Question about Thomistic Philosophy and Evolution.
#41
(05-10-2020, 12:24 PM)Melkite Wrote: But people use the existence of various galaxies to question the faith.  They use all kinds of examples from science to question the faith.  God didn't address any of them in scripture.  I don't see why evolution should be any different.

The galaxies example isn't a good one - that's people questioning the faith because they don't really want to believe. Nothing in Scripture says there aren't galaxies, and it does say God created the stars. The Bible also doesn't mention the pyramids or Abraham Lincoln or the Internet, either, and nobody says the existence of those disproves the Bible. And there's always Psalm 18, "The heavens shew forth the glory of God."

Evolution's different because it appears to contradict Genesis. There's a creation story, and it doesn't describe evolution, and for centuries people interpreted Genesis not in an evolutionary way. And if Adam evolved, he wasn't created from dust, and had parents, and if Eve evolved, she wasn't taken from Adam's side.
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#42
(05-10-2020, 12:54 PM)SeekerofChrist Wrote: My own opinion is that God formed the first man from the dust of the Earth, a special creation.  Whether or not other lifeforms evolved, including the so-called pre-human ancestors like Homo Erectus and so forth, is, in my opinion, a separate question.  Might God have created Adam from dust, but used a body that was similar to an existing animal species?

I share the same opinion, man is a special creation of the dust of the earth and the breath (spirit) of God.

As for your question, there is no question of similarities, there certainly are. The problem lies more in stating that man, who is a special creation, developed directly from these similar species. Which I would say no, due to the issues outlined above.

It has to be remembered that Adam was set as the master of creation because he is a composite of lesser, material creation, animality, with higher, spiritual creation, rationality. So it's not a surprise that we have physical commonalities with brute beasts, but, we have a rational soul, which also makes us share commonalities with pure spirits through intellect and will.
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#43
The notion that God "let" the human body evolve from lesser animals, and then at some point "infused" human souls into two hominids, separates God from the creation of man as made in His image. In a way, this position "gives" the physical body to science (essentially, "sure, it evolved randomly from natural processes over the course of many years"), but then "lets" God be the One who made "the soul." The way the secular world sees this position is that Catholics have basically caved in to the position of evolution, and hold only to an immaterial God who has power to create immaterial things. It is a toothless position; the secular person sees this as benign, since the claim is that basically God acts only in unseen ways that can be believed by people of faith. This position is unobtrusive to the secularist, because it makes a claim that does not infringe on their worldview in a substantial way. For the average Catholic, the Church's position is not really much different than what secular science says. It is an embarrassing position for the Church to hold, quite milquetoast, timidly asserting "some type" of God's power over creation, but overall accepting a secular scientific narrative.

Just about every reference to the creation of Adam in Scripture holds that he was created directly and immediately as an adult. There is no sense of a stumbling, irrational hominid who was suddenly (and comically) "zapped" with a soul thus making him human. Furthermore, this supposed hominid body would surely have been subject to disease and injury before receiving its "soul" from God, which does not fit remotely with any traditional sense of Adam and Eve being created in an original state of justice and perfection.

When the topic of creation arises, it usually seems to be an "all-or-nothing" approach to a fundamentalist view of Scripture, or a purely allegorical / symbolic reading of Genesis. I do not think that has to be the case. One can allow for many years, but also a direct creation of our first parents. The time element does not bother me as much, since God is outside of time.
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#44
Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

What was contained in that slime?
T h e   D u d e t t e   A b i d e s
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#45
(05-10-2020, 01:36 PM)LionHippo Wrote: Just about every reference to the creation of Adam in Scripture holds that he was created directly and immediately as an adult.  There is no sense of a stumbling, irrational hominid who was suddenly (and comically) "zapped" with a soul thus making him human.  Furthermore, this supposed hominid body would surely have been subject to disease and injury before receiving its "soul" from God, which does not fit remotely with any traditional sense of Adam and Eve being created in an original state of justice and perfection.

There wouldn't be any "zapping" involved, if a human soul was given to Adam at the moment of his conception. I don't believe Adam evolved at all, and God created him as an adult, but if one species can be born of another, as evolution requires, Adam would never have had a non-human body.
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#46
(05-10-2020, 07:14 AM)XavierSem Wrote: Hi Magister. Ok, if scientific data is irrelevant, let's use Scripture as interpreted by Liturgical Tradition.

I never wrote that scientific data is irrelevant, I said when there is a "Question about Thomistic Philosophy and Evolution" which is the title of this thread and pretty much what most of us were writing back and forth about until you decided to troll the thread with side point, that scientific data is not helpful.

Natural sciences don't dictate philosophical principles.

Neither does the liturgy or tradition, but I'll run with you on this tangent for a bit.

(05-10-2020, 07:14 AM)XavierSem Wrote: This is what the Roman Liturgy teaches us, "In the year 5199th from the creation of the world ... So do we apply lex orandi, lex credendi here?

You are citing the Martyrology, which is indeed one of the liturgical books. This would be a useful argument to a prima facie interpretation of Genesis if there were not other interpretations by the Fathers, or the Church herself.

The Church, however, explicitly since 1909 (the Pontifical Biblical Commission, approved specifically by Pope St Pius X, so clearly not "Modernist"), allowed "day" to be interpreted broadly, so long as the Catholic Faith were maintained.

The Fathers were widely varied on their reading of Genesis 1. Some take a 168-hour view. Others take a long-period (though thousands of years, not millions) view. St Augustine take an instantaneous view.

And among exegetes before the modern era many other dates were proposed for a young earth. Some hold 4004 B.C., for instance. So, if there are even in the YEC camp wide variations on time, we cannot then just use the Martyrology as definitive proof.

We also know that there are some errors in the Roman Martyrology. For instance on July 29, a martyr names Felix is listed. The present Martyrology identifies him with an unknown martyr whose relics were allegedly brought to Rome on July 29, but previous to that present edition the Martyrology very clearly identified this Felix as Pope St Felix II. However Felix II was an antipope and Semi-Arian heretic, installed by Constantius in place of the infamous Pope Liberius. Felix II also was not a martyr. The Catholic Encyclopedia admits this as an error and likely due to the loss of the story about Felix II and the misidentification of an unknown Felix buried on the via Aurelia who was a martyr.

The point is, while the Martyrology is a liturgical book, it is not reliable enough to use to start declaring doctrines from, if we could do this.

Your appeal to lex orandi lex credendi, however, is exactly what Pius XII condemns in Mediator Dei §46. While the Church does not hesitate to use the liturgy as a source to help understand and even support doctrines and dogmas, simply because some liturgical action or text indicates something does not immediately mean that this is some infallible truth.

So the procedure isn't merely to discover something in a liturgical text and then declare it as doctrine/dogma (as you seem to be suggesting we do), but for the Church to study and teach doctrine/dogma and use the liturgy as a source and argument for this.

But let us even assume all of what you suggest is correct and the liturgy is asserting that 5200 years before Christ's birth was the week of Creation. That means then that St Cyprian of Carthage (and others) were heretics, as he (in Treatises 11.11) says that the week of Creation is actually a 7000 year period :

Quote:As the first seven days in the divine arrangement containing seven thousand of years, as the seven spirits and seven angels which stand and go in and out before the face of God.

(05-10-2020, 07:14 AM)XavierSem Wrote: We can judge the doctrine of evolution by the atheistic and Communistic fruits it produces...

Possibly, but again, that has nothing to do with Thomistic Philosophy and Evolution.

(05-10-2020, 07:14 AM)XavierSem Wrote: I am not speaking to any current controversy on this thread.

Why post on the thread then? I hope not simply to parade around your ability to quote mine.

(05-10-2020, 07:14 AM)XavierSem Wrote: But long experience shows evolution leads step by step to unbelief and atheism.

That's bad argumentation. Experience shows Darwinian evolution sometimes (perhaps even often) leads to atheism, but just because sometimes an effect is seen, does not logically infer that the cause necessarily produces this effect. This is the probabalistic fallacy

(05-10-2020, 07:14 AM)XavierSem Wrote: Can a theory that is consistent with false theories, like chance and atheism be true? Truth is consistent with truth, but not with falsehood.

But if you paid attention to what was discussed here, and what Progressive Creationism and Theistic Evolution actually profess, you will see it necessary excludes chance and atheism.

So you are arguing against a Straw Man, which is what the Kolbe Center from which you have quote mined (and other YEC folks, sadly) loves to do.

It would be very nice if everyone discussing this topic and in their different schools would be willing to stop caricaturing the others, and actually engage in real discussion of the real principles involved, including the weakness of their own positions.

All three camps we've identified in this thread have weaknesses, and those need to be addressed, but what frustrates me as someone who wants to hear good theologians, philosophers and exegetes discuss this matter, is a seeming obsession with the Protestant-influenced YEC crowd to engage in Protestant-style argumentation and seemingly intentionally misunderstand their opponents, live in their own echo chamber and dogmatize their own school of thought as the only possible interpretation.

Unfortunately, since you have said you didn't intend to actually address the thread, you've done exactly that.
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#47
(05-10-2020, 02:34 PM)Paul Wrote:
(05-10-2020, 01:36 PM)LionHippo Wrote: Just about every reference to the creation of Adam in Scripture holds that he was created directly and immediately as an adult.  There is no sense of a stumbling, irrational hominid who was suddenly (and comically) "zapped" with a soul thus making him human.  Furthermore, this supposed hominid body would surely have been subject to disease and injury before receiving its "soul" from God, which does not fit remotely with any traditional sense of Adam and Eve being created in an original state of justice and perfection.

There wouldn't be any "zapping" involved, if a human soul was given to Adam at the moment of his conception. I don't believe Adam evolved at all, and God created him as an adult, but if one species can be born of another, as evolution requires, Adam would never have had a non-human body.

I think the objection here (at least philosophically) would be that it is repugnant to think that a pre-human hominid would give birth to a non-pre-human hominid. Kind begets kind, and there seems no potency in a pre-human hominid that would permit it to receive an infused rational soul when by nature a non-rational soul would have been educed out of the matter.

So Adam's mother would have not been human. By definition this would be contrary to nature, not merely above or beyond nature, and so Adam would have, by definition been a monster. I am not very comfortable with that, and I don't see an easy way around it. Admittedly, perhaps someone can propose a philosophically less repugnant modality.

For me, the idea of a special creation of Adam's body as well as his soul makes more sense, given that we know that angels can take up matter, arrange it into a convincing body and assume this merely material body to act as if they were human. If angels can do this (and if on an exterior level, why not also on the genetic level), then I don't see how it is so hard to imagine, even if we admit some long period for all other animals that God did not take the same materials and build a body which, in form was a perfected form of hominid, but with a rational soul infused.

Admittedly that is a hypothetical, but I think we would find that even the most ardent Theological Evolutionists would have no issue with that. So the result would be a human DNA that looks very similar to the other hominids, because it is, but it does not come biologically from them.

Thinking architecturally for a moment, the analogy would be that God who through some long process developed houses and buildings and plans for all of these (DNA) in some progressive manner, eventually decided to crown that Creation and so instead of taking a clone of a building and then calling it his Trump Tower. He instead took the plan for the best building yet made and modified it so it would be the perfection, then created it from basic materials and infused in it an entirely new form.

LionHippo had a good point that one does not have to accept that man's body was the product of some progressive change over time to accept that the rest of the universe was such a product, which, like I said above to Xavier is why Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are two separate topics (or at least that the creation and arrangement of the universe and man's creation are really actually separate topics).
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#48
(05-10-2020, 04:58 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: Admittedly that is a hypothetical, but I think we would find that even the most ardent Theological Evolutionists would have no issue with that. So the result would be a human DNA that looks very similar to the other hominids, because it is, but it does not come biologically from them.

It may be worthwhile to add that this is also a bit of the logical problem of most evolutionary systems: Common descent.

Genetically we do see commonalities and what could be interpreted to be variation from a common ancestor through mutation, but even if mutation were able to produce these changes, it would not logically follow that it did.

This is the existential fallacy.

It certainly is possible, but it is not necessary.

The commonality could be the "code" in the program.

Presume some computer code. If you look at other programs, some more developed, you see the same or similar code in them. It could be because of a self-replicating, self-modifying code. It could be that a programmer took the code and edited and expanded it for another purpose. It could be that the programmer built many programs and released them all at the same time, but because the mind planning was the same, there are many similarities, even shared code.

Common genetics do not prove common decent through time, but even if that did happen to most of the programs, there is no reason to think that the programmer could not step in and design a new master program wherein he decided to use algorithms and subroutines that he built for the other programs that worked well. One looking at the latter code could easily assume that it was the product of pure self-replicating and self-modifying code, even if it were not.

That would not be deception because there was not contained in this the purpose of communicating this. It would be an interpretation error based off of incorrect assumptions.
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#49
MagisterMusicae Wrote:Thinking architecturally for a moment, the analogy would be that God who through some long process developed houses and buildings and plans for all of these (DNA) in some progressive manner, eventually decided to crown that Creation and so instead of taking a clone of a building and then calling it his Trump Tower. He instead took the plan for the best building yet made and modified it so it would be the perfection, then created it from basic materials and infused in it an entirely new form.

Wouldn't any evolution at all pose the same problems of one animal coming from an animal of a different kind, as it does for Adam coming from a non-human? Or is it the rational soul alone that makes the situation repugnant? If there is no problem with all the rest of animals coming from and developing from other animals before it, I don't see how there could be a problem with humans coming from non-humans. To make all these designs and then decide to make your ultimate design with the other designs in mind, but not actually from them, seems to add an unnecessary component to the whole thing. I don't know what the term is, but it's whatever Occam's razor intends to nullify.

If the rational soul is what causes the problem, where did this Catholic philosophical concept of rational and non-rational souls come from? Originally? If it is based on Thomism, and I'm assuming Aristotelian philosophy supporting it, is it possible that this is just an erroneous understanding of the nature of souls? Are rational souls in humans and irrational souls in animals and plants, as the form of their bodies and, I guess, their lifeforce, in any way an intrinsically necessary understanding from fundamental Christian dogma?
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#50
(05-10-2020, 05:18 PM)Melkite Wrote: Wouldn't any evolution at all pose the same problems of one animal coming from an animal of a different kind, as it does for Adam coming from a non-human? 

Yes. That was what I threw out much earlier on as regards Theological Evolutionism. Things have a particular nature which is what makes them unique from other things. It is that "form" or formal cause which distinguishes this animal from that. It would be just as repugnant for a cow to give birth to a monkey. Kind begets kind.

The natural objection is that then what about a mule or hinny. Biologically these are different species, but in act or behavior we do not see much difference, and so they might share the same nature, some "equine" nature, and merely be accidentally different.

(05-10-2020, 05:18 PM)Melkite Wrote: If the rational soul is what causes the problem, where did this Catholic philosophical concept of rational and non-rational souls come from?  Originally?  If it is based on Thomism, and I'm assuming Aristotelian philosophy supporting it, is it possible that this is just an erroneous understanding of the nature of souls?  Are rational souls in humans and irrational souls in animals and plants, as the form of their bodies and, I guess, their lifeforce, in any way an intrinsically necessary understanding from fundamental Christian dogma?

It is Aristotelian, but not very far off from Platonic thought. Plato just thought that the natures were really existing in a world of ideas, and the creature is just the image of these, not that natures did not exist. In fact for him, the natures were more real than reality.

So, no, I don't think it ends up being possible that this is all just a erroneous understanding of the nature of souls, though I am just limiting myself here to the Thomistic question asked, since that's the philosophy I am more familiar with, and have only briefly studied other systems.
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