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Author Topic:   Assuming the flood was real
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5982 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 19 of 52 (24167)
11-25-2002 5:41 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by David unfamous
11-25-2002 5:03 AM


quote:
Originally posted by David unfamous:
I can't imagine the world was any more screwed up than it is now, so the piont of the flood can only be justified by those tired old words, 'It's all part of Gods plan.'
Of course, if everything is Gods plan, and she knows everything past present and future, then the fact we haven't been drowned again means we're not doing anything wrong. Yipee!

Hah! Just wait. The Rapture is right around the corner. Yep, gonna happen any day now. All those sinners will be sorry. Fourth time's a charm - God will definitely get it right THIS time...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by David unfamous, posted 11-25-2002 5:03 AM David unfamous has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by funkmasterfreaky, posted 11-25-2002 12:51 PM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5982 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 21 of 52 (24357)
11-26-2002 2:41 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by funkmasterfreaky
11-25-2002 12:51 PM


Hi Funk:
quote:
I don't think God screwed up the other times i think i pointed out how long it took for the decendants of Noah to turn away from God. No God has not screwed up man has. Like i said before alot of things happened as symbolism for later things. I'm not so sure i even believe in a rapture. i believe in a second coming of Jesus but the rapture as i have heard it said i'm not sure is correct
Weell, that depends on how you look at it.
First, we have the confusion over the whole tree of knowledge thing. God creates this guy, then realizes he missed a bet, and creates a mate for him. The two of them screw up, God gets mad, and kicks them out of the garden (in a fit of pique?). Not a good thing for an allegedly omniscient being, but hey, maybe the whole free will thingy was an experiment gone bad. Rather than simply fix the problem or admit that She'd set up an impossible situation (how could that happen if She knows everything that's going to come to pass?) She curses them and their descendants through all eternity. Strike one.
Things go bad from the start. Because of the Adamic curse coupled with the free will thingy, humans start acting, well, like humans. God gets mad AGAIN, decides the whole thing is a wash, and wipes out everybody except Noah. Coincidently wiping out all other life on the planet - life that had little or no say in how humans behaved. Once more, not a very good thing for a supposedly omniscient being. Strike two.
Somehow the Earth manages to repopulate itself. Eventually, humans start getting ideas again - building a tower to heaven just to show they could. God, once again, decides that the experiment isn't working out according to plan, but rather than wiping everything out, decides to re-curse everyone to make it impossible for people to ever work together in the future on such a great undertaking, scattering them all over the planet with different languages. Another failure of the so-called omniscient being - She couldn't see this coming? Strike three.
And now, humans once more are getting too big for themselves. Whereas YOU might not be enamored of it, there are a lot of fundamentalists under the big tent that believe the "last days" are upon us. God once more realizing that things didn't work out, will haul all of the good little believers to heaven, and wipe out everything else - one final time: the Rapture. Strike four.
None of the above is the action of an omniscient, omnibenevolent being. It's the action of a petulant two-year old that didn't get its way - and who has the power to destroy planets. It can't plan. It can't implement. It gets mad when things don't go according to Its wishes and throws tantrums. It has evidently no clue whatsoever what It's doing. Worse, It isn't even acknowledged by the majority of Its supposed creation because of its inability to provide unequivocal evidence of its existence - and the ones that DO acknowledge It are so fragmented that they can't agree on much of anything (probably relates to that tower mess).
Believe in a tyranical infant terrible if you wish. Doesn't strike me as something to fall down and worship, however.
[This message has been edited by Quetzal, 11-26-2002]

This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by funkmasterfreaky, posted 11-25-2002 12:51 PM funkmasterfreaky has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by forgiven, posted 11-26-2002 12:09 PM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5982 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 24 of 52 (24544)
11-27-2002 2:35 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by forgiven
11-26-2002 12:09 PM


Hi forgiven:
Excellent explanation! The course of events is pretty much what I figured, although you certainly "told the story" in a MUCH more interesting idiom than the writers of Genesis managed. Well done!
However, you actually seem to add weight to my (somewhat tongue in cheek) contention, which is based around the fact that either:
1) God is omniscient and knew the outcomes from the git go and so set up a no-win situation for humanity KNOWING FROM THE START that things would inevitably become bollixed up. You attempted to pass this off as "part of God's plan", but neglected to explain how cursing humanity to degeneration and suffering unto the nth generation would ultimately lead to, in your words "an eternity populated with more people than can be numbered, all of whom freely chose to trust him..."
2) God DIDN'T really know what would happen - and hence isn't omniscient, ergo not divine. Obviously, I don't expect you to accept this one.
The "strike one" thingy wasn't necessarily referring to God making an error, but rather that it was the first strike against humanity. Humans screwed up - God punished them, rather than fixing the problem. A problem He knew would occur from the beginning. God SET THE WHOLE THING UP deliberately, knowing humanity would fail. Not real big on the benevolence bit, is He?
Another question along the same lines, so I understand what you're trying to say here. You state "God knew when man would "fall". In other words, for no doubt good and sufficient reasons, God deliberately created something that was inherently flawed, that would at some point crash. So out of some misplaced sense of mercy or whatever, in order to get the bad stuff over quickly so that humans could make lots of other humans to worship him (I assume from your post that sex was verbotten in the garden for some reason), He deliberately set up a preemptive bid situation where humans were GUARANTEED to screw up - because of the parameters established by God himself. All so he could boot them from paradise? This is supposed to be a good thing?
Even granted that this was the case, and for some ineffable reason God felt this was the right thing to do at the time, why was it apparently necessary to wipe out all life on the planet a few years later - when His creation turned out to do exactly what He'd predicted? This makes absolutely no sense.
"it's my belief that this episode was necessary for man's eventual salvation, because unless an awareness of what "for all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory" meant, man would persist in his view that he can save himself..." If I understand what you're telling me, the original created humans were thrown out of paradise as an object lesson? "Do what I say or else, and here's the proof"? Wouldn't it have been simpler just to let Adam and Eve get it on to have lots and lots of babies in Paradise? I have a feeling it would have generated lots and lots of really thankfull people without all the murder, death and mayhem that God inflicted on humanity down through the ages. Satan could have played the temptation game for eternity without much success. Just makes God seem even more petty and cruel. Ah well, what can you expect from a myth?
You guys would be a lot better off jettisoning the Old Testament (maybe keep some of the prophecy stuff so that you can claim Jesus as the Messiah, etc), and holding on to the New, which has most of the good stuff about peace and loving your neighbor.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by forgiven, posted 11-26-2002 12:09 PM forgiven has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by forgiven, posted 11-27-2002 10:56 AM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5982 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 28 of 52 (24762)
11-28-2002 7:09 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by forgiven
11-27-2002 10:56 AM


Hi forgiven: Great response. I’ll try and follow it closely in my reply, but may cut bits out for simplicity. If you feel I’ve cut out something important, let me know.
quote:
there are certain assumptions that, it seems to me, must be made if you're asking for the reason i believe you're asking, ie. because you want to know.... some are, how powerful is God? what attributes does he possess?
Well, I do want to know what you think. However, to be honest it’s more on the lines of an attempt to understand the apparent cognitive dissonance practiced by True Believers when questioned on the apparent inconsistencies in the Bible — especially in the OT and notably in Genesis. I’m interested in how you rationalize the problem. Part of that does relate to the attributes you claim for your deity and how those attributes are manifested in the actions claimed for that deity. It’s more curiosity than anything else — I’m not seeking reasons to believe. With no insult intended, it holds the same fascination for me as the whys and wherefores, not to mention the whats, relating to the interractions of a complex community in a rainforest. Think of it as an inquiry into memetic evolution.
quote:
now let's assume i'm correct (granted, nobody is close to knowing the whole picture).. God is all those omni things, including benevolent, but so much more... think of almost anything you'd describe as 'transcendental' or 'metaphysical' (defined as, not suspended in time and space)... most if not all of those things exist, in my view, because they are part of God's nature... logic being an example (with the 'omni' added)... just *assume* that to be so, a priori, ok?
Hmm, how much does your explanation depend on the acceptance of the existence of transcendental or metaphysical things or attributes? I’m not sure I CAN accept this a priori, but for the moment I’ll suspend disagreement.
quote:
the universe we're in, in that case, is the *only* universe it was possible for God to actualize IF he was intent on creating a free race of beings with all attributes of divinity (i don't want to keep saying this for you christians out there, but i am *not* implying we are gods)... we do not know, we can't know, whether or not it was even possible for God to create a world *at all* unless it contained each and every one of the (what craig terms) 'trans-worldly damned'... given omnibenevolence, omnipotence, and omniscience, we have to assume that God created the only and/or best given self-imposed limitations
Okay, however it looks like we’ve already hit a snag. With the various omni- attributes, why would it be necessary for God to impose limits? IF God was in fact omnipotent, any limitations He imposed on himself (assuming such a paradox was possible), would have the effect of negating or constraining His omnipotence — which would mean He was no longer omnipotent.
On the other hand, if you mean the limitations were imposed on the universe, this appears to imply there were constraints placed on the creation. In which case, there would seem to be deliberate constraints placed on free will, which doesn’t square with the idea of free will in the first place. On the other hand, you mention that God was limited in what he could create IF you accept the universal constraint argument — which again speaks against divine omnipotence.
quote:
once God actualized this creation, the end result that seems so hard to understand, "an eternity populated with more people than can be numbered, all of whom freely chose to trust him.." was only true *because* of the exact nature of his plan... had one thing not occurred, some other thing would or would not occur, and every change in the life of every person ripples thru history...
I agree that this follows from your argument (not agreeing that your argument is sound, mind you). However, what you’ve posted here completely denies the existence of free will. God’s plan was immutable — He set up the conditions so that regardless of what occurred, humanity would fulfill the destiny that God had intended from the start. This begs the question, of course, of why it was necessary to obliterate all life on the planet, then a bit later curse humanity a second time because of the tower thing. If humans were just following God’s plan (meaning no free will), then why destroy them? If they had deviated from the plan (via free will) to such an extent that God felt compelled to erase them, then by your own explanation either: God knew it would happen (if not, He isn’t omniscient); couldn’t prevent it (meaning not omnipotent); wanted it to happen (not omnibenevolent); or insane (not omnilogical); or pick one. This is what I’m talking about — when you say things like the above from the stance of already believing the whole divine bit, it makes some sort of sense. Looking at it from the outside (as it were), it makes no sense whatsoever — and every time someone tries to rationalize it, it makes even less sense.
quote:
well i think if you'll accept {paragraphs snipped for brevity — refer to the original post} christians do, we trust God... not perfectly and not all the time
This is, of course, the crux of the entire problem. God created a perfect universe — but then allowed sin to enter in. God evidently PLANNED for sin to corrupt creation — all in some attempt to establish conditions that would later return to perfection. A very, very odd way of going about things. The fact that God not only allowed this corruption virus to exist, but created it in the first place, speaks volumes about God. All so that at some point after death we can have the opportunity to worship this bloodthirsty demon for all eternity? And this makes sense to you?
quote:
Q, it isn't surprising that you don't trust him, i don't know if you even grant his existence... but please don't make the mistake of assuming he didn't have perfect reasons for creating a perfect world and putting in it a pefect man while knowing all along what would happen
No, I don’t grant his existence (see the Christian nation thread for what would be necessary to grant His existence). Yeah, that’s my problem: you claim he had perfect reasons for creating a perfect world — and then deliberately establishing the conditions that would permit thousands of years of misery and death — in the quest for perfection? This is omnibenevolence? I shudder to think of the conditions that would prevail if He didn’t have perfect love for us.
quote:
Q: So out of some misplaced sense of mercy or whatever, in order to get the bad stuff over quickly so that humans could make lots of other humans to worship him (I assume from your post that sex was verbotten in the garden for some reason), He deliberately set up a preemptive bid situation where humans were GUARANTEED to screw up - because of the parameters established by God himself. All so he could boot them from paradise? This is supposed to be a good thing?
F: now Q, when you categorize God's mercy as "misplaced" is it possible it only seems so from your view, your limited knowledge of all things? btw sex wasn't verbotten in the garden... there was simply no stigma attached to it, no pruient thoughts associated with the naked body... and yes Q, "booting" them from paradise (tho i prefer to think of them leaving voluntarily, given the choice adam had) was necessary for eventual and eternal salvation
I’ll grant you that it makes absolutely no sense from my limited knowledge. Hey, I’m only human. But it appears you’re granting my point: God deliberately set up the situation so that Adam had no choice but to fail — because it was God’s plan that misery, sin, and suffering be allowed. This is omnibenevolence?
quote:
Q: Even granted that this was the case, and for some ineffable reason God felt this was the right thing to do at the time, why was it apparently necessary to wipe out all life on the planet a few years later - when His creation turned out to do exactly what He'd predicted? This makes absolutely no sense.
I’m sorry forgiven. Although the discussion of Enoch and the 12 angel/demon/whatever was very interesting, I can’t see how it answers this point. Could you clarify how the response applies? Thanks.
quote:
Q: You guys would be a lot better off jettisoning the Old Testament (maybe keep some of the prophecy stuff so that you can claim Jesus as the Messiah, etc), and holding on to the New, which has most of the good stuff about peace and loving your neighbor.
F: actually i almost do that.. i don't jettison it, of course, it is the word of God... but when it's understood in the context of teaching the coming of Christ, and when it's taught in that light, it's better... it's amazing how much of it is about Jesus... especially the story of the exodus
Can I take this to mean you’re not an inerrantist? If that’s the case, what parts of the bible are permissible to ignore? Also, which parts are parable and which parts are real history? (Might be better to put that bit in another thread). Finally, if you aren’t an inerrantist, why do you insist on a literal reading of Genesis — the whole problem with the bible is trying to rationalize the nastiness in the OT with the relative benignity of the NT. It’s almost like they were discussing two completely different deities. Without the OT, you wouldn’t have to worry about trying to explain how all of the really heinous acts attributed to God square with the omnibenevolent perfect love argument. You might be able to make a case using just the NT

This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by forgiven, posted 11-27-2002 10:56 AM forgiven has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by forgiven, posted 11-28-2002 11:16 AM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5982 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 30 of 52 (24932)
11-29-2002 10:43 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by forgiven
11-28-2002 11:16 AM


Hi forgiven:
quote:
hi Q, i wrote a reply to this that took over an hour.. i wasn't done even then, and my isp cratered... i hit 'reconnect' and *immediately* lost the browser window and the reply.. so i'll try again but it will be much shorter.. my mind only works in spurts heh heh heh.. i too cut out much, let me know if i overlooked something you need
Ouch. I hate it when that happens. Speaking as someone who has more than their fair share of problems with bad ISP connections, I truly sympathise. I do want to say that I very much appreciate the time and effort you're putting into this discussion. Your willingness to engage in rational discussion on the subject speaks very highly of your personality. As Augustine said, "de motu creaturae rationalis in Deum".
Okay, so much for the nice guy bit...
quote:
i'll go ahead and answer the last paragraph here also, see ... {paragraphs snipped for brevity} ... you couldn't know or understand exactly what you were looking at until the lights came on
Actually, that's a pretty fair way of looking at the differences between the OT and NT. I'd heard the bit about Paul before - the early evangalists were looking to convert the Jews, and in fact explicitly excluded everybody else. It wasn't until later that Christianity expanded its mandate as it were. If I was of a cynical bent, I'd wonder if it wasn't because they weren't have a lot of success with the Jews of the time...
Anyway, this brings me back to my point on that section. To wit, given all of the really unpleasant bits in the OT, many of which put God in a pretty bad light, it still strikes me as self-defeating for the fundamentalists to base their opposition to science (thinking specifically geology/age of the earth, astronomy/age of the universe, and evolution/diversity of life), for example, on a part of the bible that really doesn't add much to what they're trying to teach - morality and salvation. The only logical explanation I've heard is that stealing the OT whole cloth from the oral and written traditions of the people they were interested in converting was a way of co-opting their writings to make the whole thing more palatable. Unfortunately, that gets modern Christians in a real bind when they have to try and rationalize the OT with the NT - not to mention with the findings of the new idea of scientific inquiry. Which, all things being equal, has probably cost more than a few (de)converts. Like I said, without the OT, we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place - because only by insisting on the absolute immutability of the WHOLE bible - OT and NT combined - that the opposition has anything to argue about.
quote:
the "limits" i spoke of were only limits by virtue of his inability to act in a way counter to his nature... assume for the moment one God... further assume he's the God i've described, with the attributes i gave... ok?... that is *him*, that is God... any other being without the attributes of God is not God... see?
if God is omnilogical, even acting in an illogical way would make him not himself... so the limits weren't limits on his power, they weren't limits in that sense of the word... maybe i should have said God doesn't act contrary to his nature... but that doesn't quite capture my thought either.. he *can't* act counter to his nature... to do so to any degree at all would make one or another attribute less than 'omni'... see?
Hmm, interesting. I agree that, given the attributes commonly assigned to God, anything that went counter to any one of those attributes would essentially deny the fundamental divinity of the being in question. However, by the statement "he *can't* act counter to his nature", you are definitionally placing constraints on his omnipotence. Look, I'm not trying to get into one of those endlessly spiralling arguments about "could God create an immovable object that even He couldn't move?". I'll leave that to the Jesuits - who seem to spend an inordinate amount of time arguing things like this.
I'm not sure the question even HAS an answer - it appears to be one of those things that just "has to be taken on faith". I'll buy that defense, believe it or not. However, before you jump at the opportunity, remember my original, oft-repeated contention: taking something on faith automatically removes it from the realm of science. If it isn't science, it can't by definition be taught in science class. And, by the same token, "faith" cannot be used as an explanation OR rationale for observed phenomena. IOW, you can take it on "faith" that the Flood occurred, that Adam and Eve were actual creatures, that God *poofed* everything in the universe into existence in six literal days 6000 years ago. However, you cannot in the same breath claim that your faith disproves the scientific observations that there is no evidence of a global flood, there is no evidence that A&E existed, or that the Earth is some 4.5 ga old - or that the diversity of modern life can be explained by evolution.
Ya'all really should consider a "revelation" that the OT isn't part of the "real" bible - just an old-time misinterpretation of what God really wanted humanity to know...
quote:
i'm gonna try to recreate what i wrote earlier, the one i lost.. but i can't promise i will since i expended a lot of thought on it.. i'll do my best, cause i think you really are interested in my thoughts (even if for merely 'memetic evolution' reasons *grin*)
{cut to end}
I AM honestly interested in your thoughts - you express yourself very well, so it's a pleasure to read your posts. Doesn't mean you'll ever convince me...
I'm willing to read whatever you suggest on the subjects you mentioned. However, rather than me flailing around the Internet not really knowing what the heck I'm looking for, if you could point me in the appropriate direction (a couple/three essays, for instance), that discuss the areas of:
- reconciling free will with foreknowledge
- predestination
- counterfactuals of creaturely freedom
- God's middle knowledge
- and the ever-popular Newcomb's Paradox
Now, I can't - in fact, won't - guarantee that I'll accept for the sake of argument that "God exists". To be honest, you haven't really made much of a compelling reason why I should. OTOH, since I am interested in the subject (mildly - I'm much more enamored of biology, paleontology and natural history, to be honest), I'm more than willing to read what you suggest and then discuss it with you. You're probably right that I won't see it from your perspective or even understand it the way you do, but then again I may see where you're coming from (next best thing?) which would quite nicely answer my question.
Hope you had a good turkey day. I did the same yesterday: we had 16 people for dinner with all the trimmings. I really ate too much...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by forgiven, posted 11-28-2002 11:16 AM forgiven has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by forgiven, posted 11-29-2002 4:13 PM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5982 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 32 of 52 (25215)
12-02-2002 4:32 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by forgiven
11-29-2002 4:13 PM


Thanks for your reply. I'll work my way through the links you provided and get back to you if I have questions.
I stand corrected on the Paul/Peter thing. I always get those two confused.
Just one additional comment:
quote:
Q: I'm not sure the question even HAS an answer - it appears to be one of those things that just "has to be taken on faith". I'll buy that defense, believe it or not. However, before you jump at the opportunity, remember my original, oft-repeated contention: taking something on faith automatically removes it from the realm of science. If it isn't science, it can't by definition be taught in science class.
F: no argument here... i don't believe i've ever argued differently... faith, by the very definition God gives it, can't be science...
I think I was referring to your comment in the "Is America a Christian Nation" thread where you mentioned you felt that creation science and evolution were equally valid (or words to that effect). Obviously, if you agree that faith isn't science, then we're in agreement.
quote:
however i would like for "science" books to point out more often, and more strongly, the difference between something that is actually science and something that is merely hoped to be... imo a subject such as abiogenesis requires every bit as much faith as a belief in creation...
Weeell, I don't know which text you're referring to, but both the high school texts I've seen and my very own "bible" (using the vernacular meaning ), Futuyma's "Evolutionary Biology", make a pretty good differentiation between what is "known" and what is "speculated". I certainly won't claim that all high school texts are very good - most are not reviewed or approved by scientists (usually a panel of educators), and are published by commercial publishers. There's been enough evidence of old, out-dated, or even erroneous stuff in textbooks for the masses that you might have something of a case in specific instances. I also wouldn't, however, extend that to ALL textbooks.
As for abiogenesis - most of the specifics are pretty speculative (and are usually so identified) except the basic observation that there's nothing disproving the idea. Who knows, we might find out ultimately that we can't show how life was created (or duplicate the feat). Still doesn't mean it didn't happen - or in the absence, that a divine supernatural creation DID happen. For the latter, you'll need the same kind of positive evidence as for abiogenesis. I won't argue that a deity couldn't have created the first replicator. I won't argue that it DID, either. Given that everything ELSE we observe once life happened is based on natural processes, I'd have to say the odds of a natural explanation being correct are higher than a supernatural one. But I stress that's my opinion, and can rightfully be laid at the doorstep of my particular philosophy and worldview. The good news is that there are a lot of really sharp scientists working on the issue. Unfortunately, there don't appear to be a lot of really sharp scientists working the creation angle.
quote:
the o.t. is God's word tho, it just isn't applicable to the christion life... that doesn't mean it can't benefit christians, the bible tells us (even in the n.t.) that it can...
I won't argue the OT isn't an interesting book from an anthropological and sociological sense - maybe even some history. I would argue - as I have - that it doesn't make sense for modern Christians to insist on its inerrancy. You're losing converts when it conflicts with both the sociology and science of modern people. Simply focusing on the NT - to the exclusion even of the parts of the OT which "document" the messaianic claims or foretell the coming of the Son of Man (which are unlikely to be of interest to any but biblical scholars anyway and were included by the early Christians simply to try and legitimize Jesus as the Jewish Messiah) - you'll save a lot more souls if that's your aim, IMO.
[This message has been edited by Quetzal, 12-02-2002]

This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by forgiven, posted 11-29-2002 4:13 PM forgiven has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by Adminnemooseus, posted 12-02-2002 11:25 AM Quetzal has replied
 Message 34 by forgiven, posted 12-02-2002 3:04 PM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5982 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 36 of 52 (25332)
12-03-2002 5:00 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by Adminnemooseus
12-02-2002 11:25 AM


Aww shucks (*embarrassed*). Thanks, Moose. The discussion with forgiven has been quite enjoyable. He definitely manifests the "sharp mind, civil tongue" that I throroughly appreciate. Hopefully we'll be able to continue.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by Adminnemooseus, posted 12-02-2002 11:25 AM Adminnemooseus has not replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5982 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 37 of 52 (25335)
12-03-2002 5:54 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by forgiven
12-02-2002 3:04 PM


Hi forgiven,
quote:
1. i was just stating that evolution is taught as a theory and that others had theories also... since that post i've done some thinking on this subject and the jury's still out... 2. according to God, faith is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"... i don't think, however, that means faith is without reason, or that reasonable men and women can't also have faith(numbers added for clarity)
1. As I pointed out in the other thread, the meaining of a "scientific theory" differs substantially from the common usage definition of the term. Whereas a scientific theory may not be Truth , it is quite a strong contender for being a very good, solid explanation for something - linking a huge number of observations, facts, ideas, and questions into a comprehensive, internally-consistent, well-tested framework. This is a bit different from the every-day useage of "theory" being "speculation". This is the main reason I am so opposed to "ID Theory" or "Theory of Creation" being given equal billing with the "Theory of Evolution". The latter is a theory in the scientific sense, with a huge cast of supporting evidence from multiple disciplines. It has been constantly tested over the last 150 years - and has yet to be falsified. Modified, certainly, as new data and new techniques arise, but there has been no evidence uncovered to date that would show it to be completely or mostly wrong. Contrast with the other two theories - which are unquestionably using the term in the vernacular sense in an explicit attempt to "hyjack" the cachet of a scientific theory and confuse those who don't really understand the difference. ID has NEVER developed one single piece of verifiable, positive evidence in support. Almost all ID publications are geared around attacking evolution. IC, for example, is simply another way of phrasing Paley's watch argument - it couldn't evolve therefore it was designed. Specified Complex Information is simply a re-definition of the appearance of design using spurious statistical/probability methods to enable IDists to proclaim design at whim without evidence. The "Theory of Special Creation" is, as you pointed out, faith-based. These three theories are NOT equal.
2. I completely and totally agree with you here. By the same token, I would suggest that men and women can be quite reasonable without faith, as well.
quote:
yes, but i do believe abiogenesis is "hoped for" ie., hoped to be true by some... and if so, i have a suspicion that not all of the ones so hoping are doing so merely in a quest for knowledge... true, that's a motivation... but you tell me your opinion, do you believe at least some are motivated by a hope that, if abiogenesis is proven true, God no longer becomes necessary as a Creator?
I won't argue with the "hoped for" part, except to say that the negative aspect you mention is by no means universal. I would venture to say most of the folks actually working on abiogenesis really DO see it as a quest for knowledge - an intricate puzzle, and possibly the ultimate puzzle. If someone is "hoping" for abiogenesis to bolster their worldview - well, I have to say I pity them for having such weak convictions. As to my personal opinion, I'm ALREADY pretty much convinced that a supernatural explanation - God - is unecessary to explain the diversity of life on Earth.
As an aside, and further to the last statement, IF it was shown that the first replicators were "created" ex nihilo, I would very likely modify my stance to something resembling a deistic (or maybe pantheistic) viewpoint. I honestly don't think it would change much about the way I live my life, or the way I look at biodiversity for instance. It certainly wouldn't mean that I would perforce become a Christian, for example. It is possible to accept the existence of a Designer (*shudder*), without presupposing that the Designer is the Christian God, and that the whole idea of salvation, eternal life, etc is ALSO true. No offense.
[edited to add: Let me throw that question back at you: IF abiogenesis were to be shown as possible, what, if anything, would that do to YOUR belief?]
I like to think of it in these terms:
quote:
...it is important to emphasize at the outset that the argument presented here is entirely consistent with the basic naturalistic assumption of modern science - that the cosmos is a seamless unity which can be comprehended ultimately in its entirety by human reason and in which all phenomena, including life and evolution and the origin of man, are ultimately explicable in terms of natural processes. This is an assumption which is entirely opposed to that of the so-called "special creationist school". According to special creationism, living organisms are not natural forms, whose origin and design were built into the laws of nature from the beginning, but rather contingent forms analogous in essence to human artifacts, the result of a series of supernatural acts, involving the suspension of natural law. Contrary to the creationist position, the whole argument presented here is critically dependent on the presumption of the unbroken continuity of the organic world - that is, on the reality of organic evolution and on the presumption that all living organisms on earth are natural forms in the profoundest sense of the word, no less natural than salt crystals, atoms, waterfalls, or galaxies. (Michael Denton, "Nature's Destiny", page xvii-xviii).
Although I currently don't agree with the Anthropic Principle espoused here, it would likely be my default stance if abiogenesis is falsified.
quote:
as far as "saving souls" goes, the o.t. doesn't enter into it very often... evangelism rightly concerns itself with "Christ and him crucified" for our sins... the o.t. helps one understand the whys of it, and as such will always be needed for those who desire such knowledge... but i will never deny it as scripture, nor deny that it is inspired by God...
True enough. However, I still think it's bad tactics The OT is, after all, the main bone of contention that causes the disconnect between science and inerrantist Christians. MOST Christians (non-inerrantists) simply don't agree that the OT was anything more than an allegory (I like the way some of the theists on this board have put it).
quote:
let me say a word about "losing converts"... i hope this doesn't come across as harsh, i don't think it will but one never knows... a big problem i used to have was in thinking that God had somehow put me in charge of 'soul saving'
Absolutely delighted to hear you say that. No, it wasn't harsh at all - quite honest and refreshing, in fact, and consistent with your willingness to "discuss" rather than "preach". Unfortunately, there are quite a few Christians, notably fundamentalists, who simply see it as their mission to prosyletize the ignorant heathens like me. Wanna see a nasty response from me? Try preaching at me sometime .
Congratulations on the new job! Best of luck, and hope to see you here from time to time.
[This message has been edited by Quetzal, 12-03-2002]

This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by forgiven, posted 12-02-2002 3:04 PM forgiven has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 38 by forgiven, posted 12-05-2002 7:30 AM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5982 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 40 of 52 (25548)
12-05-2002 8:13 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by forgiven
12-05-2002 7:30 AM


Hi forgiven,
Just a couple of quick comments.
quote:
then there's no way for me to "win" is there?
Never really considered it a competition. Other than the primarily US-based attempts to squeeze science - IMO, the ultimate human endeavor - into a tightly controlled authoritarian religious mold based on a literal interpretation of the religious text of an ancient tribe, there's no loser to be seen in a rational, reasoned discussion between two people. Winning beyond that isn't an issue (or shouldn't be).
quote:
Q: [edited to add: Let me throw that question back at you: IF abiogenesis were to be shown as possible, what, if anything, would that do to YOUR belief?]
F: i don't know... i honestly don't know... i understand the ramifications, believe me... it might destroy my faith... it would at the very least cause me to do some very deep soul searching
I'm sorry you think that, I truly am. Why would your belief in God be shaken if the OT of the bible (specifically Genesis and the creation accounts) was found to be less than absolutely accurate? God, for those who believe (or so I've been told), doesn't live in an old book. The history of science is littered with the discarded remains of old protests: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and the telescope destroyed the literal reading of the Earth as the center of the universe and the crystalline vaults of heaven idea - and Christianity didn't suffer. Newtonian mechanics destroyed the idea of the separate creation of planets in their orbits and the celestial spheres - and Christianity didn't suffer. Lyell and the other 18th Century Christian geologists destroyed the young earth idea - and Christianity didn't suffer. And Darwin and the later evolutionary biologists destroyed the idea of separate creation and the scala naturae - and from what I can see, Christianity hasn't suffered. And now, Orgel, Miller and the other abiogenesis scientists are working to destroy the idea of the supernatural beginning of life. Why should Christianity suffer? For those who believe in it, I don't understand how this could shake their faith in salvation and eternal life any more than the other advances that have occurred in the past. After all, if God didn't want us to find out, He wouldn't have given us the tools to do so...
In any case, again I wish you the best in your new job. Drop by when you can. More than likely, I'll still be here...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by forgiven, posted 12-05-2002 7:30 AM forgiven has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by John, posted 12-05-2002 9:48 AM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5982 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 43 of 52 (25577)
12-05-2002 10:47 AM
Reply to: Message 42 by John
12-05-2002 9:48 AM


quote:
I disagree, Quetzal. Go figure
Hey, it could happen.
quote:
It seems to me that every one of these discoveries has taken its toll.
Only on dogmatic inerrantism, my friend. You'll note, I hope, that there seems to be a fair selection of Christians still floating around. Second largest religious belief system in the world, and all that. Probably hang around for a long time. I don't care - as long as the rabid, carpet chewing fundies are removed from the equation - as they are forced to retreat one discovery at a time. That's what they get for clinging blindly to a book, instead of faith - an attitude that has been basically irrelevant since the Middle Ages...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by John, posted 12-05-2002 9:48 AM John has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by John, posted 12-05-2002 2:18 PM Quetzal has not replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5982 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 48 of 52 (25706)
12-06-2002 9:06 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by Karl
12-06-2002 7:59 AM


*applause* to Karl.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by Karl, posted 12-06-2002 7:59 AM Karl has not replied

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