Evolution Must Go
(11-30-2012, 03:56 PM)Melkite Wrote: Yeah, I wouldn't call myself a modernist.  I don't believe in subjective truth, for starters.

Then why were you behaving like a subjectivist just a few pages ago?
(11-29-2012, 04:47 PM)Melkite Wrote: Well, yeah, spiritually, I understand that, that's why I believe the Catholic Church is the true Church, and why I'm Catholic instead of Orthodox or some other sect.  But how do I know I'm right and not the Pentecostal who is just as sure that his church is right?
(11-29-2012, 02:43 PM)Melkite Wrote: I guess my hold up with it is, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, all believe with equal fervor that their faith is correct.  And yet we believe they are wrong.  So, when our faith makes the same claims as people we know are wrong, and we offer nothing in addition to give any reason why we should be trusted over them, how can we be so sure we're the right ones?

Anyway, I'm glad to find out you're not a modernist and that you believe in objective truth, but I think your lines of questioning here are definitely flirting with subjectivism.

(11-30-2012, 03:56 PM)Melkite Wrote: You likewise seem inordinately strict when it comes to the faith, in areas where such strictness is not necessary.

I'm sure I must appear that way to someone who considers Original Sin a "non-essential" doctrine of the faith!  :LOL:

I may seem inordinately strict when I say this, but it's a plain fact: Original Sin is an essential doctrine.  It cannot be retooled in light of scientific discovery.  I can't help it.  That's just the way it goes.
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It is very strange to me that Original Sin is considered non-essential by some but it seems that way.  I wonder if it goes hand in hand with not taking other important things seriously.  Like the existence of hell, and obedience?  I personally ask people what their stance is on evolution before I listen to their advice about the faith.  To me Genesis is foundational, and if you haven't got the foundation right, I can't rely on anything else you say.
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Once one denies original sin, it becomes very easy to reject the supernatural and become a naturalist.
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(11-30-2012, 05:26 PM)Axona Wrote:
(11-30-2012, 10:49 AM)JayneK Wrote: To the extent that the theory of evolution is true, it will agree with Church teaching. Science is always open to reformulation as new data becomes available.  [b]If we do not yet have enough information to show how evolution is compatible with Church teaching, we can wait.

I basically agree with everything Jayne wrote. The right approach is to wait and see if the two can be reconciled. It is not to go about rejecting whole scientific theories outright. Certain aspects of evolution have been modified before, such as the mode of heredity, so it is not an outrageous proposition that new information could lead to a more apparent reconciliation between the two.

Axona, that's a fair position to take.  I would caution against it if only because the modifications to the theory aren't as drastic as they were in the past.  There are little controversies to put to rest, but with DNA it seems to be getting more streamlined.  Genomic sequencing and DNA modelling are considered a massive benefit, and although the estimates come with a margin of error, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find scientists who believe the DNA modelling surveys will be falsified completely or overhauled radically. 

On a different thread, for example, a poster mentioned that Y-Chromosomal Adam was (at an early stage in the modeling) projected to have lived 60,000 years ago, and then a better analysis put him at 140,000 years ago.  And that's fine.  The same goes for bottlenecking: no scientist is running around out there thumping his chest and loudly proclaiming that a more accurate number than 1,200 won't be modeled later on.  The 1,200 number is presently simply their best estimate, but remember, it's considered the minimum: scientists don't think it could realistically go much lower than that without totally confounding the diversity found in genome sequences from different ethnicities.  Statistically, the chances of it being found to be 2 are about the same as Y-Chromosomal Adam being found to have lived in the 12th century!

Richard Dawkins has said that if he had to choose between the fossil record and DNA in order to prove evolution, he would opt without a second thought for DNA.  So the evidence on that front is basically considered the strongest, and that's the evidence that is compromising Genesis with much more severity than the fossil record ever did.  The openness of the fossil record is what enabled Pius XII to give evolution some leeway in Humani Generis, but the game has changed a lot since then, and really not to the Church's benefit.  If people want to wait for better results, that's okay.  But as I said to Jayne, I think that's a total long shot to bet on.
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(11-30-2012, 05:40 PM)miss_fluffy Wrote: It is very strange to me that Original Sin is considered non-essential by some but it seems that way.  I wonder if it goes hand in hand with not taking other important things seriously.  Like the existence of hell, and obedience?  I personally ask people what their stance is on evolution before I listen to their advice about the faith.  To me Genesis is foundational, and if you haven't got the foundation right, I can't rely on anything else you say.

Terrific post, Miss Fluffy.

Fortunately, I think Melkite is the only person on this thread who considers Original Sin to be non-essential, and even then, I don't know if he really means it that way, because he does seem to be willing to do all sorts contortions in order to save it.  I think he realizes in some sense that it is foundational.  Unfortunately, there are many Catholics out there who, like you said, don't consider it essential at all and are content to treat it as a myth.  As Phillipus pointed out, the whole faith begins to crumble after that point.  I don't think anyone, evolutionist or creationist, can deny that it's had some really bad repercussions for the faith since its inception.  That's why I think the evolution question is a crucial discussion for Catholics.  I agree with you 100%!
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(11-30-2012, 02:41 PM)Hanno Wrote: No.  But that doesn't answer the question at all.  First off, Christianity is a universal religion, and Genesis was "originally written" for everyone in every age, otherwise it's just a mythical Hebrew folk tale.  We're Catholics, so we can't take that view.  Secondly, why do you suppose the sacred author was obligated to set the story in a locale familiar to the people who first heard it?  The ancient Jews knew what north, south, east, and west meant.  Instead of identifying the Tigris and the Euphrates, the text (if evolution is true) could've said "in a distant land far to the south, south beyond the lands of the Egyptians, the Nubians, and the Ethiopians."  It would've given an orientation to the Jews that they could just as easily appreciate as the Tigris and the Euphrates.  It also would've been in concert with Darwin's discovery.  So why isn't it?

Genesis most certainly was written for people in a particular location.  This isn't an either/or equation.  It can be written for both a particular group and for all people.  But it was primarily written for the Jews, in their cultural context, just as the rest of the OT was, particular the history books which really have no importance outside a Jewish historical context.  So, I don't think the author was obligated to set it in a particular locale, any more than he was obligated to recount explicit historical fact.  This is our primal religion.  I'm not so naive as to believe thousands of years of Jews and pre-Jews were granted an infallible game of telephone prior to Moses writing it down.  Unless of course you have some infallible Church teaching to suggest that?  I'll wait....
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(11-30-2012, 05:55 PM)Hanno Wrote: Axona, that's a fair position to take.  I would caution against it if only because the modifications to the theory aren't as drastic as they were in the past.  There are little controversies to put to rest, but with DNA it seems to be getting more streamlined.  Genomic sequencing and DNA modelling are considered a massive benefit, and although the estimates come with a margin of error, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find scientists who believe the DNA modelling surveys will be falsified completely or overhauled radically. 

On a different thread, for example, a poster mentioned that Y-Chromosomal Adam was (at an early stage in the modeling) projected to have lived 60,000 years ago, and then a better analysis put him at 140,000 years ago.  And that's fine.  The same goes for bottlenecking: no scientist is running around out there thumping his chest and loudly proclaiming that a more accurate number than 1,200 won't be modeled later on.  The 1,200 number is presently simply their best estimate, but remember, it's considered the minimum: scientists don't think it could realistically go much lower than that without totally confounding the diversity found in genome sequences from different ethnicities.  Statistically, the chances of it being found to be 2 are about the same as Y-Chromosomal Adam being found to have lived in the 12th century!

Richard Dawkins has said that if he had to choose between the fossil record and DNA in order to prove evolution, he would opt without a second thought for DNA.  So the evidence on that front is basically considered the strongest, and that's the evidence that is compromising Genesis with much more severity than the fossil record ever did.  The openness of the fossil record is what enabled Pius XII to give evolution some leeway in Humani Generis, but the game has changed a lot since then, and really not to the Church's benefit.  If people want to wait for better results, that's okay.  But as I said to Jayne, I think that's a total long shot to bet on.

Well, we can see the effects of extreme population bottlenecks and low genetic diversity right now. Certain endangered animal populations which are small in number have a hard time propagating due to low genetic diversity. They end up contracting all sorts of diseases due to inbreeding and end up dying out. And this happens when human relatives marry each other over generations. It's a pretty observable phenomenon. So unless you want to reject the genetic consequences behind inbreeding / incest too. . .I think it would be better to reconcile science with Genesis.

So in order to address the population size dilemma:
Maybe Adam and Eve had hundreds of children, and their children had hundreds of children, and God allowed for a high number of mutations to occur that would allow for all of them to be genetically diverse. :)

These children spread out all over the world, but only the bright ones retained knowledge of agriculture, wine-making, city-building, etc., and these people are the ones described in the Bible. The not-so-bright children ended up as hunter-gatherers, and some groups migrated to North America and other parts of the world.
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(11-30-2012, 05:30 PM)Hanno Wrote: Then why were you behaving like a subjectivist just a few pages ago?
(11-29-2012, 04:47 PM)Melkite Wrote: Well, yeah, spiritually, I understand that, that's why I believe the Catholic Church is the true Church, and why I'm Catholic instead of Orthodox or some other sect.  But how do I know I'm right and not the Pentecostal who is just as sure that his church is right?
(11-29-2012, 02:43 PM)Melkite Wrote: I guess my hold up with it is, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, all believe with equal fervor that their faith is correct.  And yet we believe they are wrong.  So, when our faith makes the same claims as people we know are wrong, and we offer nothing in addition to give any reason why we should be trusted over them, how can we be so sure we're the right ones?

Anyway, I'm glad to find out you're not a modernist and that you believe in objective truth, but I think your lines of questioning here are definitely flirting with subjectivism.

I'm not sure you understand what subjectivism is if you are using those quotes to suggest I was being subjective.  I wasn't saying Catholicism is true for Catholics, Protestantism true for Protestants, etc.  I was considering the hypothetical possibility that insofar as Catholics believe our faith to be true, we are objectively wrong in that belief.

Quote:I'm sure I must appear that way to someone who considers Original Sin a "non-essential" doctrine of the faith!  :LOL:

I may seem inordinately strict when I say this, but it's a plain fact: Original Sin is an essential doctrine.  It cannot be retooled in light of scientific discovery.  I can't help it.  That's just the way it goes.

I never said O.S. was not essential.  Humanity is too thoroughly distorted for there not to be some inherent flaw in our nature.  But perhaps I wasn't originally clear.  I reject that the peculiar understanding of O.S. subscribed to by Sts. Augustine and Aquinas are essential to the faith.  Seeing as St. Aug.'s contemporaries and those who came before him did not subscribe to those same peculiarities, they can't possibly be a part of what IS essential about Original Sin.
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(11-30-2012, 05:55 PM)Hanno Wrote: On a different thread, for example, a poster mentioned that Y-Chromosomal Adam was (at an early stage in the modeling) projected to have lived 60,000 years ago, and then a better analysis put him at 140,000 years ago.  And that's fine.  The same goes for bottlenecking: no scientist is running around out there thumping his chest and loudly proclaiming that a more accurate number than 1,200 won't be modeled later on.  The 1,200 number is presently simply their best estimate, but remember, it's considered the minimum: scientists don't think it could realistically go much lower than that without totally confounding the diversity found in genome sequences from different ethnicities.  Statistically, the chances of it being found to be 2 are about the same as Y-Chromosomal Adam being found to have lived in the 12th century!

Oh, is that all?  Congratulations!  You've discovered the main character flaw of scientists - an inability to see the forest for the trees.  You've gotten yourself all worked up about a supposed satanic deception, when if this latest post of yours is accurate, scientists don't actually have proof of a minimum of 1200 original humans, they just can't conceive of a likelier hypothesis to explain it that fits within their current tunnel-vision.  Smdh.
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(11-30-2012, 06:38 PM)Axona Wrote: So in order to address the population size dilemma:
Maybe Adam and Eve had hundreds of children, and their children had hundreds of children, and God allowed for a high number of mutations to occur that would allow for all of them to be genetically diverse.

These children spread out all over the world, but only the bright ones retained knowledge of agriculture, wine-making, city-building, etc., and these people are the ones described in the Bible. The not-so-bright children ended up as hunter-gatherers, and some groups migrated to North America and other parts of the world.

But ... that doesn't reconcile Adam & Eve with the established science on these things.  Do you honestly want to dispute that migrations into North & South America happened after the advent of agriculture, wine-making, and city-building?  I mean, that is a seriously novel hypothesis that goes completely against the grain of an early dispersion of peoples.  As for the vaguely racist (and I presume unintended) implication of "the not-so-bright children" ending up as hunter-gatherers ... well, I'm not even going touch that one.  All I can say is, I cannot bring myself to believe that race or ethnicity has any bearing on intelligence.
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