Author Topic: What if Theistic Evolution were true?  (Read 4324 times)

Offline james03

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #60 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.
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #61 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.
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Offline james03

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #62 on: October 29, 2018, 04:22:10 PM »
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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.
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Offline sedmohradsko

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #63 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.

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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #64 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?
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #65 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.
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #66 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.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #67 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).
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 08:08:16 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #68 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.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #69 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.

Quote
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.
 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #70 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.


« Last Edit: October 31, 2018, 10:53:11 AM by Pon de Replay »
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Offline james03

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #71 on: October 31, 2018, 11:10:12 AM »
Pon,

Here was the problem with your statement:

Quote
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. 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #72 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.


« Last Edit: October 31, 2018, 11:22:14 AM by Pon de Replay »
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #73 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.


« Last Edit: November 13, 2018, 02:24:15 PM by Pon de Replay »
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: What if Theistic Evolution were true?
« Reply #74 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.
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