Theistic Evolution


#21

Hello, you didn’t answer whether you think the earth is 7000 years old, or 4.5 billion years old. The 4.5 billion figure has plenty of evidence, the 7000 figure has none. We’ve known the 4.5 billion figure since the 1950s. If an old earth, your objections to “death and suffering before humans” is answered. Animals died and suffered before the first humans.

David << Language means one can convey ideas, and since intellect (responsible for ideas) is part of the soul, you cannot have it both ways. You are arguing that there were animals that looked exactly like humans but had no soul who had offspring who all of a sudden did have a soul (mind +will). That’s rediculous! >>

Actually, one of my articles I linked to lays out this criteria:

  1. Man has self-awareness.
  2. Man has language.
  3. Man has religion.

OK, Adam/Eve’s parents lacked one of those things, therefore they did not have souls, they were not truly fully human. When God infused the soul into Adam/Eve, they gained all three of those things, they were truly fully human at that point.

Nothing ridiculous, just trying to reconcile the facts of science, a Catholic theology, and responsible Genesis interpretation. Other folks (the Pope for one) have done this as well, better than I can: Adam, Eve, and the Hominid Fossil Record

Phil P


#22

Tim << You’re right, you didn’t say that it can’t be falsified. My mistake. What you said was that it can’t be tested. That is an incorrect statement. >>

On the testability of creationism, in one sense it can be tested (e.g. “there was a worldwide flood, and the earth is 7000 years old”), in another sense it cannot be tested (e.g. “there was a worldwide flood, the earth is 7000 years old, but GOD made it APPEAR OLD and REMOVED all evidence of the flood’s existence”). I guess I meant that creationism cannot be tested in the latter sense, meaning something that GOD does supernaturally cannot be tested.

Gish/Morris quoted in the 1981-82 “Arkansas Creationist” Trial:

“Creation. By creation we mean the bringing into being by a supernatural Creator of the basic kinds of plants and animals by the process of sudden, or fiat, creation…We do not know how the Creator created, what processes He used, for He used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe. This is why we refer to creation as Special Creation. We cannot discover by scientific investigation anything about the creative processes used by the Creator.” (Gish, Evolution: The Fossils Say No!, page 40)

“Stephen Jay Gould states that creationists claim creation is a scientific theory. This is a false accusation. Creationists have repeatedly stated that neither creation nor evolution is a scientific theory (and each is equally religious).” (Gish, letter to editor of Discover magazine, July 1981)

“…it is…quite impossible to determine anything about Creation through a study of present processes, because present processes are not creative in character. If man wished to know anything about Creation (the time of Creation, the duration of Creation, the order of Creation, the methods of Creation, or anything else) his sole source of true information is that of divine revelation. God was there when it happened. We were not there…Therefore, we are completely limited to what God has seen fit to tell us, and this information is in His written Word. This is our textbook on the science of Creation!” (Henry Morris, Studies in the Bible and Science, page 114)

But Tim (Orogeny) and I are basically on the same page here. :thumbsup:

Phil P


#23

Let’s assume (this would be a big assumption) that there is absolutely no creation story in the Bible for people to misinterpret, and never has been. So we have no history of the 6,000-year dating, the “young-earth” idea, the six literal days of creation, and so on. Based on that assumption, let me ask some questions (before writing long posts in reply, let me point out that these are yes / no questions):

  1. Would geologists arrive at the conclusion that the Earth is 6,000 years old, BASED ON THEIR EVIDENCE?
  2. Would astronomers arrive at the conclusion that the universe is 6,000 years old, based on their evidence?
  3. Would archeologists and biologists arrive at the conclusion that animal species have only been around for 6,000 years, based on their evidence?
  4. Would archeologists and anthropologists arrive at the conclusion that the human race has only been around for 6,000 years, based on their evidence?

Obviously, the 6,000-year “young-earth” idea is based only on a certain interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis, not on a reading of the actual evidence. (Before you start listing books by Jonathan Sarfati, Ken Ham, and the rest–I have them and have read them.) Furthermore, this interpretation of Genesis is not necessarily the interpretation held by the Catholic Church.

For example, go back 1600 years to Augustine. It is not the case that the Bible necessarily clashes with scientific discovery, but it perhaps is the case that scientific discovery clashes with some Christians’ interpretations of the Bible. And, as Augustine put it, when historical or scientific discoveries are found to be in conflict with our biblical interpretations, we should take a hard look first of all, not at the discoveries, but at our interpretations. In his article “Augustine and the Interpretation of Genesis,” writer Phil Dowe paraphrases Augustine’s position:

“There may also be external reasons for not accepting the literal interpretation of Scripture. This is where science enters the picture. These external reasons also rely on the premise that there is one God who has produced both creation and Scripture. This means that it is impossible that we should find science contradicting Scripture, or Scripture contradicting science. Augustine’s sense of science refers to that science which is conclusively proven and contradicts Scripture. In such cases, Scripture must be taken metaphorically. In fact, it is only in cases where science has been conclusively proven, that we may reinterpret Scripture. Augustine also urges that Christians must not be what he calls ‘doggedly literal minded’ in continuing to insist on a literal interpretation of Scripture in the face of proven science. He warns that Christians who do not take this advice will bring shame to their religion and its Scripture and prevent people from ever coming to accept what is important in Scripture.” (end of quote)

Contrary to some Young-Earth creationists, taking Augustine’s advice regarding the interpretation of Scripture does not mean we must place the authority of scientific findings over the authority of the Bible, as if God’s Word were “outranked” by advances in scientific knowledge. However, it is true that Augustine would place the authority of scientific knowledge over tendentious and arguable interpretations of the Bible.

SO: Before I’d be willing to continue on in this discussion, let’s have an answer to the four questions listed above. Yes / no? And here are two more:

  1. If the universe is in fact billions of years old, does that mean it would not require a Creator?
  2. If the universe is in fact billions of years old, does that do anything to Catholic and / or Protestant theology?

My answer to all six questions is “no.”


#24

cpayne

Q1: PhilVaz, aren’t you a geologist? How do you determine the Earth’s age? Using sedimentary layers epecially, what is the youngest that you see the Earth could be? I’d defer to your superior knowledge here as long as it was not based on carbon (C14) dating

Q2; It could be calculated since the Universe is expanding, how long ago there would have been a point of Unity. From my elementary knowledge of cosmology,my guess is that the Universe is much older than 6000 years, maybe a many miliion, but not billions.

Q3. Ties to question 1, but such things as Noah’s Ark, tower of Babel etc are in question still historically. So I’d answer this one a strong maybe. However, a biologist programmed at University to believe in NDE would not, of course. I would say they could be wrong.

Q4. There certainly isn’t a seemingly endless backwards line of civilisation, but there are certainly relics that are old (like Aztec, etc.) I honestly don’t see enough anthropological evidence for civilisation to be miilions of years old. No way. Maybe more than 6000, but not more than say 100,000 years. That’s honest.

Q5: No (I agree)

Q6: Yes it can, depending on how far you want to go with it. Jesus’ miracles are also unscientific. Peter striking people dead is unscientific. So yes, if one relies completely on the rationality of naturalism and the physical sciences, one can deny any spiritual reality at all. Visit the above forum and let some atheists make the point much better than I.

PhilVas,

Sorry, I lost the thread, and looked but couldn’t find it. I don’t know how old the Earth is. I would say it is as young as you (as a geologist) say it could possibly be. I was not there, and neither were you. The RCC as I said has not ruled infallibly on this issue, so I am free to beleive what I like.

Have you visited the forum that I posted? You may win some converts there, or you may be made to see that going too far the path of naturalism can lead one to deny the supernatural entirely.

Very quickly, lets get to the crux. The supernatural cannot be proven by natural means (the laws of science). So hardcore atheists say nothing exists beyond the knowable, natural universe (matter and energy), To believe otherwise (eg in a Creator), since it cannot be proven requires faith. Faith comes from hearing the word of God. So what is more important, science or God? Why not use science for building bridges, cars, medical help, etc. And use spirituality for morality, comfort, meaning to life.

Science answers the how.
Religion answers the why.
I see little to no need to reconcile the two, but each as tools with different uses.


#25

cpayne

Q1: PhilVaz, aren’t you a geologist? How do you determine the Earth’s age? Using sedimentary layers epecially, what is the youngest that you see the Earth could be? I’d defer to your superior knowledge here as long as it was not based on carbon (C14) dating

Q2; It could be calculated since the Universe is expanding, how long ago there would have been a point of Unity. From my elementary knowledge of cosmology,my guess is that the Universe is much older than 6000 years, maybe a many miliion, but not billions.

Q3. Ties to question 1, but such things as Noah’s Ark, tower of Babel etc are in question still historically. So I’d answer this one a strong maybe. However, a biologist programmed at University to believe in NDE would not, of course. I would say they could be wrong.

Q4. There certainly isn’t a seemingly endless backwards line of civilisation, but there are certainly relics that are old (like Aztec, etc.) I honestly don’t see enough anthropological evidence for civilisation to be miilions of years old. No way. Maybe more than 6000, but not more than say 100,000 years. That’s honest.

Q5: No (I agree)

Q6: Yes it can, depending on how far you want to go with it. Jesus’ miracles are also unscientific. Peter striking people dead is unscientific. So yes, if one relies completely on the rationality of naturalism and the physical sciences, one can deny any spiritual reality at all. Visit the above forum and let some atheists make the point much better than I.

PhilVas,

Sorry, I lost the thread, and looked but couldn’t find it. I don’t know how old the Earth is. I would say it is as young as you (as a geologist) say it could possibly be. I was not there, and neither were you. The RCC as I said has not ruled infallibly on this issue, so I am free to beleive what I like.

Have you visited the forum that I posted? You may win some converts there, or you may be made to see that going too far the path of naturalism can lead one to deny the supernatural entirely.

Very quickly, lets get to the crux. The supernatural cannot be proven by natural means (the laws of science). So hardcore atheists say nothing exists beyond the knowable, natural universe (matter and energy), To believe otherwise (eg in a Creator), since it cannot be proven requires faith. Faith comes from hearing the word of God. So what is more important, science or God? Why not use science for building bridges, cars, medical help, etc. And use spirituality for morality, comfort, meaning to life.

Science answers the how.
Religion answers the why.
I see little to no need to reconcile the two, but each as tools with different uses.


#26

cpayne

Q1: PhilVaz, aren’t you a geologist? How do you determine the Earth’s age? Using sedimentary layers epecially, what is the youngest that you see the Earth could be? I’d defer to your superior knowledge here as long as it was not based on carbon (C14) dating

Q2; It could be calculated since the Universe is expanding, how long ago there would have been a point of Unity. From my elementary knowledge of cosmology,my guess is that the Universe is much older than 6000 years, maybe a many miliion, but not billions.

Q3. Ties to question 1, but such things as Noah’s Ark, tower of Babel etc are in question still historically. So I’d answer this one a strong maybe. However, a biologist programmed at University to believe in NDE would not, of course. I would say they could be wrong.

Q4. There certainly isn’t a seemingly endless backwards line of civilisation, but there are certainly relics that are old (like Aztec, etc.) I honestly don’t see enough anthropological evidence for civilisation to be miilions of years old. No way. Maybe more than 6000, but not more than say 100,000 years. That’s honest.

Q5: No (I agree)

Q6: Yes it can, depending on how far you want to go with it. Jesus’ miracles are also unscientific. Peter striking people dead is unscientific. So yes, if one relies completely on the rationality of naturalism and the physical sciences, one can deny any spiritual reality at all. Visit the above forum and let some atheists make the point much better than I.

PhilVas,

Sorry, I lost the thread, and looked but couldn’t find it. I don’t know how old the Earth is. I would say it is as young as you (as a geologist) say it could possibly be. I was not there, and neither were you. The RCC as I said has not ruled infallibly on this issue, so I am free to beleive what I like.

Have you visited the forum that I posted? You may win some converts there, or you may be made to see that going too far the path of naturalism can lead one to deny the supernatural entirely.

Very quickly, lets get to the crux. The supernatural cannot be proven by natural means (the laws of science). So hardcore atheists say nothing exists beyond the knowable, natural universe (matter and energy), To believe otherwise (eg in a Creator), since it cannot be proven requires faith. Faith comes from hearing the word of God. So what is more important, science or God? Why not use science for building bridges, cars, medical help, etc. And use spirituality for morality, comfort, meaning to life.

Science answers the how.
Religion answers the why.
I see little to no need to reconcile the two, but each as tools with different uses.


#27

There is a lot of evidence for evolution:

talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

However, the same can be said of Creationism:

answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/young.asp

Which is true, I don’t know but I’m inclined to believe Young Earth or Old Earth Creationism.


#28

I thought this thread was finished. I’m not the geologist, that’s Tim (Orogeny). :thumbsup: I have however summarized the evidence for an old earth here based on Dalrymple and other professional geologists:

The Age of the Earth from 4004 BC to AD 2002 edited by C.L.E. Lewis and S.J. Knell (Geological Society Special Publication No 190, 2001)
The Age of the Earth by G. Brent Dalrymple (Stanford University Press, 1991)

The Popes since Pius XII have explicitly accepted the ancient age of the earth (link provides evidence). The figure is indeed billions not millions (about 14 or 15 billion for the universe, 4.5 - 4.6 billion for the earth). Again check Dalrymple.

Once you accept any animals lived and died before humans, your initial objection / question to me about “death before sin” is dealt with. There was plenty of animal death before Adam/Eve.

As for human civilizations, I would have to look that up. But the Australian Aborigines go back 40,000 - 50,000 years. Homo sapiens as a species however go back at least 100,000 years, probably closer to 200,000. See the links I provided earlier. This is well known. I thought you said you were a “scientist.” :confused:

There’s not much else to disagree with in your post. I agree science concerns data, measures natural things, and answers the what and how, religion deals with the supernatural and answers the who and why. And Genesis 1-11 has some figurative / allegorical statements. The flood (Gen 6-9) need not be historical, and can be local.

Phil P


#29

A quibble with “civilizations”: I had asked about the age of the human race, which goes back farther than the age of civilizations. “Civilizations” is a more technical term–to qualify as a civilization, a society usually has to have an urban population, based by water, with agriculture and a history (which usually means some form of writing). These only go back a few thousand years.

Well, I’ve had my say. So long, everybody. Vaya con Dios.


#30

True about civilizations, something I need to look up. And now…

We’ve edited the Wikipedia article on

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_and_the_Roman_Catholic_Church

The latest edit has:

In a book titled Creation and Evolution (in German, Schoepfung und Evolution) published on 11 April 2007, the pope states that “the question is not to either make a decision for a creationism that fundamentally excludes science, or for an evolutionary theory that covers over its own gaps and does not want to see the questions that reach beyond the methodological possibilities of natural science,” and that “I find it important to underline that the theory of evolution implies questions that must be assigned to philosophy and which themselves lead beyond the realms of science.”

In commenting on statements by his predecessor, he writes that “it is also true that the theory of evolution is not a complete, scientifically proven theory.” Though commenting that experiments in a controlled environment were limited as “we cannot haul 10,000 generations into the laboratory,” he does not endorse creationism or intelligent design. He defends theistic evolution, the reconciliation between science and religion already held by Catholics. In discussing evolution, he writes that “The process itself is rational despite the mistakes and confusion as it goes through a narrow corridor choosing a few positive mutations and using low probability…This…inevitably leads to a question that goes beyond science…where did this rationality come from?” to which he answers that it comes from the “creative reason” of God.

Phil P


closed #31

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