible science you choose science - it is a higher authority for you. That says all, really.

Yes, I was quite sure this was how you would frame the question, namely which "authority" you need to choose from.  That view is false.  Again, if philosophy dictates a certain exegesis (God can't really literally "harden Pharoah's heart") because He cannot be the author of evil, that's fine because philosophy is a "good" discipline; but if it's natural science that's bad.

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Arvinger on October 13, 2018, 01:15:45 PM
True, insofar as positive doubt.

Thank you for an honest admission.

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But let's have some honesty from the other side too shall we.  What this is really about is whether evidence or authority is to be preferred in making conclusions and inferences.

Sacred Scripture and conclusions based on its exegesis are evidence, which you dismiss because you put greater weight on what scientists say.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
And if theistic evolutionists are right, then these exegetes were wrong, and we can't have that now can we.

Its not about exegetes being wrong, but about the exegetical arguments they presented. They are yet to be refuted by theistic evolutionists, and they probably never will be, because there is hardly anything in first chapters of Genesis indicating an allegorical meaning.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
It would mean they missed something in the text indicating an allegorical/metaphorical meaning or a type of literary form employed.  It would mean they are human and fallible.  THAT's what all this is really about.

Then let theistic evolutionists demonstrate this "something in the text indicating an allegorical/metaphorical meaning" by the means of exegesis of the text. The reality is, they can't do that because the only reason they claim Genesis is allegorical has nothing to do with Sacred Scripture itself. It is an eisegesis based on what scientists say.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Of course today (and for a long time previous), Catholic exegetes have and have had no problem with an old earth and Genesis, because science develops and progresses. New things are learned, and older theories are thrown out.  For hundreds of years no one, even astronomers with great knowledge of the heavens, figured out that planets move in elliptical orbits.  There was hardly anything to suggest it.  From the natural science point of view, it's not surprising a similar thing should happen in exegesis.

Well, in that case why don't theistic evolutionists back up their claims by exegetical arguments, for example by writing a comprehensive commentary on Genesis exegetically demonstrating how the text was not meant to literally describe how Earth was created, and refuting the arguments of Catholic exegetes who interpreted Genesis literally for hundreds of years? Well, we all know why - because the claims of theistic evolutionists are eisegetical in nature. They are not interested in properly interpreting Genesis in its context, they are interested in acommodating current scientific dogmas into Scripture by whatever means possible.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
It's a question of how inferences are made from evidence and just how certain is the exegetical inference that the author of Genesis intended to teach scientific truths.  "Plenty of evidence" != "absolutely overwhelming evidence that no one could reasonably doubt".

I guarantee you that you would not come to doubt that Genesis was intended to literally describe how Earth and Universe  were created solely on the basis of exegesis and without modern scientific claims (which you admitted).

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
You keep begging the question, assuming that the conclusion of a literal scientific meaning is established beyond all doubt from exegesis.

It is established beyond reasonable doubt, and 2000 years of Catholic tradition demonstrates this very well. Now the burden of proof is on theistic evolutionists to refute the well-established case for literal interpretation of Genesis, by the means of exegesis.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
If this is not the case,

Well, it is you who begs the question here.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
then it is certainly my prerogative to bring in evidence from other disciplines which casts more doubt on the conclusion.
 

First you have to refute exegetical arguments for literal interpretation and make exegetical case for allegorical interpretation. If you do not do that, any attempt to "bring evidence from other disciplines" is nothing but eisegesis - reading into the text your preconceived conclusions based on science which have little to do with the text itself.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
And you can call an old earth a pejorative "dogma" all you like, but there is in fact abundant and overwhelming scientific evidence for it.

For me the age of earth and the issue of theistic evolution are somewhat separate. I reject evolution but accept the possibility of old Earth (which is the position of at least some SSPX priests as well) - although I think a good case for young earth can be made from Genesis.

Quote from: Quareperemulisti
No, I don't. All I have to do is show the exegetical arguments for the other side are not conclusive.

No, the burden of proof is on you, since the exegetical case for literal interpretation is well-established in 2000 years of Catholic tradition. If you do not refute it, it means you dismiss exegetical evidence in favor of scientific evidence.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
It is not the same type of argument.  There is not the same built-in guarantee for exegesis as there is supposed to be for official Church teaching.

Epistemologically speaking, it is. In both cases R&R and you claim that something can be false merely because it is fallible (Vatican II did not meet conditions for infallibility). In both cases, it is insufficient - R&R's need to demonstrate how Ecumenical Council can teach error even within its fallible capacity, you need to demonstrate how 2000 years of exegesis is wrong and demonstrate evidence in favor of allegorical interpretation. Mere assertion "it is not infallible" is not enough. If I were to turn the tables and say "well, scientific evidence is fallible, therefore it is non-conclusive, so I reject it" - would you accept it as a valid argument?

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Well that's of course exactly what I deny.  To have an absolutely conclusive exegesis, and know for sure the intent of the sacred author, you would need to be a mind reader.

We can know it beyond reasonable doubt without mind reading and have sufficient means to do so, just like we can properly recognize intent of authors of many other historical texts on the basis of their analysis, language, historical context etc. Otherwise, there would be absolutely no point in God giving us Sacred Scripture. 

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Yes, I was quite sure this was how you would frame the question, namely which "authority" you need to choose from.  That view is false.

No, its not about authority, but types of evidence we put greater weight on - exegetical evidence based on the Bible or scientific evidence based on claims of scientists.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Again, if philosophy dictates a certain exegesis (God can't really literally "harden Pharoah's heart") because He cannot be the author of evil, that's fine because philosophy is a "good" discipline; but if it's natural science that's bad.

This argument is a complete strawman. Neither philosophy nor natural science is "good" or "bad" in itself. They can both be used in proper or improper way while doing exegesis. They are used in proper way when they are subordinated to the Biblical text as a tool used to understand the intention or the argument of the inspired author. They are used in improper way when they are used to force upon the text a meaning, intention or argument which was clearly foreign to the inspired author (essentially turning Sacred Scripture into "living text", as leftists do with the US Constitution).
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Michael Wilson on October 13, 2018, 04:44:08 PM
The way I understand the problem with Galileo, wasn't that he claimed that scientific evidence demonstrated that the parts of Sacred Scripture, where the Earth is described as stationary, and the Sun in motion, were allegorical, or rather were a non-scientific description of observable phenomena; but rather that Sacred Scripture clearly taught that the Sun was stationary and that the Earth was in motion. This defied the plain meaning of the letter of Sacred Scripture, as for example in the book of Josue, where the Prophet orders the Sun to stand still in its course, or in the book of Psalms where it is described as "running its way":  (18,6)"...as a bridegroom coming out of his bride chamber, Hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way:"
Therefore the problem for a person to use S.S. To explain Theistic evolution, is as Arvinger argues, to demonstrate how this theory is compatible with the text; but contrary to the case of the motion/non-motion of the Sun, the Genesis text is not based on observable phenomena, but on the revelation of God to Moses, of history that precedes any human observation.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Daniel on October 14, 2018, 06:53:09 AM
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But let's have some honesty from the other side too shall we.  What this is really about is whether evidence or authority is to be preferred in making conclusions and inferences.

Sacred Scripture and conclusions based on its exegesis are evidence, which you dismiss because you put greater weight on what scientists say.
But you'd think that true evidence could not contradict true evidence. So if sacred scripture and natural science are both true, then the exegesis must be false and theistic evolution must be true. Otherwise either sacred scripture is false or natural science is false... but who can say which is false? If we go that route it's easier just to reject sacred scripture as not-inspired (and then I suppose you'd need to appeal to deism to fill in the gaps with atheistic evolution theory).
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Daniel on October 14, 2018, 06:59:43 AM
Question... does the theory of seminal reasons count as a kind of theistic evolution? Because it's not really "evolution" in the strict sense, but I am currently of the opinion that that theory seems the most probable. It can perhaps even be reconciled with some of the exegesis.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Arvinger on October 14, 2018, 01:17:17 PM
But you'd think that true evidence could not contradict true evidence.

That is begging the question whether current scientific dogmas (like evolution) are true. There are not only theological, but scientific problems with evolution.

Quote from: Daniel
So if sacred scripture and natural science are both true, then the exegesis must be false and theistic evolution must be true.

How about scientists being wrong in their interpretation of data? If I have a choice between fallible, but well argued exegetical arguments presented over 2000 of Catholic tradition, and fallible conclusions of atheistic scientists who hold naturalistic presuppositions and rule out a priori, on the basis of their worldview, a possibility of supernatural events (as a result, no evidence could convince many of them that supernatural realm exists), why should I go with the latter?

Also, how far do you want to take it? A scientist would say that it is impossible to walk on water, but Sacred Scripture recorded that Our Lord did that. Does that mean we need to interpret Mark 6:45-53 and Matthew 14:22-34 in allegorical way in order to avoid clash with science? Surely not.

Quote from: Daniel
Otherwise either sacred scripture is false or natural science is false... but who can say which is false?

If a certain interpretation of Scripture is established beyond reasonable doubt by the means of exegesis and scienctific claims contradict it, it is a solid evidence that the scientific claims are wrong.
 
Quote from: Daniel
If we go that route it's easier just to reject sacred scripture as not-inspired (and then I suppose you'd need to appeal to deism to fill in the gaps with atheistic evolution theory).

Non sequitur.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on October 14, 2018, 05:47:36 PM
Sacred Scripture and conclusions based on its exegesis are evidence, which you dismiss because you put greater weight on what scientists say.

Just so we're clear.  Because I think we have a drastically different way of understanding the issue, and until and unless this is resolved our discussion will lead nowhere.

According to you, exegesis need not take into account empirical data nor need it be consistent with empirical data.  If anyone claims a certain exegesis is wrong because it doesn't accord with empirical data (data not perhaps available when the exegesis was constructed, but available today), his arguments are to be dismissed out of hand unless he can present strictly exegetical arguments, and his claim of disaccord with empirical data is to be rejected out of hand as mere "interpretation" and putting greater weight on what others say.

According to me, exegesis must take into account empirical data and must be consistent with empirical data.  If it does not, and if that exegesis is followed, the claim of Scripture as Divine revelation is not credible, every bit as much as if we had sworn testimony from hundreds of witnesses present at the wedding at Cana who claimed the wine actually did run out and there was no more to be had, and Catholicism demands that the claim of Divine revelation be credible.

Ancillary issues are:

If you admit the possibility of an old earth, then this entails some sort of progressive creationism or theistic evolution (although not necessarily evolution by means of "random" mutation, but programmed evolution as ID theorists have it), or (as I think) some combination of the two.

And old-earthers have made plenty of exegetical arguments.  You can go to the biologos website for examples.

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: james03 on October 14, 2018, 08:23:13 PM
Progressive creationism works for me.  When it comes time for Adam and Eve, that's another act of God.  So for the OP question, it has no impact.

I don't know what theistic evolution is.  Is the term "evolution" maintained just for rhetorical effect?  If "random mutation" is involved, then I would say the effect of discovering theistic evolution would be that we would have to rethink statistics and information science.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: james03 on October 15, 2018, 04:24:04 PM
Q.,

I think for those interested in following the science, we have to agree on things or obviously no progress is made:

1.  Classical evolution is dead.  When you have to rely on aliens providing DNA (and I have to assume concomitant proteins, about 100) , then you have admitted God.  Sure the old evolutionary biologists and bio chemists will remain, but the future lies with nano mechanics, crtyography and its offspring information theory in mathematics.

2.  For this reason the term "evolution" serves no purpose, whether Darwinian Evolution or Theistic Evolution.  The term you used, "Progressive Creationism" seems very appropriate.

3.  If we look at bio-nanomechanics, statistics, and information theory (Shannon/Jaynes), only Progressive Creationism fits the theory and observations. The other theories actually run counter to the evidence.  Even "space aliens" just moves the problem.

4.  As far as myself, I would have to say I'm an old Earth Progressive Creationist.  Due to the rampant unethical scientific practices seen with Globull Warming, I'll keep an open mind however.

5.  Creationists and Intelligent Design proponents have advanced science.  That is obvious.  Evolution was a blind alley.

Thanks for the biologos link, I'll check it out.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: james03 on October 15, 2018, 04:33:11 PM
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theistic evolution (although not necessarily evolution by means of "random" mutation, but programmed evolution as ID theorists have it)

Missed this.  Ironically this runs into the same problem as "the seed" from medieval science, that is every human being was once contained in one "seed".  The idea that there was an "evolutionary plan" encoded in the DNA of some primitive cell containing ALL of the evolutionary pathways is a pathetic attempt to save the term "evolution".  I think this is done by scientists who want to maintain their standing in academia.

"Progressive Creationism" is the appropriate term.  If you go so far as to admit "a god" programming an evolutionary plan inside of primitive DNA, the obvious question is raised: "why would you limit "its" acts to the origin of life?  What is your basis for that when the information bandwidth of primitive DNA can't possibly contain the information you propose?
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: sedmohradsko on October 18, 2018, 05:31:31 PM
Progressive creationism works for me.  When it comes time for Adam and Eve, that's another act of God.  So for the OP question, it has no impact.

I don't know what theistic evolution is.  Is the term "evolution" maintained just for rhetorical effect?  If "random mutation" is involved, then I would say the effect of discovering theistic evolution would be that we would have to rethink statistics and information science.

I think of theistic evolution as God starting off a chain of dominoes.  The mutations are technically random, even though God set up all the dominoes, but I think, I sense, that it pleases God to set things in motion and watch how they go from that point.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Daniel on October 18, 2018, 06:09:28 PM
Without denying the real existence of universal forms, how is evolution even a possibility?

e.g. We observe that cats don't have wings. But evolution says that some day cats might have wings. But as we know, the cat nature is eternal and immutable. So how is it that cats (as a species) can be wingless now but be winged later?

Perhaps we could say that the cat nature, in fact, is not wingless. Hypothesis: The form of cat has wings, even as we speak. It's always had wings, and it always will have wings. The only reason that we don't observe any winged cats is because all the cats that we've ever come across are imperfect instantiations, lacking the wings that they're supposed to have according to their nature. But some day perhaps cats will be perfect, and then they'll have wings, and then all members of the species will resemble its form.
I think this hypothesis could work, though if we are to accept it then we'd need to throw away empiricism and just admit that nobody really knows what a cat is (or, if we do know what a cat is, our knowledge comes through some means other than by observing cats).
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on October 18, 2018, 07:12:25 PM
Without denying the real existence of universal forms, how is evolution even a possibility?

Because what changes in time aren't the forms themselves, but which particular forms are instantiated.

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e.g. We observe that cats don't have wings. But evolution says that some day cats might have wings. But as we know, the cat nature is eternal and immutable. So how is it that cats (as a species) can be wingless now but be winged later?

Not necessarily; evolution says that cats might evolve wings, or might evolve into a different species that does have wings.

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: sedmohradsko on October 18, 2018, 07:12:49 PM
Without denying the real existence of universal forms, how is evolution even a possibility?

e.g. We observe that cats don't have wings. But evolution says that some day cats might have wings. But as we know, the cat nature is eternal and immutable. So how is it that cats (as a species) can be wingless now but be winged later?

Perhaps we could say that the cat nature, in fact, is not wingless. Hypothesis: The form of cat has wings, even as we speak. It's always had wings, and it always will have wings. The only reason that we don't observe any winged cats is because all the cats that we've ever come across are imperfect instantiations, lacking the wings that they're supposed to have according to their nature. But some day perhaps cats will be perfect, and then they'll have wings, and then all members of the species will resemble its form.
I think this hypothesis could work, though if we are to accept it then we'd need to throw away empiricism and just admit that nobody really knows what a cat is (or, if we do know what a cat is, our knowledge comes through some means other than by observing cats).

Why do whales have vestigial hind legs?  Why do they still have finger bones in their flippers?  What is the true form of the whales, since their soft flesh no longer perfectly represents the form of their skeletons?
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Daniel on October 19, 2018, 07:27:35 AM
Without denying the real existence of universal forms, how is evolution even a possibility?

Because what changes in time aren't the forms themselves, but which particular forms are instantiated.

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e.g. We observe that cats don't have wings. But evolution says that some day cats might have wings. But as we know, the cat nature is eternal and immutable. So how is it that cats (as a species) can be wingless now but be winged later?

Not necessarily; evolution says that cats might evolve wings, or might evolve into a different species that does have wings.


So suppose millions of years go by, and branched evolution occurs, such that some cats then have wings while other cats end up with fins. What you're saying is that neither the winged cat nor the finned cat are "cats" in the true sense of the word? You're saying that there are three distinct forms: the cat form, the winged catlike form, and the finned catlike form. Prior to evolution there are plenty of instantiations of cat, but no instantiations of either of the other two forms. But after evolution there are no instantiations of cat yet many instantiations of the other two forms. But we'd say that the two catlike species "evolved" from the cat insofar as you could theoretically take any winged catlike creature (or any finned catlike creature) and trace its ancestry back through time and eventually arrive at a true cat?

Ok, I guess that seems plausible.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 19, 2018, 03:00:26 PM
Fruit bats have cranial and facial features that are very much like those of rodents or canines (in fact, their nickname is "flying foxes).  But we don't actually consider bats to be rodents (or foxes) with wings.  They all likely diverged from a much earlier shrew-like mammal.

(http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/files/content/good_living/posts/2018/02/flying-foxes/flying-fox-large.jpg)

It's theoretically possible that a small species of feline such as the cat could develop wings in the same way as bats and birds, with its two forelimbs growing longer and accommodating a progressively larger stretch of skin from the underarm and side of the torso, similar at first to what flying squirrels have evolved, and then having the paw bones spread out like a bat's.  The bones of a bat's wing are the bones of what were once a limb and a paw.  But first these cats would have to take to the trees and make most of their living there, in order for wings to be advantageous in the first place.

If it retained the face of a cat, though, would it still be a cat?  Do humans have ten fingers, four limbs, one head, and binary genitalia?  Or are the limbless, the polydactylous, siamese twins, and hermaphrodites non-human?
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: james03 on October 23, 2018, 10:27:54 PM
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It's theoretically possible that a small species of feline such as the cat could develop wings in the same way as bats and birds, with its two forelimbs growing longer and accommodating a progressively larger stretch of skin from the underarm and side of the torso, similar at first to what flying squirrels have evolved, and then having the paw bones spread out like a bat's.

Problems:

1.  Define the competitive advantage along the path up to the "not yet flying" cat thing.  So this cat has to run around with 2 less paws and huge sails making noise and slowing it down, and yet not fly.  Good luck with that.

2.  Define how you will greatly expand the DNA length to accommodate the new genes.  By Shannon Entropy the bandwidth per information must stay the same at best, but most likely increase, i.e. I have to inject a bunch of new DNA in order to mutate it.  The new DNA consumes resources for zero return and is not predicted by natural selection.  This new DNA must also correspond with both the egg and the sperm so I can actually reproduce the thing.

3.  Calculate the odds for randomly generating all of the new proteins required for wings, as well as the regulatory systems and brain changes.  If you had a mutation every second the universe existed, the odds would say it won't happen.

Evolution is BS.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Xavier on October 24, 2018, 10:12:30 AM
Here are two excellent articles showing just how solid and nigh irrefutable is the theological - i.e. Biblical, patristic, mystical and Magisterial - evidence for special creation as against theistic evolution. http://kolbecenter.org/adam-and-eve-writings-mystical-saints-doctors-church/ the burden of proof is on professing Catholic evolutionists to show that their opinion can easily be harmonized with this clearly dogmatic Tradition.

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God did not, as some people think, just give Paradise to our ancestors at the beginning, nor did He make only Paradise incorruptible. No! Instead, He did much more. Before Paradise He made the whole earth, the one we inhabit, and everything in it. Nor that alone, but He also in five days brought the heavens and all they contain into being. On the sixth day He made Adam and established him as lord and king of all visible creation. Neither Eve nor Paradise were yet created, but the whole world had been brought into being by God as one thing, as a kind of Paradise, at once incorruptible yet material and perceptible.[7]

According to St. Symeon, the original harmony and incorruptibility of the first created world was destroyed by the Original Sin of Adam which brought death and corruption into the whole universe:

It was . . . altogether fitting that Adam, who had been brought down to corruption and death by his own transgression, should inhabit an earth become in like manner transitory and mortal[8] . . . [But God] wills that creation serve [fallen] man for whom it was made, and like him become corruptible, so that when again man is renewed and becomes spiritual, incorruptible, and immortal, then creation, too, now subjected to the rebel by God’s command and made his slave, will be freed from its slavery and, together with man, be made new, and become incorruptible and wholly spiritual.[9]

Several other saints of the Byzantine tradition added their eyewitness testimony to the testimony of St. Symeon.

http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/creation/cbutel/humanevo.html

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Pius IX. The year after the publication of Darwin’s evolution thesis, the Provincial Council of Cologne issued the following canon, which was approved by Pope Pius IX:

“Our first parents were immediately created by God (Gen.2.7). Therefore we declare as quite contrary to Holy Scripture and the Faith the opinion of those who dare to assert that man, in respect of the body, is derived by spontaneous transformation from an imperfect nature, which improved continually until it reached the present human state.” [10]

Pius IX also approved the following teaching of the first Vatican Council :

“This sole true God by His goodness and omnipotent power, not to increase His own beatitude, and not to add to, but to manifest His perfection by the blessings which He bestows upon creatures with most free volition, immediately from the beginning of time fashioned each creature, out of nothing, spiritual and corporeal, namely the angelic and the mundane; and then the human creation, common as it were, composed of both spirit and body.” [11]
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on October 25, 2018, 08:33:02 AM
Here are two excellent articles showing just how solid and nigh irrefutable is the theological - i.e. Biblical, patristic, mystical and Magisterial - evidence for special creation as against theistic evolution.

Let's start by precisely defining terms.

If by "special creation" you only mean special creation of man, admitted; if by "special creation" you also include a young earth, special creation of all animal and plant species (or at least "kinds") at or near the same point in time (e.g. no macroevolution whatsoever), and no animal death before the Fall, denied.  For instance, the Thomist philosophy you praise so highly denies animals were immortal prior to the Fall, with cogent arguments (even if you do not agree), and the Church has never censured anyone for saying they were.  The Church also has had no problem with an old earth for a very long time well predating Vatican II.  No one was ever censured just for saying the earth was much older than 10,000 years.

And "theistic evolution" as I am using the term incorporates the possibility of some progressive creationism.  Granted, not all theistic evolutionists would see it that way but I simply don't have a better and more precise term.  Anyway, this was by far the mainstream view among Protestants as well as Catholics for much of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Now, the crux of the debate.  It is similar to what I asked Arvinger earlier.  It is whether an argument from authority should automatically take precedence over an argument from evidence.  So, I'll ask you: you will believe in a young earth, no matter what the evidence from the physical sciences (physics, geology, astronomy, etc.) - even if that evidence were (hypothetically) absolutely 100% compelling in its own right, as long as Catholic old-earthers haven't shown how to harmonize this with the young earth tradition - which you rule out of court anyway by calling it "nigh irrefutable".  Correct me if I'm wrong.

And I will say in that case: you have made faith irrational.  Claims of faith must be consistent not only with logic but also with physical evidence (which is not the same thing as saying claims of faith can be proven from them).  As a consequence, the motives of credibility are completely shot.



Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Melkite on October 25, 2018, 03:21:53 PM
Let's start by precisely defining terms.

If by "special creation" you only mean special creation of man, admitted; if by "special creation" you also include a young earth, special creation of all animal and plant species (or at least "kinds") at or near the same point in time (e.g. no macroevolution whatsoever), and no animal death before the Fall, denied.  For instance, the Thomist philosophy you praise so highly denies animals were immortal prior to the Fall, with cogent arguments (even if you do not agree), and the Church has never censured anyone for saying they were.  The Church also has had no problem with an old earth for a very long time well predating Vatican II.  No one was ever censured just for saying the earth was much older than 10,000 years.

And "theistic evolution" as I am using the term incorporates the possibility of some progressive creationism.  Granted, not all theistic evolutionists would see it that way but I simply don't have a better and more precise term.  Anyway, this was by far the mainstream view among Protestants as well as Catholics for much of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Now, the crux of the debate.  It is similar to what I asked Arvinger earlier.  It is whether an argument from authority should automatically take precedence over an argument from evidence.  So, I'll ask you: you will believe in a young earth, no matter what the evidence from the physical sciences (physics, geology, astronomy, etc.) - even if that evidence were (hypothetically) absolutely 100% compelling in its own right, as long as Catholic old-earthers haven't shown how to harmonize this with the young earth tradition - which you rule out of court anyway by calling it "nigh irrefutable".  Correct me if I'm wrong.

And I will say in that case: you have made faith irrational.  Claims of faith must be consistent not only with logic but also with physical evidence (which is not the same thing as saying claims of faith can be proven from them).  As a consequence, the motives of credibility are completely shot.

This is the philosophical problem for me to accept immediate creation.  That physical death pre-existed the human species, even assuming immediate creation of kinds, is nigh irrefutable.  If the original sin is the cause of not only spiritual death, but physical death as well (and physical death in all things besides humans), then it's game over for original sin before it even gets out of the gate.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: james03 on October 28, 2018, 03:25:25 PM
Here's my summary of terms/options:

1.  Classical Creationism:  Literal Genesis. 
pros:
Literal interpretation of the Bible
Solves Origin of Life problem.
Concurs with Statistics and Information Theory.
Cons:
Does not fit well with what we observe in the record.
Genetic similarities and even loss of functionality (e.g. Vit. C synthesis) don't fit.

2.  Progressive Creationism:  Basically Old Earth Creationism.  God invovled throughout the process.  Adam and Eve a special case that results in Man.
Pros:
Solves Origin of Life problems.
Concurs with Statistics and Information Theory.
Loss of functionality and similarity in genetic code expected.
No problem with what we observe.
Adam and Eve retained.
Cons:
Literal interpretation for Genesis must be dropped.

3.  Theistic Evolution -- God creates the first life, and orders the world such that mutations will break the right way.  Evolution and Natural selection are the drivers.
Pros:
Origin of Life problem solved.
Fits observations.
Probability problem kind of solved.

Cons:
Natural selection has problems until the new functionality is useful.  Small adaptations leading to a new functionality don't offer a competitive advantage, and in fact most cases consume resources and are a disadvantage.
Doesn't fit with Information theory.
Realistically Adam and Eve don't fit.
Observed loss of functionality (e.g. Vitamin C) as predicted by Information Theory, doesn't fit well.
Probability problem kind of NOT solved.  You are basically arguing that God ordered the universe so that an Xray would hit a sperm and egg to cause a mutation (over and over).  Reduce it down and you are begging the question, basically arguing for Progressive Creationism, inserting the special Xray with zero evidence.
Literal Genesis has to be abandoned.

4.  Darwinian Evolution  No God.  Natural selection is the driver.  Everything is random chance.

Pro's:
Kind of matches what is observed.

Con's:
Origin of Life (fatal problem, protein/DNA dead lock)
Huge problems with Statistics.
Fatal problem with Information Theory
Adam and Eve don't fit.
Kind of DOESN'T match what is observed (huge gaps in the record / observed loss of functionality).
Literal Genesis abandoned.
Natural Selection is a weak driver, and competitive advantage doesn't work until functionality is gained.  The path to functionality gain is over a competitive DISADVANTAGE as the intermediate steps consume resources with zero benefit.  The cat/bat example where a two pawed cat has to flounder around dragging partial wings.

I go for Progressive Creationism based on two teachings:

1.  St. Augustine:  don't use the Bible to argue against science.
2.  St. Robert Bellarmine's commentary on the Galileo affair.

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: sedmohradsko on October 28, 2018, 04:23:09 PM
James03, I thought I believed in theological evolution, but the way you've expressed it, I think progressive creationism better defines what I think.  The only con is the loss of a literal interpretation of Genesis, and that has never been problematic for me.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 28, 2018, 08:09:15 PM
If God is the god of theistic evolution or "progressive creationism," then I feel I have made the right decision in having nothing to do with him.  Because if all those eons of gratuitous suffering are his way of a glorious prelude, then the Gnostics must've right all along and God is a sadistic monster.  Ken Ham, at least, agrees with me.  Only the creationist God is credible.  It's still possible that the theistic evolutionist god exists and is truly God, but even if that were proven so, I would nevertheless politely exempt myself from his company on principle.  It's like how Greg used to say that if the Vatican II religion was actually Catholicism, and if John Paul II was really in heaven, then he (Greg) would prefer to end up in hell.  He didn't want to spend eternity with the modernists and rainbow sashers and pedophile protectors.  That's how I feel about theistic evolution.

"Just look at me, a savage beast
I've got nothing to sell
And when I die, I want to go to hell
And that's when goodbye should be farewell
... "
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Matto on October 28, 2018, 08:16:58 PM
I remember being told that Milton believed that the world was originally created by God with the earth as the center of the universe with the sun orbiting around it, but that after the fall, Adam's sin actually changed the entire world and the earth began to orbit around the sun because of that rebellion, that the planets actually rebelled against man like the animals did, becoming wild, and that was the way that Milton reconciled the idea of the earth being at the center with the scientists' claim that the sun was at the center. I don't remember actually reading that idea from Milton himself but that was what I was told perhaps by my Milton professor at university. Perhaps there are those who claim that God did create the world in six days but that when Adam sinned the consequences were so extreme that it actually changed the whole course of time and transformed the world and history itself from one with a six day creation to one with a big bang, and that in this way the book of Genesis can be reconciled with what the scientists say. Do people believe this one? Anyone out there? I have not read the whole thread or all of the other threads there are about this topic.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 28, 2018, 08:30:07 PM
There were two very estimable Church Fathers, Origen and St. Augustine, who did not believe in a literal six-day creation.  They felt the six-day account was metaphorical, laid out in order to appeal to mortal human minds which think in terms of the day-to-day passing of time.  But Origen and St. Augustine weren't theistic evolutionists, either; on the contrary, they felt creation happened in an instant, and that everything appeared immediately fully formed ex nihilo.  Origen said he refused to believe that God went about like a gardener planting trees and watering lakes over the course of a week and resting at the end, since such temporal activity was wholly unnecessary for the Omnipotent.  Origen surely would've been even more appalled at the idea of the six days being a metaphor for the Almighty idly passing four billion years busying himself with fiddling with molecules and genomes, for no apparent reason other than to have countless sentient creatures suffering and dying from predation, famine, and disease.


Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on October 28, 2018, 09:01:01 PM
If God is the god of theistic evolution or "progressive creationism," then I feel I have made the right decision in having nothing to do with him.  Because if all those eons of gratuitous suffering are his way of a glorious prelude, then the Gnostics must've right all along and God is a sadistic monster.  Ken Ham, at least, agrees with me.  Only the creationist God is credible.  It's still possible that the theistic evolutionist god exists and is truly God, but even if that were proven so, I would nevertheless politely exempt myself from his company on principle.  It's like how Greg used to say that if the Vatican II religion was actually Catholicism, and if John Paul II was really in heaven, then he (Greg) would prefer to end up in hell.  He didn't want to spend eternity with the modernists and rainbow sashers and pedophile protectors.  That's how I feel about theistic evolution.

It's funny.  That's exactly how I feel about Augustinian/Thomistic predestination.  Yes, I argue against it based on intellectual grounds, but basically my opposition is that I find the doctrine absolutely disgusting and horrifying, and I simply don't care what this Saint or that Father or that Doctor said (and do not respect their authority, no matter what titles the Church gives them); if it is true, then God is a sadistic monster, predetermining that countless billions suffer an eternity in hell (and yes, that IS what the doctrine entails, the contortions of Thomists and sophistries about "cause" notwithstanding).

But I would like to know exactly why you would find the creationist God credible, punishing the entire animal kingdom for the sin of man and turning nature "red in tooth and claw".  That sounds like a three-year-old throwing a temper tantrum, hitting his little sister because his parents didn't give him the candy he wanted.  Why is that not sadism?

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 28, 2018, 09:31:25 PM
But I would like to know exactly why you would find the creationist God credible, punishing the entire animal kingdom for the sin of man and turning nature "red in tooth and claw".  That sounds like a three-year-old throwing a temper tantrum, hitting his little sister because his parents didn't give him the candy he wanted.  Why is that not sadism?

I don't know if your analogy is quite right, though.  It's more like if we were all on an airplane, and there was a button behind a pane of glass labelled "CAUTION: DO NOT PRESS," and the stewardess had said during the instruction spiel, "whatever you do, don't press this button."  And then during the flight you got so curious that you couldn't take it anymore, and you broke the glass and pressed the button.  And the result was that suddenly the plane's engines caught fire and the plane started spiraling to the ground.  It would be a catastrophe and a horror, indeed, but it was your fault.  You pushed the button.  The rest of us (and the poor animals as well, in their cages in the cargo hold) just happened to be on the same plane.  Oh well. 

I guess you could blame the airline, for designing the plane with the tempting button.  And maybe you could say it was a mandatory flight, and the passengers and the animals had no choice but to be on it.  Maybe we were being forcibly repatriated, and this was our deportation flight.  The bottom line is that someone pressed the button, and the rest of us were just there when it happened.  Dumb luck.  So the creationist scheme isn't God throwing a temper tantrum.  It's more a case of, "you were told not to push that button."  It's Pandora's box, and now it's opened.  And here we are, in a world of suffering and a valley of tears.  It's that way for one of two reasons.  Either God put a tempting fruit in a garden and a first pair did "eat of it," causing a fallen world, or else no one's in charge and there's suffering because nature is amoral.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: james03 on October 28, 2018, 11:59:49 PM
Quote
If God is the god of theistic evolution or "progressive creationism," then I feel I have made the right decision in having nothing to do with him.  Because if all those eons of gratuitous suffering are his way of a glorious prelude, then the Gnostics must've right all along and God is a sadistic monster.

I have no idea what you are trying to say.  How many animals just got killed in brutal ways while you were reading this?

As far as suffering, look at the result of the instant-gratification age we live in.  Do the people staring zombie-like at their iPhones look happy?
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: james03 on October 29, 2018, 12:02:26 AM
Quote
That's exactly how I feel about Augustinian/Thomistic predestination.
  Your complaint about Augustine I can understand.  St. Thomas?  Go back and read what he wrote about free will, which is counter to Banez.  At best he was muddled.  Bellarmine clarified it better.  The final clarification is to realize that God is outside of time (the realm of predestination) and we are inside of time (the realm of free will).
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Daniel on October 29, 2018, 09:40:56 AM
Hypothesis to explain animal suffering: We simply deny that there is such a thing as animal suffering. We begin with the assumption that animals are basically robots. Consider the android who stubs his toe and says "Ouch!". It appears to us that he says "Ouch!" because he has experienced pain as a result of having stubbed his toe. Yet, in fact, he feels no pain. He is just acting as if he is in pain because that is the way in which he has been programmed to act. Similarly, animals have no souls and feel no pain. When you torture a kitten, it appears to shriek in pain. But this is illusory. The kitten feels nothing; it only acts as if it's in pain, because that is the way in which God has programmed it to act.

If this hypothesis is correct, we can simply ignore what appears to be animal suffering. And this could explain a lot... if animal suffering really is the worst possible evil (apart from sin), why did God never command us not to torture animals? Hypothetical answer: Because animals can feel no pain, and so there is nothing evil or sinful about torturing them.

From this hypothesis, we can also see why a young earth fits the data and is not incompatible with theistic evolution. If all irrational things are programmed by God, in a way similar to The Matrix, then for all we know the simulation has only been running for 7,000 years.

Yet this hypothesis fails to explain human souls, since such souls are evidently not part of the simulation.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Daniel on October 29, 2018, 10:04:03 AM
Hypothesis to explain how God can be good and still act as if he's some sort of a mad puppet master: We humans simply don't have a full understanding of the nature of goodness. It is true, if an ordinary man were to live out the rôle of "mad puppet master", then we'd judge that man to be an evil sadistic monster. But God is no ordinary man, and who are we to judge God? According to Plato and St. Augustine and others, it's metaphysically impossible that God is evil. Yet the evidence suggests that God is like a mad puppet master. Conclusion: Some mad puppet masters are not evil.

You also must consider the fact that God is Creator and thus has natural absolute dominion over creation. If you create the world, it's yours. You can do whatever you want with it.
Analogy: A human author writes a story in which an innocent man is murdered. Only a crazy person would dare approach the author and begin making accusations such as, "You're an evil monster! You have no right to kill off your characters like that! You murderer!"
Or another analogy: The artist who paints a picture and afterwards burns it. Only a crazy person would say, "You sadist! There were people in that picture! You can't just go around burning them all like that! That's genocide! It's evil and wrong!"
Far more absurd would it be if the characters in the novel, or the persons in the painting, were to tell their creator that he ought not to do as he will with his creation.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 29, 2018, 01:43:59 PM
Quote
If God is the god of theistic evolution or "progressive creationism," then I feel I have made the right decision in having nothing to do with him.  Because if all those eons of gratuitous suffering are his way of a glorious prelude, then the Gnostics must've right all along and God is a sadistic monster.

I have no idea what you are trying to say.  How many animals just got killed in brutal ways while you were reading this?

Make no mistake, quite a lot of animals are suffering and dying agonizing deaths every moment of every day.  The tally is large either way, but the creationist scheme is only seven thousand years old, whereas the theistic evolutionist one is four billion—although, for the sake of the suffering problem, we can dial that number way back to maybe two hundred million years.  But still, 200M > 7K.

One way to handicap it, of course, would be to consider that in the early going of animal life, populations were probably much smaller.  And we could also consider the brutal efficiency of latter-day factory farms, which are designed for maximum meat production but have the side consequence of being animal hells.  These factors tilt the ledger a wee bit in the favor of the theistic evolutionists, but not by much.  It would take many more years of modern human contributions to catch up on two hundred million years of nature, since the last fifty years are but the blink of an eye in evolutionary time.

So my objection is not that the creationist God allows no suffering.  It's that the theistic evolutionist God permits it on a far greater magnitude.  You may have the same rebuttal to this stance as QMR does, which is (rightly) that any suffering at all is a contradiction to omnibenevolence, so a suffering quantity of 1 is as ruinous as 1,000 or 1,000,000.  It's a fair objection.  QMR says, in effect, that God can be the biggest sadistic monster imaginable—and still be all-good.  I happily leave it to him to evangelize for this interesting theology.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 29, 2018, 01:54:22 PM
Hypothesis to explain animal suffering: We simply deny that there is such a thing as animal suffering. We begin with the assumption that animals are basically robots. Consider the android who stubs his toe and says "Ouch!". It appears to us that he says "Ouch!" because he has experienced pain as a result of having stubbed his toe. Yet, in fact, he feels no pain. He is just acting as if he is in pain because that is the way in which he has been programmed to act. Similarly, animals have no souls and feel no pain. When you torture a kitten, it appears to shriek in pain. But this is illusory. The kitten feels nothing; it only acts as if it's in pain, because that is the way in which God has programmed it to act.

If this hypothesis is correct, we can simply ignore what appears to be animal suffering. And this could explain a lot... if animal suffering really is the worst possible evil (apart from sin), why did God never command us not to torture animals? Hypothetical answer: Because animals can feel no pain, and so there is nothing evil or sinful about torturing them.

You are taking here Descartes' position that all animals are automatons.  This is refuted by observation, since our understanding of animal biology tells us that the perception of pain is caused by having a nervous system and brain, something that is true of both humans and non-human animals.  If you want to make the distinction arbitrary in some supposition at odds with biology, then it all ends in solipsism.  There would be nothing stopping the pyschopath from concluding that only he truly experienced pain, and that all other humans were robots in a cosmic simulation, and it didn't matter a whit whether he raped them or tortured them or killed them (their cries of anguish being only programmed responses).
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: james03 on October 29, 2018, 02:58:33 PM
Quote
This is refuted by observation, since our understanding of animal biology tells us that the perception of pain is caused by having a nervous system and brain,
  Actually you can never know, and this is a big problem for heathens.  "Perception" of qualia will never be known from science.  At best we can say that a "pain" bit code is communicated by nerves and creates a bit pattern in the brain.  Beyond that is the immaterial world.

It's reasonable to believe the animal perceives pain (and I believe they do), but there is zero scientific evidence for perception, and there never will be any.

As far as animal farms, the slaughter is far more "humane" than being ripped apart by coyotes, for example.  A cow gets smacked between the eyes and its lights out.  A calf might take a half hour to die from a coyote attack.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 29, 2018, 03:39:11 PM
"Perception" of qualia will never be known from science.  At best we can say that a "pain" bit code is communicated by nerves and creates a bit pattern in the brain.  Beyond that is the immaterial world.

It's reasonable to believe the animal perceives pain (and I believe they do), but there is zero scientific evidence for perception, and there never will be any.

It's true that science must bootstrap perception of pain onto the model, but there is no other way to make the inquiry that doesn't end in solipsism, where the only pain that might truly be perceived is the pain that I alone experience.  Or I (and everyone else) could be a simulation, and the only person who actually feels pain is you.

As far as animal farms, the slaughter is far more "humane" than being ripped apart by coyotes, for example.  A cow gets smacked between the eyes and its lights out.  A calf might take a half hour to die from a coyote attack.

I was referring more to the overall quality of life, such as neglect, disease, gestation crates, and other assorted cruelties necessary to serve the efficiency of mass production.  A calf in the wild might take a half hour to die from a coyote attack, but that would be a mercy compared a lifetime spent as a modern dairy cow.  Some deaths in factory farming don't have benefit of a bolt gun.  Unwanted chicks are macerated alive.  And even for stunned animals, the "need for speed" in these operations is such that some aren't properly stunned and are either exsanguinated or scalded alive.  If some six-armed Hindoo god offered me a choice of being reincarnated as a wild animal or an animal on factory farm, I would put my chips on the space for wild.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: james03 on October 29, 2018, 04:22:10 PM
Quote
It's true that science must bootstrap perception of pain onto the model, but there is no other way to make the inquiry that doesn't end in solipsism,

Actually science, when it comes to the immaterial world, IS a form of solipsim.  Because a bit pattern in the brain is PERCEIVED by humans as pain, then it must also be true for animals.

I believe that Greek Realism leads someone to agree animals PERCEIVE pain, but there is zero scientific way to prove this, and there never will be one.  Put it another way, give me even an existence theorem for the perception of pain with out a priori pointing to human perception of pain e.g. circular reasoning.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: sedmohradsko on October 29, 2018, 10:18:28 PM
Hypothesis to explain animal suffering: We simply deny that there is such a thing as animal suffering. We begin with the assumption that animals are basically robots. Consider the android who stubs his toe and says "Ouch!". It appears to us that he says "Ouch!" because he has experienced pain as a result of having stubbed his toe. Yet, in fact, he feels no pain. He is just acting as if he is in pain because that is the way in which he has been programmed to act. Similarly, animals have no souls and feel no pain. When you torture a kitten, it appears to shriek in pain. But this is illusory. The kitten feels nothing; it only acts as if it's in pain, because that is the way in which God has programmed it to act.

If this hypothesis is correct, we can simply ignore what appears to be animal suffering. And this could explain a lot... if animal suffering really is the worst possible evil (apart from sin), why did God never command us not to torture animals? Hypothetical answer: Because animals can feel no pain, and so there is nothing evil or sinful about torturing them.

From this hypothesis, we can also see why a young earth fits the data and is not incompatible with theistic evolution. If all irrational things are programmed by God, in a way similar to The Matrix, then for all we know the simulation has only been running for 7,000 years.

Yet this hypothesis fails to explain human souls, since such souls are evidently not part of the simulation.

If I make it to heaven, remind me to ask God not to seat me anywhere near you.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on October 29, 2018, 10:38:10 PM
Calvinistic predestination fails because there is no action to take.  Under such a theology God does it all, so it hardly matters what we do and do not do.  It does not matter what you think of Him and His ways, He either chose you or He didn't.

Animal pain etc is just the problem of evil.  I'm not sure why the magnitude matters, especially when we're well aware of the evils that exist in humanity.  The problem of evil is well known, so the question is why doubt God now because of it when presumably this was not a barrier before?
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Daniel on October 29, 2018, 11:26:13 PM
Hypothesis to explain animal suffering: We simply deny that there is such a thing as animal suffering. We begin with the assumption that animals are basically robots. Consider the android who stubs his toe and says "Ouch!". It appears to us that he says "Ouch!" because he has experienced pain as a result of having stubbed his toe. Yet, in fact, he feels no pain. He is just acting as if he is in pain because that is the way in which he has been programmed to act. Similarly, animals have no souls and feel no pain. When you torture a kitten, it appears to shriek in pain. But this is illusory. The kitten feels nothing; it only acts as if it's in pain, because that is the way in which God has programmed it to act.

If this hypothesis is correct, we can simply ignore what appears to be animal suffering. And this could explain a lot... if animal suffering really is the worst possible evil (apart from sin), why did God never command us not to torture animals? Hypothetical answer: Because animals can feel no pain, and so there is nothing evil or sinful about torturing them.

From this hypothesis, we can also see why a young earth fits the data and is not incompatible with theistic evolution. If all irrational things are programmed by God, in a way similar to The Matrix, then for all we know the simulation has only been running for 7,000 years.

Yet this hypothesis fails to explain human souls, since such souls are evidently not part of the simulation.

If I make it to heaven, remind me to ask God not to seat me anywhere near you.
I don't personally believe that animals don't experience pain, and I don't currently have an opinion on whether or not the world is a simulation. All I'm saying is that all these things may be metaphysical possibilities.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 30, 2018, 06:32:10 PM
Actually science, when it comes to the immaterial world, IS a form of solipsim.  Because a bit pattern in the brain is PERCEIVED by humans as pain, then it must also be true for animals.

I believe that Greek Realism leads someone to agree animals PERCEIVE pain, but there is zero scientific way to prove this, and there never will be one.  Put it another way, give me even an existence theorem for the perception of pain with out a priori pointing to human perception of pain e.g. circular reasoning.

Truly, and if we play semantics, we can get ourselves to a point where everything is an assumption except for consciousness, which is the only certain fact.  Even our experience of the material world itself rests on an assumption: the assumption that our sensory data reflects reality, and that we are not a "brain in a vat," as QMR likes to say, or living in a simulation.  Everything can be reduced to solipsism, if you want to play it that way: science, philosophy, religion—everything but consciousness itself.  It helps a discussion along, though, if we can rely on the most basic assumptions.  Pardon me for taking them for granted.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Daniel on October 30, 2018, 07:57:10 PM
Actually science, when it comes to the immaterial world, IS a form of solipsim.  Because a bit pattern in the brain is PERCEIVED by humans as pain, then it must also be true for animals.

I believe that Greek Realism leads someone to agree animals PERCEIVE pain, but there is zero scientific way to prove this, and there never will be one.  Put it another way, give me even an existence theorem for the perception of pain with out a priori pointing to human perception of pain e.g. circular reasoning.

Truly, and if we play semantics, we can get ourselves to a point where everything is an assumption except for consciousness, which is the only certain fact.  Even our experience of the material world itself rests on an assumption: the assumption that our sensory data reflects reality, and that we are not a "brain in a vat," as QMR likes to say, or living in a simulation.  Everything can be reduced to solipsism, if you want to play it that way: science, philosophy, religion—everything but consciousness itself.  It helps a discussion along, though, if we can rely on the most basic assumptions.  Pardon me for taking them for granted.

I don't know whether or not I'm a 'brain in a vat', and I'm not sure how any man can possibly know whether or not he is a 'brain in a vat'. As I said, it very well might be the case that we are all living in a simulation programmed by God. And it just as well might be the case that we're not.
Solipsism doesn't seem to follow though. Because if solipsism were true, then all things that exist--except for myself--would exist solely in my mind. But as stated, the truth of the proposition 'I am a "brain in a vat"' is something that does not exist in my mind. So either the truth of that proposition exists outside my mind (and solipsism is false), or else the truth of that proposition doesn't exist at all (in which case 'I am a "brain in a vat"' is false, and so I am not a 'brain in a vat', and so solipsism is false).
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 30, 2018, 08:19:36 PM
Right.  But "brain in a vat" is usually just the thought experiment used to appreciate solipsism.  Pure solipsism, it is true, would negate even the brain-in-a-vat scenario.  What it can't answer, though, is the question of where the mind originated.  I once read about a certain Hindu theology that God (Brahman) is dreaming the universe, and that essentially every consciousness is a dream of the Consciousness.  So everyone, in this theory, is Brahman: God is a solipsist having an endless number of dreams.  Possibility: you are God, having every experience possible, an infinite category in which your own life's experience is included.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Daniel on October 30, 2018, 10:45:34 PM
Right.  But "brain in a vat" is usually just the thought experiment used to appreciate solipsism.  Pure solipsism, it is true, would negate even the brain-in-a-vat scenario.  What it can't answer, though, is the question of where the mind originated.
I'd think there wouldn't need to be an answer, since the Mind is then God (eternal and without origin). Though it still seems a bit strange that the presumably-omniscient God wouldn't know that he's God.

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I once read about a certain Hindu theology that God (Brahman) is dreaming the universe, and that essentially every consciousness is a dream of the Consciousness.  So everyone, in this theory, is Brahman: God is a solipsist having an endless number of dreams.  Possibility: you are God, having every experience possible, an infinite category in which your own life's experience is included.
That's quite an interesting theory.


All right, sorry for derailing the thread.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 31, 2018, 10:48:45 AM
Right.  But "brain in a vat" is usually just the thought experiment used to appreciate solipsism.  Pure solipsism, it is true, would negate even the brain-in-a-vat scenario.  What it can't answer, though, is the question of where the mind originated.

I'd think there wouldn't need to be an answer, since the Mind is then God (eternal and without origin). Though it still seems a bit strange that the presumably-omniscient God wouldn't know that he's God.

If the mind is God, then I suppose the ignorance of divinity would have to be some sort of necessary kenosis.  True omnipotence would entail not only knowing what it is to exist as God, outside of space and time, but also knowing what it is to exist as a mortal corporeal entity inside of space and time (and not know that your mind is God's).  Hence the multiverse theory would be true by virtue of God's omnipotence—in which every infinite possibility within space and time is exercised in the perfect mind of God.  Every "simulation" or "dream" or "life," so to speak, is being experienced within the single moment of eternity.


Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: james03 on October 31, 2018, 11:10:12 AM
Pon,

Here was the problem with your statement:

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our understanding of animal biology tells us that the perception of pain is caused by having a nervous system and brain,

I see the problem.  I took it as "perception ....caused by nerves".  This is false.

You mean it this way: "When we perceive pain, this is due to a nerve impulse.  Animals have the same wiring, so we must conclude they perceive pain.".  So you could rewrite it like this, because we want to be exact in forum posts(!) :  the perception of pain is triggered by the nervous system and brain.

I agree with the latter.  I also take it that was the only point you were trying to make.

And yes, without Greek Realism you end up at post modernism.  It's a big problem for rationalists. 
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on October 31, 2018, 11:18:37 AM
Agreed, james.  The way I phrased that, the word "perception" was open to question.  I had taken "caused by nerves" for granted, and in a discussion like this one, should've qualified for the sake of clarity.  Instead I chose brevity, and things got derailed—which was my fault, and not Daniel's.  Mea culpa.


Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 13, 2018, 11:54:26 AM
From another thread, but relevant to this one:

And for you, Pon:
That YEC can better argue theodicy compared to TE with respect to the amount of animal suffering, admitted; that YEC can better argue theodicy compared to TE with respect to the reason for animal suffering, denied.  I have not (as yet) seen you make a serious response to this argument.

Conceded, then, that in your particular theistic evolution scenario, the reason for the suffering is the same: the suffering is caused by the Fall.  But there is still an important distinction.  In the YEC scenario, animal suffering is comprehensible in a way we can understand.  They happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  In your scenario, the prelapsarian animals weren't even there when the Fall occurred.  They were in a different place and time.  And you're suggesting that God went and made them suffer, too.  It's like the fact that the children killed by Adam Lanza had the terrible misfortune to attend the elementary school he decided to shoot up.  Surely that's no reason for you to go around machine-gunning all the other children at different schools. 

In YEC, animal suffering is incidental to the Fall taking place in linear time: through sin, death enters into the world.  In yours, animal suffering is gratuitous, not incidental.  Somehow insisting on an animal massa damnata, the god of your theology not only permits animal suffering going forward in time, but for some reason troubles himself to go back in time and make millions of years' worth of them suffer as well.  Why on earth?

An added inconsistency is to consider the harrowing of hell, where the salvation narrative proceeds in linear time.  The righteous and the patriarchs were in limbo until the coming of Christ; it was only after His redemptive sacrifice that they were freed.  Yet by your logic on the Fall, they should've already been in heaven or purgatory.  If the effects of the Fall extend both forwards and backwards in time, why don't the effects of the redemption?  Again this is theistic sadism: preferring the gratuitous punishment of innocents and refusing even redemptive mercy to the elect.


Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 13, 2018, 12:04:57 PM
Slightly unrelated, QMR, but if I may, a question.  You contend that man was a special creation.  In this scenario, man presumably appears fully-formed.  Yet observationally, this is a biological human being possessing a genome.  Everything about this suggests parentage and an evolutionary ancestry.  I don't know what age you suggest man first appeared as, but if we say he was twenty, then we would have an observable adult whose actual age is no more than a minute.  Even if you say Adam and Eve appeared first as newborns, then observably these are human creatures that we would rationally conclude are at least nine months old, given the womb.  And yet they would actually be seconds old.

If this deception of appearances can apply to humans, why can't it apply to flora, fauna, and rocks?  If you assume a special creation of man, there is no reason why you couldn't just as well assume a special creation of the earth and everything on it.  If a man can appear an adult while being only a moment old, why can't the earth have the appearance of being billions of years old while being only seven thousand?  Ergo, young earth creationism is sustained by your own logic.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Daniel on November 13, 2018, 02:21:32 PM
Conceded, then, that in your particular theistic evolution scenario, the reason for the suffering is the same: the suffering is caused by the Fall.
What sort of "theistic evolution" is this? The theistic evolution that I'm aware of holds that animal suffering was not caused by the fall. But whereas YEC makes the "reason" out to be punishment for man's sin (which QMR holds to be unjust), theistic evolution says that the "reason" is because suffering is necessary for our particular universe to exist.


But my God does not punish unwilling innocent animals for the sins of man.  I do not hold it just to torture the dog of the man who burglarized my house.
Have you overlooked Exodus 9:1-6, or do you have some way to account for that?


Slightly unrelated, QMR, but if I may, a question.  You contend that man was a special creation.  In this scenario, man presumably appears fully-formed.
I'm not QMR so I don't know his views on this, but I think when theistic evolutionists say "man was a special creation", what they mean is that man's soul was specially created. i.e. Maybe there was already some monkey-man out there who had come about as a result of evolution / natural processes, but then God specially created a human soul and swapped out the monkey-man's material soul with the human soul, thereby creating the first man.


If this deception of appearances can apply to humans, why can't it apply to flora, fauna, and rocks?  If you assume a special creation of man, there is no reason why you couldn't just as well assume a special creation of the earth and everything on it.  If a man can appear an adult while being only a moment old, why can't the earth have the appearance of being billions of years old while being only seven thousand?
Agreed, which is why I personally don't really have a strong position on the issue at the moment. However, by this view, YEC can neither be confirmed nor refuted by the natural sciences.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 13, 2018, 07:26:10 PM
QMR can correct me if I'm wrong, Daniel, but the Quarist school of theistic evolution differs from the classical on two major points.  First, deviating from the standard evolutionist model, he posits a separate creation of man, in a conscientious attempt to square things with Humani Generis, which maintains that a Catholic must believe in a first pair:

Quote from: Pope Pius XII
The faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents.

Second, he avers that the cruelties of evolution before the Fall are of the precisely same character as the post-lapsarian penalty of death entering into the world: that penalty, according to QMR, was in place prior to the Fall due to God's foreknowledge.   If you go to the OP of this thread (https://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?topic=20910.msg458708#msg458708), he explains this stance in his "Answer 1."

So these are the positions of his to which I was responding.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 13, 2018, 07:31:47 PM
If this deception of appearances can apply to humans, why can't it apply to flora, fauna, and rocks?  If you assume a special creation of man, there is no reason why you couldn't just as well assume a special creation of the earth and everything on it.  If a man can appear an adult while being only a moment old, why can't the earth have the appearance of being billions of years old while being only seven thousand?

Agreed, which is why I personally don't really have a strong position on the issue at the moment. However, by this view, YEC can neither be confirmed nor refuted by the natural sciences.

Yes.  This particular view of YEC (as well as the Quarist view of a special creation of man) are both variations of the Omphalos hypothesis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalos_hypothesis), the former macrocosmic and the latter microcosmic.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 13, 2018, 08:58:25 PM
Conceded, then, that in your particular theistic evolution scenario, the reason for the suffering is the same: the suffering is caused by the Fall.  But there is still an important distinction.  In the YEC scenario, animal suffering is comprehensible in a way we can understand.  They happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  In your scenario, the prelapsarian animals weren't even there when the Fall occurred.  They were in a different place and time.  And you're suggesting that God went and made them suffer, too.  It's like the fact that the children killed by Adam Lanza had the terrible misfortune to attend the elementary school he decided to shoot up.  Surely that's no reason for you to go around machine-gunning all the other children at different schools. 

Yeah, but that analogy isn't entirely apt, is it?  I mean, in this scenario God is directly and deliberately punishing animals for having the misfortune of being in the "wrong" place at the "wrong" time - a time and a place in which He placed them.

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In YEC, animal suffering is incidental to the Fall taking place in linear time: through sin, death enters into the world.  In yours, animal suffering is gratuitous, not incidental.  Somehow insisting on an animal massa damnata, the god of your theology not only permits animal suffering going forward in time, but for some reason troubles himself to go back in time and make millions of years' worth of them suffer as well.  Why on earth?

But the God of YEC theology has an animal massa damnata as well, those that were unlucky enough to exist after the Fall.  And you conflate animal death with animal suffering.  Sure, maybe you could say animal death was the result of original sin, although it's never explained precisely how, if animals continue to reproduce and reproduce and never die, resulting in the entire earth covered with animals, this could be "paradise" for humans.  It doesn't follow from there that the type of death, being ripped to shreds by the teeth of a predator and suffering horrible agony, should also result.

But you've got it kind of backwards.  God doesn't retroactively put animals from an impassable state to a suffering one.  They were never in an impassable state to begin with.  Whereas this is what the YEC God does - punishing animals just as He does man.

Anyway, I don't really have a satisfactory theodicy for animal suffering, anymore than I do for hell.  There's no particular reason I can see why animals have to have a nervous system capable of suffering pain.  The only answer can be, that's what they are "by nature" - but it still seems to constrain God to "nature".

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An added inconsistency is to consider the harrowing of hell, where the salvation narrative proceeds in linear time.  The righteous and the patriarchs were in limbo until the coming of Christ; it was only after His redemptive sacrifice that they were freed.  Yet by your logic on the Fall, they should've already been in heaven or purgatory.  If the effects of the Fall extend both forwards and backwards in time, why don't the effects of the redemption?  Again this is theistic sadism: preferring the gratuitous punishment of innocents and refusing even redemptive mercy to the elect.

Except Catholic theology has had to give way on this point with the advent of the Immaculate Conception, which does have the effects of the Redemption extending back in time.  Inconsistent?  Tailoring theology to the needs of the moment? Perhaps, yes.

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 13, 2018, 09:07:24 PM
Slightly unrelated, QMR, but if I may, a question.  You contend that man was a special creation.  In this scenario, man presumably appears fully-formed.  Yet observationally, this is a biological human being possessing a genome.  Everything about this suggests parentage and an evolutionary ancestry. 

No, it doesn't.  It would depend on what particular genome was possessed, not merely the possession of A genome.  For instance, if the codons were radically different, and the nucleotides making up the base pairs (or maybe they are base triplets) different molecules, then it would not suggest this at all.

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I don't know what age you suggest man first appeared as, but if we say he was twenty, then we would have an observable adult whose actual age is no more than a minute.  Even if you say Adam and Eve appeared first as newborns, then observably these are human creatures that we would rationally conclude are at least nine months old, given the womb.  And yet they would actually be seconds old.

Right.  We would not conclude just from looking that they were instantaneously created.  But the key point is that there would be no evidence not consistent with instantaneous creation.

By analogy, if you had wandered in on the wedding feast at Cana near the end, you wouldn't conclude from that that a miracle had occurred.  You might think the wine tasted pretty good, but there are other plausible explanations for that (a shipment being delayed, etc.).  But your evidence is not inconsistent with the miracle.  It would be different if there was only water left to drink, and upon questioning you learned from the other guests that, much to the bride and groom's embarrassment, the wine ran out a long time ago.

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If this deception of appearances can apply to humans, why can't it apply to flora, fauna, and rocks?  If you assume a special creation of man, there is no reason why you couldn't just as well assume a special creation of the earth and everything on it.  If a man can appear an adult while being only a moment old, why can't the earth have the appearance of being billions of years old while being only seven thousand?  Ergo, young earth creationism is sustained by your own logic.

No, because there is a difference between an appearance of age and an appearance of history.  An appearance of age is consistent with a miracle, even if we wouldn't conclude a miracle from that alone.  An appearance of history that did not happen is not.
Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 14, 2018, 02:23:32 PM
It would depend on what particular genome was possessed, not merely the possession of A genome.  For instance, if the codons were radically different, and the nucleotides making up the base pairs (or maybe they are base triplets) different molecules, then it would not suggest this at all.

What about mitochondrial DNA?  If Eve did not have mitochondrial DNA, then how would any of us have it?  (How would she even have been alive?  Isn't mitochondria necessary for mammalian life forms?)  And if she did have it, then her genome suggests parentage and an evolutionary ancestry.

There is a difference between an appearance of age and an appearance of history.  An appearance of age is consistent with a miracle, even if we wouldn't conclude a miracle from that alone.  An appearance of history that did not happen is not.

This is semantics, QMR.  An appearance of age is itself the appearance of history.  Nothing can have an age without having a history.  A human twenty years of age has the appearance of history: the history of maturation from infancy to adulthood.  You are saying, in Adam's case, that's a history that did not happen.  Age and history are interlinked.  If you cut open a tree, the rings can indicate how many summers and winters passed in the tree's history.  If you look at geological strata, the layers can indicate the chronology of its formation.  If you take a glass of wine, there are chemical analyses that can tell you what kind of grape it came from, and estimate for how long it was fermented and aged.

Granted, you can't cut open a human and count the rings, but we do have DNA analyses to examine a person's heredity, and a human even contains a record of its personal history—namely, its memory.  At the very least, a human who can walk, talk, and control his or her bladder and bowels will indicate a history of having learned those things during its life.  And if we speak the person's language then we can learn far more about their personal history.  Unless you contend that Adam appeared fully-formed as an adult but without any memory or acquired knowledge (as much a tabula rasa as any infant—and equally as babbling and helpless), then not only his physical appearance but the contents of his mind would both indicate having a history.  Though maybe you want to suppose that he had memories implanted in him when he was created, like Rachael in Blade Runner.  But still, that would give a false appearance of history.  The other option, I suppose, is to say that Adam and Eve appeared as babies, and perhaps you could have them raised by kindly gorillas, or chimpanzees, or a tribe of Neanderthals.  But at that point you would be closer to Mowgli or Tarzan than Genesis.





Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 15, 2018, 03:38:00 PM
What about mitochondrial DNA?  If Eve did not have mitochondrial DNA, then how would any of us have it?  (How would she even have been alive?  Isn't mitochondria necessary for mammalian life forms?)  And if she did have it, then her genome suggests parentage and an evolutionary ancestry.

Again, what suggests common ancestry is not the bare existence of mitochondrial DNA, but the actual content of the mitochondrial DNA.  If there were, indeed, mitochondrial DNA in humans but everything about it (including codons, nucleotides, etc.) was radically different from apes, that would be strong evidence against common ancestry.  This is not the case, of course, so YECs have to wave their hands and talk about a "common blueprint" or a "common design".

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This is semantics, QMR. 

Perhaps better words could have been used to make the point, but it still stands.  ALL natural miracles include the "appearance of age" insofar as there is something natural which did not occur via natural processes.  But there are "appearances of age" consistent with miracles and appearances of age which are not.  The latter can be used as evidence against a claimed miracle; the former cannot.  Deny this, and you veer into irrationality.

If there's NO evidence which could even be hypothetically be used against a claimed miracle, then belief in miracles is essentially irrational.  There is no means to distinguish a false miracle claim from a true one.
But if the "appearance of age" (which a natural miracle must necessarily have) is going to be claimed as definitive evidence against such miracle (which is, more or less, the rationalistic/naturalistic objection) then non-belief in miracles is essentially irrational - it is claiming as evidence against X something that X must have.

As you probably know, one of the biggest arguments against YEC is the starlight problem.  Some YECs have attempted to answer it by positing starlight created in transit.  You would rule this argument right out of hand by saying the starlight has the appearance of age, of having come from the star.  I would not.  I rule out the argument because the starlight shows direct evidence of supernova explosions which (if YEC is correct) did not happen - whereas the starlight does not show direct evidence of having come from the star - it is inferred to have done so based on the assumption of no miracle, which then cannot be turned around and used as evidence against the assumption.  See the difference?

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You are saying, in Adam's case, that's a history that did not happen.

If Adam claimed to have memories of a childhood (which would not exist were he instantaneously created), that would be evidence against instantaneous creation.  But you would simply like to take his existence as evidence against such; which, as I have shown, is a fallacy.

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Age and history are interlinked.  If you cut open a tree, the rings can indicate how many summers and winters passed in the tree's history. 

Right.  So an instantaneously-created tree should have no rings.

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If you look at geological strata, the layers can indicate the chronology of its formation.  If you take a glass of wine, there are chemical analyses that can tell you what kind of grape it came from, and estimate for how long it was fermented and aged.

Right, assuming these things occurred via natural processes. Again, I ask you, what would or would not count as evidence against the claimed miracle at Cana?  If the mere existence of the wine itself, then every miracle claim (at least natural one) will be rejected for the same reason.

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Granted, you can't cut open a human and count the rings, but we do have DNA analyses to examine a person's heredity, and a human even contains a record of its personal history—namely, its memory.  At the very least, a human who can walk, talk, and control his or her bladder and bowels will indicate a history of having learned those things during its life.  And if we speak the person's language then we can learn far more about their personal history.  Unless you contend that Adam appeared fully-formed as an adult but without any memory or acquired knowledge (as much a tabula rasa as any infant—and equally as babbling and helpless), then not only his physical appearance but the contents of his mind would both indicate having a history.  Though maybe you want to suppose that he had memories implanted in him when he was created, like Rachael in Blade Runner.  But still, that would give a false appearance of history.  The other option, I suppose, is to say that Adam and Eve appeared as babies, and perhaps you could have them raised by kindly gorillas, or chimpanzees, or a tribe of Neanderthals.  But at that point you would be closer to Mowgli or Tarzan than Genesis.

No, Adam would have had infused knowledge implanted into his brain but not infused false memories.  Unfortunately, we do not have access to his DNA so can make no conclusion regarding heredity.

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 15, 2018, 08:31:32 PM
Again, what suggests common ancestry is not the bare existence of ate=1542314280]Amitochondrial DNA, but the actual content of the mitochondrial DNA.  If there were, indeed, mitochondrial DNA in humans but everything about it (including codons, nucleotides, etc.) was radically different from apes, that would be strong evidence against common ancestry.  This is not the case, of course, so YECs have to wave their hands and talk about a "common blueprint" or a "common design".

But aren't you in the same boat as YECs on this one?  That was my original point: you both aver a special creation of man, separate from the evolutionary line.  (YECs contend that there are no evolutionary lines.  You concede all evolutionary lines save one).  Indeed, as you say, there is strong evidence for common ancestry with the other great apes.  Whatever it is about codons and nucleotides you want to claim for Adam & Eve, the same would have to be true of us as well.  They are our progenitors.  Yet our DNA (and therefore Adam & Eve's) indicates a common descent with apes.  We are human primates.  Our evolutionary line goes as far back as every other species.

An instantaneously-created tree should have no rings.

No, an instantaneously-created tree would have rings.  It would have all the appearances of a mature tree, exterior and interior (as you don't get one without the other).  Otherwise you would be saying something like an instantaneously-created Adam had no bones.  Or that an instantaneously-created wine tasted like grape juice.  An instantaneously-created tree without rings would be a sapling.  But even a sapling has the appearance of age, since it isn't a seedling.  And a seedling has the appearance of age because it isn't a seed.  And a seed has the appearance of age, having fallen from a tree.  There is no way for anything to get out of the evolutionary regress that goes back to the single-celled organism.  Even if it's a special creation, it would have the appearance of that same regress, though it would appear at some point of maturation.  Otherwise it wouldn't be that thing (a tree, a human, a glass of wine).  I will concede that biological taxonomy is a man-made conceit, but even so, we know what we mean by "homo sapiens."  Adam and Eve were necessarily that.

Adam would have had infused knowledge implanted into his brain but not infused false memories.

Infused knowledge is the same as infused memories.  Knowledge is, itself, a memory: it is the retention of information acquired in one's past.

Title: Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
Post by: Arvinger on December 16, 2018, 07:21:50 PM
Sacred Scripture and conclusions based on its exegesis are evidence, which you dismiss because you put greater weight on what scientists say.

Just so we're clear.  Because I think we have a drastically different way of understanding the issue, and until and unless this is resolved our discussion will lead nowhere.

According to you, exegesis need not take into account empirical data nor need it be consistent with empirical data.  If anyone claims a certain exegesis is wrong because it doesn't accord with empirical data (data not perhaps available when the exegesis was constructed, but available today), his arguments are to be dismissed out of hand unless he can present strictly exegetical arguments, and his claim of disaccord with empirical data is to be rejected out of hand as mere "interpretation" and putting greater weight on what others say.

That is a misrepresenation of my position. I never said that empirical data should not be taken into account or that exegesis can be inconsistent with empirical data. Rather, our understanding of empirical data should be informed by Sacred Scripture (where relevant), so that interpretations of empirical data which are inconsistent with solid exegesis of Scripture are most likely wrong (and for sure wrong in case results of this exegesis constitute infallible teaching of the Church) and we need to look for other explanations - that does not mean disregarding empirical data and observation, but rather interpreting it in a manner which does not contradict the content of God's Revelation.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
According to me, exegesis must take into account empirical data and must be consistent with empirical data.

Correct exegesis will always be consistent with empirical data, because there is no contradiction between Scripture and empirical truth. However, your "empirical data" in reality means "empirical data and their interpretation" - there is no such thing as "empirical data alone", much like Protestants don't believe "Bible alone", but "Bible and my interpretation of it". For example, you have geological formations and their datings - this is empirical data. However, a claim that these datings mean that world is billions of years old is your personal interpretation of this data. If such interpretation is inconsistent with solid exgesis of Scripture, it is strong evidence that it is wrong.

So, if tomorrow a Pope (hypothetically speaking, leaving the current claimants to the Papacy and the sede vacante issue out of it) defined dogmatically that Earth is 6000 years old it would be a decisive evidence that all interpretations of data pointing towards billions of years old earth are wrong (since dogma and empirical data cannot contradict). That does not mean disregardng empirical data - rather, a necessity to re-examine it to find a solution consistent with the dogma (such solution would have to exist, since the dogma is for sure true, therefore correct interpretation of empirical data cannot contradict it). 

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
If it does not, and if that exegesis is followed, the claim of Scripture as Divine revelation is not credible, every bit as much as if we had sworn testimony from hundreds of witnesses present at the wedding at Cana who claimed the wine actually did run out and there was no more to be had, and Catholicism demands that the claim of Divine revelation be credible.

Again, you illustrate the problem. You would rather believe testimonies of fallible people and your interpretation of it ("these people say X, I think they are credible, and I think it constitutes evidence refuting Scriptural claim" is interpretation) over infallible Word of God. So, you subject the Word of God and the Magisterium (like you did with indefectibility of the Church) to your external verification through your reasoning, empirical data and your private interpretation of data, rather than subjecting these and verifying them through the Word of God and the Magisterium.

Your epistemology (Scripture and Magisterium must be interpreted in a manner consistent with my personal interpretation of empirical data, rather than my interpretation of empirical data having to be consistent with Scripture and Magisterium) is not Catholic at all. We believe in order to understand, not understand in order to believe, as St. Augustine and Anselm of Canterbury rightly said.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Ancillary issues are:

If you admit the possibility of an old earth, then this entails some sort of progressive creationism or theistic evolution (although not necessarily evolution by means of "random" mutation, but programmed evolution as ID theorists have it), or (as I think) some combination of the two.

And old-earthers have made plenty of exegetical arguments.  You can go to the biologos website for examples.

Yes, I am fine with progressive creationism and Old Earth. I don't believe it is the strongest position exegetically, but it is within the realm of possibility.