Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?

Pure myth! That is today’s typical view of a literal Adam and Eve. Yet, contrary to current skepticism, a real Adam and Eve remain credible—both in terms of Catholic doctrine and sound natural science.

By calling the Genesis story a “myth,” people avoid saying it is mere “fantasy,” that is, with no foundation in reality at all. While rejecting a literal first pair of human parents for all mankind, they hope to retain some “deeper” truth about an original “sinful human condition,” a “mythic” meaning. They think that the latest findings in paleoanthropology and genetics render a literal pair of first true human parents to be “scientifically impossible.”

The prevailing assumption underlying media reports about human origins is that humanity evolved very gradually over vast periods of time as a population (a collection of interbreeding organisms), which itself originally evolved from a Homo/Pan (human/chimpanzee) common ancestor millions of years ago. Therefore, we are not seen as descendants of the biblical Adam and Eve.

This universal evolutionary perspective leads many Catholics and others to conclude that a literal Adam and Eve is “scientifically impossible” for two reasons: First, paleoanthropologists deny the sudden appearance of intelligent, self-reflective, fully-human primates, but rather view the emergence of consciousness and intelligence as taking place slowly and incrementally over long periods of time. Second, in light of recent findings in molecular biology, especially from studies based on genetic data gleaned from the Human Genome Project, it is claimed that the hominin population (the primate group from which modern man is said to have arisen) has never had a bottleneck (reduced population) of a single mating pair in the last seven or more million years: no literal Adam and Eve. Many succumb to the modernist tendency to “adjust” Church teaching to fit the latest scientific claims—thus intimidating Catholics into thinking that divinely revealed truths can be abandoned—“if need be.”

This skepticism of a literal Adam and Eve begs for four much needed corrections.

First, Church teaching about Adam and Eve has not, and cannot, change. The fact remains that a literal Adam and Eve are unchanging Catholic doctrine. Central to St. Paul’s teaching is the fact that one man, Adam, committed original sin and that through the God-man, Jesus Christ, redemption was accomplished (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15: 21-22). In paragraphs 396-406, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, speaks of Adam and Eve as a single mating pair who “committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state” (CCC, 404). “Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back toward God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle” (CCC, 405). The doctrines surrounding original sin cannot be altered “without undermining the mystery of Christ” (CCC, 389).

Today, many think that Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani generis did not definitively exclude theological polygenism. What they fail to notice, though, is that the Holy Father clearly insists that Scripture and the Magisterium affirm that original sin “proceeds from a sin truly committed by one Adam [ab uno Adamo]” and that this sin is transmitted to all true human beings through generation (para. 37). This proves that denial of a literal Adam (and his spouse, Eve) as the sole first genuinely human parents of all true human beings is not theologically tenable.

Second, rational human nature itself requires that mankind made an instant appearance on planet Earth. Paleoanthropological claims of gradual appearance of specifically human traits fail to comport with a true philosophy of human nature. Reflecting classical Christian thought, St. Thomas Aquinas demonstrates that true man is distinguished essentially from lower animals by possession of an intellectual and immortal soul, which possesses spiritual powers of understanding, judgment, and reasoning (Summa theologiae I, 75). While these qualitatively superior abilities are manifested through special forms of tool making or culture or art, they need not always be evident in the paleontological record. Sometimes true men share mere animal survival behavior and sometimes truly human behavior is lost to modern sight due to the ravages of time. What matters is that genuinely spiritual powers are either present or not, and that these alone bespeak the presence of true man. Irrational animals, including subhuman primates, are capable of complex sentient behaviors often approaching or imitating the rational activities of true man. But an animal either possesses a spiritual, intellectual soul or not. Thus at some point in time, true man suddenly appears—whether visible to modern science or not. Before that time, all subhuman behavior manifests merely material sensory abilities. The fact that positivistic scientists cannot discern the first presence of true man is hardly remarkable.

Third, a correct understanding of the scientific (inductive) method reveals that it cannot ever logically exclude the possibility of two sole founders of humanity. Natural scientific studies employ the inductive method of reasoning. Empirically observed data is employed to form testable hypotheses. Molecular biologists use computer models in an attempt to validate such hypotheses and reach conclusions about genetic conditions in early primate populations. In this process, some researchers have committed the logically invalid move of inferring from particular data to the universally negative claim that a literal Adam and Eve is impossible. Such methodology produces, at best, solely probable conclusions, based on available evidence and the assumptions used to evaluate the data. There is the inherent possibility that an unknown factor will alter the conclusion, similarly as was the unexpected discovery of black swans in Australia, when the whole world “knew” all swans were white.

Fourth, specific scientific arguments against Adam and Eve have proven not as forceful as many presently believe (Gauger 2012). For example, some have claimed that effective population size estimates for the last several million years would not permit just two true humans to have lived during that time. Still, the technical concept of average effective population size estimates should not be confused with an actual “bottleneck” (a temporarily reduced population) which may be much smaller. Effective population size estimates can vary from as high as 14,000 (Blum 2011) to as low as 2,000 (Tenesa 2007), depending on the methods used.

Such calculations rely upon many assumptions about mutation rate, recombination rate, and other factors, that are known to vary widely. All of this entails retrospective calculations about events in the far distant past, for which we have no directly verifiable data. For such reasons, some experts have concluded that effective population size cannot be determined using DNA sequence differences alone (Sjödin 2005; Hawks 2008).

Indeed, the most famous genetic study proclaimed as a “scientific objection” to Adam and Eve turned out to be based on methodological errors. An article by geneticist Francisco J. Ayala appearing in the journal, Science (1995), led many to believe that a founding population of only two individuals was impossible. Ayala based his challenge to monogenism (two sole founders of humanity) on the large number of versions (alleles) of the particular gene HLA-DRB1, which are present in the current population. Accepting the common ancestor theory, he claimed that there were thirty-two ancient lineages of the HLA-DRB1 gene prior to the Homo/Pan split (approximately seven million years ago). Over time, these “pre-split” lineages, themselves, evolved into the new additional versions present today. Because each individual carries only two versions of a gene, a single founding pair could not have passed on the thirty-two versions that Ayala claimed existed some seven million years ago—either at that time or at any time since. A bottleneck of just two true humans, Adam and Eve, was “scientifically impossible.”

However, Ayala’s claim of thirty-two ancient HLA-DRB1 lineages (prior to the Homo/Pan split) was wrong because of methodological errors. The number of lineages was subsequently adjusted by Bergström (1998) to just seven at the time of the split, with most of the genetic diversity appearing in the last 250,000 years. A still later study coming out of Bergström’s group inferred that just four such lineages existed more than five million years ago, but that a few more appeared soon thereafter (von Salomé 2007). While two mating hominins can transmit four lineages, the few additional later ones still require explanation.

These genetic studies, based on many assumptions and use of computer models, do not tell us how the origin of the human race actually took place. But, they do show (1) that methodological limitations and radical contingency are inherent in such studies, which are employed to make retroactive judgments about deeply ancient populations that can never be subject to direct observation, and (2) that present scientific claims against the possibility of a literal Adam and Eve are not definitive (Gauger 2012, 105-122).

Philosopher Kenneth W. Kemp and others have suggested that interbreeding between true humans and subhuman primates in the same biological population might account for presently observed genetic diversity (Kemp 2011). Such interbreeding is not to be confused with the marriages between true human siblings and cousins which would have occurred in the first generations following Adam and Eve, which unions were a necessary part of God’s plan for the initial propagation of mankind (Gen. 1:28).

The difficulty with any interbreeding solution (save, perhaps, in rare instances) is that it would place at the human race’s very beginning a severe impediment to its healthy growth and development. Natural law requires that marriage and procreation take place solely between a man and a woman, so that children are given proper role models for adult life. So too, even if the union between a true human and a subhuman primate were not merely transitory, but lasting, the defective parenting and role model of a parent who is not a true human being would introduce serious disorder in the proper functioning of the family and education of children. Hence, widespread interbreeding is not an acceptable solution to the problem of genetic diversity.

Moreover, given the marked reduction in the number of ancient HLA-DRB1 alleles found by the later genetic studies of Bergström and von Salomé, it may turn out that no interbreeding is needed at all, or at most, that very rare instances of it may have occurred. Such rare events might not even entail the consent of true human beings, since they could result from an attack by a subhuman male upon a non-consenting human female.

A literal Adam and Eve remains rationally, scientifically credible.

Since the same God is author both of human reason and of authentic revelation, legitimate natural science, properly conducted, will never contradict Catholic doctrine, properly understood. Catholic doctrine still maintains that a literal Adam and Eve must have existed, a primal couple who committed that personal original sin, which occasioned the need for, and the divine promise of, the coming of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Editor’s note: The image above is a detail from “The Fall of Man” painted by Hendrik Goltzius in 1616.

Dennis Bonnette

By

Dennis Bonnette retired in 2003 as Professor of Philosophy at Niagara University in Lewiston, New York, where he taught for 36 years. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Bonnette has authored many scholarly articles as well as two books: Aquinas’ Proofs for God’s Existence (Martinus-Nijhoff, 1972) and Origin of the Human Species: Third Edition (Sapientia Press. 2014). He and his wife, Lois, live in Youngstown, New York, and have seven adult children and twenty-three grandchildren.

  • Genetic Adam and Eve existed, just not in human form and the Garden of Eden was a lake in Scotland 385 million years ago.

    • Rob B.

      Tell me more, Ted! Scotland would not be first place I’d put Eden… 🙂

        • Rob B.

          Very interesting! Thanks!

        • Nick_from_Detroit

          Hebrew understanding, at the time of Christ, was that the Promised Land was the Garden of Eden.
          God places the cherubim, with a flaming sword, to guard the Tree of Life and Eden (Gen. 3:24). When Israel, led by Joshua, cross the Jordan, Joshua is confronted by the commander of the army of the LORD (i.e., the hosts), with sword in hand (Jos. 5:13-15).
          God Bless!

  • JERD2

    From CCC 337: “Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine ‘work,’ concluded by the ‘rest’ of the seventh day.”

    In the Genesis account the story of creation is told “symbolically,” not literally. There is nothing in the Catechism that makes any teaching concerning original sin dependent on the sudden appearance of two immediately intelligent beings.

    Might we say that at some point in evolutionary history the mind of a being had the capacity to understand good and evil? Evil was chosen; our need for Christ’s redemption then made sure.

    Christianity and modern science are not at odds. To speculate otherwise, does no favor to either.

    • Dick Prudlo

      Here is the hoax presented as likely. What axiomatic bin of gnosis provides us with your claim of “symbolically?” This grunt filled paradigm, presented in the form of theological evolution is the pill swallowed by the “faithless many” wearing habits of distinction, but who have tossed the habits of Faith.

      Truth is at odds with what passes for science today, Jerd. And you fixation with this nonsense is clear.

      • Nostromo

        Well one of the Doctor’s of the Church, St. Augustine, allowed for metaphor in the Genesis story. It is undeniably packed with wisdom. One can continue to be informed by the story in the modern era, such as the warning about thoughtlessly succumbing to advertising.

        • Dick Prudlo

          I believe his Metaphor was directed at the six days and not the issue of Adam and Eve. I may be wrong but I do know that all the pre and post Nicene fathers took it all quite literally.

          • Angel

            You got it Mr. Prudlo! Look at my comment from above!:)

            • squirefld

              I don’t believe it was the senses, but what the mind at that “unknown” period could comprehend. Pehaps off topic but still about Genesis how did the author give a somewhat accurate description of “God created the Heaven and the Earth” aka the “Big Bang Theory” with light, water and land, that to a degree squares with what science says may have happened, and in almost the same order as written in Genesis.

              • Zaoldyeck

                … The hell? Ok, that’s texas sharpshooting to a new level, especially if you claim the ‘almost the same order’. The timescales are nonsensical (the length of each ‘day’ is non-standard too).

                The biggest, most important detail of the big bang theory is ‘the universe was denser in the past and expanded, cooling in the process’. The only way you can really try to draw parallels with the bible would be saying ‘the bible implies a beginning’, to which physics hasn’t even settled on that question yet. (Again the big bang is describing cosmic expansion from a smaller state, NO ONE comments on the planck-epoch seriously)

                Such a loose description could be found in nearly any creation myth, and frankly, doesn’t seem that hard a thought for bronze age priests to conceive of.

                You are free to believe the bible is a representation in some fashion of reality, but to call the genesis story an ‘accurate’ portrayal of the actual history of the universe, and an accurate portrayal of the big bang theory makes me believe you have no clue what the big bang theory really entails, the physics, or the timescales involved.

                • squirefld

                  I thought people in Texas could read and comprehend. When did I mention timescales. There was no numbering system. I really don’t care if the universe after the big bang was denser, expanding or cooling, thats all baloney to my point. Although incoherent I think you truly believe in the “Big Bang” and the Bible believes that there was a specific beginning. But are you trying to deny that there is a theory as to the different stages of the solar systems beginning and in my example how Earth was formed, as to how and in what order we became what we are today, I hope you smarter than that. My question was how could “in an unknown age” did an (OUTLINE) of this complex formation of the solar system and earth end up in Genesis, before a written language or numbering system, was created? My point was that in this (OUTLINE) it follows today’s theory of our creation. I hope your not to confused.

                  • Zaoldyeck

                    Texas sharpshooter, to shoot a bullet then paint a target around it, ‘perfect shot!’

                    The ‘outline’ is exactly what bronze age mythics could believe the world was created as, it DOESN’T ‘outline the complex formation of the solar system’. It tells us nothing about accretion. It tells us nothing about decoupling, or any of the general features that we actually use to identify the major stages of the big bang.

                    As an ‘outline’ it’s as accurate as a five year old noticing ‘if I swing a bat, it takes effort to keep it from flying out of my hand’ then saying “when I was five years old I understood the basics of angular momentum and inertia!

                    “But are you trying to deny that there is a theory as to the different
                    stages of the solar systems beginning and in my example how Earth was
                    formed”

                    That there are different stages? I won’t go denying that. That the ‘different stages’ bare any resemblance to the order or events that are written about in Genesis, damn right I deny it.

                    The sun formed before earth, and was the result of a supernova. That supernova was of an already second generation star, the universe had existed for nearly 10 billion years by that point, so if you want to go for the solar system the stages are, ‘dust, explosion, disturbance, accretion, fusion’. If you want to go for the galaxy, you’re looking at older stages brought about by basic thermal fluctuations, the kind of things we see in the CMB. The larger structures than even that, we fully admit, we have limited good models to explain them but we’re getting better.

                    The ‘stages’ form fractal patterns. They aren’t discrete and separate, they come from (and branch off into) more refined and self-producing ‘stages’. In that sense we can add any number of intermediate ‘stages’, the idea of ‘stages’ itself is only useful for illustrating large scale changes.

                    But those ‘large scale changes’ are precisely the changes that are ignored by the ‘stages’ in creation. It isn’t describing dynamic processes that change from one state into another, it’s describing discrete ‘god events’ in succession which DONT reflect the actual history of the universe. Those kind of myths seem easy to imagine, which is why I have no trouble understanding why genesis has steps outlined as such.

                  • Satanic_Panic

                    “in an unknown age” did an (OUTLINE) of this complex formation of the
                    solar system and earth end up in Genesis, before a written language or
                    numbering system, was created? My point was that in this (OUTLINE) it
                    follows today’s theory of our creation. I hope your not to confused.

                    You’re the one that sounds confused. How did anything end up written down in genesis “before a written language” was created?? That might be the dumbest thing I’ve read all morning.

                    The rest of your post makes no intelligible sense.

              • Angel

                Here is Pope Leo XIII takes on the Senses, from the Providentissimus Deus/On the Study of Holy Scripture (Rome: Holy See, 1893):

                “To understand how just is the rule here formulated we must remember, first, that the sacred writers, or to speak more accurately, the Holy Spirit ‘who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation’ [S. Aug. ib 9, 20]. Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are daily used at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers – as the Angelic Doctor [St. Aquinas] also reminds us -‘went by what sensibly appeared’ [Summa Theol. p. i, q. lxxx, a. 1, ad 3.] or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to.”

              • Satanic_Panic

                “God created the Heaven and the Earth” aka the “Big Bang Theory”…

                Too bad the Earth came into being 9 billion years after the Big Bang.

          • See Noevo

            That’s my understanding also.

          • Nostromo

            Humani Generis addressed Genesis and seems to me to also make such allowances.

            “..metaphorical language adapted to the mentality of a people but little cultured, both state the principal truths which are fundamental for our salvation”

            These stories originate in a period where orality and literacy overlap, well before the historical methods used by Greek and Latin writers. Oral culture was necessarily poetic, but holding much truth in ideas.

        • See Noevo

          As I recall, Augustine went in the opposite direction – he conjectured the six days might not be true but rather that everything was created in ONE day or instantaneously.

          • Nick_from_Detroit

            I seem to remember, from an author I can’t remember, that Saint Augustine (and other early Church Fathers) was of the mind that creation was older than 6,000 years. Based on the premise that the Hebrew word used in Genesis 1, yom, can also mean an age, or era. Rather than a 24-hour period of time.

            • See Noevo

              That is not my understanding. And besides, as I responded to
              JERD2 here: “Why would the use of “day” in Genesis 1 be considered symbolic, given that the author goes out of his way six times to define day (e.g. “there was evening and there was morning, an x day”) AND given the author has already
              acknowledged the existence of seasons and years in Genesis 1:14? If “day” meant a much longer time period, why wouldn’t Scripture read something like “And God created X over many *years*, a fifth *season*” ?

              • Nick_from_Detroit

                Oops! I just posted the same point about “day” to you, below. Sorry!
                I thought this was a reply to someone else.
                Now, I’m no expert on Saint Augustine, so, I can’t provide a specific citation without doing some research.
                As far as yom goes, I don’t speak Hebrew, either. But, the point of Genesis 1 is to show why God created, not how. Just because seasons and years are used, in no way negates that yom is referring to ages. The point is that the sun, moon, & stars were created to tell time, a celestial clock for man to use.
                Have you ever heard Dr. Scott Hahn & Jeff Cavins explain Genesis in Our Father’s Plan? You can listen to it by going to EWTN’s site, under their archives. I can provide a link, if you have trouble finding it, God Bless!

    • GG

      How to read the account of the fall

      390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man.264
      Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human
      history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first
      parents.265

      • See Noevo

        The only time the CCC uses the word “figurative” is in referring to Genesis 3. It’s interesting that it does not use that word in discussing Genesis 1 & 2.

      • icowrich

        The opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey illustrates literally something that could have been figuratively represented by Genesis. That it is figurative doesn’t mean that it isn’t referencing a “primeval event” as explained through evolutionary theory. So long as the elements are taken figuratively, I have no problem with the “event” being considered real.

        • Raguel

          The opening of that movie is quite revealing. It’s interesting to think of God’s most perfect creation as a bunch of apes running around, and original sin as one ape discovering that he could hit another over the head with a bone.

          An evolutionary and anthropological perspective really isn’t Catholic at all. Adam and Eve were suppose to have had predernatural gifts such as immortality, infused knowledge, and direct contact with God.

          I think the theological ramifications even to this sort of theistic evolutionary approach are huge. Because we are really taking away from the humanity and perfection of the first human couple God created. I also question how a Professor of Philosophy is qualified to make judgments on something really not related to his field. If the author of this is credible, then so are the people over at the The Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation, who are also Catholics and qualified Scientists, yet seem to take a different approach towards the scientific observations in recent times.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            If you would read my book, Origin of the Human Species: Third Edition, pp. 145-180, you would find that I take great pains to show how the claims of paleoanthropology might comport with the findings of the 1909 Biblical Commission regarding such things as the preternatural gifts given by God to Adam and Eve.

            Since evolutionary theory is so broadly interdisciplinary in its nature and implications, philosophy properly serves a regulative function in evaluating the epistemic claims of the various sciences. Did you ever notice that the highest academic degrees are always doctorates of philosophy, even if the holder never studied a course in philosophy? This is because philosophy was the original mother science from which all the particular natural sciences, such as chemistry, physics, and biology, were derived as sub-parts of Aristotle’s Physics, the philosophy of nature.

            I am not claiming that evolutionary theory is true, but simply testing to what degree Catholic doctrine concerning human origins is able to comport with mainstream claims about human origins. Clearly, if nothing else, the appearance of the human intellectual, spiritual soul requires a direct creative intervention by God which utterly transcends the competence of natural science.

          • icowrich

            I would hesitate to say that anyone isn’t qualified to make judgments. Of course, some of us are better versed than others, but that should come out in the argumentation, not in which piece of paper the person possesses. But, if we are to appeal to authority, let’s appeal to Aristotle, who labeled the appeal to authority as a logical fallacy (irony intended).

            I do agree that evolutionary and anthropological perspectives aren’t Catholic, per se, but they aren’t anti-Catholic, either, and, at any rate, one can use to the same logic to say that theology isn’t particularly scientific. We’re trying to reconcile the two, not use one as an authority for the other.

        • Nick_from_Detroit

          I don’t think that your comparison works, Icowrich.

          The figurative part of Gen.3 is the part about being tempted by the Serpent and eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil. The historic part is that Adam & Eve, our first parents, disobeyed God, disrupting Creation and causing all of their descendants to inherit Original Sin.
          In 2001, where is the temptation? Where is the disobedience? Kubrick advances a purely materialistic view. The opening scene presents the realization, that bones can be used as weapons, as an advance in human evolution. With this “advancement” comes the arrival of the Monolith. (Or, did the Monolith cause the “advancement”? Not having read the book, I go back & forth on this point.)
          A better comparison might be that the opening scene could represent, very loosely, Cain’s killing of Abel. Maybe.

          For a Catholic, it is important to know that the first three chapters of Genesis are telling us why God created, not how He created. Genesis, and the rest of the Old Testament, needs to be read as the Hebrews of the First Century would have understood it. Or, else, the books of the New Testament will not be fully revealed to those seeking more knowledge of Christ.
          As modern Gentiles, there is a lot going on in the Old Testament that we don’t understand, or see. I have only begun to learn about these hidden gems in the past 10 years. Learning from great teachers like Fr. Mitch Pacwa and Dr. Scott Hahn (among many others) has really opened the Scriptures for me.
          I used to be a Catholic fundamentalist concerning the Six Days of Creation, by the way. God Bless!

          • icowrich

            “In 2001, where is the temptation? Where is the disobedience?”

            It’s loose, but I’d argue that the temptation was to use budding intelligence for violence. The proto-humans lived in harmony with God’s creatures before gaining knowledge, and started killing them (as well as their own kind) immediately thereafter. That was the temptation, and the whole thing, it seems to me, is disobeying the divine mandate (or what Clarke and Kubric might consider a natural one) that is written in our souls (Clarke and Kubric might say in our humanity). But my point doesn’t rely on 2001 per se. I just mean to say that there is no reason we can’t see Genesis 1-3 as having occurred, but in a vastly different context than a strictly literal reading would imply. Isn’t that what Matthew 13:10-17 is all about?

            “(Or, did the Monolith cause the “advancement”? Not having read the book, I go back & forth on this point.)”

            The Monolith causes the advancement. For all intents and purposes, the monolith is God. Yes, Clarke posits it as a galaxy-spanning artificial intelligence built by aliens, but it is so far in advance of us that it is indistinguishable from the Divine, at least in terms of potency. As a metaphor, both explanations work.

            • Nick_from_Detroit

              Where’s the violence in Gen. 3? Where is the fruit, or Serpent, in 2001? It’s not loose, it’s invisible, I’m afraid. I think you’re grasping at straws.
              Clarke was an atheist and Kubrick surely didn’t believe in the God of the Bible.

              The Catholic Church says that forms of evolution are not contrary to the Faith, but, She does NOT say that one HAS to believe in evolution. Materialistic, Darwinian evolution is contrary to the Faith, because God is the source of creation, not some random accident.
              And, since science will never be able to prove that man evolved from lower lifeforms, I don’t spend much time thinking about it any more. God Bless!

              • Hominid

                The obelisk is technology – the fruit and the god of modern sapiens.

                • Nick_from_Detroit

                  Obelisk? Wrong movie. You must be thinking of Raiders of the Lost Ark, huh?

                  • Hominid

                    “Wrong movie”?!? Why do you make a fool of yourself in public? After the ape discovers bone-as-hammer (technology), a black obelisk mysteriously rises from the earth to the apes awe.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Physician, heal thyself.
                      Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, rather than speak and remove all doubt.

                      The Washington Monument is an obelisk. Obelisks are pointy on top. The black object that appears (3 times, by the way) in 2001 is referred to as “The Monolith.” They’re supposed to have a dimensions with a ratio of 1:4:9.
                      Ever heard of google?

                    • Hominid

                      Hah, hah, hah – you made a fool of yourself and now you’re trying to weasel out of it with silly semantics.

                    • asmondius

                      To call a horse a mule is an error of ignorance, not semantics.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Fool?
                      “You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

                      At least I know the difference between a long, skinny, pillar-like object with a pyramid on top, and, a rectangular, domino-shaped object.
                      MIT, eh?
                      Seriously, demand a refund. God Bless!

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      What? No more ignorant comments, Hominid?
                      Why don’t you tell me how you were able to get a square peg to fit into a round hole at MIT?

              • icowrich

                Certainly, neither man was religious any sense of the term that you or I would recognize, but, then again, science hasn’t anything to do with religion, either. That doesn’t mean that they weren’t appropriating Judeo-Christian culture to make an aesthetic and philosophical argument. It seems to me that they were doing just that.

                No, Genesis 3 isn’t about violence, but it IS about sin, and the sin we see violently portrayed in Dawn of Man is, in Kubric’s view, the original sin. Is that specifically Biblical? Of course not. But, again, I’m not arguing specifically Kubric’s or Clarke’s vision. I’m just saying that many natural events (not unlike that scene) could be described in parabolic terms, much in the way that Christ commonly did (again, Matthew 13:10-17).

                “The Catholic Church says that forms of evolution are not contrary to the Faith, but, She does NOT say that one HAS to believe in evolution.”

                Of course not. She also doesn’t say I have to believe in heliocentrism, but I do. This seems to be the whole point of the exercise. We are free to follow science wherever it leads us because we no longer view Scripture as a scientific treatise. It authoritative in spiritual terms, but not in terms of physics. Therefore, I’m not required to, say, believe that pi = 3.0, whatever 1 Kings: 7:23-26 implies.

                “Materialistic, Darwinian evolution is contrary to the Faith, because God is the source of creation, not some random accident.”

                I agree with this, and I find Intelligent Design to be a compelling concept (even if it is sprinkled with crackpots) precisely because science has nothing to say about a Prime Mover (yet). I don’t even think science can say that anything is a “random accident,” except insofar as such a claim is understood to be a placeholder for gaps in the current model. This is precisely why I maintain that there is room for literature (2001 is literature) in telling the stories of the universe and our own evolution. It’s just that I give precedence to science, not to interpretations of Scripture, just as Augustine did so long ago.

                “since science will never be able to prove that man evolved from lower lifeforms…”

                We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. I’m with the last three popes on this matter. Evolution is no longer just a theory, and God is not a magician. But, It does look like there is more common ground between us than it might, at first, appear.

                • Nick_from_Detroit

                  Yes, I agree, we’re not as far apart as I first thought we were.

                  You can fit many scenes (film or literature) to say something more than what is being portrayed. Thousands of professors and critics make a living at this sort of thing. (Whether it’s true, or not.)
                  And, while Christ did use parables many times, it does not follow, therefore, that Gen. 3 is a parable. Have you ever read about the chiasmus literary structure of Gen. 1-3? I find it very interesting, and enlightening.

                  I would give priority to Sacred Scripture, not in scientific matters, but, that it is passing on truths that God wants us to know. I’m more than willing to follow the science. I just don’t see enough convincing evidence that man evolved from lower species, that’s all.
                  There is plenty of fraud in science, as well as confirmation-bias. So, if better proof ever emerges, I will look at it with an open mind.
                  God Bless!

    • R. K. Ich

      Christ and Paul believed in a literal Adam and Eve. The literary genre of origins has poetic features to be sure, but lest we seem overly wise in our estimation, we ought to be careful to let science speak as science and not allow the sub-discipline of evolution become our hermeneutical key that explains everything else.

      Etienne Gilson’s “Unity of Philosophy Experience” draws out that lesson wonderfully.

      • I’m old enough to remember when it was widely presumed that Neanderthals (Homo Erectus) were thought to have been the ancestors of Homo Sapiens, until there was a question raised about the long period of contemporaneous existence and the assertion of Neanderthal ancestry was firmy disposed by the determination that no living person has Neanderthal DNA, much less exhibits any substantial H. Erectus phenotypical expression.

        On the other hand, it is now widely believed that there was single matrilineal ancestor, the “Mitochondrial Eve”. She may the Biblical Eve or not.

        It is possible Adam and Eve are literal and it is possible that they are figurative. I am fully aware (more so as I get older and realize how short I have fallen and how often) that I bear the defects of the fall from grace.

        • mikehorn

          Check your facts please. Homo Erectus was a separate species from Homo Neandertalis, Erectus possibly being the ancestor of both Neandertalis and Homo Sapiens. There is also genetic evidence that Neanderthals, late Erectus, and Sapiens might have interbred to some degree, making us very close cousins. For a modern equivalent, horses and zebra can breed, as well as lions and tigers.

          The mitochondrial Eve was very long ago, and was not contemporary with any ancient Adam. At some point we were more us and less what came before (possibly Erectus), and either a female or a male had the dominant, successful mutation that led to us, but where you put that is open to debate. That female would still have been breeding with ancient hominids, speciation not yet occurring, but the children would have the new mutations and not the old.

          • Nick_from_Detroit

            Genetic evidence?
            How do fossilized bones contain genetic material?
            Where does Piltdown Man fit in there, by the way?

            • Joe Ser

              It doesn’t. So the dino soft tissue cannot be 75 million years old. Carbon dating has returned dates of 28-32,000 years ago. It is a game changer for sure.

          • Zaoldyeck

            I’m pretty sure most paleoanthropologists would attribute the Neanderthal ancestor to heidelbergensis, not erectus. Although, I guess the argument is heidelbergensis was a direct descendant of erectus, but that gets into some messy criteria with how we classify eragaster. Also ‘mitochondrial eve’ doesn’t really mean that she’d be an anatomically modern human with some ‘human mutation’, that’s a bit of a chimera representation of evolution that fell out of favor over a hundred years ago.

            • mikehorn

              Genetic Eve best date comes in at 160K ago, anatomically modern human in Africa. Neanderthals were already long established in Europe.

              • Zaoldyeck

                My mistake, I thought Eve was circa ~300k.

                • mikehorn

                  The original date from the late 1970s had a flex time of more than 100k and probably less than 200k. Their ability to measure needed more refining. Very recent dating puts it around 160k, but that will be refined or changed when or ability to measure improves again. But the more accurate date largely confirms the earlier idea of mtDNA common ancestor and the timing.

                  • Zaoldyeck

                    Cool, I’ve been kinda on a ‘divergence’ binge recently, looking at the opposite end of the spectrum near Ardi, but I’ll tool around PLOS later and see if there are some recent papers for me to read.

              • A mathematical approximate origin can be determined with a known probability range. However, several possible events and chances could alter the math substantially. Merger of early populations before Homo, or manipulation of genetic material among species as is done today in genetic engineering. Man has influenced many species to domesticate animals and plants to his own needs by deliberate mating and separation of offspring of wild species and semi-domestic forms.

                There are far more forms of domestic dog, than viable wild forms. Cattle have been selectively bred for meat or milk. Humans have self-separated by choice in racially prejudicial reproduction and by isolation in wild migrations over thousands of years. Ignorance of our own nature and superstitions before modern science are still propagated by family loyalty and choice. It was and still is a political agenda, even if no longer expressed from the pulpit or from the lectern.

          • Interesting. I distinctly remember being told two things in some college class I remember little else from. One, that Neanderthals were Homo Erectus.

            Apparently they are now as you write,Homo Neandertalis or other sources say a subspecies of H. Sapiens. Either way, I stand corrected.

            I wonder if that changed or the textbook was in error.
            Item 2 was that Neanderthals were distinct from Modern Humans (and when I was loafing through this class, they were just abandoning the Neanderthal as an ancestor idea) and Neanderthal DNA in modern humans didn’t exist, something that was still in vogue in 2009.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/science/13neanderthal.html?_r=0

            Now my class mentioned nothing of the Denisovians, being discovered long after I was loosed upon the world; so I might be need a paleoanthropology refresher…or maybe the “science” isn’t as settled as it might be.

            • mikehorn

              One of the things I love about science is that it always changes, but gets closer to truth, like Asimov proposed in his “Relativity of Wrong”. Biblical Genesis was wrong, but core items like mortality and ancestry and a flawed humanity and asking about origins were correct. When you studied there was so much more known and we were far closer to the truth than the authors of Genesis, but still wrong. Today we have more info than a couple decades ago, but in a few decades more we will be shown to be closer but still wrong. Science circles around the truth, getting closer all the time but never completely right, always something new to discover. I enjoy the newness of the discovery, using our talents to get closer to the truth.

              The species separation is much fuzzier than once thought. Neanderthal and Sapiens could both be considered evolved Erectus, in some ways still Erectus. An ancient Erectus didn’t just wake up and give birth to a modern Sapiens. Small changes built over time, analogous to you and I living every moment from toddler in diapers till now, we didn’t fall asleep at 18 months then wake up adults. It was unnoticeable but always changing. A very recent study based on a new discovery of partially intact Neanderthal DNA shows that modern Sapiens of European descent likely had a Neanderthal in our lineage, that Sapiens and Neanderthal both being evolved Erectus could still interbreed to some extent.

              About other fossils like heidelbergensis or habilis or denosovian, they are part of that curve of change, like some random date between toddler and adult. Where do you put a line down and call it different species? Paleontologists argue that all the time. I’m sure the answer will be different ten years from now, probably more accurate than today.

              The Genetic Eve was already a Sapiens most likely, though genetically not required. She could have been a late, nearly modern Erectus and the genetic lineage would be the same. There is also a genetic Eve further back that is the mother of both humans and Chimps. Further back, humans, chimps and gorillas. Further back add the other another is the mother of all Apes. Still older is the mother of all Primates, maybe 35-40 million years ago, though I could be off on those dates – fairly certain Primates are younger than the K/T event 65 million years ago, but I’d have to look that up. Rodent-like burrowing mammals were around before dinosaurs, if you really want to dig into your umpteenth great grandparents.

              • Closer to the truth is still wrong. Right and wrong are binary, not analog, and you have no way to know when you are “right”

                As for when “I studied” it’s measured in decades, not centuries-one assertion (No Neanderthal DNA) was still considered valid 5 years ago. What happens when the January 2014 study is disputed?

                You assume that the newest information is the most valid, that we are always on a trajectory of greater truth-that’s not science, it’s neophilia.

                “I’m sure the answer will be different ten years from now, probably more accurate than today.”
                But how will you know if it is “more accurate”?

                • mikehorn

                  Neophilia first. I enjoy the new, but I agree that new isn’t the defining criteria for better. However, new has the benefit of more data to draw from. The writers of Genesis had no inkling of DNA or heredity or hard data on why two parents would not be enough material for a species to survive, incest causing the problems it does. I remember the minimum is something like 300 evenly split male/female, and throw monogamy out as a loser in that small of a population: each woman would have to bear 5-6 children that survived to breed, each child from a different father. Exact parentage would have to be documented for many generations to avoid too much inbreeding. The first Neanderthal skeleton gave us a false impression, since that skeleton was from a sick individual. Newer discoveries allowed better understanding. New doesn’t guarantee accuracy, but old doesn’t guarantee proven wisdom. All things considered, newer ideas benefit from more available information and trend towards more accurate understanding. I’d take modern genetics and paleontology over Genesis any day of the week.

                  Truth is only binary if you have a limited understanding of truth. Believing the Earth is a sphere at the center of the universe is less wrong and more true than believing the Earth is a flat circle with domes above, as described in Genesis. Believing the Earth is a sphere going in circles around the sun is less wrong and more true still. BTW, the Earth is an oblate spheroid somewhat pear shaped traveling in a mildly chaotic ellipse around the constantly changing center of gravity of the solar system, a point usually inside the sun but not at its center. We will never know the truth completely. I argue that anyone saying otherwise is selling something, and operating with far less affinity for truth than I have.

                • Hominid

                  Binariness is irrelevant – right and wrong do not exist outside the human mind and are simply positions on a continuum.

                  Show me an example of genuine science that does NOT move toward increased understanding (predictability). Going down blind alleys doesn’t count as failure – we turn back and progress elsewhere and, nonempirical pursuits don’t count because they are beyond the arena of science.

                  • “right and wrong do not exist outside the human mind and are simply positions on a continuum.”
                    Really? Try driving over a bridge where the certifying engineer decides that’s the way to go. There are objective realities that exist, regardless of whether we can apprehend them or not.
                    If you really believed this you wouldn’t have issued your initial correction regarding the proper taxonomic categorization of Neanderthals (a construction) or the presence of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans.

                    • Hominid

                      You’re very confused. I posted nothing about Neanderthal DNA. So, you believe there is a perfect bridge? As they say, “ignorance is bliss.”

                    • I didn’t say there was a perfect bridge. Read again.

                  • Maxximiliann

                    Problem is , humanity doesn’t deal with acts such as pedophilia , the gunning down of helpless little children , brutality , genocide , gang rape , racism or even serial homicide as merely socially improper conduct , like , say , picking your nostrils at the dinner table . Much rather , these jolt , outrage as well as horrify . They’re dealt with as moral abominations – acts of evil . (This is why, since time immemorial, even the most primitive cultures, regardless of their metaphysical values, enforced laws and regulations against homicide and various other acts of evil.)

                    On the flip side , love , equality or self-sacrifice are more than just socially useful acts , like , say , bringing a lady roses on a first date. Rather, these are regarded as conduct which is actually good .

                    That being said , irrational beasts don’t possess **objective** morals . When ever a lion savagely kills some other it doesn’t believe it’s committing homicide . Any time a peregrine falcon or a bald eagle snatches prey away from another it doesn’t believe it’s stealing . Each time primates violently force themselves onto females as well as their little ones they’re not tried and convicted of rape or pedophilia . Needless to say, we undoubtedly did not “inherit” our **objective** moral sense from these .

                    **Objective** morals are never derived from scientific research because science , by it’s very nature , is morally nihilistic . From where , then perhaps , do we obtain our **universal objective morals** from ?

                    Consider the following:

                    (1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

                    (2) Evil exists.

                    (3) Therefore, objective moral values and duties do exist.

                    (4) Therefore, God exists.

                    (5) Therefore, God is the locus of all objective moral values and duties.

                    That is to say, as Dostoevsky once mused, “If there is no God, everything is permitted.”

                    • Hominid

                      Nonsense!

                      A moral code is derivative of an instinctive desire for peaceful coexistence. The standard of morality need not be mandated by imaginary beings. Deriving one’s moral code from reason is in no way ‘proclaiming one’s self god’ any more than is using analytic geometry to build a reliable bridge. Many atheists are moral; many religious people are immoral. These two facts alone prove that religion is neither necessary nor sufficient for moral conduct. What religionists really mean when they insist on ‘morality’ is that one worship their preferred idol.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Here, if the Neo-Nazis ever attained world domination and then exterminated all who believed racism was completely wrong , might that at once render racism as well as bigotry moral ?

                    • The Nazis were all Christian. If God commanded Hitler to commit the holocaust, then the holocaust would have been a moral obligation, just as exterminating the Cannanites and Midianites was.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Except that nothing the Nazis did was compatible with Christ’s beneficent teachings. They were Antichristians, not sedulous followers of Christ. Sorry, try again.

                    • Christ recommended killing one’s children if they are cantankerous. Do you agree?

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Where did Christ ever say that?

                    • Suddenly you’re no longer an biblical expert. Matthew 15: 4.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      How did you get cantankerous from that passage? Christ says nothing of the sort …

                    • Is a child who curses their parents eligible for the death penalty?

                    • Maxximiliann

                      In ancient Israel, yes. Calling down evil upon one’s parents is immoral.

                    • So the death penalty for cursing your parents is objectively moral?

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Naturally. This is why these evil ones will perish at Armageddon if they refuse to repent from their sin.

                    • So we should be killing children today who curse their parents? It should be legal?

                      Muslims and Mormons repent from their sins, yet they will all perish, right?

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Nope. Our Creator has appointed Christ and his heavenly hosts to carry out their sentences.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      They still commit idolatry which is a heinous sin.

                    • All Christians sin. By your logic no Christian can be forgiven. Muslims accuse you of idolatry since you make engraven images, where as they don’t.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      i. Christians may sin unwittingly but those who practice sin cannot receive God’s forgiveness. See Hebrews 10:26-31.

                    • Then all Christians will not receive forgiveness since all Christians are willing sinners.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Wrong again. The issue is the persistent practice of sin. Try again.

                    • It is impossible not to sin according to Christianity.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      But what does the Bible teach?

                    • Slavery is permissible and consensual gay sex is immoral.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      ii. Christians do not make graven images. Antichristians, sure, but not Christians.

                    • Then virtually every Christian church are anti-Christian.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Now you’re getting it! 🙂

                      Christ did say that only a few of those claiming to be his followers actually were. See Matthew 7:13-23.

                    • Well he must want a cult that is manageable in size.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      More to the point, how does any of this change the fact that Hitler’s ideology was completely inconsonant with Christ’s beneficent teachings?

                    • It’s consistent with Yaweh’s teachings, who’s pro-genocide.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Except that dikaiocide is not genocide.

                    • Dikiaocide is not a real word.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Sure it is. You certainly understand its meaning 🙂

                    • papagan

                      “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.”

                      Such action–cursing one’s parents–is objectively grave matter; it is inconsistent with the Commandments. Those who fail to keep the Commandments risk everlasting death (perdition). In order to keep the Commandments, one must act in accordance with the theological virtue of love. In the present context, the meaning you attribute to Matthew 15:4 is not accurate.

                    • What if one’s parents deserve to be cursed? The Old Testament makes it clear that parents can kill their kids for cursing them. It is not perdition in the next life, it is being killed in this life. Is this “objectively” moral?

                    • papagan

                      “What if one’s parents deserve to be cursed?” If one has vicious parents, they, like everyone else, will have to give an account to their Creator.

                      “The Old Testament makes it clear that parents can kill their kids for cursing them.” One may deserve to be put to death in view of one’s wicked acts. It does not follow that one must kill those who deserve to be put to death. Furthermore, spiritual death is much worse than physical death! Today, however, many have little or no appreciation for the surpassing importance of spiritual life.

                      “Is this ‘objectively’ moral?” I’ve already addressed the complex question of God’s unique power and authority to bestow and take life. (Sadly, the divine authority if often disregarded today, as in cases of IVF and elective abortion, for instance.) A more detailed treatment of this issue can be found elsewhere.

                    • What matters here is the moral principle itself. Is it morally acceptable to kill children for cursing their parents, period? Spiritual death is irrelevant. Answer the question with a simple yes or no.

                      I’ve already addressed the complex question of God’s unique power and authority to bestow and take life. (Sadly, the divine authority if often disregarded today, as in cases of IVF and elective abortion, for instance.)

                      Yes you’ve addressed the question but you just made a bunch of assertions with no evidence backing them up. It’s a good thing divine authority is disregarded today. Follow god’s commands and you will end up in prison.

                    • papagan

                      The transcendent ground of created being is absolutely prior to moral principles by which human acts are measured as either good or evil. Those who subordinate the divine to morality are sadly misguided. The sacrifice of children to false gods (demons) was not uncommon in ancient times. One of the important lessons derived from the story of Abraham and Isaac is that child sacrifice is displeasing to God. At the last moment Abraham was commanded not to slay Isaac. Abraham was obedient in both cases. Obedience to God is essential. Today child sacrifice–elective abortion–is all too common, and many believe it is a right! What a remarkable twist in logic! We have a “right” to do what is evil? Certainly not.

                      “Yes you’ve addressed the question but you just made a bunch of assertions with no evidence backing them up.” I’ve offered reasons. Not every knowable truth requires scientific evidence. The reality of love or goodness, for instance, can be known without recourse to scientific evidence.

                      “It’s a good thing divine authority is disregarded today.” I beg to differ. What is most responsible for the corruption of morals is the rejection of God!

                      “Follow god’s [sic] commands and you will end up in prison.” Persons who obey God may be, and have been, persecuted or put to death (e.g., Sir Thomas More), but those who disobey God risk everlasting spiritual death! Spiritual death–separation from God–is far from irrelevant.

                    • Margaret

                      Your premise is incorrect. Nazism is anti-Christian philosophy.

                    • By that logic the whole republican party is anti-Christian philosophy. Jesus never championed free markets, individualism and anti-gay bigotry.

                    • One counter argument to the moral argument is called the Euthyphro Dilemma. It was posed by Socrates 2,400 years ago. It asks, “Is something moral because God commands it, or does God command it because it is moral?”
                      The person who believes objective morality is founded in God here has two options. If something is moral because God commands it, then morality is arbitrarily decided by God. God could command that we murder our children or own slaves and it would be good – merely because God said so. The actual commands would be meaningless and we’d have no way to gauge whether something is morally good or not except on whether it was commanded by God. This would be a “might makes right” ideology.

                      In the other option, God is merely a messenger who alerts us to what is right or wrongindependently to whether God exists or not. Morality is not decided by God, God is simply the enforcer of what is naturally right or wrong.

                      Neither option is particularly appealing to the theist. The first option makes morality simply dependent on God’s opinion at any given time. He could command that murder and rape are good, then change his mind and command that they are wrong. The second option turns God merely into a messenger, who one might say is redundant, and at best can only serve as a medium by which natural truths are known. The ontological foundation of [good] would exist independently of him.

                      Now the Euthyphro Dilemma has been around for over 2000 years and theists have had plenty of time to respond to it. One common objection is to say that God is good – he is the absolute standard by which good is measured and founded. But is this a successful refutation of the dilemma?
                      If God is the standard of goodness, by what means can we know this to be true? So we can ask, why is God good? The theist might say God is good because he is intrinsically loving, compassionate and fair. But then all we have to do is reformulate the Euthyphro Dilemma accordingly: Is God good because he is loving, compassionate and fair, or is being loving, compassionate and fair good because God is good? If you pick the former, then the attributes God has that make him good exist independently of God and are merely descriptive terms applied to God, if you pick the latter then how can we possibly know that being loving, compassionate and fair is good? It can’t simply be good because God is good, because then the word “good” is meaningless.
                      There has to be a reason why we call something good. So what characteristic comes first – God’s goodness, or his being loving, compassionate and fair? The theist is in a squirm here. He cannot simply define God as being “good” without justification. Goodness has to be justified descriptively. But if those descriptions are warranted, then they imply goodness for epistemological reasons that are verifiable due to their intentions and effects. And thus the source of goodness would exist independently of God.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      God wills something because He is good.

                    • Is God good because he is loving, compassionate and fair, or is being loving, compassionate and fair good because God is good?

                      Can you answer that without make a circular argument? No.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      B.

                    • Then you’re making a totally circular argument.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Prove it.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      God Almighty doesn’t have moral duties to fulfill, since He doesn’t issue commands to Himself. So we don’t praise Him for doing His duty. Rather He is to be adored for His moral character because He is essentially loving, just, kind, etc. It is because God is that way that these qualities count as virtues in the first place. Essentially, God is good the same way rain is wet, diamond gemstones are hard, photons tear across space at luminous speeds and cerulean suns blaze. So if you think of God’s goodness in terms of His possessing certain virtues rather than fulfilling certain duties, we have a more exalted and adequate concept of God Almighty.

                    • So jealousy and wrathfulness are good?

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Both zealous vigilance and justified anger are both good qualities, yes.

                    • No, no no. I’m talking about jealousy and anger.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Zealous vigilance is jealousy and justified anger is still anger …

                    • jealousy: an unhappy or angry feeling caused by the belief that someone you love (such as your husband or wife) likes or is liked by someone else

                      Tell me why that is a positive attribute.

                      What determines whether the anger is justified?

                    • Maxximiliann

                      That is but one definition of jealousy. Zealous vigilance is the one which applies to God.

                    • God sounds fallible.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Not to me he doesn’t.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Anger felt at the commission of evil is certainly justified, wouldn’t you say?

                    • Yes, — if your an imperfect being. You can’t tell me god is love and then say he also hates.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      God hates evil which is why he will soon bring all evildoers to justice at Armageddon.

                    • The Bible depicts God as having obligations (e.g. Ex. 32:13-14).

                    • Maxximiliann

                      But where does it say He has moral duties to fulfill?

                    • “Remember the solemn promise you made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

                      To honor a promise is to fulfill a moral obligation.

                    • papagan

                      Non sequitur! The fact that God always keeps His promises does not logically entail that the category of moral obligations is applicable to divine action. When created persons honor a promise (to do good), they act in conformity with the natural moral law. God, however, is not under the natural moral law. Those who believe that God is under the natural moral law are operating with an anthropomorphic (pagan) conception of the transcendent One Who Is. We need a metaphysically purified, albeit limited, conception of God. In that connection, read Fides et Ratio. http://www.ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/JP2FIDES.HTM

                    • If god’s commandments are objectively morally good by nature and god does not adhere to the same moral values in those commandments, then god is not omnibenevolent. Basically, if god has no moral obligations, by what sense can we say he is good? I see absolutely no reason to think Yahweh is god or is good.

                    • papagan

                      In view of what you write, it does not seem that you recognize a transcendent Creator, the One Who Is. God is not like intelligent creatures. The natural moral law measures the actions of finite persons. God is not a finite person. The transcendent divine action cannot be measured by moral categories! Have you read the Book of Job?

                      In saying that God is good, one must remember that good is analogical, not univocal. God is metaphysically good, Self-subsisting Goodness. Consider what I wrote earlier in connection with the transcendentals, namely, being, unity, truth, and goodness.

                    • No I do not believe in any god. I’m sure you believe god is the paradigm of goodness, right? If so, and if god has no moral obligations, such that he can do what he wills, how can we even know god is good? Could god torture sentient beings for fun? If no, what stops him? His intrinsic goodness? If so, his intrinsic goodness prevents him from doing certain things. It limits god.

                      In saying all the terms that apply to god are analogical and not univocal, you’re making god out to be a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. I cannot even coherently think about god. There is a term called ignostic, are you familiar with it? I agree with them.

                    • papagan

                      “No I do not believe in any god.” Well, at least that’s now clear.

                      “…how can we even know god [sic] is good?” I believe I’ve already addressed that question. The divine Goodness is not like any created finite good. Good is analogical, not univocal.

                      “Could god [sic] torture sentient beings for fun?” That would be incoherent. The one true God, Goodness Itself, is never cruel. He is uncreated, infinite Love. Nothing outside God could augment or increase His eternal happiness. He is His own Beatitude.

                      “If so, his intrinsic goodness prevents him from doing certain things.” The statement “God lied” could not be true. Lying is an imperfection or defect, and there can be no imperfection or defect in God.

                      “It limits god [sic].” Not really. Lying entails a defect or limitation of truthfulness, and there can be no such limitation in the uncreated, essential Truth. As unlimited eternal Being (Esse), God is unlimited Goodness. Limitation is found in (creaturely) defectibility, not (divine) indefectibility.

                      “In saying all the terms that apply to god [sic] are analogical and not univocal, you’re making god [sic] out to be a mystery wrapped inside an enigma.” Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: «230 Even when he reveals himself, God remains a mystery beyond words: “If you understood him, it would not be God” (St. Augustine, Sermo 52, 6, 16: PL 38, 360 and Sermo 117, 3, 5: PL 38, 663).» Human concepts are limited. God is not limited. Human concepts fall infinitely short of the transcendent reality of God, the Holy Mystery.

                      “I cannot even coherently think about god [sic].” Using limited human concepts, rational creatures can think about God. Hence, we have the disciplines of philosophical theology (based on natural reason) and revealed theology (informed by supernatural faith). Our concepts, however, cannot comprehend Him, the infinite Mystery.

                      “There is a term called ignostic, are you familiar with it? I agree with them.” Perhaps you are familiar with the writings of A.J. Ayer, a well-known champion of “logical positivism.” Ignosticism appears closely related to Ayer’s thought. Logical positivism, however, is now passé in virtually all philosophical circles. One may understand why at least some scientists would find logical positivism attractive; nevertheless, logical positivism is exceedingly bad philosophy.

                    • The divine Goodness is not like any created finite good. Good is analogical, not univocal.

                      I don’t think you’ve demonstrated that goodness cannot exist independently of god. Can you make a formal, logical argument making such a case?

                      That would be incoherent. The one true God, Goodness Itself, is never cruel. He is uncreated, infinite Love. Nothing outside God could augment or increase His eternal happiness. He is His own Beatitude.

                      Then how do you explain the millions of years of suffering endured during the evolutionary process by both humans and non-humans?

                      The statement “God lied” could not be true. Lying is an imperfection or defect, and there can be no imperfection or defect in God.

                      How do you know lying is imperfect or a defect? By what objective standard are you measuring this against? Tell me why it’s wrong.

                      As unlimited eternal Being (Esse), God is unlimited Goodness. Limitation is found in (creaturely) defectibility, not (divine) indefectibility.

                      Then Yahweh cannot be god, because the character described in the Bible is anything but “unlimited Goodness.”

                      Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: «230 Even when he reveals himself, God remains a mystery beyond words: “If you understood him, it would not be God” (St. Augustine, Sermo 52, 6, 16: PL 38, 360 and Sermo 117, 3, 5: PL 38, 663).» Human concepts are limited. God is not limited. Human concepts fall infinitely short of the transcendent reality of God, the Holy Mystery.

                      All the more reason to think god is a man-made concept.

                      Our concepts, however, cannot comprehend Him, the infinite Mystery.

                      That’s a perfect way to hide the incoherency of god. I’m an ignostic for that reason.

                      Logical positivism, however, is now passé in virtually all philosophical circles. One may understand why at least some scientists would find logical positivism attractive; nevertheless, logical positivism is exceedingly bad philosophy.

                      I don’t hold logical positivism, nor scientism. Ignosticism is not tantamount to logical positivism. It simply states that god concepts aren’t coherent enough to take seriously, it is not saying that we need verifiable evidence of god.

                    • papagan

                      “I don’t think you’ve demonstrated that goodness cannot exist independently of god [sic]. Can you make a formal, logical argument making such a case?” Consider what I said earlier concerning law and legislators. As regards the term “good,” it’s not clear that you and I share the same understanding. I’ve not seen where you articulate your understanding of goodness.

                      “Then how do you explain the millions of years of suffering endured … by both humans and non-humans?” Catholics understand suffering within the context of original sin. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11312a.htm Unbelievers are not well disposed to take seriously the revealed doctrine of original sin. See Edward T. Oakes, S.J., “Original Sin: A Disputation” http://www.firstthings.com/article/1998/11/001-original-sin-a-disputation

                      “How do you know lying is imperfect or a defect? By what objective standard are you measuring this against? Tell me why it’s wrong.” The objective standard is the natural moral law divinely inscribed in human nature. Much has been written on the topic of lying. If you’re truly interested, see CCC, 2482-86. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a8.htm Also see http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1312.htm (Do you prefer to be viewed as a liar, or do you prefer to be regarded as an honest person?)

                      “Then Yahweh cannot be god [sic], because the character described in the Bible is anything but ‘unlimited Goodness.'” I’m sorry you hold that erroneous belief. 🙁

                      “All the more reason to think god [sic] is a man-made concept.” All human concepts are produced by the human intellect. They help us to understand what exists independently of the human mind. Human persons employ theological concepts in order to speak about God.

                      “That’s a perfect way to hide the incoherency of god [sic].” Non sequitur. Around the globe, people speak about God every day. They aren’t babbling meaningless nonsense. Actual and meaningful communication between persons is taking place. Extremely intelligent writers publish important articles in professional theological journals. There is a legitimate place for kataphatic theology, not only apophatic theology. Both types of theology are important. If the term “God” were meaningless, we would not be engaged in a meaningful linguistic exchange. One can hardly eliminate all theological discourse by simply asserting that the term “God” is meaningless! In short, theological non-cognitivism is a non-starter.

                      “I’m an ignostic for that reason.” If you’re really an “ignostic” as you claim, then stop spinning your wheels and move on! “Ignostics” cannot honestly participate in a theological discussion without being guilty of a performative contradiction.

                    • Consider what I said earlier concerning law and legislators. As regards the term “good,” it’s not clear that you and I share the same understanding. I’ve not seen where you articulate your understanding of goodness.

                      Laws don’t need lawmakers. You haven’t even demonstrated a moral law to begin with. Please, make a coherent formal argument, if you could be so kind, arguing that goodness cannot exist independently of god.

                      Catholics understand suffering within the context of original sin. http://www.newadvent.org/cathe… Unbelievers are not well disposed to take seriously the revealed doctrine of original sin. See Edward T. Oakes, S.J., “Original Sin: A Disputation” http://www.firstthings.com/art

                      You’re right that we don’t believe in original sin, because it makes no sense, and it doesn’t fit the data. As this post tries to argue but fails, Adam and Eve were not historical people. When did original sin enter into the evolutionary development of human beings? And why did suffering predate that event?

                      The objective standard is the natural moral law divinely inscribed in human nature. Much has been written on the topic of lying. If you’re truly interested, see CCC, 2482-86. http://www.vatican.va/archive/… Also seehttp://www.newadvent.org/fathe… (Do you prefer to be viewed as a liar, or do you prefer to be regarded as an honest person?)

                      But why is the natural moral law such that lying is wrong? I want to know your reasons why it is wrong. Saying “The objective standard is the natural moral law divinely inscribed in human nature” doesn’t answer the challenge. You could respond the same way to a question of why slavery is good. It doesn’t tell me why it is wrong.

                      I’m sorry you hold that erroneous belief.

                      I’m sorry you fail to see the obvious truth.

                      Non sequitur. Around the globe, people speak about God every day. They aren’t babbling meaningless nonsense. Actual and meaningful communication between persons is taking place.

                      They could be talking about Star Wars, or some incorrect theory about science, economics or sociology. Being meaningful to humans or popular does not make something true. That’s a non sequitor.

                      If the term “God” were meaningless, we would not be engaged in a meaningful linguistic exchange. One can hardly eliminate all theological discourse by simply asserting that the term “God” is meaningless! In short, theological non-cognitivism is a non-starter.

                      I didn’t say god was meaningless, I said god was incoherent. Plenty of things are incoherent and are subjectively meaningful to people. I’m not trying to eliminate theological discourse, I’m trying to eliminate serious theistic belief. In short, if you’re going to tell me god exists, and has a very specific set of rules for my life, and yet is an “infinite mystery” whose most basic ontologies cannot be explained, I’m sorry but I just cannot take you seriously.

                      If you’re really an “ignostic” as you claim, then stop spinning your wheels and move on! “Ignostics” cannot honestly participate in a theological discussion without being guilty of a performative contradiction.

                      Performative contradiction? How so? An ignostic I simply claim that any religious term or theological concept presented must be accompanied by a coherent definition. Constant appeals to mystery lead me to think god is a man-made concept, not mapped to anything ontological.

                    • papagan

                      “I didn’t say [G]od was meaningless, I said [G]od was incoherent. Plenty of things are incoherent and are subjectively meaningful to people. I’m not trying to eliminate theological discourse, I’m trying to eliminate serious theistic belief.”

                      As I understand it, “ignosticism” appears to be an endorsement of theological non-cognitivism. Proponents of theological non-cognitivism hold that theological discourse is meaningless, and theology is thereby precluded. A.J. Ayer advanced the curious opinion that theological discourse is meaningless. As far as the project of eliminating serious theistic belief is concerned, don’t hold your breath!

                      “…I simply claim that any religious term or theological concept presented must be accompanied by a coherent definition. Constant appeals to mystery lead me to think [G]od is a man-made concept, not mapped to anything ontological.”

                      One cannot provide a real definition of a thing, unless one possesses quidditative knowledge of the thing. In this life we cannot have quidditative knowledge of God. That said, one may offer a more or less complex nominal (non-quidditative) definition of God. For example, God is that-than-which-none-greater-can-be-conceived,
                      or an absolutely necessary cause that cannot not be, etc. A nominal definition expressed in audible or legible words is the external manifestation of an interior concept. Whenever people talk about God, they are employing some interior theological concept, a concept which provides no truly quidditative knowledge of God; nevertheless, the theological concept makes possible meaningful talk about God based on analogy and the principle of causality. So kataphatic theology is not precluded. Quidditative knowledge of God is to be found in the beatific vision after death, among virtuous believers–friends of God–who are spiritually prepared, through humility and divine grace, to receive this supernatural vision of the transcendent divine nature. (In Heaven there is no room for hubris or any other vice.)

                    • As I understand it, “ignosticism” appears to be an endorsement of theological non-cognitivism. Proponents of theological non-cognitivism hold that theological discourse is meaningless, and theology is thereby precluded. A.J. Ayer advanced the curious opinion that theological discourse is meaningless. As far as the project of eliminating serious theistic belief is concerned, don’t hold your breath!

                      There are different ways to look at “meaningless”. I do think it is meaningless to talk about god if you want a rational ontological explaination, but things that aren’t real can be subjectively meaningful as personal interests, like mythology.

                      One cannot provide a real definition of a thing, unless one possesses quidditative knowledge of the thing. In this life we cannot have quidditative knowledge of God. That said, one may offer a more or less complex nominal (non-quidditative) definition of God.

                      Or it could be that god doesn’t exist, and that’s why we can’t know such a thing.

                      For example, God is that-than-which-none-greater-can-be-conceived, or an absolutely necessary cause that cannot not be, etc.

                      Well, I can easily conceive a a being that is greater than Yahweh, therefore Yahweh cannot be god.

                      Quidditative knowledge of God is to be found in the beatific vision after death, among virtuous believers–friends of God–who are spiritually prepared, through humility and divine grace, to receive this supernatural vision of the transcendent divine nature. (In Heaven there is no room for hubris or any other vice.)

                      I know it all sounds poetic, but I cannot take any of that stuff seriously. I think a failure of religious advocates is that they assume too much from the starting point.

                    • papagan

                      In response to my reference to A.J. Ayer, you wrote: “There are different ways to look at ‘meaningless’. I do think it is meaningless to talk about [G]od if you want a rational ontological explaination, [sic] but things that aren’t real can be subjectively meaningful as personal interests, like mythology.” Regarding the school of thought promoted by A.J. Ayer, would you agree that (a) logical positivism (LP) is untenable? Or (b) are you an adherent of LP? Or perhaps (c) you have no knowledge of LP.

                    • I’m not a adherent to LP. LP goes even farther than scientism does.

                      What do you think are the most reliable epistemolgies in order from strongest to weakest?

                    • papagan

                      “I’m not trying to eliminate theological discourse, I’m trying to eliminate serious theistic belief.” Have you heard of freedom of religion? I guess secular humanism and civil tolerance don’t mix very well.

                    • You incorrectly interpreted me as thinking I want to force atheism by law. That’s not my intention. My intention is to eliminate theistic belief using debate.

                    • papagan

                      Do you feel threatened by theism? If you do, why do you feel threatened? I you don’t, why is it so important to you to try to eliminate serious theistic belief?

                    • I think theism increases the tendency to hinder moral and intellectual progress, so in that sense I do feel threatened by theism. But, I am lucky to live in a very secular environment where I honestly do not have to deal with religion on a day-to-day basis at all. I want to help spread that to the world.

                    • papagan

                      “I think theism increases the tendency to hinder moral and intellectual progress…” I assume you equate intellectual progress with the advance of science. What is your conception of moral progress? And what, in your view, is the ultimate goal of moral progress?

                    • Intellectual progress can be scientific, and yes, religion has done a lot to hinder scientific knowledge, but it can also be philosophical. Moral progress is increasing social justice, equality, empathy, compassion, humane treatment of sentient beings and the decrease of as much unnecessary suffering as possible. Some theists share in more or less the exact same idea of moral progress as I do. But most do not, especially in Muslim majority countries.

                    • papagan

                      “Intellectual progress can be scientific, and yes, religion has done a lot to hinder scientific knowledge…” Were it not for true religion, modern science would have been “stillborn”! Apparently you are not familiar with the celebrated work of the late Stanley L. Jaki, O.S.B. (1) http://www.sljaki.com/ (2) http://www.realviewbooks.com/ (3) http://www.realviewbooks.com/catalog5.html I was fortunate enough to have met him on several occasions in California and West Virginia. He was a truly gifted thinker.

                    • What is “true religion”? All religions are false. Science developed over the years from philosophy in ancient Greece, where it grew in the Islamic golden age, and then in Europe in the 1500s where we get modern science. Ancient China also had something similar to what we could call science. In the modern age, religion has been the biggest hindrance of science. And at times it has been in the past.

                    • papagan

                      True religion helps the human mind to be in conformity with the fullness of reality, not simply with what is visible and perceptible to the bodily senses. A materialist conception of “reality” is not compatible with true religion. Indeed, a materialist metaphysics involves an internal contradiction!

                    • You make a lot of confident claims, yet you cannot successfully back them up. Under your definition of “true religion” no religions are true, since every religion is contradicted by science and logic. For example, almost all versions of Christianity are false because there never was an Adam & Eve, and without them Christianity makes little sense.

                    • papagan

                      “But, I am lucky to live in a very secular environment where I honestly do not have to deal with religion on a day-to-day basis at all. I want to help spread that to the world.” What do you want to help spread to the world? The ideology of atheism? In your world is there any legitimate place for thoughtful persons who desire to live in a vibrant God-fearing community?

                    • I want to spread secularism in both its political definition and its philosophical definition. That is a separation or religion and government all over the world, and a society where religion is not seen as important, and where people use reason and not faith to tackle problems. If you are god-fearing, impose that on yourself, not others. Religion should be a personal, private relationship, like going on a diet, that you impose on yourself. I would prefer not to ever even hear your religious beliefs. But I’m not saying there should be laws against public displays of religiosity. I’m all for free speech, but that means I have the right to argue against religion to try and convince people it is a bad thing that should be jettisoned.

                    • papagan

                      “If you are god-fearing, impose that on yourself, not others. Religion should be a personal, private relationship, like going on a diet, that you impose on yourself.” People who hold opinions such as those expressed above pose a real threat to authentic religious freedom. If I have children, I have the God-given responsibility and right to raise and educate my children according to my faith. As a Christian, I have the responsibility to raise my children as Christians. I do not consider that to be “imposing” my faith on others. Moreover, true religion isn’t something purely private. We are social beings by nature, and sound religion is inherently communal in nature; we are called to worship our Creator not only in solitude, but together. The individualism you advocate may appeal to some people, especially in this country, but, as Aristotle saw clearly, it is not consistent with human nature; rather, individualism http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07761a.htm is a modern construct, and it is inherently problematic.

                      One might add that false religion is not a good thing, but true revealed religion is good and indispensable to true happiness. You don’t allow for the possibility of true religion, while I affirm the reality of true religion. In that regard, I doubt that you and I will ever reach a meeting of minds.

                      For those interested in the position that religion is at the very heart of culture, they should read the influential work of Christopher Dawson. http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/history/christopher-dawson-christ-in-history.html I would also recommend highly the famous little, but penetrating, book by Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture. http://www.ignatius.com/Products/LBC-P/leisure.aspx

                    • eople who hold opinions such as those expressed above pose a real threat to authentic religious freedom. If I have children, I have the God-given responsibility and right to raise and educate my children according to my faith.

                      I meant others outside your family. Sorry for any confusion.

                      Moreover, true religion isn’t something purely private. We are social beings by nature, and sound religion is inherently communal in nature; we are called to worship our Creator not only in solitude, but together.

                      I’m just recommending social norms, I’m not advocated laws preventing public displays of religion. When your religion effects me, I have the obligation to argue against it.

                      One might add that false religion is not a good thing, but true revealed religion is good and indispensable to true happiness. You don’t allow for the possibility of true religion, while I affirm the reality of true religion. In that regard, I doubt that you and I will ever reach a meeting of minds.

                      There is no way for you to show with good evidence that your religion is true. All religions claim to be true. Have your religion, but respect the wall of separation between church and state.

                    • papagan

                      “I’m just recommending social norms, I’m not advocated laws preventing public displays of religion.” Are the social norms in question supposed to remain in your mind exclusively, or are they supposed to be implemented in some public way? The latter would be more troubling than the former.

                      “When your religion effects [sic] me, I have the obligation to argue against it.” In this country the civil law permits you to articulate in a respectful way arguments against any and all religions. And believers have the right to defend their faith against unsound arguments. But don’t insist that every reasonable person must accept your dubious materialistic assumptions! I don’t share your belief that philosophical materialism is sound. Nor do I share the false belief that modern natural science supports philosophical materialism! Modern natural science presupposes not philosophical materialism (PM), but methodological naturalism (MN). There is a great difference between PM and MN. Unlike PM, MN is a reasonable scientific assumption. It’s a disastrous error to overlook or deny the important distinction between PM and MN; PM is much stronger than MN. MN does not preclude the reasonableness of true faith, while PM is logically incompatible with true faith.

                    • papagan

                      Were you and your allies to succeed in the anti-religious endeavor to eliminate all belief in God, what would you offer in its place? What is the absolute in which you believe? What do you value above all else? Science?

                    • I don’t necessarily think many people need something in its place. Look, I live in New York City, and there are very few religious people around me. Millions and millions of people are getting along with their lives quite nicely without the need for religion. But if religious activities are desired, there are things like Sunday Assembly that can fulfill this.

                      As far as absolutes, I’m not sure what you mean. Religions don’t have absolutes. There are over 40,000 different denominations of Christianity for example, each with a different version of the “truth”.

                    • papagan

                      “I don’t necessarily think many people need something in its place.” The great good of true religion cannot be replaced! As regards the determination of what people truly need, one should have recourse to a sound philosophical psychology or theory of the human person. In that connection, the philosophical writings of Aristotle contain many true and penetrating insights. In contrast, philosophical materialism precludes any sound philosophical theory of the human person.

                    • That’s completely untrue. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. No religion corresponds to true human nature as revealed by science. Religion isn’t really a “great good” and as we evolve towards a less religious society, we will see that religion is not needed as once thought.

                    • papagan

                      You’re assuming a materialist conception of the human person. Given that assumption, modern natural science would suffice to study the whole human person. Inasmuch as the human person includes a spiritual dimension (e.g., the spiritual powers of intellect and free will), however, the methodological limits of modern natural science cannot treat the whole human person.

                    • There’s no evidence of a spiritual dimension of a human person. You believe it on faith. This is why you think science is incomplete, because you believe fantastic elements of human nature that simply have no basis in reality.

                    • papagan

                      Such utterances sound much like the barks of a dogmatic materialist. Show me a subhuman animal who is a practitioner of natural science, and I’ll show you a miracle!

                    • papagan

                      “Rather He is to be adored for His moral character because He is essentially loving, just, kind, etc.”

                      You’re assuming an anthropomorphic conception of the divine nature! Strictly speaking, there are no virtues–good habitus–in the divine nature. Virtue or good moral character can be predicated of finite (created) persons only, not of essential Goodness. One must remember that some language employed in Sacred Scripture is metaphorical.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Once Christ was resurrected , he “entered . . . into heaven itself , now to appear before the person of God for us .” ( Hebrews 9 :24 ) This demonstrates a couple of significant elements relating to God Almighty . For starters , he has a location where he resides . Furthermore , he is actually a Person , not merely some ineffable force that pervades all of reality .

                      The Scriptures plainly inform us that God Almighty possesses a body as well as revealing he is situated in the heavens. (cf. Matthew 6:9; John 4:24; 1 Corinthians 15:44) Put simply, he possesses corporealness and therefore locality.

                      Understanding that, in fact, each and every heavenly spirit possesses corporealness makes it substantive when the Scriptures refer to God relative to his spirit creatures:

                      “Micaiah then said: “Therefore, hear the word of Jehovah: I saw Jehovah sitting on his throne and all the army of the heavens standing by him, to his right and to his left.” -1 Kings 22:19

                      ““I kept watching until thrones were set in place and the Ancient of Days [Jehovah God] sat down. A stream of fire was flowing and going out from before him. A thousand thousands kept ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.” -Daniel 9:9,10 (Bracket mine.)

                      The Holy Bible additionally explains that our Creator bears a personal name , Jehovah , and even unveils his personality to us . It reveals that his most distinguished traits are love , justice , wisdom , together with power . ( Deuteronomy 32 :4 ; Job 12 :13 ; Isaiah 40 :26 ; 1 John 4 :8 ) The Scriptures informs us , likewise , that he is certainly merciful , kind , forgiving , big-hearted , as well as patient .

                      Personality is the blend of traits or attributes that pattern an individual’s unique persona . It is the aggregation of all the attributes–behavioral , temperamental , emotional as well as mental–that represent a distinct individual . It is the manifestation of individual values , hopes , aspirations , principles , and behaviors . In effect, personality is to a particular person as culture would be to a group .

                      Seeing as personality is the quality or fact of being a person as distinguished from a particular thing or creature it follows that Jehovah God is absolutely a person .

                    • papagan

                      Jesus Christ, the Second (divine) Person of the Holy Trinity, possesses two natures–one human, one divine. Hypostatically united with his divine nature, his human nature includes body and soul. HIs divine nature, however, is altogether immaterial and without potentiality. None of the foregoing is inconsistent with Catholic doctrine. To hold that the divine nature is blended or mixed with matter, just as matter is an essential part of human nature, is to hold a heterodox position.

                      It is true that the body of Christ is not without place; however, the transcendent divine nature is omnipresent and eternal, not contained within the created boundaries of space and time.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      “the transcendent divine nature is omnipresent and eternal”

                      Can you share where precisely the Bible teaches this?

                    • papagan

                      Many years ago I learned that intelligent conversation is seldom advanced when people (in more than a few instances without any formal training in biblical science) throw scriptural passages at each other. One reason is that people not infrequently differ in their interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and when private individuals view themselves as the ultimate authority in matters of biblical exegesis, they spin their wheels to no good effect. For those who recognize the Apostolic authority of the Magisterium of the Church, see 4th Lateran Council (Denzinger: 800). Also see Vatican I:

                      «The Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church believes and confesses that there is one true and living God, Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, Almighty, Eternal, Immense, Incomprehensible, Infinite in intelligence, in will, and in all perfection, who, as being one, sole, absolutely simple and immutable spiritual substance, is to be declared as really and essentially distinct from the world, of supreme beatitude in and from Himself, and ineffably exalted above all things which exist, or are conceivable, except Himself.» http://www.catholicplanet.org/councils/20-Dei-Filius.htm

                      From the standpoint of reason, one can know that the divine nature, transcending space and time, is omnipresent (limitless divine immensity) and eternal. Neither space nor time are God; together with contingent corporeal substances, space and time are created by God. (If there were no corporeal substances, which together constitute the material world, there would be neither space nor time.) The divine Creator cannot be contained within or circumscribed by what He creates, and the immeasurable divine act of creating ex nihilo is altogether atemporal.

                      Without a metaphysically refined notion of God, one will end up caught in a web of insoluble theoretical difficulties, the tainted fruit of anthropomorphic conceptions of deity.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      So this is all basically Catholic theology not Bible based reasoning. Thanks for clarifying! 🙂

                    • papagan

                      Not sure what you mean by “Bible-based reasoning.” In any event, sound Catholic theology involves the wholesome integration of theological faith and natural reason. Sound Catholic theology is neither fideist http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06068b.htm nor rationalist http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12652a.htm in nature. Both the supernatural light of faith and the natural light of reason are gifts from God, and we are called to exercise these complementary gifts. If we reject the gift of theological faith, fallen human reason inevitably falls into error. If we abandon the gift of natural reason, we end up with little more than superstitious religious beliefs, not true faith!

                    • Maxximiliann

                      See 2 Timothy 3:16,17.

                    • papagan

                      “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” First, Catholic theology involves a systematic and rigorous rational reflection on the truths of faith expressed in Sacred Scripture. Second, the biblical passage in question is not equivalent to “Sola Scriptura.” Third, that passage does not prevent people from offering conflicting and incompatible interpretations of scriptural passages. People often misinterpret various passages found in Sacred Scripture.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      the biblical passage in question is not equivalent to “Sola Scriptura.”

                      Why not?

                    • papagan

                      Well, “Sola Scriptura” is exclusive; only the authority of Scripture is admitted. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, however, does not preclude other authoritative sources, e.g., Tradition. So the non-biblical doctrine of Sola Scriptura is not endorsed or confirmed by 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      To what traditions are you referring to? Can you perhaps share some examples of these from the Bible?

                    • papagan

                      See “Tradition and Living Magisterium” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15006b.htm. For a more detailed treatment, you might wish to read Mark P. Shea’s By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition.
                      http://www.amazon.com/Authority-Evangelical-Discovers-Catholic-Tradition/dp/0879738510

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Regarding the purported authority of traditions please see Matthew 15:3 & 9; cf. Colossians 2:8; Mark 7:8-13.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Regarding the purported authority of traditions please see Matthew 15:3 & 9; cf. Colossians 2:8; Mark 7:8-13.

                    • papagan

                      P.S. Incidentally, “Sola Scriptura” is not biblical!

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Please explain.

                    • papagan

                      Where in Sacred Scripture does it say that Scripture alone is authoritative for Christian faith and praxis?

                    • Maxximiliann

                      See 2 Timothy 3:16,17.

                    • papagan

                      The question you raise is complex, and it deserves more than a brief reply, which is all I can offer in this context. If God issues a command, it must be in accord with his eternal and infallible Wisdom. To disobey God’s command is to act contrary to His Wisdom, to act contrary to prudence and right reason, which is not good. If God forbids an action (e.g., don’t eat that fruit), then it would be wrong to eat the forbidden fruit. For one’s action would be in opposition to the eternal law, i.e., God. It is always wrong to oppose the eternal law, as the lower should always be subordinate to the higher, and man is neither above nor equal to God. It is also true that there is an objective order of goods (including human life), and this order is established and sustained by divine providence. To destroy innocent human life is to act against the objective order of goods and to act in opposition to the divine Author of the objective order of goods. God would never command us to do what is evil, for He would never command us to act against His Wisdom. That would be incoherent.

                      Furthermore, after the Original Sin, we are all under a death sentence. Among the wages of sin is death. So, it is up to God to determine when each fallen human person will die, and the way in which each one will die. Regarding the latter, the manner of death is either willed positively by God, or via God’s permissive will (e.g., when God permits abortionists to destroy innocent human lives in the wombs of mothers). When man takes innocent human life on his own authority, he commits murder. If God commands a man to take a human life (e.g., the story of Abraham and Isaac), one should obey, for God–the Author of life–has the authority to take the life He has given. In the latter case, no murder is committed. Murder obtains only when man, on his own authority, takes innocent human life.

                      There is an objective moral law (the natural law), but this law is not independent of God, who is the eternal law, the source of all other laws. So, God is neither capricious nor is He subordinate to anything other than Himself. God is self-subsisting Goodness, and His actions transcend the natural law He established in His creation.

                      The Euthyphro dilemma is a dilemma only for those who follow a false god, not the transcendent God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Jesus Christ.

                    • You don’t make any sense. And you never addressed the dilemma. Is God good because he is loving, compassionate and fair, or is being loving, compassionate and fair good because God is good?

                      If killing your son is wrong, but becomes right if god commands it, then you take the first horn of the dilemma. You’ve essentially affirmed divine command theory and the something is moral because god says so.

                    • papagan

                      God is good because God is God! One must keep in mind that the term “good” applies to God in an analogical, not univocal, sense. Moral attributes predicated of created human persons (e.g., justice) are not predicable of God in the same sense, although many make that mistake. For many lack a metaphysically refined notion of the transcendent Godhead. We can grow in moral goodness, insofar as we can become increasingly conformed to God’s will, by growing in virtues such as justice and love. God cannot grow in goodness, for God cannot become more God. He is Self-subsisting Goodness. The virtues of justice and love are not predicable of God; rather, God is Self-subsisting Holiness and Self-subsisting Love.

                      As long as one harbors a distorted or pagan conception of divinity (the proper target of Socrates’ line of philosophical questioning), the dilemma articulated in Plato’s Euthyphro cannot be resolved satisfactorily. The revealed doctrine of faith promulgated by the Catholic Church, however, does not advocate a distorted or pagan conception of divinity. St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the great Doctors of the Catholic Church, had more than a little to say about the mysterious reality of God. His metaphysically refined notion of the One Who Is can be found in works like his Summa Theologiae http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1006.htm and his Summa Contra Gentiles http://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles1.htm#38.

                      One may find seeds of truth in Divine Command Theory (DCT); however, the voluntarist aspects of DCT (e.g., William of Ockham) are philosophically problematic. St. Thomas Aquinas rightly rejects such voluntarism. Instead, St. Thomas elaborates a highly nuanced theocentric understanding of the natural moral law inscribed in human nature.

                      Everything I stated in my previous response stands as before. If someone fails to grasp what I stated earlier, it doesn’t follow that what I wrote makes no sense.

                    • God is good because God is God!

                      That’s a tautology. Can you make a successful case demonstrating that goodness cannot exist independently of god that doesn’t involve special pleading or circular reasoning?

                      Instead, St. Thomas elaborates a highly nuanced theocentric understanding of the natural moral law inscribed in human nature.

                      I’m not a big fan of DCT or natural law. I don’t think either is a satisfactory ethical framework.

                    • papagan

                      Regarding natural law theory, not all theories of natural law are equal. I’m not a fan of the so-called “New Natural Law Theory” (NNLT) (e.g., John Finnis). Far superior, in my judgment, is St. Thomas Aquinas’ theocentric and metaphysically robust natural law theory. All law presupposes a legislator, and the universal natural moral law presupposes a divine Lawgiver. (My mind didn’t make, but discovered, the natural moral law, which was established at the beginning of the creation of finite, participated persons by a transcendent Intellect, a.k.a., God.) Those who believe that the universal and objective moral law was made by a finite human mind are off track.

                      Regarding the philosophical question of goodness, I take a metaphysical approach. Goodness is one of the transcendentals http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-3407711221/transcendentals.html. Insofar as something is, it is good. God is essential (unparticipated) Being (Ipsum Esse Subsistens, cf. Exodus 3:14), so God is essential (unparticipated) Goodness. Finite entities are participated beings, so finite entities are participated goods. Evil is privation. Evil presupposes an order of finite (contingent) goods, and an order of finite (contingent) goods presupposes essential (uncreated) Goodness that transcends the created order of contingent, participated goods. http://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles3a.htm#71

                      Can finite entities be without receiving their act of existing from the One Who Is, namely, God? If not, then no finite, contingent good can be without receiving its participated goodness from essential (unparticipated) Goodness. God is the transcendent and primary source of all good things and acts, notwithstanding the objections of Pelagians and Semipelagians!

                    • I’m reading about Aquinas now and I don’t find his natural law theory impressive. It relies on Aristotle’s theory of forms. I don’t see how you get specific objective morals from this.

                      I understand that god is thought of as pure being and existence by Aquinas but this to me is nothing but word games derived from bad metaphysics. If privation is lacking good, you haven’t defined evil or good. Can you give a robust definition of either? Besides I’m not buying this god is existence thing. It’s trying to define god into existence.

                    • papagan

                      “I’m reading about Aquinas now and I don’t find his natural law theory impressive.” One is hardly in a position to appreciate what one does not understand.

                      “It relies on Aristotle’s theory of forms. I don’t see how you get specific objective morals from this.” One must first understand his philosophy of nature and his sophisticated theory of causality, including final causality. Today many lack a philosophical understanding of nature. That’s a serious philosophical lacuna, which leads to other critical difficulties.

                      “I understand that god [sic] is thought of as pure being and existence by Aquinas[,] but this to me is nothing but word games derived from bad metaphysics.” St. Thomas certainly isn’t playing games with words. He knows how to employ philosophical language to convey important philosophical truths. Thomistic metaphysics isn’t bad, but it is intellectually challenging, and it demands no small investment on our part if we are to derive benefit from the metaphysical wisdom he shared with others.

                      “If privation is lacking good, you haven’t defined evil or good.” Evil is the privation of good, as blindness is the privation of sight. Life is good, death–the privation of life–is evil. Good is the end (telos) toward which all things aim, consciously or otherwise. Ultimately, all things by nature aim, in their own proper way, toward God, the ultimate perfection of the universe. Moreover, as I noted in a previous post, there can be no finite good that does not have its absolutely first or primary source in essential Goodness, i.e., God.

                      “Besides I’m not buying this god [sic] is existence thing.” Have you read Exodus 3:14? What exactly do you think “I Am Who Am” signifies? Is that a word game? Or is it an astonishingly profound metaphysical revelation? Of course, one must bear in mind the metaphysical truth that being is analogical, not univocal. Pantheism is erroneous.

                      “It’s trying to define god [sic] into existence.” God cannot be defined, for God transcends all species and genera, which are limited. The existence of God can be demonstrated philosophically, notwithstanding the misguided objections of fideists. The world of contingent beings requires an efficient cause, and no contingent being can be its own efficient cause of existence. Only Self-subsistent Being (Ipsum Esse Subsistens) can be the primary efficient cause of contingent or participated being.

                    • One is hardly in a position to appreciate what one does not understand.

                      True, but can’t the same be said of you regarding science and other religions?

                      One must first understand his philosophy of nature and his sophisticated theory of causality, including final causality. Today many lack a philosophical understanding of nature. That’s a serious philosophical lacuna, which leads to other critical difficulties.

                      I know final causes play a very large role in A-T philosophy. I see no evidence of final causes in nature. Defenders of final causes just take the latter event in a series of causes and simply attribute that as the final cause. How are final causes distinguishable from events that would’ve just happened? How are final causes falsifiable?

                      St. Thomas certainly isn’t playing games with words. He knows how to employ philosophical language to convey important philosophical truths. Thomistic metaphysics isn’t bad, but it is intellectually challenging, and it demands no small investment on our part if we are to derive benefit from the metaphysical wisdom he shared with others.

                      I think A-T metaphysics is just a very sophisticated way to be wrong. Can you prove final causes exist in nature without doing what I described above?

                      Have you read Exodus 3:14? What exactly do you think “I Am Who Am” signifies? Is that a word game? Or is it an astonishingly profound metaphysical revelation? Of course, one must bear in mind the metaphysical truth that being is analogical, not univocal. Pantheism is erroneous.

                      Have you considered that the Bible is man made? Have you considered that a book that has a god saying “I Am Who Am” doesn’t have any real ontological implications and is really just words and ideas written out onto paper?

                      God cannot be defined, for God transcends all species and genera, which are limited.

                      God is limited: he cannot do the logically impossible, he cannot be immoral (according to some theists). There are an infinite number of things god cannot do. If god cannot be defined, then he is an incoherent concept and no one should take it seriously, especially when “God” is given such a neurotic personality, as Yahweh has.

                      The world of contingent beings requires an efficient cause, and no contingent being can be its own efficient cause of existence. Only Self-subsistent Being (Ipsum Esse Subsistens) can be the primary efficient cause of contingent or participated being.

                      God is contingent on us. We created god in our image. No people, no god. The universe may be eternal, in the eternalistic sense given by Special Relativity. In fact we have good evidence that is so. Such a universe never came into existence, and although we can imagine it not existing, the actual possibility of that is impossible. Eternalism redefines our notions of contingency.

                      How does a timeless god who knows everything freely choose to create our world and not some other world? God can’t make decisions, because if he did that would require time, and he can’t be indecisive because that would falsify his omniscience. So god must have the eternal desire and knowledge to create our world, say World X, and not some other world, say World Y, – meaning there was never a time god wanted to create World Y instead of World X; he always wanted to create World X. How then is the creation of World X “freely” decided by god if the creation of world Y or the forbearance to create any world never existed? And how does god create time, if prior to time existing literally nothing can happen?

                    • papagan

                      “I see no evidence of final causes in nature.” Sometimes people don’t see what the do not want to see.

                      “Defenders of final causes just take the latter event in a series of causes and simply attribute that as the final cause.” Such comments reveal a clear lack of understanding of final causality, which is quite indispensable in ethics. Reading the work of Aristotle can help to overcome such misunderstandings.

                      “How are final causes falsifiable?” Falsifiability can be useful vis-à-vis scientific hypotheses, but modern science tends to ignore formal and final causes. The methodological decision to ignore final causes does not entail that there are no final causes. The practice of experimental science, for instance, depends on the operation of final causality. Why do some people engage in scientific inquiry? In order to discover underlying or hidden causes.

                      “I think A-T metaphysics is just a very sophisticated way to be wrong.” First, I would not say that Aristotelian metaphysics and Thomistic metaphysics are identical. Second, your assertion concerning “A-T” metaphysics is nothing more than a statement of your own private opinion. I’m sorry that you fail to appreciate the riches of Thomistic metaphysics.

                      “Can you prove final causes exist in nature without doing what I described above?” If by “prove” you mean supply a scientific proof, you make a key assumption that I would not grant. I do not concede that all demonstrations are scientific proofs. I do not endorse the dubious belief that all good reasons can be reduced to scientific reason. Pope Benedict XVI had something important to say along these lines in his famous Regensburg lecture. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_en.html

                      “Have you considered that the Bible is man made? Have you considered that a book that has a god [sic] saying ‘I Am Who Am’ doesn’t have any real ontological implications and is really just words and ideas written out onto paper?” If one lacks the supernatural gift of theological faith, it is not surprising that one would view the Old and New Testaments as nothing more than the product of human imagination.

                      “God is limited…” Your (distorted) concept of God is limited. The divine Mystery transcends all human concepts.

                      “If god [sic] cannot be defined, then he is an incoherent concept and no one should take it seriously…” That’s a bold assertion without rational support. It’s also a non sequitur.

                      “…especially when ‘God’ is given such a neurotic personality, as Yahweh has.” I take that angry assertion to be a sad expression of ignorance.

                      “God is contingent on us. We created god in our image. No people, no god.” Well, I’m not one of Ludwig Feuerbach’s disciples.

                      “Such a universe never came into existence, and although we can imagine it not existing, the actual possibility of that is impossible.” That’s sheer, and philosophically groundless, assertion. Every material being is contingent; a material being can be and cease to be. You exist now and, at some point in the future, you will cease to exist. Those who obstinately refuse to admit the existence of Yahweh, the One Who Is, may feel psychologically compelled to embrace the irrational belief that the universe of material things cannot not be. That belief strikes me as utterly ludicrous.

                      “How does a timeless god [sic] who knows everything freely choose to create…” Those theological questions are highly complex and cannot be addressed adequately here. One could, however, start here: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1010.htm.

                    • Sometimes people don’t see what the do not want to see.

                      That best describes the religious mindset who denies things like evolution.

                      Such comments reveal a clear lack of understanding of final causality, which is quite indispensable in ethics. Reading the work of Aristotle can help to overcome such misunderstandings.

                      You’re failing to distinguish final causes in human actions, between alleged final causes in nature.

                      Falsifiability can be useful vis-à-vis scientific hypotheses, but modern science tends to ignore formal and final causes. The methodological decision to ignore final causes does not entail that there are no final causes. The practice of experimental science, for instance, depends on the operation of final causality. Why do some people engage in scientific inquiry? In order to discover underlying or hidden causes.

                      Again, you’re conflating human action with nature. Of course final causes exist in human action. But the mistake is to infer human action to nature. Here’s a quote from a New York Times article by Paul Bloom and Konika Banerjee on why we tend to believe things happen for a reason:

                      This tendency to see meaning in life events seems to reflect a more general aspect of human nature: our powerful drive to reason in psychological terms, to make sense of events and situations by appealing to goals, desires and intentions. This drive serves us well when we think about the actions of other people, who actually possess these psychological states, because it helps us figure out why people behave as they do and to respond appropriately. But it can lead us into error when we overextend it, causing us to infer psychological states even when none exist. This fosters the illusion that the world itself is full of purpose and design.

                      First, I would not say that Aristotelian metaphysics and Thomistic metaphysics are identical. Second, your assertion concerning “A-T” metaphysics is nothing more than a statement of your own private opinion. I’m sorry that you fail to appreciate the riches of Thomistic metaphysics.

                      The more I learn the more I see its mistakes.

                      If by “prove” you mean supply a scientific proof, you make a key assumption that I would not grant. I do not concede that all demonstrations are scientific proofs. I do not endorse the dubious belief that all good reasons can be reduced to scientific reason. Pope Benedict XVI had something important to say along these lines in his famous Regensburg lecture.

                      Then your belief in final causes is unfalsifiable. To say final causes exist is to make a claim on physical reality, that falls within the domain of science. So no, not everything is scientific, but claims on physical reality are.

                      If one lacks the supernatural gift of theological faith, it is not surprising that one would view the Old and New Testaments as nothing more than the product of human imagination.

                      I wouldn’t call that a gift, I’d call that a bias. The same bias convinces other theists their deity and religion are true.

                      Your (distorted) concept of God is limited. The divine Mystery transcends all human concepts.

                      The divine mystery is not even coherent.

                      That’s a bold assertion without rational support. It’s also a non sequitur.

                      No it isn’t. It is a simple statement of fact that the divine attribute aren’t coherent. Saying god is timeless and yet does things that requires time is a non sequitor.

                      I take that angry assertion to be a sad expression of ignorance.

                      To think that Yahweh is not neurotic is a failure to have one’s eyes open.

                      Well, I’m not one of Ludwig Feuerbach’s disciples.

                      One does not have to be in order to see the obvious.

                      That’s sheer, and philosophically groundless, assertion. Every material being is contingent; a material being can be and cease to be. You exist now and, at some point in the future, you will cease to exist. Those who obstinately refuse to admit the existence of Yahweh, the One Who Is, may feel psychologically compelled to embrace the irrational belief that the universe of material things cannot not be. That belief strikes me as utterly ludicrous.

                      Your answer indicates your utter ignorance towards science. At least try to learn a little special relativity. Here’s some help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR8DYZzmin0

                      Please explain to me how a god creates an eternal universe.

                      Those theological questions are highly complex and cannot be addressed adequately here. One could, however, start here: http://www.newadvent.org/summa….

                      I’m sorry but my limited time forces me to restrict things to this conversation. Thanks for the link though. I will check it our later.

                    • papagan

                      “This fosters the illusion that the world itself is full of purpose and design.” Here I would recommend a valuable work by the late Stanley Jaki, O.S.B., The Purpose of It All. http://www.realviewbooks.com/catalog8.html

                      “To say final causes exist is to make a claim on physical reality, that falls within the domain of science. So no, not everything is scientific, but claims on physical reality are.” Your reasoning here is flawed. How so? Consider an example. God created the world. It does not follow, however, that modern natural science is competent to investigate divine action. Modern natural science is competent to investigate certain visible effects of divine action. At this point you might wish to deny that there can be any real causes beyond the epistemic limits of modern natural science. If so, that would imply scientism, but you have denied that you endorse scientism.

                      “I wouldn’t call that [theological faith] a gift, I’d call that a bias.” That sounds to me like an expression of rationalism. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12652a.htm

                      “It is a simple statement of fact that the divine attribute[s] aren’t coherent.” The alleged statement of fact is merely your private opinion, not fact! Here I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. Thankfully, I’m not an “ignostic.”

                      “Saying god [sic] is timeless and yet does things that requires [sic] time is a non sequitor [sic].” No non sequitur on my part. I never said that the divine act of creation is a temporal act. The divine act of creation ex nihilo does not presuppose time; time is part of creation. Time presupposes motion, but creation ex nihilo is not a motion.

                      “Your answer indicates your utter ignorance towards science.” I wasn’t offering a scientific argument; rather, it was an instance of meta-scientific reasoning. It seems that modern natural science is, for you, the ultimate standard of human knowledge. That’s scientism, not science!

                    • Your reasoning here is flawed. How so? Consider an example. God created the world. It does not follow, however, that modern natural science is competent to investigate divine action. Modern natural science is competent to investigate certain visible effects of divine action. At this point you might wish to deny that there can be any real causes beyond the epistemic limits of modern natural science. If so, that would imply scientism, but you have denied that you endorse scientism.

                      Well divine action is usually made in such a way that it is purposely exempt from the prying eyes of scientists. The thing here is that if god is effecting the the physical world, that is comprehensible to scientists. To say god works in the universe in a way completely undetectable to science, or to the 5 senses for that matter, is to make god’s actions indistinguishable from his non actions.

                      That sounds to me like an expression of rationalism. http://www.newadvent.org/cathe

                      Call it what you want.

                      The alleged statement of fact is merely your private opinion, not fact! Here I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. Thankfully, I’m not an “ignostic.”

                      Yes, we can agree to disagree.

                      No non sequitur on my part. I never said that the divine act of creation is a temporal act. The divine act of creation ex nihilo does not presuppose time; time is part of creation. Time presupposes motion, but creation ex nihilo is not a motion.

                      I know that Thomists do not think of god as temporal. The divine act of creation ex nihilo does presuppose time. How does god will something if there’s no time? And how does god create time, if prior to time existing literally nothing can happen? God’s will to create our universe and not a different one would have to exist eternally, and in what sense can we consider that even “free” if your decision existed eternally?

                      I wasn’t offering a scientific argument; rather, it was an instance of meta-scientific reasoning. It seems that modern natural science is, for you, the ultimate standard of human knowledge. That’s scientism, not science!

                      Meta-scientific reasoning based on a false view of the world. Modern natural science for me is the most reliable standard of human knowledge when it comes to fundamental ontology. If we were talking about math, I wouldn’t use empirical science, I’d use logic. Metaphysics should be derived from physics. It shouldn’t try to tell physics what to do. That will result in flawed reasoning.

                    • papagan

                      “Well divine action is usually made in such a way that it is purposely exempt from the prying eyes of scientists. The thing here is that if [G]od is effecting the physical world, that is comprehensible to scientists. To say [G]od works in the universe in a way completely undetectable to science, or to the 5 senses for that matter, is to make [G]od’s actions indistinguishable from his non[-]actions.”

                      First, you grant too much epistemic credit to modern natural science, and insufficient epistemic credit to metaphysics. In other words, you don’t appreciate the proper methodological boundaries of modern natural science, a question treated in the philosophy of science. In any case, as regards divine action and the epistemic scope of modern natural science, the philosophical complexities involved preclude an adequate treatment in the present venue. You’ll need to do some careful homework if you wish to make any fruitful progress. I recommend again the exceptional work of Michael Dodds, O.P., Unlocking Divine Action: Contemporary Science and Thomas Aquinas.

                      Second, when you refer to God, you appear to be assuming uncritically a deistic conception of God. I would agree that a deistic conception of God is deeply problematic.

                      Third, what could be meant by God’s “non-actions”? Since there is no potentiality in God, who is Pure Act, the non-actions in question must refer to the purely possible effects not actualized by God. What has been actualized and what has not been actualized are certainly distinguishable. We can know divine action, not directly, but analogically and through discernible created effects.

                      “Meta-scientific reasoning based on a false view of the world. Modern natural science for me is the most reliable standard of human knowledge when it comes to fundamental ontology. If we were talking about math, I wouldn’t use empirical science, I’d use logic. Metaphysics should be derived from physics. It shouldn’t try to tell physics what to do. That will result in flawed reasoning.”

                      Fundamental ontology exceeds the methodological competence of modern natural science. You deny that you endorse scientism, but you speak like a proponent of scientism. If the shoe fits…

                    • First, you grant too much epistemic credit to modern natural science, and insufficient epistemic credit to metaphysics. In other words, you don’t appreciate the proper methodological boundaries of modern natural science, a question treated in the philosophy of science. In any case, as regards divine action and the epistemic scope of modern natural science, the philosophical complexities involved preclude an adequate treatment in the present venue. You’ll need to do some careful homework if you wish to make any fruitful progress. I recommend again the exceptional work of Michael Dodds, O.P., Unlocking Divine Action: Contemporary Science and Thomas Aquinas.

                      I think you might be underestimating the epistemic credit f modern science. Metaphysics is important, and I don’t think it’s useless, like some atheists do. But, metaphysics should be derived from physics, not the other way around. I am well aware of the tradition in Christian theology that god is not something scientifically demonstrated. The point I would want to make is that if you accept what science has to say about the universe, it doesn’t fit in with theism. I’ve tried really hard to image what it would be like if Christianity was true and I cannot reconcile it with reality.

                      Second, when you refer to God, you appear to be assuming uncritically a deistic conception of God. I would agree that a deistic conception of God is deeply problematic.

                      I don’t think I’m assuming deism here. But since you mention it, I think deism is the only coherent idea of god, given the data we have.

                      Third, what could be meant by God’s “non-actions”? Since there is no potentiality in God, who is Pure Act, the non-actions in question must refer to the purely possible effects not actualized by God. What has been actualized and what has not been actualized are certainly distinguishable. We can know divine action, not directly, but analogically and through discernible created effects.

                      By non-actions, I mean the same thing could have happened without god. The idea that god cured someone’s cancer, or god caused a hurricane, or a plague, etc., they can all be explained without reference to god at all. The idea of “god caused X,” and “X happened without god” are indistinguishable. We cannot “know” divine action through inference. You simply assume it based on Thomistic metaphysics, which is wrong. Or you use a god of the gaps argument.

                      And please answer me this, if god has no potentiality, how does god potentially become a physical person as Jesus? Wouldn’t that represent an ontological change in god?

                      Fundamental ontology exceeds the methodological competence of modern natural science. You deny that you endorse scientism, but you speak like a proponent of scientism. If the shoe fits…

                      Wrong. You don’t know that. You’re assuming that because you think the supernatural exists. Scientism says “the characteristic inductive methods of the natural sciences are the only source of genuine factual knowledge.” I’m not saying they are the only methods, I’m saying they’re the most reliable when it comes to fundamental ontology. Faith and “witness to the Holy spirit” are not reliable epistemologies.

                    • papagan

                      “The point I would want to make is that if you accept what science has to say about the universe, it doesn’t fit in with theism. I’ve tried really hard to image what it would be like if Christianity was true and I cannot reconcile it with reality.”

                      The created world includes both spiritual being (e.g., rational souls, free acts, moral virtues, etc.) and material being (e.g., minerals, plants, comets, etc.). Modern natural science is competent to treat material being, while presupposing spiritual being. There would be no natural science without intelligent agents; natural science presupposes intellect, which is a spiritual or inorganic faculty. Based on what you have said previously, your worldview does not include spiritual being. Your worldview does not seem to recognize the distinction between matter and being, that the latter is more comprehensive than the former. That helps to explain why you’re unable to reconcile theism with reality. Your narrow view of reality does not allow for theism.

                    • The created world includes both spiritual being (e.g., rational souls, free acts, moral virtues, etc.) and material being (e.g., minerals, plants, comets, etc.).

                      Moral virtues are spiritual beings? This is just one more thing derived from your faulty metaphysics.

                      Modern natural science is competent to treat material being, while presupposing spiritual being. There would be no natural science without intelligent agents; natural science presupposes intellect, which is a spiritual or inorganic faculty.

                      Competent? There is no need to presuppose spiritual being in science. And intelligent agents do not need to be explained via spiritual or inorganic faculty. This is something you believe.

                      Your worldview does not seem to recognize the distinction between matter and being, that the latter is more comprehensive than the former. That helps to explain why you’re unable to reconcile theism with reality. Your narrow view of reality does not allow for theism. Reality far exceeds the limits of your imagination. (Incidentally, deism is metaphysically bankrupt.)

                      Here your metaphysics guides you and I don’t hold to your metaphysics. I think it is wrong and in some cases, vague. I cannot reconcile theism with reality because theism doesn’t match reality. There are too many problems, too much lacking of evidence, and too much faith one has to have.

                      I don’t know how you included deism here, but you’ve made no good argument against it.

                    • papagan

                      “Moral virtues are spiritual beings? This is just one more thing derived from your faulty metaphysics.” I don’t share your faulty conception of being. The analogical notion of being can be applied to anything that exists in some way or another, including substances and accidents (e.g., habitus), powers (e.g., will) and acts (e.g., thoughts). Although not substances, moral virtues are still real, not nothing.

                      “There is no need to presuppose spiritual being in science. And intelligent agents do not need to be explained via spiritual or inorganic faculty. This is something you believe.” I’m familiar with the sterile creed of materialists. It doesn’t wash.

                      “I cannot reconcile theism with reality because theism doesn’t match reality.” Repeating an opinion doesn’t make it true. Furthermore, I don’t endorse that opinion. In fact, I’m absolutely certain that atheism if false! I should add that I don’t think that all theologies are equal. Some conceptions of God are distortions.

                      “There are too many problems, too much lacking of evidence, and too much faith one has to have.” Everybody has beliefs! Even scientists have beliefs. Having beliefs is not necessarily a bad thing, but false beliefs are not good. The belief that matter and being are altogether synonymous, for example, is not a good belief.

                      “I don’t know how you included deism here, but you’ve made no good argument against it.” You indicated elsewhere that you deem deism to be superior to theism, although you consider both to be false. I understand why you, an atheist, would view deism as superior to theism. Those who appreciate the radical contingency of participated being, however, can see why deism is metaphysically untenable.

                    • I don’t share your faulty conception of being. The analogical notion of being can be applied to anything that exists in some way or another, including substances and accidents (e.g., habitus), powers (e.g., will) and acts (e.g., thoughts). Although not substances, moral virtues are still real, not nothing.

                      In what sense do moral virtues exist as “spiritual beings”? Describe the ontology of spiritual being: what they are, and what they’re not. It’s one thing to say moral virtues exist, it’s another to say they exist as spiritual beings.

                      I’m familiar with the sterile creed of materialists. It doesn’t wash.

                      Well I’m familiar with the woo-woo of equivocation religious language. It doesn’t wash, and you haven’t made any good logical arguments against materialism.

                      Repeating an opinion doesn’t make it true. Furthermore, I don’t endorse that opinion. In fact, I’m absolutely certain that atheism if false! I should add that I don’t think that all theologies are equal. Some conceptions of God are distortions.

                      Would you like to really debate this issue? We can do it here or on my blog. If you are certain atheism is false, let’s debate that. I want to hear your best arguments why atheism is false and why Christianity is true.

                      Everybody has beliefs! Even scientists have beliefs. Having beliefs is not necessarily a bad thing, but false beliefs are not good. The belief that matter and being are altogether synonymous, for example, is not a good belief.

                      You’re conflating belief with faith. By “faith” I mean the belief in something without good evidence. Therefore faith is a kind of belief, the worst kind. There’s nothing wrong with beliefs, you just have to have good reasons and evidence for holding your beliefs.

                      You indicated elsewhere that you deem deism to be superior to theism, although you consider both to be false. I understand why you, an atheist, would view deism as superior to theism. Those who appreciate the radical contingency of participated being, however, can see why deism is metaphysically untenable.

                      And those us of who are scientifically and philosophically inclined, and knowledgeable of religion, can see why Thomistic metaphysics is metaphysically untenable. But since we disagree so much, why don’t we have a real debate?

                    • papagan

                      “It’s one thing to say moral virtues exist, it’s another to say they exist as spiritual beings.” Apparently you’ve either not read or not understood Aristotle, who was neither a Christian nor a Jew. Furthermore, he was not a materialist. Moral virtues–good habitus–are real, yet they are immaterial.

                      We cannot engage in rational inquiry, including scientific investigation, without thinking, and we cannot think without employing concepts. Concepts are not nothing, yet they are immaterial. If materialism were true, there would be no concepts. There are concepts. Ergo…

                      Materialists hold that everything real can be derived from or reduced to matter, that matter is the ultimate explanatory principle of all that is real. In that case, why isn’t all matter living? What differentiates living matter from inert matter? The materialist cannot answer that question without appealing to a principle that is not material. Matter in itself is not intelligible apart from an immaterial principle of intelligibility. Aristotle would say that a living thing’s principle of life and intelligibility is its form. Form is to matter as act is to potency. Materialists don’t like that. It doesn’t fit with their dogmatic belief that whatever is real is real insofar as it is material or a derivative of matter, that matter is the absolute principle of explanation and existence. That dogmatic belief has no truly rational basis. Moreover, materialism does not allow any room for truth, for truth transcends matter. Truth belongs to the realm of spiritual being, to which the realm of material being is subordinate.

                    • Apparently you’ve either not read or not understood Aristotle, who was neither a Christian nor a Jew. Furthermore, he was not a materialist. Moral virtues–good habitus–are real, yet they are immaterial.

                      Aristotle’s predecessor Plato, as I already mentioned, showed that deities have nothing to do with morality.

                      We cannot engage in rational inquiry, including scientific investigation, without thinking, and we cannot think without employing concepts. Concepts are not nothing, yet they are immaterial. If materialism were true, there would be no concepts. There are concepts. Ergo…

                      There are versions of materialism, such as property dualism, and non-reductive physicalism that are compatible with the idea of concepts as mental phenomenon. I’m an epiphenominalist. All ideas and concepts are caused by brain states, the mental doesn’t cause anything. Without physical brains there are no concepts, there is no mental. That’s perfectly compatible with atheism, which is not the same as materialism.

                      Materialists hold that everything real can be derived from or reduced to matter, that matter is the ultimate explanatory principle of all that is real. In that case, why isn’t all matter living? What differentiates living matter from inert matter?

                      Your first question commits the fallacy of composition. Living things are made of matter, but matter itself doesn’t have to be living. When matter forms a certain complex arrangement, we get life; by itself, it’s just matter. There is no difference between the matter in life from the matter in non-living things. It is their interconnection that makes the difference.

                      The materialist cannot answer that question without appealing to a principle that is not material.

                      I just did. You have to prove that principles exist apart from matter.

                      Matter in itself is not intelligible apart from an immaterial principle of intelligibility. Aristotle would say that a living thing’s principle of life and intelligibility is its form.

                      I don’t think Aristotle is a competent authority on ontology, considering how much he got wrong. You need to demonstrate that immaterial principles can exist apart from matter. Every example of a principle or a concept you know comes from a mind, which comes from a physical brain.

                      Form is to matter as act is to potency. Materialists don’t like that. It doesn’t fit with their dogmatic belief that whatever is real is real insofar as it is material or a derivative of matter, that matter is the absolute principle of explanation and existence. That dogmatic belief has no truly rational basis.

                      Anything physical will have a form. It is not dogmatic to say everything is material or derived from the material, as the preponderance of evidence shows this to be true. That is its rational basis.

                      Moreover, materialism does not allow any room for truth, for truth transcends matter. Truth belongs to the realm of spiritual being, to which the realm of material being is subordinate.

                      Materialism absolutely allows room for truth. Truth is anything in accord with fact or reality. Material beings can know this through the senses or through the intellect. The idea of truth transcending matter, like logical truths, do not mean they exist in a “third realm” – they are simply truths that have to be so because it is logically impossible that they aren’t.

                    • papagan

                      “[1] I don’t think Aristotle is a competent authority on ontology, considering how much he got wrong. You need to demonstrate that immaterial principles can exist apart from matter. [2] Every example of a principle or a concept … comes from a mind, which comes from a physical brain.”

                      Regarding 2, the opinion that mind emerges from cerebral matter violates the principle of causality, according to which there cannot be an effect without a cause, and no effect can be ontologically superior to its cause. Proponents of Darwinian orthodoxy often violate that meta-scientific principle. (The author of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex was a committed philosophical materialist.) Mind is ontologically superior to matter, as human persons are ontologically superior to non-rational sentient animals, which are ontologically superior to living plants, which are ontologically superior to inert minerals.

                      The aforesaid ontological hierarchy of being is not something that philosophical materialists are prepared to entertain seriously. They feel compelled to do all that they can to oppose any recognition of the ontological hierarchy of being. No version of philosophical materialism, including property dualism and non-reductive physicalism, can admit the objective hierarchy of being. The hierarchy of being and philosophical materialism are mutually exclusive. It’s difficult to take very seriously anyone who obstinately refuses to recognize the hierarchy of being, including the ontological superiority of man over beast. Unlike human persons, wild beasts are not free moral agents. It makes little sense to put a brute animal (e.g., a bear or a venomous snake) on trial for killing a human person. Brute animals cannot understand the difference between moral right and wrong. Only rational animals can be held accountable for their free actions.

                      Regarding 1, one of the most brilliant thinkers in recorded history, Aristotle was not what one would properly describe as a “religious person,” and I do not hold that his views were correct in every case. That said, Aristotle’s realist philosophy is most certainly superior to philosophical materialism and its hopeless fictions http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10041b.htm. If you choose to give your life over to the inhumane fictions of philosophical materialism, that is your decision, but please don’t try to impose such pseudo-scientific fictions upon others.

                    • Regarding 2, the opinion that mind emerges from cerebral matter violates the principle of causality, according to which there cannot be an effect without a cause, and no effect can be ontologically superior to its cause.

                      Not at all. The mind is caused by the brain. We have lots of data backing that up, and no data the mind causes the brain. The principle of causality, interestingly, also shows how there cannot be fre will. If every effect has a cause, then your will has a cause, and whatever caused that has a cause, and eventually you will get to a cause outside your person.

                      Mind is ontologically superior to matter, as human persons are ontologically superior to non-rational sentient animals, which are ontologically superior to living plants, which are ontologically superior to inert minerals.

                      Animals have minds. So are there minds ontologically superior to our bodies? Prove mind is ontologically superior to matter using evidence.

                      No version of philosophical materialism, including property dualism and non-reductive physicalism, can admit the objective hierarchy of being.

                      Yes, because that heirarchy of being is false. Mind is not superior to matter. Mind is cause by matter. No matter, no mind.

                      It’s difficult to take very seriously anyone who obstinately refuses to recognize the hierarchy of being, including the ontological superiority of man over beast.

                      The ontological superiority of man over beast does not violate materialism. Materialists can recognize that humans have capacities that animals do not.

                      Unlike human persons, wild beasts are not free moral agents. It makes little sense to put a brute animal (e.g., a bear or a venomous snake) on trial for killing a human person. Brute animals cannot understand the difference between moral right and wrong. Only rational animals can be held accountable for their free actions.

                      You have to argue with evidence that humans have libertarian free will. You just asserted it. And you’re ignoring that we evolved. There is no demarcation line between human and man, it blends in during our evolution. So did Neanderthals have “free will” according to you? What about homo erectus? The idea that lower animals have no free will makes little sense why they should suffer and die in the same ways we do for no purpose or reason.

                      Regarding 1, one of the most brilliant thinkers in recorded history, Aristotle was not what one would properly describe as a “religious person,” and I do not hold that his views were correct in every case. That said, Aristotle’s realist philosophy is most certainly superior to philosophical materialism and its hopeless fictions http://www.newadvent.org/cathe…. If you choose to give your life over to the inhumane fictions of philosophical materialism, that is your decision, but please don’t try to impose such pseudo-scientific fictions upon others.

                      One of the things I think Aristotle god wrong was his version of realism. The reason why philosophical materialism dominates the sciences, is because it makes the most sense given the evidence and allows science to advance further than any assumptions of an intervening god and supernaturalism. So, in school we teach evolution from a naturalistic perspective because that’s what the evidence shows. Some creationists consider that “imposing”, I consider it science. Your last sentence seems to suggest that I shouldn’t tell anyone about materialism, is that true? Do you mean this in the social sense or legal sense? I consider your beliefs pseudo-science fictions, that should have no place in government or public schools, etc.

                    • papagan

                      “Not at all. The mind is caused by the brain. We have lots of data backing that up, and no data the mind causes the brain.” That’s part of the questionable creed of philosophical materialism. In truth, the human mind or intellect, like God and all immaterial beings, transcends the methodological boundaries of modern natural science. Strictly in terms of logic, to say that modern natural science cannot prove the reality of immaterial things, like angels and human intellects, is not to say that they do not exist. Similarly, the fact that we haven’t proven the existence of extraterrestrial life does not prove that there is no extraterrestrial life. (Incidentally, I’m not suggesting that I actually believe that there are extraterrestrial forms of life, but I don’t absolutely preclude the possibility.)

                      “The principle of causality, interestingly, also shows how there cannot be fre[e] will. If every effect has a cause, then your will has a cause, and whatever caused that has a cause, and eventually you will get to a cause outside your person.” You’re beyond your depth. Determinism and libertarian freedom (a.k.a. freedom of indifference) are not the only options. St. Thomas Aquinas, among others, held that universal causality and freedom of choice are perfectly compatible. In fact, he argues forcefully that without divine causality, there could be no human freedom of choice. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1105.htm#article4 Furthermore, when you write “whatever caused that [human will] has a cause,” you make a false assumption. From the fact that X caused Y, it does not follow that something else caused X. X could be the absolutely first or primary cause, namely, the One Who Is.

                      “Animals have minds. So are there [sic] minds ontologically superior to our bodies? Prove mind is ontologically superior to matter using evidence.” First, subhuman animals do not have minds or intellects in the strict sense. Unlike those who assume a materialistic conception of the human person, Catholics recognize that there is an ontological gap between human persons and lower animals. The human intellect entails the capacity to produce concepts and employ linguistic communication. In his philosophically penetrating book, Origin of the Human Species, Professor Bonnette discusses the question of language, not simply non-linguistic communication, among subhuman animals. Second, the ontological superiority of mind over matter has been recognized not only by believers (e.g., St. Thomas Aquinas, Stanley Jaki), but also by non-believers (e.g., Aristotle). See Stanley Jaki, Brain, Mind and Computers. http://www.regnery.com/books/brain-mind-and-computers/

                      “Yes, because that heirarchy [sic] of being is false. Mind is not superior to matter. Mind is cause [sic] by matter. No matter, no mind.” You’ve got it backwards. No mind, no matter! Matter presupposes mind, but mind does not necessarily presuppose matter.

                      “The ontological superiority of man over beast does not violate materialism.” Well, that’s interesting. Earlier you said, in effect, that there is no hierarchy of being. Now you imply that philosophical materialism is compatible with the objective hierarchy of being. For the ontological superiority of man over beast implies the hierarchy of being recognized by Aristotle and many others. One cannot consistently (1) affirm the ontological superiority of man over beast, and simultaneously (2) deny the objective hierarchy of being. And philosophical materialism is not compatible with the objective hierarchy of being. Insofar as you reject the objective hierarchy of being, you do not really accept the ontological superiority of man over beast. You need to rethink your views, at least for the sake of consistency.

                      “You have to argue with evidence that humans have libertarian free will. You just asserted it.” First, one can affirm genuine freedom of choice without endorsing the philosophically controversial theory of libertarian freedom. Second, there can be no morality without presupposing real freedom of choice. Morality presupposes freedom.

                      “The reason why philosophical materialism [PM] dominates the sciences, is because it makes the most sense given the evidence and allows science to advance further than any assumptions of an intervening god and supernaturalism.” First, PM has no real evidential or scientific basis. Second, you are ignoring the crucial distinction between philosophical materialism (PM) and methodological naturalism (MN). MN is scientifically useful, while PM is unscientific. Modern natural science does not prove PM, which exceeds the methodological boundaries of modern natural science. It’s also true that the reality of the Supernatural transcends the methodological boundaries of modern natural science.

                      “So, in school we teach evolution from a naturalistic perspective because that’s what the evidence shows. Some creationists consider that ‘imposing’, I consider it science.” I’m not a creationist in the sense that you intend, and I don’t believe that all theories of evolution are necessarily problematic, although some are problematic. (Yes, there are several theories of evolution, not just one theory of evolution.) The problem is that the naturalistic perspective in question is most often not methodological naturalism (MN), but philosophical materialism (PM)! It’s perfectly legitimate for students to learn about PM, but it is highly objectionable to teach PM to unsuspecting students as if PM were true or self-evident. It isn’t. And PM is logically incompatible with the religious teachings handed on to students by their Christian parents. Such indoctrination, usually implicit rather than explicit, is injurious to the common good. That helps to explain the unfriendly attitude of many parents toward public education.

                      You say that believers shouldn’t impose their religious beliefs on others. Well, let’s be honest. The truth of the matter is that indoctrination is taking place in public schools, and the indoctrination is in favor of secular humanism, not traditional religion! Religious neutrality in public schools is myth, not fact.

                      “Your last sentence seems to suggest that I shouldn’t tell anyone about materialism, is that true?” See what I said above.

                      “I consider your beliefs pseudo-science fictions, that should have no place in government or public schools, etc.” On the contrary, secular humanism has no legitimate place in public schools. As regards religious faith, believers should act as if their faith really matters, and their actions must have a real impact on society. The a priori exclusion of rational faith from the public square is arbitrary and contrary to the common good.

                    • That’s part of the questionable creed of philosophical materialism. In truth, the human mind or intellect, like God and all immaterial beings, transcends the methodological boundaries of modern natural science.

                      There you go again with your appeal to mystery. I need evidence, not smoke and mirrors.

                      Strictly in terms of logic, to say that modern natural science cannot prove the reality of immaterial things, like angels and human intellects, is not to say that they do not exist. Similarly, the fact that we haven’t proven the existence of extraterrestrial life does not prove that there is no extraterrestrial life. (Incidentally, I’m not suggesting that I actually believe that there are extraterrestrial forms of life, but I don’t absolutely preclude the possibility.)

                      This same logic can be used to say that just because we haven’t proved how life formed naturally is not to say that it didn’t. I agree with the logic. I’m not arguing that we don’t have proof, therefore immaterial things, like angels and human intellects are false. I’m also including positive evidence that the mind has a cause that is materialistic: our brain.

                      You’re beyond your depth. Determinism and libertarian freedom (a.k.a. freedom of indifference) are not the only options. St. Thomas Aquinas, among others, held that universal causality and freedom of choice are perfectly compatible.

                      So you deny libertarian free will?

                      Furthermore, when you write “whatever caused that [human will] has a cause,” you make a false assumption. From the fact that X caused Y, it does not follow that something else caused X. X could be the absolutely first or primary cause, namely, the One Who Is.

                      Strawman. I’m not arguing that. I’m arguing that causality denies human libertarian free will.

                      First, subhuman animals do not have minds or intellects in the strict sense. Unlike those who assume a materialistic conception of the human person, Catholics recognize that there is an ontological gap between human persons and lower animals.

                      Materialists recognize an ontological gap. Almost no materialist says that humans are exactly the same as animals. We recognize we’re more evolved.

                      The human intellect entails the capacity to produce concepts and employ linguistic communication. In his philosophically penetrating book, Origin of the Human Species, Professor Bonnette discusses the question of language, not simply non-linguistic communication, among subhuman animals.

                      Neanderthals had the capacity for language, physiologically and genetically, yet were not fully human. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140302185241.htm

                      Second, the ontological superiority of mind over matter has been recognized not only by believers (e.g., St. Thomas Aquinas, Stanley Jaki), but also by non-believers (e.g., Aristotle).

                      Aristotle was a believer. He was a polytheist.

                      You’ve got it backwards. No mind, no matter! Matter presupposes mind, but mind does not necessarily presuppose matter.

                      You’re working from an entirely metaphysical view that is false. Show me evidence of this. Show me a mind that is not caused by a physical brain. Show me how our human minds are not caused by our brains. Show me any data that mental things have a causal effect on matter. Use actual evidence since these are all scientific claims.

                      Well, that’s interesting. Earlier you said, in effect, that there is no hierarchy of being. Now you imply that philosophical materialism is compatible with the objective hierarchy of being. For the ontological superiority of man over beast implies the hierarchy of being recognized by Aristotle and many others. One cannot consistently (1) affirm the ontological superiority of man over beast, and simultaneously (2) deny the objective hierarchy of being.

                      I deny that mind is at the top of that hierarchy of being.

                      And philosophical materialism is not compatible with the objective hierarchy of being. Insofar as you reject the objective hierarchy of being, you do not really accept the ontological superiority of man over beast. You need to rethink your views, at least for the sake of consistency.

                      Your hierarchy isn’t objective, it’s subjective. You don’t have objective proof that it is true.

                      First, one can affirm genuine freedom of choice without endorsing the philosophically controversial theory of libertarian freedom. Second, there can be no morality without presupposing real freedom of choice. Morality presupposes freedom.

                      So what’s your view, libertarian, compatiblisitic, or deterministic? Or other? Morality does not presuppose libertarian freedom.

                      First, PM has no real evidential or scientific basis. Second, you are ignoring the crucial distinction between philosophical materialism (PM) and methodological naturalism (MN). MN is scientifically useful, while PM is unscientific. Modern natural science does not prove PM, which exceeds the methodological boundaries of modern natural science. It’s also true that the reality of the Supernatural transcends the methodological boundaries of modern natural science.

                      1. PM does have a scientific and philosophical basis.

                      2. I know that distinction. Science assumes MN, and scientists are mostly PMs.

                      3. PM is not supposed to be a science, it is a philosophy.

                      4. You cannot assess the “reality” of something unless you have good evidence. Your metaphysics is not good evidence.

                      The problem is that the naturalistic perspective in question is most often not methodological naturalism (MN), but philosophical materialism (PM)! It’s perfectly legitimate for students to learn about PM, but it is highly objectionable to teach PM to unsuspecting students as if PM were true or self-evident. It isn’t.

                      Tell that to Kenneth Miller, a Catholic who teaches biology. One can teach evolution as completely naturalistic without promoting PM. One can be a deistic and fully accept a naturalistic evolutionary process, as well as a theist.

                      And PM is logically incompatible with the religious teachings handed on to students by their Christian parents. Such indoctrination, usually implicit rather than explicit, is injurious to the common good. That helps to explain the unfriendly attitude of many parents toward public education.

                      Again, no one is teaching PM in school by teaching naturalistic evolution. Teaching theistic evolution is something theists have to believe on their own, it isn’t science, a the Dover PA case showed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2xyrel-2vI

                      You say that believers shouldn’t impose their religious beliefs on others. Well, let’s be honest. The truth of the matter is that indoctrination is taking place in public schools, and the indoctrination is in favor of secular humanism, not traditional religion! Religious neutrality in public schools is myth, not fact.

                      How is indoctrination taking place? Give me examples from the curriculum? Is it because god is not mentioned in the classroom it is indoctrinating PM? Where is your evidence?

                      On the contrary, secular humanism has no legitimate place in public schools. As regards religious faith, believers should act as if their faith really matters, and their actions must have a real impact on society. Thea priori exclusion of rational faith from the public square is arbitrary and contrary to the common good.

                      Is secular humanism taught in public schools? Teaching kids moral values without appeal to god is secular humanism? If you appeal to god you’re making it religious. A secular society prevents that. So of course morality taught in school will have to be secular. Do you want god in public school?

                    • Peter Pagan

                      “There you go again with your appeal to mystery. I need evidence, not smoke and mirrors.”

                      One of the points on which we differ is that I, unlike you, allow room for mystery. I’m not a rationalist. You’re a rationalist.

                      “This same logic can be used to say that just because we haven’t proved how life formed naturally is not to say that it didn’t.”

                      I don’t deny the legitimate causal role of nature. We should recognize and give credit to secondary and instrumental causality. I also affirm, however, that the transcendent Creator operates within nature, and the divine operation is not something that falls within the investigatory competence of natural science. I don’t reduce reason to scientific reason. There are various ways of knowing, just as there are various ways of being. You recognize neither the analogy of being nor the analogy of knowing. The reality of divine causality transcends the boundaries of methodological naturalism, but the reality of primary causality can be apprehended indirectly through another way of knowing–metaphysics.

                      “I’m also including positive evidence that the mind has a cause that is materialistic: our brain.”

                      Proof of the objective reality of mind, an inorganic faculty or spiritual power, is beyond the scope of natural science. To deny the reality of spiritual powers is to deny the reality of mind, although the immaterial concepts employed in such denial presuppose the existence of mind. The human mind typically employs cerebral matter, but that does not entail that the human mind is an effect of cerebral matter or of any other matter. The fact that human persons ordinarily don’t actually think without using cerebral matter doesn’t logically entail that mind can be reduced to matter or is an organic faculty. In this context you seem to commit the post hoc fallacy.

                      “So you deny libertarian free will?”

                      Libertarian freedom of freedom of indifference is not the only conception of freedom. One can consistently reject determinism without thereby implying the theory of libertarian freedom. I unequivocally affirm freedom of choice, rooted in the spiritual power of intellect; for metaphysical reasons, however, I don’t subscribe to the theory of libertarian freedom. There is no real conflict between genuine human freedom and divine causality. Both St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas were well aware of that. The compatibility of human freedom and divine causality is also thoroughly scriptural. Within the problematic framework of philosophical materialism, however, there is no room whatsoever for real freedom. Real freedom pertains to the realm of spiritual being, which you have denied.

                      “Strawman. I’m not arguing that. I’m arguing that causality denies human libertarian free will.”

                      First, I’m not the one who is guilty of the strawman fallacy here. You stated that whatever caused the human will has a cause. I deny that the efficient cause of the human will has a cause. The efficient cause of the human soul and all of its spiritual powers, including intellect and will, is God and cannot be anything other than God. Only a cause with infinite power can make rational souls. Rational souls, which are spiritual, cannot be derived from matter. (Remember the objective hierarchy of being and the principle of causality.) Rational souls must be created ex nihilo. A cause that creates something ex nihilo must have infinite power to bridge the chasm between non-being and being. The only cause with infinite power is the primary efficient cause of being—God. Second, I do not deny that the theory of libertarian freedom, in which human choices are not caused by anything other than the human will itself, does not admit causality within its orbit. Unlike you, however, I deny universal determinism.

                      “Materialists recognize an ontological gap. Almost no materialist says that humans are exactly the same as animals. We recognize we’re more evolved.”

                      First, philosophical materialists do not admit the ontological gap between man and beast. For they do not recognize the gap between matter and spirit, and the ontological leap from brute animal to the human person (rational animal) involves a radical ontological leap from the realm of matter to the realm of spirit. The difference is not simply material or bodily in nature. As long as you deny the reality of spiritual being, you must, if you are consistent, deny the radical ontological leap from brute animal to human person. Second, the differences between brute animals and human persons are more than can be established on the basis of modern natural science alone, which presupposes methodological naturalism. Third, evolution alone cannot explain the introduction of spiritual or rational souls. As a philosophical materialist, you will deny that, because you do not recognize the reality of spiritual souls. I don’t buy your truncated materialist anthropology, and neither should any believer.

                      “Neanderthals had the capacity for language, physiologically and genetically, yet were not fully human.”

                      If Neanderthals actually employed linguistic communication, then they were rational animals. But if they didn’t, it does not follow that they were rational animals.

                      “Aristotle was a believer. He was a polytheist.”

                      He was not a believer in the relevant sense. He recognized, on the basis of philosophical argumentation, the existence of immaterial beings (separate substances), but that does not make him a person who recognized and affirmed special divine revelation on the basis of infused theological faith. Furthermore, I’m not aware of any clear evidence that he practiced divine worship or engaged in liturgical practices. So, he was not a believer in the relevant sense. In the relevant sense of theological faith, you and he are in he same boat. You and he are non-believers.

                      “You’re working from an entirely metaphysical view that is false. Show me evidence of this. Show me a mind that is not caused by a physical brain. Show me how our human minds are not caused by our brains. Show me any data that mental things have a causal effect on matter. Use actual evidence since these are all scientific claims.”

                      First, not all truth claims are scientific claims. I don’t need to play by your questionable rules of argumentation. I don’t buy scientism, and I’m not going to provide reasons based on the faulty assumption of scientism. I don’t grant that modern natural science is the only or highest way of knowing. If you find that unacceptable, then you need to make some adjustments. Second, your faulty materialist assumptions preclude the epistemic possibility of recognizing the reality of inorganic minds. You are not really open to the fullness of truth within the bounds of metaphysical reason, which cannot be entirely grasped within the methodological limits of modern natural science. Third, using their minds, human persons make free choices, and these choices have a real causal impact on the world (e.g., pollution). The reality of free choice cannot be explained on the basis of philosophical materialism or even on the basis of modern natural science. Modern natural science presupposes free choice.

                      “I deny that mind is at the top of that hierarchy of being.”

                      Your denial that mind is over matter was made clear long ago.

                      “Your hierarchy isn’t objective, it’s subjective. You don’t have objective proof that it is true.”

                      Despite your serious philosophical errors, I think that you are ontologically superior to a dog or a dolphin or a chimpanzee. They are unable to participate in philosophical, or even scientific, conversations.

                      “So what’s your view, libertarian, compatiblisitic, or deterministic? Or other? Morality does not presuppose libertarian freedom.”

                      I concur that morality does not presuppose any theory of libertarian freedom, but morality is precluded by universal determinism. What is a sound philosophical conception of human freedom? That is a highly complex theoretical question. To answer that question, one needs a sound philosophical psychology. A sound philosophical psychology, however, is not admitted within the narrow confines of philosophical materialism.

                      “Tell that to Kenneth Miller, a Catholic who teaches biology.”

                      Insofar as Dr. Miller adheres to the Catholic faith he professes, he will tell you that not all beings are material, and that the existence of the world depends on a transcendent Creator who is not material. In that regard you and he are not in agreement. If you wish to cite Dr. Miller as an authority, please don’t ignore the faith that he professes. It may be inconvenient, but truth isn’t always convenient.

                      “Again, no one is teaching PM in school by teaching naturalistic evolution. Teaching theistic evolution is something theists have to believe on their own, it isn’t science, a the Dover PA case showed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?…”

                      Several years ago I watched Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial twice. I found it to be a tendentious presentation of the facts.

                      “Do you want god in public school?”

                      In our country, which is indebted to the Judeo-Christian tradition, I think the arbitrary exclusion of God from public discourse is highly objectionable. The question of spiritual being and higher causes can be discussed without indoctrination. In accord with the principle of free inquiry, students should be encouraged to think critically about secular humanism and religion. In fact, in Torcaso v. Watkins 367 U.S. 488 (1961), secular humanism is recognized as a form of religion. https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/367/488/case.html You might not like that, but there it is.

                    • papagan

                      “There you go again with your appeal to mystery. I need evidence, not smoke and mirrors.”

                      One of the points on which we differ is that I, unlike you, allow room for mystery. You’re the rationalist. I, in contrast, affirm the integration of supernatural faith and natural reason.

                      “This same logic can be used to say that just because we haven’t proved how life formed naturally is not to say that it didn’t.”

                      I don’t deny the legitimate causal role of nature. We should recognize and give credit to secondary and instrumental causality. I also affirm, however, that the transcendent Creator operates within nature, and the divine operation is not something that falls within the investigatory competence of natural science. I don’t reduce reason to scientific reason. There are various ways of knowing, just as there are various ways of being. You recognize neither the analogy of being nor the analogy of knowing. The reality of divine causality transcends the boundaries of methodological naturalism, but the reality of primary causality can be apprehended indirectly through another way of knowing–metaphysics.

                      “I’m also including positive evidence that the mind has a cause that is materialistic: our brain.”

                      Proof of the objective reality of mind, an inorganic faculty or spiritual power, is beyond the scope of natural science. To deny the reality of spiritual powers is to deny the reality of mind, although the immaterial concepts employed in such denial presuppose the existence of mind. The human mind typically employs cerebral matter, but that does not entail that the human mind is an effect of cerebral matter or of any other matter. The fact that human persons ordinarily don’t actually think without using cerebral matter doesn’t logically entail that mind can be reduced to matter or is an organic faculty. In this context you seem to commit the post hoc fallacy.

                      “So you deny libertarian free will?”

                      Libertarian freedom of freedom of indifference is not the only conception of freedom. One can consistently reject determinism without thereby implying the theory of libertarian freedom. I unequivocally affirm freedom of choice, rooted in the spiritual power of intellect; for metaphysical reasons, however, I don’t subscribe to the theory of libertarian freedom. There is no real conflict between genuine human freedom and divine causality. Both St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas were well aware of that. The compatibility of human freedom and divine causality is also thoroughly scriptural. Within the problematic framework of philosophical materialism, however, there is no room whatsoever for real freedom. Real freedom pertains to the realm of spiritual being, which you have denied.

                      “Strawman. I’m not arguing that. I’m arguing that causality denies human libertarian free will.”

                      First, I’m not the one who is guilty of the strawman fallacy here. You stated that whatever caused the human will has a cause. I deny that the efficient cause of the human will has a cause. The efficient cause of the human soul and all of its spiritual powers, including intellect and will, is God and cannot be anything other than God. Only a cause with infinite power can make rational souls. Rational souls, which are spiritual, cannot be derived from matter. (Remember the objective hierarchy of being and the principle of causality.) Rational souls must be created ex nihilo. A cause that creates something ex nihilo must have infinite power to bridge the chasm between non-being and being. The only cause with infinite power is the primary efficient cause of being—God. Second, I do not deny that the theory of libertarian freedom, in which human choices are not caused by anything other than the human will itself, does not admit causality within its orbit. Unlike you, however, I deny universal determinism.

                      “Materialists recognize an ontological gap. Almost no materialist says that humans are exactly the same as animals. We recognize we’re more evolved.”

                      First, philosophical materialists do not admit the ontological gap between man and beast. For they do not recognize the gap between matter and spirit, and the ontological leap from brute animal to the human person (rational animal) involves a radical ontological leap from the realm of matter to the realm of spirit. The difference is not simply material or bodily in nature. As long as you deny the reality of spiritual being, you must, if you are consistent, deny the radical ontological leap from brute animal to human person. Second, the differences between brute animals and human persons are more than can be established on the basis of modern natural science alone, which presupposes methodological naturalism. Third, evolution alone cannot explain the introduction of spiritual or rational souls. As a philosophical materialist, you will deny that, because you do not recognize the reality of spiritual souls. I don’t buy your truncated materialist anthropology, and neither should any believer.

                      “Neanderthals had the capacity for language, physiologically and genetically, yet were not fully human.”

                      If Neanderthals actually employed linguistic communication, then they were rational animals. But if they didn’t, it does not follow that they were rational animals.

                      “Aristotle was a believer. He was a polytheist.”

                      He was not a believer in the relevant sense. He recognized, on the basis of philosophical argumentation, the existence of immaterial beings (separate substances), but that does not make him a person who recognized and affirmed special divine revelation on the basis of infused theological faith. Furthermore, I’m not aware of any clear evidence that he practiced divine worship or engaged in liturgical practices. So, he was not a believer in the relevant sense. In the relevant sense of theological faith, you and he are in he same boat. You and he are non-believers.

                      “You’re working from an entirely metaphysical view that is false. Show me evidence of this. Show me a mind that is not caused by a physical brain. Show me how our human minds are not caused by our brains. Show me any data that mental things have a causal effect on matter. Use actual evidence since these are all scientific claims.”

                      First, not all truth claims are scientific claims. I don’t need to play by your questionable rules of argumentation. I don’t buy scientism, and I’m not going to provide reasons based on the faulty assumption of scientism. I don’t grant that modern natural science is the only or highest way of knowing. If you find that unacceptable, then you need to make some adjustments. Second, your faulty materialist assumptions preclude the epistemic possibility of recognizing the reality of inorganic minds. You are not really open to the fullness of truth within the bounds of metaphysical reason, which cannot be entirely grasped within the methodological limits of modern natural science. Third, using their minds, human persons make free choices, and these choices have a real causal impact on the world (e.g., pollution). The reality of free choice cannot be explained on the basis of philosophical materialism or even on the basis of modern natural science. Modern natural science presupposes free choice.

                      “I deny that mind is at the top of that hierarchy of being.”

                      Your denial that mind is over matter was made clear long ago.

                      “Your hierarchy isn’t objective, it’s subjective. You don’t have objective proof that it is true.”

                      Despite your serious philosophical errors, I think that you are ontologically superior to a dog or a dolphin or a chimpanzee. They are unable to participate in philosophical, or even scientific, conversations.

                      “So what’s your view, libertarian, compatiblisitic, or deterministic? Or other? Morality does not presuppose libertarian freedom.”

                      I concur that morality does not presuppose any theory of libertarian freedom, but morality is precluded by universal determinism. What is a sound philosophical conception of human freedom? That is a highly complex theoretical question. To answer that question, one needs a sound philosophical psychology. A sound philosophical psychology, however, is not admitted within the narrow confines of philosophical materialism.

                      “Tell that to Kenneth Miller, a Catholic who teaches biology.”

                      Insofar as Dr. Miller adheres to the Catholic faith he professes, he will tell you that not all beings are material, and that the existence of the world depends on a transcendent Creator who is not material. In that regard you and he are not in agreement. If you wish to cite Dr. Miller as an authority, please don’t ignore the faith that he professes. It may be inconvenient, but truth isn’t always convenient.

                      “Again, no one is teaching PM in school by teaching naturalistic evolution. Teaching theistic evolution is something theists have to believe on their own, it isn’t science, a the Dover PA case showed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?…”

                      Several years ago I watched Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial twice. I found it to be a tendentious presentation of the facts.

                      “Do you want god in public school?”

                      In our country, which is indebted to the Judeo-Christian tradition, I think the arbitrary exclusion of God from public discourse is highly objectionable. The question of spiritual being and higher causes can be discussed without indoctrination. In accord with the principle of free inquiry, students should be encouraged to think critically about secular humanism and religion. In fact, in Torcaso v. Watkins 367 U.S. 488 (1961), secular humanism is recognized as a form of religion. https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/367/488/case.html You might not like that, but there it is.

                    • papagan

                      “There you go again with your appeal to mystery. I need evidence, not smoke and mirrors.”

                      One of the points on which we differ is that I, unlike you, allow room for mystery. You’re the rationalist. I, in contrast, affirm the integration of supernatural faith and natural reason.

                      “This same logic can be used to say that just because we haven’t proved how life formed naturally is not to say that it didn’t.”

                      I don’t deny the legitimate causal role of nature. We should recognize and give credit to secondary and instrumental causality. I also affirm, however, that the transcendent Creator operates within nature, and the divine operation is not something that falls within the investigatory competence of natural science. I don’t reduce reason to scientific reason. There are various ways of knowing, just as there are various ways of being. You recognize neither the analogy of being nor the analogy of knowing. The reality of divine causality transcends the boundaries of methodological naturalism, but the reality of primary causality can be apprehended indirectly through another way of knowing–metaphysics.

                      “I’m also including positive evidence that the mind has a cause that is materialistic: our brain.”

                      Proof of the objective reality of mind, an inorganic faculty or spiritual power, is beyond the scope of natural science. To deny the reality of spiritual powers is to deny the reality of mind, although the immaterial concepts employed in such denial presuppose the existence of mind. The human mind typically employs cerebral matter, but that does not entail that the human mind is an effect of cerebral matter or of any other matter. The fact that human persons ordinarily don’t actually think without using cerebral matter doesn’t logically entail that mind can be reduced to matter or is an organic faculty. In this context you seem to commit the post hoc fallacy.

                      “So you deny libertarian free will?”

                      Libertarian freedom of freedom of indifference is not the only conception of freedom. One can consistently reject determinism without thereby implying the theory of libertarian freedom. I unequivocally affirm freedom of choice, rooted in the spiritual power of intellect; for metaphysical reasons, however, I don’t subscribe to the theory of libertarian freedom. There is no real conflict between genuine human freedom and divine causality. Both St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas were well aware of that. The compatibility of human freedom and divine causality is also thoroughly scriptural. Within the problematic framework of philosophical materialism, however, there is no room whatsoever for real freedom. Real freedom pertains to the realm of spiritual being, which you have denied.

                      “Strawman. I’m not arguing that. I’m arguing that causality denies human libertarian free will.”

                      First, I’m not the one who is guilty of the strawman fallacy here. You stated that whatever caused the human will has a cause. I deny that the efficient cause of the human will has a cause. The efficient cause of the human soul and all of its spiritual powers, including intellect and will, is God and cannot be anything other than God. Only a cause with infinite power can make rational souls. Rational souls, which are spiritual, cannot be derived from matter. (Remember the objective hierarchy of being and the principle of causality.) Rational souls must be created ex nihilo. A cause that creates something ex nihilo must have infinite power to bridge the chasm between non-being and being. The only cause with infinite power is the primary efficient cause of being—God. Second, I do not deny that the theory of libertarian freedom, in which human choices are not caused by anything other than the human will itself, does not admit causality within its orbit. Unlike you, however, I deny universal determinism.

                      “Materialists recognize an ontological gap. Almost no materialist says that humans are exactly the same as animals. We recognize we’re more evolved.”

                      First, philosophical materialists do not admit the ontological gap between man and beast. For they do not recognize the gap between matter and spirit, and the ontological leap from brute animal to the human person (rational animal) involves a radical ontological leap from the realm of matter to the realm of spirit. The difference is not simply material or bodily in nature. As long as you deny the reality of spiritual being, you must, if you are consistent, deny the radical ontological leap from brute animal to human person. Second, the differences between brute animals and human persons are more than can be established on the basis of modern natural science alone, which presupposes methodological naturalism. Third, evolution alone cannot explain the introduction of spiritual or rational souls. As a philosophical materialist, you will deny that, because you do not recognize the reality of spiritual souls. I don’t buy your truncated materialist anthropology, and neither should any believer.

                      “Neanderthals had the capacity for language, physiologically and genetically, yet were not fully human.”

                      If Neanderthals actually employed linguistic communication, then they were rational animals. But if they didn’t, it does not follow that they were rational animals.

                      “Aristotle was a believer. He was a polytheist.”

                      He was not a believer in the relevant sense. He recognized, on the basis of philosophical argumentation, the existence of immaterial beings (separate substances), but that does not make him a person who recognized and affirmed special divine revelation on the basis of infused theological faith. Furthermore, I’m not aware of any clear evidence that he practiced divine worship or engaged in liturgical practices. So, he was not a believer in the relevant sense. In the relevant sense of theological faith, you and he are in he same boat. You and he are non-believers.

                      “You’re working from an entirely metaphysical view that is false. Show me evidence of this. Show me a mind that is not caused by a physical brain. Show me how our human minds are not caused by our brains. Show me any data that mental things have a causal effect on matter. Use actual evidence since these are all scientific claims.”

                      First, not all truth claims are scientific claims. I don’t need to play by your questionable rules of argumentation. I don’t buy scientism, and I’m not going to provide reasons based on the faulty assumption of scientism. I don’t grant that modern natural science is the only or highest way of knowing. If you find that unacceptable, then you need to make some adjustments. Second, your faulty materialist assumptions preclude the epistemic possibility of recognizing the reality of inorganic minds. You are not really open to the fullness of truth within the bounds of metaphysical reason, which cannot be entirely grasped within the methodological limits of modern natural science. Third, using their minds, human persons make free choices, and these choices have a real causal impact on the world (e.g., pollution). The reality of free choice cannot be explained on the basis of philosophical materialism or even on the basis of modern natural science. Modern natural science presupposes free choice.

                      “I deny that mind is at the top of that hierarchy of being.”

                      Your denial that mind is over matter was made clear long ago.

                      “Your hierarchy isn’t objective, it’s subjective. You don’t have objective proof that it is true.”

                      Despite your serious philosophical errors, I think that you are ontologically superior to a dog or a dolphin or a chimpanzee. They are unable to participate in philosophical, or even scientific, conversations.

                      “So what’s your view, libertarian, compatiblisitic, or deterministic? Or other? Morality does not presuppose libertarian freedom.”

                      I concur that morality does not presuppose any theory of libertarian freedom, but morality is precluded by universal determinism. What is a sound philosophical conception of human freedom? That is a highly complex theoretical question. To answer that question, one needs a sound philosophical psychology. A sound philosophical psychology, however, is not admitted within the narrow confines of philosophical materialism.

                      “Tell that to Kenneth Miller, a Catholic who teaches biology.”

                      Insofar as Dr. Miller adheres to the Catholic faith he professes, he will tell you that not all beings are material, and that the existence of the world depends on a transcendent Creator who is not material. In that regard you and he are not in agreement. If you wish to cite Dr. Miller as an authority, please don’t ignore the faith that he professes. It may be inconvenient, but truth isn’t always convenient.

                      “Again, no one is teaching PM in school by teaching naturalistic evolution. Teaching theistic evolution is something theists have to believe on their own, it isn’t science, a the Dover PA case showed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?…”

                      Several years ago I watched Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial twice. I found it to be a tendentious presentation of the facts.

                      “Do you want god in public school?”

                      In our country, which is indebted to the Judeo-Christian tradition, I think the arbitrary exclusion of God from public discourse is highly objectionable. The question of spiritual being and higher causes can be discussed without indoctrination. In accord with the principle of free inquiry, students should be encouraged to think critically about secular humanism and religion. In fact, in Torcaso v. Watkins 367 U.S. 488 (1961), secular humanism is recognized as a form of religion. https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/367/488/case.html You might not like that, but there it is.

                    • One of the points on which we differ is that I, unlike you, allow room for mystery. You’re the rationalist. I, in contrast, affirm the integration of supernatural faith and natural reason.

                      Not true at all. I acknowledge that our knowledge is incomplete, but I think we have enough knowledge to know theism is incorrect.

                      I don’t reduce reason to scientific reason. There are various ways of knowing, just as there are various ways of being. You recognize neither the analogy of being nor the analogy of knowing. The reality of divine causality transcends the boundaries of methodological naturalism, but the reality of primary causality can be apprehended indirectly through another way of knowing–metaphysics.

                      There is no reality of something that you cannot explain or demonstrate empirically or logically. The issue comes down to whether your metaphysics is true – I see no reason to think so.

                      Proof of the objective reality of mind, an inorganic faculty or spiritual power, is beyond the scope of natural science. To deny the reality of spiritual powers is to deny the reality of mind, although the immaterial concepts employed in such denial presuppose the existence of mind.

                      No. I can fully recognize the existence of the mind as an emergent phenomena caused by physical brains.

                      The human mind typically employs cerebral matter, but that does not entail that the human mind is an effect of cerebral matter or of any other matter. The fact that human persons ordinarily don’t actually think without using cerebral matter doesn’t logically entail that mind can be reduced to matter or is an organic faculty. In this context you seem to commit the post hoc fallacy.

                      I’m not making an a priori claim, I’m making an posteriori claim. I’m making an inference to the best explanation about the mind. All the evidence shows is it is caused by the brain in a one way causal relationship. Damage the brain in part A, and the mind associated with part A fails. This happens every time. It is causal. The post hoc fallacy is employed mostly by theists who derive god’s powers from events whose causes they are ignorant of.

                      There is no real conflict between genuine human freedom and divine causality. Both St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas were well aware of that. The compatibility of human freedom and divine causality is also thoroughly scriptural. Within the problematic framework of philosophical materialism, however, there is no room whatsoever for real freedom. Real freedom pertains to the realm of spiritual being, which you have denied.

                      There absolutely is a conflict between human freedom and divine causality. How do I have the freedom to do something if it was caused by events that came before me that I had no conscious awareness of?

                      First, I’m not the one who is guilty of the strawman fallacy here. You stated that whatever caused the human will has a cause. I deny that the efficient cause of the human will has a cause. The efficient cause of the human soul and all of its spiritual powers, including intellect and will, is God and cannot be anything other than God.

                      You did make a strawman, because I was not arguing about a cause of god. That is a strawman. If you believe god causes all of our wills, then that is similar to a Calvinistic picture of predetermination. What you’re doing is like trying to argue that the puppet of a ventriloquist has freedom of choice.

                      A cause that creates something ex nihilo must have infinite power to bridge the chasm between non-being and being. The only cause with infinite power is the primary efficient cause of being—God.

                      What evidence do you have that the universe was created ex nihilo?

                      First, philosophical materialists do not admit the ontological gap between man and beast. For they do not recognize the gap between matter and spirit, and the ontological leap from brute animal to the human person (rational animal) involves a radical ontological leap from the realm of matter to the realm of spirit.

                      They do, but not in the sense that you speak of. Ontology is simply what exists. Every human being is ontologically different. At what point did brute animal become a human person in our evolution?

                      The difference is not simply material or bodily in nature. As long as you deny the reality of spiritual being, you must, if you are consistent, deny the radical ontological leap from brute animal to human person.

                      It is material. It is our evolved brains that allows us rationality that animals do not have. It is all dependent on matter. That’s why people with damaged brains aren’t rational.

                      Third, evolution alone cannot explain the introduction of spiritual or rational souls. As a philosophical materialist, you will deny that, because you do not recognize the reality of spiritual souls. I don’t buy your truncated materialist anthropology, and neither should any believer.

                      Yes because you believe in souls on faith, not evidence, and you use bad metaphysics for it. You cannot even hint at an answer to when the soul entered humans as we were evolving.

                      If Neanderthals actually employed linguistic communication, then they were rational animals. But if they didn’t, it does not follow that they were rational animals.

                      But irrational people can communicate. And language didn’t develop overnight, it evolved from proto languages as far as we can tell. What evidence do you have that fully rational animals occurred overnight.

                      In the relevant sense of theological faith, you and he are in he same boat. You and he are non-believers.

                      Muslims say the same thing about you Christians.

                      First, not all truth claims are scientific claims.

                      Strawman. I didn’t claim that. I claimed that the claims you’re making are scientific claims.

                      Second, your faulty materialist assumptions preclude the epistemic possibility of recognizing the reality of inorganic minds.

                      Without real good evidence you have no basis of claiming the reality of inorganic minds. It’s faith. Plain and simple. Why should I continue wasting time to a person who admits he has no evidence of his claims?

                      Third, using their minds, human persons make free choices, and these choices have a real causal impact on the world (e.g., pollution). The reality of free choice cannot be explained on the basis of philosophical materialism or even on the basis of modern natural science. Modern natural science presupposes free choice.

                      False. A determined choice can have just as much consequences as a “free” choice that you deny even exists since god controls everything we do in your worldview.

                      Despite your serious philosophical errors, I think that you are ontologically superior to a dog or a dolphin or a chimpanzee. They are unable to participate in philosophical, or even scientific, conversations.

                      I agree I’m ontologically superior to a dog or a dolphin or a chimpanzee, because I have a more evolved brain! No need for pseudo-scientific souls. It’s you who’ve made such bad philosophical errors.

                      I concur that morality does not presuppose any theory of libertarian freedom, but morality is precluded by universal determinism. What is a sound philosophical conception of human freedom? That is a highly complex theoretical question. To answer that question, one needs a sound philosophical psychology. A sound philosophical psychology, however, is not admitted within the narrow confines of philosophical materialism.

                      If you define morality as the distinction between right and wrong, determinism does not necessarily preclude morality. And I’m surprised you cannot answer the question. You’re as much a determinist as I am, you just think god controls everything.

                      Insofar as Dr. Miller adheres to the Catholic faith he professes, he will tell you that not all beings are material, and that the existence of the world depends on a transcendent Creator who is not material. In that regard you and he are not in agreement.

                      The point is that Miller doesn’t need to appeal to religion to explain biology. His religious beliefs are his personal beliefs, not his scientific beliefs.

                      Several years ago I watched Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial twice. I found it to be a tendentious presentation of the facts.

                      Your opinion.

                      In our country, which is indebted to the Judeo-Christian tradition, I think the arbitrary exclusion of God from public discourse is highly objectionable. The question of spiritual being and higher causes can be discussed without indoctrination. In accord with the principle of free inquiry, students should be encouraged to think critically about secular humanism and religion.

                      So your answer is yes. We’re talking about public school. In the public square people can talk about religion, in government it is a bit different. For a law to be considered constitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, the law must have a legitimate secular purpose, must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion, and also must not result in an excessive entanglement of government and religion.

                      In fact, in Torcaso v. Watkins 367 U.S. 488 (1961), secular humanism is recognized as a form of religion. https://supreme.justia.com/cas… You might not like that, but there it is.

                      On what line does it say that?

                    • papagan

                      You write: “In the public square people can talk about religion, in government it is a bit different. For a law to be considered constitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, the law must have a legitimate secular purpose, must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion, and also must not result in an excessive entanglement of government and religion.” That is a particular interpretation. Here is what the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The 1st Amendment does not prohibit in public schools the objective rational discussion of the existence and nature of causes beyond the material universe, nor does it prohibit citizens with religious convictions from participating in the political process in a way that is consistent with their religious principles. If, however, their religious principles included the requirement that they sacrifice babies, for example, one could then contend on the basis of the natural moral law established by God and accessible to human reason that such a practice is not lawful. But many people today, religious or otherwise, believe that destroying unborn human babies is permissible. Perhaps you are among that group of persons. Philosophical materialism cannot support natural human rights.

                      “On what line does it say that?” Clearly you haven’t read Torcaso v. Watkins 367 U.S. 488 (1961) in toto.

                    • That is a particular interpretation.

                      Yeah and you know who’s interpretation that was? The Supreme Court’s.

                      The 1st Amendment does not prohibit in public schools the objective rational discussion of the existence and nature of causes beyond the material universe, nor does it prohibit citizens with religious convictions from participating in the political process in a way that is consistent with their religious principles.

                      The second amendment doesn’t say anything about individuals owning firearms, and yet that’s how it’s been interpreted since its incarnation. The 1st amendment has been interpreted as a wall of separation between church and state. That’s what Jefferson intended.

                      The thing is, you don’t have any evidence of “the existence and nature of causes beyond the material universe”. You infer it from your metaphysics. That’s not science, it is metaphysics. If you want to teach that, teach it in college. Once you allow “the existence and nature of causes beyond the material universe” you open the door to alchemy and astrology, as the Kitsmiller vs. Dover case showed.

                      Now citizens can of course vote on their religious principles. I never argued they couldn’t. But any law that is passed has to have a secular justification, you cannot appeal to scripture to justify a law.

                      If, however, their religious principles included the requirement that they sacrifice babies, for example, one could then contend on the basis of the natural moral law established by God and accessible to human reason that such a practice is not lawful.

                      But what about “religious freedom”? So apparently, you can use a moral law that your religion holds to in order to prevent another religion from practicing theirs. Why can’t we just use the Koran to determine what is moral or not? According to them, you’re a pagan because you worship a false concept of god and idols and you must accept a dhimmi status.

                      Natural law is false. If you want to debate natural law, just let me know. Is slavery wrong under natural law? Why? What about female genital mutilation, or killing witches, or homosexuals? Please tell me.

                      But many people today, religious or otherwise, believe that destroying unborn human babies is permissible. Perhaps you are among that group of persons. Philosophical materialism cannot support natural human rights.

                      Natural human rights do not come from god or religion. The rights we have in the US are not found anywhere in the Bible. There is a conflict between Christianity and Constitutional rights.

                      “On what line does it say that?” Clearly you haven’t read Torcaso v. Watkins 367 U.S. 488 (1961) in toto.

                      Correct. I’m asking you to help me as my time is limited.

                    • papagan

                      “1st amendment has been interpreted as a wall of separation between church and state.” Your unstated conclusion is: The 1st Amendment precludes the recognition of the essential connection between culture and religion. I deny that conclusion. I do not deny that Church and state are distinct. I take the 1st Amendment as an attempt to protect organized religion against encroachments by the federal government. Those interested in this question should become familiar with some excellent scholarship in this field of inquiry, including the work of a noted American legal scholar, Philip Hamburger, the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at the Columbia University School of Law. See his book, Separation of Church and State. http://www.amazon.com/Separation-Church-State-Philip-Hamburger/dp/0674013743

                      “That’s what Jefferson intended.” So? What follows from that? Jefferson must be correct? Non sequitur.

                      “The thing is, you don’t have any evidence of ‘the existence and nature of causes beyond the material universe’. You infer it from your metaphysics. That’s not science, it is metaphysics. If you want to teach that, teach it in college. Once you allow ‘the existence and nature of causes beyond the material universe’ you open the door to alchemy and astrology, as the Kitsmiller [sic] vs. [sic] Dover case showed.” First, you suggest (here and elsewhere) that all evidence is scientific evidence. You assume a certain rule of evidence, and your assumption is not self-evident. You haven’t established that there cannot be proof of things beyond the scope of natural science. You assume that there cannot be proof of things beyond the scope of natural science. That’s a huge assumption, and one may legitimately question that controversial assumption. As I’ve indicated previously, I don’t buy scientism. You claim that you do not endorse scientism, but you proceed as if scientism were true. Who are you trying to fool? Second, in public schools where evolutionary theory is studied, one can have serious and intelligent discussions about the existence and attributes of causes beyond the observable material universe, and one can do this without raising all of the complex and technical questions treated in metaphysics. Third, one can have such discussions without opening the door to things like alchemy and astrology. Despite what you may believe, causes beyond the material universe are not like alchemy or astrology.

                      “But any law that is passed has to have a secular justification, you cannot appeal to scripture to justify a law.” Any law passed must be reasonable and in accord with the common good. Being reasonable and supporting secular humanism are not equivalent. Civil laws can be made without any explicit reference to Sacred Scripture.

                      “But what about ‘religious freedom’? So apparently, you can use a moral law that your religion holds to in order to prevent another religion from practicing theirs.” First, you appear to have a distorted understanding of religious freedom. It does not mean that one can do whatever one wishes to do. Do your homework! Second, the natural moral law is not the exclusive property of any particular religion. The natural moral law is accessible to all rational beings. Third, religion need not be contrary to reason, despite your faulty opinion that all religion is unreasonable. If a particular religion includes elements opposed to man’s God-given reason, such elements I would not defend. As I said, religious freedom does not mean that one can do whatever one wishes.

                      “Natural law is false. If you want to debate natural law, just let me know. Is slavery wrong under natural law? Why? What about female genital mutilation, or killing witches, or homosexuals? Please tell me.” First, without natural law, there can be no natural rights! Inalienable natural rights, granted by God, and civil rights, granted by human legislators, are not synonymous. Second, I certainly don’t support female genital mutilation, or state-approved execution of “witches” (the preferred term is “wicca”) or of persons with same-sex tendencies, just as I do not support procured abortion or physician-assisted suicide. I would note that you have not disclosed whether you support the practice of procured abortion (or physician-assisted suicide), and I would not be surprised if you continued to remain silent as to whether you support such anti-life practices.

                      “Natural human rights do not come from [G]od or religion. The rights we have in the US are not found anywhere in the Bible. There is a conflict between Christianity and Constitutional rights.” First, as regards the so-called “right to (procured) abortion,” I agree. Sacred Scripture cannot properly be used to support any such “right.” There can be no genuine right to do what is objectively evil, e.g., child molestation. Moreover, Sacred Scripture is silent about the right to drive automobiles or fly airplanes, but this right is not inconsistent with the teaching expressed in Sacred Scripture, unlike the so-called “right to (procured) abortion.” Second, inalienable natural rights have no place in your narrow materialistic vision of reality.

                      “Correct. I’m asking you to help me as my time is limited.” I would suggest that you expend your precious spare time on the sincere and arduous quest for the plenitude of truth, rather than on cantankerous disputation.

                    • Your unstated conclusion is: The 1st Amendment precludes the recognition of the essential connection between culture and religion. I deny that conclusion.

                      Not at all. Be as religious as you want, just keep it out of government.

                      I take the 1st Amendment as an attempt to protect organized religion against encroachments by the federal government.

                      There is that, but there is also the protection of the government from religious encroachment. The wall applies to both sides.

                      So? What follows from that? Jefferson must be correct? Non sequitur.

                      It helps us interpret that amendment. Duh.

                      First, you suggest (here and elsewhere) that all evidence is scientific evidence. You assume a certain rule of evidence, and your assumption is not self-evident. You haven’testablished that there cannot be proof of things beyond the scope of natural science.

                      I do not assume all evidence is scientific. But we’re talking about a science class here. In science class belongs science. Not ancient metaphysics. I don’t have to prove a negative. You have to prove a positive. You have the burden of proof. You cannot disprove an infinite number of claims, that doesn’t mean we allow them in a science classroom.

                      As I’ve indicated previously, I don’t buy scientism. You claim that you do not endorse scientism, but you proceed as ifscientism were true. Who are you trying to fool?

                      Apparently a person who cannot understand that we shouldn’t allow unproven metaphysics into a science classroom. Nothing I said is scientism.

                      Second, in public schools where evolutionary theory is studied, one can have serious and intelligent discussions about the existence and attributes of causes beyond the observable material universe, and one can do this without raising all of the complex and technical questions treated in metaphysics.

                      Why would we want to encourage our kids to assume god does things? That would hinder scientific progress and encourage intellectual laziness. One reason why religion and science are incompatible.

                      Third, one can have such discussions without opening the door to things like alchemy and astrology. Despite what you may believe, causes beyond the material universe are not like alchemy or astrology.

                      Then you need to make a really good argument showing this.

                      Any law passed must be reasonable and in accord with the common good. Being reasonable and supporting secular humanism are not equivalent. Civil laws can be made without any explicit reference to Sacred Scripture.

                      Agreed. They have to be.

                      First, you appear to have a distorted understanding of religious freedom. It does not mean that one can do whatever one wishes to do. Do your homework!

                      I agree, but some theists think religious freedom means they have the right to trounce all other religions but theirs. We see this today with the religious right trying to make Christianity the official state religion in many states.

                      Second, the natural moral law is not the exclusive property of any particular religion. The natural moral law is accessible to all rational beings.

                      I don’t think NL works. It assumes moderate realism, among other things.

                      Third, religion need not be contrary to reason, despite your faulty opinion that all religion is unreasonable.

                      All religions have rules that are contrary to reason. That’s why we don’t base our laws on religion.

                      First, without natural law, there can be no natural rights! Inalienable natural rights, granted by God, and civil rights, granted by human legislators, are not synonymous.

                      That’s not true. God thinks slavery is OK, that’s not a natural right we uphold today.

                      Second, I certainly don’t support female genital mutilation, or state-approved execution of “witches” (the preferred term is “wicca”) or of persons with same-sex tendencies, just as I do not support procured abortion or physician-assisted suicide.

                      Your views on rights conflict with our civil rights. Your god apparently thinks it’s OK to kill witches and homosexuals.

                      I would note that you have not disclosed whether you support the practice of procured abortion (or physician-assisted suicide), and I would not be surprised if you continued to remain silent as to whether you support such anti-life practices.

                      I’m for all those things. Although, I don’t like abortions and wish there were zero. Assisted suicide is a matter of compassion.

                      Only in America can you be pro death penalty, pro war, pro unmanned droned bombs, pro nuclear weapons, pro guns, pro torture, and still call yourself pro life. I hope you don’t subscribe to these things.

                      Sacred Scripture cannot properly be used to support any such “right.”

                      That’s not exactly true. See What the Bible says about Abortion.

                      There can be no genuine right to do what is objectively evil, e.g., child molestation.

                      What about forcing a 14 year old girl into an arranged marriage with an older man? Where does the Bible say that is wrong?

                      Moreover, Sacred Scripture is silent about the right to drive automobiles or fly airplanes, but this right is not inconsistent with the teaching expressed in Sacred Scripture, unlike the so-called “right to (procured) abortion.” Second, inalienable natural rights have no place in your narrow materialistic vision of reality.

                      That’s not the point. No where in the “Sacred Scripture” does it say women or homosexuals have equal rights. No where does it say the institution of slavery is morally wrong. It proposes the death penalty for women who have sex before marriage. The Bible’s morality is a violation of basic human rights. This is obvious to anyone with a brain.

                      I would suggest that you expend your precious spare time on the sincere and arduous quest for the plenitude of truth, rather than on cantankerous disputation.

                      You cannot point to a single sentence where it says secular humanism is a religion? I’m starting to doubt it says that.

                    • papagan

                      “Why would we want to encourage our kids to assume [G]od does things? That would hinder scientific progress and encourage intellectual laziness. One reason why religion and science are incompatible.” Your atheistic and non-scientific opinion is anything but obvious. For a more reasonable understanding of the relation between natural science and God, the transcendent Creator, see Robert Barron, “Stephen Hawking’s God-Haunted Movie” http://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2014/12/18/stephen_hawkings_god-haunted_movie.html. Aristotle did not admit any rational conflict between natural theology (see his famous Metaphysics) and careful empirical investigation of natural phenomena. Furthermore, brilliant Christian theologians, such as St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Thomas Aquinas, did not encourage “intellectual laziness.” Moreover, the famous theologian/physicist Stanley L. Jaki was among those who have effectively refuted the controversial “conflict thesis” advanced by John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White in the 19th century. Regarding the conflict thesis advanced by Draper and White, see, for example, http://biologos.org/blog/a-d-whites-warfare-between-science-and-theology-pt-1 and http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-science/.

                      Those who fail to do their homework are well advised to remain silent. Some, however, believing they are wise, continue speaking out of ignorance. Folly is the reward of hubris.

                    • Your atheistic and non-scientific opinion is anything but obvious. For a more reasonable understanding of the relation between natural science and God, the transcendent Creator, see Robert Barron, “Stephen Hawking’s God-Haunted Movie” http://www.realclearreligion.o….

                      There is nothing reasonable about your understanding at all. It is simply a case of inferring intentionality to nature due to our evolution. It’s called hyperactive agency detection. If you assume god works in the universe, this will increase your tendency to look for supernatural answers (i.e. ‘God did it’) and that hinders scientific progress. It’s no coincidence that it is the religious who are the evolution-deniers, and the big-bang deniers. Some theists, have thankfully realized the ignorance of this and have adopted a kind of deistic view of god as the creator but then allows the universe to evolve naturally. This is a step in the right direction, but it still can hinder scientific work on the origin of the universe, because there it would be due to magic, (i.e. ‘God did it’).

                      Aristotle did not admit any rational conflict between natural theology (see his famousMetaphysics) and careful empirical investigation of natural phenomena. Furthermore, brilliant Christian theologians, such as St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Thomas Aquinas, did not encourage “intellectual laziness.”

                      Of course. Who would admit intellectual laziness? I don’t care about what they admit to, I care about the consequences of their theology. Christian theology can lead to intellectual laziness by increasing the tendency of people to assume god works like a magician in the universe. Genesis is one of the biggest sources of scientific ignorance in the world. Half of all US Christians think it is a literal account of creation, and many of them vehemently deny evolution.

                      Those who fail to do their homework are well advised to remain silent. Some, however, believing they are wise, continue speaking out of ignorance. Folly is the reward of hubris.

                      OK, but that means all Christians who are science-deniers need to shut up. And all Christians who haven’t done their homework on atheism, need to shut up. That’s most Christians.

                    • papagan

                      “OK, but that means all Christians who are science-deniers need to shut up. And all Christians who haven’t done their homework on atheism, need to shut up. That’s most Christians.” I have not cited any believers who dismiss the legitimacy of modern natural science, keeping in mind that scientism is not science. (Remember, you are the one who believes that science and theistic religion are mutually exclusive. I, in contrast, reject the conflict thesis.) Furthermore, the believers I have cited are highly sophisticated thinkers who display a remarkable depth of thought not in the least exhibited in your numerous cavalier and sophomoric comments. Moreover, given your dogmatic assumptions, it seems clear that you have neither the time nor the inclination to take their writings and argumentation seriously. Don’t expect others, then, to take your assertions seriously.

                    • I have not cited any believers who dismiss the legitimacy of modern natural science, keeping in mind that scientism is not science. (Remember,you are the one who believes that science and theistic religion are mutually exclusive. I, in contrast, reject the conflict thesis.)

                      I wasn’t talking about the people you’ve cited, I was talking about the 50% of US Christians who are indeed science deniers, and the millions of others who believe anti-science things, like that there was a literal Adam and Eve, or a virgin birth. Again, you’re misunderstanding of me causes you to respond ignorantly.

                      Furthermore, the believers I have cited are highly sophisticated thinkers who display a remarkable depth of thought not in the least exhibited in your numerous cavalier and sophomoric comments.

                      Highly sophisticated thinkers can be wrong if the point of view that they’re defending is wrong. Just look at all the “highly sophisticated thinkers” who are apologists for other religions you think are false.

                      Moreover, given your dogmatic assumptions, it seems clear that you have neither the time nor the inclination to take their writings and argumentation seriously. Don’t expect others, then, to take your assertions seriously.

                      What I’d prefer that you do is make their arguments in a debate with me, since you apparently agree with them and know their arguments. I’ve done enough research into religion and science to know the BS that religionists pull when trying to defend their untenable positions.

                    • papagan

                      “Highly sophisticated thinkers can be wrong if the point of view that they’re defending is wrong.” In this case, however, the erroneous point of view is that of philosophical materialism, which precludes God, free human agency, and the objective natural moral law, among other things.

                      I’ll ask once again: Have you replied to my comment concerning empirical scientific evidence and data?

                    • In this case, however, the erroneous point of view is that of philosophical materialism, which precludes God, free human agency, and the objective natural moral law, among other things.

                      It’s not erroneous, it’s an accurate interpretation of the data. You reject free human agency too, so you’re a hypocrite at least on that. And prove to me that objective natural moral law exists.

                      I’ll ask once again: Have you replied to my comment concerning empirical scientific evidence and data?

                      You’ll have to link me to it, as you comment so much I’m not sure where it is.

                    • papagan

                      “Thinker”: “[Philosophical materialism is] not erroneous, it’s an accurate interpretation of the data.” papagan: So you adamantly believe. I don’t share your dogmatic commitment to philosophical materialism (PM). I recognize the legitimacy of methodological naturalism (MN) vis-à-vis modern natural science. PM, however, cannot be derived from MN. MN is a legitimate methodological assumption. PM is a metaphysical theory.

                      “Thinker”: “You reject free human agency too, so you’re a hypocrite at least on that.” papagan: Any reasonable person who has carefully read my previous comments can see that I, in agreement with St. Thomas Aquinas and many other believers, affirm free human agency and that I firmly reject universal determinism. The belief in universal determinism, like belief in philosophical materialism, is morally toxic. If you obstinately refuse to abandon such morally toxic beliefs, that is your choice.

                    • Any reasonable person who has carefully read my previous comments can see that I, in agreement with St. Thomas Aquinas and many other believers, affirm free human agency and that I firmly reject universal determinism. The belief in universal determinism, like belief in philosophical materialism, is morally toxic. If you obstinately refuse to abandon such morally toxic beliefs, that is your choice.

                      Morally toxic? It is your religion that supports slavery, discrimination of women and homosexuals, and your church that aided the Nazis in the holocaust.

                      You can reject determinism if you want, but if you reject libertarian FW, as all respectable philosophers do, there is no free human agency. In your world, we are controlled by god, just like Calvin thought.

                      And if PM was morally toxic, you’d have data on that to show its causal effects and harm on our society. Where is that data?

                    • papagan

                      You wrote: “Morally toxic? It is your religion that supports slavery, discrimination of women and homosexuals, and your church that aided the Nazis in the holocaust. You can reject determinism if you want, but if you reject libertarian FW, as all respectable philosophers do, there is no free human agency. In your world, we are controlled by god, just like Calvin thought.”

                      First, that is a blatantly false and malicious characterization of my religion.

                      Second, universal mechanistic determinism is morally toxic, because it contradicts free human agency. Where there are no free agents, there is no objective morality, no objective moral good and evil. A robot, or any brute animal for that matter, cannot properly be morally praised or blamed for the things that are accomplished by means of said robot. Those who deny the reality of free choice seek to escape moral responsibility for their morally disordered acts, e.g., idolatry, blasphemy, impiety, murder, adultery, theft, perjury, covetousness, etc. In addition, philosophical materialism (PM) cannot be detached from universal determinism and the denial of free human agency. So PM is morally toxic.

                      Third, the universal rule of divine providence does not contradict authentic human freedom; on the contrary, authentic human freedom depends on divine causality.

                      Fourth, not everyone who defends the universal rule of divine providence is a Calvinist or a proponent of theistic determinism! In that regard we see another instance in which you exhibit your ignorance in the domain of theology. One should strive to avoid the terribly embarrassing example of Richard Dawkins. Whenever he ventures into the territory of theology, he exposes his remarkable lack of theological formation. He would be well advised to restrict his public comments to his professional field of expertise and not pretend to be an expert on theological questions.

                    • First, that is a blatantly false and malicious characterization of my religion.

                      Nope. It is entirely accurate. It is your religion that supports slavery, discrimination of women and homosexuals, and your church that aided the Nazis in the holocaust. If you cannot own up to this, you cannot be a real Christian.

                      Second, universal mechanistic determinism is morally toxic, because it contradicts free human agency. Where there are no free agents, there is no objective morality, no objective moral good and evil.

                      You essentially believe in determinism too, just with god determining everything. Rejecting LFW means rejecting free human agency. The fact that LFW is incoherent means there is no free human agency. The only way to reconcile this is to redefine free human agency in a compatibilist manner. No free human agency does not hinder objective morality. I’ve already showed you via the Euthyphro dilemma that objective morality exists independently of god.

                      A robot, or any brute animal for that matter, cannot properly be morally praised or blamed for the things that are accomplished by means of said robot. Those who deny the reality of free choice seek to escape moral responsibility for their morally disordered acts, e.g., idolatry, blasphemy, impiety, murder, adultery, theft, perjury, covetousness, etc.

                      It is not true that those who deny the reality of free choice seek to escape moral responsibility for their morally disordered acts. Most philosophers who deny free choice do so based on the evidence that there is no free choice in the LFW sense of the term. Now if you’re using free choice in a compatibilistic sense, then many philosophers accept free choice in this respect.

                      In addition, philosophical materialism (PM) cannot be detached from universal determinism and the denial of free human agency. So PM is morally toxic.

                      Completely untrue again. PM is not tied to universal determinism, it works just as well under universal indeterminism. This failure to understand the basics of PM shows me you’re very uneducated in the subject matter. Christian morality is morally toxic because it supports slavery, discrimination of women and homosexuals, and many other barbaric morals.

                      Third, the universal rule of divine providence does not contradict authentic human freedom; on the contrary, authentic human freedom depends on divine causality.

                      So explain to me a linear timeline of causality when you think a person makes a “free choice”. What’s the first event in the chain? And what’s the last?

                      Fourth, not everyone who defends the universal rule of divine providence is a Calvinist or a proponent of theistic determinism! In that regard we see another instance in which you exhibit your ignorance in the domain of theology.

                      You may not be a Calvinist, but your view on morality is theistic determinism. IF you deny this, you must answer my question above in detail to show how it is not.

                      One should strive to avoid the terribly embarrassing example of Richard Dawkins. Whenever he ventures into the territory of theology, he exposes his remarkable lack of theological formation.

                      It seems that you’re as ignorant about PM and science as he is about theology. So you’re being a total hypocrite here. I know the difference between a Calvinist, Lutheran and a Catholic. If you deny LFW, as you have to, then logically the only opportunity for you is theistic determinism.

                    • papagan

                      You write: “Nope. It is entirely accurate. It is your religion that supports slavery, discrimination of women and homosexuals, and your church that aided the Nazis in the holocaust. If you cannot own up to this, you cannot be a real Christian.”

                      Repeating your false and malicious accusations does not make them true. Jesus Christ, the Head of the Catholic Church, never taught that slavery is morally good. In societies where the institution of slavery exists in consequence of human sin–both actual sin and original sin–one must make prudential decisions about how to deal with such corrupt institutions. Prostitution and usury would be two more examples of morally corrupt institutions. In connection with such institutions, Pope John Paul II referred to “structures of sin,” which we must strive to overcome. Also, the Catholic hierarchy teaches that we must avoid all unjust discrimination against persons with same-sex tendencies. Also, what does it mean to say that a religion supports discrimination against women if the same religion venerates Mary the mother of Jesus as the Mother of God and, in the order of grace, the greatest created person in the universe? As regards the charge that the Catholic Church aided the Nazis in the Holocaust, that is a stupid and vicious accusation contrary to historical facts.

                      You write: “You essentially believe in determinism too, just with god determining everything. Rejecting LFW means rejecting free human agency. The fact that LFW is incoherent means there is no free human agency. The only way to reconcile this is to redefine free human agency in a compatibilist manner.”

                      Again, repeating your errors does not make them true. It only helps to underscore your profound ignorance concerning questions pertaining to the fields of philosophy and theology, not natural science.

                      You write: “No free human agency does not hinder objective morality.”

                      Lacking true freedom, robots and brute animals are not moral agents. To assert that beings lacking freedom of choice can be responsible moral agents is to use the term “moral” in a very different and unconventional sense. The natural moral law presupposes freedom. You, however, have already admitted that you do not recognize the reality of the natural moral law.

                      You write: “I’ve already showed you via the Euthyphro dilemma that objective morality exists independently of [G]od.”

                      Whatever you may believe, you definitely have not shown or proven any such thing. On the contrary, objective morality depends upon God, who established the objective moral order. You and I are not using the term “objective morality” in the same sense. Again, you’re in over your head here.

                      You write: “It is not true that those who deny the reality of free choice seek to escape moral responsibility for their morally disordered acts.”

                      You’re free to deny that determinists seek to escape moral responsibility for their disorders acts, but the fact remains that universal mechanistic determinism provides a convenient, albeit false, excuse to commit acts in violation of the natural moral law.

                      You write: “Most philosophers who deny free choice do so based on the evidence that there is no free choice in the LFW sense of the term. Now if you’re using free choice in a compatibilistic sense, then many philosophers accept free choice in this respect.”

                      Here again you’re in over your head. You lack a sound conception of free choice. Universal mechanistic determinism is incompatible with authentic free choice. Free human agency, which is spiritual in nature, is impossible without God.

                      You write: “Completely untrue again. PM is not tied to universal determinism, it works just as well under universal indeterminism. This failure to understand the basics of PM shows me you’re very uneducated in the subject matter.”

                      Within the theoretical framework of philosophical materialism, every effect must be explained on the basis of matter in motion, which absolutely cannot be the source of authentic free agency. Those who reject the universal and necessary metaphysical principle of causality, which requires that every effect has a cause, are stepping outside the boundaries of scientific rationality. Inasmuch as universal indeterminism absolutely precludes the real relation of effect to cause, universal indeterminism has no basis in either scientific rationality or philosophical reason. I was assuming that you did not wish to abandon scientific rationality, and you do buy into universal determinism, which I reject.

                      You write: “Christian morality is morally toxic because it supports slavery, discrimination of women and homosexuals, and many other barbaric morals.”

                      Clearly you exhibit little or no real understanding of genuine Christian morality.

                      You write: “So explain to me a linear timeline of causality when you think a person makes a “free choice”. What’s the first event in the chain? And what’s the last?”

                      Your reference to a “linear timeline of causality” indicates that you are uncritically presupposing a conception of causality that is too narrow and insufficiently nuanced. Read Michael Dodds, O.P., Unlocking Divine Action. I’ve made several references to that work in previous posts. Presently I’m not in a position to offer you a free online course on the philosophy of causality, and this isn’t the proper venue for such a course. If I begin to offer philosophy courses online, I can let you know if you desire to study philosophy online, but I rather doubt that you have a serious interest in classical Thomistic philosophy.

                      You write: “You may not be a Calvinist, but your view on morality is theistic determinism.“

                      Again, you’re in over your head. I reject theistic determinism. You need to acquire a properly metaphysical understanding of the analogy of causality.

                      You write: “IF you deny this, you must answer my question above in detail to show how it is not.”

                      Again, read Prof. Michael Dodds’s book. That would cost considerably less than an online tutorial.

                      You write: “It seems that you’re as ignorant about PM and science as he is about theology. So you’re being a total hypocrite here. I know the difference between a Calvinist, Lutheran and a Catholic. If you deny LFW, as you have to, then logically the only opportunity for you is theistic determinism.”

                      Again, you are speaking out of ignorance. You clearly do not understand the rich and robust Catholic theology propounded by St. Thomas Aquinas, who was not a Calvinist or a proto-Calvinist.

                    • Repeating your false and malicious accusations does not make them true. Jesus Christ, the Head of the Catholic Church, never taught that slavery is morally good.

                      Jesus is not head of the Catholic Church, the Pope is. Jesus uses slavery as an example in Luke 12:47-48 and never speaks against it. Jesus’ words do not make a total account for Christian theology. If that were so, then since Jesus says nothing on gay marriage it is OK. But there are many passages in the NT that condone slavery:

                      Ephesians 6:5 “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear.”

                      1 Peter 2:18 “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”

                      Titus 2:9 “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,”

                      Given the doctrine of biblical inspiration, your god clearly has no problem with slavery.

                      Catholic hierarchy teaches that we must avoid all unjust discrimination against persons with same-sex tendencies.

                      Yeah today, due to the pressure of modern secular culture, which is making the Church progress on gay issues. Centuries ago you wouldn’t be able to make this statement.

                      Also, what does it mean to say that a religion supports discrimination against women if the same religion venerates Mary the mother of Jesus as the Mother of God and, in the order of grace, the greatest created person in the universe?

                      Venerating a single woman does not mean that Christianity views women as the equals to men. If it did, it wouldn’t have sexist verses in the Bible.

                      As regards the charge that the Catholic Church aided the Nazis in the Holocaust, that is a stupid and vicious accusation contrary to historical facts.

                      Let’s start with a few facts about Hitler and the Nazis:

                      Hitler’s birthday (April 20th) was celebrated from the Catholic Church every year from 1939 to the very end of the Nazi regime in 1945 http://bit.ly/13XkKPv

                      The first diplomatic accord by Hitler once he rose to power in 1933 was with the Vatican http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/not-hitlers-pope/

                      The Catholic Church opened its genealogical records to the Nazis so that they could trace a person’s Jewish ancestry, aiding in the holocaust http://bit.ly/1x1i8Lm

                      Antisemitism existed in Europe for hundreds of years before Darwin, and one of the primary influences on Hitler was the German Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, who wrote the treatise, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543), in which he argued among other things, that European Jews should be forbidden to practice their religion, that they should have their synagogues burned and razed, and that they should be forced into servitude

                      Nearly half of the Nazis were members of the Catholic Church, as was Hitler

                      The only Nazi ever to be formally excommunicated by the Catholic Church was Joseph Goebbels – not for war crimes, but for marrying a divorced Protestant

                      Again, repeating your errors does not make them true. It only helps to underscore your profound ignorance concerning questions pertaining to the fields of philosophy and theology, not natural science.

                      You haven’t shown me to be in error.

                      Lacking true freedom, robots and brute animals are not moral agents. To assert that beings lacking freedom of choice can be responsible moral agents is to use the term “moral” in a very different and unconventional sense. The natural moral law presupposes freedom. You, however, have already admitted that you do not recognize the reality of the natural moral law.

                      You cannot claim it is a reality until you make a coherent case for it. Otherwise you are just asserting. If there is no LFW, there is no true freedom of the will.

                      Whatever you may believe, you definitely have not shown or proven any such thing. On the contrary, objective morality depends upon God, who established the objective moral order. You and I are not using the term “objective morality” in the same sense. Again, you’re in over your head here.

                      We started out debating this very issue. And you have NOT provided a defeater to the dilemma.

                      You’re free to deny that determinists seek to escape moral responsibility for their disorders acts, but the fact remains that universal mechanistic determinism provides a convenient, albeit false, excuse to commit acts in violation of the natural moral law.

                      And belief in salvation provides an excuse to sin. You have no coherently explained how there is no LFW and there is moral responsibility. You need to explain this.

                      Here again you’re in over your head. You lack a sound conception of free choice. Universal mechanistic determinism is incompatible with authentic free choice. Free human agency, which is spiritual in nature, is impossible without God.

                      I think it is you that’s in over your head. You lack a sound conception of free choice. You deny LFW but you hold to a system that seems to require LFW. There is no free human agency, and if you think there is without LFW you need to argue for this in your own words.

                      Within the theoretical framework of philosophical materialism, every effect must be explained on the basis of matter in motion, which absolutely cannot be the source of authentic free agency. Those who reject the universal and necessary metaphysical principle of causality, which requires that every effect has a cause, are stepping outside the boundaries of scientific rationality.

                      I agree with your first sentence but if you accept the universal and necessary metaphysical principle of causality, then you must logically accept determinism, theistic or non-theistic.

                      Inasmuch as universal indeterminism absolutely precludes the real relation of effect to cause, universal indeterminism has no basis in either scientific rationality or philosophical reason.

                      That’s not true. Many interpretations of quantum mechanics are deterministic.

                      Clearly you exhibit little or no real understanding of genuine Christian morality.

                      I do understand it, I also understand that Christians reinterpret their religious texts and it evolves with the times. Clearly, you are either ignorant of in denial of biblical morality.

                      Your reference to a “linear timeline of causality” indicates that you are uncritically presupposing a conception of causality that is too narrow and insufficiently nuanced.

                      Then give me an explanation however you see fit using your own personal preferences for how to chronologically describe a freely decided action. Surely you can do this in a paragraph or two.

                      Again, you’re in over your head. I reject theistic determinism. You need to acquire a properly metaphysical understanding of the analogy of causality.

                      You’re incapable of answering the question. If you reject theistic determinism, explain how a human being makes a freely decided action in your own words.

                      Again, read Prof. Michael Dodds’s book. That would cost considerably less than an online tutorial.

                      In the context of this debate, it is better you true and make his argument since I’m not going to read that book in time.

                      Again, you are speaking out of ignorance. You clearly do not understand the rich and robust Catholic theology propounded by St. Thomas Aquinas, who was not a Calvinist or a proto-Calvinist.

                      Then again, explain how a human being makes a freely decided action in your own words absent LFW and given the universal and necessary metaphysical principle of causality. I don’t think it is logically possible.

                    • papagan

                      First, there is a saying that even the Devil can quote Scripture, but one can be sure that the Prince of Darkness does not intend to lead his audience to the truth. Your attempt to show that the Christian New Testament treats slavery as a positive moral good in itself is an example of the proof-texting fallacy. That’s an old, but dishonest, trick. I don’t know any sincere Christians who are thoroughly familiar with the Good News and who defend the practice of human slavery.

                      Second, slavery is a consequence of human sin, and the worst form of slavery is slavery to sin. The Son of God became man to free fallen human persons from sin. Those who deny the reality of sin set themselves in opposition to God. The fruit of sin is death, not freedom.

                      Third, as regards your assertion about the Church and “gay issues,” have you ever heard the old saying: “Love the sinner, hate the sin”? It’s still true today. We should avoid judging agents, but we must judge actions, distinguishing between good and evil acts.

                      Fourth, regarding women, authentic Christianity affirms the dignity of the human person, men and women. In non-Christian cultures women have often been treated as chattel, and in today’s secular culture women are not treated with due respect but as sex toys. Just consider the sinful example of pornography, which is a thriving industry in countries deeply affected by secularism. One cannot count on help from philosophical materialism (PM) in terms of opposing “structures of sin.” PM is morally vacuous. Moreover, the Catholic veneration of the Mother of God can hardly be reconciled with the false opinion that, according to biblical Christian doctrine, women are inferior to men.

                      Fifth, regarding the Church and Nazism, the first link takes one to a book that includes the following: ”The subject matter of this book is controversial.” The second link takes one to an essay entitled “Not Hitler’s Pope.” I don’t know what you think that the essay proves, but it ends as follows: “This, however, should be clear: to dub Pius XII ‘Hitler’s Pope’ is almost as absurd as calling Hitler ‘Pacelli’s Puppet.’” The third link takes one to a book written by Victor J. Stenger, an avowed enemy of religion. One can hardly expect an impartial treatment of the Catholic Church from such an author with an ideological axe to grind. Your other comments in no way support the claim that Nazism is consistent with the faith or moral doctrine of the Catholic Church. Slandering Catholicism will not win you any points among honest persons.

                      Sixth, regarding your reference to the Euthyphro dilemma, I don’t endorse the pagan conception of deity that was presupposed in that Platonic dialogue. Those who grasp a sound metaphysical conception of God see that the Euthyphro dilemma poses no real difficulties for Christian theologians like St. Thomas Aquinas.

                      Seventh, you wrote: “And belief in salvation provides an excuse to sin.” Simply put, that makes no sense!

                      Eighth, you wrote: “There is no free human agency, and if you think there is without LFW you need to argue for this in your own words.” The argument for non-libertarian freedom of choice has already been made by others, e.g., St. Thomas Aquinas. In the present context, I don’t need to repeat what has already been done elsewhere.

                      Ninth, you wrote: “…if you accept the universal and necessary metaphysical principle of causality, then you must logically accept determinism, theistic or non-theistic.” (Emphasis added.) No I don’t. Once again, you display your philosophical ignorance. The universal metaphysical principle of causality does not imply universal mechanistic determinism. I’ve already commented very briefly on the question of metaphysical causality more than once in previous posts.

                      Tenth, you wrote: “That’s not true. Many interpretations of quantum mechanics are deterministic [sic].” I think you meant indeterministic. In any case, I’m certainly aware of the Copenhagen interpretation of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. The Copenhagen interpretation, however, is highly controversial. Not all scientists, e.g., Albert Einstein, accept the Copenhagen interpretation. Stanley Jaki has written incisively on this controversial philosophical question. The Copenhagen interpretation is not “metaphysically modest.”

                      Eleventh, you wrote: “I do understand it [Christian morality], I also understand that Christians reinterpret their religious texts and it evolves with the times.” There is legitimate development of doctrine, but that doesn’t mean what you believe it means. See, for instance, John Henry Cardinal Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine http://www.newmanreader.org/Works/development/index.html.

                      Twelth, you wrote: “If you reject theistic determinism, explain how a human being makes a freely decided action in your own words … absent LFW and given the universal and necessary metaphysical principle of causality. I don’t think it is logically possible.” I’m not in a position to offer gratis an online tutorial on the complex philosophical question of free will. And this isn’t the proper venue. You’ll need to do your own homework, or seek guidance from a qualified expert. Perhaps you can find a qualified expert who will provide free instruction. As regards texts, I’ve already supplied some references in previous posts.

                    • First, there is a saying that even the Devil can quote Scripture, but one can be sure that the Prince of Darkness does not intend to lead his audience to the truth. Your attempt to show that the Christian New Testament treats slavery as a positive moral good in itself is an example of the proof-texting fallacy. That’s an old, but dishonest, trick. I don’t know any sincere Christians who are thoroughly familiar with the Good News and who defend the practice of human slavery.

                      Your attempt to show that the Bible does not support slavery fails. It does not matter what Christians today do. We know modern Christians are against slavery, what matters is whether the writers of the Bible thought slavery was permissible, and they did. Lev 25:44-46 says non-Israelites can be slaves for life and treated harshly. This is antithetical to humanistic morality. Plenty of sincere Christians condoned the practice of slavery. Paul did, the other writers of the Epistles that were not written by Paul did. Jesus condoned it. And 200 years ago, millions of sincere Christians condoned slavery.

                      Second, slavery is a consequence of human sin, and the worst form of slavery is slavery to sin. The Son of God became man to freefallen human persons from sin. Those who deny the reality of sin set themselves in opposition to God. The fruit of sin is death, not freedom.

                      I am aware of Paul’s constant analogies that used slavery to sin as a metaphor to teach. But the Bible condones human slavery. It does not matter whether contemporary Christians think slavery is good or not, the Bible thinks it is permissible, ergo, your god does too, and his morality is unchanging, absolute. It doesn’t change when we morally progress.

                      Third, as regards your assertion about the Church and “gay issues,” have you ever heard the old saying: “Love the sinner, hate the sin”? It’s still true today. We should avoid judging agents, but we must judge actions, distinguishing between good and evil acts.

                      It is only a matter of time before the church condones the “sin”. When will happen, as we’ve seen among many Protestant denominations is that homosexuality will no longer be seen as “evil”.

                      Fourth, regarding women, authentic Christianity affirms the dignity of the human person, men and women. In non-Christian cultures women have often been treated as chattel, and in today’s secular culture women are not treated with due respect but as sex toys.

                      The 10th commandment treats women as man’s property. The NT says the head of women is man 1 Cor 11:3 and we created for men 11:7-9, and must submit to their husbands Eph 5:22-25, and cannot wear fancy clothes or have elaborate hair styles, not have any authority over man 1 Tim 2:9-15, and OT laws were just a sexist if not more.

                      Just consider the sinful example of pornography, which is a thriving industry in countries deeply affected by secularism. One cannot count on help from philosophical materialism (PM) in terms of opposing “structures of sin.” PM is morally vacuous. Moreover, the Catholic veneration of the Mother of God can hardly be reconciled with the false opinion that, according to biblical Christian doctrine, women are inferior to men.

                      Pornography is more popular among conservative Christians states. Christians watch it just as much, if not more than atheists. Pornography is fine so long as it is done by consenting adults. Catholicism says pornography among consenting adults is wrong, but it is OK for a 14 year old girl to be forced into an arranged marriage to an older man, as happened throughout Christendom. The Bible treats women as inferiors to men, there is absolutely no doubt about it. Praising Mary, who was underage by the way, does not absolve Christianity from is sexist morality.

                      ifth, regarding the Church and Nazism, the first link takes one to a book that includes the following: ”The subject matter of this book is controversial.” The second link takes one to an essay entitled “Not Hitler’s Pope.” I don’t know what you think that the essay proves, but it ends as follows: “This, however, should be clear: to dub Pius XII ‘Hitler’s Pope’ is almost as absurd as calling Hitler ‘Pacelli’s Puppet.’”

                      See here: https://edthemanicstreetpreacher.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/g-s-paul-christianity-nazism-part-1.pdf

                      https://edthemanicstreetpreacher.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/g-s-paul-christianity-nazism-part-2.pdf

                      https://edthemanicstreetpreacher.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/g-s-paul-christianity-nazism-part-3.pdf

                      Your other comments in no way support the claim that Nazism is consistent with the faith or moral doctrine of the Catholic Church. Slandering Catholicism will not win you any points among honest persons.

                      That was not my point. My point was to show how the church right before and during WW2, did side with the Nazis on many issues and matters and were not unequivocally against the Nazis. So your church is far from the beacon of goodness. And this is not even to mention the pedophilia scandal.

                      Sixth, regarding your reference to the Euthyphro dilemma, I don’t endorse the pagan conception of deity that was presupposed in that Platonic dialogue. Those who grasp a sound metaphysical conception of God see that the Euthyphro dilemma poses no real difficulties for Christian theologians like St. Thomas Aquinas.

                      You still cannot make a sound argument that objective moral values depend on god.

                      Seventh, you wrote: “And belief in salvation provides an excuse to sin.” Simply put, that makes no sense!

                      Sure, one can sin and expect forgiveness and continue sinning.

                      The argument for non-libertarian freedom of choice has already been made by others, e.g., St. Thomas Aquinas. In the present context, I don’t need to repeat what has already been done elsewhere.

                      In the context of a debate, you ought to repeat Aquinas’ argument.

                      Ninth, you wrote: “…if you accept the universal and necessary metaphysical principle of causality, then you must logically accept determinism, theistic or non-theistic.” (Emphasis added.) No I don’t. Once again, you display your philosophical ignorance. The universal metaphysical principle of causality does not imply universal mechanistic determinism. I’ve already commented very briefly on the question of metaphysical causality more than once in previous posts.

                      You haven’t made a coherent argument showing free choice given the universal and necessary metaphysical principle of causality, which you hold to. You just insist it isn’t a problem and that Aquinas has resolved it. I’m asking you to make an argument.

                      Tenth, you wrote: “That’s not true. Many interpretations of quantum mechanics are deterministic [sic].” I think you meant indeterministic. In any case, I’m certainly aware of the Copenhagen interpretation of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. The Copenhagen interpretation, however, is highly controversial. Not all scientists, e.g., Albert Einstein, accept the Copenhagen interpretation. Stanley Jaki has written incisively on this controversial philosophical question. The Copenhagen interpretation is not “metaphysically modest.”

                      No!! I mean deterministic, not indeterministic. The leading interpretations of QM, like the many-worlds and the Bohmian view are fully deterministic. The Copenhagan view is not considered coherent by most physicists, and it is indeterministic.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics#Comparison_of_interpretations

                      I’m not in a position to offer gratis an online tutorial on the complex philosophical question of free will. And this isn’t the proper venue. You’ll need to do your own homework, or seek guidance from a qualified expert. Perhaps you can find a qualified expert who will provide free instruction. As regards texts, I’ve already supplied some references in previous posts.

                      You need to learn about atheism, naturalism, and secularism. You seem to show stunning ignorance given your claim to be credentialed. I will be focusing on natural law in my writings from now on and yes, I will do more research. I highly doubt to see anything that absolves this issue.

                    • papagan

                      “And prove to me that objective natural moral law exists.”

                      There are many writings devoted to natural law theory http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2091.htm, http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2094.htm, including: Russell Hittinger, The First Grace: Rediscovering the Natural Law in a Post-Christian World http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Grace-Rediscovering-Post-Christian/dp/1933859466 ; Goyette, Latkovic, and Myers, ed., St. Thomas Aquinas & the Natural Law Tradition: Contemporary Perspectives http://cuapress.cua.edu/books/viewbook.cfm?book=GOTA ; Henry Veatch, Human Rights: Fact or Fancy? http://www.amazon.com/Human-Rights-Henry-B-Veatch/dp/0807133213 ; Edward McLean, ed., Common Truths: New Perspectives on Natural Law, http://isibooks.org/common-truths.html ; and Yves Simon, The Tradition of Natural Law: A Philosopher’s Reflections http://www.amazon.com/The-Tradition-Natural-Law-Philosophers/dp/0823206416. Of special significance in this connection is Pope John Paul II’s important encyclical, The Splendor of Truth http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_06081993_veritatis-splendor_en.html.

                      Note that there are different theories of natural law. (See, for instance, Russell Hittinger, A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory http://undpress.nd.edu/books/P00085#description ). A proper philosophical understanding of the natural law depends, at least in part, on a proper philosophical understanding of human nature. Such an understanding transcends the narrow boundaries of scientism and philosophical materialism. Those who are dogmatically committed to scientism or philosophical materialism are not open to recognizing the reality of natural law as such. One must adopt a properly humanistic approach to natural law, and neither scientism nor philosophical materialism are truly humanistic in character.

                    • Thank you for the resources, but I’d prefer you make the case for NL and we debate it.

                      A proper philosophical understanding of the natural law depends, at least in part, on a proper philosophical understanding of human nature. Such an understanding transcends the narrow boundaries of scientism and philosophical materialism.

                      If by “proper” understanding you mean a biblical understanding, then you will be assuming your conclusion from the start. I need to hear your arguments for these aspects of human nature that PM cannot accommodate for. If such an understanding requires faith-based beliefs derived from religious texts, or ancient metaphysical beliefs, then you’re going to be asserting dogmatic nonsense.

                      One must adopt a properly humanistic approach to natural law, and neither scientism nor philosophical materialism are truly humanistic in character.

                      Your opinion.

                    • papagan

                      “You reject free human agency too, so you’re a hypocrite at least on that.” First, the charge that I reject free human agency is false. I reject a libertarian conception of freedom as metaphysically untenable, but not all conceptions of freedom are libertarian, e.g., http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2009.htm and http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2010.htm. If you believe that there is only one conception of freedom, then you simply expose your own philosophical ignorance. Second, hypocrisy is a moral category. Philosophical materialism precludes free human agency, objective moral truth, moral good and evil. As a philosophical materialist, you cannot consistently employ meaningful moral language founded on objective reality.

                    • papagan

                      I have least sympathy perhaps for those who shamelessly defend the fiction of global mechanistic determinism. In a completely deterministic universe, the image of puppets engaged in serious intellectual disputation over the question of freedom is supremely comic!

                    • papagan

                      “The point is that Miller doesn’t need to appeal to religion to explain biology. His religious beliefs are his personal beliefs, not his scientific beliefs.” The point is that if Prof. Miller’s thinking about reality, material and immaterial, is not deeply confused, you need to be challenged when you draw attention to what you like about his thought and simply dismiss what you don’t like about his thought.

                      Religion is here to stay. If you dislike it, it doesn’t follow that it is false. Furthermore, if you like something (e.g., philosophical materialism), it doesn’t follow that it is true. One might add that your faith in philosophical materialism (PM) is misplaced. Natural science does not support PM. Modern natural science relies on methodological naturalism (MN), but MN does not entail PM. The transition from MN to PM involves a huge irrational leap in thought.

                      Finally, if you wish to enter into intelligent philosophical discussions of freedom, you need to do your homework. One can defend authentic human freedom without endorsing libertarian freedom. The rejection of libertarian freedom does not logically entail either universal determinism or Calvinism.

                    • The point is that if Prof. Miller’s thinking about reality, material and immaterial, is not deeply confused, you need to be challenged when you draw attention to what you like about his thought and simply dismiss what you don’t like about his thought.

                      I’m not sure what you’re talking about here. Miller does not need to appeal to god to do his job. Any thoughts on god he has are his personal views.

                      Religion is here to stay.

                      That may be true. However the level of religiosity is not here to stay. It can and will decline, and you’re helping me do it.

                      If you dislike it, it doesn’t follow that it is false.

                      That’s never been my position. I’ve always relied on arguments and evidence as to why religions are all false and PM is true.

                      One might add that your faith in philosophical materialism (PM) is misplaced. Natural science does not support PM. Modern natural science relies on methodological naturalism (MN), but MN does not entail PM. The transition from MN to PM involves a huge irrational leap in thought.

                      Natural science does support PM. It doesn’t support supernaturalism or theism. You can say MN does not entail PM, but the success of MN might be due to the reality of PM. Science isn’t committed to there being no supernatural. It’s just the case that there has never been any evidence or methodology that includes the supernatural that helps us make any sense of anything in science.

                      The huge irrational leap is on your side, whereby you take testimony in a book, or emotion, or metaphysics and conclude that one religion is true.

                      Finally, if you wish to enter into intelligent philosophical discussions of freedom, you need to do your homework. One can defend authentic human freedom without endorsing libertarian freedom. The rejection of libertarian freedom does not logically entail either universal determinism or Calvinism.

                      Ok, then explain how human thoughts and actions are “freedom” absent libertarian free will. In what sense are they free?

                    • papagan

                      “Natural science does support PM [philosophical materialism]. … Science isn’t committed to there being no supernatural.” (P1) PM (philosophical materialism) necessarily precludes the existence of God, who is beyond or above the order of nature (supernatural). (P2) If PM could be established on the basis of natural science, then on this same basis the existence of God would be untenable. But you stated that (P3) “Science isn’t committed to there being no supernatural.” Consequently, (P4) PM cannot be established on the basis of natural science. But you stated that (P5) “Natural science does support PM.” P4 & P5 are mutually contradictory.

                      So it appears that there is an internal contradiction within your system of beliefs. To remedy the contradiction, you must give up one of the preceding propositions, namely, P3 or P5. Since you seem dogmatically committed to P5, it seems likely that you will reject P3. In that case you would endorse the controversial opinion that natural science is committed to there being no God, i.e., natural science is committed to positive unbelief or the rejection of God’s existence. If it were true that natural science is committed to the rejection of God’s existence, then all persons who practice natural science and render due worship to God would be engaged in a performative contradiction. For they, as theists, would be worshipping what they, as practicing scientists, are committed to rejecting!

                      I would suggest that P5 is certainly false. In its place, I would maintain that (P6) modern natural science relies on methodological naturalism (MN). Moreover, philosophical materialism cannot be derived from methodological naturalism.

                      I recognize that some scientists are committed to philosophical materialism (PM), but this commitment to PM is not rationally justifiable on the basis of their commitment to modern natural science. Their commitment to PM is based on non-scientific considerations (e.g., emotional difficulties, the loss of a close friend or relative, addiction to some form of disordered behavior, intellectual arrogance, etc.).

                    • (P1) PM (philosophical materialism) necessarily precludes the existence of God, who is beyond or above the order of nature (supernatural).

                      (P2) If PM could be established on the basis of natural science, then on this same basis the existence of God would be untenable.

                      But you stated that (P3) “Science isn’t committed to there being no supernatural.”

                      Consequently, (P4) PM cannot be established on the basis of natural science.

                      But you stated that (P5) “Natural science does support PM.”

                      P4 & P5 are mutually contradictory.

                      So it appears that there is an internal contradiction within your system of beliefs. To remedy the contradiction, you must give up one of the preceding propositions, namely, P3 or P5. Since you seem dogmatically committed to P5, it seems likely that you will reject P3. In that case you would endorse the controversial opinion that natural science is committed to there being no God, i.e., natural science is committed to positive unbelief or the rejection of God’s existence.

                      There is no internal contradiction, you’re just misunderstanding my position. P1-5 do not represent all of my views.

                      I agree with P1. I agree with P2 but I’m not sure if science alone can establish PM without philosophy. Science can support PM. P3 is correct. If there was evidence for the supernatural, science would confirm it and incorporate it into its system of evidence, but it hasn’t found any evidence, and has found that human beings infer intentionality in nature when there is none. P4, like P2, is unknown to me. It seems that philosophy is needed to break down god-concepts to show how they’re incoherent along with data from science. In P5, saying that natural science supports PM is not to say that it has proven it. This is where you’re incorrect. Data X can support proposition Y, but that doesn’t mean that it can prove it. I think science supports PM and philosophy can allow one to justifiable and tenably conclude that PM is the best model of reality.

                      For they, as theists, would be worshipping what they, as practicing scientists, are committed to rejecting!

                      This seems absurd because your reasoning above is absurd. You start with a false argument and then draw absurd conclusions. What else do you expect. What theistic scientists usually do, if they’re good at their job, is adopt MN on the job, and then go back to believing their crazy religious beliefs at home.

                      I recognize that some scientists are committed to philosophical materialism (PM), but this commitment to PM is not rationally justifiable on the basis of their commitment to modern natural science.

                      That’s not completely true. There are plenty of evidences that natural science gives us that can justify one’s disbelief in a deity. The rational atheist however, also uses philosophy, history and religion itself to conclude PM.

                      Their commitment to PM is based on non-scientific considerations (e.g., emotional difficulties, the loss of a close friend or relative, addiction to some form of disordered behavior, intellectual arrogance, etc.).

                      As I said, completely not true. This is your ignorance showing its true colors. If you’d like to read about why I’m personally an atheist, you can read that here:Why I’m An Atheist. You won’t find any emotional difficulties, loss of loved ones, or addictions there. There is plenty of scientific data that supports PM and creates problems for theism. One is the fact that Adam and Eve never existed, which makes Christianity absurd.

                      You need to do your own homework on this complex philosophical topic. This is not the proper venue for such a discussion. Among the works I would recommend, see Vernon J. Bourke, Will in Western Thought: An Historico-Critical Survey (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1964).

                      I have done a lot of homework, but if you can’t summarize an argument, and have to refer me to a book, when in fact some of your responses to me are essays in and of themselves, it makes me think you might not have an actual response.

                    • papagan

                      For those interested in rational arguments in response to the misguided attacks of atheists, one might consider Edward Feser’s book, The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism. http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Superstition-Refutation-Atheism/dp/1587314525/ref=pd_sim_b_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=0EB0WJ9RVBPZES0S8Y0C Also see the discussion of God’s existence by Walter Farrell, O.P. http://opcentral.org/existence-of-god/

                    • LOL. I’m reading Feser’s book right now. And no, I don’t find his criticisms of atheists nor his justification of god, rational. I’m doing a chapter by chapter review of his book on my blog but it will take time. Here’s my review of chapter 1: An Atheist Reviews The Last Superstition: A Refutation Of The New Atheism (Chapter 1 Bad Religion)

                    • papagan

                      I didn’t expect that you would undergo an immediate conversion and repudiate your atheistic errors simply on the basis of reading his book.

                    • No, I’m seeing how much religion poisons the mind by reading Feser’s book. It’s really say. Tell me what my atheistic errors are.

                    • papagan

                      “Thinker”: “Tell me what my atheistic errors are.”

                      papagan: This needs to be unpacked, but the basic philosophical insight is as follows: Nothing caused can be its own efficient cause of existence. Some things are caused, but not everything can be caused. There must be an uncaused cause. Material things are caused. So a material thing cannot be the uncaused cause. The uncaused cause must transcend material things. St. Thomas has more to say about prime matter and its dependence on a higher cause: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1044.htm#article2.

                    • Nothing caused can be its own efficient cause of existence. Some things are caused, but not everything can be caused. There must be an uncaused cause. Material things are caused. So a material thing cannot be the uncaused cause.

                      Saying that material things are caused is an inductive statement. It is also inductive to say that all causes are (a) temporal and (b) material. Now if you can say that the material world needs a cause that is a-temporal, and a-material, that is a massive exception to everything we see. If you can get away with that, then I can get away with saying the material world itself is uncaused, that is, it’s the exception to the rule.

                      Besides, I already showed you how the universe was eternal, and things that are eternal cannot be caused, since they always existed. So you have to show evidence that the material world didn’t exist and came to be. Plus you have to logically and coherently explain how does a timeless god who knows everything “freely” choose to create our world and not some other world? God can’t make decisions, because if he did that would require time, and he can’t be indecisive because that would falsify his omniscience. So god must have the eternal desire and knowledge to create our world, say World X, and not some other world, say World Y, – meaning there was never a time god wanted to create World Y instead of World X; he always wanted to create World X. How then is the creation of World X freely decided by god if the creation of world Y or the forbearance to create any world never existed? And how does god create time, if prior to time existing literally nothing can happen?

                      The uncaused cause must transcend material things. St. Thomas has more to say about prime matter and its dependence on a higher cause: http://www.newadvent.org/summa….

                      No it doesn’t. This is your bad logic at it again and the fact that you cannot explain in incoherency of timeless mental causes shows you don’t have an explanation. You just have another mystery, and one that cannot be solved. You have to explain causality sans time and explain the incoherency of god, time and creation. You also have to explain how our world being created in a computer simulation by advanced life forms is less probably than being created by a omni-god. We know computer simulations exist, we don’t know gods exist.

                    • papagan

                      Your response to my extremely brief line of reasoning very clearly exposes the superficiality of your philosophical study. I’ll repeat the question I posed in a previous post: Do you have any professional credentials?

                    • No it doesn’t. You need to debate me on it to say such a thing. No I don’t have professional credentials. Do you?

                    • papagan

                      “I’m seeing how much religion poisons the mind…” In philosophical materialism (PM) there’s no mind to be poisoned!

                    • You somehow think all PMs are eliminative materialists. We aren’t. You would scoff at me accusing you of a theology you don’t hold to. Do some actual research before you make ignorant comments.

                    • papagan

                      Those who reject the reality of immaterial being (e.g., spiritual souls, angels, etc.) are adherents of philosophical materialism http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10041b.htm. You reject the reality of immaterial being. Ergo…

                      Incidentally, epiphenomenalism will not save you. If the inorganic spiritual faculty of mind is real, it can and does have a real impact on physical reality. My typed comments, which are part of physical reality, convey my thoughts which proceed from my mind.

                    • Those who reject the reality of immaterial being (e.g., spiritual souls, angels, etc.) are adherents of philosophical materialism (PM) http://www.newadvent.org/cathe…. You reject the reality of immaterial being. Ergo…

                      This is a total non-sequitor, and shows your ignorance of PM. Eliminative materialism is the minority view among PMs. You fail to understand that there are other views, like property dualism, non-reductive physicalism, and epiphenominalism which can accommodate the mental within a naturalistic framework. There is no reality of immaterial being that exists independently of material being and that has a causal influence on material being. You just assert it. The fact that you haven’t cited one piece of evidence shows this.

                      Incidentally, epiphenomenalism will not save you. If the inorganic spiritual faculty of mind is real, it can and does have a real impact on physical reality. My typed comments, which are part of physical reality, convey my thoughts which proceed from my mind.

                      This statement shows how ignorant you are of neuroscientific data. The thoughts in your mind are caused by your physical brain. This is what neuroscience shows. You mistakenly think that your mind is controlling your body. That is a false assumption from dualism, which religion’s hold to. Here is some data from neuroscience showing how the brain always comes before the mind and that the mind has no causal powers on the brain.

                      Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain

                      Highlights:

                      Taken together, two specific regions in the frontal and parietal cortex of the human brain had considerable information that predicted the outcome of a motor decision the subject had not yet consciously made. This suggests that when the subject’s decision reached awareness it had been influenced by unconscious brain activity for up to 10 seconds.

                      The temporal ordering of information suggests a tentative causal model of information flow, where the earliest unconscious precursors of the motor decision originated in frontopolar cortex, from where they influenced the buildup of decision-related information in the precuneus and later in SMA, where it remained unconscious for up to a few seconds.

                      Tracking the Unconscious Generation of Free Decisions Using UItra-High Field fMRI

                      Highlights:

                      Researchers show that It was possible to decode the decision outcomes of such free motor decisions from the pole of anterior medial prefrontal cortex (BA 10) and the precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), up to 7 s before subjects were aware of their intention.

                      Taking into account the temporal delay of the BOLD signal (which is in the order of a few seconds), it is possible that these signals reflect processes up to 10 seconds before the actual decision.<

                      Predicting free choices for abstract intentions

                      Highlights:

                      Researchers are able to show that the outcome of a free decision to either add or subtract numbers can already be decoded from neural activity in medial prefrontal and parietal cortex 4 s before the participant reports they are consciously making their choice.

                      Previous findings have been mostly restricted to simple motor choices.

                      Reading My Mind

                      Highlights:

                      CBS 60 minutes report from 2009 showing how fMRI imaging can recognize with a high degree of accuracy the contents of thoughts about objects like a hammer, a window, an apartment etc. 

                      Report reveals there are enough similarities between different people such that once enough people’s brains are measured when thinking about an object, a person who never scanned can have their thoughts predicted with 100 percent accuracy when thinking about those objects. 

                      Internally generated preactivation of single neurons in human medial frontal cortex predicts volition.

                      Recording the activity of 1019 neurons while twelve subjects performed self-initiated finger movement, this study shows progressive neuronal recruitment over ∼1500 ms before subjects report making the decision to move.

                      A population of 256 SMA (supplementary motor area) neurons is sufficient to predict in single trials the impending decision to move with accuracy greater than 80% already 700 ms prior to subjects’ awareness. Furthermore, they predict, with a precision of a few hundred ms, the actual time point of this voluntary decision to move.

                      Using an SVM classifier to predict the time point at which the subject reported making the decision to move, the algorithm detected the occurrence of the decision in 98% of the trials and only missed W in 2% of the trials.

                      There Is No Free Won’t: Antecedent Brain Activity Predicts Decisions to Inhibit

                      Our main argument is as follows: Libet et al, (1983) had suggested that decisions to inhibit action have an important role in freedom of will, because, he argued, they do not have any obvious unconscious neural precursors. In Libet’s view, this makes decisions to inhibit crucially different from decisions to act, for which, he claimed, there is a clear unconscious precursor. Libet’s dualistic notion of “free won’t” has been criticised on theoretical grounds. However, in our view, a stronger rejection of “free won’t” could come from actually showing that a decision to act or not can be driven by a preceding, presumably unconscious neural activity. Our results identify, for the first time, a candidate unconscious precursor of the decision to inhibit action. These results count as evidence against Libet’s view that the decision to inhibit action may involve a form of uncaused conscious causation.

                      The dualistic view that decisions to inhibit reflect a special “conscious veto” or “free won’t” mechanism is scientifically unwarranted.

                    • papagan

                      “What theistic scientists usually do, if they’re good at their job, is adopt MN on the job, and then go back to believing their crazy religious beliefs at home.” I’ve already provided some online references, not to mention references to the renowned work of theologian/physicist Stanley Jaki, O.S.B., addressing the controversial conflict thesis advanced by Draper and White. The claim that natural science and theistic religion are necessarily at war is untenable.

                    • The claim that natural science and theistic religion are necessarily at war is untenable.

                      I disagree. Religion forces one to believe things that are scientifically untenable and that have massive scientific evidence against it. The existence of Adam and Eve is just one example. You might be ignorant of all the nuances in this area, but there is no way one can accept mainstream science and not have cognitive dissonance with their religious views. You simply have to believe things on faith despite the evidence.

                    • papagan

                      “Religion forces one to believe things that are scientifically untenable and that have massive scientific evidence against it.” Have you replied to my comment regarding scientific evidence?

                    • papagan

                      “Ok, then explain how human thoughts and actions are ‘freedom’ absent libertarian free will. In what sense are they free?” To understand human freedom in terms other than libertarian freedom or freedom of indifference (advanced by William of Ockham, for example), which I find deeply problematic, one must develop an adequate philosophical conception of causality, which is analogous. Today many assume an insufficiently nuanced theory of causality. In reference to a metaphysically robust theory of causality, I’ve already made reference to an outstanding work by Michael J. Dodds, O.P., Unlocking Divine Action. http://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Divine-Action-Contemporary-Science/dp/0813219892

                    • Do you accept compatiblism?

                    • papagan

                      For those who are interested in learning more about authentic human freedom of choice without going down the philosophically problematic paths of libertarian freedom (freedom of indifference) and universal determinism, one may turn to the sources I’ve already cited, as well as material found in a work by Walter Farrell, O.P., A Companion to the Summa. http://opcentral.org/the-human-will/

                    • Answer the question. Seriously.

                    • papagan
                    • Yes or no, do you believe god is the cause of all things in the universe?

                    • papagan

                      Whatever is other than God and has being must be brought into existence by the transcendent First Efficient Cause of finite being. Since free human acts are not nothing, they must be caused. They are caused both by God (as primary cause) and by the human person (as secondary cause). The primary cause operates, and the secondary cause cooperates. Note that moral evil is privation. As privation, moral evil stems from deficient causes.

                      Much has been written on the important subject of causality, and providing a complete philosophical theory of causality is not something that can properly be done within a brief space. I would refer readers to works like that of Michael J. Dodds, O.P., Unlocking Divine Action. One may also refer to http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1044.htm#article1 and http://opcentral.org/god-and-creation/.

                    • So wait, does god primarily cause moral evil or not? I thought privation was the absence of a positive feature. You’re not clear on this.

                    • papagan

                      You assert: “You’re working from an entirely metaphysical view that is false. Show me evidence of this. Show me a mind that is not caused by a physical brain. Show me how our human minds are not caused by our brains. Show me any data that mental things have a causal effect on matter. Use actual evidence since these are all scientific claims.”

                      My response: How do you know about the brain and all the other sensible things that you so confidently take as given in your empirical scientific worldview? You cannot justify any “scientific” claim without assuming the epistemological realism upon which any particular scientific datum is based. “Evidence-based data” means nothing unless one can justify how one knows the evidence. You cannot use scientific information to verify empirical evidence, since all such evidence presumes epistemological realism. Epistemological realism is a philosophical position, however, and you do not want to base your science on any traditional philosophical assumptions. The plain fact is that without the total “assumption” that your external senses actually attain the external objects of the physical world, you have no way of making any “scientific” judgments at all. Any and all scientific claims about how we know things using brain and senses necessarily presuppose knowledge of the external physical world, knowledge that antecedently depends on the validity of sensation. You cannot, without begging the question, use natural science to validate your knowledge of empirical data upon which your natural science depends. Unless you can provide philosophical (meta-scientific) justification of how and why we know that we can rely on our senses, you must abandon the entire scientific enterprise and all of your worldview claims upon which your “scientific” claims are based.

                    • How do you know about the brain and all the other sensible things that you so confidently take as given in your empirical scientific worldview? You cannot justify any “scientific” claim without assuming the epistemological realism upon which any particular scientific datum is based.

                      Agreed. Unless you’re prepared to argue that we’re living in an illusion where our senses are 100% unreliable, you’re going to have to do what everyone does, which is grant certain basic assumptions about the external world and your senses. This does nothing to help your point of view. You still need scientific evidence of your claims since they are claims in the domain of science.

                      Epistemological realism is a philosophical position, however, and you do not want to base your science on any traditional philosophical assumptions.

                      Completely untrue. You’re assuming things about me that you don’t know, and that is very unwise. Epistemological realism is a philosophical position but the thing is it matches the data we get from science. There is nothing to contradict it. Whereas with your Thomistic metaphysics, it is not compatible with science. Moderate realism has no basis in science, nor do formal causes, or final causes, unless you want to water down the definition of final causes to make them compatible with naturalism, but then you would have defeated your view. Thomistic metaphysics tries to force a metaphysical framework over science, over reality. That’s what all religions do. Instead metaphysics has to be derived from physics, not be superimposed onto it.

                      You cannot, without begging the question, use natural science to validate your knowledge of empirical data upon which your natural science depends. Unless you can provide philosophical (meta-scientific) justification of how and why we know that we can rely on our senses, you must abandon the entire scientific enterprise and all of your worldview claims upon which your “scientific” claims are based.

                      Everyone has to grant that their senses are at least capable of being accurate and that they’re not, say, a brain in a vat. But by doing so, I’m not presupposing atheism. Granting one’s senses could allow one to conclude atheism, deism or theism. Once one grant’s one’s senses (which we all have to do) then the question becomes can you find any evidence to justify your metaphysical views? The evidence we have from neuroscience shows brain always causes mind, and since you reject libertarian free will as I do, this shouldn’t be an issue.

                    • papagan

                      “Thinker”: “Agreed. Unless you’re prepared to argue that we’re living in an illusion where our senses are 100% unreliable, you’re going to have to do what everyone does, which is grant certain basic assumptions about the external world and your senses. This does nothing to help your point of view. You still need scientific evidence of your claims since they are claims in the domain of science.”

                      papagan: Many claims, like the claim that there is or isn’t a transcendent First Cause, or that there are or aren’t immortal rational souls, or that we are or aren’t free moral agents, or that there is or isn’t an objective natural moral law, are not claims within the domain of modern natural science. The admission that such claims are not claims within the domain of modern natural science does not entail that such meta-scientific claims are not rational claims one can prove on philosophical or theological grounds. Not all rationally accessible truths fall within the methodological boundaries of modern natural science. The truth that God created the world or that God acts in the world is not a truth within the domain of modern natural science.

                      “Thinker”: “Completely untrue. You’re assuming things about me that you don’t know, and that is very unwise. Epistemological realism is a philosophical position but the thing is it matches the data we get from science.”

                      papagan: That isn’t a scientific claim. If you cannot establish scientifically that the empirical scientific data gathered through the senses are fully in accord with objective extramental reality, how do you know that traditional epistemological realism is a truly reliable philosophical assumption?

                      “Thinker”: “[1] Whereas with your Thomistic metaphysics, it is not compatible with science. [2] Moderate realism has no basis in science … [3] Thomistic metaphysics tries to force a metaphysical framework over science, over reality. … [4] Instead metaphysics has to be derived from physics, not be superimposed onto it.”

                      papagan: Regarding 1, that is your own opinion, and it is unjustified.

                      Regarding 2, moderate realism, unlike either nominalism or conceptualism, is a metaphysically tenable philosophical position, and it does not preclude scientific rationality; rather, it provides a crucial philosophical underpinning of scientific rationality.

                      Regarding 3, that is your opinion, and it is a false opinion in my judgment. Your comments exhibit no real grasp of either Aristotelian metaphysics or Thomistic metaphysics. You claim to have done your homework. Under which philosopher(s) did you study metaphysics? Or are you an autodidact?

                      Regarding 4, physics depends on metaphysical assumptions. The opinion that physics does not depend on any metaphysical assumptions is an opinion one would expect from a person with a dogmatic commitment to philosophical materialism. Even so, philosophical materialism is a metaphysical position, and a very bad one at that!

                      “Thinker”: “Everyone has to grant that their senses are at least capable of being accurate and that they’re not, say, a brain in a vat. But by doing so, I’m not presupposing atheism.”

                      papagan: Your dogmatic commitment to philosophical materialism automatically precludes any transcendent divine reality. Moreover, given your dogmatic commitment to philosophical materialism, it is hardly surprising that you are unable to provide a sound philosophical theory of human knowing. Insofar as one assumes that natural science can supply an adequate account of human knowing, one will end up going down a blind alley.

                      “Thinker”: “Once one grant’s one’s senses (which we all have to do) then the question becomes can you find any evidence to justify your metaphysical views? The evidence we have from neuroscience shows brain always causes mind…”

                      papagan: That assumes that a scientific theory can be developed without any metaphysical assumptions. That is a false assumption. Furthermore, I’ve already indicated elsewhere that claims about mind or intellect are not claims within the domain of natural science. Your assumption that claims about the mind are claims within the domain of natural science points to your prior unjustified commitment to philosophical materialism and scientism.

                    • Many claims, like the claim that there is or isn’t a transcendent First Cause, or that there are or aren’t immortal rational souls, or that we are or aren’t free moral agents, or that there is or isn’t an objective natural moral law, are not claims within the domain of modern natural science. The admission that such claims are not claims within the domain of modern natural science does not entail that such meta-scientific claims are not rational claims one can prove on philosophical or theological grounds. Not all rationally accessible truths fall within the methodological boundaries of modern natural science. The truth that God created the world or that God acts in the world is not a truth within the domain of modern natural science.

                      No one is saying all rationally accessible truths are scientific. That’s your go-to strawman. But your metaphysics has to be compatible with physics, if it isn’t I see no reason to accept your metaphysics.

                      That isn’t a scientific claim. If you cannot establish scientifically that the empirical scientific data gathered through the senses are fully in accord with objective extramental reality, how do you know that traditional epistemological realism is a truly reliable philosophical assumption?

                      Did I say it was a scientific claim? Epistemological realism is a justified assumption because it is provisionally in accord with all the data we get through empirical science. If it didn’t work, we wouldn’t assume it.

                      Regarding 1, that is your own opinion, and it is unjustified.

                      No. it’s also the “opinion” of most scientists.

                      Regarding 2, moderate realism, unlike either nominalism or conceptualism, is a metaphysically tenable philosophical position, and it does not preclude scientific rationality; rather, it provides a crucial philosophical underpinning of scientific rationality.

                      It doesn’t help scientific rationality. Few scientists accept it and are not hindered when doing their jobs.

                      Regarding 3, that is your opinion, and it is a false opinion in my judgment. Your comments exhibit no real grasp of either Aristotelian metaphysics or Thomistic metaphysics. You claim to have done your homework. Under which philosopher(s) did you study metaphysics? Or are you an autodidact?

                      We haven’t debated either Aristotelian metaphysics or Thomistic metaphysics enough for you to say such a thing. You seem to think that anyone who disagrees with either Aristotelian metaphysics or Thomistic metaphysics is simply uneducated on the subject, as if a proper understanding cannot coexist with a disbelief in Aristotelian metaphysics or Thomistic metaphysics.

                      Under which scientists did you study science? Under which atheist did you study atheism and secularism?

                      Regarding 4, physics depends on metaphysical assumptions. The opinion that physics does not depend on any metaphysical assumptions is an opinion one would expect from a person with a dogmatic commitment to philosophical materialism. Even so, philosophical materialism is a metaphysical position, and a very bad one at that!

                      What you don’t seem to understand is that assuming your senses are capable of understanding an external world is not the same as assuming an entire metaphysical worldview, like Christianity or naturalism. You seem to think that because we all have to assume we exist and are not brains in vats, that this means I’m committed to philosophical materialism when I do it. We all have to grant basic assumptions, but they you still need to use evidence to make a case for your worldview. I’m saying the evidence we get is perfectly compatible with PM and offers us evidence against theism. You want to debate god? I’m down for it.

                      Your dogmatic commitment to philosophical materialism automatically precludes any transcendent divine reality. Moreover, given your dogmatic commitment to philosophical materialism, it is hardly surprising that you are unable to provide a sound philosophical theory of human knowing. Insofar as one assumes that natural science can supply an adequate account of human knowing, one will end up going down a blind alley.

                      No. If you want me to believe in a transcendent divine reality, you have to provide actual evidence for it. I’m not going to believe it on 2300 year old metaphysics that is not supported by science and that has problems with it. Now you bring up human knowing. Tell me why this is a problem for the PM and how theism resolves it using actual objective data.

                      And speaking of dogmatic commitments, have you not recognized your dogmatic commitment to Christianity and theism? What would falsify your view?

                      That assumes that a scientific theory can be developed without any metaphysical assumptions. That is a false assumption.

                      No it doesn’t. I clearly said one has to grant their senses.

                      Furthermore, I’ve already indicated elsewhere that claims about mind or intellect are not claims within the domain of natural science. Your assumption that claims about the mind are claims within the domain of natural science points to your priorunjustified commitment to philosophical materialism and scientism.

                      Yeah, your simply wrong, and this is further evidence why science is incompatible with religion. You think minds are supernatural and not caused by brains. That flies in the face of all the neuroscience data and will hinder further scientific research, since your answer to the mind is literally supernatural woo-woo. Your assumption that claims about the mind are claims outside of the domain of natural science points to your prior unjustified commitment to supernaturalism and theism.

                      Can you cite any evidence that minds cause physical brains? Any?

                    • papagan

                      “I’m saying the evidence we get is perfectly compatible with PM and offers us evidence against theism.” Well, you’re seriously mistaken.

                      “You want to debate [G]od? I’m down for it.” Do you have any professional credentials?

                    • No, why does it matter? Do you have a degree in secular studies? Science?

                    • papagan

                      Dr. Bonnette’s essay, which included references to empirical data, was a philosophical essay on a philosophical question pertaining to the relation between faith and reason. Like him, I have professional philosophical credentials. If you wish to dispute the empirical data, go ahead. If you desire to enter into a professional philosophical disputation, however, you would be well advised to acquire the relevant training.

                    • Same to you. I’d advise you to learn a little about science and naturalism before you go spouting off ignorant statements. If you’re credentialed then that’s all the worse for you. You should know better.

                    • papagan

                      For anyone who might be interested, I would here recommend a valuable work by the eminent Stanley L. Jaki, The Limits of a Limitless Science and Other Essays http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Limits_of_a_Limitless_Science.html?id=4r_aAAAAMAAJ. The first chapter is entitled “The Limits of a Limitless Science,” pp. 1-23. His other incisive works, which are quite numerous, also merit serious reflection. In addition, there are various collections of scholarly historical essays on the relation between science and religion, including an anthology edited by David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter Between Christianity and Science https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0520056922 , and an anthology edited by Gary B. Ferngren, Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction http://www.amazon.com/Science-Religion-A-Historical-Introduction/dp/0801870380. Some familiarity with the philosophy of science is also important in this context. In that connection, one useful anthology is entitled Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues (2/e), edited by J. A. Cover, Martin Curd, and Christopher Pincock. http://books.wwnorton.com/books/Philosophy-of-Science/

                    • Thanks for the links.

                    • papagan

                      FYI. “The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis and the Case against Scientism” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPeyJvXU68k.

                    • papagan

                      papagan to “thinker”: “Your comments exhibit no real grasp of either Aristotelian metaphysics or Thomistic metaphysics.”

                      “Thinker”: “We haven’t debated either Aristotelian metaphysics or Thomistic metaphysics enough for you to say such a thing.”

                      papagan: It remains the case that your many comments exhibit no depth of philosophical understanding of either Aristotelian metaphysics or Thomistic metaphysics. Regarding works in metaphysics, what have you read?

                    • I may not know as much about Thomistic metaphysics as you do but one thing is sure, you aren’t that scientifically inclined. Regarding metaphysics, I studied it as an undergrad, but only slightly. Most of my knowledge is through online study and through conversations with philosophers.

                    • papagan

                      No surprise. You should stick to empirical science if you have any professional scientific training. Leave metaphysics to professional philosophers. If you find that you are unable to admit the existence of a transcendent first cause, you might consider whether you hold certain assumptions that compel you to embrace an atheistic worldview. If, however, you feel that you must promote and defend atheism publicly, at least make sure that you master all of the relevant philosophical concepts, such as causality, choice, matter and form, act and potency, analogy, nature, essence and existence, etc. In that connection, the systematic study of logic is especially important for propaedeutic purposes. (Incidentally, Aristotle founded the discipline of logic.) That should help you to avoid both formal fallacies (e.g., affirming the consequent, undistributed middle) and informal fallacies (e.g., ad hominem).

                    • You should stick to empirical science if you have any professional scientific training. Leave metaphysics to professional philosophers.

                      I will do whatever I want, thank you. And most philosophers are naturalists, like me. 72% of them are.

                      If you find that you are unable to admit the existence of a transcendent first cause, you might consider whether you hold certain assumptions that compel you to embrace an atheistic worldview. If, however, you feel that you must promote and defend atheism publicly, at least make sure that you master all of the relevant philosophical concepts, such as causality, choice, matter and form, act and potency, analogy, nature, essence and existence, etc.

                      I’m always in the process of learning. We all are. If you want to defend theism, learn about atheism and secularism. You’ve shown you don’t understand them as much as you think you do. I cannot believe in things that are not logically coherent, the god of classical theism is such a thing.

                    • papagan

                      “Thinker”: “The evidence we have from neuroscience shows brain always causes mind, and since you reject libertarian free will as I do, this shouldn’t be an issue.” papagan: One other point. You have committed, once again, the non sequitur fallacy. I reject both libertarian theories of freedom and the false materialist opinion that brains cause minds. The mind or intellect is a spiritual faculty, and the brain is a bodily organ. Matter is ontologically inferior to what is spiritual. Nothing material can be the efficient cause of what is spiritual.

                    • One other point. You have committed, once again, the non sequitur fallacy. I reject both libertarian theories of freedom and the false materialist opinion that brains cause minds.

                      You need to provide actual evidence that the materialist view is false. So far you haven’t. You just assert mind is spiritual. For example:

                      The mind or intellect is a spiritual faculty, and the brain is a bodily organ. Matter is ontologically inferior to what is spiritual. Nothing material can be the efficient cause of what is spiritual.

                      Case in point. Provide me actual scientific evidence that mind is spiritual and/or that it causes the physical brain to do things. I have no interest in debating a person who asserts dogma. Show me evidence.

                    • papagan

                      “Thinker”: “You need to provide actual evidence that the materialist view is false.” papagan: You have been assuming from the start that philosophical materialism is correct. I do not accept that dubious assumption.

                      “Thinker”: “Provide me actual scientific evidence that mind is spiritual…” papagan: Read my previous post in which I made reference to philosophical materialism and scientism. If you did read it before posting the above request, there is nothing more to say!

                    • papagan

                      Regarding the legitimacy of modern natural science, we agree. We surely disagree, however, in our respective views concerning the limitations of modern natural science, including modern physics. In your view, it seems that modern natural science, and perhaps modern physics above all other natural sciences, is the supreme model and measure of human knowledge. I am among the many persons who do not share that questionable assumption, and you refuse to take seriously anyone who does not share this assumption, which you seem to regard as self-evident. You certainly have not attempted to prove that modern natural science, and physics in particular, is the supreme model and measure of human knowledge.

                      Should you respond that the foregoing is not accurate, then you should declare what you regard as the supreme form of human knowledge. I doubt, however, that you will disclose what you believe to be the supreme form of human knowledge.

                    • When it comes to ontology, particularly fundamental ontology, I regard modern science and physics as the most reliable epistemology. It has the best track record for growth. Any metaphysical view that seriously conflicts with established modern science is, in my opinion, and the opinion of a great many thinkers, an inaccurate description of reality. Christianity is one such view. I don’t regard this necessarily as self-evident. I think it takes a posteriori knowledge to arrive at this conclusion. It’s only once one has enough knowledge to see the truth of this, does it appear self-evident. Religious beliefs are not scientific, they are not backed up by any good objective evidence (they also have evidence against them.) There is no reason why they shouldn’t in principle. If a god existed, it could have given all of us plenty of objective evidence showing its existence and that one religion is true. We’d expect religions to have no good objective evidence if they were man-made and it seems inconsistent that a god who wants us to “know” him would make a world that looked like he didn’t exist. So you can go on believing what you believe, and I will go one regarding it as an inaccurate, man-made attempt to make sense of the world. Which is what it is.

                    • papagan

                      Earlier I wrote: “In your view, it seems that modern natural science, and perhaps modern physics above all other natural sciences, is the supreme model and measure of human knowledge.” In response, you wrote: “When it comes to ontology, particularly fundamental ontology, I regard modern science and physics as the most reliable epistemology. It has the best track record for growth.”

                      First, I would note that “most reliable” is not strictly equivalent in meaning to “supreme model and measure.” Mathematics is more exact than experimental science, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that mathematics is the supreme model and measure of human knowledge. In any case, you did not say that what I wrote in my previous post about your own perspective was inaccurate.

                      Second, epistemology (theory of knowledge) is a branch of philosophy. Modern physics is not philosophy or a branch of philosophy. Moreover, it is not clear that you understand or are aware of the line of demarcation between science and philosophy. If you fail to understand, or if you are entirely unaware, that science and philosophy are not the same, this failure helps to explain much of what you have stated previously.

                    • papagan

                      “When it comes to ontology, particularly fundamental ontology, I regard modern science and physics as the most reliable…”

                      Perhaps you can answer this question: On what rational basis, if any, do you claim that modern science and physics are to be regarded as “most reliable”? Is that simply your personal preference, or can you show why others should regard modern science and physics as the most reliable [form of knowledge]? And please don’t continue to repeat the stale mantra: Most scientists would agree with my view! Surely the difference between truth and falsehood is not determined on the basis of majority vote! If truth were established on the basis of majority vote, then atheism would be false. For most human beings reject the minority opinion that there is no higher power beyond this world. One might add that the existence or non-existence of God does not follow from the proposition that most scientists are or are not theists. There is no guarantee that the view endorsed by the majority of scientists is always correct.

                    • On what rational basis, if any, do you claim that modern science and physics are to be regarded as “most reliable”? Is that simply your personal preference, or can you show why others should regard modern science and physics as the most reliable [form of knowledge]?

                      On the rational basis that our intuitions about how the world works have been repeatedly falsified by science, and by the fact that even logic could never discover the facts about quantum mechanics. Scientific theory and experiment is needed to understand the fundamental nature of reality as best it can. This is why no religions are compatible with science, and this is why classical logic is useful, but cannot be used to make ontological conclusions about fundamental ontology without being guided by science. Science has a very successful track record, and it has built in mechanisms to hinder our innate cognitive biases. Religion is the result of our cognitive biases, and it has no internal mechanism for falsification. Theists will rarely admit when something about their religion is falsified. I asked you how your religion could be falsified and I have not heard your answer. Compare science with sensus divinitatus. SD is extremely unreliable. Compare it to metaphysics in the absence of modern science. Metaphysics can get you almost any picture about the world without science to ground it.

                      And please don’t continue to repeat the stale mantra: Most scientists would agree with my view! Surely the difference between truth and falsehood is not determined on the basis of majority vote! If truth were established on the basis of majority vote, then atheism would be false. For most human beings reject the minority opinion that there is no higher power beyond this world.

                      When have I used an argument ad populum as the foundation of my argument for atheism? I mentioned most philosophers are atheists, but I was not using that to make an argument for atheism. I mentioned that because you were implying that professional philosophers can do metaphysics the best and that this somehow means your Thomistic metaphysics is affirmed by them. It isn’t. And I can just as easily say don’t make any scientific claims since you’re not a scientist.

                    • papagan

                      I wrote: “On what rational basis, if any, do you claim that modern science and physics are to be regarded as ‘most reliable’?”

                      You wrote in reply: “[1] On the rational basis that our intuitions about how the world works have been repeatedly falsified by science, and [2] by the fact that even logic could never discover the facts about quantum mechanics.”

                      Regarding 1, there are three points. First, you need to specify precisely what you mean by “intuitions.” The use of that term is ambiguous, in the sense that not everyone uses this term in the same way.

                      Second, even if one were to grant for the sake of argument that “intuitions” are not 100% reliable, it would not necessarily follow that modern science and physics are to be regarded as “most reliable.” You would need to show, at minimum, that (a) “intuitions” and (b) modern science and physics are the only ways of knowing reality. It is not self-evident that those are the only ways of knowing reality. If those are not the only ways of knowing reality, you would be guilty of the fallacy of false dichotomy.

                      Third, do modern science and physics presuppose any intuitions? If not, do they presuppose any antecedent knowledge or principles?

                      Regarding 2, are you suggesting that quantum mechanics is not entirely consistent with the principles or laws of logic? If not, what exactly is your point? If so, however, your position is untenable.

                      You wrote: “Scientific theory and experiment is needed to understand the fundamental nature of reality as best it can.”

                      Here you reveal that you fail to recognize the line of demarcation between science and metaphysics. You treat science as if it were metaphysics. The discipline of metaphysics relies on observation, but is not reducible to observation. Modern natural science does not disclose the underlying essences of things. Your position resembles scientism more than it resembles experimental science. Unlike the former, the latter is “metaphysically modest.”

                      You wrote: “This is why no religions are compatible with science, and this is why classical logic is useful, but cannot be used to make ontological conclusions about fundamental ontology without being guided by science.”

                      So you believe that science is the supreme model and measure of human knowledge. That’s scientism, not science.

                      You wrote: “Science has a very successful track record, and it has built in mechanisms to hinder our innate cognitive biases.”

                      So, it appears that you mean innate cognitive biases when you use the term “intuitions.” What are the two or three top examples of innate cognitive biases? Would the universal principle of causality be one example of an innate cognitive bias?

                      You wrote: “Religion is the result of our cognitive biases, and it has no internal mechanism for falsification.”

                      So, is the principle of falsification one of your universal first principles?

                      You wrote: “Theists will rarely admit when something about their religion is falsified. I asked you how your religion could be falsified and I have not heard your answer.”

                      A particular religion can be falsified if it contains internal contradictions, for example. The falsification of one religion, however, does not necessarily entail the falsification of all religions. In relation to objective truth, I would not say that all religions are equal. I do not advocate the error of religious indifferentism.

                      You wrote: “Compare it [science] to metaphysics in the absence of modern science. Metaphysics can get you almost any picture about the world without science to ground it.”

                      First, there are several different and competing metaphysical theories. Not all metaphysical theories are equal. Second, your understanding of the relation between science and metaphysics exemplifies scientism. In other posts you seem to deny that you endorse scientism, but here you speak exactly like a proponent of scientism.

                      I wrote: “And please don’t continue to repeat the stale mantra: Most scientists would agree with my view!…”

                      You wrote in reply: “When have I used an argument ad populum as the foundation of my argument for atheism? I mentioned most philosophers are atheists, but I was not using that to make an argument for atheism. I mentioned that because you were implying that professional philosophers can do metaphysics the best and that this somehow means your Thomistic metaphysics is affirmed by them. It isn’t. And I can just as easily say don’t make any scientific claims since you’re not a scientist.”

                      That’s a nice example of the fallacy of straw man!

                    • papagan

                      You write: “Yes, because that heirarchy of being is false. Mind is not superior to matter. Mind is cause by matter. No matter, no mind.” Several of the philosophical issues raised in this exchange are addressed in a very fine article by Lawrence Dewan, O.P., “St.Thomas and Metaphysical Hierarchy: Some Observations,” Nova et Vetera, English Edition, Vol. 7, No. 4 (2009): 769–80. http://nvjournal.net/

                    • Thanks but I can’t find that article. And also, unless it has some actual science to back it up, and isn’t pure metaphysics, I’m not interested. Pure metaphysics without science is not trustworthy.

                    • papagan

                      Rev. Dewan’s relatively brief but splendid article is available at http://nvjournal.net/ , but one must be a subscriber in order to download a PDF copy. Nova et Vetera is also available at many college libraries.

                      You write: “…unless it has some actual science to back it up, and isn’t pure metaphysics, I’m not interested. Pure metaphysics without science is not trustworthy.” Your point concerning the untrustworthiness of metaphysics not based on (modern) science is nothing more than a modern prejudice on your part. E.A. Burtt’s The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science should help to disabuse honest readers of that dubious prejudice. It is already clear that you favor scientism, but scientism is not self-evident, and it cannot be established on the basis of science alone. Modern science cannot establish its own epistemological or metaphysical foundations. Modern science is not the model and measure of all forms of human knowledge. There are various ways of knowing reality, and experimental science is not the highest way of knowing what is.

                    • You write: “…unless it has some actual science to back it up, and isn’t pure metaphysics, I’m not interested. Pure metaphysics without science is not trustworthy.” Your point concerning the untrustworthiness of metaphysics not based on (modern) science is nothing more than a modern prejudice on your part. E.A. Burtt’s The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science should help to disabuse honest readers of that dubious prejudice. It is already clear that you favor scientism, but scientism is not self-evident, and it cannot be established on the basis of science alone.

                      Can you define scientism for me? I want to know how you’re using it. I’ve never said science is established on science. More strawmaning.

                      Modern science is not the model and measure of all forms of human knowledge.

                      I never said it was. Are you ever going to stop your strawman arguments? You were making a claim on physical reality. Claims about physical reality need to have science backing them up. You can use metaphysics with science, but if you just use metaphysics to make an argument about a specific aspect of ontology, like mind over matter, you need to back it up with science. You somehow interpret this as me saying that science is the only methodology for truth, because you want to pin me down as scientistic. You need to do better.

                      There are various ways of knowing reality, and experimental science is not the highest way of knowing what is.

                      Experimental science is the most reliable way of knowing what is, especially when you’re going to make ontological claims about the brain. Religious faith is one of the least reliable methods.

                    • papagan

                      You write: “Can you define scientism for me? I want to know how you’re using it.” Regarding scientism, I’ve already indicated that modern natural science is not the ultimate model and measure of all forms of human knowing in relation to what is. Additional detail can be found here: “The Lies of Scientism” http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8753.

                      You write: “I never said it was. Are you ever going to stop your strawman arguments? You were making a claim on physical reality. Claims about physical reality need to have science backing them up. You can use metaphysics with science, but if you just use metaphysics to make an argument about a specific aspect of ontology, like mind over matter, you need to back it up with science. You somehow interpret this as me saying that science is the only methodology for truth, because you want to pin me down as scientistic. You need to do better.”

                      Your own statements show that you are under the hypnotic sway of scientism. The universal principle of causality, for example, is not restricted in its ontological application. It applies to the realm of spiritual being and to the realm of physical being. One does not need the nihil obstat or imprimatur of scientists to know that each and every effect depends on an ontologically antecedent cause, and that an effect cannot be ontologically superior to its total cause. So the following statement is false: “Claims about physical reality need to have science backing them up.” The ontological principle of causality, like the ontological principle of non-contradiction and the ontological principle of identity, applies to physical reality, and our knowledge of the truth of such philosophical principles does not require scientific verification. On the contrary, natural science can hardly proceed forward without presupposing philosophical principles, such as the universal principle of causality. Similarly, natural science presupposes logic.

                      You write: “Experimental science is the most reliable way of knowing what is…” Experimental science is only one way of knowing, not the only way of knowing, and it is not an epistemology or theory of knowledge. What is the most reliable way of knowing? That question cannot be answered as long as we confine ourselves within the boundaries of natural science. Furthermore, the answer depends on the subject matter under investigation. If one seeks systematic knowledge of geometrical figures as geometrical, chemistry is not the best approach to knowing such objects. If one seeks systematic knowledge of living organisms as living, algebra is not the best approach to knowing such organisms. If one seeks systematic knowledge of concepts as such, biology is not the best approach to knowing such intentional beings. If one seeks systematic knowledge of being as being, theoretical physics is not the best approach to this subject matter. If one seeks systematic knowledge of the moral good and related topics (e.g., virtue and vice), geometry is not the best approach to this subject matter. If one seeks systematic knowledge of the principle of life (soul), astronomy is not the best approach to this subject matter. If one seeks systematic knowledge of the existence and attributes of the uncaused First Cause, aesthetics is not the best approach to this subject matter. The foregoing examples point to the important analogy of knowledge, which you do not fully appreciate. You probably have not formally studied either epistemology or philosophy of science, which also have their own proper subject matters. So if one says “[e]xperimental science is the most reliable way of knowing what is…” such a statement reveals a remarkable degree of philosophical naiveté.

                      Elsewhere you write: “I’m not advocated removing religion from society by force. I recognize religion and culture mixes. … We’re saying that government and religion shouldn’t mix. If you want religion, practice it on your own.” First, you misunderstand. I’m not suggesting merely that culture and religion are compatible. Rather, I concur with the eminent historian, Christopher Dawson, that religion is at the very heart of human culture; one cannot have a sound culture without religion. Second, we are not advocating theocracy, including Islamic theocracy. Your reference to Islam in your facile comment on Rev. White’s presentation is a red herring. Third, free exercise of religion doesn’t mean practicing religion only in private. (In the 9/27/00 public debate between Alan Keyes and Alan Dershowitz on the role of organized religion in the 21st Century, Dershowitz was mistaken on this point. http://www.keyesarchives.com/transcript.php?id=147 ) Free exercise of religion entails that, in the public square, citizens who are believers, not only secular humanists, should be able to express their faith and participate actively in the socio-political arena in a way that is fully consistent with their faith convictions.

                      Elsewhere you write: “That’s why I can never be a Christian. I care too much about being rational to believe such a silly faith.” First, to suggest that the Christian faith is “silly” is to reveal one’s profound ignorance of the Christian faith. Second, St. Augustine, St. Anselm of Canterbury, and St. Thomas Aquinas are only three famous examples of exceptionally brilliant thinkers who exercise reason within the context of Christian faith. If you fail to appreciate their rationality, that’s your loss. Third, you have a remarkably truncated understanding of rationality. In that connection, see “Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections” http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_en.html.

                      Elsewhere you write: “I consider myself a naturalist, not a PM [philosophical materialism], because naturalism is a higher order above PM and physicalism.” If you truly reject PM and scientism, why do you refuse to allow that the affirmation of immaterial being is consistent with sound reason? Why don’t you admit that being is far more comprehensive than matter?

                    • Regarding scientism, I’ve already indicated that modern natural science is not the ultimate model and measure of all forms of human knowing in relation to what is. Additional detail can be found here: “The Lies of Scientism”http://www.catholicculture.org….

                      What are your justifications for this statement? Show me an epistemology that is more reliable than science when it comes to ontology.

                      Your own statements show that you are under the hypnotic sway of scientism.

                      Have you not noticed in yourself that you are under the sways of dogmatic religious thinking?

                      The universal principle of causality, for example, is not restricted in its ontological application. It applies to the realm of spiritual being and to the realm of physical being.

                      You cannot logically believe this and not be a determinist.

                      So the following statement is false: “Claims about physical reality need to have science backing them up.” The ontological principle of causality, like the ontological principle of non-contradiction and the ontological principle of identity, applies to physical reality, and our knowledge of the truth of such philosophical principles does not require scientific verification.

                      First, I completely agree that logic alone can deduce truths about the external world. I’ve never denied that, but you want to play the scientism card. But the problem is that logic is not as reliable as empiricism. No logician could deduce quantum mechanics, as it totally violates classical logic. Therefore logic had to be updated based on new empirical data. The causality principle I don’t think can be arrived at a priori, even though I agree with the causality principle within the universe. It must be arrived at a posteriori.

                      Similarly, natural science presupposes logic.

                      Yeah but logic has to be developed in part from observation.

                      Experimental science is only one way of knowing, not the only way of knowing, and it is not an epistemology or theory of knowledge.

                      This is a perfect case study of how you do not understand me. I write, “Experimental science is the most reliable way of knowing what is” and you read it as “Experimental science is…not the only way of knowing.”

                      Oh and science is an epistemology.

                      The foregoing examples point to the important analogy of knowledge, which you do not fully appreciate.

                      Are you seriously claiming that I’m not able to appreciate the fact that algebra is not the best system for knowing biology?

                      So if one says “[e]xperimental science is the most reliable way of knowing what is…” such a statement reveals a remarkable degree of philosophical naiveté.

                      You’re over simplifying me. When I say “what is” I’m talking about ontology, particularly fundamental ontology. The ultimate nature of reality. I’m not talking about geometric shapes, or math, I’m not a platonic realist anyway. I have no reason to believe you will understand me given your above misinterpretation.

                      First, you misunderstand. I’m not suggesting merely that culture and religion are compatible. Rather, I concur with the eminent historian, Christopher Dawson, that religion is at the very heart of human culture; one cannot have a sound culture without religion.

                      I completely disagree, but this might depend on how you define religion. There is no consensus on what a religion is. I generally define it as the “belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powersconsidered to be divine or to have control of human destiny”. Given that definition, society’s definitely don’t need religion. In fact there is definitely a correlation between low religiosity and higher standards of living.

                      Second, we are not advocating theocracy, including Islamic theocracy. Your reference to Islam in your facile comment on Rev. White’s presentation is a red herring.

                      Just respect the separation of church and state and we’ll be fine.

                      Third, free exercise of religion doesn’t mean practicing religion only in private. (In the 9/27/00 public debate between Alan Keyes and Alan Dershowitz on the role of organized religion in the 21st Century, Dershowitz was mistaken on this point.http://www.keyesarchives.com/t… ) Free exercise of religion entails that, in the public square, citizens who are believers, not only secular humanists, should be able to express their faith and participate actively in the socio-political arena in a way that is fully consistent with their faith convictions.

                      I agree that religious people have the right to be open about their faith in the public square. Note the public square is not the government. You can be a politician and religious, that’s fine, just don’t pass any laws that don’t have a secular justification and that do not favor one religion over another.

                      First, to suggest that the Christian faith is “silly” is to reveal one’s profound ignorance of the Christian faith.

                      I have not found a version to be compatible with reason and evidence.

                      Second, St. Augustine, St. Anselm of Canterbury, and St. Thomas Aquinas are only three famous examples of exceptionally brilliant thinkers who exercise reason within the context of Christian faith. If you fail to appreciate their rationality, that’s your loss.

                      And Plato was a great thinking polytheist. And there are many great thinking atheists, as most scientists are and most philosophers. This was a pathetic appeal to authority on your part.

                      Third, you have a remarkably truncated understanding of rationality. In that connection, see “Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections” http://www.vatican.va/holy_fat….

                      Religions like Christianity make adherents believe in things that are incoherent and inconsistent with science, history, and archaeology.

                      If you truly reject PM and scientism, why do you refuse to allow that the affirmation of immaterialbeing is consistent with sound reason? Why don’t you admit that being is far more comprehensive than matter?

                      I don’t reject PM completely, I just think naturalism best describes my worldview because naturalism is compatible with things like platonism, which I’m skeptical of but open to the possibility of. I deny that being is more comprehensive than matter because there is no evidence for it, and I don’t think the metaphysics that tries to justify such a position is correct. This isn’t scientism. This is simply just recognizing that when it comes to what exists, as in ontology, science is the most reliable epistemology.

                    • papagan

                      You write: “What are your justifications for this statement [that modern natural science is not the ultimate model and measure of all forms of human knowing in relation to what is]? Show me an epistemology that is more reliable than science when it comes to ontology.” First, as you do not affirm the statement that modern natural science is not the ultimate model and measure of all forms of human knowing in relation to what is, this suggests that you do subscribe to scientism. You should fess up!

                      Second, ontology or the study of the nature of being as such is not any particular empirical science! Ontology goes deeper than modern science. Those who fail to recognize that being is far more comprehensive than matter fail to grasp the line of demarcation between modern science and ontology. You are among those who fail the grasp the distinction between modern science and ontology, for you write later: “I deny that being is more comprehensive than matter…” Third, modern science is not an epistemology http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology/ or philosophy of knowledge. Whoever taught you the contrary simply doesn’t know what he is talking about.

                      You write: “First, I completely agree that logic alone can deduce truths about the external world. I’ve never denied that, but you want to play the scientism card. But the problem is that logic is not as reliable as empiricism. No logician could deduce quantum mechanics, as it totally violates classical logic. Therefore logic had to be updated based on new empirical data.”

                      First, I never said that logic alone can deduce truths about the extramental world. We employ logic as we explore extramental reality apprehended through our sensory faculties. Apart from sensory cognition, logic alone is not enough for man to know extramental material being. Moreover, through the knowledge of material being, man can come to know that being is not restricted to material being. The knowledge that being is not restricted to material being, however, is not scientific knowledge, but metaphysical knowledge. In dogmatic fashion, the doors of scientism are closed to the metaphysical knowledge achieved by pagan thinkers such as Aristotle through the careful philosophical study of nature. And you, sir, whether you realize it or not, are under the spell of scientism!

                      Second, the claim that logic is not as reliable as empiricism makes no sense. Even empiricists cannot make any real progress in the order of intellectual knowledge without presupposing logic, including the universal laws of thought. The claim that quantum mechanics violates classical logic is utterly ludicrous! You’re assuming (and there are many things you’ve been assuming uncritically) the Copenhagen interpretation of Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty. (Here one might note that Albert Einstein rejected that interpretation.) One cannot rationally evaluate new empirical data without relying on the principles of logic. Is a new empirical datum real? If it is real, then it isn’t not real. To say that it is neither real nor not real is not to speak as a sane, rational person.

                      You write: ”Yeah[,] but logic has to be developed in part from observation.” If by that statement one means that we could not develop the discipline of logic prior to sensory experience, I agree. Your earlier statement about the need to modify classical logic on the basis of modern discoveries associated with quantum mechanics, however, is strictly untenable.

                      You write: “This is a perfect case study of how you do not understand me. I write, ‘Experimental science is the most reliable way of knowing what is’ and you read it as ‘Experimental science is…not the only way of knowing.'” Here is a good example of missing the point! You miss the point, because you uncritically assume scientism and, consistent with the dubious worldview of philosophical materialists, you do not recognize that being is more comprehensive than matter.

                      The unqualified claim that experimental science is the most reliable way of knowing what is, is a philosophically untenable claim. What is the object of knowledge? That is, what is the subject matter to be known? The answer to that question will determine what type of inquiry (e.g., geometry, biology, physics, ethics, metaphysics, theology) is most appropriate. Anyone who has carefully studied and understood the rich philosophical legacy of Aristotle would appreciate that crucial methodological point. Apparently you haven’t carefully studied and understood Aristotle’s work, and this leaves you at a severe disadvantage in philosophical discussions of this sort.

                      You write: “Oh[,] and science is an epistemology.” You simply don’t know what you are talking about. When one uses a philosophical term like “epistemology,” one should use it properly!

                      You write: “Are you seriously claiming that I’m not able to appreciate the fact that algebra is not the best system for knowing biology?” Your confusion is much more serious than that!

                      You write: “You’re over simplifying me.” No. From a philosophical standpoint, your bold-faced statements are remarkably naive.

                      You write: “And Plato was a great thinking polytheist. And there are many great thinking atheists, as most scientists are and most philosophers. This was a pathetic appeal to authority on your part.” Straw man fallacy. You had suggested, like a good little rationalist, that being rational and being Christian are mutually incompatible. My point was that being rational and being Christian are perfectly compatible. Of course, my understanding of rationality is much more robust than your narrow scientistic conception of rationality.

                      You write: “[1] I deny that being is more comprehensive than matter because there is no evidence for it, and [2] I don’t think the metaphysics that tries to justify such a position is correct. This isn’t scientism.” Regarding 1, that denial implies philosophical materialism. Apparently you do not think clearly or deeply enough to see that implication. Regarding 2, by denying the real distinction between matter and being, you preclude the systematic study of being qua being, namely, metaphysics, and you fall headlong into the trap of scientism.

                    • papagan

                      You write: “I consider your [theological] beliefs pseudo-science fictions, that should have no place in government or public schools, etc.” Here and elsewhere you attempt to paint faith in God as having nothing to do with sane reason. Rejecting both fideism http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06068b.htm and rationalism, I think faith and reason are complementary, not opposed. In this connection, one might consider the following recorded presentation by Thomas Joseph White, O.P., “The Careful Rationality of Monotheism.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AHE22SX_hE Thus, in the light of what he says, “igtheism” misses the mark.

                    • That same faith epistemology gets you Islam, where it becomes moral to cut people’s hands off. Sorry buddy, I know you’re trying very hard, but religion and government should be permanently divorced. Laws must be based on reason, not religion. If a law is also one that a religion has, then great. I’m not at all saying that religious laws are all unreasonable. But no law should be passed without secular justification.

                    • papagan

                      You clearly misunderstand. Thomas Joseph White, O.P., is quite certainly not an advocate of Islam or Islamic theology. Moreover, we see here another instance of the fallacy of straw man. Neither Rev. White nor I advocate theocracy, but we recognize the essential connection between culture and religion, a connection not admitted by advocates of secularism. Furthermore, there is no necessary conflict between reason and religion; faith and reason are complementary ways of knowing what is. Faith need not be fideistic. Properly understood, an act of theological faith is essentially an act of the intellect supported by the will, while theological hope and theological love are perfections of the will. But those who have not studied theology are not likely to be familiar with those important distinctions.

                      As regards the justification of law, law must be based on reason rather than on will (law based on will rather than on reason is favored by legal positivists), but reason need not be divorced from faith. Reason deprived of theological faith is much more prone to error than reason strengthened and elevated by theological faith. From a normative standpoint, reason without theological faith is not the default position for believers who do not grant that fallen man provides the model for developing a sound anthropology. Jesus Christ reveals the full truth about man.

                    • I was not arguing that Thomas Joseph White supports Islam. I was saying his methodology can be used to justify other religions. That you didn’t see that is embarrassing for you.

                      oreover, we see here another instance of the fallacy of straw man. Neither Rev. White nor I advocate theocracy, but we recognize the essential connection between culture and religion, a connection not admitted by advocates of secularism.

                      I’m not advocated removing religion from society by force. I recognize religion and culture mixes. Most secularists do too. We’re saying that government and religion shouldn’t mix. If you want religion, practice it on your own. Don’t pass any laws that have no secular justification.

                      Furthermore, there is no necessary conflict between reason and religion; faith and reason are complementary ways of knowing what is. Faith need not be fideistic. Properly understood, an act of theological faith is essentially an act of the intellect supported by the will, while theological hope and theological love are perfections of the will. But those who have not studied theology are not likely to be familiar with those important distinctions.

                      All religions require their adherents to believe in things that violate science, and that are not backed up by any evidence. Believing in Adam and Eve is a perfect example. If one bases their beliefs on the evidence, they will not believe in any of the things that religions ask us to believe. That’s why I can never be a Christian. I care too much about being rational to believe such a silly faith.

                      ..but reason need not be divorced from faith. Reason deprived of theological faith is much more prone to error than reason strengthened and elevated by theological faith.

                      This is total crap. There will always be a conflict between reason and faith, because faith based beliefs were not the result of reasoned inferences.

                      From a normative standpoint, reason without theological faith is not the default position for believers who do not grant that fallen man provides the model for developing a sound anthropology. Jesus Christ reveals the full truth about man.

                      More total crap. “Fallen man” makes no sense given evolution and there is no good evidence that Jesus even existed. This is exactly the problem between reason and faith. Give me a reason to believe, using good historical and scientific evidence, that our condition today has anything to do with an actual “Fall” and that Jesus even existed.

                    • papagan

                      “… [1] Islam, where it becomes moral to cut people’s hands off. Sorry buddy…. [2] Laws must be based on reason, not religion.”

                      Regarding 1, the irony here is that you have no sound metaphysical basis to support a universal and objective moral theory. You may not like it when the hands of human persons are severed from their bodies in punishment for some perceived violation; however, an objective and universal moral law cannot stand on the basis of philosophical materialism (PM), nor can the reality of moral law be defended unless one goes beyond the methodological boundaries of modern natural science! PM and modern natural science can tell us nothing at all concerning moral good and evil, virtue and vice. Any claim to the contrary would betray either ignorance or dishonesty, or both.

                      Regarding 2, aside from the fact that one must abandon reason if one chooses to go down the blind path of PM, subordinating God to morality entails the antecedent loss of religious faith. In true religion, God is not subordinate to anything; on the contrary, all that is not God is dependent upon the divine Wisdom who fashioned all things from nothing (ex nihilo). The insistence that morality transcends religion assumes a terribly distorted conception of divine being. On the question of the relation between morality and religion, Søren Kierkegaard was, in my judgment, much closer to the truth than was Immanuel Kant.

                    • Regarding 1, the irony here is that you have no sound metaphysical basis to support a universal and objective moral theory.

                      Well I can tell what objectively leads to more harm, and as long as I can do that, and reason that moral values exist independently to us and god, I can have a sound basis.

                      You may not like it when the hands of human persons are severed from their bodies in punishment for some perceived violation; however, an objective and universal moral law cannot stand on the basis of philosophical materialism (PM), nor can the reality of moral law be defended unless one goes beyond the methodological boundaries of modern natural science!

                      First, I consider myself a naturalist, not a PM, because naturalism is a higher order above PM and physicalism. Second, you need to define what you mean by objective and universal moral law before you go further. Third, I’ve not said that moral law must be within the methodological boundaries of modern natural science. So that whole statement is a strawman. I’m getting tired of having to correct you over and over again.

                      Modern science does give us objective facts and facts can lend support to moral ideas, so you’re totally wrong by saying “modern natural science can tell us nothing at all concerning moral good and evil, virtue and vice.”

                      Regarding 2, aside from the fact that one must abandon reason if one chooses to go down the blind path of PM, subordinating God to morality entails the antecedent loss of religious faith. In true religion, God is not subordinate to anything; on the contrary, all that is not God is dependent upon the divine Wisdom who fashioned all things from nothing (ex nihilo).

                      Now you’re just asserting your dogma again and you have no good arguments to back them up. So talking to you is becoming a waste of my time. Unless you want to actually make those arguments yourself, in your own words, so that we can debate them, I’m not interested in your silly Catholic dogma.

                    • papagan

                      “I don’t think Aristotle is a competent authority on ontology…” Given that you exhibit little or no real cognitive grasp of classical metaphysics, which predates modern science by many centuries, it is hardly surprising that you would discount Aristotle’s genuine metaphysical insights. Classical metaphysics does not fit in with your dogmatic scientistic assumptions.

                    • There’s nothing dogmatic about any scientific views that I hold. They’re all based on the best available evidence. You on the other hand are filled with dogma. I’ve asked you how your religious views can be falsified, and you haven’t said anything. You don’t even understand science, or PM as I have to constantly correct you over and over.

                    • papagan

                      Neither moral relativism nor emotivism nor consequentialism are sound theories of human action. Thomistic natural law theory is fully in keeping with the truth concerning created human nature.

                    • Thomistic natural law theory fails to assess human nature properly. It is better than divine command theory, but that’s only because divine command theory is extremely bad.

                    • papagan

                      “Thomistic natural law theory fails to assess human nature properly.” Do you actually admit that human nature, not simply particular individuals, exists?

                    • Yes but not in some platonic sense as a “form” is, like triangularity, etc.

                    • papagan

                      In your view, what exactly is the ontological status of human nature? Where do you stand on the problem of universals?

                    • I’m not sure I understand your first question. As far as universals, I lean towards nominalism/conceptualism.

              • Hominid

                Not “truth” – truth is an ideological concept, totally unscientific.

                Categorical concepts (like species) always break down at some level of analysis because they don’t exist outside the human mind. It should be pretty obvious by now that everything in the universe exists as relative positions on multidimensional continua.

                • Zaoldyeck

                  “Categorical concepts (like species) always break down at some level of analysis because they don’t exist outside the human mind.”

                  What does this mean, because it sounds astoundingly like Loki’s wager. The line between taxa are fuzzy, but so is the line between the head and neck. Does that mean the ‘head’ and ‘neck’ are both just concepts that don’t exist outside the human mind? (I’m not even going to begin to ask what the latter stuff means cause that just sounds like technobabble.)

                  • Hominid

                    The “lines” are not “fuzzy” – they don’t exist. Show me the line between the head and neck. Give a definitive description of the line that sets species apart.

                    You a sophomore?

                    • Zaoldyeck

                      I really could ask you the same question.

                      “Line” or not, ‘species’ exists in the same way the ‘head’ exists. “Genus” exists in the same way “neck” exists.

                      If there’s ‘no line between the head and neck’ then there is ‘no line between genus and species’. Which is fine, but you commit Loki’s Wager if you go the step further, as you appear to have, and state ‘species and genus don’t exist’ or ‘the head and neck don’t exist’.

                    • Hominid

                      You’re weaseling.

                    • Zaoldyeck

                      How? I don’t actually understand what your argument is. I mean, look at a ring species, A can mate with B can mate with C can mate with D can mate with E but A and E cannot mate. So, technically we’d then call “A and E” ‘separate species’ but in no step did you ever cross a line where you went from ‘one species to another’. It’s like the line (or non-existant line) between the head and neck, it’s easy to define some parts of the body as ‘obviously head’ or ‘obviously neck’ but if you want to talk about the part that separates ‘head from neck’ your standards aren’t always uniquely applicable.

                    • Hominid

                      Either you can’t reason logically or you can’t read. You are making MY case. It’s easy to ‘define’ species (arbitrarily, BTW, on mating criteria) that are relatively apart on the continuum, but such taxonomy fails when they’re close – i.e., at early stages of species divergence. That’s because discreet categories aren’t real – they’re conveniences. Even particles (the irreducible forms of material existence according to the well-established standard model) can transform into one another. There are no real categories – only continua. Categories are useful illusions like color or tone.

                    • Dennis Bonnette

                      Many comments in this area of the thread have wandered off
                      into a positivistic way of looking at things, which assumes that the only true science is natural science – thereby relegating philosophy and theology to purely subjective and personal assumptions, not worthy of the term, “science.”
                      Such a perspective reveals a lack of appreciation of the inestimable richness of the Catholic intellectual tradition as well as a lack of awareness that the particular modern sciences, such as chemistry, physics, and biology
                      are essentially subordinate disciplines of Aristotle’s Physics. These modern natural and experimental sciences presuppose, and in every breath employ, philosophical truths that they can never demonstrate, for example, the metaphysical principles of non-contradiction, sufficient reason, and causality, as well as an epistemological realism without which no empirical observations of the physical world could be defended.

                      In the immediate context, debate over the validity of various
                      notions of species reveals an uncritical acceptance of the biological species concept, which is impaled on the inherent relativism of viewing all biological phenomena as mere continua of an ever-evolving spectrum of organic life. The
                      eminent biologist, Ernst Mayr, put his finger on the weakness of this biological approach when he insisted that we need to get beyond such empirical terms as “phenotypic, morphological, genetic, phylogenetic, or biological” and
                      penetrate to the “underlying philosophical concepts,” so as to attain a proper understanding of the “species problem.” (See Ernst Mayr, The Species Problem, 1957, p. 17.) In my book, Origin of the Human Species: Third Edition, chapters two and four, I deal with the distinction between the biological species concept (which turns out to be inherently defective) and the philosophical natural species concept (which is based on the possession of absence of essential properties that alone
                      allows for genuinely discrete species. Since, as I point out in my article, true man alone possesses a spiritual soul (as manifested by the powers of understanding, judging, reasoning, and free will), and since these powers are
                      either present or absent, the possession of these spiritual powers by true human beings places them in an essentially distinct and superior philosophical natural species that is not merely part of a continuum gradually developed over time from subhuman primates.

                      While one can dispute the above philosophical inferences
                      about human nature, doing so places one entirely outside the Catholic philosophical and theological context in which my article is presented.

                      Many more such important topics are explained from a
                      philosophical perspective in my book on human origins, which is why it is a philosophical, not natural scientific, analysis of evolutionary theory. Those who do not understand how you can have a philosophical analysis of evolutionary theory do so because they are ensnared entirely by a positivist, materialistic philosophical worldview of which they do not even seem aware.

                    • papagan

                      Well said Professor Bonnette!

                    • Hominid

                      Gibberish!

                    • papagan

                      If we refuse to recognize Professor Bonnette’s coherent comments, it doesn’t follow that what he states is meaningless nonsense. The refusal may simply disclose a lack of knowledge on our part!

                    • papagan

                      “That’s because discreet [sic] categories aren’t real – they’re conveniences. Even particles (the irreducible forms of material existence according to the well-established standard model) can transform into one another. There are no real categories – only continua. Categories are useful illusions like color or tone.”

                      Have you heard of the doctrine of nominalism [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11090c.htm]? What you write sounds very much like the creed of nominalists. Furthermore, matter in itself is undifferentiated. Something beyond matter is needed to differentiate one kind of matter from other kinds of matter. Aristotle’s discovery of the real distinction between matter and form–hylomorphism–is of special importance in this context. Matter needs form; not everything can be reduced to matter!

                    • Hominid

                      Learn to spell before misusing the [sic] – you’ll look less foolish.

                    • papagan

                      P.S. “Discreet” and “discrete” are not equivalent semantically. A definition of the former adjective is as follows: “careful and circumspect in one’s speech or actions, especially in order to avoid causing offense or to gain an advantage.” It seems that you intended to say “discrete categories,” not “discreet categories.”

                    • Hominid

                      See the 3rd definition, dummy. Learn that words can have multiple meanings.

                    • papagan

                      Of course words can have multiple meanings, as Aristotle was well aware in his discussion of the analogy of goodness in the Nicomachean Ethics. The analogy of science is another important example. Unfortunately, many persons today do not appreciate that fact, assuming uncritically that science is univocal. That unfortunate error is made by modern champions of scientism. http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-3407710165/scientism.html In any case, it remains the case that “discreet” and “discrete” are not equivalent semantically. What you posted fails to recognize that not insignificant linguistic distinction.

                • asmondius

                  Without the existence of truth, science is a useless exercise.

                  • papagan

                    Yes, if there were no truth, science would be mere fiction!

                • papagan

                  Do you recognize the reality of what is immaterial (e.g., angels)? If you do not, what do you mean by “concept” and “human mind”?

                • papagan

                  «Not “truth” – truth is an ideological concept, totally unscientific.» Is that a true statement? Or is it a scientific statement?

              • Maxximiliann

                What was Genesis wrong about?

                • mikehorn

                  Plants before sun. Stars after both earth and sun. Vegetarian anything. Immortal humans. Talking snakes. Shall I go on?

                  • Maxximiliann

                    From what specific parts of Genesis are you basing this on? Chapter and verse, if you kindly would.

                    • mikehorn

                      First 31 verses as a start. Also add that day/night occurred before a sun.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      According to the verses you cited the sun was created before plants, the stars before the earth and the sun and man was not immortal. If he were immortal he wouldn’t have died. As far as the “talking snake” is concerned, Revelation 12:9 reveals that Satan the Devil was actually the one speaking. Because he is an invisible spirit, Eve thought the snake was the one communicating with her.

                    • mikehorn

                      Plants, day 3. Sun/moon day 4, with a mix of lights for seasons and portents and another mention for stars. There are bizarre mentions of light being created, but while that might be accurate on some level, in reality there followed a dark age prior to stars, and those stars were so metal-light that it took several stellar generations to get biochemistry really going. That light being created had no source, since no stars (including the sun) had been created yet according to Genesis.

                      Also, the Earth existed prior to stars, starting on day 1. The Earth has a significant iron/nickel core as well as heavier metals like gold and uranium that were in reality formed by earlier generations of stars blowing their guts through the area billions of years before the earth formed.

                      Plants were given as good FOIA for all, so vegetarianism for carnivores.

                      Are we both reading the same bible?

                      The immortality and snake came later. You tap dance around this on all you want, but there is nothing in the text that supports a snake just being a snake. Snakes are even punished along with humans.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Mr. Horn,
                      You are aware that Genesis was written in Hebrew, not English, aren’t you? And, that the points being expressed are not how God created the universe, but, why He created it.
                      Have you ever read about chiasmus vis-a-vis Genesis and Jewish writing?

                      In Gen. 1, “Day One” corresponds to the Fourth Day, the Second to the Fifth, and the Third to the Sixth. It’s a style of Jewish writing that wasn’t meant to explain scientific truths, which couldn’t be understood by the ancients, anyway. God Bless!

                    • mikehorn

                      The argument isn’t over figurative language, but rather a literal interpretation. I have no argument with a figurative reading that doesn’t pretend to hold scientific truths that then affect public policy.

                      Genesis should be a powerful metaphor for evolution and the dawning of consciousness inside a smart primate. I think the moral lesson is incorrect, because it is only through knowing right/wrong that we became human rather than smart animal.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Verse one very clearly states, “בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ׃ The term “השמים” encompasses all of the stars including ours.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      No tap dancing required. She heard a voice coming from the direction of the snake and thought, perhaps, that it had eaten of the forbidden fruit which explained the voice she was hearing. She did not know it was Satan standing behind it. (cf. Revelation 12:9)

                    • “She heard a voice coming from the direction of the snake and thought, perhaps, that it had eaten of the forbidden fruit which explained the voice she was hearing. She did not know it was Satan standing behind it. (cf. Revelation 12:9)”

                      By which you completely miss the point. It’s a talking snake. Which is an obvious metaphor as used in a religious myth. Saying “Satan standing behind it” doesn’t change this in the slightest. Indeed, it’s amusing that you employ the use of another obviously symbolic/figurative piece of literature to make your argument. You did know, didn’t you, that Revelation is absolutely permeated with symbolic language? This is like someone arguing that the word “eagle” used in Ezekiel 17:7 means “eagle” and therefore the writer is actually talking about an eagle, while completely ignoring the fact that the entire context is symbolic metaphorical language.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      From the Eve’s perspective of course the snake was talking. She wasn’t aware of Satan’s presence. What’s your point?

                    • I already explained my point, clearly and concisely. I could explain it again, but I can’t understand it for you – so sorry.

                    • asmondius

                      I believe your problem is largely one of perspective.

                      First, the Bible is not a detailed scientific journal or diary; it is a history of God’s relationship with the human race. Although it does yield some scientific knowledge by default, the purpose of the revelation was not to make astrophysicists out of the ancients. Therefore it is important to understand that the information of Genesis is from the vantage point of the Earth’s surface, not from a spaceship out in the void.

                      Keeping this in mind, also remember that the title of Genesis is ‘The Creation of the World’.

                      Day 1: Stars (including Sol) and proto-planets created (the universe, if you like). Proto-earth is a shapeless mass with a large volume of water vapor. As the debris field begins to thin sunlight is cast upon the surface. Along with planetary rotation this results in ‘day’ and ‘night’.

                      Day 2: Atmosphere develops, land masses begin to emerge from the water.

                      Day 3: Simple plant life – photosynthesis and resulting presence of oxygen.

                      Day 4: Debris field has cleared, stable atmosphere – stars, Sun, and moon visible from the surface.
                      Day 5: Complex life forms begin in the sea. Avian life develops.

                      Day 6: Land life develops. Mankind is the last to appear in the creation sequence.

                      Day 7: Day off.

                      Generally agrees with what we know about evolution and planetary formation. How did ancient people get it so right? They were either incredibly lucky or they had some help.

                    • There is nothing in Genesis about stars and proto-planets being created on the first day. You made that up. The “formless and void” echoes other ancient creation myths (specifically, Babylonian influence, regarding Chaos – Tiamat). I’m well aware of how many Christians who don’t interpret the Genesis creation story literalistically, in the manner of the young earth creationists, still yet interpret in a different literalistic manner by injecting modern scientific discoveries and concepts into the original text that simply do not exist in the original text. Your presentation is a good example of this. You should have stuck with “the purpose of the revelation was not to make astrophysicists out of the ancients” and left it at that, and then you’d be on solid ground, so to speak.

                    • asmondius

                      I beg your pardon, but the very first line of Genesis is ‘God created the heavens and the Earth’ – you don’t have to be a Biblical scholar or a poet to understand that this means the planet we live on and everything else in existence. You also have the relationship between Genesis and ‘modern science’ backwards – since Genesis is the forbear by quite some time, it is quite irrational to say one would ‘interject’ modern concepts into it. It is precisely because I did say the purpose of the revelation was not to make astrophysicists out of the ancients that your argument on specifics in this regard is irrelevant. And the concept of a ‘formless void’ is not specific or unique enough to identify it as being transported from one culture to another.

                    • “the very first line of Genesis is ‘God created the heavens and the Earth’ – you don’t have to be a Biblical scholar or a poet to understand that this means the planet we live on and everything else in existence”

                      Ah, yes, so verses 6 through 31 don’t add anything, we can just ignore them. Like you are doing.

                      No, “asmondius”, the creation of the heavens and the earth on first day is specifically *not* “everything else in existence” – or you wouldn’t have verses 6 through 31 explaining what God created *after* that.

                      I do always find it amusing when people who say they believe the Bible work so diligently to run away from what it actually says. It’s rather comical.

                      “You also have the relationship between Genesis and ‘modern science’ backwards – since Genesis is the forbear by quite some time, it is quite irrational to say one would ‘interject’ modern concepts into it.”

                      It was the Greeks who discovered the shape of the earth – and even came up with a relatively accurate estimate of the size of it using measurements of shadows at noon on the summer solstice – not Israelite prophets. It was astronomers who used telescopes to determine the nature of planetary orbits and displace the earth from the center of the universe – not Christian theologians citing New Testament verses. It was geologists who discovered the antiquity of the earth by coming to understand geological processes through geological observation and study – not theologians pontificating on the Genesis creation story.

                      And it is hardly irrational to say you would interject modern scientific ideas into the Bible – while we are right now watching you in the act of doing it. So your rhetoric here is merely amusing.

          • Take the case of genes without a function. Non-functioning strings of DNA are inherited down through generations. One such non-functioning gene mutates as a recessive for a beneficial trait not expressed. It continues to be reproduced and eventually is paired up with its replica in a breeding pair, either by identical mutation or as inherited through generations at crossover. The recessive pair then express as the potential they had at the origin of the mutation from a non-functioning gene.

            Another is a case identical, but the gene has a trait that can express as a dominant. It immediately expresses as the dominant trait in any offspring that has it. If beneficial in any way to reproduction and survival of the individual it is propagated. If lethal it is eliminated in the individual that first got it. If it limited reproduction or survival of those carrying it, it may die out or become rare in future generations.

            Wholesale mutations with new species evolving in one generation would be so unlikely that it cannot be credibly recognized as a sudden species creation from another. Gradual loss of DNA and mutations would cause a gradual change in mating of DNA to a point of not mating at all. Horses and zebras can mate but usually with sterile offspring. Horses and cows cannot be mated even by artificial insemination. It would be considered unethical to attempt to mate a human being with a gorilla, so it is not known if it is possible. Genetic manipulation is a demonstrated science. Genes can be added and eliminated. Who knows what humans are capable of doing over thousands more of years on planet Earth or on a future Earth human populated planet in a Goldilocks zone of another star? Were the presumed gods of ancients correct to fear human intervention in the process of living on Earth to the point of becoming gods themselves? Is the human species, God?

        • John Fisher

          This is not true Neanderthal DNA is present at about 4-6% in Australian aboriginal and Papua New Guinean DNA who are descendants of Denisovan’s.
          http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/news/2013/10/clever-sub-species-bred-with-ancient-Australians

          http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/new-revelations-in-tracing-indigenous.html#.VHWGlGccTrc

        • Nostromo

          The greatest concentration of humans with neanderthal DNA can be found in the region of Tuscany. Did neandertahl DNA help produce the Roman empire?

          • Interesting.

          • Hominid

            Good point; unanswerable, therefore, stupid question.

            • Nostromo

              Perhaps as unanswerable as all former unanswerable questions that would have remained unanswerable with a sentiment one finds in the non-Christian world. You remind me of Al-Ghazali who just attributed everthing as only known by God so stop trying to understand nature with your “stupid” questions.

              • Hominid

                The question I deemed unanswerable has nothing to do with ‘nature.’ Try to follow the threads to avoid making irrelevant comments.

                • Nostromo

                  Aren’t you a delight. Seems to me we’re discussing Neaderthal DNA so I would suggest that you have added nothing so stop making irrelevant comments yourself.
                  For every “interesting” comment there’s always a Debbie Downer.

                  • Hominid

                    “Did neandertahl DNA help produce the Roman empire?” is still an absurd question.

                    • Nostromo

                      If we discover that there was a comparative advantage that their DNA possessed, say for creative thought, then that would offer an explanation of why the Roman Empire and its evolved states over a couple of millennia produced the most successful civilzation that the world has ever known.

                    • Hominid

                      That ‘discovery’ isn’t possible, dummy.

                    • Nostromo

                      You’ve convinced me I’m having a discussion with a fool that ends here.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Did you learn such powerful rhetorical skills at MIT?
                      You should demand a refund.

            • Unanswerable in specificity, but not unanswerable in generalization of scientific assumption. Some questions have answers but you cannot find them with certainty. Take the case of the math term pi. Pi is between three and four. It is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. No know mixed whole number and a fraction is identified. Yet it is certain that an exact value between 3 and 4 exists to whatever precision or accuracy is required for its use in practical problems in physics. You cannot square a circle, but you can determine square inches of area to any degree of precision you desire. It is assumed that an exact value exists, but cannot be obtained in digital math. We have no quantitative analog math for the purpose. A problem exists beyond human capacity if space is analog(infinite) and mass(energy) is digital.

        • You have not fallen from grace. Grace is to receive a gift that you do not deserve in your own right. You are a human being who has inherited enough of the prototype to identify as the modern form of the ancient species. The rest of you is the result of mutations of spontaneous and selected traits and their propagation in successive generations to a world population of 7 billion plus of descendants from the original DNA. Your failure to achieve your own goal of perfect grace, is a contradiction. To not deserve what you are is a stretch of doubt beyond its own limits of credibility. Pure chance governs your own being from the first form of life in the universe to all successive generations from it, whether as possibility or as linked chance. Your very personal form is a chance variation that is either beneficial enough for propagation or not.

      • cken

        A belief in evolution requires a leap of faith. Evolution gets a little shaky when it tries to establish common ancestry. Evolution becomes science fiction when they try to get you to believe life originated in some primordial soup.

        • Hominid

          So, YOU declare! That’s baseless nonsense.

          • cken

            Hey Hominid, good to see your smiling face again. And only a Hominid with limited knowledge of DNA would consider my assertion baseless nonsense.
            Have a happy Thanksgiving
            Peace and Love
            cken

            • Hominid

              Yes, my “limited knowledge of DNA” results from my PhD from MIT, MD from Harvard Med and 30+ year, pioneering research program in molecular neurobiology. I’m certain, however, that your credentials far outweigh mine. How could I possibly know your assertions are baseless nonsense?

              • asmondius

                You forgot to mention your Olympic medal, Nobel prize, and winning smile.

                • Hominid

                  What’s the point of such a silly remark?

                  • asmondius

                    Yours.

        • Sven2547

          No leap of faith at all. It’s where all the evidence points.
          Not just some of the evidence, not just most. All.

      • papagan

        I think we’re in agreement on the essential issues. From a modern scientific perspective, evolutionary theory surely can be helpful; however, like process philosophy, the philosophy of evolutionism is inadequate from a metaphysical perspective. In that connection, I would recommend the notable work of Michael J. Dodds, O.P., The Unchanging God of Love: Thomas Aquinas and Contemporary Theology on Divine Immutability, 2/e (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2008).

      • “Christ and Paul believed in a literal Adam and Eve. The literary genre of origins has poetic features to be sure, but lest we seem overly wise in our estimation, we ought to be careful to let science speak as science and not allow the sub-discipline of evolution become our hermeneutical key that explains everything else.”

        Except, you are neglecting the obvious philosophical point that “Truth cannot contradict itself” – which means that when we find out some particular facts about reality that show that some particular ideas we have about reality are wrong, then those ideas fall, because they are wrong – and there is no special exception for some ideas merely because they go under the umbrella of “religious belief”. There is nothing “overly wise” about this point since it is merely obvious logic.

        • R. K. Ich

          That sword cuts both ways, right? What in nature have you observed that contradicts Paul and Jesus?

          • “That sword cuts both ways, right? What in nature have you observed that contradicts Paul and Jesus?”

            I take it that you haven’t read the story about demons and pigs, or Matthew 24:37, lately. But, besides that, you specifically wrote, “Christ and Paul believed in a literal Adam and Eve.” Which, of course, precisely makes my point. More-or-less modern human beings have been around for over 160,000 years, which proves that the Adam and Eve story is the religious myth that we know it to be. It’s a mythological story, with a talking snake and an angel with a flaming sword guarding a mythical garden.

            Now, what does your response have to do with my point that truth cannot contradict itself (which means that when we find out some particular facts about reality that show that some particular ideas we have about reality are wrong, then those ideas fall, because they are wrong)? Would you care to expand on that?

      • JM

        Catholics believe in a literal Adam and Eve. If Adam had not sinned and thereby his descendants had not inherited the consequences of his sin which made it impossible for mankind to enter into eternal life with God, there would not have been a reason for Jesus to come to earth to die in order to atone for Adam’s sin and redeem all of mankind from his sin.

        Evolution can be a part of God’s plan. The Bible was not meant to be a scientific book and it was not written with the intent that all parts of it are to be believed literally. The Bible’s main purpose is to explain the spiritual relationship between God and mankind. That said, men and monkeys are both mammals but mankind did not evolve from monkeys.

        If evolution was part of God’s plan, humans then took their own evolutionary path from the same exact matter as the matter from which monkeys also evolved, and one did not evolve from the other. IF all of our scientific dating methods are incorrect by billions of years, the earth is then literally about 6000 years old.

        It is fun to speculate about which theory is correct, but in the end, what matters for salvation is what each person’s relationship with God is at the time of his physical death on earth. The relationship status between God and him at the time of his death determines where he will spend eternity.

        Adam was the first of mankind to receive a spiritual and immortal soul, an intellect so that he could reason, a free will, and a conscience. These are all qualities which God possesses, and this is how Adam is like God. Man can choose to do evil whenever it suits him; however, God cannot choose to do evil because He is all-good.

      • L.W. Dicker

        And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, “Brethren, I’ve heard it said among you that I am the Son of God and was sent to die for your sins.

        May I asketh, who among you is the deranged luntic that came up with that Neanderthal bullshit!!!!???

        Blood sacrifice!!!!???? Have you all lost your fucking minds!!!!?!!!

        What are we, living in the goddamn Stone Age!!?

        Brethren, let me make myself absolutely clear: I’d rather lick Judas’ hairy ass crack than be a part of your dying for sins horse shit!!!!”

        —-Jesus Christ, A Goddamn Memoir

        • R. K. Ich

          Humourous and witty! What a high school diploma won’t do these days!

    • Angel

      Your understanding of the first chapter of Genesis (6 days of creation) is wrong. In the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, the primitive Sacred Author described his own view of how he saw the world (IT IS NOT SYMBOLISM) for God gave him the liberty to describe the world according to his senses.

      Adam and Eve show up in the second and third chapter of Genesis. Don’t mix them up together!

    • See Noevo

      I have some questions I’ve never found the answer to and thought you might be able to help.

      Why would the use of “day” in Genesis 1 be considered symbolic, given that the author goes out of his way six times to define day (e.g. “there was evening and there was morning, an x day”) AND given the author has already acknowledged the existence of seasons and years in Genesis 1:14? If “day” meant a much longer time period, why wouldn’t Scripture read something like “And God created X over many *years*, a fifth *season*” ?

      What is the symbolic/theological lesson of Genesis 1:29-30: “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.” ?

      If evolution and its common ancestry is true, why wouldn’t Genesis, still using figurative language for simplicity and brevity, say God created man from the beasts of the field (after causing the beast to go into a deep sleep and taking a rib from it)?

      • JERD2

        I think answers to all of your questions come down to the following from the Catechism section 109 et seq:

        “In Sacred Scripture, God speaks to man in a human way. To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm, and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words.

        In order to discover the sacred authors’ intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current. ‘For the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing, in prophetical and poetical texts, and in other forms of literary expression.'”

        We live in a time of what I would call “science supremacy.” If a proposal can’t be proven empirically, then it can’t be true. This article is a perfect example of the faithful “taking the bait.” The author struggles to match a three thousand year old biblical account of creation with modern science. Why? It is not necessary.

        There are truths in Genesis; but they are much greater than a literal reading of the text would illuminate, such as that there is a God who created our material reality.

        How He did it is up to the scientists to figure out. What is more important is that HE did it!

        You might be interested in the Catholic priest and physicist, George Lemaitre, who first proposed the ‘big bang’ as an explanation of creation.

        • See Noevo

          You haven’t answered my specific questions about specific
          verses, but instead attempt to wash them away with a general answer.

          Many of the faithful have “taken the bait” that modern
          hermeneutic experts say Genesis is not an actual/historical account. But I’m not one of them.

          If you (or they) can’t address all my points, how about just
          one – What is the theological truth conveyed by Genesis 1:29-30?

          P.S.
          The “Big Bang Theory” has more holes (and problems) than Swiss cheese. The average layman has no idea of the confusion, contradictions and contentiousness in cosmology. (And the same can be said for biological evolution.)

          • JERD2

            As for your question: You can visit the Bishop’s website:
            This is their answer:

            “According to the Priestly tradition, the human race was originally intended to live on plants and fruits as were the animals (see v. 30), an arrangement that God will later change (9:3) in view of the human inclination to violence.”

            • See Noevo

              So, the “Priestly tradition” takes Genesis 1:29-30 literally, that is, as actual/historical.

              But what about animals’ inclination to violence? Assuming
              for the sake of argument a millions of years view, were all animals non-carnivorous for millions of years up until several thousands of years ago? Where did the inclination for violence come from, if not the Fall?

              What does this Bishops’ website say specifically about my
              other two points (Gen 1:14; man coming from dust and not from another animal)?

      • Nick_from_Detroit

        See Noevo,
        The Hebrew word for “day,” yom, can also mean an age, or and era. So, it doesn’t have to necessarily refer to a 24-hour period of time.
        Just the other day, I read a view by Saint Augustine that God separating the light from the darkness (Gen. 1:4) may be interpreted as Satan’s rejection of the Incarnation through the Virgin Mary (Rev. 12). Saint Thomas Aquinas apparently concurred. My source, Dr. Taylor Marshall, didn’t provide the exact source of these claims, unfortunately. God Bless!

    • JJ

      You need to do some restudy. The Church teaches that God created everything in 6 days and rested on the seventh day, period. God creates though his word, he is almighty. He needs of no one, nothing or anything. Is there something impossible for Him
      .
      God bless
      JJ

    • Maxximiliann

      Jesus Christ, the most credible witness in the Bible, acknowledged the existence of Adam and Eve. When challenged on the subject of divorce, Jesus answered: “From the beginning of creation ‘[God] made them male and female. On this account a man will leave his father and mother, and the two will be one flesh’ . . . Therefore what God yoked together let no man put apart.” (Mark 10:6-9) Would Jesus use an allegory to establish a binding legal precedent? No! Jesus quoted Genesis as fact.

      • Sven2547

        Then that is a shortcoming on Jesus’ part, not support for a literal Genesis.

        • Maxximiliann

          Why?

          • Sven2547

            Because we know, based on almost the entirety of known physics, chemistry, biology, and geology, that Genesis Chapter 1 did not happen literally.

            • Maxximiliann

              What do you mean? Can you be more specific?

              • Sven2547

                Let’s start with an easy one: the Starlight Problem.

                Genesis 1 claims humanity was created in the same week as the rest of the universe. We know, due to the (observed, proven) speed of light and the distance of stars that the universe is billions of years old. Humanity, in stark contrast, has existed for 100-200 thousand years.

                • Maxximiliann

                  Where does Genesis one state any of that?

                  • “Where does Genesis 1 state any of that?”

                    Perhaps you should actually read Genesis 1. You know, where it talks about the first day, the second day, etc., until the sixth day (the day humans were created). And there is also Exodus 20:11 that explicitly and briefly reiterates the point.

                    It’s one thing to say that ‘Well, that’s just metaphorical’ – but it is another thing entire to try to pretend that the Bible does not say what it says at all.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Moses wrote his account in Hebrew, and he wrote it from the perspective of a person standing on the surface of the earth. These two facts, combined with the knowledge that the universe existed before the beginning of the creative periods, or “days,” help to defuse much of the controversy surrounding the creation account.

                      The Hebrew word translated “day” can mean various lengths of time, not just a 24-hour period. For example, when summarizing God’s creative work, Moses refers to all six creative days as one day. (Genesis 2:4) In addition, on the first creative day, “God began calling the light Day, but the darkness he called Night.” (Genesis 1:5) Here, only a portion of a 24-hour period is defined by the term “day.” Certainly, there is no basis in scripture for arbitrarily stating that each creative day was 24 hours long.

                      A careful consideration of the Genesis account reveals that events starting during one “day” continued into one or more of the following days. For example, before the first creative “day” started, light from the already existing sun was somehow prevented from reaching the earth’s surface, possibly by thick clouds. (Job 38:9) During the first “day,” this barrier began to clear, allowing diffused light to penetrate the atmosphere.

                      On the second “day,” the atmosphere evidently continued to clear, creating a space between the thick clouds above and the ocean below. On the fourth “day,” the atmosphere had gradually cleared to such an extent that the sun and the moon were made to appear “in the expanse of the heavens.” (Genesis 1:14-16) In other words, from the perspective of a person on earth, the sun and moon began to be discernible. These events happened gradually.

                      The Genesis account also relates that as the atmosphere continued to clear, flying creatures—including insects and membrane-winged creatures—started to appear on the fifth “day.” However, the Bible indicates that during the sixth “day,” God was still in the process of “forming from the ground every wild beast of the field and every flying creature of the heavens.”—Genesis 2:19.

                      Clearly, the Bible’s language allows for major events during each “day,” or creative period, to have occurred gradually rather than instantly, some of them even lasting into the following creative “days.”

                      In fact, at Hebrews 4:1-10 the apostle Paul indicated that God’s rest day was still continuing in his generation, and that was more than 4,000 years after that seventh-day rest period began. This makes it evident that each creative day, or work period, was at least thousands of years in length. As A Religious Encyclopaedia (Vol. I, p. 613) observes: “The days of creation were creative days, stages in the process, but not days of twenty-four hours each.”—Edited by P. Schaff, 1894.” – http://bit.ly/156Vanl

                      Intrinsically, then, and contrary to the amphigory of some Fundamentalists, Genesis does not teach that the universe, including the earth and all living things on it, was created abruptly in the relatively recent past. Rather, the description in Genesis of the creation of the universe and the appearance of life on earth harmonizes with many recent scientific discoveries.

                      Because of their philosophical beliefs, many scientists reject the Bible’s declaration that God created all things. Interestingly, however, in the ancient Bible book of Genesis, Moses wrote that the universe had a beginning and that life appeared in stages, progressively, over periods of time. How could Moses gain access to such scientifically accurate information some 3,500 years ago? There is one logical explanation. The One with the power and wisdom to create the heavens and the earth could certainly give Moses such exceedingly advanced knowledge. This gives compelling weight to the Bible’s claim that it is “inspired of God.”—2 Timothy 3:16.

                      http://bit.ly/11T5YpD

                    • You are discussing what is commonly known as the “Day-Age” interpretation. This interpretation was developed in the 1800s in reaction to discoveries in the early development of modern geology which showed that the earth had been around considerably longer than just 6,000 years (thus proving that young earth creationism was a false idea).

                      But you have a number of errors in your presentation. First of all, while there are significant parts of the Torah that could derive originally from Moses himself (especially some parts of the legal texts), these are a compendium of edited texts, edited and compiled at later times. (The story of Noah’s Flood, for example, is an Israelite rendition of a Babylonian myth.)

                      Additionally, while it certainly the case that the Day-Age interpretation is an attempt to try to make the creation religious myth compatible with modern science, it falls flat in a number of areas: It ignores the specific wording “and there was evening and there was morning”, which is repeated for each day. You don’t have the sun and the stars created until the fourth day, which is scientifically absurd. In the geological time frame, plant life on land did not evolve until the Ordovician (around 450 million years ago) – but the earth had been around for at least 4 billion years by that time. Et cetera, et cetera. Now, I certainly do realize that Christians can and do creatively reinterpret the Bible like taffy to get it to mean whatever they feel like it needs to mean according to their particular religious beliefs, which is an extremely popular pastime in Christian rhetoric these days, but especially in regard to Genesis 1 these are foreign to the text and foreign to anything the Hebrews of the time would have been thinking about. Plus I notice how you’re ignoring the text of Exodus 20:11.

                    • Dennis Bonnette

                      We have to be a bit careful when we say what “Christians” taught about the meaning of Scripture. The Catholic Church has had countless adherents down through the ages who have held many things about the meaning of Scripture, but Catholic “official” doctrine is taught by the Magisterium. The Magisterium has been rather sparse about defining the exact meaning of Scripture in the Old Testament, and in particular, of Genesis. I point to the findings of the Pontifical Biblical Commission in the last century. I cite the 1909 findings in my book, Origin of the Human Species: Third Edition (See Amazon), pp. 145-153. These teachings are limited to clearly identified essential facts whose literal and historical meaning Catholics may not call into question because they touch upon Christian fundamental teachings, for example, creation of all things by God at the beginning of time, the special creation of man, the formation of the first woman from man, the unity of the human race, the original happiness of our first parents with certain preternatural gifts, original sin, and the promise of a future Redeemer. It is well not to lay all the private beliefs about Scripture held by various Christians down through the centuries upon the Catholic Church. My article here is written from a Catholic perspective.

                    • 1909 is explicitly irrelevant to the context I’ve been discussing. As I’ve stated two or three times already, I’ve been discussing prior to the early development of geological science in the late 1700s to early 1800s, and pointed out specifically that Christians came up with all sorts of reinterpretations *after* that time as a reaction to geological discoveries, in order to accommodate what had been discovered in science. So 1909 just doesn’t count. I could also, for example, cite *The Fundamentals* published in the early 1900s in evangelical circles, where they wrote about reinterpretations of the Genesis creation story to accommodate the antiquity of the earth (with one article in particular even representing an attempt to accommodate the general idea of biological evolution). But again, this just doesn’t count in the context of what I was talking about, because I was specifically referring to the historical interpretations *before* the reactions to modern science.

                    • Dennis Bonnette

                      You miss my point. I realize 1909 is after the more recent scientific discoveries/claims. The point is that the Catholic Magisterium has not committed itself to specific interpretations of Genesis, except those summarized by the Biblical Commission in 1909 and some subsequent addenda. Most of the private interpretations of earlier Catholic Christian writers, many of which are consistent with a young-Earth scenario, simply were never adopted as official Church teaching. Thus, you cannot say that these earlier private positions are the official teaching of the Catholic Magisterium — as if that official teaching was “wrong” and had to be revised. Recall, the Church is not concerned with teaching astronomy or physics or biology, but rather with those matters that touch on fundamental Christian doctrine. An old saying about Catholic teaching is that the Church is not concerned with how the heavens go, but how to go to Heaven.

                    • I think you miss my point. What I have been pointing out is that *historically* the young earth creationism doctrine was virtually the sole interpretation of the Genesis creation story, whether we are talking about Catholic theologians or otherwise. This whole bit about the “Magisterium” is completely irrelevant to this. And then, moreoever, it is the further fact that this state of affairs changed only in reaction to the relevant discoveries in science.

                      Furthermore, if the Catholic Church was not all that concerned with how the heavens go, then it never would have banned books regarding heliocentrism. You’re beginning to sound like a Mormon trying to cover up their racist policies regarding blacks in the Mormon priesthood, and I don’t think you want to do that. It’s called “spin”, and it doesn’t belong here.

                    • Dennis Bonnette

                      I am sorry, but Catholic theology is not determined by private individuals, but by the official teaching of the Church, which is called the Magisterium. The Magisterium is determined essentially by the popes and by the bishops teaching in union with the popes. Nothing else counts. So, the number of young-Earth creationists among early Christians is irrelevant, since that was never the official teaching of the Catholic Church. While the statement about the Church teaching how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go, is a nice insight, it itself is also not part of the Magisterium!

                      The Magisterium does touch on matters scientific, but not directly — only insofar as some scientific opinion might contradict some revealed dogma or doctrine, for example, the scientific claims that human intelligence slowly emerged or that there were many first true human parents, not a single first couple. See my article above for the Catholic doctrine which these holdings would offend.

                      As the one, true Church, founded by Jesus Christ Himself, is the Catholic Church, it has the right and duty to define and explain its own official teachings — since, as Christ says, “He who hears you, hears Me.”

                    • I’m sorry you keep missing the point. Let me know when you get it. Try going back and reading what I wrote. If you have something to show to the contrary, that there were any significant number of Christians (i.e., more than one or two, over 1700 years) teaching anything other than the concept of young earth creationism, please feel free to present the historical example. Until then, everything you write is merely red herring.

                    • Dennis Bonnette

                      Having reread your points above, I readily concede that Christians, prior to the last several hundred years, did in fact view the world in terms consistent with that of young earth
                      creationism. And doubtless, just as in the case of the YEC’s, they did so because this seemed to be the most obvious cosmological reading of Genesis.

                      But, as I pointed out earlier, the Catholic Magisterium never endorsed that fundamentalistic reading for the simple reason that the Church defines doctrine directly only as it pertains to
                      revelation in matters of faith and morals, not natural science. If a natural scientific theory contradicted revealed truth, then the scientific theory would be condemned by the Magisterium. I am sure you are aware that, when natural science began to explore and develop what we call the modern scientific view of the cosmos, many sons of the Church were among the leading scientists in that historic process.

                      Although it may not be the main thrust of your comments, my concern arises when you say, “Furthermore, if the Catholic Church was not all that concerned with how the heavens go, then it never would have banned books regarding heliocentrism.”

                      Here you appear to imply that the Catholic Magisterium has, indeed, taught matters of natural science directly — and done so in error. I demur.

                      I presume you have in mind the case of Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543, who proposed the heliocentric theory. While
                      Copernicus personally met with some controversy, it was from fellow scientists, not the Catholic Church. Copernicus enjoyed good relations with the Church and was widely respected as a skilled mathematician and astronomer. Indeed, his famed heliocentric thesis met no initial resistance from the Church.

                      It is true that the Church banned Copernicus’ “Des
                      revolutionibus” for more than 200 years – from 1616 to 1835. Yet, many books have been banned for various reasons, and one cannot logically infer from the banning of a particular work that the official Magisterium is thereby proposing
                      for belief a certain physical theory. The banning of “Des revolutionibus” never rose to the level of the official Magisterium (teaching authority), because the placement of a book on the Index of Prohibited Books was not a Magisterial act, but a disciplinary one based on a multitude of complex,
                      particular criteria – not all of which even pertain to doctrine. Hundreds of books have been placed on the Index, and this disciplinary activity aimed at the practical protection of souls should not be confused with the exercise of the ordinary and extraordinary teaching authority of the Catholic Church, which from time to time addresses general matters of faith and morals for all Catholics.

                      Unfortunately, what confuses matters is that Giordano Bruno, who also embraced the heliocentric theory, was executed
                      in 1600 for being a heretic – leading many to refer to him as “the first martyr of the new science.” Contrary to popular mythology, Bruno was not burned at the stake for being a heliocentrist, but for heresies concerning pantheism, the
                      Trinity, Christ, the Blessed Virgin, Transubstantiation, and so forth.

                      As for Copernicus himself, Case Western Reserve University physicist Mano Singham published an article in Physics
                      Today entitled “The Copernican Myths” (December 2007) in which he disputes many assumptions about Copernicus, including the claim that his ideas were “fiercely opposed by the Catholic Church.” In fact, initial opposition arose from Protestant sects.

                      Most relevant to the point I have been making is that the Catholic Church never adopted an official stance on the
                      Copernican theory, that is, the Magisterium simply did not address the scientific theory itself. Indeed, Pope Clement VII, who died about ten years before Copernicus, was said to have been sympathetic to the astronomer’s theories. And there is no recorded response from Pope Paul III, who reigned from 1534 to 1549.

                      One cannot run through the entire history of the Magisterium on this thread, but the fact remains that Catholic Church
                      doctrine concerns religious revelation and does not directly address particular scientific theories, except insofar as they actually oppose revealed doctrines.

                      The Church does still concern herself with how to help all men get to Heaven.

                    • Dennis Bonnette

                      One further point. You may be confusing churchmen and theologians making doctrinal errors with the Church and its Magisterium which cannot err in faith and morals. You may not agree with this distinction, but such disagreement is understandable if you are not a Catholic. The number of Christians, even theologians, teaching doctrinal errors in the past has nothing to do with the official teaching of the Catholic Church, which alone determines authentic Catholic belief. That is simply the nature of the Catholic Church and it is the perspective from which my article was written.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Verse one very clearly states, “בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ׃ The term “השמים” encompasses all of the stars including ours.

                    • There you go. I love your lame attempt at pure obfuscation. The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t say squat about stars. Now, stars are specifically stated in Genesis 1:14-18. But we do observe how you continue to prove my point – that in order to promote whatever particular religious agenda you wish to promote you just make up anything you feel like making up no matter what the facts are. This behavior is absolutely endemic to religious belief, and I appreciate you continuing to demonstrate this fact to everyone.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      If you don’t know how to read ancient Hebrew all you had to do was say so. I would have been more than happy to help 🙂

                    • There you go with the pure obfuscation again. Genesis 1 doesn’t say squat about stars until Genesis 1:14-18. Your attempt to pretend otherwise with the obfuscating remarks is rather lame.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Then why does it refer to השמים as being among the first of God’s acts of material creation?

                    • It doesn’t say stars, and that does not mean stars. If it meant stars it would be translated as stars. Why do you keep playing obfuscation games to try to pretend otherwise? Now Genesis 1:14-18 really does specifically state “stars” – but we notice you keep running away from that one.

                      Please do keep showing how religious believers just make things up to promote their particular religious creedal agenda, regardless of the actual facts – including making things up about the Bible (i.e., not just about history and science). It’s an educational point that a lot of people hate to acknowledge, so I appreciate it when people actually demonstrate the point.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      It says השמים which encompasses all the celestial bodies of the universe including stars. (cf.Nehemiah 9:23 )

                    • You have a real funny way of misrepresenting everything in sight.

                      Neh. 9:23 – “You made their children as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them into the land that you told their parents to enter and possess.”

                      Doesn’t say that “heavens” = “stars”.

                      Deut. 4:19 – “And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.”

                      Doesn’t say that “heavens” = “stars”.

                      Isa. 13:10 – “For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light.”

                      Doesn’t say that “heavens” = “stars”.

                      1 Cor. 15:40-41 – “There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”

                      Doesn’t say that “heavens” = “stars”.

                      Heb. 11:12 – “Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE.”

                      Doesn’t say that “heavens” = “stars”.

                      They all say that the stars are IN the heavens. Well, no duh.

                      Genesis 1:14-19 – “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.”

                      The verses I keep pointing out to you, which you keep ignoring (along with Exodus 20:11, which you also keep ignoring). It says God placed them IN “the expanse of the heavens”. It doesn’t say the heavens are the stars, and it does not say the stars are the heavens.

                      So, hey, how much longer do you want to keep up with the obviously silly remarks based on trying to make things up which are ridiculously wrong, ignoring the obvious, and especially deliberately ignoring what Genesis 1:14-16 actually says?

                      Yes, it is always amusing when those who say they believe in the Bible work so hard to run away from it whenever it serves their particular religious agenda. I get a good chuckle out of that every time.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      They do say, however, that the stars are part of the heavens. Concordantly, references to the celestial heavens are references to – not just stars – but to all celestial bodies in our universe.

                      Any simpler and I’m gonna have to break out the crayons 🙂

                    • I have no doubt that playing with crayons is about your level – since, as we are observing, you are obviously unable to comprehend what Genesis 1:14-16 says.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      This coming from a woeful sciolist who can’t even read the Bible in it’s original tongue. Before you try to teach others teach yourself first …

                    • “This coming from a woeful sciolist who can’t even read the Bible in it’s original tongue. Before you try to teach others teach yourself first …”

                      This coming from a woeful sciolist who has Genesis 1:14-16 right in front of him, who has even had it quoted to him explicitly a few times, and yet who keeps right on pretending it doesn’t even exist. Thanks for the comedy, Maxxi. We appreciate the humor.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      At Hebrews 4:1-10 the apostle Paul indicated that God’s rest day was still continuing in his generation, and that was more than 4,000 years after that seventh-day rest period began. This makes it evident that each creative day, or work period, was at least thousands of years in length. As A Religious Encyclopaedia (Vol. I, p. 613) observes: “The days of creation were creative days, stages in the process, but not days of twenty-four hours each.”—Edited by P. Schaff, 1894.” – http://bit.ly/156Vanl

                    • First of all, the idea that that Paul wrote Hebrews is one of those Catholic traditions that you consider to be “Antichrist”, so it’s amusing that here you are using it, since in fact the writer of Hebrews not only does not say he is Paul (it is written anonymously), but is not written in the style of Paul’s writings, does not quote the Old Testament using the language that Paul used (Paul always quoted the Masoretic Hebrew version), and indeed the writer of Hebrews specifically states that he is not an apostle.

                      Second, if you were actually paying attention, of course, instead of just making things up to promote some sectarian religious doctrine you would realize that the writer of Hebrews in chapter 4 is specially using “rest” and “Sabbath day” figuratively. You would also have noticed that he writes about not even having “entered” this rest yet, which if we were using your literal interpretation would mean the seventh day hadn’t even started yet, which would imply an obvious contradiction. That’s what you get for not paying any attention to context. But – oh, right – that is exactly what religious believers do all the time, just take anything and everything out of context they feel like doing in order to make up whatever they feel like making up to try to prop up some particular religious creed they’re trying to support. Same old, same old.

                      And, again, this is neither here nor there. You keep using red herring to deny the facts and run away from the facts. The fact of the matter is that the young earth creationism doctrine stood virtually alone as the sole interpretation of the Genesis creation story – until, following the early discoveries in the development of modern geological science regarding the antiquity of the earth, as a reaction to geological science Christian theologians began engaging in creative reinterpretations to try to accommodate the science. And, to this day, in the United States alone there are still tens of thousands of young earth creationists. You have yet to touch hide nor hair of these facts. Even your obfuscation tactics are transparent as attempts at pure evasion of these facts.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Are you hard of reading? I clearly stated that “Hebrews 4:1-10 [] indicated that God’s rest day was still continuing in his generation, and that was more than 4,000 years after that seventh-day rest period began.”

                      “Pay attention,” you say? Medice, cura te ipsum …

                    • Are you hard of reading? What does your response have to do with anything I wrote?

                      Additionally, we are all noticing how you are still trying to run away with your red herring, all for the purpose of continuing to try to completely ignore the facts that the young earth creationism doctrine stood virtually alone as the sole interpretation of the Genesis creation story until the development of modern geology and that in the United States alone there are still tens of thousands of young earth creationists.

                      It is simply comical that here we are still waiting for you to retract your obviously false statement that “Except that Christians do not make such a claim. Sorry, try again.” The fact that you are completely unable to acknowledge in any way the obviously bogus nature of that comment is rather telling.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Did you forget you claimed:

                      if we were using your literal interpretation would mean the seventh day hadn’t even started yet

                    • You wrote: “Did you forget you claimed: ‘if we were using your literal interpretation would mean the seventh day hadn’t even started yet’.”

                      No, I did not forget.

                    • Oh, yeah, I notice how you misrepresented Job 38:9, which reads, “When I made a cloud its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band”

                      Nothing there about the light of the sun. But we do thank you for showing that manner of creatively reinterpreting the Bible to mean whatever you feel like it needs to mean to fit your particular religious beliefs. This is a good example.

          • Zeke

            Same shortcoming as yours – he read the Hebrew Bible and accepted it as true. Possessing a first century knowledge of science, he had no reason to doubt it.
            At least he had an excuse, you don’t.

            • Maxximiliann

              First century knowledge? He was the Son of God. If anyone knew about Science it was him.

              • Zeke

                Really? Seems he would have mentioned something that wasn’t already known by every other iron age Hebrew. I mean, a real mensch would have mentioned that disease wasn’t caused by demons, or that lead was poisonous to humans, or to avoid trans fats.
                But mostly he should have mentioned that the universe wasn’t a few thousand years old. That would have saved a lot of future Christians some real embarrassment.

                • Maxximiliann

                  Except that Christians do not make such a claim. Sorry, try again.

                  • “Except that Christians do not make such claim.”

                    Except that young earth creationism doctrine was all Christians taught (well, there were a couple of exceptions over the millenia) – until geological science came along and the early geologists pointed out otherwise. And then progressive theologians started to get on board by retroactively reinterpreting the Genesis creationism to accommodate the new-at-the-time scientific discoveries in geology. And yet today we still have, in the United States alone, literally tens of millions of Christians who still promote the ancient young earth creationism doctrine. Apparently you’ve never heard to Henry Morris or Kent Hovind or Ken Ham. These guys are not Hindu, they’re Christian.

                    So, sorry, try again.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      That was taught by the Catholic Church, not Christians.

                    • Please do tell us what historical document you are basing this on. The history is that the young earth creationism doctrine was taught by all Christians, with only extremely rare exceptions (as in you can count them on one hand), for almost two thousand years – until after the beginning of the development of modern geology in the late 1700s, after which time some Christians started coming up with creative reinterpretations to try to accommodate the new geological discoveries. I suggest you take a look at the book *Christianity and the Age of the Earth* by Davis A. Young. And in addition to the young earth creationism doctrine, you also have the worldwide flood story of Noah, which no Christian questioned (especially in light of 2 Peter 3:3-7) until the results of geological study of the matter caused geologists to realize that there had never been any worldwide flood in the first place, let alone a worldwide flood wiping out all humans on the face of the earth merely four to five thousand years ago.

                      I realize you want to try to distance yourself from the false doctrines taught by Christians for many centuries until science came along, but it is silly to try to deny history.

                      And your statement “Except that Christians do not make such a claim” is just completely bogus, since in fact in the United States right now there are literally tens of millions of young earth creationists, as determined through surveys of religious belief, such as those by Gallup Poll, Pew Research Center, and Barna Group. You need to get your facts straight. So, sorry, try again.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Just about all ancient peoples possess lore telling how their forebears made it through a global deluge . African Pygmies , European Celts , South American Incas—all have very similar legends , as do peoples of Alaska , Australia , China , India , Lithuania , Mexico , Micronesia , New Zealand , as well as regions of The North American Continent , to point out just a few .

                      Through the years the legends were , needless to say , adorned nevertheless they all incorporate a number of specific details thus revealing the existence of a well-known source narrative. Specifically : God was angered by mankind’s evil . He caused a great inundation . Humanity on the whole was wiped out . A handful of righteous ones , nonetheless , were protected . These constructed a vessel wherein individuals as well as wildlife were protected . In time , birds were sent off to seek out dry terrain . At long last , the vessel came to rest on a mountain . Upon disembarking , the survivors presented a sacrifice .

                      Precisely what does this establish ? This likeness simply cannot be coincidental . The collective evidence of these particular legends corroborates the Bible’s ancient testimony that all people descend from the survivors of a flood that eradicated a world of humankind . For that reason , we need not rely upon legends or myths to learn what occurred . We have the carefully preserved history in the Hebrew scriptures of the Holy Bible .—Genesis , chapters 6-8 .

                    • Maxximiliann, you’re a funny guy.

                      First you try to pretend that Christians who believe in the young earth creationism doctrine, both in history as well as today, don’t even exist. A claim which is not only unequivocally factually wrong, but so obvious than the moment you made that claim you dug yourself into a big hole.

                      But then you turn around and promote one of the components of the young earth creationism, in treating the Bible myth of Noah’s worldwide flood as an actual history. I have no doubt that numerous cultures have various flood myths, since virtually all ancient cultures experienced actual floods, which in those times were even more destructive in consequence than they are now (because of the technology and wealth we have today to deal with the aftermath better). (Not to mention tsunamis, which we saw in 2004 in Malaysia are absolutely devasting.) I do always laugh when Christians try to pretend a religious myth conjuring up the idea of a worldwide flood, based on the mere idea of actual floods, which occur relatively frequently, is somehow magically true because – ta da! – the Bible says so. So you say the Genesis creation story is a figurative metaphor, but then you turn around and proclaim the flood myth (which is derived from the Babylonian flood myth) to be an actual historical event – despite the fact that we already know both through geology and archaeology that no such worldwide flood ever happened.

                      Seriously, I’m not dealing with someone who is thinking straight.

                    • Zeke

                      Don’t waste your time. He’s a particularly obnoxious Jehovah’s Witness and biblical literalist named Joseph O. Polanco, who’s been banned from many blogs for rude behavior.

                    • It’s interesting that he’s a member of the JW church (wow, I could go on a whole string about the weird history of that one – started as a following of a guy like Harold Camping who was predicting the end of the world around the time of World War I – but not really part of the context here). But it doesn’t change anything in regard to the specific points of discussion.

                      I do find it amusing – and I’m sure you’ve encountered this a number of times yourself – how you get involved in a discussion and you’re talking about something else entirely, but in that discussion you happen to cite some obvious fact in example of what you’re talking about – yet in doing so you “stumble” into one of those things that pushed some particular “hot button” of some religious believer regarding which he is in denial of reality because of his particular beliefs – and then the discussion goes off on this Bizarro World tangent because this guy is spouting off with completely false statements based on some utterly delusional premise that he’s relying on. Such as in this case, where “Maxximiliann” (Joseph) is desperately trying to ignore the fact that young earth creationists even exist in the first place. It’s really bizarre stuff.

                    • Zeke

                      His life is one big ‘hot button’.
                      Cheers.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      So you say the Genesis creation story is a figurative metaphor

                      Strawman. When did I ever say that?

                    • I wrote: “So you say the Genesis creation story is a figurative metaphor…”

                      You reply: “Strawman. When did I ever say that?”

                      You used the Day-Age interpretation. Duh.

                    • Matthew Alton

                      Just about all ancient peoples possess lore telling how their forebears made it through a global deluge.

                      Wait a minute! They told me in Sunday School that Noah’s family were the only humans who survived the Great Flood. If all of these other people “made it through” then doesn’t that contradict the Bible?

                    • Maxximiliann

                      You were told correctly. The forbearers these legends refer to are really Noah and his family.

                    • Matthew Alton

                      The forbearers these legends refer to are really Noah and his family.

                      Oh! That makes good sense.

                      What about the Epic of Gilgamesh that the Mesopotamians recorded? Was that fellow Utnapishtim also Noah?

                    • Maxximiliann

                      He typified Noah, yes.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      You’re conflating Antichristians with Christians. The Catholic Church – the dominant religion of the dark ages – is Antichrist, not Christian.

                    • “You’re conflating Antichristians with Christians.”

                      No, I’m not.

                      First of all, I have pointed out the *fact* that there are tens of millions of Christians who are young earth creationists *today* – and the vast majority of these young earth creationists are not Catholics, because *today* it is official Catholic doctrine that accepts the antiquity of the universe and the earth. You have repeatedly, deliberately ignored this fact.

                      Second, I have pointed out the *fact* that *historically* virtually all writings by *all* Christians wrote under the consistent presumption of the young earth creationism doctrine. You have repeatedly, deliberately ignored this fact. I have explicitly asked you to produce an examine of a historical document, even one, showing otherwise. You have deliberately ignored that as well.

                      So it is become quite clear that you are one of those guys who loves to just make up bogus statements without ever even attempting to produce even a shred of evidence to back a thing. So please do explain what part of your alleged Christian-based morality tells you that it is a religious virtue to make things up which are not true, and then defiantly refuse to correct your factual errors when they are pointed out to you.

                      I’ll be waiting.

                    • Maxximiliann

                      Anyone who contradicts or opposes Christ’s teaching – such as yourself – is an Antichrist: http://bit.ly/1uUUgmT

                    • “Anyone who contradicts or opposes Christ’s teaching – such as yourself – is an Antichrist.”

                      Yes, I know. Everyone who disagrees with you is “Antichrist”.

                      You’re apparently one of those lovers of red herring, too. Since your response is totally irrelevant to dealing with the facts I pointed out, which show that your statement trying to pretend that young earth creationists in the past and the present have never existed is completely bogus.

                      I suppose that you not being “Antichrist” means that you are also infallible and thus can just make up anything you like no matter what the facts are, and then it’s perfectly okay for you to completely ignore dealing with any of the facts that show that statements you make are bogus.

                      How is that irrationality working out for you?

                    • Maxximiliann

                      I can explain it but I can’t understand it for you, sorry.

                    • Explaining is precisely the problem that has been plaguing you from the get-go. If you *can* explain then what is taking you so long.

                      But what we observe is how you again write a response in which you completely and utterly ignore the fact that your statement trying to pretend that young earth creationists in the past and the present have never existed is completely bogus. That is the fact you cannot explain because you made an obviously false comment, yet are also obviously incapable of acknowledging your distinct error on that point. Thank you for the demonstration of the meaning of the word “obtuse”. I appreciate it.

              • Zeke

                And don’t try to follow me Polanco. It’s creepy.

              • “First century knowledge? He was the Son of God. If anyone knew about Science it was him.”

                This argument is quite ironic, precisely because of how it so unwittingly disproves your point.

                • Maxximiliann

                  How so?

                  • You wrote: “First century knowledge? He was the Son of God. If anyone knew about Science it was him.”

                    I wrote: “This argument is quite ironic, precisely because of how it so unwittingly disproves your point.”

                    You replied: “How so?”

                    I could explain it to you, but at the moment I’m liking my use of the word “unwittingly” in my initial response, so I think I’m going to let it ride for the moment. So sorry.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      As the author of the article above, I am delighted to see that the number of comments has now exceeded five hundred! I realize that many of them are critical of my arguments, and that many others are simply “side fights” among the commenters themselves. Still, the strong participation of so many people in this thread is a good indicator of the importance and fascination inherent in the topic of a literal Adam and Eve.

      I hope that those who want to explore, not only Adam and Eve’s status in Catholicism, but also the entire intellectual interface between evolutionary theory, philosophy, and religion, will take a look at the 2014 expanded third edition of my book, Origin of the Human Species (See Amazon books). One of its most interesting topics is a chapter on recent ape-language studies and what they reveal about the uniqueness of the species of true man. If you want to see this article without having to buy the book, just go to my web site at drbonnette.com where the original forty page article (from which chapter five of the book was redacted) is posted in full.

      Still, there are many other critical topics that are found only in the book itself, such as the question of extra-terrestrial life, the debate over the age of the cosmos, and where true man’s spiritual soul and God’s existence fits into all this.

      Again, my thanks to any and all — even critics — for offering so much interest in this topic of our first parents, whose literal reality is absolutely essential to the rational coherence of Original Sin, and thus, to Catholicism itself.

  • Thank you Professor Bonnette, for a very erudite article. This is a complex subject, which you quite artfully reduced to an article that laymen like myself can understand. Regarding the “interbreeding solution”, I wonder if the Magisterium has spoken (or even hinted) at where it stands on it. After all, it might explain the reference to “sons of God” and “daughters of men” in Genesis 6.

    Thank you again for this enlightening article.

    • See Noevo

      Humani Generis, para 37:
      “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely
      polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the
      faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam
      there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through
      natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam
      represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how
      such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth
      and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to
      original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam
      and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his
      own.”

      Does that answer your question about the Magisterium?

      • See Noevo…thank you very much for your reply. I am quite familiar with the Humani Generis. But the interbreeding question mentioned in the article refers to human beings interbreeding with non-human beings. Presumably, another hominid closely related to homo sapiens. That is not what Humani Generis is speaking about in the section you quote. I was wondering if the Magisterium has hinted at this possibility being theologically unsound.

  • russell snow

    Very good article. I have given a lot of thought to this issue and there are other logical possibilities of how God accomplished this, in that God may have created the first souls only in Adam and Eve, who was created from Adam’s DNA. Other human like beings existed all around them, but they were not human in the same way. If our first parents offspring interbred with other human like beings, their DNA was passed down from the parents with a soul and God created souls in all the offspring of Adam and his descendants. The fact that all human beings except Noah and his sons and daughters died in the flood, means that all human like beings without souls perished. Also, as a result of the fall, all of DNA of humans is disordered in some manner. For a God who created space, time, matter, and causality these things are not different. After all, we know God created Jesus, from the sinless DNA from Mary in his human nature, and that God did this. Neither Mary nor Jesus suffered the disorder in their DNA, and we know that while the effects of original sin remain after baptism, the DNA may healed and the stain of sin removed from our souls.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      This article addresses some very specific objections to a literal Adam and Eve. For a much more complete explanation of how the truths of Genesis, following the Biblical Commission, comport with reason and science, see my book, Origin of the Human Species: Third Edition (link in my biography). There, I explore several scenarios, including the possibility of monozygotic twinning (pp. 173-176).

  • Nostromo

    Here’s an article teliing us how our vison came about according to science. We had to be on the look out for snakes.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060810-snake-evolve.html

    • Carlos

      I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not! I’ve seen articles like these where one species ‘develops’ vision as self defense, yet the predator already can see.

      • Nostromo

        As serious as those proposing the theory I suppose. Of course some fallacy seeping into these ideas is entirely possible.

  • Kevin Hughes

    “When human beings began to grow numerous on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw how beautiful the daughters of human beings were, and so they took for their wives whomever they pleased. Then the LORD said: My spirit shall not remain in human beings forever, because they are only flesh. Their days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim appeared on earth in those days, as well as later, after the sons of God had intercourse with the daughters of human beings, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.”

    It’s a fascinating topic. (Both this essay and the specific issue of the Genesis 6 passage above.)

    For Catholics, I think the primary orientation is an understanding that human origins arise out of mystery, partially illuminated by both Scripture and science, but that the fundamental truth about human nature is the revelation in Jesus Christ, who “reveals man to man.”

    • Maybe God concels the absolute truth because “WE CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH”.

      It works better if you imagine Jack Nicholson screaming that in a fit of pomposity.

      • Rob B.

        Well, he’s played the Devil. Why not God as well? Why should Morgan Freeman have all the fun? 🙂

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    I’m with Chesterton. No one ever says of a whale that it isn’t ‘whaley’ enough. But if you say of a man, he isn’t ‘manly’ enough we understand perfectly what is meant. We live all our lives with the results of ‘original sin’, of some primary human disaster. This deviation from our own sublime norm is so obvious most men today don’t even see it anymore. I am a Jewish convert and I knew simple Orthodox Jews who washed their hands and said a prayer before even touching Holy Scripture. I miss some of this awe and mystery in modern Catholicism. Sometimes I think articles such as this are banal, chatty and leave one with – talking points for an endless argument no one wins.

    • See Noevo

      Are you a convert to Catholicism or to Judaism? If the former, welcome home!
      I like Chesterton, too. Very much. G.K.C. was no fan of evolution (but that’s not the only reason I like him).

      • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

        I am a Catholic.

    • Alessandro Arsuffi

      Well, nobody prevents you from doing that. Also, the “Lectio Divina” practice is a good way to pray and meditate Scripture with the same depth.

    • ColdStanding

      An older prayer to say before reading the Bible is: “May our sins be blotted out by virtue of the words of the Gospel.” When followed with a reverent kiss of the Bible, this used to be a prayer with an indulgence attached to it.

      I’ve used it with the kids and they now enthusiastically expect to say this prayer and kiss the Bible.

  • Daniel P

    I’m sympathetic to the notion of a literal Adam and Eve, but the comments about induction here are puzzling. Induction does not provide deductive proofs, sure, but it can be extremely strong and powerful.

    If induction is as weak as Dr. Bonnette seems to suggest, then maybe we should all be Young Earth Creationists, too. After all, it’s impossible to deductively prove that the Earth isn’t 4500 years old.

    Perhaps Bonnette’s point was merely to show that current (and trendy) science is fallible. But I think he overshot that, and ended up suggesting — falsely — that induction isn’t really a good way to prove things.

    • Scott W.

      I didn’t see even an implication that induction isn’t a good way to prove things. Rather, induction is doctrinal among many of our high priests in lab coats who will brook no dissent.

      • Daniel P

        Of course, it’s doctrinal. There is no other conceivable way to investigate whether there were a literal Adam and Eve. That can’t be done by deduction.

        • Scott W.

          Right. But it is a doctrine that has permeated much of society that this is the only means to valid knowledge in town on any given subject.

          • Daniel P

            I agree that this is a problem. But happily, any given person who holds that induction is the only game in town will be forced to back down when we point out that there is no conceivable inductive argument to ground moral claims. Unless the person is a nihilist, that person must hold that there are rational non-inductive premises — and that these are the premises that make their moral views rational.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      I did not suggest that one cannot employ the inductive method with great success in the practical application of natural science. Good scientists do it every day, and we depend on this scientific method in all our modern technology and for our very lives in modern medicine. Yet, inductive demonstration of a universal negative about particular events taking place deep in past time remains a worse than daunting task. The radical contingency of retroactive calculations based on many assumptions in these cited studies by molecular biologists underlines this.

      • Daniel P

        I think scientists could easily make very strong arguments for certain “universal negatives about particular events taking place deep in past time”. For example, I think they could demonstrate that no human being in the ancient past lived for 1000+ years.

        Such findings are in tension with scripture, yes. But I think we have to live with that tension. I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable with a Christian argument that human beings DID live for 1000+ years, at least insofar as that argument portrayed inductive evidence to the contrary as unreliable.

        I like the scientific reasons you give for a possible Adam and Eve, in your essay. I think that avenue is a great route to follow, and I much prefer it to any route that even flirts with the false claim that “science cannot prove a negative”. Science proves negatives just as well as it proves positives.

        • See Noevo

          From what I’ve read, true scientists say that science never “proves”
          anything, that science can only provide evidence of a conclusion beyond a (currently) reasonable doubt.

          And I have never seen any evidence, or specifically, the
          INTERPRETATION of evidence, for biological (or cosmological) evolution that is beyond a reasonable doubt.

          • Daniel P

            Science has proven that we think with the brain, not the heart. In ancient times, there was much disagreement about that.

            Science has proven a great many things. If some scientists happen to say that science never proves anything, that’s because they don’t understand their own discipline well enough.

            • Hominid

              You don’t understand what your saying.

              • Daniel P

                Do you deny that we think with the brain instead of the heart, or do you deny that such a thing is proven?

                • Based on the news of the day, substantial numbers of people don’t think at all.

                • Hominid

                  1) Mundane observation is NOT science.

                  2) What does “think” mean? Yeah, kinda trivializes your assertion, doesn’t it?

        • Hominid

          Science never ‘proves’ anything, positive or negative. Science can only offer approximations of the cause and effect relationships that exist in the empirical universe outside the mind. Some models have high predictive value, others not so much. But, no other epistemic endeavor (ideology including religious mythology, art, literature, politics, etc) comes anywhere close to the epistemic achievement of science.

  • Michael Foley

    Dr. Bonnette, I am curious to hear your views on whom Cain and Seth married. Did they marry: 1) their full sisters (the Talmudic answer)? 2) other humans created separately by God? or 3) human-like beings?

    • Dennis Bonnette

      I can only point out that Genesis 4:17 does not say that Cain married a stranger, but that he “knew” his wife, a wife one may presume he already had before moving to the “east side of Eden.”

    • See Noevo

      As Dr. Bonnette says: “Such interbreeding is not to be confused with the marriages between true human siblings and cousins which would have occurred in the first generations following Adam and Eve, which unions were a necessary part of God’s plan for the initial propagation of mankind (Gen. 1:28).”

      I would add that marriage between brother and sister – in the beginning – would have been necessary (that’s all you had to “work” with) and would not have been genetically risky. Only later, after the effects of the Fall became more manifest, would the genome become progressively more degraded to the point that interbreeding among relatives became dangerous and in fact forbidden.

  • Sherry

    Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., gave a terrific presentation on “”What Can Human Genomics Tell Us About Adam and Eve” at the Portsmouth Institute conference on science and religion in 2013. Fr. Austriaco was a professor of science and theology at Providence College.

    There is a You Tube of the talk available online.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      I have shared some of my views with Fr. Austriaco. Also, I have a peer reviewed article entitled “The Rational Credibility of a Literal Adam and Eve” scheduled for publication in June 2015 in the Spanish Thomist journal, Espiritu. When published, the full text will be available online.

  • William Lanigan

    Is it possible that God simply chose a particular couple, a man and a woman in the “Cradle of Civilization” area to reveal Himself to and to spread the word about His existence? Did God breathe His Spirit into a man and woman He had just created, or did He breathe it into an already existing couple? If we say that for some reason this seems illogical then wouldn’t we have to say that choosing a particular young woman to bear His Son was equally illogical?

    • Objectivetruth

      Exactly. We have faith to believe that Christ was born of a virgin, walked on water, rose from the dead, ascended in to heaven. Why do we suspend that belief when it comes to Genesis?

      • Richard

        If it is necessary, in order to be a Christian, to believe the Old Testament is factual, it becomes impossible to be a Christian.

        • Nick_from_Detroit

          That’s absurd. One only needs to learn what genre of literature is being employed to a particular book of the Old Testament to understand the factual parts of Sacred Scripture.
          Unfortunately, many of those who dismiss the Word of God will not endeavor to learn how to read the Word of God. In context.
          God Bless!

    • See Noevo

      In the hypothetical absence of Scripture and of the Church, what you propose may not be illogical, or at least not wrong.

      However, Scripture and the Church say that all human beings who have ever existed came from one man and one woman – Adam and Eve.

      • William Lanigan

        Were we fully human before we had a knowledge of God and/or had His Spirit within us?

        • See Noevo

          Every human being is fully human and, per the Church, all
          human beings trace their biological ancestry to one particular human male and one particular human female – Adam and Eve.

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    Much interested,but not much invested. The subject tends to provoke the most gut wrenching (knot tying) reaction from folks. Was raised among fundamental literalists, so I understand their motive and, maybe, fears entwining those knots and guts. But those who (from their knot wrenching guts) insist that Adam & Eve could never (must never) exists as persons (standing by the act and before their Creator) stumps my skill in getting q grip on their motives and, yes, fears. They seem to fear the thought that these two had, honest-to-goodness, walked the earth. Why the anxiety.

    Have found the author below interresting, and helpful – of course with the standard qualifivacation that I don’t see eye-to-eye. But he’s worth a read. And, that’s right, he’s not Catholic, but neither is he a “rabid fundamentalist”.

    Recommend dipping into his “Genese 1-4” book before picking up his exposition on “Adam and Eve” exposition. Provides background to his take on things. His literary lens will be of interests to the readers here.

  • Ruth Rocker

    Anyone who has ever studied logic formally will tell you that it is impossible to prove a negative. It’s quite permissible to say “probably not” or “incredibly unlikely” but never an outright “no way” will work.

    • Daniel P

      I teach logic. It is possible to prove a negative — both deductively and inductively. Inductive proofs of negatives are not absolutely conclusive, but inductive proofs of positives aren’t conclusive either.

      • Hominid

        Your dealing in the realm of ideology, not in the realm of science.

        • asmondius

          Science is the child of logic.

          • Hominid

            Your bumper sticker mentality is coming through.

            • asmondius

              I’m merely parsing concepts for your consumption.

  • kelso

    Mr. Bonette, you posit that one can be a faithful Catholic and believe in evolution. Do you actually hold that the first man had an ape (or quasi ape) for a mother? What you posted in defending evolution, even if as a theory, requires far more of an act of faith than to simply believe what God revealed in Genesis where the literal sense is obvious.

    “For if by one man’ s offence death reigned through one; much more they who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift, and of justice, shall reign in life through one, Jesus Christ”. (Rom 5:17). And, “The first man Adam was made into a living soul; the last Adam into a quickening spirit.” (1 Cor. 15:45).

    The Communists in taking over China did not pass out Das Kapital until they had destroyed the dignity of man by pushing Darwin.

    • Sam

      You seem to have misread the article. Darwin is not an option.

  • russell snow

    It should be noted that social scientific analysis is based upon the hypothetical-deductive method of inquiry. The only evidence we have regarding Adam and Eve is found in Genesis. Obviously, all social scientific knowledge, based upon epistemological dualism is necessarily inferential. An historian can make a case of what actual happened based upon the evidence. There is a profound relationship between value–meaning–and knowledge. A Catholic social scientists necessarily does his work within the frame work of Catholic faith, which in the case of Adam and Eve and original sin is very clear and specific. The epistemological-methodological frame which precludes the reality of the divine in Catholic terms would necessarily find the entire discussion meaningless, based upon their a-theistic presuppositions about the nature of reality. All social scientists make knowledge claims based upon the evidence at hand. An historian is not a philosopher. The historian can only try to determine what happened and why, not what ought or ought not to happen unless the historian make clear the principles which inform his value situation, which it terms informs his epistemology and, hence, his methodology. A Catholic historian cannot bracket out, when dealing with Holy Scripture the reality that it is God infused. Otherwise, the historian will be violating a fundamental social scientific principle that the method of inquiry must be appropriate to the object of inquiry.

    • Hominid

      Social science is an oxymoron. Social studies are not science.

      • russell snow

        I really do not know how to reply to a comment that.

        • Hominid

          Of course you don’t – it would require rational thinking.

          • russell snow

            As a former assistant professor of social science and religion, with a PhD in history from SUNY, Stony Brook 1972, a published scholar on the Russian Revolution and Civil Way, with a post-doctoral field in the epistemology and methodology of social scientific inquiry, most of my peers thought I was capable of rational thinking. What I used to tell some of my students: I could deal with their arrogance or their ignorance, but when they were found together, helping them was beyond me. That is what I mean by the comment that I did not know how to reply to your dogmatic statement that is not open to scientific testing. History, psychology, anthropology, sociology, political science, and economics are all social sciences.

            • Hominid

              They are STUDIES, not science. Your training is in LIBERAL ARTS, not science.

  • Jacqueleen

    If evolution is true, it certainly takes forever to make a minor change in living creatures. Humans have not changed since Abraham or before except for a noticeable beard or extended stomach. Then, the Bible does say that not one word shall be changed, added to or deleted in the Book….I prefer to honor the Word of God coming from the Bible.

    • Hominid

      Wrong on all counts.

      • Jacqueleen

        I think I will choke laughing !

  • Hamilton Armstrong

    As I am not a theologian, I can not opine with any certainty whether the account of Adam & Eve in Genesis is to be read in a literal, allegorical, or anagogical manner. What does appear to be certain, via pictorial art going back to the paleolithic, is that fallen man worshipped the serpent worship and that a religion involving sacred sex was endemic.

    “… living in a world besieged by doubt, the misnamed
    its innumerable disorders a state of peace. Peace amidst their rites of child
    murder, their dark mysteries, and vigils consecrated to frenzy.” Wisdom 13, 15
    Please see the following essay for corroboration ( a bit of viewer discretion is needed )

    http://agdei.com/Originalsin3.html

  • hombre111

    Must Crisis be the last refuge of Catholic fundamentalists? In his second Theology of the Body talk, Pope John Paul made a nod toward biblical criticism. I have not heard of a single modern biblical scholar who would say that Adam and Eve were a real couple. The simplest solutions are usually the truest solutions. “Myth” is used in a literary/sociological sense, not as a fantasy, but as a poetic story containing deep truths. Rather than make this complicated argument, professor, why don’t you just figure out what the story is trying to say.

    • Crisiseditor

      Unlike the Catholic Left, we at Crisis are true non-conformists. That’s why our articles are much more interesting and unpredictable–that is, countercultural. If you are looking for mere affirmation of your opinions rather than learn something new, I suggest the National Catholic Reporter will be more to your liking.

      • hombre111

        I grant your point that you are non-conformists. But your articles are actually quite predictable. For instance, since modern biblical studies agree that the Adam and Eve story are poetic accounts by a story making people, told to explain the present by telling symbolic stories about the past, one can count on Crisis to argue that Adam and Eve were real people. And so on. I have rarely been surprised. That is why I come by your site once in a while, to remind your reader that the radical conservative right does not have a strangle hold on the truth. But, please note, I am not saying the Left owns the truth, either. I have read some very good articles on this site, and could only nod in admiration. When I encounter such articles, I try to offer a brief well done.

        • Crisiseditor

          Yes, I have noticed that you don’t criticize everything. We appreciate your comments. In terms of our reaction to what modern biblical studies claim, I have studied enough to know that there are always differences of opinion even if some want to deny it. When I was an undergraduate, a professor in a philosophy class read from a press interview of Raymond Brown who claimed that Cardinal Ratzinger was behind the times in his criticism of the historical critical method. That very semester I was taking a class on St. Paul’s letters and several assigned scholarly texts–recently published–were employing this supposedly outdated method of interpretation. It turns out that Ratzinger was right and Brown was wrong. It helped to illustrate that differences do exist and the so-called consensus is not always right (or real). In the case of Brown, he was either disingenuous or out of touch. But he was a darling of progressive Catholics and so his opinion held weight in certain circles. Since then I have learned to be skeptical of truth claims based on consensus since such claims are often used to shut down debate.

          • hombre111

            Don’t know anything about the Brown/Ratzinger argument about the historical critical method and St. Paul. Like any other method, it had its correct and incorrect applications and was not the last word, but it broke open Bible studies into a whole new world of understanding. I do know that Brown was considered the greatest American Catholic biblical scholar of the last century, and not just in certain circles. No other Catholic produced his immense body of work.

            That said, did you see that Fr. Longnecker (sp?) had a little piece in the New York Times, in a discussion about celibacy? He is one of your great writers who does manage to deliver surprises.

            • DB

              “I do know that Brown was considered the greatest American Catholic biblical scholar of the last century, and not just in certain circles. No other Catholic produced his immense body of work.”

              Considered to be the greatest by whom? Is there any real possibility that such can be demonstrated objectively? Of course not, so it’s an irrelevant claim that is allegedly supported by the appeal to popularity fallacy.

              In any case, what does quantity have to do with quality? A load of manure does not gain a more pleasant smell as it grows larger.

              Under the quantity reflects quality faux standard, our Lord must have been the worst of biblical scholars. He produced no written body of work save for a mysterious statement in the sand. 🙂

            • Nick_from_Detroit

              Ever heard of Dom Bernard Orchard, OSB?
              Not American, but considered one of the best English-speaking scholars of the last century.
              Fr. Brown sounds like he’s a favorite of the Gary Will-types.

              • hombre111

                Read Brown for yourself and then make up your mind. “The Churches the Apostles Left Behind” would be a good start.

                • Nick_from_Detroit

                  Sorry, there’s too many orthodox scholars to get through first.

                  • hombre111

                    Catholic fundamentalists, you mean. If they were scholars they would be beyond the Douai-Rheims Bible.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      Again, see my more recent comment on the use of the D-R.
                      I wouldn’t call Dom Orchard a fundamentalist. Nor, are great contemporary biblical scholars, theologians, and historians such as Father Mitch Pacwa, Dr. Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, Father C. John McCloskey, Father Charles Connor, etc., etc.

              • hombre111

                A trip to Wikipedia renewed my memory. He belonged to a very small group of biblical scholars who concluded that Matthew was the first gospel to be written, followed by Luke and then Mark. The majority of modern biblical scholars do not follow this view.

                • Nick_from_Detroit

                  Wrong. Dom Orchard was one of the scholars who worked on the RSV-CE and A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.
                  And, his theory that explains “The Synoptic Problem” is very compelling.
                  He didn’t have to invent a bogus source such as “Q,” or an hypothesis with no evidence like “Markan Priority,” either. His solution combines the testimony of the earliest sources, e.g., Ss. Clement, Jerome, etc.

                  • hombre111

                    I didn’t realize I needed to mention he was on the committee that worked on the RSV-CE, or that he authored a commentary, Have you read his commentary? I have not, so I cannot judge it. But it was already dated because it was written in 1951, barely after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, plus a ton of other archeological discoveries with huge impact on our understanding of the OT & NT.

                    He lined up his evidence, but he did fail spectacularly in his effort to convince his peers about his Matheian Priority. I would imagine that they are honest men. If his argument had been so compelling, many of them would follow his thinking. But other strong evidence causes them to stick with the Markan Priority.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      See my comment, above. I think I answered all of these objections.
                      If not, let me know.

                  • hombre111

                    I think this is my second answer to your comment. If it isn’t, I lost the first and will summarize.
                    First, I did not realize you were asking a trick question. If I had, I would not have bothered with an answer.
                    Second, Dom Orchard was only a member and contributor on the committees that created the RSV-CE and A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. This does not amount to a huge body of work, compared to scholars like McKenzie and Brown.
                    Third, I am always interested in new commentaries. Looked this one up on Amazon and saw it was $195.00. I pass. I had to laugh when a 2014 reviewer called it a “heretical, modernist melange.” The New Testament republication in larger type is on LULU at $40.00, but I still pass, because it is based on the Douai-Rheims, which no modern biblical scholar considers a good choice for a critical study. Based on the Vulgate, the Douia-Rheims is, along with its archaic language, completely outmoded by modern scholarship. Any careful modern translation, Protestant or Catholic, is a vast improvement over the Duuai-Rheims or the King James.
                    Fourth, sixty years have passed for scholars to ponder Dom Orchard’s theories about Matthew/Luke/Mark. He was not able to convince his peers. Conservative conspiracy theories aside, I think scholars are intellectually honest men who found Dom Orchards research unable to overcome the weight of other evidence.

                    • Nick_from_Detroit

                      It wasn’t a trick question. I don’t understand your conclusion on this point.

                      Dom Orchard was co-editor of the RSV-CE. His body of work speaks for itself.

                      My dad has the revised edition, A New Catholic Commentary On Holy Scripture, of which Orchard didn’t completely approve, I believe. This might explain the “heretical, modernist melange” charge. There is nothing wrong with D-R, by the way. My guess, it was used because it’s based on the Vulgate and it was still the official English translation, at that time. The RSV-CE and NAB didn’t exist yet.

                      Sixty years? Dom Orchard’s solution to the “Synoptic Problem” is fairly recent (late ’80s/early ’90s, I think). Your continued appeals to modern authorities are, in the end, only logical fallacies. The testimony of the early Church Fathers, who lived much closer to the actual events, hold more weight than a bunch of men whose main purpose, 18 centuries later, were to attempt to prove that ALL of the Gospels were written after A.D. 70. In order to claim that Christ didn’t predict the Fall of Jerusalem, and, therefore, to discredit the rest of the miraculous claims of the Gospels.

                      Markan Priority has no real evidence, just a lot of conjecture. Which is why German scholars (Protestants) had to invent the “Q”/Two-Source hypothesis. MP is a house of cards that easily folds upon closer inspection. God Bless!

                    • hombre111

                      Nick, you sound like a fun guy. I have enjoyed this, but honestly, I put fans of the Douai-Rheims in the same pumpkin patch with Linus and all those Evangelicals who think God spoke finally and forever through the King James.

                      That said, when I look at my own spiritual life, I realize that the historical critical method is important, but in the end, I have to sit down, ponder the word of God on the deeper level of the heart, and listen to the Spirit. Tomorrow, for instance, I will preach on the scriptures of the First Sunday of Advent…Christ has come, Christ comes, Christ will come again. I started my reflections on Monday, read a couple of commentaries for insight, did a lot of Lectio, had some one on one conversations of God about each reading, and today, Saturday, I am settling on my sermon for tomorrow. A great little essay by Ratzinger hit the spot and defined the theme: We do Advent best when we do it with Mary, and wait with her. So, a good Advent to you. God Bless! :.)

        • “I try to offer a brief well done.”

          Best laugh I had all day.

        • asmondius

          A ‘poetic account’ denotes style, not substance.

          • hombre111

            I can tell you are not a poet. The language of poetry and metaphor probes the deepest truths because it is open-ended and does not pretend to tie things up in a rhetorical box.

            Alas, the Catholic Church has been infiltrated by Rationalist fundamentalism, which scorns the world of symbol. Actually, the Protestants, rejecting mystery and sacrament, were the first to do this by turning exclusively to the written word.

            • asmondius

              Poetry provides observations, not truth, as it is sourced from one flawed individual.

              • hombre111

                People ponder when they do poetry, and listen to the right side of their brain. Observations are done by the left side of the brain, processing things revealed by the senses. Rationalist fundamentalism claims that only observations and the conclusions that follow are valid, and Catholics who follow them lose the bearings that reveal the Real Presence and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Catholics began to have trouble with the Eucharist as soon as they descended into rationalism and the tyranny of the senses.

                • asmondius

                  The Holy Spirit is not a muse or a puppet master.

    • slainte

      Hombre, is Original Sin a “myth” as well? If not, how do modern biblical scholars explain how it became manifest in this world?

      • hombre111

        The concept of original sin goes back to Augustine, who also taught the idea of our fall from original innocence. I reject the Platonic dualism at the core of his teaching, which led to the essence fallacy, positing the existence of a mysterious but hard to explain evil handed down from our first parents. I prefer the explanation of Fr. Don Gelpi, S.J., who gives original sin an easy to understand concrete reality: “Sin divides into personal sin and original sin. ‘Personal sin’ designates my own decisions to disobey the will of God. ‘Original sin’ designates the rest of human sinfulness. One needs to understand original sin perspectivally. We all experience it from a slightly different angle of vision. My personal sin contributes to your experience of original sin, just as your personal sins contribute to my experience of original sin. Moreover, different societies and eras institutionalize sin differently. People in the United States institutionalize sin as capitalistic greed and individualistic selfishness….” From the “Gracing of Human Experience.”

        • Nick_from_Detroit

          Then, how does baptism now save us (1 Pet.3:21), Hombre111?
          If there was no Original Sin committed by our first parents, but, it is collective human sin, how does baptism wash away Original Sin?

          • hombre111

            Good question. Gelpi wrote a two volume work called “Committed Worship,” where he explores the sacraments via what he and Lonergan called “Foundational Theology,” ie viewing theological questions by pondering the role they play in the process of conversion. He looks first, not at the baptism of a child, but at the baptism of a converting adult. Rather than basing his thoughts on philosophical abstractions, he sticks to Scripture:

            “Baptism in Christ incorporates one into his body, the Church and joins one in solidarity to the…savior who died on the cross. In rising, he became a “life giving spirit.” The Spirit of Jesus unites the baptized to the risen Christ…(guaranteeing) their own share in his risen glory.
            “Through the Spirit-inspired faith the baptized “put on Christ.” In possessing his Spirit they share his very mind–his attitudes, beliefs, hopes, and aspirations–and serve one another…The baptismal bath effects rebirth, regeneration, and renewal in the Spirit of Jesus.” (This description is filled with NT citations.) In this dynamic description, we can clearly see how Baptism washes us from personal and situational (original) sin.

            As for the baptism of infants, he writes in his second volume:
            “Baptism…takes away original sin by changing one’s environment…by introducing one into the Church, into the realm of divine grace that sensitizes one to the existence of situational sin and supplies one with the means to resist it….As an act performed by Christian adults, infant baptism brings with it the responsibility of providing the patrix of grace that the baptized child needs in order to grow to Christian maturity…. (Notice how he emphasizes the role of the Church, challenging Protestant-born American individualism that tends to cut the Church out of the picture.)

            • Nick_from_Detroit

              Thank you for your reply, and lengthy quotes, Hombre111.
              But, I think I’ll stick with almost 2,000 years of Catholic teaching, that says the Holy Spirit removes Original Sin, which we inherited from our first parents, because of their disobedience. As the old saying goes, “If it’s new, it probably isn’t true.”
              Also, if Baptism does all that Fr. Gelpi claimed, what does Confirmation do? And, the necessity for the Church is for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Most Holy Eucharist. God Bless!

              • hombre111

                With all due respect, two thousand years of Catholic teaching on the subject of Baptism and Confirmation is very complicated, indeed, and so it needs more than blind belief that a single thread has been handed down through the Church. If you don’t read Gelpi, you need to read some other well researched books. Gelpi does an admirable job of summarizing the rich and sometimes controversial history of the sacraments, including Baptism and Confirmation.

                • Nick_from_Detroit

                  With all due respect, if you don’t believe that Christ founded the Catholic Church, that He taught the Apostles everything they needed to know, that He sent the Holy Spirit to guide the Church in ALL truth, and that Catholic theology developed under this protection of the Holy Spirit; then, there’s really no point in being Catholic, is there?
                  People who come along 18, 19, and 20 centuries after the events, and deign to tell the Church that She’s had it wrong for all of those preceding centuries, I don’t really have any time for those people, I’m afraid. God Bless!

    • asmondius

      Read your catechism.

      • hombre111

        Spend at least a half an hour each day in meditation and prayer. Pray with the Hours and do some Lectio.

        • asmondius

          And go easy on the salt.

  • M.J .

    The visions of Bl.Emmerich have been substantiated by the discovery of the house of our Lady at Ephesus , an unknown aspect , till then of the last days of Bl.Mother ;
    the same Ememrich describes well enough , the creation scenes ; God might have used her , to give refuge , for those who do not want to be heavy laden and istead be at rest , with truth that is simple , pure and lovable !

  • Mal

    There is no myth, no fiction in the Bible. However, the disciples of atheism and scientism would like us to believe that the whole bible is a myth.

    In Romans 5:14 Paul wrote, “ Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.” Here we see Paul linking Moses and Adam. If Moses existed (many do believe that he did) then Adam too would have existed. Paul also refers to the fall of Adam and the punishment due to his disobedience. He ends the
    sentence relating Adam to Jesus.
    In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus quoted from Genesis Chapter 1 when He said: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female.: Then he continued quoting from Genesis, this time taking
    the words from Chapter 2 when he said, “For this cause shall a man leave
    his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh.”
    Would Jesus use a dodgy story to teach us about the nature and significance of
    marriage? No. In fact Jesus, who knew scripture very well, did say: “Have you
    not read …”!

  • AquinasMan

    Although Aquinas is often brought up as someone who considered the possibility that God could allow species to be empowered to “evolve”, there are still some very basic questions which I cannot get past, to seriously consider that Adam and Eve were not who the infallible Word of God says they were.

    1. When the Holy Spirit tells us that He made Adam from the dust, did he or didn’t He? You don’t have to be “fundamentalist” to determine that this is a binary scenario, because even Jesus chided his disciples who did not believe everything written by Moses.
    2. Was the Blessed Virgin Mary lying when she declared herself *THE* Immaculate Conception? Because if Adam didn’t just appear at the command of God, he was also a product of immaculate conception, and thus, Mary is not unique in that way.
    3. If Adam and Eve carried somewhere in their genetic code even the hint of the DNA of a subhuman, then so did Mary, and likewise, the Incarnate Son of God. That’s what’s called a “showstopper”.

    • See Noevo

      I believe Aquinas wrote much of “substantial being” or “essence”,
      and that such substantial being does not change. But if evolution and its
      necessary common ancestry is true, then Thomistic philosophy is false, because
      in evolution everything is in the process of becoming something else. That is,
      there is no stability of being in evolution.

  • Jay W. Richards

    Friends, many of you are muddling separate issues. The status and length of the “days” in Genesis 1, the use of figurative language and metaphor, etc. are separate issues from the question whether the human race descends from an original pair of humans who feel into sin. This article is about the latter question. Like it or not, the Church has spoken over and over on this latter question, and it’s about as firmly entrenched as settled doctrine as it’s possible to be. It would be a big deal if real empirical evidence established that such a claim is impossible. But nothing like that has happened. The claims to the contrary are *highly theory laden* and question-begging, and so Bonnette argues, I think rightly, that Catholics should not be so quick to through Adam and Eve under the bus.

  • ColdStanding

    Folks, it is really simple. Is the account of Adam and Eve true? For purposes of salvation is it is sufficiently true. Now, something can not be partially true. So it is true. When apply the adjective “sufficiently” I mean not that the story is a mixture of truth and fable, but that it provides enough light for the faithful to assent to it. Which means it separates those that will hear The Word of God and say “Credo” and those that will reject the saving action of The Word of God. The account of the Fall of Adam tells us that his sin, as head of the human race, was one of pride leading to an act of unfaithfulness. We are called back to God and repair our relationship with Him through repeated acts of faith. Faith in the veracity of the account of the Fall in Genesis is a must.

    It is a wonderful portion of Holy Scripture to spend time in meditation on. There is layer after layer to unravel. Spend some time with it, pray to God for the faith you need to understand it. In prayer we talk to God. In reading Holy Writ He talks back. (hat tip St. Jerome)

    Tell the scoffers to cover their blasphemous mouths with a fig leaf. If you suffer derision for it, then thanks be to God.

    Know this: God creates virginally.

  • kelso

    If one rejects the creation of Adam and Eve directly by God, apart from any animal, then one is not a Catholic. He is a heretic. Hombre, the commenter here on this queue does not realize it, but he is a heretic. He “rejects” a literal Adam and Eve. He “rejects” Saint Augustine presentation of the Fall, which he did call “original sin.” But Augustine did not invent the doctrine. Otherwise why was he supported by the universal Church in his condemnation of Pelagianism. Hombre would seem to prefer Pelagius, who denied original sin. Hombre denies the solemn teaching of the Church ( as do his modernist theologians) and he denies the inspired word on the effect of the sin of Adam as is so clear in Saint Paul. But, then again, maybe Hombre knows more than Saint Paul, after all, he knows more than Augustine.

  • Papa Mincho

    Well, Adam and Eve CLEARLY existed. That’s why female skeletons all have an extra rib, and why snakes talk to people all the time.

    Really, Dennis? You cite a whole bunch of books that don’t actually support your argument, then tie together all these disparate texts with a firm and resounding, “We don’t know, we can’t know, so GOOOOOOOOOD.”

    This was the longest ‘God of the Gaps’ apology I’ve ever read. Pathetic.

    • asmondius

      Thanks for illustrating that there can be some dead ends in the path of human evolution.

  • Russ Dewey

    This is pathetic. What about DNA? Read Your Inner Fish for a lucid, non-technical, totally convincing story of how our body parts evolved from those of simpler animals. It is by a scientist who found a “missing link” fossil connecting fish to later four legged animals. Granted, this work came out after Dr. Bonnette retired, and something tells me he is not keeping up findings in evolutionary biology…

    • asmondius

      Genesis clearly states that life began in the water first.

      I’m not aware that the human anatomy directly evolved from marine life.

      • Russ Dewey

        Yes, it call comes from the same source, and the tree of life relates every creature on earth. It is actually rather inspiring.

  • eddie too

    I am not a scientist but I am a catholic and this article and the comments that follow has motivated me to ask if anyone knows where the following question has been addressed?
    what do the evolutionary scientists say about how many new species are currently being created daily, or weekly, or monthly, or annually?
    a corollary to this question is what do the evolutionary scientists say about the number of new mammals are being created every year?
    I realize the evolutionary scientists would only be projecting or extrapolating these numbers but I have not found these questions addressed in the evolutionary science realm with which I am familiar and thus am wondering if anyone here has more information related to these questions?
    if so, thank you!!!

    • PaulD

      I am not a scientist, but can offer some info. An important consideration is populations evolve over time. If two populations become separated, they can evolve to a point were the off spring cannot mate, hence the emergence of two new species. This will occur over successive generation, so duration of the process depends partially on how quickly new generations can be produced (hence why fruit flys commonly used for research given rapidity of new generstions).

  • PaulD

    That was a whole lot of hoops to jump through to force science to fit belief. Unfortunately, science is not about belief, but evidence leading to theory which is testable.

    • asmondius

      The gathering of evidence begins with a belief – it is not a random activity.

      • Sven2547

        There is a difference between hypothesis and belief.

        • asmondius

          Since the word ‘hypothesis’ does not appear in my post, I must assume you responded to the wrong person.

          • Sven2547

            You were conflating belief and hypothesis with your silly comment. There is a difference. Evidence gathering and testing hypotheses is not predicated on belief. Indeed, scientific rigor and the act of falsifying hypotheses is the very opposite of “belief”.

            • asmondius

              Once again, the word ‘hypothesis’ does not appear in my post at all. That’s an observable fact, my ‘scientific’ friend. The issue you seem to be blathering on about simply stems from your own misreading.

              • Sven2547

                I never said the word “hypothesis” was in your comment. That is an observable fact, my anti-scientific friend. You are kicking a straw man.

                PaulD was talking about the scientific process. The scientific process involves forming hypotheses based on evidence, then gathering more evidence in the hopes of confirming or falsifying those hypotheses. That’s why I’m talking about hypotheses.

                • asmondius

                  My, my, you certainly have your shorts in a knot. Since my comment did not refer to a hypothesis, you are simply arguing with yourself.

                  • Sven2547

                    You replied to a comment that was referring to the scientific process, as I already explained. I too am referring to the scientific process. Do try to keep up.

                    • asmondius

                      You only outsmarted yourself.

  • Madame George

    “A literal Adam and Eve remains rationally, scientifically credible.”

    Only in a world based on pseudo-science and superstition. But, of course, this is the exact world in which religion has always operated.

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      Spoken like a true anti-theist. Why are you so bigoted against religious people, Madame George?

      • Madame George

        Nothing in my statement could conceivably be construed as bigoted against religious persons, Nick. Religion IS based on superstition and pseudo (non)- scientific beliefs about the world in which we live. The thesis of the article is entirely unsubstantiated; a literal Adam and Even is not rationally, scientifically credible unless credible retains an opposite meaning from its normal use.

        I believe the author is correct that Christians MUST believe in a literal Adam and Eve given the Biblical text. However, to say a literal Adam and Eve has any plausible scientific footing is absolutely untrue. There is zero evidence to substantiate such a claim.

        • Nick_from_Detroit

          Theology and philosophy are ancient sciences, in case you didn’t know. You don’t seem to understand the word unsubstantiated, either. Or, bigot.
          A quick look at your profile shows that you are a leftwing ideologue who trolls religious sites and makes the world in your own image, fitting facts to your worldview. You have closed your mind to the wonders of God’s creation.
          I’ll pray for you. God Bless!

          • Hominid

            You’re full of baloney.

          • Madame George

            “Fitting facts to your worldview”. Ah, the delicious irony of this phrase. It nearly perfectly sums up the article and religion in general.

            Science offers hypotheses, then sets up experiments to disprove them. Religion does exactly the opposite. It starts with a conclusion then works backward, cherry picking certain items to fit its narrative.

            Instead of branding me a ‘left wing ideologue’ or bigot (ad hominems), you could have attempted to refute my point: Namely, that there is absolutely no ‘rationally, scientifically credible’ claim to the existence of a literal Adam and Eve.

            • Nick_from_Detroit

              Unlike yourself, I know the limits of science vis-a-vis theology, and theology vis-a-vis science.
              You cherry-pick “facts” to reinforce your hatred for religion, and religious people. It helps you maintain your superiority complex. Sadly, your ignorance of Christianity helps feed the caricature of Christians with which you have been brainwashed.
              Also, your “point” is a straw man, since the gist of the article was that science has NOT proven that Adam & Eve never existed. It wasn’t to prove that they did exist. Read more carefully, next time. And, leave your bias at the door. God Bless!

            • Hominid

              No, Madame, he can NOT refute your point – that’s why he resorts to ad homs.

              • asmondius

                Alter ego alert!

            • asmondius

              ‘…there is absolutely no ‘rationally, scientifically credible’ claim to the existence of a literal Adam and Eve.’

              If ‘science’ was finite and non-provincial your argument might hold water. But perhaps you like to count the bumps on people’s heads.

      • Hominid

        Because they lie to children.

  • Paul

    Adam & Eve were the first humans that God made but they were by no means the only ones. For we know their lineage was succeeded by Cain & Seth who both got married. Hence we can infer that Cain & Seth’s wives must also have been part of God’s creation.
    Moreover, in the story of Noah and the flood, if we are to believe that the flood was global (though I prefer to believe it was a regional catastrophy since the people of the time did not possess the knowledge of the planet with all the different continenst) and the only survivors were the 8 members of Noah’s family then at some point incest must have occurred – but this cannot be as incest is an affront to God. Thus there must have been survivors of the flood or God must have created new humans (from the same template).
    I have already been made aware that the DNA of all men and women can be traced back to a single man and a single woman. There are science based articles on this that can be checked out.

    • PaulD

      Please provide sources for the DNA proof of all humans from 1 man and 1 woman.

    • asmondius

      er, the members of Noah’s party included the wives of his sons as well as his own wife.

      • Zeke

        And what an incestuous little party that must have been!

        • asmondius

          Don’t know about your culture, but a husband and wife in Noah’s time was not an incestuous relationship.

          • Zeke

            As screwed up as my culture is these days, I personally counsel my kids never to bang their cousins. Then again, I’ve never built a big boat.
            But I did save a dog from drowning once, despite not being ordered by God to do so. I don’t think he was mad though.

            • asmondius

              Nothing notes that they married their close relations.

              • Zeke

                Yeah, I suppose their grandchildren married the really good swimmers who survived the flood. That would explain why Jews are fond of the water.

  • JM

    What if God used evolution over a time period of billions of years with its life and death cycles to create the perfection of all His creation up to the point of the ensoulment/breath of life which was given to Adam by the Holy Spirit, and then God presented His perfected world to a perfect Adam? Later, the fall of both the world’s perfection and of mankind’s perfection were consequences of Adam’s sin against God.

    • See Noevo

      “What if God used evolution over a time period of billions of years…?”

      Then, from a Scriptural perspective, I would expect Genesis 1-2 to read very differently, and from a scientific perspective, I would expect much better biological/genetic evidence. I have found each “rock” from the so-called “mountain of evidence” for evolution to vary between unconvincing and ludicrous.

      P.S.
      I used to believe in evolution, right up until my mid to late 40s. Then, for some reason, I began actually reading about it in depth (the scientific literature and related critiques). Long story short, I no longer believe in evolution.

      • JM

        So you believe then that the scientific dating system is incorrect by billions of years?

        I saw an interesting movie called “The Genesis Code” which explained how God’s perception from heaven of seven 24-hour days on earth can also equal billions of years on planet earth in real earth time.

        However, neither the literal seven 24-hour days earth time theory which you prefer nor the theory portrayed by “the Genesis Code” movie adequately explain how the death of the natural life forms on earth (such as dead plant life turning into petroleum) could have occurred if Adam’s sin/fall is what first caused death on earth. That is why I thought of an alternative theory. 🙂

      • JM

        I do not believe that monkeys evolved into humans. I believe that God directed the creation of individual species from the very beginning of His creation of plasma and that He also directed the evolution which occurred within each of these separate species. And evolution within species did not happen simply because of “chance.” God had His purpose fulfilled in all things that He created from nothing.

  • Jim

    A literal Adam and a literal Eve have as much reality as a literal elf and a literal pixie. How did grandpa Adam and grandma Eve get grandchildren? How can a man who supposedly wrote scholarly publications and taught at a university for 36 years write such nonsense? This is just comic. Come to grips with evolution and anthropology, people.

    • asmondius

      Please tell me in which museum I may view the remains of the direct predecessor to modern man.

      • Sven2547

        Practically any natural history museum will posess Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and Australopithecus afarensis remains or casts.

        • asmondius

          You are far to eager to show cleverness and as a result misread the statements of others. I asked for the direct predecessor, yet none of your three examples meet that request. Incidentally, there is some speculation as to whether erectus and habilis are merely evolutionary blind allies and thus could be ancestors to no modern species. Afarensis is merely an example of one of the earliest known hominids, not humans.

          • Sven2547

            I asked for the direct predecessor

            And by asking this question in this way, you illustrate that you do not understand how evolution actually works. You’ve got some nerve talking down to others about eager attempts at cleverness.

            Your direct predecessors are your parents. Their direct predecessors were their parents. And so on the chain goes. It’s not a step-wise thing. It’s not like one day a human popped out of a non-human. There is no bright red line separating humans from pre-humans.

            • asmondius

              I asked for the direct predecessor to the modern human, not myself. You provided three erroneous ones, thus your grasp of evolutionary theory appears to be even less than that of those you criticize.

              • Sven2547

                You are a modern human. Your direct predecessors are your parents.
                I am also a modern human. My direct predecessors are my parents.

                That is the 100% correct answer to your question. If you consider that to be insufficient, it is a shortcoming on the part of your question. Next question?

                • asmondius

                  Strike two – and this is not even a curve ball.

                  One more try – ‘Please tell me in which museum I may view the remains of the direct predecessor to modern man.’ Since modern man is known to have first appeared quote some time ago, I find it hard to understand your confusion.

                  • Sven2547

                    Strike three on you.

                    By asking for a specific individual and calling it a “direct predecessor” to a species, you plainly do not understand evolution. The question makes no sense. It’s like asking what Jupiter’s favorite song is.

                    I’ve already tried to explain why. You have opted to disregard it.

                    • asmondius

                      Evidence of the direct predecessor to a modern species would be the remains of at least one individual, yes. Your explanation lacks understanding. Hit the bench; batter up!

                    • Sven2547

                      Do you claim to understand evolution, or not?

                      If you do not understand evolution, then might I suggest trying to learn it before asking invalid questions?

                      If you do claim to understand evolution, then would you kindly explain by what means an individual’s remains could be identified that meets your personal definition of “the direct predecessor to modern man”?

                      As I already explained (and you chose to disregard), there is no bright red line. There is no objective means of classifying a “direct” predecessor for any modern species, because it is a continuous process within populations. But earlier predecessors can be identified, through morphology, genetics, and the fossil record.

                      Your continued insistence on refusing to acknowledge this truth really just undermines the creationist position.

                    • asmondius

                      ‘There is no objective means of classifying a “direct” predecessor for any modern species…’ Why, then you can not absolutely claim that modern humans are descended from anything – there is no unbroken chain of evidence. You certainly can’t claim something as an ‘earlier’ predecessor if there is no other link to the first modern humans, who have been around for about 100 millennia or so.

                    • Sven2547

                      Surprise surprise, you didn’t answer any of my questions.

                      In order to meet your arbitrary criteria of an “unbroken chain”, we would literally need the remains of every single male and female who ever successfully reproduced in the last 4 billion years. Because, as I’ve already tried to explain, evolution is a continuous process, not some step-wise process where we can draw a bright line between species A and ancestral species B.

                      This image should help illustrate what I’m talking about. You will be unable to comprehend it I’m sure, but it’s for any other reader confused about the subject matter.

                      http://i.imgur.COM/u4TedWk.jpg

                    • asmondius

                      Hmmm – if evolution is a ‘continuous process’, then please explain the shark, or the coelacanth, or the crocodile for that matter.

                    • Sven2547

                      What’s to explain? Sharks, coelacanths, and crocodiles continue to evolve with every generation. Since these are highly successful populations, selective pressures are low, thus their morphologies have remained very similar for millions of years, but that doesn’t change the fact that evolution is always in effect.

                      You didn’t even go to the link. You’re not even addressing the image. You refuse to learn anything, you just keep asking these idiotic “gotcha” questions. Your sole goal here is to perpetuate ignorance, and you disgust me.

                      How about you answer my questions:
                      Do you claim to understand evolution, or not?
                      Are you a young-Earth creationist or an old-Earth creationist?

    • asmondius

      ‘How did grandpa Adam and grandma Eve get grandchildren?’

      Ask an adult you trust.

  • cken

    We tend to think of Mythology as a bad thing. So let’s call it an allegory. Both words mean a story told using symbolism to convey a truth or truths. For example many think the book of Job is entirely fictional. If that is true does it in anyway negate the meaning of the story. Nothing in Egyptian history refers to over 2 million people leaving Egypt. So is Exodus true. If not does that negate the truth of the lessons in the Exodus mythology. Not taking the Bible as the literal inerrant holy word of God does not negate the many truths and great wisdom it contains.

    • asmondius

      The problem is, there’s just not enough of ‘Egyptian’ or any other ancient history to be absolutely certain.

  • steveb9124

    Out of curiosity — someone must have done this math before — if you take the current population of the world and extrapolate backwards, accounting for a median life span and using valid statistical death rates — IF all of humanity came from two people, approximately when would those two people have lived? 5000 years ago? 50,000 years ago? I’m curious. Anyone know of any research done on this?

  • Maxximiliann

    Regarding Adam, the Bible says: “Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) Is this statement scientifically credible?

    Robert A. Freitas’ work “Nanomedicine” states that the human body is made up of 41 chemical elements. These basic elements—carbon, iron, oxygen, and others—are all present in the “dust” of the earth. Thus, as Genesis states, humans truly are formed “out of dust from the ground.”

    How did those lifeless building blocks come together to form a living human? To illustrate the enormity of the challenge, consider the NASA space shuttle, one of the most complex machines ever devised. This technological marvel contains a staggering 2.5 million parts. It took teams of engineers years to design and put it together. Now consider the human body. It is made up of some 7 octillion atoms, 100 trillion cells, dozens of organs, and at least 9 major organ systems. How did this biological machine of mind-boggling complexity and superb structure come to be? By blind chance or as the denouement of an ordered mind?

    Moreover, what makes humans live? Where does the spark of life come from? Scientists confess that they do not know. In fact, they cannot even agree on an acceptable definition of life. To those who accept the idea of a Creator, the conclusion is obvious. The Source, of course, is God.

    What of the description in Genesis that Eve was fashioned from Adam’s rib? (Genesis 2:21-23) Before dismissing the account as myth or fantasy, consider the following facts: In January 2008, scientists in California, U.S.A., produced the world’s first mature cloned human embryos from adult skin cells. In fact, using similar techniques, scientists have cloned at least 20 animals. The most famous of these, Dolly the sheep, was cloned in 1996 from the mammary gland of an adult sheep.

    What will come of such experiments remains to be seen. But the point is this: If humans can use biological material from one organism to produce another one of its kind, could not the almighty Creator fashion a human from existing biological material of another human? Interestingly, surgeons routinely use the rib bone in reconstructive surgery because of its ability to regrow and replace itself.

    Consider now the Jewish ancestral lists recorded in the Bible book of First Chronicles chapters 1 to 9 and in the Gospel of Luke chapter 3. These remarkably detailed genealogical records span 48 and 75 generations respectively. Luke traces the genealogy of Jesus Christ, while Chronicles records the royal and priestly ancestral lines for the nation of Israel. Both lists include the names of such well-known figures as Solomon, David, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Noah, and finally Adam. All the names in the two lists represent real people, and Adam was the original real person on each list.

    In addition, again and again the Bible presents Adam and Eve as real human beings, not as mythical characters. Here are some examples:

    • “[God] made out of one man every nation of men.”—ACTS 17:26.
    • “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus . . . death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses.”—ROMANS 5:12, 14.

    • “The first man Adam became a living soul.”—1 CORINTHIANS 15:45.
    • “Adam was formed first, then Eve.”—1 TIMOTHY 2:13.
    • “The seventh one in line from Adam, Enoch, prophesied also regarding [the wicked].”—JUDE 14.

    More important, Jesus Christ, the most credible witness in the Bible, acknowledged the existence of Adam and Eve. When challenged on the subject of divorce, Jesus answered: “From the beginning of creation ‘[God] made them male and female. On this account a man will leave his father and mother, and the two will be one flesh’ . . . Therefore what God yoked together let no man put apart.” (Mark 10:6-9) Would Jesus use an allegory to establish a binding legal precedent? No! Jesus quoted Genesis as fact.

    Summing up the scriptural evidence, The New Bible Dictionary concludes: “The New Testament confirms the historicity of the account given in the early chapters of Genesis.”

    http://bit.ly/1b6TzxJ

  • Zeke

    Kind of a long and embarrassing article. I can save readers some time by summarizing the authors 4 points that refute evolution.

    1: Church doctrine says otherwise. Take that scientists.
    2: Humans have souls. Aquinas said so. How could someone who advocated the torture and killing of heretics be wrong?
    3: Nobody was there to see it (hat tip to Ken Ham). Oblivious to the fact that nobody was there to watch when God supposedly did it either.
    4: The science of modern genetics is flawed, because it contradicts the Bible (see 1). And genetic scientists are all part of a grand conspiracy. Or Satan.

    Your Nobel prize is in the mail, congratulations.

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      You obviously didn’t read the article. From which hack atheist did you get this claptrap? The hack Dawkins? Or, Harris the hack?

      • Zeke

        Actually, I wrote it all by myself like a big boy, thanks!

        The fact remains that a literal Adam and Eve are unchanging Catholic doctrine.
        This proves that denial of a literal Adam (and his spouse, Eve) as the
        sole first genuinely human parents of all true human beings is not
        theologically tenable.

        Ergo, evidence to the contrary must be wrong. QED.

        In this process, some researchers have committed the logically invalid
        move of inferring from particular data to the universally negative claim
        that a literal Adam and Eve is impossible.

        Logically invalid only if you think like a creationist. Or someone who realizes that their innermost beliefs hinge on a myth, without which the whole enterprise collapses.

        But here’s some topical Harris for you to ponder:

        Starting with the (utterly unjustified) premise that one of your
        books is an infallible guide to reality is not a particularly promising
        approach to inquiry—be it physical, ethical, or spiritual.

        • Nick_from_Detroit

          “Actually, I wrote it all by myself like a big boy, thanks!”

          Somehow, I doubt that, Zeke. Atheists who troll religious sites tend to be nothing more than sock-puppets of the New Atheist hacks, such as Dawkins & Harris.
          In fact, when I searched for your distortions of Saint Thomas Aquinas, there were three references to Sam Harris’ bile.

          • Zeke

            Gee you’re cranky Nick. You’re good at name-calling (although you used ‘hack’ 4 times in 2 posts, maybe time for a thesaurus?), but do you have a point? How did I misunderstand the article? I will, however, walk back my distorted comments on Aquinas. A quick google search shows that he only favored killing heretics, not torturing them. Mea culpa.

            I’ve long since distanced myself from the Catholic Church (you know, the child rape and cover up thing), but seems to me that even Pope Francis considers Adam and Eve a fable. Is he aware that you have a truer understanding of Catholic doctrine?

            That aside, I do enjoy reading Sam Harris, seems like you don’t. On matters belonging to the domain of science, I tend to give more weight to the writings of a well-educated, 21st century neuroscientist over those of bronze-age nomadic Hebrews.

            • Dennis Bonnette

              It is well that you make clear that you no longer consider yourself to be a Catholic, since many of your statements do not reflect Catholic teaching. For the record, Humani generis has never been retracted or amended by the Magisterium, and the present teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church remains that “Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind.” (CCC 404) I think you will find this perfectly consonant with what I present in the article above. The only fable here is what you allege about Pope Francis.

              • Zeke

                I think the Pope Francis “fable” thing is an unsubstantiated rumor. I shouldn’t have repeated it.

            • See Noevo

              Zeke,
              “I’ve long since distanced myself from the Catholic Church (you know, the child rape and cover up thing)…”

              Do you likewise distance yourself from police departments and other branches of law enforcement and government? Scandalous activity (and related cover ups) have been found in all of them, so I was assuming you would never consider, say, dialing 9-1-1.

              • Zeke

                Not to get off topic, but no. Secular institutions have their share of scandal, certainly. Perhaps in some cases even worse than the Vatican.
                But of course these institutions don’t claim to be the repository of faith and morals, guided by the Holy Spirit, or founded by Jesus Christ. So I expect so much less.
                And when scandals in these secular institutions are investigated, people loss their jobs and go to prison.

                • See Noevo

                  Perhaps you don’t understand the difference between being “the repository of faith and morals” and being sinless. There is a difference, and the difference has existed from the beginning of the Church Christ founded.

                  You give the impression of one who once was Catholic but became ex-Catholic after the sex scandals. But why were you once Catholic to begin with? Certainly not from an absence of scandals and sin by churchmen, for such has always been the case. See Judas Iscariot, one of the Apostles, handpicked by Jesus Christ himself.

                  • Zeke

                    Why was I Catholic to begin with? Same as all the other Catholics I know – born, raised and educated that way, received all the sacraments. But don’t regret a thing, and send my kids to Catholic schools.
                    But I was just going through the motions, and I don’t think I ever really believed any of it. The child abuse scandals made me seriously question why I still called myself a Catholic, and I came to terms with the fact that I simply didn’t believe in God. It was a hard thing to go through.
                    I think you let the Church off to easily, and comparing the sins of the Vatican to police departments or government is a weak argument. These are supposedly the holiest of men, guided by the Holy Spirit. Of course everyone “sins”, but these were the most grievous of acts. To cover this up and allow it to continue for generations is inexcusable. The priests and their enablers are not mere sinners, they’re evil.

                    • See Noevo

                      I don’t let the Church off easily at all. And neither has
                      the world. No organization on the face of this earth has been more shamed, chastised and condemned by the media (and people such as yourself), and been raked over the coals in courts. The Church has paid out over $2 billion in settlements and has instituted probably unparalleled corrective and preventative measures.

                      But justice in this world is almost always imperfect. There
                      will be a perfect reckoning in the next world. While I can’t say it’s certain, I’m highly confident many Catholics, including many priests and bishops, will end up in hell.

                      But my comparison with police departments and governments is
                      entirely valid. Despite acknowledged felonies and corruption in their minions and leaders, virtually no one would support doing away with law enforcement and governance. No police department or government has in its charter the promotion of felonious and corrupt activity. (And the Church does not have any doctrines promoting sexual abuse and cowardice. If it did, then you might have a point.)

                      What I find to be a weak argument is yours. In fact, it’s
                      incoherent. I would be embarrassed, actually, ashamed, if my children heard me make the “case” you’re making.

                      You ended by saying the guilty priests and their enablers were
                      not mere sinners, they were evil. I would agree. But you shouldn’t. For without God, there is no such thing as evil. Evolution has no evil and it has no good. Don’t blame those priests and their enablers. “Blame” evolution.

                    • Zeke

                      I’m highly confident many Catholics, including many priests and
                      bishops, will end up in hell.

                      Well, that would certainly be fitting for the child rapists, but I don’t
                      believe in hell. Besides, according to your faith, all they need is to go to confession, repent and seek forgiveness. It’s monsters like me who are destined for hell for lack of faith, despite never harming a single child.

                      no one would support doing away with law enforcement and
                      governance.

                      Where does this strange statement come from? I neither advocated nor believe in doing away with the Catholic Church.

                      No police department or government has in its charter the promotion of felonious and corrupt activity. (And the Church does not have any doctrines promoting sexual abuse and cowardice. If it did, then you might have a point.)

                      Never said that either, what are you talking about? Church doctrine doesn’t promote pedophilia so it’s off limits to criticize them for enabling it? Are you drunk?

                      What I find to be a weak argument is yours.

                      My only argument is that it’s a weak move to note that secular institutions, none of whom claim to be tasked with the mission of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, or infallible on matters of faith and morals, also have sex scandals. You are the one arguing that since child abuse is found in secular institutions, the Church doesn’t deserve this scorn and criticism. After all, it’s just an institution guided by men, and all men are sinners, right?

                      Boy, you set the bar pretty low for an institution you’ve formed your whole life around.

                      I would be embarrassed, actually, ashamed, if my children heard me make the “case” you’re making.

                      You should be embarrassed and ashamed of telling your children that the Vatican merely to live up to the standards of their government or police force. You should be ashamed of telling your children that Adam and Eve are historical figures.

                      For without God, there is no such thing as evil. Evolution has no evil and it has no good. Don’t blame those priests and their enablers. “Blame” evolution.

                      Hmmm, a child rape apologist and confused about evolution too, despite your Church accepting a non-scientific form of it. Fine, have it your way – raping and torturing children is only evil unless God tells us that it is. But your God presumably watched dispassionately as thousands of children were preyed upon by men divinely appointed by Him to teach His morality. No, I think I’ll blame the priests and cretinous enablers like Law and Ratzinger.

                    • See Noevo

                      “You are the one arguing that since child abuse is found in secular institutions, the Church doesn’t deserve this scorn and criticism.”

                      I argued no such thing. I may well be even more critical of the Church than you are.

                      However, you appeared to be arguing that, because of the sins of its members, the Church could not be “the repository of faith and morals, guided by the Holy Spirit, or founded by Jesus Christ”. This is what I was arguing against. That certainly seemed to me to be your position, but if that was not
                      your position, then I suppose we do not have a disagreement.

                      “You should be embarrassed and ashamed of telling your children that the Vatican merely to live up to the standards of their government or police force.”

                      A straw man argument. I neither said nor believe any such thing.

                      “Hmmm, a child rape apologist…”

                      Another straw man. That’s three now. Do you ever battle real people and real arguments?

                      “…and confused about evolution too…”

                      I suppose I used to be confused about evolution. That is, I believed in and accepted evolution for most of my life, until I was in my mid to late 40s. But then I actually started reading the scientific literature supposedly supporting it. Long story short – I no longer believe in evolution. In fact I think it will ultimately be revealed to all to be perhaps the greatest embarrassment and
                      shame in the histories of science and of rational thought.

                      “No, I think I’ll blame the priests and cretinous enablers…”

                      Oh, you can say whatever you want, and blame whoever you’d like. But when you peel away all the levels of your rationalizing then, as an evolutionist, all you can ultimately blame is evolution. Period.

                    • Zeke

                      You started your first response to me by noting that secular institutions also have sex scandals, so I should cut the Church some slack. That seems to be your entire point, which is what I responded to.

                      I didn’t say that the Church is not be the repository of faith and morals. It’s that they have done a spectacularly bad job exhibiting morality in this case, and many others throughout history. Why is the morality they display indistinguishable from other institutions?

                      People deserve blame, not an organic process that explains speciation. And there is no such thing as an ‘evolutionist’, just as there are not ‘gravitationists’ or ‘germ theorists’ or ‘heliocentrists’. The process of evolution is settled science. It is confirmed by genetics, biology, geology, anthropology, and related branches of science. Here’s a like to actual scientists who also happen to be Christian:
                      http://biologos.org/blog/does-genetics-point-to-a-single-primal-couple

                      What scientific literature did you read? (Hint: the Bible is not scientific.)

                    • See Noevo

                      Ah, a BioLogos article by Dr. Dennis Venema. I have some questions but unfortunately I won’t be able to ask Dennis because I was banned from BioLogos about a year and a half ago. Here’s what I might have asked him though:

                      From Method I (with MY EMPHASES):
                      “Correcting for the rate at which we know new forms of genes appear (mutation), we can calculate the minimum number of people needed to generate the current amount of diversity. Numerous studies analyzing many different genes all point to a bottleneck. However, these studies are all clear: during the bottleneck, there were SEVERAL THOUSAND INDIVIDUALS, not two.”

                      Where did the several thousand individuals come from? In other articles on BL I’m almost certain Dennis says the human population was NEVER SMALLER THAN ABOUT 10,000. And I’m pretty sure I or someone asked how this could be. Like,
                      one minute there were no humans, and the next minute there were 10,000? I think the typical response is something like ‘individuals don’t evolve, but populations do’. Which makes no sense to me.

                      From Method II (with MY EMPHASES):
                      “If all humans descended from a single pair of individuals, all humans would have each of the 57 elements in pretty much the same locations, since individual members of the family ALMOST NEVER move.”

                      Almost never? Then they can and do move. And perhaps something happened back then, something currently undiscovered or unconsidered, which made such movement even greater. Is this impossible?

                      From Method III (with MY EMPHASES):
                      “Blocks of genes in the same neighborhood on a chromosome are USUALLY inherited together. Alleles that are very close together on chromosomes TEND TO stay together for many generations before they are “mixed and matched” through a process called recombination.”

                      Usually? Tend to? See my comment on Method II.

                      BioLogos is really humming. I see their last half dozen posted articles have a total of two comments, both from the same person.

                      P.S.
                      “The process of evolution is settled science.” Where else have I recently heard that phrase – “settled science” ? Oh yes, with anthropogenic global warming.

                    • Zeke

                      Wow, you’re the whole package dude – creationist, global warming denier, and apologist for child rape.

                      Buh-bye now.

            • Sam

              “I’ve long since distanced myself from the Catholic Church (you know, the child rape and cover up thing)”….
              I hope you had more a more serious basis than that for “distancing” yourself from the Church. This scandal, evil as it was, involved no more than 2% of Catholic priests.
              The psychiatric profession assured Church officials that abusers were at little to no risk of abusing again once they entered therapy. The psychiatrists were wrong, the pederasts were unregenerate, and their behavior continued. (It is no excuse, of course, that the hierarchy were depending on assurances from psychiatrists. They should have enforced their own rules against homosexuals being ordained, but failed their responsibilities.) But the psychiatrists offering their faulty diagnoses and therapies should all have been sued as well.
              Have you distanced yourself from all Christian churches? The Christian Science Monitor reported in 2002 that the vast majority of abuse allegations took place in Protestant churches.
              Have you distanced yourself from Jesus? After all, he did choose Judas as one of the 12.
              Or have you distanced yourself from the educational system? High schools in the US seem to have eclipsed all the Church scandals with their own skyrocketing numbers of abuse incidents.
              Or is the “child rape and cover up thing” just a flimsy and convenient excuse to avoid confronting truth?

              • Zeke

                I’ve heard a lot of weak arguments defending the systemic and generations-old abuse of children entrusted to the Church, but the notion that the Church depended on “assurances from psychiatrists” is a new low. Raping a child doesn’t call for a psychiatrist, it calls for arrest and criminal charges.

                Yes, child rape and abuse happens elsewhere, no disputing that. What is most vile is how the Church handled it. The shuffling of known pedophiles around rather than removing them, which happens nowhere else. The secrecy and lack of transparency or cooperation with authorities. The failure to rid themselves of the criminals in their ranks, while in the case of Cardinal Law, setting him up with a cushy position in the Vatican. The failure to realize that this all male cult of celibacy which demonizes normal human sexuality is at least partly to blame for this mess.

                It’s pretty obvious I’m atheist now, but the Church scandals weren’t the cause. I wouldn’t trade my Catholic upbringing for anything, but looking back, I’m ashamed to have been part of this awful institution.

                • Sam

                  That the church depended on psychiatrists at the outset of the abuse scandals is a fact, not a notion. And I declared as well in the same thought that it was no excuse. In fact, I don’t disagree with any of your censures of the hierarchy’s actions. If you were familiar with the traditionalist Catholic press, you would know they exposed and were outraged about the scandals and coverups long before it hit the secular media.

                  You are wrong when you claim the shuffling about of ‘known pedophiles’ “happens nowhere else.” It certainly has happened in educational institutions, where one researcher states that “… the physical sexual abuse of students in [public] schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by [Catholic] priests.”

                  The “shuffling” is more difficult to follow in Protestant churches due to their structure — or lack thereof. The main opportunity for “shuffling” is probably mission activities.

                  Where you are utterly offbase — in this post — is suggesting that the requirement of celibacy in the Western Church has any bearing on the scandal. There is no “cult of celibacy”; it is a discipline going back at least to the 4th century, for the spiritual and practical well-being of both priest and Church. The abuse scandal was primarily a consequence of the homosexual movement into the Church, abetted by feminist nuns in positions of authority in seminaries who blocked candidates with traditional views on sexual morality. Protestant churches have no requirement of celibacy, yet their incidence of sexual abuse is significantly greater than in the Catholic Church. Similarly with the education system, with no celibacy requirements (but which indoctrinates students in all manner of sexual practices), which surpasses by far the transgressions in all churches.
                  And you are even more offbase — if that is possible — claiming that the Church demonizes normal human sexuality: on the contrary, the Church teaches human sexuality is sacred, and therefore not to be cheapened, perverted, and abused.
                  I accept that the Church scandals weren’t the cause of your “atheism”; clearly, it is your ego that is the cause.

                  • Zeke

                    OK Sam, you convinced me.

                    The Church handled the scandal very well.
                    The scandals were primarily caused by homosexuals in the Church.
                    Celibacy promotes well-being of the priest and Church and is healthy.
                    The Church has wise teachings on masturbation, virginity, homosexuality and contraception.
                    My ego makes me unable to believe in God.

                • papagan

                  “It’s pretty obvious I’m atheist now…”

                  Have you considered the possibility that your decision to reject theism has narrowed, not broadened, your perspective on reality? Scientism surely involves an extremely unfortunate narrowing of one’s mental apprehension of what is real.

            • papagan

              “…seems to me that even Pope Francis considers Adam and Eve a fable.”

              One shouldn’t allow such a questionable assertion to go unchallenged. If by “fable” you mean a fictitious tale without any foundation in extramental reality, I think you’re mistaken. You need to support your groundless claim about what Pope Francis thinks about the account of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis. You really need to be more careful about what you ascribe to others.

              • Zeke

                I don’t think the Pope ever used the word “fable”, but yes, Francis does accept evolution, or at least a watered-down Catholic version of it, which directly contradicts the ex nihilo account of Adam and Eve in Genesis.
                What’s the right word then? Metaphor? Allegory? Myth? No, I think fable is the appropriate word for a tale that features a talking snake.

                • papagan

                  «I don’t think the Pope ever used the word “fable”, but yes, Francis [sic] does accept evolution, or at least a watered-down Catholic version of it, which directly contradicts the ex nihilo account of Adam and Eve in Genesis.»

                  First, one should be careful about one’s choice of words. You used the term “fable” and incorrectly attributed it to Pope Francis with respect to his interpretation of the biblical account of Adam and Eve. You shouldn’t be allowed to get away with that.

                  Second, the term “evolution” covers a number of different theories, not simply the materialistic version, which is more aptly referred to as the philosophy of evolutionism. Pope Francis certainly does not accept the philosophy of evolutionism. Those who embrace the erroneous philosophy of evolutionism don’t own the term “evolution.”

                  Third, the doctrine of creation ex nihilo is not logically incompatible with all theories of evolution, but only some.

                  Fourth, those who understand that each human person possesses a spiritual soul can understand that creation ex nihilo is required whenever a human person is brought into existence. No evolutionary theory is sufficient as a causal explanation of the whole human person–body and soul. Those blinded by their adherence to philosophical materialism are not in a position to understand the absolute need of creation ex nihilo with respect to the original making and subsequent procreation of human persons.

                  For additional information on the foregoing, I suggest that you read my replies to the various problematic comments posted by “Thinker.”

                  “What’s the right word then? Metaphor? Allegory? Myth? No, I think fable is the appropriate word for a tale that features a talking snake.”

                  First, the science or discipline of biblical exegesis is a good deal more sophisticated than you seem to recognize.

                  Second, if you think a talking snake is impossible, then what must you think about the multiplication of loaves and fishes, or the raising of the dead to life? Yet an omnipotent God can preform miracles far beyond the boundaries of your narrow worldview.

        • papagan

          In this process, some researchers have committed the logically invalid move of inferring from particular data to the universally negative claim that a literal Adam and Eve is impossible.” [Portion of Zeke’s reply]: “Logically invalid only if you think like a creationist.”

          Whoever you are, it seems clear that you haven’t studied logic, or you’ve forgotten something important (and elementary) if you did study logic. One cannot validly infer a universal negative conclusion from particular premises. In a valid deductive syllogism, a universal negative conclusion requires a universal negative premise. One cannot establish scientifically with absolute certitude the impossibility of monogenism. If you think otherwise, then you don’t understand scientific methodology. Perhaps you’re just another misguided proponent of scientism, which isn’t science.

          • Zeke

            Ah, “scientism”, the new favorite pejorative of those whom agree with all scientific knowledge except where it contradicts their holy books.

            You’re arguing semantics, but perhaps you’re right. However, if one believes that supernatural events are possible, one cannot establish scientifically with absolute certainty the impossibility of anything. But science is not your friend, and you shouldn’t use its methods to attempt to support religious dogma.

            • papagan

              «Ah, “scientism”, the new favorite pejorative of those whom [sic] agree with all scientific knowledge except where it contradicts their holy books.»

              Genuine scientific knowledge cannot contradict authentic divine revelation. All truth, including scientific and religious truths, must be traced back to the transcendent Primary Cause, God, who is Self-subsisting Veritas. Unnecessary conflicts arise from either errors in scientific reasoning or misinterpretations of Sacred Scripture, or from a combination of the two. The error of scientism, however, stems from the misguided transformation of a useful empirical methodology into a defective metaphysics.

              “You’re arguing semantics, but perhaps you’re right. However, if one believes that supernatural events are possible, one cannot establish scientifically with absolute certainty the impossibility of anything. But science is not your friend, and you shouldn’t use its methods to attempt to support religious dogma.”

              First, can natural science establish anything with absolute certainty? One must recognize the proper limits of natural science.

              Second, believers should oppose not genuine science, but the error of scientism!

              Third, the Christian faith is based not on empirical scientific methodology, but on the absolute and infallible authority of God the Revealer. Many important truths concerning human existence (e.g., truths pertaining to freedom of choice, the natural moral law, immortality, and final causality) can be known or established without relying on empirical scientific methodology. Proponents of scientism, however, will find that difficult to swallow.

              • Zeke

                Genuine scientific knowledge cannot contradict authentic divine revelation.

                True, only because religious people assert divine revelations that are outside the scope of scientific inquiry. It cannot contradict that Muhammed flew to heaven on a winged steed either, a divine revelation which I doubt you accept.

                Unnecessary conflicts arise from either errors in scientific
                reasoning or misinterpretations of Sacred Scripture, or from a combination of the two.

                The methods of science are powerful precisely because errors of
                reasoning are scrutinized and corrected. Interpreting sacred scripture is a parlor game which leads to wild conclusions such as a 6,000 year old earth, God hates fags, and the Southern Baptist Convention.

                First, can natural science establish anything with absolute certainty? One must recognize the proper limits of natural science.

                Of course not, which is part of the beauty of science. Mental illness
                might be caused by invisible demons or the result of original sin. It does not lessen the power of science to cure it. We don’t have absolute proof that prayer or exorcism is ineffective, but we are on solid footing to ridicule those who believe it.

                Second, believers should oppose not genuine science, but the
                error of scientism!

                A statement that allows religious types to claim to endorse the
                scientific method until it is conflicts with their particular religious dogmas.
                There was no global flood? OK, fine, I suppose that’s an ancient near east myth that somehow found its way into the OT. Adam and Eve aren’t historical? But then what about original sin? Why did we need a redeemer? That’s scientism!

                Third, the Christian faith is based not on empirical scientific
                methodology….

                Yeah, you got that right. In spades.

                …but on the absolute and infallible authority of God the
                Revealer.

                Like every other major religion. So what? There are a billion Muslims who think you’re dead wrong. Thousands of Christian denominations attest to the fact that Christians themselves can’t even agree on what the Bible “reveals”.

                Many important truths concerning human existence (e.g., truths
                pertaining to freedom of choice, the natural moral law, immortality, and final causality) can be known or established without relying on empirical scientific methodology.

                No they can’t. You rightly acknowledge the limits of science to know
                things with absolute certainty, but have no problem asserting these things can be known to be true by reading ancient books written by men with the level of knowledge that would embarrass a modern 10 year-old. This is the soul of dogmatism.

                • papagan

                  “The methods of science are powerful precisely because errors of reasoning are scrutinized and corrected.”

                  It’s true that human reason is capable of self-correction, but this capacity of self-correction doesn’t entail infallibility. Human reason is inherently fallible and defectible. The one true God, however, is absolutely infallible and indefectible, and theological faith is based on God. Theological faith is not refuted by the arrogant creed of rationalism or the false religion of scientism.

                  “Interpreting sacred scripture is a parlor game…”

                  That statement exhibits only ignorance of, or refusal to recognize, the legitimacy of the systematic study of Sacred Scripture and the associated graduate degrees granted by various institutions of higher learning, e.g., http://www.biblico.it/licentiate_curr.html. See also http://catholic-resources.org/ChurchDocs/. You probably haven’t read John Henry Newman’s famous work, The Idea of a University http://www.gutenberg.org/files/24526/24526-h/24526-h.html. Your ignorance in this area is simply a manifestation of the modern prejudice opposed to the recognition of theology as a vital branch of knowledge essential to the constitution of a complete university. Given your antecedent commitment to atheism, your rejection of the academic legitimacy of theology comes as no surprise.

                  “We don’t have absolute proof that prayer or exorcism is ineffective, but we are on solid footing to ridicule those who believe it.”

                  The fact that you, as an atheist, hold that dubious opinion doesn’t make it a true opinion.

                  [papagan] “Second, believers should oppose not genuine science, but the error of scientism!” [Zeke’s response] “A statement that allows religious types to claim to endorse the scientific method until it is conflicts with their particular religious dogmas.”

                  Here you commit the fallacy of begging the question. Your assertion assumes a real conflict between genuine empirical science and authentic divine revelation. Moreover, you don’t even recognized authentic divine revelation. Elsewhere, in response to “Thinker,” I’ve shared some comments on the controversial Draper-White conflict thesis.

                  [papagan] “Third, the Christian faith is based not on empirical scientific methodology, but on the absolute and infallible authority of God the Revealer.” [Zeke] “Like every other major religion. So what?”

                  Not all religions are compatible, and not all religions are revealed religions. In any case, one of the differences between your atheistic position and my monotheistic position is that you choose not to admit that the Christian faith is based on the infallible authority of God the Revealer. Since I do not hold the opinion that each and every major religion is a revealed religion, you cannot use that opinion to refute my position. To do so would be to commit the fallacy of straw man.

                  “Thousands of Christian denominations attest to the fact that Christians themselves can’t even agree on what the Bible ‘reveals’.”

                  I never denied that not all Christians agree in their interpretations of Sacred Scripture. The fact that not all Christians agree in their interpretations of Sacred Scripture does not entail that there are no accurate interpretations of Sacred Scripture, or that Sacred Scripture (the books of the Old and New Testaments) isn’t inspired by God, whom militant atheists obstinately refuse to recognize.

                  [papagan] “Many important truths concerning human existence (e.g., truths pertaining to freedom of choice, the natural moral law, immortality, and final causality) can be known or established without relying on empirical scientific methodology.” [Zeke] “[1.] No they can’t. You rightly acknowledge the limits of science to know things with absolute certainty, but [2. you] have no problem asserting these things can be known to be true by reading ancient books written by men with the level of knowledge that would embarrass a modern 10 year-old. [3.] This is the soul of dogmatism.”

                  Regarding 1, you’re entitled to your opinions, including misguided opinions.

                  Regarding 2, you commit the fallacy of straw man. I didn’t appeal to “ancient books written by men with the level of knowledge that would embarrass a modern 10 year-old.” As one who rejects the error of fideism, I hold that the fundamental truths in question can be established on the basis of strictly philosophical reasoning. You do not acknowledge the legitimacy of such reasoning, because your prior commitment to scientism does not allow you to admit the legitimacy of such reasoning. You must admit, however, that not everyone genuflects before the modern altar of scientism.

                  Regarding 3, insofar as dogmatism is defined as “positiveness in assertion of opinion, especially when unwarranted or arrogant,” some of your statements are splendid illustrations of a dogmatic mindset. Indeed, your atheism seems remarkably dogmatic and cavalier.

            • “Ah, ‘scientism’, the new favorite pejorative of those whom agree with all scientific knowledge except where it contradicts their holy books.”

              Exactly. I have noticed this bizarre usage of “scientism” as a distinct straw man and red herring by religious believers who want to deny and ignore scientific results they don’t like because they either fail to support or are contrary to their religious beliefs.

              But in point to the “literal Adam and Eve” <– if that is what we're really talking about and not ignoring the actual context of the "literal Adam and Eve" from the Bible myth itself, then we're talking about the notion that all humans today came from only two humans around 6,000 years ago (Genesis chapters 5 and 11), and we're also talking about the notion that all humans today came from only eight humans around 4,300 years ago (Noah's Flood myth). We're talking about two extreme genetic bottlenecks, not just one.

              And, yes, we can say with scientific certainty approaching about as close to "absolute certitude" as you can get that "literal Adam and Eve" and "literal Noah" are entirely bogus when treated as anything other than religious myth.

              Also – and this is in line with the last point you articulated – if someone is going to take the attitude that it's perfectly okay to just make anything up you feel like you need to make up in order to promote your religious belief in some religious dogma no matter what the real world evidence shows, then, of course, anything goes, which has nothing to do with science at all – it's religious faith.

              • papagan

                “I have noticed this bizarre usage of ‘scientism’ as a distinct straw man and red herring by religious believers who want to deny and ignore scientific results they don’t like because they either fail to support or are contrary to their religious beliefs.”

                First, are you among those who buy the controversial Draper-White conflict thesis? Second, are you an advocate of scientism?

                • I’m confused. What part of “straw man and red herring by religious believers who want to deny and ignore scientific results they don’t like because they either fail to support or are contrary to their religious beliefs” do you not understand?

                  • papagan

                    If you want a reply, answer my questions. In fact, you have implicitly answered one question as to your stance in relation to scientism:

                    «Science *is* philosophy. It is one particular epitome of philosophy. You could also refer to science as “applied” philosophy. And the one thing science can do that naked philosophy can’t is actually learn things about reality.»

                    That looks like a clear illustration of the bloated arrogance of scientism. One can hardly deflect criticism away from the philosophy of scientism by asserting that those who call attention to the radical error of scientism are guilty of straw man and red herring fallacies. Unlike genuine science, scientism is toxic to the core. If you wish to defend scientism and argue against the academic legitimacy of theology and classical realist philosophy, go ahead.

                    I might add that some of your statements suggest that you buy into the Draper-White conflict thesis. If that’s not accurate, you’re free to clarify.

                    • “That looks like a clear illustration of the bloated arrogance of scientism. One can hardly deflect criticism away from the philosophy of scientism by asserting that those who call attention to the radical error of scientism are guilty of straw man and red herring fallacies. Unlike genuine science, scientism is toxic to the core. If you wish to defend scientism and argue against the academic legitimacy of theology and classical realist philosophy, go ahead.”

                      Yet again, what part of “straw man and red herring by religious believers who want to deny and ignore scientific results they don’t like because they either fail to support or are contrary to their religious beliefs” do you not understand?

                      But I do have to laugh whenever a religious/theistic/Christian apologist tries to pretend that science is not philosophy, pretend that science is not one particular epitome of philosophy, pretend that science is not “applied philosophy”, and pretend that you can learn things about reality without actually looking at and studying reality itself.

                      It’s also ironically amusing how I point out (and not just me, but I was agreeing with the point already made) how religious/theistic/Christian apologists employ the term “scientism” for the very purpose of “straw men and red herring by religious believers who want to deny and ignore scientific results they don’t like because they either fail to support or are contrary to their religious beliefs” – and what do you do? You try to deny it, yet in the act of attempting that you employ rhetoric that backs up the point. Thank you for doing this. I appreciate it.

                    • papagan

                      Is that your best defense of scientism? If so, it’s singularly unimpressive.

                      «[1] But I do have to laugh whenever a religious/theistic/Christian apologist tries to pretend that science is not philosophy, pretend that science is not one particular epitome of philosophy, pretend that science is not “applied philosophy”, and [2] pretend that you can learn things about reality without actually looking at and studying reality itself.»

                      Regarding 1, I have two comments. First, it begs the question (fallacy). Second, practitioners of modern experimental science certainly have philosophical assumptions, but this isn’t inconsistent with the distinction between science and philosophy. You’re not the first person who doesn’t recognize the line of demarcation between modern experimental science and philosophy. Either you don’t really understand modern science, or you don’t understand philosophy. I don’t suppose you’re familiar with E.A. Burtt’s noted work, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science.

                      Regarding 2, straw man fallacy. Classical realist philosophy begins with observable reality, but it isn’t restricted to what is empirically observable. Classical realist philosophy, moreover, did not have to wait until the advent of modern experimental science. Modern experimental science isn’t a prerequisite of “looking at and studying reality itself.” On the contrary, “looking at and studying reality itself” is a precondition of modern experimental science. Proponents of scientism fail to understand that there are various different methodological approaches to the study of what is. In other words, they fail to grasp the analogy of scientia.

                      You can laugh at classical realist philosophy (which you show no sign of understanding), while others draw attention to the vacuous hubris of scientism. See, for instance, Austin L. Hughes, “The Folly of Scientism,” http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-folly-of-scientism.

                    • papagan, you’re nothing but a clown.

                      Wow, if you call an elephant an tomato, then an elephant is a fruit. This is the level of sophistication of your rhetoric.

                      When you are ready to actually explain how anything I’ve stated is actually “scientism” I’ll be ready to discuss it. But I’m just not interested in discussing tomatoes. I have better things to do with my time. Thanks.

                    • papagan

                      papagan, you’re nothing but a clown.

                      Wow, if you call an elephant an tomato, then an elephant is a fruit. This is the level of sophistication of your rhetoric.

                      When you are ready to actually explain how anything I’ve stated is actually “scientism” I’ll be ready to discuss it. But I’m just not interested in discussing tomatoes. I have better things to do with my time. Thanks.

                      Individuals of your ilk simply can’t resist resorting to ad hominem attacks. Interestingly, nowhere have you stated that you reject scientism.

                    • “Individuals of your ilk simply can’t resist resorting to ad hominem attacks.”

                      So, obviously my point that “if you call an elephant a tomato, then an elephant is a fruit. This is the level of sophistication of your rhetoric. When are you ready to actually explain how anything I’ve stated is actually ‘scientism’ I’ll be ready to discuss it. But I’m just not interested in discussing tomatoes.” went completely over your head. I called you a clown because you either are incapable of comprehending the obvious or have every intention of deliberately ignoring the obvious. And I notice you did not response with anything demonstrating otherwise.

                      “Interestingly, nowhere have you stated that you reject scientism.”

                      Previously I wrote, “what part of ‘straw man and red herring by religious believers who want to deny and ignore scientific results they don’t like because they either fail to support or are contrary to their religious beliefs’ do you not understand?” And what are making very clear with your clownish rhetoric is that apparently you don’t understand any of it.

                      I was discussing elephants. All you want to do is discuss tomatoes, which is perfectly fine except I’m not interested in discussing tomatoes. As I’ve only told you already.

                    • papagan

                      Aside from begging the question, your evasive linguistic maneuvering is hard to overlook. You repeatedly seek to draw attention away from the fact that you refuse to declare where you stand on the question of scientism (or the Draper-White conflict thesis). If you’re opposed to scientism, just say so. If you wish to continue to conceal your stance on the question of scientism, however, that’s your choice. I think it is most helpful to disclose hidden assumptions in order to see how much we have in common. In this case I’m inclined to think that you and I have relatively little in common.

                      In any case, I’m not in the least impressed by the shallow rhetoric you employ.

                    • papagan – You are *still* not getting it. Do you even have a clue what the OP is? Just look up at the top of the page. Do you comprehend what “context” refers to? Or do you just blithely ignore context whenever you feel like it?

                      In this particular thread of discussion, Zeke wrote, “Ah, ‘scientism’, the new favorite pejorative of those whom agree with all scientific knowledge except where it contradicts their holy books.”

                      Zeke’s comment is right on target – and it is especially appropriate to the discussion in the context of the OP. Which is *why* I followed with:

                      “Exactly. I have noticed this bizarre usage of ‘scientism’ as a distinct straw man and red herring by religious believers who want to deny and ignore scientific results they don’t like because they either fail to support or are contrary to their religious beliefs.”

                      “But in point to the ‘literal Adam and Eve’ <– if that is what we're really talking about and not ignoring the actual context of the 'literal Adam and Eve' from the Bible myth itself, then we're talking about the notion that all humans today came from only two humans around 6,000 years ago (Genesis chapters 5 and 11), and we're also talking about the notion that all humans today came from only eight humans around 4,300 years ago (Noah's Flood myth). We're talking about two extreme genetic bottlenecks, not just one."

                      "And, yes, we can say with scientific certainty approaching about as close to 'absolute certitude' as you can get that 'literal Adam and Eve' and 'literal Noah' are entirely bogus when treated as anything other than religious myth."

                      And then what do you do? You immediately try to change the subject and run off with the red herring of "scientism". You are *proving* what Zeke pointed out and I agree with. The fact that the "literal Adam and Eve" is scientifically bogus (it's a religious myth, not science or history at all in the first place) is precisely the point. This has nothing to do with "scientism". Now, if you want to discuss the scientific evidence in the context of archaeology and paleoanthropology in regard to this creationist notion of a "literal Adam and Eve" then by all means do so. But you're not doing that, instead desperately attempting the ploy of using the straw man of "scientism" as a red herring to evade the point.

                      It would be like you swooping in and claiming I'm gay, or that I'm a pedophile, and I just refuse to discuss your clownish nonsense because it's completely irrelevant. You have not produced one shred of evidence that I'm gay, or pedophilic, or am a proponent of your "scientism" whatever you're supposedly using it to mean anyway (which you've never actually defined anyway). And then – more of your clown showing – you try to pretend that because I don't fall for your red herring shell game, well, then, I must be a proponent of "scientism" because I'm criticizing you for trying to change the subject. That's a laugh. Oh, but your clownishness gets even worse. You pretend "shallow rhetoric" – yet you're the guy several decades in the past. Draper and White? Seriously? How about Philip Kitcher? Alan Sokal? P. D. Magnus? Matthias Egg? Mauricio Suárez? I mean, come on, if you're going to discuss tomatoes, then at least discuss tomatoes, instead of pretending to talk about tomatoes while talking about club moss. Geeze, you can't even get your red herring straight.

                      So all you've done from the get-go is prove exactly what Zeke pointed out to begin with. You don't want to talk about the "literal Adam and Eve" and how bogus it is scientifically, precisely because it is your very objective to run cover for fallacious religious belief in religious myths, trying to obfuscate everything in sight.

                      Nice try – but no cigar. Which leaves you out of the Cuban windfall, by the way.

                    • papagan

                      If anyone doesn’t get it, it’s you. You seem afraid to disclose your stance on scientism. (If you’re not sure what the term means in common discourse, I provided a link. Apparently you chose to ignore that resource.) If you wish to continue concealing your stance on scientism, that’s your choice. I can understand why you might fear to admit an allegiance to scientism, or fear defending it.

                      Regarding the Draper-White conflict thesis, which is still discussed today at the academic level, you appear to be unclear as to its meaning. Stated briefly, the conflict thesis holds that in the conceptual order one cannot simultaneously embrace both science (or scientific reason) and religion (or religious faith) without contradiction. If you privately endorse that view, I can understand why you might wish to keep that to yourself.

                      I prefer to get to the bottom of things, while you seem to prefer to skate on the surface. Suit yourself.

                    • “If anyone doesn’t get it, it’s you.”

                      Says the guy who is the one who keeps right on deliberately and obviously ignoring the context of the discussion.

                      “still discussed today at the academic level”

                      Kepler’s use of Platonic solids as the divine geometry of the universe is also still discussed today at the academic level. Obviously, this doesn’t mean what you think it means.

                      “You seem afraid to disclose your stance on scientism.”

                      Which merely proves that what I have stated already is obviously over your head. But this takes us right back to…

                      Why do you keep deliberately ignoring the OP and what I wrote *in that context*:

                      “Exactly. I have noticed this bizarre usage of ‘scientism’ as a distinct straw man and red herring by religious believers who want to deny and ignore scientific results they don’t like because they either fail to support or are contrary to their religious beliefs.”

                      “But in point to the ‘literal Adam and Eve’ <– if that is what we're really talking about and not ignoring the actual context of the 'literal Adam and Eve' from the Bible myth itself, then we're talking about the notion that all humans today came from only two humans around 6,000 years ago (Genesis chapters 5 and 11), and we're also talking about the notion that all humans today came from only eight humans around 4,300 years ago (Noah's Flood myth). We're talking about two extreme genetic bottlenecks, not just one."

                      "And, yes, we can say with scientific certainty approaching about as close to 'absolute certitude' as you can get that 'literal Adam and Eve' and 'literal Noah' are entirely bogus when treated as anything other than religious myth."

                      But the thing is, you don't *want* to talk about that subject, the topic of the OP, because of how corrosive it is to religious faith. You should have taken the "sophisticated theology" approach, but obviously you're not sophisticated enough to carry it off. I'm amazed that you didn't even catch a clue when I mentioned Sokal. That should have jumped right out for you.

                      So you refuse to discuss the context of the discussion, the "literal Adam and Eve" and the bogus nature of religious belief in regard to setting the table for even granting a masquerade of legitimacy to the notion of "literal Adam and Eve" in the first place (the elephant), and even when you try to use "scientism" (the tomatoes) as a red herring to try to change the subject, you're not even up to that task since you apparently don't even know who Kitcher and Sokal are, so we're left with you not even able to intelligibly discuss your red herring, but instead you give us club moss and call it tomatoes, while completely ignoring the elephant in the room.

                      papagan, your clownish rhetoric is a complete waste of time.

                    • papagan

                      “Which merely proves that what I have stated already is obviously over your head.”

                      It’s possible that, in a post I’ve not read (and there are many I’ve not read), you’ve openly declared your stance on scientism. Given your immoderate rhetoric, however, I haven’t the slightest inclination to go back and read all of your posts. One other thing. You really should strive to regulate your passions. I suspect that you’ve had an extremely bad experience with respect to religion; however, that does not excuse your overheated rhetoric.

                    • “You really should strive to regulate your passions. I suspect that you’ve had an extremely bad experience with respect to religion; however, that does not excuse your overheated rhetoric.”

                      Pardon me for laughing at a rhetorical clown.

              • papagan

                “… [1] if someone is going to take the attitude that it’s perfectly okay to just make anything up … in order to promote your religious belief in some religious dogma [2] no matter what the real world evidence shows, then, of course, anything goes, which has nothing to do with science at all – [3] it’s religious faith.”

                Regarding 1, asserting claims having no foundation in extramental reality has more to do with fiction (or superstition) than with authentic religion.

                Regarding 2, one ought not ignore or dismiss genuine evidence. One must be careful, however, with respect to the interpretation one places upon empirical evidence. People can draw faulty inferences from empirical evidence. Positivists who claim that empirical evidence requires no interpretation sound very much like biblical fundamentalists who assert that the meaning of one or another passage of Sacred Scripture is immediately clear without relying on any hermeneutical methodology or tools of interpretation. The claim “that all humans today came from only two humans around 6,000 years ago (Genesis chapters 5 and 11)” (emphasis added) is one example of questionable biblical exegesis. Moreover, to attribute to all believers that particular interpretation of the biblical account concerning the age of the human race would be an example of the fallacy of hasty generalization.

                Regarding 3, true religion has nothing to do with the curious posture that “anything goes”! Perhaps you don’t admit the existence of a true religion. Whatever the case may be, the truth of monotheism is not exclusively within the reach of theological faith alone, as fideists hold, but also within the reach of philosophical reason. Such truths within the reach of both faith and reason are known as preambula fidei. In that connection, readers might wish to inspect a valuable work by the late Prof. Ralph McInerny, Praeambula Fidei: Thomism and the God of the Philosophers http://cuapress.cua.edu/BOOKS/viewbook.cfm?Book=MCPF.

                • “asserting claims having no foundation in extramental reality has more to do with fiction (or superstition) than with authentic religion.”

                  I’m confused. Are you arguing that Dennis Bonnette did not write the article under which we are commenting, or are you arguing that belief in Adam and Eve is not “authentic religion”? Perhaps you will clarify this for me.

                  “One must be careful, however, with respect to the interpretation one places upon empirical evidence.”

                  I’m confused. Are you arguing that therefore it’s plausible that the moon may actually be made out of green cheese after all, or that it may nonetheless be true that magical invisible faeries dust plants with dew in the morning, or… or what?

                  “Positivists who claim that empirical evidence requires no interpretation sound very much like…”

                  I’m confused. Have there been positivists here, arguing that empirical evidence requires no interpretation? Or are you arguing that since empirical evidence does require interpretation then all interpretations are equal and equally plausible and so anyone can make up anything they like and just tack on any assumptions they need to?

                  “The claim ‘that all humans today came from only two humans around 6,000 years ago (Genesis chapters 5 and 11)’ (emphasis added) is one example of questionable biblical exegesis.”

                  Genesis chapter 5 –

                  “[1b] In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. [2] He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. [3] When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. [4] Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. [5] So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.” (NASB)

                  The bible says that Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years when he became the father of Seth, and that he lived eight hundred years after that. And sums it up, saying that when Adam died he had lived nine hundred and thirty years.

                  Please do explain the “questionable biblical exegesis” with my statement.

                  “to attribute to all believers that particular interpretation of the biblical account concerning the age of the human race would be an example of the fallacy of hasty generalization.”

                  So who is doing that?

                  You seem to be extremely fond of vacuous assertions and argument-by-false-insinuation.

                  “true religion has nothing to do with the curious posture that ‘anything goes'”

                  Ah, yes. The No True Scotsman fallacy. Where have I seen this before?

                  “Perhaps you don’t admit the existence of a true religion.”

                  Oh, so you must be one who prays to Allah five times a day.

                  “the truth of monotheism is not exclusively within the reach of theological faithalone, as fideists hold, but also within the reach of philosophical reason.”

                  Science *is* philosophy. It is one particular epitome of philosophy. You could also refer to science as “applied” philosophy. And the one thing science can do that naked philosophy can’t is actually learn things about reality. The notion that anyone could determine “the truth” of monotheism, or any theism for that matter, without actually examining, studying, and analyzing reality itself, and without testing their ideas about reality against relevant information acquired from reality itself that impinges on those ideas (i.e., evidentiary testing), is exactly one of those features of religious belief in gods that demonstrates its fundamentally fallacious nature.

                  • papagan

                    “The bible says that Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years when he became the father of Seth, and that he lived eight hundred years after that. And sums it up, saying that when Adam died he had lived nine hundred and thirty years.”

                    “Please do explain the ‘questionable biblical exegesis’ with my statement.”

                    Apparently you, like many anti-intellectual fideists, have little or no awareness of the highly sophisticated nature of scholarly biblical exegesis. Concerning biblical exegesis, see, for example, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05692b.htm.

                    • “Apparently you, like many anti-intellectual fideists, have little or no awareness of the highly sophisticated nature of scholarly biblical exegesis.”

                      Ah, yes, the highly-vaunted-among-religious-apologists “sophisticated theology” ploy. I’m a preacher’s son, went to school at Abilene Christian University, started off with majoring in Biblical Studies, and have a year of Koine Greek under my belt. I am not saying I’m a theologian. I’m not. I changed course and went into mathematics and physics, and ended up professional as a computer programmer. But I’m not unfamiliar with biblical exegesis. And again what we are observing is how you love to make up stuff purely for red herring purposes.

                      I have less than zero doubt that religious believers can make up almost anything they need to make up to try to justify various religious doctrines, in a hierarchy of considered importance, regarding what needs to be jettisoned in order to try to preserve what is more important. And – again – this is completely beside the point.

                      The point is that we all know what the text itself states. This particular piece of text is very clear-cut. If you want to conjure up tribe references and numerical symbology, go right ahead be my guest – because when you do you will be proving my point. The “literal Adam and Eve” is scientifically bogus. There is no literal Adam and Eve. They never existed. The story is a religious myth. Genesis chapters 5 and 11, the Noah’s Flood story, and so on are religious myth, and prose constructed in the context of religious myth all as part of the fabric of the religious discourse.

                      I’m amused that you got all caught up in seeming to think I’m having some kind of a problem with Genesis 5 as religious myth, when it is precisely my contention that Genesis 5 is a construct employed on the basis of the mythological framework – and there is no such thing as any “literal Adam and Eve” in the first place.

                      Seriously, papagan, you seem to have an inordinately difficult time comprehending basic context and seeing how arguments fit together.

                    • papagan

                      “The point is that we all know what the text itself states. This particular piece of text is very clear-cut.”

                      Seeing what the text states (at least in translation) is one thing, but properly grasping the intended meaning(s) of the author(s) is something else. Those who embrace scientific concordism and those who do not will adopt different hermeneutical approaches to the very same scriptural texts. You show no evidence of being aware of that important fact.

                      “I’m a preacher’s son, went to school at Abilene Christian University, started off with majoring in Biblical Studies, and have a year of Koine Greek under my belt. I am not saying I’m a theologian. I’m not. I changed course and went into mathematics and physics, and ended up professional as a computer programmer. But I’m not unfamiliar with biblical exegesis.”

                      Well, your “familiarity” with the many nuances of scriptural exegesis seems extremely limited. I trust that you do much better in your chosen field of expertise. On properly philosophical and theological questions pertaining to Catholic doctrine, including the question of monogenism examined by Prof. Bonnette, you might consider softening your immoderate rhetoric. Some humility would be in order. Unfortunately, humility is not a characteristic of proponents of scientism.

                    • “Seeing what the text states (at least in translation) is one thing, but properly grasping the intended meaning(s) of the author(s) is something else.”

                      I do laugh at the clown trying to pretend he’s telling me something I don’t know.

                      Duh, papagan.

                      And here you are – yet again – with the red herring. While you are still completely ignoring what I already pointed out. Because you are quite adamant that you do not want to actually discuss the subject of the OP. Again, just wasting everyone’s time.

                    • papagan

                      “I do laugh at the clown trying to pretend he’s telling me something I don’t know.”

                      Your ignorance was evident, and you lack the humility to admit it. Here’s what you stated previously:

                      But in point to the “literal Adam and Eve” <– if that is what we're really talking about and not ignoring the actual context of the "literal Adam and Eve" from the Bible myth itself, then we're talking about the notion that all humans today came from only two humans around 6,000 years ago (Genesis chapters 5 and 11), and we're also talking about the notion that all humans today came from only eight humans around 4,300 years ago (Noah's Flood myth). We're talking about two extreme genetic bottlenecks, not just one.

                      Either (P1) you were deliberately employing the straw man fallacy, aware that not all believers endorse anything like the questionable chronology you specified, or (P2) you actually thought that all believers endorse scientific concordism (a term you might not have been familiar with until I mentioned it) in conjunction with a literalistic interpretation of Sacred Scripture. If P1, that would point to dishonesty on your part. If P2, then this statement is false: (P3) “I do laugh at the clown trying to pretend he’s telling me something I don’t know.” For P3 implies that you were already aware that not all believers endorse scientific concordism in conjunction with a literalistic interpretation of Sacred Scripture. P2 and P3 are mutually inconsistent, which also points to dishonesty on your part. If P2, then you learned something which you didn’t know previously.

                      So, were you deliberately employing the straw man fallacy, or were you trying to conceal the fact that you learned something you previously didn’t know?

                    • “Your ignorance was evident, and you lack the humility to admit it.”

                      There’s your clown again. You’re not quoting me, and you’re not showing my ignorance. What we observe – yet again – is how you make things up and argue by insinuation and innuendo.

                      And never ever actually discuss the topic actual topic of discussion. Indeed, you serve up so much red herring you should open your own restaurant.

                      I wrote, “But in point to the ‘literal Adam and Eve’ <– if that is what we're really talking about and not ignoring the actual context of the 'literal Adam and Eve' from the Bible myth itself, then we're talking about the notion that all humans today came from only two humans around 6,000 years ago (Genesis chapters 5 and 11), and we're also talking about the notion that all humans today came from only eight humans around 4,300 years ago (Noah's Flood myth). We're talking about two extreme genetic bottlenecks, not just one."

                      Because – unlike you – I'm actually (attempting) to discuss the topic of the OP. Something you're never ever going to get around to doing, as you've only been showing repeatedly.

                      "Either (P1) you were deliberately employing the straw man fallacy, aware that not all believers endorse anything like the questionable chronology you specified, or (P2) you actually thought that all believers endorse scientific concordism (a term you might not have been familiar with until I mentioned it) in conjunction with a literalistic interpretation of Sacred Scripture."

                      Oh, "P1" or "P2". Yeah, so sophisticated, papagan. So impressive. You could fill a mattress with all that straw from your straw-manning. Which makes me laugh when the guy accusing me of straw-manning is the guy using it precisely to employ a straw man. We notice you're not quoting me again.

                      "All believers"? Where did that come in? Oh, yeah – that one came from *you*, not me.

                      Some guy discusses the topic of Adam and Eve *not* from the perspective of Bible myth but in treating the idea as a literal idea about a literal Adam and Eve (but, of course, this is exactly the topic you never ever get around to discussing, because that's the topic of the OP, and you hate dealing with the context of the OP), and that is the topic I'm dealing with, and you ride in on your pretended high horse of a facade of "sophisticated theology" and yet can't even figure out the difference between club moss, tomatoes, and elephants, and keep talking about club moss, while pretending you're talking about tomatoes, and portraying it as talking about elephants.

                      I'll have to give this to you, papagan, you're one of the more skillful trolls I've encountered.

                    • papagan

                      Oh, “P1” or “P2”. Yeah, so sophisticated, papagan. So impressive. You could fill a mattress with all that straw from your straw-manning. Which makes me laugh when the guy accusing me of straw-manning is the guy using it precisely to employ a straw man. We notice you’re not quoting me again.

                      I have neither the time nor the inclination to participate in online discussions with dishonest interlocutors, especially those who, entangled in their own web of self-deception, strive to lead Christians away from truth.

                    • “dishonest interlocutors, especially those who, entangled in their own web of self-deception”

                      It would difficult for you to write a better self-projection than that one.

                      “strive to lead Christians away from truth.”

                      With Christians such as yourself, truth isn’t even in the cards. This is exactly the problem.

                      We are noticing that you never did get around to even attempting to touch hide nor hair of the “literal Adam and Eve” of the OP. Indeed, that’s the topic you worked so diligently cooking up your red herring to stay well away from.

              • papagan

                «And, yes, we can say with scientific certainty approaching about as close to “absolute certitude” as you can get that “literal Adam and Eve” and “literal Noah” are entirely bogus when treated as anything other than religious myth.»

                Here I comment not on the questionable rejection of a literal Adam and Eve, but on the question of the intellectual attainability of demonstrative certitude. Within the limits of experimental science, it is possible to attain high levels of probability, but probability, however high, falls short of demonstrative certitude. Demonstrative certitude is attainable, though, in both philosophy and theology, albeit in differentiated senses. In philosophy, demonstrative certitude can be found in proofs of the existence of immaterial being, that (a) “to be” and (b) “to be material” are not strictly synonymous, but the former is more comprehensive than the latter. One need not be a believer to recognize the distinction, which was recognized by Aristotle, who was not a believer.

                • “Here I comment not on the questionable rejection of a literal Adam and Eve, but on the question of the intellectual attainability of demonstrative certitude. Within the limits of experimental science, it is possible to attain high levels of probability, but probability, however high, falls short of demonstrative certitude.”

                  Let’s see what I actually wrote, again: “we can say with scientific certainty approaching about as close to ‘absolute certitude’ as you can get that ‘literal Adam and Eve’ and ‘literal Noah’ are entirely bogus when treated as anything other than religious myth.”

                  So I’m guessing you’ve apparently never heard of the concept of “degrees of certainty and uncertainty” used in the context of discussions of science and the philosophy of science before. Maybe you should study this subject more.

    • papagan

      That’s a brief and embarrassing summary! It’s a nice example of the straw man fallacy. Does that make you feel good?

  • Joe Ser

    More Dr Dennis Bonnette at http://www.idvolution.org

  • samnigromd

    None of the vocalizers or scribers of Divine Scripture had any of the knowledge of or words of those used by any of commentators or scholars. The first reciting of Scripture was dependent upon the words the people had (Just as do the Gospels). The metaphors were thus limited and dependent upon the descriptions available as upon the words available as upon the knowledge available. They never knew of the Big Bang, DNA, science, or journalism et cetera. And even today, we are limited in our ability to describe the pre-Big Bang, being left with words like “Eternity of a Loving God” maybe (although I coined the word “Statimuum” which helps me at least). But something monumental happened and they, like us, used the words they had which conveyed the basics forever meaningful and bewilderingly inadequate. Relax. Enjoy the Joy. Find and follow the Christian Metaphors. You have been saved. But you can lose it. We will all get what we deserve. Tradition and Scripture show the way.

  • Roscoe Bonsweenie

    I worked with guys at IBM on the Human Genome Project, and years later listen to a lecture from a guy with a PHD in Biology (lecturing on this very issue), and both sources said the DNA trail does point to an Eve.

    • See Noevo

      I think the scientific term is Mitochondrial Eve.

  • Whether a personal being identity, Adam, or a female personal being, Eve, actually existed at a time in the evolution of the human species cannot be known, or is it the lesson in the Book of Genesis.

    The lesson is about original sin, not the identity of a pair of copulating human beings destined to be the parents of us all. As allegory, it concerns us with the acts and facts of deception.

    Deception takes two directions. Deceit of others, and self-deceit. If one person lies to another or just tells what is believed that is not true, with the intent to persuade that person that it is true, a lie is born. Liars are sinners. It is the original sin.

    However, lying to others was not the original of the original sin. Lying to the self is to persuade oneself that something is true that is not. Even if honest and believable, it is not true; thus a lie. Science does not lie as a purpose of science. Science has as its purpose to find out what is probably true and test it against experience and ability to get the benefit of truth. Yet, no reputable scientist believes or should believe that he is certain in all his assumptions. A theory remains a theory no matter how high the probability that it is true.

    The original sin of self-deception followed closely by deception of others is the original and first wrongful act of the human being. Even if it had value in the struggle for survival, it is not true thus a sin. If it caused the death of one or more organisms of the species and prevented propagation, it is eliminated early.

    The story is not about Satan in the form of a snake, or about relations between a man and his mate. So, though an original man and an original female are possible, science long ago established high probability of the conservative pairing of animals in male and female forms. It was not a human achievement, but an achievement of animals and plants in evolution of life on planet Earth. Asexual reproduction takes place and is the standard mode for some species or the redundant form in others.

    Original sin cannot be washed away by a flowing stream or by sprinkling of holy water on a baby. It is retained in its beneficial form of self-respect. It is rejected in its form as an excuse to dominate others. It is selected when favorable, and rejected when it is detrimental to reproduction.

  • L.W. Dicker

    And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, “Brethren, I’ve heard it said among you that I am the Son of God and was sent to die for your sins.

    May I asketh, who among you is the deranged luntic that came up with that Neanderthal bullshit!!!!???

    Blood sacrifice!!!!???? Have you all lost your fucking minds!!!!?!!!

    What are we, living in the goddamn Stone Age!!?

    Brethren, let me make myself absolutely clear: I’d rather lick Judas’ hairy ass crack than be a part of your dying for sins horse shit!!!!”

    —-Jesus Christ, A Memoir

  • Hanan

    How does any of this help when the bible clearly has the first parents of humanity at over 5000 years ago? We know humanity was long spread before this time.

    • L.W. Dicker

      Hanan, if you try to bring reason and logic to an ancient book of ridiculous myths and absurdities, you’re going to be disappointed.

      Christianity is the product of an ignorant group of goat sacrificing religious fanatics. And as such, it it completely uncoherent horse crap to any sane, rational human in 2014.

  • Satanic_Panic

    This article is amazing garbage. it’s nothing but a bunch of hand waving, assertions and an argument from authority or two.

    Utter trash.

  • Satanic_Panic

    This is the 666th comment.

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