August 9, 2011

"Evangelicals Question The Existence Of Adam And Eve."

NPR reports (respectfully!), noting first that Gallup and Pew polls show that 4 out of 10 Americans believe in the literal truth of the account of the origin of human beings that appears in Genesis. There's no link to the specific polls so we can see the questions asked, but I find it hard to believe that so many people belief in the literal story of Adam made out of dust and Eve fashioned from a rib and so on. (Even staying strictly within the text, the first few pages of Genesis seem to have 2 different accounts of the creation of man and woman.)
[N]ow some conservative scholars are saying publicly that they can no longer believe the Genesis account....

To many evangelicals, this is heresy.

"From my viewpoint, a historical Adam and Eve is absolutely central to the truth claims of the Christian faith," says Fazale Rana, vice president of Reasons To Believe, an evangelical think tank that questions evolution. Rana, who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Ohio University, readily admits that small details of Scripture could be wrong.

"But if the parts of Scripture that you are claiming to be false, in effect, are responsible for creating the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, then you've got a problem," Rana says.

Rana and others believe in a literal, historical Adam and Eve for many reasons. One is that the Genesis account makes man unique, created in the image of God — not a descendant of lower primates. Second, it tells a story of how evil came into the world, and it's not a story in which God introduced evil through the process of evolution, but one in which Adam and Eve decided to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit.

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, says that rebellious choice infected all of humankind.

"When Adam sinned, he sinned for us," Mohler says. "And it's that very sinfulness that sets up our understanding of our need for a savior.

Mohler says the Adam and Eve story is not just about a fall from paradise: It goes to the heart of Christianity. He notes that the Apostle Paul (in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15) argued that the whole point of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection was to undo Adam's original sin.

"Without Adam, the work of Christ makes no sense whatsoever in Paul's description of the Gospel, which is the classic description of the Gospel we have in the New Testament," Mohler says.
Are these really the stakes? If evolution is true, Christianity makes no sense? If you don't believe that, at least you can appreciate what a painful position those who do are in. I strongly doubt that the 4 out of 10 Americans who told pollsters they believe in the Genesis account of creation also think that "the whole point of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection was to undo Adam's original sin." Doesn't Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection make more sense if you think of yourself as the sinner in need of forgiveness?

219 comments:

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Chase said...

ALL have sinned, and fallen short of the Glory of God:

There is not one righteous, no not one.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--

Ann, why not engage the Reverend Mohler with your questions directly? I know he will respond, even here on this blog if you like. But you will have to take the step of asking him, not just saying he can see it.

That's the only real way we can know that you are serious about this, or just fartin' around about THE holiest thing in tens of millions of Americans lives.

Lucien said...

I have often wondered what it is in the theological underpinnings of some Christian sects that makes rejection of evolution important. But in the quoted speaker's view it seems as if rejection of evolution is important for exogenous reasons, and theological positions are evaluated based on what bearing they have on the basis for rejecting evolution.

Moreover it seems that the Roman Catholic religion, perhaps still smarting from its rejection of the idea that the earth orbits the sun,seems to accept evolution while being quite hospitable to the idea of original sin.

RBB said...

Regarding Jesus and the cross, I bet most evangelicals believe both of those suppositions about the purpose. That he atoned for the the generational ramifications of Adam's original sin, the fall, and atoned for the sins of individual believers. Those are not mutually exclusive.

Saint Croix said...

Evolution as a theory of creation is horseshit. I believe in evolution but I don't believe in that.

God created humanity.

Adam and Eve is a metaphor.

This is not rocket science.

Lucius said...

Well, why does the individual sinner need salvation if not born an original sinner?

Schopenhauer would say he believes in original sin. But he doesn't believe Christ's death can save you.

Saint Croix said...

The same people who tell you that Darwin is everything, will also tell you that homosexuality is genetic.

I guess because homosexuals reproduce.

Admit that there are huge chunks of the universe that are a mystery.

Liberals need to abandon attempts to use science to "prove" their ideology.

The Darwin bumper sticker is an embarassment for liberals.

Quit using Darwin to try to prove atheism. And quit ignoring Darwin as you try to prove that homosexuality is biological.

Follow the science and keep your ideology out of it.

Henry said...

I prefer the gospel of John. There is a metaphysical alternative right there in the bible, if you want one.

* * *

Joseph Smith located the Garden of Eden in Independence, Missouri. This is just one more claim he made that annoys evangelicals. But if you believe in the literal Adam and Eve, they had to live somewhere.

Fred4Pres said...

The idea that the entire universe was a tiny singularity that then spread out to something so huge and from that life sprang sponteously and then developed intelligence, and then develop art, religion, philosophy all on its own is pretty miraculous. There was probably a single point where apes became human. Consider that genesis.

If you faith is that fragile that the idea of evolution frightens you, you might consider reading some Christopher Hitchen books on the subject.

themightypuck said...

You should go Mormon Prof. Althouse.

Ann Althouse said...

Roman Catholics accept evolution, and Christianity remains intact.

"Ann, why not engage the Reverend Mohler with your questions directly?"

I blog about things that appear in the press and use the quotes that reporters have extracted from people. I don't contact the people who are quoted and ask them more questions. I suppose I could, but I never have. I'm not a reporter, and I don't ask questions like a reporter. Sometimes I do diavlogs on Bloggingheads with people I am interested in debating, but they need to know that it will be challenging and not just a chance for them to expatiate on their opinions. I don't do that, and I don't think most people who get quoted in the press would appreciate the opportunity to talk to me. In fact, they should find it risky and intimidating. I'm not going to modify what I am to make it possible to get more out of people, and so I do not put people in the uncomfortable position of having to talk with me.

Unless they pay tuition.

Chase said...

If you faith is that fragile that the idea of evolution frightens you, you might consider reading some Christopher Hitchen books on the subjec

Who is "afraid" of the idea of evolution, Fred4Pres?

So, anyone who disagrees is stupid and fearful?

Expected better from you.

m stone said...

There is only one Biblical event that matters, upon which all Christianity hinges.

Fred4Pres said...

Moreover it seems that the Roman Catholic religion, perhaps still smarting from its rejection of the idea that the earth orbits the sun,seems to accept evolution while being quite hospitable to the idea of original sin.

It is good to learn from your mistakes. Evolution does not freak out most Catholics.

It also might be good if a few atheists recognized that a few bad things were done in their names too (like tens of millions killed in the name of communism). Even without God, there can still be plenty of evil.

Chase said...

Whatever, Professor.

I do believe that you have engaged people who have said things about you previously (Glenn Greenwald?, Amanda Marcotte?), so I think I've hit a nerve you are afraid to deal with.

So, it's like you're throwing shit on this one.

Again, whatever.

slarrow said...

Christians are perceived to oppose the theory of evolution. It's not that, really, that's the problem, though. It's the naturalistic philosophy undergirding it.

Modern science is built upon empiricism and naturalism (understood most definitely as anti-supernaturalism.) That is, scientists don't look for God to explain things because they can't test, re-test, and verify the results. To perform everyday science, scientists have to act as though God isn't there, even if He is because you can't empirically verify God's will.

So far, so good. There are even theistic metaphysical positions that support this worldview--God sustains everything, brings uniformity to reality, wishes to be discovered, etc. But another metaphysical position--naturalism--says that the reason we don't refer to God in these processes is because God isn't there. He doesn't exist.

That's what Christians must oppose--the underlying worldview of scientists who, wittingly or no, sneak their philosophy into their science. And since scientists are now the new Priests (conveyors of wisdom and authority), it's doubly dangerous.

Pogo said...

NPR examines religion like Margaret Mead in Samoa, and equally credulous.

Evolution-sans-maker is one of the rituals of modern religious atheism, and so is fought by some Christians because atheists require it to be taught to children in public schools as proof of the nonexistence of God.

The rest of this is angels-on-the head-of-a-pin stuff.

Chase said...

I do doubt that Al Mohler would be intimidated by Ann Althouse.

Why not invite him to a bloggingheads and let us see?

Thanks for the laugh of the day

Fred4Pres said...

Chase, I was not referring to you and I would welcome Reverend Mohler explaining why a literal reading of genesis is critical to Christian faith. Metaphorically? Absolutely. The tree of knowledge (changing paradise) and the tree of life (being lost) to the Christ's cruxifiction (the return of the tree of life) and resurrection is a central Christian tenent.

But having to believe the world is 6000 years old and that every word in genesis is correct? God does not require us to suspend belief like that. That is just lazy thought.

Chase said...

This is more a case of a woman proving she is not up to the job of follow through that a man would not have a problem with.

Contact Rev Mohler Professor. Stop hiding behind your feminist wall.

Scott M said...

Doesn't the Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection make more sense if you think of yourself as the sinner in need of forgiveness?

Someone may have addressed this above, but I haven't read through so...

I think you're missing the point. In terms of Bible chronology, there wouldn't BE any sin in the world if it weren't for Original Sin (which, let's be honest...you make it Adam's, but both of them screwed up). Thus, there's no need for a savior if everyone is still just grooving out, tending to the Garden, and playing naked volleyball with angels.

Unfortunately, Adam and Eve crunched of said apple, and screwed the proverbial pooch for the rest of us...for a while at least.

Bryan C said...

The concept of Adam and Eve's sin is important as it establishes the inherently fallen nature of man: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Or, as Jefferson put it, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."

There are no angels in government or in life. Men cannot be trusted to rise above selfish beasts unless they are given an incentive and convinced that evil actions will bring serious consequences. When a culture forgets this, things go badly.

I don't know if Adam and Eve were two real people or not. Were there individual days, or billions of years? Did God prefer to make each animal individually, as men might, or to instantaneously conceive a grand and incredibly complex process that would produce the end results He wanted?

I think of Genesis as the narrator's account of a divinely inspired vision of creation. The narrator accurately recounted what he saw in the only terms he knew, and the only terms that anyone else would know, at the time. God works within the free will, limitations, and flaws of man to salvage His broken creation.

traditionalguy said...

Funny thing is that the Adam and Eve story explains men to themselves perfectly, while the Darwinian Science Cult is not able to explain anything about humans.

Worldwide DNA mapping should help both sides in this debate see more than they can see today.

This debate is about the descendants of man. It always has been.

The Galapagos Islands are great, but that is about animals.

I love stories about the Manatees on NPR recently. They are said to be like whales and porpoises that have evolved from a fully evolved land mammal that one day decided to go swimming and suddenly reverse evolved. The evolution tales are fun.

The Bible reveals a Genesis, or beginnings of man, that sets everything up to continue repeating the same basic interactions of God and men through the years.

The man God created was created male and female, which makes perfect sense to me.

In scripture Jesus is called the New Man that starts a new race, which is true or not true...but that is for another day's discussion.

Chase said...

So you've moved from "afraid" to "lazy"?

What's next?

And who says a believer in the creation story says it has to be 6,000 years?

What's the matter with you - you make straw men out of your fellow beilevers? You don't have the courage to accept that some thinking people actually don't squirm at the thought that God actually created a the heavens and the earth?

Triangle Man said...

Evolution-sans-maker is one of the rituals of modern religious atheism, and so is fought by some Christians because atheists require it to be taught to children in public schools as proof of the nonexistence of God.

This is very interesting, please provide a link to a news story about kids being taught that evolution is proof that there is no God. I think it is fiction.

The atheists I know would say that the burden of proof for the existence of God is with the believers and would not bother trying to disprove God's existence. Likewise, the teachers of evolution I know would say that science does not deal with matters of religion and can be taught without reference to the existence of God.

Saint Croix said...

Google "Piltdown Man" for an early example of atheists trying to fake evidence of evolution in order to prove atheism is right.

Or read Darwin's Black Box for an intriguing look at the science.

I think a lot of the resistance to "evolution" is because it is indoctrination by atheists who are using Darwin's theory to attack faith.

This is why some liberals get annoyed when you ask questions about evolution. It's not a scientific inquiry for them. It's dogmatic belief.

"Darwin is right," says the atheist, "because there is no God."

That sort of rigid dogma annoys people. (Just like dogmatic Christianity can annoy people who don't believe).

chrisnavin said...

Why are people so backwards? Why can't they just get on board the gender equality global warming, jazz theory, cult of the expert, Ken Burns sepia toned high speed rail to the Future?

carrie said...

There are lots of gaps in evolution and it is not hard for me to use creationism to fill those gaps.

Paddy O said...

"Ann, why not engage the Reverend Mohler with your questions directly?"

Mohler definitely represents the more conservative side of Evangelicalism (almost neo-Fundamentalist). But he's also one of the more prolific bloggers in the movement.

Adding to the good comments so far, it's worth quoting 1 Corinthians 15:21-22: "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."

Jesus is considered in Christian Theology the "new Adam," basically the new man, but what this specifically means can differ, though all the meanings have to do with one man sinned, another man frees from sin.

At the same time, I don't see a problem at all with believing in evolution. Rejecting evolution is not entirely equivalent to believing in Adam and Eve, so evolution itself doesn't make Christianity meaningless. By no means. Though some might think it does.

And it really is the question of sin and its transmission and its pervasiveness, though the concepts of original sin as expressed here have as much to do with later teachings in Augustine as they do in the core sources of Scripture. Jewish theology, for instance, which gives us the Adam and Eve narrative doesn't have a belief in original sin.

What Christianity does insist on is the fact that sin exists, and is both something that exists in particular acts and exists in an ontological way in human identity. It then insists that Jesus died as a response to both, taking on the sins of the world, then (it insists) resurrecting so that the power of sin is broken, we no longer are slaves to it. That's Romans 8. We are free. Adam was enslaved to the hardships of sin, and his sin resonated into the next generation and the next generation.

Now, who was Adam? A historical man who was literally formed from the dust? A primate who progressed through evolution at at the moment of self-awareness (and thus culpable choice) was called 'man'? It doesn't really matter. It's a question of relation to God and choosing acts which point us away from God, in a way that brings chaos and hardship. Jesus points to ways of life that bring hope and peace.

Evolution, in my mind, can entirely fit in this, indeed explains a lot of how God works through history in general, taking lots of time to form a person in the course of their own life, or a people in the course of history.

Boaz said...

As one of those who does believe in the literal truth of the account of the origin of human beings that appears in Genesis, here are some of my thoughts:

1) If the creation account is correct, macroevolution is denied. (Speciation/microevolution is not, however.) If (macro)evolution is correct, the creation account is a lie: there is no natural way you could have plants (created on day 3) before the sun (created on day 4). The impossibility of the order occuring naturally leaves out any argument over timing.

2) If God exists and is all-good, then He does not lie. If God does lie, then He is not all-good (and why follow Him then).

3) Suppose more than one pair of people was created instead of just one. If one pair sinned, the others (who were sinless) could have helped somehow.

As for your last point, "Doesn't Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection make more sense if you think of yourself as the sinner in need of forgiveness?", if I had not sinned and needed forgiveness, I would not need the atonement offered by Jesus' crucifixion and ressurrection. However, if Adam had not sinned, dooming the human race to be sinful by nature, I would not have sinned. There would be no Christianity, per se, because mankind would still be in perfect communion with God.

Pogo said...

"...please provide a link to a news story about kids being taught that evolution is proof that there is no God"

Heh. Triangle man seeks the missing link.

Triangle Man said...

I think a lot of the resistance to "evolution" is because it is indoctrination by atheists who are using Darwin's theory to attack faith

It may be viewed this way by suspicious people, but I think there is scant evidence for it being true. Seems a bit paranoid.

rhhardin said...

It is literally true, if you can read it.

Harold Bloom

The cited paragraph literally describes the creation of Adam, and self-descriptively the first literary effect.

As literary effects were what first made people human.

Triangle Man said...

Heh. Triangle man seeks the missing link.

All I see now is the stuff sprayed across my screen from laughing.

Saint Croix said...

There's a great scene in Donnie Darko. They're talking about black holes and time travel and then they get to the point where the kid mentions God. And the teacher says, "I can't continue this discussion. It's illegal."

Chip Ahoy said...

Man, this dogma sure can be dogmatic sometimes.

This is why I'm put off attending church altogether. I have no interest in anybody else's dogmatic understanding of scripture. I can read for myself, and understand what I read without an intervening agency inserting their own interpretative views. Especially when they're always worse than my own.

The word 'literal' in the post gets me.

literal: definition in accordance with the primary or strict meaning of words.

literary: pertaining to books and writings, especially those classified as literature.

literature: written works esp. those considered of superior or lasting merit.

Okay, so you've got yourself a book, the accumulated wisdom of centuries. You have centuries of wise exegesis on that book, that is to say, other people's learned interpretation. You have ancient and modern versions of the same collection in various languages. You even have widely variant sources in original form for the original collection in the original languages that has come down to you. You have literature from all over the place that went into that original collection and in various forms, oral history, careful lists, precise history, interpretive history, reinterpreted history, fiction, morality tales, parable. To be so overwhelmed by it all, a big fat book leaden with history, composed of thousands of tissue thin pages and tiny printed words with no pictures, to settle on a literal interpretation is just flat lazy especially for a PHD in biochemistry. I can think of few instances where a degree in literature would be actually useful, but this is one of them.

That's my opinion, and I'm stick'n with it.

chrisnavin said...

A "liberal" response would be: things even go badly when people remember the fallen nature of man: look what they did to Galileo in Italy (and Italy has its own history) when he dared question the Aristotelian model of the heavens. This is what the Enlightenment was about: and what hasn't happened in the Muslim world.

But there are also secular moral absolutists and idealists, Statists and true believers, busy attaching their -isms to (S)cience. They have plans for you, big plans. They want ideals to be true that may simply not be true and universal. It's part of a political and social program.

Darwin's theories may have falsifiability problems, but they sure predics a hell of a lot and as a theory, covering tremendous ground.

slarrow said...

The atheists I know would say that the burden of proof for the existence of God is with the believers and would not bother trying to disprove God's existence. Likewise, the teachers of evolution I know would say that science does not deal with matters of religion and can be taught without reference to the existence of God.

But that's precisely the point, Triangle Man. This is a metaphysical position that's being introduced as the default philosophical construction of the world. It's not argued for, it's not stated explicitly--it's just presented as the base case.

It's been said (Swift, I think) that you cannot reason a man out of a position he wasn't reasoned into. If that worldview underlies education, then you get a generation of kids who are unbelievers by default. What's more, they think themselves worldly and sophisticated for doing so when their attempts at justifying the position are wretched and feeble. Does that sound at all familiar to you?

ricpic said...

Replace the stories with an accidental universe and you're left with what? Kurt Weill's Lost In The Stars.

Dad29 said...

If evolution is true, Christianity makes no sense?

The Catholic Church has been agnostic about "evolution" in the 'strictly physical' sense. For Catholics, man (homo sapiens) is distinguished from lower orders by having a soul.

So to Catholics, the creation of man occurred when the first body-and-soul combination was created. That may well have occurred 2,000 (5,000, 10,000) years after the physical "shell" was launched.

Dad29 said...

The question of "evolution"--apart from the infusion of the soul into the body--is another bag of weeds altogether.

IIRC, there are some 'missing links', and there is NO evidence of species-jumping (from fishies to hominids, e.g.) yet on the table.

Maybe something's been discovered in the last few years which is peer-reviewed which resolved the "missing links" question.

Dad29 said...

Evolution-sans-maker is one of the rituals of modern religious atheism,...

By no coincidence, it's also the sine qua non of Progressive politics.

We distinguish between atheism pure and 'practical' atheism, of course.

Bruce Hayden said...

There are lots of gaps in evolution and it is not hard for me to use creationism to fill those gaps.

I don't buy into creationism, but do consider the possibility of intelligent design - again though because the gaps in the genetic record do allow, and do not foreclose such, esp. given our current understanding of the probabilities underlying evolution.

Which obviously puts me in the camp of figurative Adam and Eve versus literal and actual. But I have a hard time believing that a creation story that was an oral tradition for at least 1,500 years before being written down, is literally accurate. And, it does appear that there may be an echo of a second such story in Genesis, which, again, seems to be indicia of a figurative, and not literal, creation story.

That is just me though, and you can believe or doubt as you wish.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Saint Croix:The same people who tell you that Darwin is everything, will also tell you that homosexuality is genetic.

I guess because homosexuals reproduce.


So bees must choose to be workers--after all worker bees don't reproduce so their behavior can't be genetic, according to your logic?

Here's creationism in a nutshell. Absolute confidence in one's own position coupled with almost total ignorance of the most elementary relevant facts.

Ken Pidcock said...

I didn't listen to the NPR segment, but I have read the Christianity Today piece that opened this discussion up. I recommend it. People can change the meaning of scripture as they wish but, for those charged with promoting the faith, this is a real issue.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Easy solution-- Man's body came from Apes, via the laws of nature God set up. Formed from mud is a metaphor for "evolved from primordial soup.". Man's soul, the life God breathed into him and the thing that makes him the image of God, came from divine intervention.

Someone had to be the first ensouled apes, the first human couple--Adam and Eve. Who, unlike the apes who preceded them were given free will, and then used it to rebel against God.

And yes, their names were not necessarily 'Adam and Eve", but that's not so important, is it?

I really don't understand why this is so hard! (But then, I'm Catholic-- the pope even has his own observatory! (staffed by Jesuits)

Gabriel Hanna said...

@tradguy:I love stories about the Manatees on NPR recently. They are said to be like whales and porpoises that have evolved from a fully evolved land mammal that one day decided to go swimming and suddenly reverse evolved. The evolution tales are fun.

Seriously? That is seriously what you think biologists claim?

No, of course it isn't. That is something you made up and attributed to them.

There is no "reverse evolution" involved, and no species "decided" anything.

I like your commentary on other subjects, but your science concern trolling I can do without.

slarrow said...

Here's creationism in a nutshell. Absolute confidence in one's own position coupled with almost total ignorance of the most elementary relevant facts.

Wow, what an amazing straw man. Lucky for you all your opponents are such fools!

Garry said...

Ann,
To address your question on why the story of Adam and Eve must be a literal event in the minds of conservative evangelicals (of which I am one), I direct your attention to Romans 5. Paul states that the death of Christ on the Cross was necessary because of Adam's rebellion against God at the tree. He understood both to be historical events. They had impact on, and changed the nature of reality. In order to deny the historicity of one and embrace the other, one would have to say that Paul was mistaken in his beliefs, or, that God didn't tell him the whole story, etc.

Paul even uses the term "Second Adam" to describe Christ.

I hope that made sense.

Garry

Triangle Man said...

This is a metaphysical position that's being introduced as the default philosophical construction of the world.

If by "this" you mean "science" then, yes, I agree that it has become the default metaphysical position over the past 350 years or so. Science works.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@slarrow:This is a metaphysical position that's being introduced as the default philosophical construction of the world. It's not argued for, it's not stated explicitly--it's just presented as the base case.

Your car breaks down and you take it to a mechanic. He tells you the problem is that the car is infested with demons, and prayer will fix the car.

What, you are going to go look for another mechanic? But I thought that looking for naturalistic explanations was an illegitimate metaphysical postulate that is spread to promote atheism.

In our everyday lives, regarding things we understand well, we are all methodological naturalists as a matter of course. The evidence? No Christian prays for the restoration of amputated limbs and expects to get them. But if God can cure cancer, and does, why doesn't He restore missing limbs?

Triangle Man said...

In order to deny the historicity of one and embrace the other, one would have to say that Paul was mistaken in his beliefs, or, that God didn't tell him the whole story, etc.

Both of which are possible, or, Paul was teaching by analogy.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@slarrow:Wow, what an amazing straw man. Lucky for you all your opponents are such fools!

The vast majority of creationists make apallingly ignorant statements about biology routinely. It's no straw man to call SaintCroix on what he said.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Ann:There's no link to the specific polls so we can see the questions asked, but I find it hard to believe that so many people belief in the literal story of Adam made out of dust and Eve fashioned from a rib and so on.

I trust that you accept the evidence of your senses now. Anyone who has spent any time teaching science knows exactly how widespread literal belief in Genesis is, and how little the general public knows about any sort of science even though they attended school for 12 years.

Henry said...

slarrow wrote: But that's precisely the point, Triangle Man. This is a metaphysical position that's being introduced as the default philosophical construction of the world. It's not argued for, it's not stated explicitly--it's just presented as the base case.

If done with integrity, it's a base case that makes no claims to the validity or invalidity of religious explanation.

On the other hand, any explicit involvement of religious explanation as the default construction of the world immediately creates conflict -- not with science, but with other religious constructs. You can't even talk about original sin without schism within Christianity. And why should a Buddhist put up with that?

I too wish for scientists to remain humble, but the empirical approach need threaten no one.

slarrow said...

No, Triangle Man, I don't mean "science". I mean naturalism, or anti-supernaturalism. Strictly speaking, the position that God is not necessary to explain the universe.

Current scientific methods do a good job of explaining "what". But humans care about more than "what". They want to know "why". Scientific tools aren't suited for those questions; "why" questions are addressed by philosophy (at least). It's the competing, unargued-for philosophy that Christians really have a main objection to.

The Crack Emcee said...

Doesn't Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection make more sense if you think of yourself as the sinner in need of forgiveness?

That rarely seems to have been the point to the Christians I know - pointing out I'M a sinner seems to be their thing. That's also why so many Christians get caught with their pants down (so to speak) they're so obsessed with the sin of others, they slip up when it comes to themselves.

sonicfrog said...

"When Adam sinned, he sinned for us,"

Adam... You never asked me if this is what I wanted...

Thanks A Lot.... Jerk!!!!

Levi Starks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
slarrow said...

Henry, the point is that philosophically, there IS no base case. To exclude a God from a worldview is not neutral even if there are competing gods. Take God from the world, and you've got a lot more you've got to explain away--like what "good" is and where we even get the notion of morality and why copper has the same properties everywhere just because of the physical arrangement of its atoms.

This is tricky to get hold of because metaphysics is thought to be airy-fairy nonsense by so many these days. Trouble is, when folks dismiss metaphysics, they don't realize that they too hold a metaphysical view of the world, and uncritically at that. (Ticks me off, then, when those people sneer at others who actually think about these things. Oh, and then claim to be the open-minded ones. Pet peeve.)

Gabriel Hanna said...

John 10:9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.

Was Jesus made of wood and was He promising us that we will eat grass?

If not, does that make Jesus a liar, or does it make Him a person who knew what a "metaphor" was? If we refuse to take Jesus's own words at their face value, is the whole Bible shown to be a fraud?

The man who built his house on sand, the bridegroom with the twelve brides, the three servants with the talents--do their tombs exist somewhere? Must we believe that they were literal historical people in order to understand and accept the truths that Jesus was using their stories to illustrate?

Or are we like children who find no value in the story of the Three Little Pigs because it was made up?

sonicfrog said...

This is why I'm put off attending church altogether. I have no interest in anybody else's dogmatic understanding of scripture. I can read for myself, and understand what I read without an intervening agency inserting their own interpretative views. Especially when they're always worse than my own.

Hey, Chip Ahoy has gone all Martin Luther on us!!!! :-)

traditionalguy said...

Gabriel...Good morning to you.

The NPR piece on Manatees said that was what happened.

The implication was that the huge fully evolved land mammals saw a benefit or a defense from going back to the ocean that they, according to Darwinists, must have come out of earlier.

NPR has its shows on the website, and last weekend's must still be there.

My point is that animals and man are not the same.

FYI scripture starts in verse 1 with God creating everything, presumed to be done well, and in verse 2 it says everything had become an upside down and destroyed mess. Then the Spirit of God speaks a new re-creation out of the mess, sticks man into it and we are off and going with the Man epic.

That does not deny a 5 billion year old planet. And it is no worse than the aforesaid manatee epic.

I can personally tell you that no animal could have evolved into the magnificent intellectual that the mature Gabriel Hanna turned out to be.

We need the Adam and Eve story to explain you. God breathed life and spirit into a clay image of God, and that began your family's history.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@slarrow:why copper has the same properties everywhere just because of the physical arrangement of its atoms.

Nice. God has to personally intervene to make physics work. Not to mention that you got that totally wrong--it's not the arrangement of ATOMS that give copper its chemical properties, but the arrangement of the electrons IN the atoms. Again, absoloute confidence coupled with complete ignorance.

That's the problem with creationists and creationism--they aren't satisfied with attempting to destroy one science, they must destroy all of them.

n.n said...

Both descriptions (creation and evolution) of human origin are articles of faith. The first and second because we only have access to limited, circumstantial evidence. The second because we are incapable of demonstrating continuity.

These stories are principally offered by each competing interest to promote their particular faith. And what better evidence can be offered than a selective science, which cannot be critically judged (and dismissed) by most people.

As for NPR, they represent the secular cult and are merely a competing interest vying for the pole position. That they would seek to degrade people who maintain a different faith than they do is entirely despicable.

As for these apostates, subversion from within is the most insidious.

Each faith should be judged by the principles it engenders. The secular has been judged and found to be lacking, as it denigrates individual dignity (e.g., discrimination by incidental features) and devalues human life (e.g., sacrifice of virginal human life -- abortion).

Anyway, let those who infer order from limited, circumstantial evidence play on. They are clearly incapable of understanding the nuanced ways in which they are subverting civilization and the viability of our species. Either that, or their actions are premeditated and their goals, as with secular cults historically, is to collapse civilization.

The desire for instant gratification has created a decadent society in decline.

Those who acknowledge the natural order will inherit the Earth and the product of our labor. Those who acknowledge the enlightened order will be the most productive and stable. Americans, in progressive numbers, reject both selectively.

The tactics may have changed, but history is destined to repeat itself, and, apparently, it does so periodically.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@tradguy:The implication was that the huge fully evolved land mammals saw a benefit or a defense from going back to the ocean that they, according to Darwinists, must have come out of earlier.


That is not an example of "reverse evolution", and it was not something manatees decided to do on a whim, as you pretended biologists claim happen.

"Reverse evolution" would be an undoing of a series of adaptations. This is extremely improbable. When manatees went back to the water, they didn't get gills back, but kept their lungs. They didn't go back to laying eggs, but kept their mammalian placnetas. Etc.

Either you don't know the science well enough to understand this distinction, or you do and were deliberately trying to mislead people. Which is it?

Scott M said...

This is tricky to get hold of because metaphysics is thought to be airy-fairy nonsense by so many these days. Trouble is, when folks dismiss metaphysics, they don't realize that they too hold a metaphysical view of the world, and uncritically at that.

This, exactly, is why Dan Simmons' Ilium and Olympos were so good.

slarrow said...

Gabriel, why does your car even run at all?

Oh, we can explain the physics of how the fuel catches fire and how chemical power is translated to physical power through pistons and transmissions and the like. But why does the fuel catch fire in the first place? Why does that fuel burn and another liquid douse a flame?

Again, we can drill down even further into technical explanations without ever needing prayer to cover the gaps. But we still never get to why. Sure, we look to doctors to repair arms instead of God by direct intervention, but why do we even heal at all? And when we don't heal, when we die, what do we do then? When you have a loss and are grieving, is it as simple then as going to the mechanic to get your car fixed? Why not, if the principles that support the mechanic are so slam-dunk simple and powerful as an explanation of the way the world works?

See, none of this gets questioned because it's so darn effective in getting our cars fixed. And thus, when we reach the real human questions of how we should live, we're ill-equipped to handle those questions. And yet we're arrogant in our ignorance. Peculiar.

Chris said...

Adam's sin is also his posterity's: qui facit per alium, facit per se.

Fred4Pres said...

I watched Source Code last night. With the exception of a few annoying things, I liked the movie. I will not give it away, but it was intelligently written. And it has some metaphysical connections to this discussion.

Smilin' Jack said...

If evolution is true, Christianity makes no sense? If you don't believe that, at least you can appreciate what a painful position those who do are in.

Hee...I believe that. It doesn't hurt a bit.

Someone had to be the first ensouled apes, the first human couple--Adam and Eve.

Hmmm...then since their parents were soulless, I wonder if they had to obey that commandment to honor their fathers and mothers. And their children would have had to mate with unensouled apes...wouldn't that be bestiality? And if an ensouled male killed his unensouled mate, would that be a sin? Religion raises so many fascinating questions!

Paddy O said...

It's also worth noting someone like Tom Oord, another prolific blogger, who is a professor of theology at Northwest Nazarene University. Nazarenes are, in case you don't know, one of the Holiness traditions, known in the past for a fair bit of legalism, and comes out of the Wesleyan tradition.

Wesley, for that matter, was entirely open and embracing of science. His Compendium of Natural Philosophy, Being a Survey of the Wisdom of God in Creation is an interesting insight into his embrace of scientific discoveries of his time. Evolution wasn't quite proposed in his time, but it seems like Wesley would have been open to its scientific suggestions.

Henry said...

slarrow wrote: Trouble is, when folks dismiss metaphysics, they don't realize that they too hold a metaphysical view of the world, and uncritically at that.

The issue isn't the metaphysics, it's the politics. There is a public sphere in which the base case for naturalism is inarguable. Samuel Johnson kicks a stone and says of Berkeley, "I refute him thus." Johnson doesn't really refute Berkeley, but he does point out the primacy of the tangible.

Then there is a private sphere in which you can apply your metaphysics to the tangible as you see fit. If you believe that all matter is perception, you can live a life of idealism, but that doesn't refute the conclusions materialists draw from their investigation of matter.

Fred4Pres said...

How about a sermon!

Paddy O said...

Here are some of Oord's musings on science and theology (a post on evolution included)

TreeJoe said...

As a Christian, those stances make no sense to me.

First: The story of Adam and Eve could be literal or fable - they are certainly written by early man and passed down generation to generation.

Second: Man (i.e. men) is missing a rib for no reason as far as we can tell evolutionarily. So it's got that going for it.

Third: The story of Adam and Eve can be both literal and fable. For example: The words "created in our image" (not "Created in God's image" by the way - it was not a singular, but a plural - but the Bible says "Created in our image")

4. The story of Adam & Eve fits in with evolution, when you consider that during the time of Adam & Eve the Bible pretty much states there were other human beings roaming the earth. Read Genesis 1-10 and tell me there weren't other men - heck, Cain built a city. CAIN. Who was supposed to be a banished man and the 3rd man on earth. He built a city. So lets see, what if we read Genesis as saying that starting with Adam & Eve, God seperated man and created some in his own image (mental/psychological/moral) and then allowed them to obtain knowledge of good & evil (by placing the Tree of Life there and allowing the serpent to tempt them).

....


It could be he created in our image of conciousness, or having the ability to understand morality, or simply having the ability to sin and be sinners.

When Adam & Eve eat the fruit, God doesn't say "You've sinned". He says, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil."

....

As a side note, the 6 major events of Genesis correspond quite well with the scientific history of man.

1. God created day & night: the formation of the planets.

2. God seperated water & land: pangaea landmass.

3. God created plants: the earth teamed with vegetation (this fits with scientific progress that plants came first)

4. God created animal-life: Specifically the seas teemed with life and birds (not land-walking animals yet)

5. God created ground-based animal life: livestock & wild animals

6. God created mankind

....

Considering this was a "history of God's actions leading to man" written 3,000+ years ago, it's remarkable how consistent those activities are with what science discovered happened - and in what order.

If you realize that a 24 hour "day" didn't exist before the sun and earth were created, and realize that in Genesis "day" means "span of time", you realize just how amazingly Genesis fits in with modern man's science.

We don't know why the big bang happened - we can theorize the before of it (all mass gathered in one place) and the after (explosion of light), but what caused it.

We don't know why life started on earth.

We don't know why there is great biodiversity, or why certain things seemed to have developed for no apparent evolutionary reason at a moment in time.

We don't know why man's brain functions the way it does - other creatures are smart, or have larger brains, but none function the way ours do and evolution by itself doesn't explain that.

I could go on, but my point is simply that Genesis remains a remarkably apt story of creation and Man

Triangle Man said...

To exclude a God from a worldview is not neutral even if there are competing gods. Take God from the world, and you've got a lot more you've got to explain away--like what "good" is and where we even get the notion of morality and why copper has the same properties everywhere just because of the physical arrangement of its atoms.

It almost seems as if you are arguing that belief in God is philosophically easier (i.e. less to "explain away"), and therefore preferred.

klwong43 said...

If some people were sinners and others weren't, we would have to believe that the proper upbringing or a special kind of education was the reason for the one to grow up without sin. Do you know a single person without sin? Aaah, but perhaps you say, "Yes, we're all sinners, BUT that's only because we haven't yet produced the perfect society which can produce the person without sin." That's what leads us to give more and more control to the state to use our resources and their bureaucracy to produce this utopia. Isn't it much easier and more sensible just to recognize that each of us is sinful because that's the way humans are (thanks, Adam and Eve...) and because of that, our only hope is to accept the fact that Jesus Christ is the sinless one and that He will be our advocate before the Father, He will wash us clean and one day present us before the Throne with exceeding great grace.

slarrow said...

How useful it is when your opponents are all fools, Gabriel! How impenetrable your rightness can then be!

For the record, I do know what differentiates elements of the periodic table; "electrons" didn't have the same flow to it. Perhaps I should quiz you on something to display your ignorance of the subject and then write you off entirely. But I won't, because that would be unfair and ungenerous.

Finally, about copper: the claim is not that God has to intervene to make physics work. Rather, the presence and creative power of God explains why there is anything, why there is an order, and why we can discover it. I encountered this idea in Richard Swinburne's writings. His point was that without such a guiding principle, much of science had be simply accepted as brute fact. Why does copper have the same properties here as on the moon? Because of its structure. Why does that structure generate such properties? It just does.

Again, most folks don't think about this because it works for so much of their physical, day to day lives. But when it doesn't, then what?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@slarrow:But why does the fuel catch fire in the first place? Why does that fuel burn and another liquid douse a flame?

In other words, "F***ing magnets, how do they work?" therefore God.

Those are not insoluble questions you pose, the answers have been known for over a hundred years. Once you figure out how the hydrogen atom works, all of the rest of chemistry more or less logically follows. It's all the same equations, but with the number of electrons and the charge of the nucleus changed.

And you don't know any of it. Well, that's no shame, not to know something--what's shameful is you assume that your ignorance means that nobody knows or ever can know the answer, so you have a license to believe in the literal truth of fairy tales from the Bronze Age and have them taught to other people's kids as science in taxpayer supported schools.

Triangle Man said...

Men and women have the same number of ribs. Now you say, "yes, but men used to have one more than women before God took one".

Gabriel Hanna said...

@TreeJoe:Man (i.e. men) is missing a rib for no reason as far as we can tell evolutionarily. So it's got that going for it.


Men and women have same number of ribs. About 1 in 500 people have extra ones.

traditionalguy said...

Gabriel...Yes, the mammals could have taken the lungs and the mammal procreation organs back into the sea.

But hearing the self assured NPR announcer say that happened reminded me that evolution is a funny idea to begin with.

But the creation of a human soul in Adam and Eve is what we need to deal with.

If we are just unusually lucky animals, then why care about restraining murder and slavery?

Let the DNA guys and the sub-atomic particle physics guys do their job and then we will see if Darwin guessed anything right or not.

Saint Croix said...

So bees must choose to be workers--after all worker bees don't reproduce so their behavior can't be genetic, according to your logic?

Oh, good point. Worker bees are definitely genetic.

So what's the biological purpose of homosexuality? Why aren't they extinct? They're not reproducing. And anything they do, heterosexuals do. So there's no special biological purpose for the homosexual, unlike the worker bee.

That's the sort of questions science should be asking, if you want to talk about homosexuality as genetic.

But isn't it ugly to talk about people that way? Who am I, who is anyone, to say, "What is the purpose of the homosexual?" It sounds hateful, right?

It's a basic problem with Darwin-worship. The eugenics movement, even the Nazi Holocaust, was based on "removing biological inferiors," and helping Darwin along.

It's a basic problem with denying concepts like "God" or "free will".

If all you know is biology, then it is a problem to say, "homosexuality is not biology." It upsets people.

That's why they are so dogmatic on gay genes, without any evidence whatsoever for that.

Free will escapes them.

A Christian will tell you we have homosexuals for the same reason we have celibates, or people who masturbate. Because we all have free will.

Simple.

The moral explanation for homosexuality is far more convincing to me than the so-called scientific one (which is actually morality-in-disguise).

Triangle Man said...

If you realize that a 24 hour "day" didn't exist before the sun and earth were created, and realize that in Genesis "day" means "span of time", you realize just how amazingly Genesis fits in with modern man's science.

This is a metaphorical reading of Genesis, not a literal one.

Titus said...

Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.

slarrow said...

Triangle Man, I don't quite think "easier" is the term. Rather, that the concept of God is more philosophically fruitful. As understand in the Christian context, at least, it is an explanatory source for the physical realm and its rules (God as Creator) as well as the human realm (God as intelligent, soul-creating Father.) Thus, a supernaturalistic, theistic worldview such as Christians assert covers more territory than a naturalistic one does.

Besides, there's thousands of years of commentary on the moral aspects of Christianity. Agree or disagree, the major questions have gotten a lot of thought. Nothing like that exists for the major "why" questions on the naturalistic front.

Mary said...
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Henry said...

...much of science had be simply accepted as brute fact

Exactly. Precisely. That's what science has right. The acceptance of brute fact.

Brute fact is a very useful default.

Upon that rock, you can build any metaphysical castles you want.

slarrow said...

Good grief, Gabriel, you really don't understand what I'm talking about, do you?

I don't care how it works, or how long we've known it, or whatever. That's not the question. It's why. Why is the world structured like that? That's a question you seem incapable of understanding. And then you accuse others of ignorance.

Good grief. What a perfect example of someone captured by his unconscious prejudices.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@slarrow:Perhaps I should quiz you on something to display your ignorance of the subject and then write you off entirely. But I won't, because that would be unfair and ungenerous.

I have a Ph.D. in physics and I study condensed matter. Does that mean I know everything there is to know about the periodic table? No. You're welcome to try to trip me up.

Why does copper have the same properties here as on the moon? Because of its structure. Why does that structure generate such properties? It just does.

And your "improvement" is "it does because God wills it". How does that work? What exactly is the causal chain between the will of God and the properties of copper?

The causal chain of physics that links the properties of copper to the arrangment of its electrons is set out by physics--the forces that electrons exert on each other and on nuclei, and the statistics that electrons obey. But how exactly does the Will of God work--how exactly does the thought in God's mind influence the properties of copper? Presumably God can make copper have different properties using his Will--what exactly changes when he does that? You have no answers whatever about that. And you want it to replace science.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
slarrow said...

The issue isn't the metaphysics, it's the politics.

Very good point. With competing religious groups and atheists as such in a small political minority, the don't-mention-God position seems the path of least resistance. I wonder if that changes if atheists beginning organizing and wielding political power....

Gabriel Hanna said...

@slarrow:It's why. Why is the world structured like that?

Yes, and you have no answer. You SAY it has to do with God, but you can't explain where God comes from, how God does His work, what His capabilities and intentions are, in what circumstance He acts and doesn't act.

"God" is a word you use for "I don't know", and then you try to pass it off as an explanation.

Why is the sky blue and not barf green? "Because God Wills it". He could have Willed the other way. Why didn't He? You got nothin'.

Triangle Man said...

So what's the biological purpose of homosexuality? Why aren't they extinct? They're not reproducing. And anything they do, heterosexuals do. So there's no special biological purpose for the homosexual, unlike the worker bee.

You are asking "why" questions. God works in mysterious ways.

You need an evolutionary biologist to answer these from the scientific perspective, and need to think about the questions in terms of the species and society rather than individual people. In any case, it seems pretty obvious that whatever process leads to homosexuality does not limit the reproductive capacity of the species unduly. Likewise, the phenotypes that co-occur with homosexuality provide some benefit to the species as a whole. Variability in phenotypes is generally good for species over, in particular helping social species adapt to change more rapidly.

sonicfrog said...

Take God from the world, and you've got a lot more you've got to explain away--like what "good" is and where we even get the notion of morality and why copper has the same properties everywhere just because of the physical arrangement of its atoms.

So... Are you really saying you wouldn't know what "good" is if you didn't have a religion tell you? Because in some religions, it's considered "good" to strap a bomb to yourself and go kill dozens of innocent individuals.

Are you really questioning that copper has a set of defined properties because of something other than the way that the atoms bond together???? Why would it be anything different? And Copper is an easy element to study! It's classified as a natural element, which means it will easily bond to itself and appear in pure form with, unlike, say calcium, which does not. Copper has one electron in it's outer shell - one valence electron - which is why it makes such a good electrical conductor. This isn't rocket science or any kind of mystery. It's basic physics and doesn't need the hand of God or a miracle to occur!

Luke Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saint Croix said...

Also, Gabriel, you prove my point by your tone. You do not come across as open-minded on the subject of God. You come across as somebody who is as dogmatic as any Christian. You use science to attack religion.

Thus it's worrisome to Christians that people like you are teaching our children.

sonicfrog said...

PS. No Ph.D here... i'm a Geology School Drop-out!!!!

slarrow said...

When did I say I wanted anything to replace science? You must have me confused with someone else.

I'm impressed you have a Ph.D. in physics. How many philosophy courses have you taken? Because that's what I'm talking about. When you say, "physics--the forces that electrons exert on each other and on nuclei, and the statistics that electrons obey", how can electrons "obey" anything? Are they punished if they don't?

Of course not. We're using human language to approximate and describe the behavior we see. But that language and those rules are grounded in something else. That's what I'm talking about, but clearly we're talking past one another. Time to step back and take a deep breath.

Maddad said...

"To many evangelicals, this is heresy."

To many others, chocolate is delicious.

To a few, elephant jokes are hilarious.

To some, the smell of mothballs is comforting.

Others wonder how some got those little legs apart.

Luke Lea said...

Hey, I believe in the literal truth of the story of Adam and Eve. You've just have to know how to read it is all.

So-called "literalists" and those who think they are demonstrably idiots are essentially guilty of the same mistake. Haha.

Triangle Man said...

Of course not. We're using human language to approximate and describe the behavior we see. But that language and those rules are grounded in something else. That's what I'm talking about, but clearly we're talking past one another. Time to step back and take a deep breath.

The language and rules are grounded in neurobiology.

Pastafarian said...

Gabriel: "Or are we like children who find no value in the story of the Three Little Pigs because it was made up?"

Actually, most of us here probably find little value in this story because the first two pigs were redistributionists. I think the second one had an Obama sign in the yard in front of his house-of-sticks.

In the version that I told my daughters, the third pig yelled through his bolted door: "Get a job, you dirty hippies!"

And: It seems odd that out of so many hard-to-believe things from the Old Testament, this story is one that people reject.

There was an Eve, after all; that's been proven. Everyone traces their DNA to one common female ancestor.

The only questions are, where did she come from and when was she here.

Saint Croix said...

If God exists and is all-good, then He does not lie.

Boaz, a metaphor is not a lie.

You think it's literally an apple? The apple seems to me so obviously a metaphor, I don't know what to say.

I start shouting. It's a metaphor! It's a metaphor!

sonicfrog said...

So what's the biological purpose of homosexuality? Why aren't they extinct? They're not reproducing. And anything they do, heterosexuals do. So there's no special biological purpose for the homosexual, unlike the worker bee.

Uhm... Not everything that can be past along via genetics has a useful purpose or contributes specifically to the continuation of the speicies. What is the purpose of sickle cell anemia? Of near-sightedness? Of red hair? Of Morton's toe! It's called a variation, and not all variations have a "special biological purpose"!

I am curious... What is the special biological purpose of arm-pit hair? I've wracked my brain and can't seem to come up with anything!

PS. Homosexuals can still have babies. A friend of mine has two! And as long as you push Michelle Bachmann style homosexual repairative therapy, homosexuals will pretend to be straight, get married, and definitely have children! And then blow the family apart when they tell the wive there has been homosexual trysts in the park going on for all this time!

PPS. Genetics is not as simple as many think. Eye color is one of the most obvious genetic traits out there, and was one of the variabilities used to show that genetics does work the way the hypothesis predicted. Yet, 150 plus years since the science of genetics was first displayed by Mendel, only now do they think they've found all the gene pairs that produce eye color.

hombre said...

Triangle Man wrote: 'I think a lot of the resistance to "evolution" is because it is indoctrination by atheists who are using Darwin's theory to attack faith.'

It may be viewed this way by suspicious people, but I think there is scant evidence for it being true. Seems a bit paranoid.
(9:15)

"Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."
-- Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (1986), page 6.

Hm-m-m. What do you suppose the world's most vocal and agressive atheist meant by that? And what are its implications for his followup attack on faith, "The God Delusion?"

I suspect you have the affliction most scientific naturalists have. They don't recognize naturalism as a philosophy. They think it's just how it is.

slarrow said...

The language and rules are grounded in neurobiology.

In which case, Triangle Man, why should we think that the effects on evolution upon our neurobiology should have any relation to truth about the number of electrons in a copper atom? It's an amazingly fruitful evolutionary advantage.

That relates to the main point. The Christian claim is that we are made by a God who built this world and us. It's intelligible because we have a common Creator who delights in teaching us. That's why we're even built to learn about copper and atoms and physics and biology. Thus, Intelligent Design is foundational to an understanding of why things work in this worldview. (Even in this worldview, though, ID is not fruitful; once you've established that you can discover things, empiricism is a far better sets of tools than prayer for exploration. Prayer's better suited for other things.)

The first three chapters of Genesis establish these basic precepts and more: who God is, why the world exists, who we are, our role in it, and why it's so screwed up. In the view of some of the Christians mentioned in this story, if you challenge that, you lose a lot. It all becomes then who has the best story. Odd as some may find it, most Christians really do care about truth, and they really don't want it to be about a competition for the most pleasing story.

slarrow said...

I suspect you have the affliction most scientific naturalists have. They don't recognize naturalism as a philosophy. They think it's just how it is.

Thank you, hombre, for saying in three sentences what I spent several pages trying to get across. With that, I yield the field to more succinct observers.

Methadras said...

Evolution is about Adam and Eve. Duh!!!

Dave said...

@ sonicfrog

The gene for sickle cell anemia confers resistance to malaria when it's heterozygous (present in 1 copy).

Dave said...

@ sonicfrog

The gene for sickle cell anemia confers resistance to malaria when it's heterozygous (present in 1 copy).

elcrain said...

[Sorry if this double-posts.]

Methadras has got it. There was a "mitochondrial Eve" as well as a "Y-DNA Adam," both in Africa. They lived hundreds of miles and who knows how many millenia apart, so dating must have been a logistical nightmare. ;-D

Nevertheless, every modern woman is a descendant of one woman, and every modern man is a descendant of one man. At what point those descendants put on clothes and started speaking is not known. The meaning of the fact that they did is explored in Genesis, along with a lot of other stuff.

Darwin was a devout Anglican churchman. Our modern science and technology may well be the result of the Judeo-Christian belief that the creator of the world is a rational being and that greater understanding of his creation could be achieved by rational means.

IMVHO, to insist on a literal reading of the nonliteral parts of the scriptures is to demonstrate a more hard-core materialism than that professed by the staunchest atheist.

It also demeans other forms of gaining understanding, such as metaphor, fable, myth.

Saint Croix said...

Homosexuals can still have babies. A friend of mine has two!

Gee, maybe that's because homosexuality isn't genetic.

Saint Croix said...

Now explain to me how that worker bee can reproduce.

sonicfrog said...

Dave... Forgot about that. Thanks. But you still haven't tackled Morton's Toe!!! :-)

Henry said...

I yield the field to more succinct observers

"observation" sounds awfully naturalistic to me.

Earlier you wrote: once you've established that you can discover things, empiricism is a far better sets of tools than prayer for exploration. .

Is this the naturalism as a philosophy you think hombre nailed?

If not I think you are arguing a rather rarified position -- the assertion that God must be in the machine while conceding all the mechanics to the materialists.

sonicfrog said...

Homosexuals can still have babies. A friend of mine has two!

Gee, maybe that's because homosexuality isn't genetic.


People with brown eyes can also reproduce. Does that mean brown eyes are not genetic also???

SC, I was responding to someone who said homosexuals can't reproduce, which, clearly they can.

Ver Word: Slyshe

Ann Althouse said...

"I do believe that you have engaged people who have said things about you previously (Glenn Greenwald?, Amanda Marcotte?), so I think I've hit a nerve you are afraid to deal with."

Engaged? They responded to me, either on their blogs or in my comments, and I responded to that. I never contacted them.

Mohler can email me or participate in the comments here, obviously. He could blog and link here and respond. That would be like Marcotte and Greenwald. I'd respond.

What I don't do is contact people. I use what is available on line. I'm not a reporter and I would not do a conventional interview with somebody, so if I were to proactively contact somebody, they would find the experience socially inappropriate.

Santé said...

It's interesting to see the reference to the two differing accounts of the creation in Genesis. I've read one work which reasons that the first account is the true one, while the second represents confusion in thought. The book records the author's discoveries after reasoning from the standpoint that only the first account is true: Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy.

While not a formal adherent, I find her train of thought holds up logically in several areas and I have demonstrated its effectiveness. Since this conversation mentions metaphysics and interpretations of the Biblical account of creation, I thought it would be worth a mention.

Saint Croix said...

And as long as you push Michelle Bachmann style homosexual repairative therapy

I'm not. I say homosexuality is not biological. You assume a political agenda.

Politics poisons everything it touches. Particularly art and science.

homosexuals will pretend to be straight, get married, and definitely have children!

The urge to have children is a heterosexual urge. It is biological, clearly, since that's how we reproduce as a species.

Some people resist biology, and fight against nature. That in fact might be a part of biology.

But liberals aren't open-minded on any of these debates.

Homosexuality is biological.
Evolution is creation.

We're not allowed to question it, or even think about it.

Ann Althouse said...

""I do believe that you have engaged people who have said things about you previously (Glenn Greenwald?, Amanda Marcotte?), so I think I've hit a nerve you are afraid to deal with."

Also, your comment is weird because you're making an analogy relating to people who've said things about me. Mohler hasn't talked about me.

It's ridiculous to diagnose me with fear. You're talking about me doing something that I never do. It's not my approach. If I thought Mohler would be a good Bloggingheads parther, I might pursue that, but why would that be a good match up? I a law professor who teaches about law and religion, which includes the problem of teaching evolution.

The main thing I cared about in posting here is how burdensome evolution is for these believers. I don't care about debating the truth of evolution or the incoherence of religious beliefs.

I care about how people can live together well in a free country and the role of law in mediating the conflicts people have because of the diversity of beliefs.

That's not Mohler's issue in all likelihood, and I have no quarrel with him. I do make a theological point: I don't think we need the Adam and Eve story to be true for Christianity to make sense.

If he wants to retract his statement, he can comment here or email me or something. I'm not calling him up to question him about that. I don't intrude on people that way.

Triangle Man said...

Hm-m-m. What do you suppose the world's most vocal and agressive atheist meant by that? And what are its implications for his followup attack on faith, "The God Delusion?"

I suspect you have the affliction most scientific naturalists have. They don't recognize naturalism as a philosophy. They think it's just how it is.


Are you really arguing that because a vocal atheist activist uses evolution as a tool against religion, those who teach evolution must be atheist activists too?

phx said...
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Ann Althouse said...

"The concept of Adam and Eve's sin is important as it establishes the inherently fallen nature of man: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

I think Adam is a terrible basis for establishing what is true of individuals who have had the opportunity to experience childhood in a family and a community with a culture and a history.

Here's this person, suddenly finding himself in the world with an adult body and with no mother and father, no period of learning. Suddenly, he's given a female to interact with. Both have adult bodies. Do they have sex? But they are babies, chronologically! How can you condemn them as sinners under these circumstances? The whole thing is ridiculous. If they screwed up, why should it matter? They are babies without parents, without civilization, without any structure around them except a few rules spoken by God. Do you think a 2-year-old toddler would deserve severe lifelong punishment for touching something his father told him not to touch? No, we would in fact probably put the father in prison if he punished that child severely.

The Adam and Eve story is a completely perverted example for thinking about whether human beings are all sinners or "fallen" or whatever.

Also, if Eve were made out Adam's rib, wouldn't they have the same DNA? She's his clone. The big secret is: Eve is a man! If you want to say, but with God all things are possible, then why did he bother extracting a rib from Adam... baby Adam?

slarrow said...

Hi Henry. No, I meant empiricism. The distinction is that empiricists will go measure and observe the natural world. Naturalism as a philosophy means that the natural world is all there is. I have no trouble with the empiricists' toolkit and how useful it is. My conflict is with the naturalist over why the tools work.

phx said...
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Robert Cook said...

Christian theology is just one of many mythologies believed by human societies at various times and in various places.

They're all equally imaginary.

Robin said...

Romans 1:20
"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

THAT is why belief in the the creation of the universe by God is an essential tenet of my faith.

The ignorant are those who see but do not believe. The elevation of science into religion so that something that is called THE THEORY of evolution cannot be reasonably objected to is sad. It is now more acceptable to society for people to believe in the religion of "science" (which we know to be corruptible, hello global warming) than the believe in a divine creator.

Scott M said...

The whole thing is ridiculous.

Even if you are a complete atheist and are only looking at the story as a fictional narrative, Ann, you are completely missing the point that, yes, they found themselves as they were (adult bodies and all), but they didn't just have a few rules from God and he left it at that. These were two people that could communicate directly with a deity and a deity that responded to them. Not mentioned directly in Bible (perhaps it is, but my memory isn't what it used to be), but God was involved in their daily lives. I find it hard to believe, even in a narrative sense, that a caring and loving father-figure, if nothing else, wouldn't help them in every way.

Saint Croix said...

People with brown eyes can also reproduce. Does that mean brown eyes are not genetic also???

Brown eyes and human sexuality are not analogous.

If all brown-eyed people stop reproducing, what percentage of humanity is going to have brown eyes?

This is Darwin stuff. If you stop reproducing, that trait dies out, right? No more brown eyes. Maybe a couple of mutants. But you basically have killed off the brown eyes.

You can’t do this with homosexuality.

If homosexuals stop reproducing, we still have homosexuality. We know this because homosexuals have not been reproducing over thousands of years. And yet we still have homosexuality.

If celibates stop reproducing, we still have celibacy. We know this because celibates have not been reproducing for thousands of years.

It's a basic problem of trying to disguise behavior as a "trait."

In other words you're trying to argue that morality is scientifically compelled. No. It's not.

Saint Croix said...

Celibacy is far more analagous than brown eyes. Is there a genetic component to celibacy? That might be an interesting scientific question.

But it's not being dictated to us as a "truth" that we have to believe. Nobody is indoctrinating us with a meme that celibacy is biological.

The homosexuality-is-genetic meme is almost entirely political in nature. They want to claim it's science. And thus, cannot be disputed.

When liberalism is like this it seems to me dangerously authoritarian.

phx said...
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Crimso said...

"If homosexuals stop reproducing, we still have homosexuality. We know this because homosexuals have not been reproducing over thousands of years. And yet we still have homosexuality."

Immensely enjoying this. Good points being made by both sides (and bad points as well). As to this particular point, I will note that there are any of a number of heritable disorders which invariably result in the death of the individual affected years before they reach puberty (this is equivalent to homosexuals not reproducing in terms of your argument). Some of the lysosomal storage diseases provide clear examples. Being diploid gives us all sorts of interesting genetic possibilites (the above-noted effect of being heterozygous for HbS being my standard go-to example).

One of the most religious people I have ever known (clergy included) was a devout Calvinist who is now an M.D., Ph.D. (biochemistry). He also had no problem resolving his religious beliefs with evolution. His mind allowed for both, and he laughed at people's attempts to try to catch him in an inconsistency in his position. A big part of his ability to do this rested on a belief that God is all-powerful. That notion allows for many resolutions to conflicts between science and religion. FWIW, I am an agnostic scientist who isn't threatened by other people believing in God (so long as they do so non-threateningly, of course).

Oligonicella said...

traditionalguy --

"Gabriel...Yes, the mammals could have taken the lungs and the mammal procreation organs back into the sea."

'Yes, I *might* have been wrong.*

"But hearing the self assured NPR announcer say that happened reminded me that evolution is a funny idea to begin with."

'But, I still can't grasp the scientific concept.'

"But the creation of a human soul in Adam and Eve is what we need to deal with."

'I know I fucked up mentioning science, so let's get back to the supernatural.'

Oligonicella said...

traditionalguy --

"sub-atomic particle physics guys do their job and then we will see if Darwin guessed anything right or not."

Already done, yes he did.

Oligonicella said...

slarrow --

"I don't care how it works, or how long we've known it, or whatever. That's not the question. It's why."

Do you, or do you not, understand that philosophy is not science?

If you do, then you already understand "why" science doesn't entertain "why".

If you don't. Science doesn't entertain "why". Got it now?

TMink said...

I think the post confuses evangelicals with fundamentalists. Fundamentalists believe that every word of the Bible is literal. They would believe that God created the world in 6 24 hour periods. Evangelicals recognize that there are some metaphorical aspects of scripture.

I am an evangelical, and am not sure what the story of creation signifies literally. I do accept that God is our creator, that nothing exists outside of His intervention, that He made us and those theological points. I do not know what it means about the first two humans.

And that is really OK because to me the truth about God the creator is much of the point of the passages. For me, the point is not the two people or their names, but what the passages teach me about God and myself.

But then, I am an Evangelical, I am allowed to do that and not have my card revoked. Now if I say there is no hell or that Christ did not actually rise from the grave, then I am kicked out as a heretic. And rightly so.

Trey

Mary said...
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Scott M said...

I always thought the point of evangelism was to go out and actively convert.

chickenlittle said...

Gabriel Hanna wrote: Not to mention that you got that totally wrong--it's not the arrangement of ATOMS that give copper its chemical properties, but the arrangement of the electrons IN the atoms.

Actually, the conduction electrons in metallic copper are delocalized through out the structure, so I quibble with your emphatic assertion that the electrons are IN the atoms [emphasis yours].
You seem well schooled in the underlying physics of chemistry Dr. Hanna, but you strike me at times as being condescending to the lay person. That doesn't help the cause.

Sonic frog wrote: Copper has one electron in it's outer shell - one valence electron - which is why it makes such a good electrical conductor.

Actually, copper has two valence electrons which explains cupric salts, i.e, Cu(II). But your mistake is a common one.

Sonicfrog also wrote: This isn't rocket science or any kind of mystery. It's basic physics and doesn't need the hand of God or a miracle to occur!

You sir, should stick to polemics. It's what you do best! (seriously :)

Oligonicella said...

slarrow --

"I have no trouble with the empiricists' toolkit and how useful it is. My conflict is with the naturalist over why the tools work."

Goddunit is not empirical, that's why it's not considered in empirical research.

Oligonicella said...

Saint Croix --

"If all brown-eyed people stop reproducing, what percentage of humanity is going to have brown eyes?"

Some, read and become self-enlightened.

Oligonicella said...

Saint Croix --

"This is Darwin stuff. If you stop reproducing, that trait dies out, right?"

Apparently you don't understand "Darwin stuff". Read up on cattle horns.

Ann Althouse said...

"These were two people that could communicate directly with a deity and a deity that responded to them. Not mentioned directly in Bible (perhaps it is, but my memory isn't what it used to be), but God was involved in their daily lives. I find it hard to believe, even in a narrative sense, that a caring and loving father-figure, if nothing else, wouldn't help them in every way."

Then presumably, you're not a believer, since God set up a trap and punished them severely and permanently when they fell in it. You can't believe that, you said.

Anyway, the direct communication with God is one of the reasons -- which my comment acknowledges -- that Adam and Eve fail to represent us regular people. We may be sinners or not, but what do we have to do with them? They were in a completely different situation. Now, maybe God hold us responsible for what they did. There could be a God who is vengeful and completely unfair. But you don't want to believe in that God. Nobody does!

Patrick said...

My literal interpretation of the Bible.

God worked hard evolving his experiment over billions and millions of year until he finally thought he had some results he could consciously give a gift to. He created Adam and Eve and left them to evolve. God visited and was shocked to find they had acted like animals with total disregard and respect for his wishes. He thought well its my fault, but what to do.

"Kids get the hell out of here and make your own way" was his response.

Adam was sitting curbside telling Eve "This is pure hell. I should have listened" Eve ribbed Adam "Not to worry pal, you have me, lets make the best of it?

Oligonicella said...

Saint Croix --

"If homosexuals stop reproducing, we still have homosexuality. We know this because homosexuals have not been reproducing over thousands of years. And yet we still have homosexuality."

That was an abysmally ignorant statement.

You, Ma'am or Sir, are ignoring knowledge presented to you within this very thread of a homosexual individual with more than one child.

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

"There could be a God who is vengeful and completely unfair. But you don't want to believe in that God."

That would be the Old Testament - "for I am a vengeful God."

"Nobody does!"

Reread the thread from top to bottom and discover your error.

Scott M said...

Then presumably, you're not a believer, since God set up a trap and punished them severely and permanently when they fell in it. You can't believe that, you said.

I was trying to make allowances for your point of view and wrote poorly to convey my meaning.

If a god sets out to create worshipers and grants them free will, then tests it, who are you to say what should and shouldn't be "right"? We failed the first test of our own free will and that allowed sin into the perfection of creation. Everything after, ie us, was tainted by that first sin.

Scott M said...

Now, maybe God hold us responsible for what they did. There could be a God who is vengeful and completely unfair. But you don't want to believe in that God. Nobody does!

Again, narrative speaking, if there were a real, vengeful, spiteful god, it wouldn't matter if you wanted to believe in that god or not.

Steve Koch said...

Religion provides "answers" for the unknown. People are small and weak and naturally need something bigger than themselves to trust and to help them through life's miseries. Religion fulfills a normal human need.

While I don't believe any religion, I do understand that religion fulfills a powerful and fundamental emotional need that people have. As science has expanded and explained more and more, the scope of religion has declined. If something is unknowable, why should anyone share your faith that your religious based answer is true?

How have atheists and agnostics replaced conventional religions in their lives and belief systems?

slarrow said...

Oligonicella, you seem quite proud of explaining things to me that I already understand. I wish I could say that this rash tone of superiority was unfamiliar in these kinds of discussions.

Oligonicella said...

Steve Koch -

"How have atheists and agnostics replaced conventional religions in their lives and belief systems?"

Haven't. I find it unnecessary.

Oligonicella said...

slarrow --

If you asked the questions, don't complain if someone answers them.

Oligonicella said...

Scott M --

"Again, narrative speaking, if there were a real, vengeful, spiteful god, it wouldn't matter if you wanted to believe in that god or not."

Agreed. If you're face to face with a for-real god (especially that variety), you don't question it unless you're prepared to be squashed somehow. That only stands to reason.

Mary said...

"How have atheists and agnostics replaced conventional religions in their lives and belief systems?"


Obama!

Obama!!!!!

Obama will save us!!!!

Oligonicella said...

Mary --

As Crack would say, those are far more New Agers than atheists.

I for one, don't at all care for Obama.

Mary said...

Re. Obama!

Obama!!!!!

Obama will save us!!!!

( If she's personally fallen, surely Ann's son is still a believer? Kids need something to hang their hat on, especially those raised w/a a father in the home, it seems...)

Steve Koch said...

Oligonicella,

How do you know what is right and wrong?

What is the meaning of your life?

Mary said...

Not all Olig. But enough.
Click my blog though, and see a ripe example from this one, back in the day...

Oligonicella said...

Steve Koch -

"How do you know what is right and wrong?"

Logical inference.

"What is the meaning of your life?"

To live, enjoy the quest for knowledge and do the best I can for my progeny.

Your turn.

Oligonicella said...

Mary --

I don't actually believe that you have a poll or any other method than opinion as to what atheists did re Obama. I can be convinced, please link.

Mary said...

SOrry. No scientific "proof".

Just that a lot of those muddle-headed Obama voters who dismiss those clinging to our guns and Gods, seem to be non believers and very vocal in criticizing others. They see the social problems, but instead of thinking private religious charities should be serving the pubic, they want a government bureacracy and taxing arm to collect and redistribute doing God's work for the poor and marginalized.

Sadly, they can give all atheists a bad name.

Mary said...

Btw, can one be considered New Media if they are afraid to make a few calls and ask a few questions of the source, but instead prefer to toss barbs from the sidelines?

*New Media press credentials are revoked if this is just performance art taking place here...*

Scott M said...

Btw, can one be considered New Media if they are afraid to make a few calls and ask a few questions of the source, but instead prefer to toss barbs from the sidelines?

The editorial pages of newspapers didn't do the "reporting" stuff (phone calls, etc) did they? They just kinda threw barbs.

Oligonicella said...

Mary --

"They see the social problems, but instead of thinking private religious charities should be serving the pubic, they want a government bureacracy and taxing arm to collect and redistribute doing God's work for the poor and marginalized."

Despite the "God's work", I agree with your point, except that I see the need for both.

As a percentage of the population, there's no way atheism explains the weird philosophies expounded by those who follow Obama, nor can they possibly constitute a driving force.

As for views, most of the atheists that post here are anti-Bamy. I do not believe you're correct.

sonicfrog said...

If all brown-eyed people stop reproducing, what percentage of humanity is going to have brown eyes?

This is Darwin stuff. If you stop reproducing, that trait dies out, right? No more brown eyes. Maybe a couple of mutants. But you basically have killed off the brown eyes


Someone already made the point.

Sonic frog wrote: Copper has one electron in it's outer shell - one valence electron - which is why it makes such a good electrical conductor.

Actually, copper has two valence electrons which explains cupric salts, i.e, Cu(II). But your mistake is a common one.


Uhm, the native metal atom that has two electrons in its outer shell is called ZINC . Copper only has ONE electron in its outer shell. Cupric salt is a mineral, not an atom. Cu(II) is an ion of the Cu atom. ions refer to the state of the atom AFTER it has formed an ionic bond - borrowed / lose an electron - with another atom or set of atoms.

Might want to brush up on that chemistry.

sonicfrog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oligonicella said...

BLOGGER SUCKS TODAY!!

Scott M said...

Stan: I am NOT a control freak!
God: Stan, you're pointing a gun at God. I can't even think of a better metaphor myself!

Classic episode.

Off Camera: Hey, Jesus! We're out of sushi!
Jesus: Check again.
Off Camera: Awesome. Thanks!

Oligonicella said...

Scott -- Funny man.

Mary said...

"The editorial pages of newspapers didn't do the "reporting" stuff (phone calls, etc) did they? They just kinda threw barbs."


The Old Media works as a team. Any paper that has editorials also has reporters working the fact beats. Their editorials are based on something solid.

Here, when called on it, the prof seems to want to now shy away from the work part: "Me? A reporter? Asking questions? Now where did you get the idea I was NewMedia like that and not just some basic blogger??"

mariner said...

rhhardin,
re: Harold Bloom

The cited paragraph literally describes the creation of Adam, and self-descriptively the first literary effect.

As literary effects were what first made people human.

Professor Bloom couldn't make up his mind about how we became human.

In another book he told us that we weren't human until Shakespeare made us human.

kiruwa said...

A few notes:

Catholics don't seem to have a problem with evolution. Theological differences aside, most of the time they do count as "Christians". Perhaps this is more of an issue with believers in 'sola scriptura'.

I heard an interesting explanation of the two Genesis creation stories from a history graduate student when I was an undergrad. Apparently there's a form of ancient Hebrew poetry that takes the form of:
A
B
C
D
C`
B`
A`

More or less, the idea is that A and A` are thematically related to each other, same with B-B` and C-C`. The "central point" of the poem is D. I haven't actually heard this explanation anywhere else (and a basic google search fails me), but simply reading the second creation story, it seems to fit that structure (making a few allowances for a few thousand years of translation).

mariner said...

Triangle Man,
Science works.

Science works for some things, not for others.

When people claim that the supernatural doesn't exist because it can't be scientifically proven, they're turning science into their own religion.

chickenlittle said...

sonicfrog wrote: Copper only has ONE electron in its outer shell.

Are you speaking of an isolated copper atom or an array of atoms as in a metal? You seem stuck on the metal, but in a metal, the concept of "shell" especially- valence shell-is lost. Look it up.

Cupric salt is a mineral, not an atom. Cu(II) is an ion of the Cu atom.

A cupric salt is a species of copper. It's chemistry is filed under copper. According to your classification theme there are no atoms in molecules either. You're arguing semantics here, which I guess says something about your argument.

Ions refer to the state of the atom AFTER it has formed an ionic bond - borrowed / lose an electron - with another atom or set of atoms.

Duh! We're talking valence electrons! Where did that second electron come from to make Cu(II)? Was it a valence electron? part of it's 3d subshell? part of its underlying Ar core?

Smilin' Jack said...

I think Adam is a terrible basis for establishing what is true...The whole thing is ridiculous.

It certainly is. However, all the other central beliefs of Christianity--invisible omnipotent God, virgin birth, resurrection from the dead, etc., etc.--make perfect sense.

chickenlittle said...

sonicfrog wrote: Might want to brush up on that chemistry.

Are you channeling alpha liberal today? You sure sound like him.

phx said...
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hombre said...

The Adam and Eve story is a completely perverted example for thinking about whether human beings are all sinners or "fallen" or whatever.

Also, if Eve were made out Adam's rib, wouldn't they have the same DNA? She's his clone. The big secret is: Eve is a man! If you want to say, but with God all things are possible, then why did he bother extracting a rib from Adam... baby Adam?
(11:36)

Good lord!! What's all that about?

Sigivald said...

He should try talking to Catholics about that one.

He's right, theologically, about Christ's sacrifice (and resurrection) being the entire point of Christianity, and Original Sin being necessary there.

But Man need not be literally created in one step for that to work; Man can just as easily be created in God's (figurative and moral rather than literal and physical) image by God's using natural processes, as by ex nihilo fiat.

The Catholic Church figured this out, what, a hundred years ago or so? (That's the indication I get from looking at pre-copyright versions of the Catholic Encyclopedia, and the article on Evolution, for instance...)

You'd think the Evangelicals could catch up.

(The funny thing here is I'm an atheist...)

hombre said...

Triangle Man wrote: Are you really arguing that because a vocal atheist activist uses evolution as a tool against religion, those who teach evolution must be atheist activists too? (11:31)

Obviously I'm not arguing that and your suggestion to the contrary is a particularly unimpressive way to avoid answering my question.

Steve in Toronto said...

I find the 40% statistics entirely plausible. I am the only member of my (very evangelical) immediate family who does not believe in a literal Adam and Eve. Lest you think us a collection of backwoods hicks the selection includes (out of a sample size of 10 including my folks my two sisters and their husbands) three MBAs, one M.Psych one M.Ed one M.Arch and a M.A. (all from respected secular universities) the balance have B.As (mostly from the “Evangelical Harvard” Wheaton College). It is amazing the human capacity to avoid asking one’s self difficult questions. How many pro-choice feminists do you know have pictures of their children’s ultra sounds on there fridges but seem oblivious to the moral consequences of those images?

traditionalguy said...

Oligonicella...The science you study is very good at opening eyes of the narrow minded.

The worst part of traditional believers in The Word of God is that they miss so much of life by holding tight to a pet doctrine like that is their God.

Usually the scriptures give man several ways to see things, and all are acceptable to God who is not narrow minded at all. He is really a great guy.

You might say the Holy Spirit ( spiritual stuff again ) is the ultimate realist. He loves science that examines His great artistic works. His other name is The Spirit of Truth.

I enjoy your precision analysis. But you should also remember that holding to tight to a Word of Science can narrow your world.

PZ said...

In anthro class, I was taught that every culture has a creation story, and the details can reveal something about that culture's history and attitudes toward life. In our Judeo-Christian culture stry, we sought knowledge at any expense, and freely used our free will, suffering the consquences.

Fr Martin Fox said...

A lot of sloppiness here...

> Original Sin is not a doctrine that needs "proving." Ever watch children interact?

> Genetics cannot disprove the truth of Genesis, because the authors of the Bible weren't all that interested in proving blood-lineage. Even Jesus': Jesus has no blood lineage to Joseph, the son of David; he is adopted into Joseph's line

> Reading Scripture "literally" only means reading it as the human author directly intended--insofar as that can be determined by the form and language of the text (per Raymond Brown). Taking a poem "literally" means...taking it as a poem.

> The people who wrote Scripture, and the people for whom it was written, weren't stupid. Any obvious "flaw" you can find with a giddy "aha" they could find too. Could it be you are misunderstanding it--your "flaw" isn't a flaw at all? (Why didn't Genesis explain where Cain's wife came from? Answer: because the Genesis author thought it was a dumb thing to explain--he moved on with his narrative.)

> Adam and Eve weren't "set up" -- that's reading the story from the serpent's point of view.

> The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and bad wasn't itself a bad thing; it was good ("God saw all he created, and it was very good.") The sin wasn't in the fruit; it was in the choice. What was the reason for the choice? Adam and Eve chose to mistrust God.

> It wasn't an apple. Find "apple" in Genesis and I'll make a $20 donation to the Red Cross.

> Why would God forbid eating from the tree? This merits lots of reflection. But here's one answer: eating the fruit means departing Paradise--a timeless existence--and entering the world of "good and bad": the world of time.

> God did not "punish" Adam and Eve; after they had eaten the fruit, God tells them what it will mean. (These statements from God are wrongly termed punishment.) God says, for example, in pain you'll bring forth children. "Pain" (bad)..."children" good. Good and bad, see? Same with bringing forth food through sweat.

> How do I know this wasn't a punishment or a curse? Read the text. How do Adam and Eve respond to God's words? Do they wail and cry? No. It says, "The man gave his wife the name 'Eve,' because she was the mother of all the living" (Gen 3:20). Hmm--what might Adam be thinking about, at the moment, when he calls her "mother of all the living"? He's thinking about something good--and he seems to be ready to experience it, soon!

In other words, the author is telling us, the world of good and bad, is still worth it. Isn't that usually what we conclude? Even with trials and suffering, life is worth living and fighting for?

> Hence, Adam and Eve, now fully informed of the meaning of their sinful choice, proceed to leave Paradise and enter the world of time. God is not angry; God is sad. God provides clothing for them and sees them on their way (the verb here is mistranslated as "expelled"--same word appears in Gen. 18:16; try putting "expelled" in that passage). God wants humanity to return to the tree of life someday.

A lot of nonsense about Galileo, but this post is too long already.

David R. Graham said...

I got through the post and about 1/4 down the stack of comments and gave up. Both post and comments, as far as I got, are way out of their depth. Utterly trivial, superficial. The nation is undergoing attack by fanatical religious idolatry, state-supported, because its awareness of religion and religious language and the connection of both to existential realities has been driven almost out of existence. Ann, no one needs forgiveness. One who thinks they do doesn't know or trust their self. Everyone needs liberation, although few want it, and no one can do that -- want liberation -- by themselves or even through a group. Jeesh!, the general level of self-awareness is so low, so superficial and conceited.

David R. Graham said...

@ Fr Martin Fox -- Thank you! Just read your comment after posting mine. Your patience with the "sloppiness" as you graciously put it exceeds my own. Thank you for your service of the Church.

Pragmatist said...

Surely the phrase "evangelical think tank" is some kind of contradiction in terms. Shouldn't it be called a evangelical belief tank? Refusing to question beliefs is not thinking. It is dogma. And if polls showed that 100% of people believed that the sun orbits the earth it would only mean that 100% of people are wrong. No need to respect ignorance. Ignorance gets to much respect. Lets instead quit apologizing for being educated. And evolution does not contradict the idea of a supreme being ... it only contradicts the bronze age myths that were collected up 400 years ago and passed off as the literal word of God (I guess God speaks Elizabeath English). God could make the world and human kind in any way he or she or it wanted to...including evolution.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Anne-- what on earth does sex have to do with the Adam and Eve story? Well, other than the God commanding them to be fruitful and multiply and all that... I mean, it's not like PRE-Fall they reproduced by budding!

The idea behind the test is about adult decisions vs. a child's decisions.

A child obeys because he HAS to. You have the power to make him do the 'right thing.'

God was giving Adam and Eve the chance to grow up and do the right thing (obey God) from choice, not compulsion. They failed the test and chose to say 'no' to God, and damaged their previously happy relationship with him. That damage could not be restored by purely human means, and caused the tragedy that followed (i.e. Cain killing his brother b./c he was jealous that his brother had a better relationship with God, a long history of murder, kidnapping, rape, false idols, etc....).

Only someone who was both God and man could fix what was broken, hence the incarnation, which restored our position as "sons and daughters" of God instead of mere servants.

The "Tree" test was the same sort of test you give your kid the first time he has the keys to the car AND a curfew. Can you trust him? Or will he arrive home 3 hours late escorted by a police officer?

Saint Croix said...

I will note that there are any of a number of heritable disorders which invariably result in the death of the individual affected years before they reach puberty(this is equivalent to homosexuals not reproducing in terms of your argument).

Under that argument, homosexuality is like Down’s syndrome, a genetic anomaly. Problem: Gay people do not die in the years before they reach puberty. We don’t see any physical manifestations of genetic mutation in gays or lesbians. Most importantly, the whole liberal agenda is that gay people are equal to straight people. You can’t say that while arguing that homosexuality is a genetic disease.

If you abandon the genetic disease argument, then you’re left with the X-Men argument. Gay people are superior. They have better, stronger genes. Okay. They’re still not reproducing. Gay sex may be a lot of things, but as reproduction that’s not going to work.

(An aside: when I say, “Gay people don’t reproduce,” I am talking about gay sex. Obviously, if you are putting a penis into a vagina, then reproduction could happen. But if you are a putting a penis into a vagina, then I would say you are Not Very Gay).

If homosexuality is mutation, doesn’t the mutating species have to start reproducing? Otherwise how does the mutating species replace the norm? And the problem, of course, is that when homosexuals reproduce, they are doing exactly the thing that defines heterosexuality--reproduction.

It seems to me liberals don’t think about this stuff much, if at all. If gay sex is normal biology, and not mutation, then how do the genes get passed to offspring? You have to argue that the gay child has gay parents, gay grandparents, and gay great-grandparents, going back thousands of years. I don’t think there’s much anecdotal evidence for that at all. In fact it’s far more likely that parents are straight, since you need to have straight sex in order to reproduce in the first place.

Saint Croix said...

Free will both explains homosexuality, and avoids the ugly side of Darwin. "Another species? You mean they're not like us?"

When Darwin is applied to humanity, you get Buck v. Bell arguments, Carhart arguments, racism arguments, and Nazi arguments.

There's a lot of danger in thinking humanity can determine who are the genetically superior and who are the inferior. And there is something to be said for Christian fears that we should be wary about going down this road at all.

Oligonicella said...

traditionalguy --

"I enjoy your precision analysis. But you should also remember that holding to tight to a Word of Science can narrow your world."

Thanks, and believe it or not, I enjoy reading much written by you and others that you might not think I do.

The 'word' of science is only what is known at the moment. Things change. Quantum Mechanics, for instance. Kinda had to turn loose of stuff to grasp that more fully.

Freeman Hunt said...

I know tons of evangelicals, and I've spent a lot of time in a non-denominational evangelical church in Arkansas, and I can't think of anyone offhand who believes in the Adam and Eve story literally.

I get sick of media using the terms "fundamentalist" and "evangelical" interchangeably. Clearly, they are talking about fundamentalists here.

sonicfrog said...

ChickenLittle - Here is the first comment that started the copper sub-thread:

Take God from the world, and you've got a lot more you've got to explain away--like what "good" is and where we even get the notion of morality and why copper has the same properties everywhere just because of the physical arrangement of its atoms.

When you talk about the physical arrangement of copper, you have to talk about the atom itself, because that determines what bonds form and what qualities any mineral containing copper will have, from its fracture, luster, cleavage, to its streak pattern.

A cupric salt is a species of copper. It's chemistry is filed under copper.

No, it's not. It has copper in it, but it's not considered a form of copper because it's not pure copper.

According to your classification theme there are no atoms in molecules either. You're arguing semantics here, which I guess says something about your argument.

Hate to inconvenience you, but technically speaking, since a molecule is technically defined as a group of atoms held together by covalent bonds, a chain of copper atoms is not a molecule, as it is ionic in nature. Oxygen forms molecules, copper does not. Yes, it may be semantics, but whether you're dealing with law, or science, or medicine, I think semantics is especially important.

Gold, in it's metalic form, is not a molecule either. Both copper and gold can join to a series of other elements that are molecules, but, connected to its likeness, is not a molecule.

PS. Since I am in the pool / spa industry, and have to kill algae from time to time, I do use algaecides with "Copper" in it. But the algaecide is not considered "copper".

sonicfrog said...

PS. Here is a list of copper ores. They all have copper in them, and seeing that pure copper is much rarer to find than most of these, they provide most of the copper that is mined. But, just like "cupric salt", they are not "copper".

sonicfrog said...

Oops...

Copper Ores

Freeman Hunt said...

This isn't some mystery. Which evangelicals believe Genesis is a literal account of the creation of the universe? The fundamentalists. That is one of the litmus tests for being accepted as a fundamentalist by other fundamentalists.

sonicfrog said...

Enough with the copper.

That said - Just like talking about religion, if you're going to criticize a scientific field such as evolution, you might want to make sure you get the details right, or at least close enough for rock and roll before you speak.

Saint Croix said...

I always felt Adam and Eve was a metaphor, by the way, because if humanity started with one man and one woman, then by definition there had to be a lot of incest.

(I know, I have a dirty mind).

And since incest is immoral in Judeo-Christianity, I never read the account of Adam and Eve in the same way that I read the rest of Genesis. It doesn't fit.

It seems to me, if God created humanity, He must have created a lot of human beings at once.

So I read the story of Adam and Eve to be a moral guide more than a historical document of how early man reproduced. If that makes sense.

Saint Croix said...

Whenever I get into any kind of Christian/Darwin discussion, the scientists make me look dumb and the Christians make me look ignorant. Or vice versa. I get my ass kicked, always.

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