Mindbender wrote:Secondly, let's look at the concept of common descent. One can claim to believe that all variation in living things is the result of genetic mutation over long stretches of geological time. This is compatible with the belief that there is a god or gods, and it is even compatible with a belief that said god or gods is/are involved in and invested in everyday human affairs, but it requires believing that the Earth is old and life has been around on it for a long time, so if one were Christian, one would have to believe that parts of the Bible (specifically Genesis) are allegorical or metaphorical, or flat out mythology. One can believe in God and believe in both genetic mutation and variation as well as common descent.
There are two things wrong with what you said here. One, is that while evolution may very well imply common descent, the model does not
explicitly denote such a phenomena. Which is to say, evolution is not defined by 'common descent' and even if common descent were found out to be erroneous as a model, evolution would still be true. It is important, then, to not make evolution contingent upon the ideas of common descent. So while the term evolution may connotatively imply 'common descent', that is not, exactly, what evolution is. It's a bit sad really, I know many Christians who foolishly reject all evolution (and even find fault with all biological sciences) because they couldn't see that common descent is a theory derived from evolution, and not one cohabitant with it.
The second problem with what you said here is that your exegetical statements are a bit misconceived. It's painfully obvious, from any serious reading of the Genesis model, that the age of the Earth is not defined at all. So anyone stating the precise or even general age of the Earth from a Scriptural basis is merely reading into the text a meaning rather than reading out of it. What this means is that to say that the Earth is X or Y old, is in and of its very self a non-literal interpretation. Literally speaking, the Scriptures say nothing explicit about the age of the Earth. Furthermore, and this is the rub, all that matters is what the Scriptures literally mean, not what the words literally say.
Many people are extremely silly when it comes to reading, because they fail to understand inflections, phrases, or special uses of words within ancient culture. In fact, they seem to ignore there own. For example, if I said that the 9/11 attacks on the US was a "globe shaking event" would you say "Oh, he literally meant that the entire globe started shaking; an earthquake!"? But no. I did not mean that. You see? And people, when writing thousands of years ago, would talk like that as well. To go even further, we have to always be mindful of the language. For example, what was a "day"? Was it exactly 24 hours, before even the sun was visible from Earth? Even in the New Testament, Jesus would say things like "in the day of..." which does not at all mean a single 24-hour period. It just simply is a way to siphon time for easy understanding. Or words like "Tree of Life" is used to describe not only something in Genesis, but it is used to describe Wisdom in proverbs, Jesus in the Gospels, and is used later again in Revelation as well. So it would be quite disingenuous to declare that Scriptures are at fault with science in this way. The only thing at fault is that people don't understand what they're reading, and make up a meaning for themselves while they go along. And that's mostly because people don't read the Bible seriously, even many Christians.
A good, short, book that helps to explain this, that I would recommend, is Seven Days that Divide the World
by mathematician and philosopher Dr. John C. Lennox.
Mindbender wrote:However, the concept of natural selection is a materialistic/naturalistic explanation for why we see the variation in living things that exist, and I have to insist that this particular dimension of the theory of evolution is diametrically incompatible with any theism. It can conceivably be compatible with a type of deism that is in all practical application exactly the same as atheism, involving a god that does not interact at all with the world and did not create the world with life as part of its plan. Basically, if you believe that God had a plan for the universe that involved human beings, you don't believe in natural selection.
Woah. You have to be careful. The Natural Selection model is no more inherently materialistic/naturalistic than nearly anything else is theistic in the world. Be sure not to force some philosophic worldview upon science. Keep them separate, and then say if the current science (because science always changes) supports a certain view. But no science is philosophic in nature. Now let's dive into your main claim, that natural selection destroys the notion that God has a plan.
First off, is "how so"? Why would you even say that? Note that natural selection is a natural process. Like, positive being attracted to negative, or cups overflowing if their full past the brim. Or people getting tired when they run a lot. Those are all natural processes, just like natural selection. Are you saying that natural processes and God cannot exist? That, Mindbender, wouldn't make sense for you to say.
Secondly, and here's my point, natural selection does nothing
to undermine the premise that "God has a plan for the Universe that involves human beings". Nothing at all. Especially given the teleological aspects of such an event, coupled with abiogenesis as well, and even the relatively short life span of Earth that makes it impossible for successive variance to occur in the way that Darwinian Evolution erroneously prescribes. (Which I went over with you in the Religion thread). What goes even more against your point, Mindbender, is that evolution has (and due to its teleology evolution could be easily said to be necessarily guided) produced the very thing that God intended for it to produce. And out of the very dust of the Earth came life (abiogenesis) and only one of these lifeforms from Earth were in the image and likeness of God (compare Humanity to any other animal, plant, fungus, etc.).
Pretty much, natural selection neither affirms nor denies atheism or theism. Science is philosophically neutral. You can us it to support
your view, but it is actually wrong to say that a scientific claim is
a certain view. You have a lot of work cut out for you if you're going to disagree with me, but, I'm pretty sure I made a solid case. There is no inherent schism between the Scriptural theist and science, and I'm pretty disappointed that you'd take that stance.
Archsage wrote:While Darwin was ignorant of genetics (that field was not yet discovered in his time), he recognized genetic variance, and his theoretical model accounted for that.
Actually, it had been studied in his time by Gregor Mendel, but Darwin, and the rest of the scientific community did not know about his work. It was rediscovered years are Mendel's and Darwin's death.
I'm not sure I get your point. Mendelian heredity is also devoid of genetic theory. The monk, just like Darwin, was only using plain observation of generational shifts to make a statement about what Mendel would be credited for as allelic diversity within species. But both Mendel and Darwin were ignorant of genetics, and both of their respective theoretical models still accounted for genetics even though the field was not yet discovered in their times.
But if you're saying that genetics was discovered by that time, then can you provide me some links or some books so I can research? I thought Mendel only discovered alleles, punnet squares, e:
phenotypes, genotypes, and dominant/recessive heredity through his bean-plants.
EDIT: This is going to be my last post all day. So if I don't respond to anyone, don't worry, I'll be back soon. Happy Easter!