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Switch to Forum Live View Problems for Theistic Evolution?
2 years ago  ::  Apr 18, 2012 - 2:45PM #21
Oncomintrain
Posts: 3,044

Apr 18, 2012 -- 2:28PM, upsala81 wrote:


Yes, sacred texts might be limiting.  Perhaps include- defining beliefs- oral and written mythologies and so on.





I'd certainly agree that sacred texts -- being generally static and authoratative -- would be prime culprits.


But I would say any system of thought that attributes specific qualities, behavior, or history to God, wherein those attributes interact with empirically observable reality, has at least the potential to come into "tension" with the findings of science.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 18, 2012 - 9:23PM #22
lucaspa
Posts: 557

Apr 16, 2012 -- 1:41AM, Btheist wrote:

Maybe the line of thought is that mutations are "random", which would contradict the idea that God has a plan for how things will turn out. But I don't think mutations are truly random because at least on the macroscopic level phenomena are pretty well determined. Maybe quantum indeterminacy poses such a problem, but not biological evolution.



Evolution uses "random" here in a special context:  Variations are random only with respect to the needs of the individual or the population.  In a climate growing warmer, just as many deer with longer fur will be born as those with shorter fur.  That's it. Selection, of course, is not random.  It is the opposite of random.  The deer with shorter fur will do better.


As it happens, evolution is one way of making the indeterminancy at the quantum level visible at the macro level.  Yes, many mutations are due to quantum events.  The biology of translation of DNA and embryonic development make those indeterminant events visible in the organism. 

Or Perhaps it's the fact that evolution makes belief in a creator God unecessary. While I would agree that evolution dispatches Paley's watchmaker argument, I don't think many people believe in God purely on that basis.



Evolution does not make God unnecessary.  What it does is make direct manufacture by God unnecessary.  Those are 2 different things.  Paley's argument is that God has to directlly manufacture species or parts of them.  However, according to Christian theology God is necessary in any and every material process we discover via science.  Christian theology is that God sustains the universe.  When hydrogen and water burn to make water, it does so only because God wills that reaction to take place.  It's just that God wills it each and every time.

"If sound science appears to contradict the Bible, we may be sure that it is our interpretation of the Bible that is at fault."  Christian Observer, 1832, pg. 437

"Christians should look on evolution simply as the method by which God works."  James McCosh, theologian and President of Princeton, The Religious Aspects of Evolution, 2d ed. 1890, pg 68.
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2012 - 10:28AM #23
newchurchguy
Posts: 3,585

Apr 18, 2012 -- 9:23PM, lucaspa wrote:


 


Evolution uses "random" here in a special context:  Variations are random only with respect to the needs of the individual or the population.  In a climate growing warmer, just as many deer with longer fur will be born as those with shorter fur.  That's it. Selection, of course, is not random.  It is the opposite of random.  The deer with shorter fur will do better.




Lucas,


"If sound science appears to contradict the Bible, we may be sure that it is our interpretation of the Bible that is at fault."  Christian Observer, 1832, pg. 437


You are an educated person.  I would strongly agree with your quote, as to matching reality with revelation.  Yet, why isn't it used as a heuristic method, matching what is empirical in nature, logic and ethics - with what is God's Word.


 In my religious organization there is a long history of doing this. 


Your first definition of random is well expressed, as random is always in relation to some ordered state of affairs (SoA).  You suggest that biological expression is random to biological organisms and their societies.  In general this is true.


However, modern science has revealed through gathering actual data that there are ordered patterns that reveal strategic activity.  I have posted many times references to published work showing that genomes become non-random in under environmental stress (Darwin in the Genome).  Further - gene regulation effective during the life of a single organism also very strongly creates adaptation.  Gene regulation also responds to the social signals of organisms in groups.


While these processes are not so obvious - they are very casual in evolution.  There is no absolutism pertaining to random responses by iving things (non-ordered for goal-seeking SoA).  We can debate the truth tables generated by the data - but I will be full of citations to these facts.


 


Second: variation - an essential and foundational part of evolution - is seen as coming FROM the Lord into His creation.  At a recent lecture (Swedenborg Scientific Association) this was highlighted by references to Steven Wolfram's New Kind of Science, where he models the algorithmic origins of complexity and how its math rules dictate "exploration" of environments both physical and informational.


Explorations of informational spaces with adaptation as a goal - is a good definition of the design Palley was reaching for.


 And lastly -- SELECTION.  Moral selection is described specifically as the goal of the Lord.


 The selection process is clearly based on "survival of the fittest" and notes that the fitness criteria are that of innocence and the ability to be concerned for the greater good.


Most imagine a "person of god" as if themselves picking and choosing.  The New Church view of this selection - is people who ARE NOT evolved throw themselves out of "heaven".  They cannot stand the environment of Love and caring.


So the two tenets of evolution's designing capability - infinite variation and selection - are foundational parts of God's Word.


 

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2012 - 12:35PM #24
Oncomintrain
Posts: 3,044

Apr 19, 2012 -- 10:28AM, newchurchguy wrote:


 The selection process is clearly based on "survival of the fittest" and notes that the fitness criteria are that of innocence and the ability to be concerned for the greater good.


Most imagine a "person of god" as if themselves picking and choosing.  The New Church view of this selection - is people who ARE NOT evolved throw themselves out of "heaven".  They cannot stand the environment of Love and caring.


So the two tenets of evolution's designing capability - infinite variation and selection - are foundational parts of God's Word.




NCG-


Obviously, I don't particularly share your view, but your religious convictions are your own.


I have trouble relating your "moral evolution" in any way to the mechanisms of biological evolution. Biological evolution, after all, is posited to occur in populations over the course of many successive generations. Even the "better-than-random" intra-generational adaptive factors you mention are posited to be a product of that process. Also necessary to the biological-evolutionary mechanism is that individuals reproduce AFTER the selection event.


So from where I'm sitting, if this moral evolution was in any way analogous to biological evolution, then A) souls already in heaven would have to be producing more souls on Earth... somehow (or souls that reach heaven reincarnate on Earth or something...), and B) humanity as a whole ought to be approaching some moral "target" over historical time, which isn't (in my view) particularly in evidence.


Even if we treat moral evolution as something that happens within an individual, the analogy to biological evolution seems inapt to me. After all, if the selection event is ascent into heaven, then the selection is happening AFTER evolution, rather than functioning as PART of evolution.


Perhaps you don't mean to analogize moral and biological evolution at all... I'm never sure, with your posts.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2012 - 1:47PM #25
newchurchguy
Posts: 3,585

OCT,


Nice to converse with you again.  The term evolution is not generated by the concepts of biology.  The term is generic for sequential change - be it the evolution of a gas, of an idea or a person's moral character.  My background for the term is from Systems Theory (science).


web.cecs.pdx.edu/~mm/EncycOfEvolution.pd...



Complex Systems Theory and Evolution


Melanie Mitchell and Mark Newman


Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501


In Encyclopedia of Evolution (M. Pagel, editor), New York: Oxford University Press, 2002




You are right - I am not trying to create a model for moral evolution from what we know of species evolution.  It is one example - a very valuable example - by one of many.


As for reproduction; or a biological copy - in moral evolution we adapt our character.  Each change is part of evolution.  Please note - I am not personally good at it. ;-)


Moral targets are described beautifully by the Christ and many other inspired and "evolved" people such as the Buddha.  I think New Church person Helen Keller a great example of changing our moral fabric.   


Apr 19, 2012 -- 12:35PM, Oncomintrain wrote:


Apr 19, 2012 -- 10:28AM, newchurchguy wrote:


 The selection process is clearly based on "survival of the fittest" and notes that the fitness criteria are that of innocence and the ability to be concerned for the greater good.


Most imagine a "person of god" as if themselves picking and choosing.  The New Church view of this selection - is people who ARE NOT evolved throw themselves out of "heaven".  They cannot stand the environment of Love and caring.


So the two tenets of evolution's designing capability - infinite variation and selection - are foundational parts of God's Word.




NCG-


Obviously, I don't particularly share your view, but your religious convictions are your own.


I have trouble relating your "moral evolution" in any way to the mechanisms of biological evolution. Biological evolution, after all, is posited to occur in populations over the course of many successive generations. Even the "better-than-random" intra-generational adaptive factors you mention are posited to be a product of that process. Also necessary to the biological-evolutionary mechanism is that individuals reproduce AFTER the selection event.


So from where I'm sitting, if this moral evolution was in any way analogous to biological evolution, then A) souls already in heaven would have to be producing more souls on Earth... somehow (or souls that reach heaven reincarnate on Earth or something...), and B) humanity as a whole ought to be approaching some moral "target" over historical time, which isn't (in my view) particularly in evidence.


Even if we treat moral evolution as something that happens within an individual, the analogy to biological evolution seems inapt to me. After all, if the selection event is ascent into heaven, then the selection is happening AFTER evolution, rather than functioning as PART of evolution.


Perhaps you don't mean to analogize moral and biological evolution at all... I'm never sure, with your posts.





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2 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2012 - 2:03PM #26
Oncomintrain
Posts: 3,044

Apr 19, 2012 -- 1:47PM, newchurchguy wrote:


OCT,


Nice to converse with you again.  The term evolution is not generated by the concepts of biology.  The term is generic for sequential change - be it the evolution of a gas, of an idea or a person's moral character.  My background for the term is from Systems Theory (science).


You are right - I am not trying to create a model for moral evolution from what we know of species evolution.  It is one example - a very valuable example - by one of many.


As for reproduction; or a biological copy - in moral evolution we adapt our character.  Each change is part of evolution.  Please note - I am not personally good at it. ;-)


Moral targets are described beautifully by the Christ and many other inspired and "evolved" people such as the Buddha.  I think New Church person Helen Keller a great example of changing our moral fabric.   


Apr 19, 2012 -- 10:28AM, newchurchguy wrote:


 The selection process is clearly based on "survival of the fittest" and notes that the fitness criteria are that of innocence and the ability to be concerned for the greater good.


Most imagine a "person of god" as if themselves picking and choosing.  The New Church view of this selection - is people who ARE NOT evolved throw themselves out of "heaven".  They cannot stand the environment of Love and caring.


So the two tenets of evolution's designing capability - infinite variation and selection - are foundational parts of God's Word.






If you are not seeking to relate moral evolution to biological evolution, then I have to wonder why you are adopting the language of the Theory of Evolution (variation and selection) to describe it. While -- yes -- one can fit those terms to either concept, the role and relationship of variation and selection in biological evolution has almost no corrolation (I can see) to the role and relationship of variation and selection in your proposed "moral evolution". In fact, the only thing I can see that biological and (your proposed) moral evolution have in common is that they describe change over time.


Indeed, I'm hard pressed to suppose why you would apply those terms to your moral evolution (where they don't have any particular utility I can see) except to attempt to strengthen your case by relating it to something scientific... the ToE. A relation that appears profoundly superficial (sic).


Further, could you please elucidate for me how any of this relates to the OP in more than a tangential manner? Because the connection seems extremely tenuous to me.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2012 - 2:37PM #27
newchurchguy
Posts: 3,585

Apr 19, 2012 -- 2:03PM, Oncomintrain wrote:


Apr 19, 2012 -- 1:47PM, newchurchguy wrote:


OCT,


Nice to converse with you again.  The term evolution is not generated by the concepts of biology.  The term is generic for sequential change - be it the evolution of a gas, of an idea or a person's moral character.  My background for the term is from Systems Theory (science).


You are right - I am not trying to create a model for moral evolution from what we know of species evolution.  It is one example - a very valuable example - by one of many.


As for reproduction; or a biological copy - in moral evolution we adapt our character.  Each change is part of evolution.  Please note - I am not personally good at it. ;-)


Moral targets are described beautifully by the Christ and many other inspired and "evolved" people such as the Buddha.  I think New Church person Helen Keller a great example of changing our moral fabric.   


Apr 19, 2012 -- 10:28AM, newchurchguy wrote:


 The selection process is clearly based on "survival of the fittest" and notes that the fitness criteria are that of innocence and the ability to be concerned for the greater good.


Most imagine a "person of god" as if themselves picking and choosing.  The New Church view of this selection - is people who ARE NOT evolved throw themselves out of "heaven".  They cannot stand the environment of Love and caring.


So the two tenets of evolution's designing capability - infinite variation and selection - are foundational parts of God's Word.






If you are not seeking to relate moral evolution to biological evolution, then I have to wonder why you are adopting the language of the Theory of Evolution (variation and selection) to describe it. While -- yes -- one can fit those terms to either concept, the role and relationship of variation and selection in biological evolution has almost no corrolation (I can see) to the role and relationship of variation and selection in your proposed "moral evolution". In fact, the only thing I can see that biological and (your proposed) moral evolution have in common is that they describe change over time.


Indeed, I'm hard pressed to suppose why you would apply those terms to your moral evolution (where they don't have any particular utility I can see) except to attempt to strengthen your case by relating it to something scientific... the ToE. A relation that appears profoundly superficial (sic).


Further, could you please elucidate for me how any of this relates to the OP in more than a tangential manner? Because the connection seems extremely tenuous to me.




OCT,


Then you have missed the idea of extinction and losing the ability to continue life - to losing the ability to continue to grow spiritually.  "Survival of the fittest" being applicable to both.


By the way - saying that any current theory is science (such as the neoDarwian version)  - is not really "square".  Science is methodology based on math models.  It is the math models that are changing biological evolutionary models away from absolute random "walks" to system development.


You have heard me say many times that neoDarwinism - fails in many aspects.  And that Darwin had it more correctly modeled from the start.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2012 - 3:02PM #28
Oncomintrain
Posts: 3,044

Apr 19, 2012 -- 2:37PM, newchurchguy wrote:


Apr 19, 2012 -- 2:03PM, Oncomintrain wrote:


If you are not seeking to relate moral evolution to biological evolution, then I have to wonder why you are adopting the language of the Theory of Evolution (variation and selection) to describe it. While -- yes -- one can fit those terms to either concept, the role and relationship of variation and selection in biological evolution has almost no corrolation (I can see) to the role and relationship of variation and selection in your proposed "moral evolution". In fact, the only thing I can see that biological and (your proposed) moral evolution have in common is that they describe change over time.


Indeed, I'm hard pressed to suppose why you would apply those terms to your moral evolution (where they don't have any particular utility I can see) except to attempt to strengthen your case by relating it to something scientific... the ToE. A relation that appears profoundly superficial (sic).


Further, could you please elucidate for me how any of this relates to the OP in more than a tangential manner? Because the connection seems extremely tenuous to me.




OCT,


Then you have missed the idea of extinction and losing the ability to continue life - to losing the ability to continue to grow spiritually.  "Survival of the fittest" being applicable to both.


By the way - saying that any current theory is science (such as the neoDarwian version)  - is not really "square".  Science is methodology based on math models.  It is the math models that are changing biological evolutionary models away from absolute random "walks" to system development.


You have heard me say many times that neoDarwinism - fails in many aspects.  And that Darwin had it more correctly modeled from the start.





I don't believe I said anything "is science". I said the ToE is scientifIC... that is, it is a theory arrived at, supported by, and frequently tweeked according to the Scientific Method. Nor did I say ANYthing about "neo"-Darwinism. You seem bound and determined to drag this thread off-track as fast as possible, and transform it into your preferred topics (Swedenborgianism, Informational Realism, and the supposed failure of "NeoDarwinism")... you're like the Borg of the OoL Board ("this thread will be assimilated").  My overall point was (and remains) that you seem to want to couch your religious beliefs in scientific terms, relating them to scientific concepts, perhaps thinking that this lends them the patina of scientific rigor... which it doesn't.


NCG, first "extinction" in biology (at least in my experience) generally denotes something that happens to a species. What happens to an individual is just "death." Yes, you could apply the word "extinction" to an individual, but the only reason I can see that you WOULD is to imply a connection that isn't there.


Second, I also don't see the application of "Survival of the Fittest," since that implies competition (hence fittEST). Are you saying that admission to Heaven is graded on a curve? That we aren't held to a moral absolute, but only held up in comparison to others? That the relatively most moral are admitted into Heaven, even if they aren't especially moral in absolute terms? ...If so, I think you have a funny theology. But in biology, that is what "survival of the fittest" generally denotes. I get the sense that what you REALLY mean is just "Survival of the FIT." Am I right?


Again, you're taking words used in evolutionary science, using them in unrelated contexts with subtly different meanings, and acting like that creates a meaningful relation.


Now... that question again: does this relate in any non-tangential way to the OP? If so, could you please explain how?

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2012 - 3:22PM #29
d_p_m
Posts: 9,835

Apr 19, 2012 -- 2:37PM, newchurchguy wrote:

Science is methodology based on math models.  It is the math models that are changing biological evolutionary models away from absolute random "walks" to system development.




No, it isn't.


Science is methodology based on:


1. Observation.


2. Formulation of hypotheses.


3. Testing of hypotheses.


4. Formulation of Theories.


5. Prediction, and testing of theories.


6. Replication of results.


7. Peer review.



Mathematical models are totally optional.

"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr


“Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules; and history records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not annihilated; scotched, if not slain.”

― Thomas Henry Huxley, Lay Sermons, Addresses, and Reviews


“The science, the art, the jurisprudence, the chief political and social theories, of the modern world have grown out of Greece and Rome—not by favour of, but in the teeth of, the fundamental teachings of early Christianity, to which science, art, and any serious occupation with the things of this world were alike despicable.”

― Thomas Henry Huxley, Agnosticism and Christianity and Other Essays
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2012 - 4:15PM #30
MMarcoe
Posts: 16,181

Is there any single, agreed-upon approach to the scientific method? Is it formally written down anywhere? I'm just curious, and my research hasn't given me any answers yet.

There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth.

God is just a personification of reality, of pure objectivity.
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