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Evolution

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Someone asked about whether there's specualation about viruses going on. As far as I know, most scientists accept that they are not living organisms, as they fail to meet several of the criteria for life.

I'm not sure I understand what is meant by "destruction of genetic information." I suppose any genetic mutation in a single allele (is that the right word?) will result in the lose of the old information that used to be on that allele, but that's just common sense. Is there some other sense in which "destruction of genetic information" occurs? (I've heard many creationists use a similar sounding argument, that all mutations are negative and destructive, but scientists say that this is flat out untrue--after all, many viruses and bacterii would have died out years ago if it hadn't been for mutation. Which is bad for us, but good for them.)

"Destruction of genetic information" simply means a loss of information. I've read about other bacteria that develop a resistance to medicine through loss of information; the antibiotic enters the bacteria through a certain protein in the bacterium, but in certain mutated bacteria, the protein isn't functioning properly, so the antibiotic can't get in through it.

Also, bacteria are very different from humans. As I mentioned before, they have several ways of transferring genetic information; they aren't just limited to reproduction. For instance, a bacterium can exchange material with another bacterium, while retaining the material itself. This is called conjugation. They can also get material from dead bateria, through a process called transformation. Thus, bacteria can change their genetic materal much more easily than humans can.

I have a question about creationist evolution myself: did humans "evolve" too? Genesis says that God created Adam from the dust of the earth. How can this be read symbolically?

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I have a question about creationist evolution myself: did humans "evolve" too? Genesis says that God created Adam from the dust of the earth. How can this be read symbolically?

As a metaphor for the fact that man is made from the same material as the world around him, reinforcing that though he is a special creation, he is still matter and "dust" in that sense. I figure that passage is less problematic than others in Genesis to read figuratively.

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I have a question about creationist evolution myself: did humans "evolve" too?
Depends what you mean. As a biological species, the answer would be yes; insofar as human nature entails a supernatural component, the answer would be no, humanity is not something that evolved. Rather, humanity would be the result of God elevating a biological organism to the dignity of the Imago Dei.

Genesis says that God created Adam from the dust of the earth. How can this be read symbolically?
All life on earth, including man (adam), is the stuff of earth, and returns to earth when it dies. Even now our bodies are built up in our mothers' wombs, and continue to be built up after we are born, from bits and pieces assimilated from animal and/or vegetable matter, and ultimately from the earth. Whether by special creation or by providential sovereignty over an evolving world, it is fair to say that God created man from the dust of the earth.

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Thanks for the answers. I'm still not an evolutionist, but at least now I see how it can fit in with a Biblical perspective. I find too many Christians who equate creationist evolutionists with heretics; that shouldn't be the case.

Oh, and SDG, I read that link to Jimmy Akin's site, and while it supported a non-literal reading of the Genesis creation account, it didn't seem to support an evolutionist view. As a matter of fact, it seemed to dismiss evolutionist views. So what's going on here?

I'm not sure if this has been discussed, so I'll say it anyway: it's important to note that ID isn't opposed to the theory of macroevolution; it's simply acknowledging that there's an Intelligence behind it. Granted, in the strictest sense, this isn't "science", it's metaphysics; but in the strictest sense, metaphysics is part of science too. I just think it's important to see that the battle doesn't really lie between evolution and six-day creationism; it lies between theism and atheism, and we should be on the same side.

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Thanks for the answers. I'm still not an evolutionist, but at least now I see how it can fit in with a Biblical perspective. I find too many Christians who equate creationist evolutionists with heretics; that shouldn't be the case.
Good!

Oh, and SDG, I read that link to Jimmy Akin's site, and while it supported a non-literal reading of the Genesis creation account, it didn't seem to support an evolutionist view. As a matter of fact, it seemed to dismiss evolutionist views. So what's going on here?
For the purposes of this exercise, Jimmy did "dismiss" or prescind from questions of scientific evidence -- not because the evidence isn't important, but because he wanted to address the question of the literary meaning of Genesis 1 in and of itself, as opposed to trying to come up with a reading of Genesis 1 that squares with external evidence or any particular construal thereof.

In other words, he wanted to ask not "If evolution is true, how can we understand Genesis 1?" but "What does it look like Genesis 1 is saying to any reader, regardless what century he lives in or what the scientific understanding of the day is?"

His point was to argue that the non-literal reading of Genesis is not a latter-day retrofit cobbled together to salvage the Bible from the ravages of Scientific Advancement. Rather, the indications of a non-literal literary sense are right there in the text itself.

I'm not sure if this has been discussed, so I'll say it anyway: it's important to note that ID isn't opposed to the theory of macroevolution; it's simply acknowledging that there's an Intelligence behind it. Granted, in the strictest sense, this isn't "science", it's metaphysics; but in the strictest sense, metaphysics is part of science too. I just think it's important to see that the battle doesn't really lie between evolution and six-day creationism; it lies between theism and atheism, and we should be on the same side.
I agree with the IDers that there is a guiding intelligence behind the universe in general and life in particular, and I agree in principle that it is possible to discern the presence of this intelligence by natural reason (St. Paul tells us that much in Romans 1, and the teaching of my Church supports it as well).

I am NOT sure the IDers are right that it is possible to establish design with scientific rigor, or that the categories of specified complexity and so forth hold up to scientific scrutiny.

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I love the framework theory! But one thing it does NOT in any way do is answer the question of what happened when as far as Creation goes. It doesn't answer the question that most people come to the text asking. That's not a flaw in the theory, by the way - it's a strength. The framework theory basically takes the "what happened when" question out of Genesis 1 entirely - because it asserts that Genesis 1 isn't talking about that question at all.

One can hold to the framework theory and to virtually any theory of causation and sequence out there, at the same time. The framework theory is about the TEXT, not about the WORLD.

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Two preliminary points.

One, I admit that I may have been wrong about viruses having "species" and therefore having the ability to "speciate", etc. I have often heard evolutionists point to pharmacology as an example of natural selection in action, and I may have taken that idea and run with it a little farther than it can actually go.

Two, I believe in lower-case intelligent design, in the sense that the universe just reeks of design -- and design, by definition, assumes an intelligence behind the design, so the term "intelligent design" is somewhat redundant. (FWIW, the movement from less-complex forms to more-complex forms is not always evidence of a designer; crystallization is an example of this, I think.)

But intelligent design raises all sorts of thorny complications that creationists don't ever address all that much, specifically where the intrinsically violent nature of the universe is concerned. I think spider webs are fantastic demonstrations of design in action -- not only the design built into them by the spider, but the design of the spider ITSELF, which amazingly has a brain capable of planning and carrying out a remarkably complex feat of engineering. But, hmmm, the whole PURPOSE of a spider web is death -- the death of flies and perhaps other insects that get caught in its silky strings.

If, as some insist, animal death (including, but not limited to, the physical death of humans) entered the world only at the Fall, then what do we do with THIS? Creationists sometimes like to pooh-pooh evolution because it requires thousands or millions of generations of birth and death, birth and death, birth and death -- and always eating, eating, eating -- to work. But is not animal death ITSELF part of the wondrous fabric of the universe, part of the very thing that compels us to kneel in awe at the foot of its Creator? If God has built death into the fabric of this world NOW, then why not THEN, when the world was being made?

Or is Satan a creator too?

On to replies to posts in this thread:

popechild wrote:

: Its scientific usefulness doesn't rule out its possible correctness though, if I'm reading you right.

Well, one of the main purposes of science is to study the world so that we can make predictions about the world. The scientific enterprise is predicated on the philosophical notion that the world "makes sense", i.e. that the world operates according to consistent natural principles, and that if we study something closely enough we can glean useful information from it.

One of the reasons evolutionary theory -- and Darwin's subtheory of natural selection -- dominates the scientific discussion is because it helps us to make reasonably accurate predictions.

If "Intelligent Design" is ever going to compete with that, then it will have to make predictions of its own. But, almost by (ahem) design, it can't. It has no usefulness whatsoever. All it can do is throw up its hands in quasi-surrender and say, "Well, we've studied such-and-such for the past century or two, and we still haven't figured it out in every detail, so I guess we might NEVER figure it out -- so I guess we might as well quit and point to the gaps in our knowledge and say, 'A miracle takes place here.'"

: The balance between scientific realism in one's thinking and beliefs accepted in faith based on biblical

: interpretation seems to me to be a matter of one's personal conscience. (And in this case, you

: appear to be conceding that the creationist account - while certainly not accepted by science - cannot

: actually be refuted by science either; as frustrating as that may be for some.)

Well, I think a literalist reading of Genesis can easily be refuted JUST BY READING GENESIS. There are two creation myths in the early chapters of Genesis, and the last time I checked, they didn't exactly match on every detail. The early chapters of Genesis were not written for a post-Enlightenment, scientific culture, and I think it is a major category mistake to read them that way.

: Back to the example of the resurrection. I'm going to assume that you believe in the literal

: accuracy of the resurrection story, even though it flies in the face of scientific reality.

Actually, there is more than one resurrection story, and I am not convinced that all of them are exactly accurate in every detail. (Same for the crucifixion stories, which differ on details like whether the Passover took place on the day OF the crucifixion or the day BEFORE the crucifixion.)

And FWIW, I think it would be wrong to say that the resurrection "flies in the face of scientific reality", since this would seem to give science the power to say that certain things never happen, even though they sometimes do. Science describes what it saw, and makes predictions based on what it saw, but it cannot promise that you will never see something that has not yet been seen.

But yes, I believe in an actual, historical resurrection. And my faith in the Resurrection comes BEFORE any faith I might have in the role that the Holy Spirit played in guiding the Church in the creation and compilation of the New Testament canon. Indeed, it is BECAUSE I believe in the Resurrection, and all that the Resurrection implies, that I believe that God is still involved in our lives like that.

: And while the historical record of the resurrection may be more contemporary than that of

: creation, it's essentially the same evidence - scriptural accounts.

As SDG noted, there are different kinds of scriptures. We don't read poetry the same way we read prophecy the same way we read apocalyptic literature the same way we read history the same way we read propaganda the same way we read personal letters the same way we read myth. We just don't.

: I would adamantly disagree with your inclusion of the fossil record. Just as Darwin predicted that

: the fossil record would increasingly show transitional forms (which it has not) . . .

Oh sure it has. The problem is, creationists keep changing the terms of discussion. If we point out that we have found fossils that show a transition from reptile to bird, creationists say, "No, those are only fossils of animals that happen to have characteristics that we associate with both reptiles and birds." What are creationists waiting for, a fossil for every single link in the chain!?

: 2) Regardless of the answer to #1, it seems at least to me that one clear emphasis of the Genesis

: creation story is humanity's special standing as a part of creation (created in the image of God,

: given dominion over the earth, etc.) If humanity is just a step in the random evolutionary chain,

: how does that jive?

Of course, Genesis 1 ALSO puts the creation of humans on THE SAME DAY as the creation of other land animals. Hmmm. If it was so, so absolutely crucial that we be separated from the other lifeforms, perhaps God (or the author of that creation account) should have devoted an entire day just to us?

: Are we to continue to evolve into a new species further down the road? If not, why not?

Ask God, let tomorrow worry about itself, etc., etc. (Incidentally, the questions of personhood and the soul and how it is defined and where God grants it, etc., will have HUGE implications for us if we ever meet alien lifeforms or, more likely, if we ever create artificially intelligent beings that behave just like we do.)

: Evolution is based almost exclusively on chance (random mutation).

Wrong -- evolution is based on observable phenomena, such as the change in lifeforms across the layers of fossils. This is why the term "evolution" was first coined by Charles Bonnet in the 1700s. All Darwin did, in the 1800s, was propose a naturalistic (and thus perhaps random) mechanism by which this evolution might have taken place. But to say that change has taken place -- to say that evolution has occurred -- is not necessarily to say that every step of that evolution has been the product of naturalistic mechanisms.

(Incidentally, I believe the FIRST hurdle that modern scientists had to overcome was the fact that these fossils provided evidence that entire species had gone extinct. If I'm not mistaken, it was unthinkable to certain Christian thinkers of that era that God would have allowed any of his species to die out entirely. Bonnet, in coining the terms "evolution", "revolution" and "metamorphose", was trying to understand how some species, rather than die out entirely, might have given birth to entirely new species.)

(FWIW, I am gleaning all this from a few paragraphs in an essay by Michael W. Caldwell in Defeating Darwinism?, a book put out by Regent College's publishing division, in which Denis Lamoureux essentially makes mincemeat of Phillip Johnson's scientifically clumsy assertions.)

: I don't see how the two can co-exist. And apparently neither do most evolutionary scientists, as the

: percentage of Christians in the profession is not surprisingly low.

Last I checked, roughly 40% of all scientists -- all of whom conduct their work according to naturalistic principles -- were theists. And who knows how many are deists. I would be surprised if a significant number of evolutionary scientists were not also either theists or deists.

Plankton wrote:

: As to the astronomical "evidence", there's a theory about that; something like, if when God

: created the universe with a Big Bang, then all the stars and planets would exceed the speed of light,

: hence their being more lightyears away than can be explained by normal creationism.

Not sure what the math would be on that, but this sounds to me like one of those "God rigged it to look different from what he actually did" arguments.

: Also, when Darwin came up with his theory, there was NO evidence. NO transitional fossils.

False. As I say above, evolutionary theory predated Darwin by about a century, and it was prompted PRECISELY by such things as the existence of different fossils in different layers of rock. All Darwin did was propose a mechanism by which this change might have occurred.

: : Well, the only people who USE the term "microevolution" seem to be the creationists who coined

: : it to signify the kind of evolution that they approve of, so yeah.

:

: Not true. Micro and macroevolution are completely different things. In micro, organisms adapt

: WITHIN their genetic code. In macro, they must ADD information to their genetic code, which

: apparently comes about by mutation. As I said, however, this seems highly unlikely, seeing as

: mutation (as far as it has been observed) DESTROYS genetic information.

You haven't contradicted anything I said. You are talking about the objective evidence, I am talking about the intersubjective constructs by which we describe and interpret this evidence.

But FWIW, I was working off of my memory of debates over evolution in which the terms "microevolution" and "macroevolution" were used pretty much entirely by creationists who wanted to strike a moderate pose -- accepting "evolution" in some form but resisting it in the only sense that matters to the debate. I have seen evolutionists challenge this distinction, asking exactly where and how anti-evolutionists would draw a clear, sharp line between "micro" and "macro".

But as I skim through Defeating Darwinism?, I see that these terms are used in more neutral senses, too. So, okay, I accept that creationists are not the only people who use these terms.

: It just seems like all the evidence is against macroevolution.

Definitely not true. At least some of the evidence might be against naturalism, though.

: And I have read about many scientists who acknowledge the many problems (and impossibilites)

: with macroev, yet believe it simply because they think the existence of God is scientifically

: impossible. Seriously, I have read this, written by the scientists themselves.

No doubt. So?

: I also think that if God HAD used macro to create life on earth, he would have had it written in

: the Bible, instead of saying he created it in six days.

But why do you think that? I sure don't. As with all the other assertions you make, the burden of proving this, too, is yours.

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Argh, where to start?

If, as some insist, animal death (including, but not limited to, the physical death of humans) entered the world only at the Fall, then what do we do with THIS? Creationists sometimes like to pooh-pooh evolution because it requires thousands or millions of generations of birth and death, birth and death, birth and death -- and always eating, eating, eating -- to work. But is not animal death ITSELF part of the wondrous fabric of the universe, part of the very thing that compels us to kneel in awe at the foot of its Creator? If God has built death into the fabric of this world NOW, then why not THEN, when the world was being made?

This is a sticky issue. We simply don't know if animal death was an intrinsic part of God's creation, or if it was brought about by the Fall. Genesis, as far as I've read, doesn't seem to address the issue. So, we don't know. However, human death was definitely a result of the Fall. God tells Adam and Eve, "You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die," implying that they did NOT die beforehand.

Incidently, is it possible within creationist evolution that all the animals evolved and God literally created humans from the dust of the earth? That would certainly set man apart.

Well, I think a literalist reading of Genesis can easily be refuted JUST BY READING GENESIS. There are two creation myths in the early chapters of Genesis, and the last time I checked, they didn't exactly match on every detail. The early chapters of Genesis were not written for a post-Enlightenment, scientific culture, and I think it is a major category mistake to read them that way.

Let's not use the word "myth". It's NOT a myth. It REALLY HAPPENED. And it is not true that the early chapters of Genesis were not written for our culture (to which I assume you're referring); I'm sure God had us in mind when he "comissioned" Genesis. And I believe it's a major mistake to distinguish ourselves from the "unenlightened ancients"; we really don't know much more than they did. I mean, it's easy in this day and age to look at Genesis and scoff at it, but when we do that we're forgetting that God knows way more than we do, and if we try to interpret Genesis so that it matches the scientific beliefs of our culture, we're setting ourselves above God, and claiming we know more about science than he does. And what two "creation myths" are you referring to?

: Back to the example of the resurrection. I'm going to assume that you believe in the literal

: accuracy of the resurrection story, even though it flies in the face of scientific reality.

Actually, there is more than one resurrection story, and I am not convinced that all of them are exactly accurate in every detail. (Same for the crucifixion stories, which differ on details like whether the Passover took place on the day OF the crucifixion or the day BEFORE the crucifixion.)

Could you cite specific examples of inconsistancies? Please understand that I'm not asking for "blind faith". However, I do think it's a serious error to interpret just so it coincides with what we understand. If we do that, the doctrine of the Trinity will have to go in the bin.

: 2) Regardless of the answer to #1, it seems at least to me that one clear emphasis of the Genesis

: creation story is humanity's special standing as a part of creation (created in the image of God,

: given dominion over the earth, etc.) If humanity is just a step in the random evolutionary chain,

: how does that jive?

Of course, Genesis 1 ALSO puts the creation of humans on THE SAME DAY as the creation of other land animals. Hmmm. If it was so, so absolutely crucial that we be separated from the other lifeforms, perhaps God (or the author of that creation account) should have devoted an entire day just to us?

This is pure speculation on your part; Genesis states that God created Man in His image, thus setting humans apart from other animals. It is not up to us to decide whether God should have devoted another day to making humans or not.

: Evolution is based almost exclusively on chance (random mutation).

Wrong -- evolution is based on observable phenomena, such as the change in lifeforms across the layers of fossils. This is why the term "evolution" was first coined by Charles Bonnet in the 1700s. All Darwin did, in the 1800s, was propose a naturalistic (and thus perhaps random) mechanism by which this evolution might have taken place. But to say that change has taken place -- to say that evolution has occurred -- is not necessarily to say that every step of that evolution has been the product of naturalistic mechanisms.

OK, this makes sense, but only if God directly intervened with evolution;

Plankton wrote:

: As to the astronomical "evidence", there's a theory about that; something like, if when God

: created the universe with a Big Bang, then all the stars and planets would exceed the speed of light,

: hence their being more lightyears away than can be explained by normal creationism.

Not sure what the math would be on that, but this sounds to me like one of those "God rigged it to look different from what he actually did" arguments.

And so what? God can create things as he likes.

: Also, when Darwin came up with his theory, there was NO evidence. NO transitional fossils.

False. As I say above, evolutionary theory predated Darwin by about a century, and it was prompted PRECISELY by such things as the existence of different fossils in different layers of rock. All Darwin did was propose a mechanism by which this change might have occurred.

Er ... from The Origin of the Species:

Geological research, though it has added numerous species to existing and extinct genera, and has made the intervals between some few groups less wide than they otherwise would have been, yet has done scarcely anything in breaking the distinction between species, by connecting them together by numerous, fine, intermediate varieties; and this not having been affected, is probably the gravest and most obvious of al the many objections which can be raised against my views.

I was wrong; there were a few fossils that could be interpreted as transitional. However, even those few have been discarded due to more detailed information. Also note that transitional fossils aren't essential to macroevolution today, as it relies completely on mutation.

However, Darwin did NOT simply come up with an explanation for present evidence; he went to the Galapagos, saw those finches and other animals that had a common ancestor, and came up with evolution. He was influenced by the work of Lyell and Malthus, but his theory was not prompted by geological evidence.

: It just seems like all the evidence is against macroevolution.

Definitely not true. At least some of the evidence might be against naturalism, though.

I have yet to see you offer any evidence against what I've said; particularily the mutation bit.

Which reminds me of some more stuff ...

Have you heard of the Cambrian explosion? In the early 1900s, a paleontologist named Charles Walcott discovered a lot of fossils in a layer of Cambrian rock called the "Burgess Shale". And no, he didn't find the simple life form fossils that were supposed to be there in the Cambrian rock; he found a bunch of complex organism fossils. How can this be explained?

And what about structural homology? True, it looks like many mammals have the same basic bone structure, which seems to be evidence for macroev. But the genetic codes are not in the least bit similar. And according to macroev, they should be.\

: And I have read about many scientists who acknowledge the many problems (and impossibilites)

: with macroev, yet believe it simply because they think the existence of God is scientifically

: impossible. Seriously, I have read this, written by the scientists themselves.

No doubt. So?

Well, this would suggest problems exist with macroev.

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Plankton wrote:

: We simply don't know if animal death was an intrinsic part of God's creation, or if it was brought

: about by the Fall.

Perhaps not. There is a Psalm which says, "The lion roars for its food, seeking its prey from God," so we do get the sense that God approves of the violence in SOME sense. But whatever we might not know about animal death, we DO know that it is part of the "design" that all these "Intelligent Design" people point to.

: However, human death was definitely a result of the Fall. God tells Adam and Eve, "You must not

: eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die,"

: implying that they did NOT die beforehand.

Well, we obviously can't take "day" in the strictly literal sense there, since Adam lived for almost an entire millennium (according to a literalist reading of Genesis 5, at any rate), so there may be some wriggle room there for our interpretations of "die", too.

: Incidently, is it possible within creationist evolution that all the animals evolved and God literally

: created humans from the dust of the earth? That would certainly set man apart.

If you believe in a God of the gaps, then yes, there are any number of ways in which the gaps could be filled.

: Let's not use the word "myth". It's NOT a myth. It REALLY HAPPENED.

False distinction. Patrick Henry and George Washington are figures of American mythology, but that does not mean they never lived, or even that the stories about them are not rooted in history.

: And it is not true that the early chapters of Genesis were not written for our culture (to which I

: assume you're referring); I'm sure God had us in mind when he "comissioned" Genesis.

Why? More to the point, why do you believe that God had the literalists among us in mind when Genesis was written? These are your assertions, so the burden of proving them is yours.

: And I believe it's a major mistake to distinguish ourselves from the "unenlightened ancients"; we

: really don't know much more than they did.

Seriously?

Whose health care would you rather live with, ours or theirs?

: I mean, it's easy in this day and age to look at Genesis and scoff at it . . .

Is anybody here scoffing at Genesis? No. So any objection based on this premise is not worth responding to.

: And what two "creation myths" are you referring to?

Broadly speaking, the myth in Genesis 1 and the myth in Genesis 2. (To be more precise, I believe a few verses at the beginning of Genesis 2 are actually part of the myth in Genesis 1 -- the chapter divisions were a much, much later creation -- but the basic point still holds.)

: : Actually, there is more than one resurrection story, and I am not convinced that all of them are

: : exactly accurate in every detail. (Same for the crucifixion stories, which differ on details like

: : whether the Passover took place on the day OF the crucifixion or the day BEFORE the crucifixion.)

:

: Could you cite specific examples of inconsistancies?

Mark 14:12 indicates that the Last Supper was a Passover seder that took place on the evening of "the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb", whereas John's gospel says the Last Supper was a regular "evening meal" (13:2) that took place "just before the Passover Feast" (13:1), and the Jewish authorities refused to enter Pilate's palace the next morning "to avoid ceremonial uncleanness . . . they wanted to be able to eat the Passover" (18:28).

FWIW, since the story about Barabbas is common to all four gospels, and since the tradition of setting a prisoner free at Passover would only make sense if the prisoner was expected to eat the Passover after being set free, I am inclined to believe that John's chronology is the more accurate one here.

: This is pure speculation on your part; Genesis states that God created Man in His image, thus

: setting humans apart from other animals. It is not up to us to decide whether God should have

: devoted another day to making humans or not.

I agree. But if we're going to talk about "clear emphas[e]s of the Genesis creation story" . . .

: : Not sure what the math would be on that, but this sounds to me like one of those "God rigged

: : it to look different from what he actually did" arguments.

:

: And so what? God can create things as he likes.

Well, yeah, and God can be a total bastard to us if he likes, but that doesn't get us very far, does it?

: : : Also, when Darwin came up with his theory, there was NO evidence. NO transitional fossils.

: :

: : False. As I say above, evolutionary theory predated Darwin by about a century, and it was

: : prompted PRECISELY by such things as the existence of different fossils in different layers of

: : rock. All Darwin did was propose a mechanism by which this change might have occurred.

:

: Er ... from The Origin of the Species:

: Geological research, though it has added numerous species to existing and extinct genera, and

: has made the intervals between some few groups less wide than they otherwise would have

: been . . .

This much would seem to support my point. It certainly refutes your bold, capital-lettered "NO" remarks.

: . . . yet has done scarcely anything in breaking the distinction between species, by connecting

: them together by numerous, fine, intermediate varieties . . .

Note the emphasis on "numerous, fine, intermediate varieties". We HAVE discovered "intermediate varieties" in the past 150-ish years that were unknown in Darwin's day. Possibly even "numerous" ones. But have we got an inventory of every "fine" link in the chain? No, nor should we really expect to have such an inventory -- certainly not after such a short span of time.

: However, Darwin did NOT simply come up with an explanation for present evidence; he went to

: the Galapagos, saw those finches and other animals that had a common ancestor, and came up

: with evolution. He was influenced by the work of Lyell and Malthus, but his theory was not

: prompted by geological evidence.

Not directly, perhaps, but he was swimming in a scientific culture that had been profoundly affected by the geological evidence for at least a century.

: : : It just seems like all the evidence is against macroevolution.

: :

: : Definitely not true. At least some of the evidence might be against naturalism, though.

:

: I have yet to see you offer any evidence against what I've said; particularily the mutation bit.

You're arguing mere mechanisms, when you argue about "the mutation bit". Evolution, understood properly as the change in species over time (including the extinction of old species and the emergence of new species), has far too much evidence working in its favour.

: Have you heard of the Cambrian explosion?

Yup. Haven't studied it in any great detail, though.

: And what about structural homology? True, it looks like many mammals have the same basic

: bone structure, which seems to be evidence for macroev. But the genetic codes are not in the

: least bit similar. And according to macroev, they should be.

Well, if whales evolved from land animals that evolved from fish, then it is surely possible that evolution could produce similar results through dissimilar evolutionary paths in other ways, too. Got any specifics?

: : : And I have read about many scientists who acknowledge the many problems (and

: : : impossibilites) with macroev, yet believe it simply because they think the existence of God is

: : : scientifically impossible. Seriously, I have read this, written by the scientists themselves.

: :

: : No doubt. So?

:

: Well, this would suggest problems exist with macroev.

That depends on the nature of the arguments made by the scientists in question. I mean, who out there has actually acknowledged the "impossibility" of evolution yet claimed to believe in it anyway? Seriously, who? Names, please.

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: And it is not true that the early chapters of Genesis were not written for our culture (to which I

: assume you're referring); I'm sure God had us in mind when he "comissioned" Genesis.

Why? More to the point, why do you believe that God had the literalists among us in mind when Genesis was written? These are your assertions, so the burden of proving them is yours.

I would say that the burden of proof is actually yours; generally speaking, the Bible should be taken literally, and there should be ample evidence to suggest otherwise in any case.

For instance, Revelation seems like it should not be taken literally, simply because many of the prophecies in it are obviously symbolic; I say this because the prophecies in Daniel are very similar in terms of symbolic language, and the angel who was with Daniel specifically told him that they were symbolic. Therefore, we (or at least, I) can say that there is ample evidence that Revelation is not meant to be taken literally.

On the other hand, I see nothing in Genesis, other than the framework theory, to suggest that it should not be taken literally. If you do, please supply me with some examples.

: And I believe it's a major mistake to distinguish ourselves from the "unenlightened ancients"; we

: really don't know much more than they did.

Seriously?

Whose health care would you rather live with, ours or theirs?

Judging by the state of health care in Canada, I'll go with theirs. :) But seriously, I'm using the term "we" collectively. Unless I'm much mistaken, neither you nor I came up with any modern medicines. They were developed over time, and while it's easy to say that "we" are way more advanced than the ancients, "we've" just had more time to come up with these things. And only a few of "us" actually came up with these things; I mean, I certainly didn't discover atomic power, or how to build a rocket, or even that the earth is round. These things happened over time, but "we", at the tail end of discovery, have benefited from all history's discoveries. There's just been lots more time for people to gain more knowledge. Also, compared to God's knowledge, we really don't know anything. That was one of the main points I was driving at.

: : Not sure what the math would be on that, but this sounds to me like one of those "God rigged

: : it to look different from what he actually did" arguments.

:

: And so what? God can create things as he likes.

Well, yeah, and God can be a total bastard to us if he likes, but that doesn't get us very far, does it?

Look. God knows how to create a universe. You don't, I don't. We don't know a fraction of how it works. You and I shouldn't state how God created this or that or how long it took or what he was thinking, just like you shouldn't claim to know what was going through Spielberg's mind when he made Jaws or how he did this or that. The only way we CAN state these things is if the creator in question (God or Spielberg) reveals these things to us; Spielberg does it through the press and documentaries etc., God does it through the Bible. And so far, I have found nothing in the Bible that states how God created the universe or how it was supposed to look; He seems to be content to keep that part hidden from us.

Er ... from The Origin of the Species:

: Geological research, though it has added numerous species to existing and extinct genera, and

: has made the intervals between some few groups less wide than they otherwise would have

: been . . .

This much would seem to support my point. It certainly refutes your bold, capital-lettered "NO" remarks.

Yes. Note that I admitted that.

: . . . yet has done scarcely anything in breaking the distinction between species, by connecting

: them together by numerous, fine, intermediate varieties . . .

Note the emphasis on "numerous, fine, intermediate varieties". We HAVE discovered "intermediate varieties" in the past 150-ish years that were unknown in Darwin's day. Possibly even "numerous" ones. But have we got an inventory of every "fine" link in the chain? No, nor should we really expect to have such an inventory -- certainly not after such a short span of time.

Actually ... Dr. David Raup in Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, January, 1979:

Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded ... ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, ushc as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as the result of more detailed information.

It would seem that in 1979 there weren't many "intermediate varieties". If there have been any since, please cite examples.

: However, Darwin did NOT simply come up with an explanation for present evidence; he went to

: the Galapagos, saw those finches and other animals that had a common ancestor, and came up

: with evolution. He was influenced by the work of Lyell and Malthus, but his theory was not

: prompted by geological evidence.

Not directly, perhaps, but he was swimming in a scientific culture that had been profoundly affected by the geological evidence for at least a century.

See my previous notes; it seems they were short on geological evidence.

: : : It just seems like all the evidence is against macroevolution.

: :

: : Definitely not true. At least some of the evidence might be against naturalism, though.

:

: I have yet to see you offer any evidence against what I've said; particularily the mutation bit.

You're arguing mere mechanisms, when you argue about "the mutation bit". Evolution, understood properly as the change in species over time (including the extinction of old species and the emergence of new species), has far too much evidence working in its favour.

Dude, macroev DEPENDS on mutation to even exist as a theory. If mutation doesn't work, the theory crumbles.

: Have you heard of the Cambrian explosion?

Yup. Haven't studied it in any great detail, though.

Perhaps you should.

: And what about structural homology? True, it looks like many mammals have the same basic

: bone structure, which seems to be evidence for macroev. But the genetic codes are not in the

: least bit similar. And according to macroev, they should be.

Well, if whales evolved from land animals that evolved from fish, then it is surely possible that evolution could produce similar results through dissimilar evolutionary paths in other ways, too. Got any specifics?

Why yes. The forearms of a bats, birds, porpoises, and humans look extremely similar in terms of structure. And if their similarities are a result of having a common ancestor, then the parts of their DNA that contain the information regarding the forearms should be similar. After all, traits are passed from parent to parent to offspring through DNA. If each one of these creatures inherited its forearm structure from a common ancestor, then the portions of DNA which contain information about the forearm would all have come from that same common ancestor. Therefore, those portions of the DNA should be similar from organism to organism.

However ... Dr. Michael Denton in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985) (which, it is important to note, is not advocating six-day creationism but rather pointing out the flaws in the theory of macroevolution) says:

The evolutionary basis of homology is perhaps even more severely damaged by the discovery that apparently homologous structures are specified by quite different genes in different species ... With the demise of any sort of straightforward explanation for homology one of the major pillars of evolution theory has become so weakened that its value as evidence for evolution is greatly diminished.

: : : And I have read about many scientists who acknowledge the many problems (and

: : : impossibilites) with macroev, yet believe it simply because they think the existence of God is

: : : scientifically impossible. Seriously, I have read this, written by the scientists themselves.

: :

: : No doubt. So?

:

: Well, this would suggest problems exist with macroev.

That depends on the nature of the arguments made by the scientists in question. I mean, who out there has actually acknowledged the "impossibility" of evolution yet claimed to believe in it anyway? Seriously, who? Names, please.

No one specifically states that macroev is impossible, but I wasn't making that claim. I claimed that some scientists have acknowledged the problems with macroev, yet blah blah blah. It's there in my quote. Anyway, about those names:

Richard Dawkins in The Blind Watchmaker (1996) on the problem of the Cambrian explosion:

It is as though they (the fossils) were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists ... Both schools of though (Punctuationists and Gradualists) despise so-called scientific creationists equally, and both agree that the major gaps are real, that thay are true imperfections in the fossil record. The only alternative explanation of the sudden appearance of so many complex animal types in the Cambrian era is divine creation and (we) both reject this alternative.

It appears that the whole of both evolutionary schools of though acknowledge this particular problem.

A few more notes ...

: However, human death was definitely a result of the Fall. God tells Adam and Eve, "You must not

: eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die,"

: implying that they did NOT die beforehand.

Well, we obviously can't take "day" in the strictly literal sense there, since Adam lived for almost an entire millennium (according to a literalist reading of Genesis 5, at any rate), so there may be some wriggle room there for our interpretations of "die", too.

Er, God didn't say WHEN they would surely die. He said they WILL surely die, implying an indefinite time in the future. I don't see how your "day" and Adam's millennial life argument fits together.

Mark 14:12 indicates that the Last Supper was a Passover seder that took place on the evening of "the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb", whereas John's gospel says the Last Supper was a regular "evening meal" (13:2) that took place "just before the Passover Feast" (13:1), and the Jewish authorities refused to enter Pilate's palace the next morning "to avoid ceremonial uncleanness . . . they wanted to be able to eat the Passover" (18:28).

It is possible that two different meals are being referred to here; there might have been an evening meal before the actual Passover feast. I note that John in his account of the evening meal doesn't mention Jesus breaking bread. Also, the Feast lasted over seven days, which explains the bit with the Jewish authorites.

: I mean, it's easy in this day and age to look at Genesis and scoff at it . . .

Is anybody here scoffing at Genesis? No. So any objection based on this premise is not worth responding to.

I used the wrong word here. I meant, it's easy to look at Genesis and think that a literal translation would be impossible. Please look over my argument again, bearing in mind that's what I meant.

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Plankton wrote:

: I would say that the burden of proof is actually yours . . .

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the one who makes the assertion. So, where YOU make assertions, the burden of proof is YOURS. And yes, where *I* make assertions, the burden of proof is MINE.

: . . . generally speaking, the Bible should be taken literally . . .

That is your assertion. Now prove it. Why should we take it so?

: On the other hand, I see nothing in Genesis, other than the framework theory, to suggest that it

: should not be taken literally. If you do, please supply me with some examples.

I thought I already pointed you to the contradictions (when interpreted "literally") between the Genesis accounts. But if you're interested in comparative literature, the vast trove of ancient Near Eastern mythology is a good place to start, too.

: Unless I'm much mistaken, neither you nor I came up with any modern medicines. They were

: developed over time, and while it's easy to say that "we" are way more advanced than the

: ancients, "we've" just had more time to come up with these things.

Um, if you think the only factor in developing our modern health care (which includes medicine, but also surgeries, etc.) was "time", then you are wrong. It required a certain philosophical outlook, among other things. It's not like health care just "grew" while we were watching.

: Also, compared to God's knowledge, we really don't know anything.

Of course, but no one was contesting this point, so this is a non sequitur.

: The only way we CAN state these things is if the creator in question (God or Spielberg) reveals

: these things to us; Spielberg does it through the press and documentaries etc., God does it

: through the Bible.

Yes, well, Spielberg is not necessarily the best provider of insights into his own creative processes -- some critics have noted that self-deception is an essential element in his ouevre (e.g. Rosenbaum: "What I'm saying is that self-deception is central to Spielberg's achievements -- as central to them as deceiving the public, because the two activities ultimately amount to the same thing") -- and if you want us to believe that a literalistic reading of the Bible reveals the mind of God, then that assertion, too, is yours to prove.

: Actually ... Dr. David Raup in Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, January, 1979:

: Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and knowledge of the fossil record has been

: greatly expanded ... ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we

: had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the

: fossil record, ushc as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or

: modified as the result of more detailed information.

Well of course theories are discarded and modified over time, as new evidence comes in. But I would have to see this paragraph in its broader context. And of course, 1979 was quite a while ago.

: It would seem that in 1979 there weren't many "intermediate varieties". If there have been any

: since, please cite examples.

Well, before I put Defeating Darwinism? -- a book you really should read -- back on the shelf, I did note a passing reference to the fact that a number of transitional forms had been discovered just since Phillip Johnson's book came out, let alone beforehand. But I can't recall any details beyond that.

: Dude, macroev DEPENDS on mutation to even exist as a theory.

Obviously. "Evolution" means nothing more than "change over time", and "mutation" is just another word for "change". All we're arguing over here is the KINDS of mutations that have occurred over time.

: If mutation doesn't work, the theory crumbles.

Well, I have not yet seen convincing evidence that mutation doesn't work.

: : Well, if whales evolved from land animals that evolved from fish, then it is surely possible that

: : evolution could produce similar results through dissimilar evolutionary paths in other ways, too.

:

: . . . However ... Dr. Michael Denton in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985) . . . says:

: The evolutionary basis of homology is perhaps even more severely damaged by the discovery that

: apparently homologous structures are specified by quite different genes in different species ... With

: the demise of any sort of straightforward explanation for homology one of the major pillars of

: evolution theory has become so weakened that its value as evidence for evolution is greatly

: diminished.

Two points: First, Denton has not specified (at least not within this quote) where the differences are, or how widespread they are. Second, the discovery that evolution is more complex and less "straightforward" than we imagine does not, in and of itself, disprove evolution; Newton's basic theories of gravity or whatever still hold, even though we have discovered that things are much more complex at deeper levels.

: : : : And I have read about many scientists who acknowledge the many problems (and

: : : : impossibilites) with macroev, yet believe it simply because they think the existence of God is

: : : : scientifically impossible. Seriously, I have read this, written by the scientists themselves.

: : :

: : : No doubt. So?

: :

: : Well, this would suggest problems exist with macroev.

:

: That depends on the nature of the arguments made by the scientists in question. I mean, who out

: there has actually acknowledged the "impossibility" of evolution yet claimed to believe in it anyway?

: Seriously, who? Names, please.

:

: No one specifically states that macroev is impossible, but I wasn't making that claim.

Yes you were. At least if I read you "literally". ;)

: : : However, human death was definitely a result of the Fall. God tells Adam and Eve, "You must

: : : not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely

: : : die," implying that they did NOT die beforehand.

: :

: : Well, we obviously can't take "day" in the strictly literal sense there, since Adam lived for almost

: : an entire millennium (according to a literalist reading of Genesis 5, at any rate), so there may

: : be some wriggle room there for our interpretations of "die", too.

:

: Er, God didn't say WHEN they would surely die.

Ah, I just realized the translation you quoted obscures the Hebrew word for "day" by saying "when" instead.

Of course, Adam and Eve were the only humans who had ever existed when the Fall took place, and they had not been around for long -- so we will never know what might have happened if they had been fruitful and multiplied BEFORE the Fall. The planet certainly could have gotten awful crowded awful fast, if physical death had not been a factor. :)

: : Mark 14:12 indicates that the Last Supper was a Passover seder that took place on the evening

: : of "the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the

: : Passover lamb", whereas John's gospel says the Last Supper was a regular "evening meal"

: : (13:2) that took place "just before the Passover Feast" (13:1), and the Jewish authorities

: : refused to enter Pilate's palace the next morning "to avoid ceremonial uncleanness . . . they

: : wanted to be able to eat the Passover" (18:28).

:

: It is possible that two different meals are being referred to here; there might have been an

: evening meal before the actual Passover feast.

That is not how actual historians have interpreted the discrepancy between these passages.

: Also, the Feast lasted over seven days, which explains the bit with the Jewish authorites.

No, it doesn't -- not if the Passover seder takes place only once during the Feast. Haven't got time to dig up all the Bible verses, but this Wikipedia entry indicates that the Passover lambs were to be slaughtered during the day on the 14th of Nisan, and then eaten that night (which would be the 15th of Nisan, because back then, the days were divided at sundown, and not at midnight as they are on our modern calendars).

So, if Mark specifies that the Last Supper was a Passover seder -- and even goes further, to state that it took place on the evening after the lambs slaughtered -- whereas John specifies that the Jewish authorities, of all people, had NOT yet eaten the Passover seder on the morning AFTER the Last Supper, then there would definitely seem to be a contradiction here.

Your "two different meals" theory also doesn't fly because both passages are CLEARLY referring to the final supper which preceded Judas' betrayal of Jesus at Gethsemane.

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Aside: Peter, the "two suppers" theory has indeed been explored in academic literature. When I was at St. Charles I read an article in a peer-reviewed NT journal (I might be able to dig up my notes on it, if you really, really want to know) that argued that the Last Supper was an actual Passover meal, and the later feast in the Johannine chronology for which the Jewish leaders were maintaining ritual purity was actually the first day of Unleavened Bread. The alternative theory, proposed by Brown and others, is that the Jewish leaders were indeed preparing to celebrate the Passover, and the Last Supper in the Synoptics was not a true Passover meal according to the calendar, but that Jesus deliberately anticipated the Passover for ritual purposes.

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OK, listen. We can argue for months over this issue. I'm completely convinced the evidence is for six-day creationism, you're convinced it's for macroevolution. I seriously doubt if either of us is going to "convert" the other. So, I think it would be a good idea to simply acknowledge there are problems with both of our views, part on amicable terms, and when we meet Him face to face and know the truth, the one can say "I told you so!" to the other. :)

And PLEASE do not think I'm "backing down", so to speak; I've got tonnes more stuff to throw at you, as you undoubtedly have for me, but this is taking up way too much of my time. I haven't posted in the Film section for days.

Just two more things though, related to the ways you read what I was saying:

: : : : And I have read about many scientists who acknowledge the many problems (and

: : : : impossibilites) with macroev, yet believe it simply because they think the existence of God is

: : : : scientifically impossible. Seriously, I have read this, written by the scientists themselves.

: : :

: : : No doubt. So?

: :

: : Well, this would suggest problems exist with macroev.

:

: That depends on the nature of the arguments made by the scientists in question. I mean, who out

: there has actually acknowledged the "impossibility" of evolution yet claimed to believe in it anyway?

: Seriously, who? Names, please.

:

: No one specifically states that macroev is impossible, but I wasn't making that claim.

Yes you were. At least if I read you "literally".

I used the word "impossibilities" to describe certain aspects of the theory of macroev; the word does not encompass the entire theory.

Um, if you think the only factor in developing our modern health care (which includes medicine, but also surgeries, etc.) was "time", then you are wrong. It required a certain philosophical outlook, among other things. It's not like health care just "grew" while we were watching.

What I was getting at is that modern health care is not a result of our superior intelligence; it is a result of great minds slowly building it up over years of speculation, research, and to a certain extent, standing on the shoulders of giants.

Anyway, unless you bring up any other issues, I'll probably just step out of this discussion.

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OK, listen. We can argue for months over this issue. I'm completely convinced the evidence is for six-day creationism, you're convinced it's for macroevolution. I seriously doubt if either of us is going to "convert" the other. So, I think it would be a good idea to simply acknowledge there are problems with both of our views, part on amicable terms, and when we meet Him face to face and know the truth, the one can say "I told you so!" to the other. :)

And PLEASE do not think I'm "backing down", so to speak; I've got tonnes more stuff to throw at you, as you undoubtedly have for me, but this is taking up way too much of my time. I haven't posted in the Film section for days.

Just two more things though, related to the ways you read what I was saying:

: : : : And I have read about many scientists who acknowledge the many problems (and

: : : : impossibilites) with macroev, yet believe it simply because they think the existence of God is

: : : : scientifically impossible. Seriously, I have read this, written by the scientists themselves.

: : :

: : : No doubt. So?

: :

: : Well, this would suggest problems exist with macroev.

:

: That depends on the nature of the arguments made by the scientists in question. I mean, who out

: there has actually acknowledged the "impossibility" of evolution yet claimed to believe in it anyway?

: Seriously, who? Names, please.

:

: No one specifically states that macroev is impossible, but I wasn't making that claim.

Yes you were. At least if I read you "literally".

I used the word "impossibilities" to describe certain aspects of the theory of macroev; the word does not encompass the entire theory.

Um, if you think the only factor in developing our modern health care (which includes medicine, but also surgeries, etc.) was "time", then you are wrong. It required a certain philosophical outlook, among other things. It's not like health care just "grew" while we were watching.

What I was getting at is that modern health care is not a result of our superior intelligence; it is a result of great minds slowly building it up over years of speculation, research, and to a certain extent, standing on the shoulders of giants.

Anyway, unless you bring up any other issues, I'll probably just step out of this discussion.

Plankton - I agree in principle with your arguments, but I call party foul here! You can't bow out of an argument and then post your rebuttals. Tsk, tsk. :D [/random comment from the sidelines]

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SDG wrote:

: Aside: Peter, the "two suppers" theory has indeed been explored in academic literature. When I

: was at St. Charles I read an article in a peer-reviewed NT journal (I might be able to dig up my

: notes on it, if you really, really want to know) that argued that the Last Supper was an actual

: Passover meal, and the later feast in the Johannine chronology for which the Jewish leaders were

: maintaining ritual purity was actually the first day of Unleavened Bread.

Is that what Plankton was arguing, though? It seemed to me that he was asserting that the "evening meal" described in John's gospel was NOT the Last Supper but rather an earlier supper that took place ON THE SAME NIGHT as the Last Supper described by the Synoptic gospels. Or maybe he thought the Last Supper took place on an altogether different night than the "evening meal", though that would make even less sense.

To quote a line of Plankton's that I did not quote in my earlier reply: "I note that John in his account of the evening meal doesn't mention Jesus breaking bread." The implication seems to be that, if John did not say that something as important as the first Eucharist took place at this supper, then this might not have been the supper where that first Eucharist took place.

Bottom line: The "two suppers" theory you refer to seems to be referring to a supper that was attended by Jesus, on the one hand, and a supper that was attended by the Jewish leaders, on the other hand. But the "two suppers" theory advanced by Plankton seems to refer to two suppers that were both attended by Jesus and his followers, either on the same night or on separate nights.

: The alternative theory, proposed by Brown and others, is that the Jewish leaders were indeed

: preparing to celebrate the Passover, and the Last Supper in the Synoptics was not a true Passover

: meal according to the calendar, but that Jesus deliberately anticipated the Passover for ritual purposes.

Yes, that is John P. Meier's argument as well, and it makes perfect sense to me -- but the pertinent point here is that, if the Johannine chronology is correct, then Mark is incorrect when he says that Jesus' seder took place after the slaughtering of the lambs in the Temple.

FWIW, Meier's A Marginal Jew: Volume 1 is where I first heard about the discrepancy between the gospels' accounts of Passion Week, and his book is LOADED with references to the works of other scholars -- so yeah, I am aware that Meier's is not the only theory out there.

Plankton wrote:

: I'm completely convinced the evidence is for six-day creationism . . .

This, from the same man who said, "You and I shouldn't state how God created this or that or how long it took..." :)

: I seriously doubt if either of us is going to "convert" the other.

Read Defeating Darwinism? and then get back to me.

: I haven't posted in the Film section for days.

Ah, I sympathize.

: I used the word "impossibilities" to describe certain aspects of the theory of macroev; the word

: does not encompass the entire theory.

This is a difference that makes no difference, since if any scientist truly believed that any important aspect of "macroev" entailed "impossibilities", then he or she would have to believe that "macroev" itself was an "impossibility".

: What I was getting at is that modern health care is not a result of our superior intelligence . . .

True, but it IS a result of our superior science. See the difference?

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In relation to the two suppers debate, I'm not convinced either way. I was only suggesting a possible solution to the problem. I highly doubt that such an obvious problem would escape the notice of whatever council decided which manuscripts went into the New Testament.

This, from the same man who said, "You and I shouldn't state how God created this or that or how long it took..."

I did not SAY that God created, erm, creation in six days. I said I am CONVINCED that evidence supports this view. Both are absolute statements, but I am only affirming one (the latter).

: I seriously doubt if either of us is going to "convert" the other.

Read Defeating Darwinism? and then get back to me.

Some day. Not really soon; I've just started Les Miserables.

: I used the word "impossibilities" to describe certain aspects of the theory of macroev; the word

: does not encompass the entire theory.

This is a difference that makes no difference, since if any scientist truly believed that any important aspect of "macroev" entailed "impossibilities", then he or she would have to believe that "macroev" itself was an "impossibility".

Not necessarily true; evidence to the contrary may simply be lacking. However, impossibility may have been the wrong word; I used it as somewhat synonymous with "problem".

: What I was getting at is that modern health care is not a result of our superior intelligence . . .

True, but it IS a result of our superior science. See the difference?

Yes, but our science is only superior because we're on the tail end of it. My ultimate point is that we shouldn't think of ourselves as superior to the ancients, because frankly, we would have fared no better in their shoes. Quite possibly you agree with this view; I just got the sense from your post that you considered our culture (the people, not the science) to be somehow superior to the ancients (the people, not the science). Of course, this was probably a misreading on my part. ::blush::

I don't have time now (it's midnight as I type), and I probably won't be able to post for the next couple of days, but I have outlined why I believe the Bible should for the most part be taken literally. So when I get the chance, I'll post it.

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Read Defeating Darwinism? and then get back to me.

Peter,

Since I know how important accuracy in details is to you, I thought I'd mention that the book I think you're referring to is "Darwinism Defeated?" I was having trouble finding it in a search for "Defeating Darwinism?"

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Plankton wrote:

: In relation to the two suppers debate, I'm not convinced either way. I was only suggesting a

: possible solution to the problem. I highly doubt that such an obvious problem would escape the

: notice of whatever council decided which manuscripts went into the New Testament.

Actually, there never was an ecumenical council which addressed this question. And FWIW, the Western churches tend to follow Mark's chronology while the Eastern churches follow John's.

Also, I'm not sure why you'd think the councils would have ever been concerned with literalistic infallibility. That is a profoundly modern sort of question.

: : This, from the same man who said, "You and I shouldn't state how God created this or that or

: : how long it took..."

:

: I did not SAY that God created, erm, creation in six days. I said I am CONVINCED that evidence

: supports this view. Both are absolute statements, but I am only affirming one (the latter).

This begins to look like a difference that makes no difference ...

: : : I used the word "impossibilities" to describe certain aspects of the theory of macroev; the word

: : : does not encompass the entire theory.

: :

: : This is a difference that makes no difference, since if any scientist truly believed that any

: : important aspect of "macroev" entailed "impossibilities", then he or she would have to believe

: : that "macroev" itself was an "impossibility".

:

: Not necessarily true; evidence to the contrary may simply be lacking.

Sorry, Plankton, but I haven't got a clue what you're saying. If a scientist believes that it is impossible to count to 50, then he will have to believe that it is impossible to count to 51, 52, 53, etc. Or, to redeploy one of Michael Behe's favorite metaphors, if a scientist says that it is impossible to make a spring, then he will have to say that it is impossible to make a mousetrap.

: However, impossibility may have been the wrong word; I used it as somewhat synonymous with

: "problem".

Well, the two words definitely are NOT synonymous.

: : : What I was getting at is that modern health care is not a result of our superior intelligence . . .

: :

: : True, but it IS a result of our superior science. See the difference?

:

: Yes, but our science is only superior because we're on the tail end of it.

No, it is also superior because it is built on the right sorts of beliefs about science. As I said earlier, modern science is built on certain philosophical developments which were, themselves, heavily influenced by certain theological developments. We did not just sit back and watch science "grow" over the years. We made it happen.

: My ultimate point is that we shouldn't think of ourselves as superior to the ancients . . .

I don't think anyone here said that we should. What we DID say was that some of our beliefs were superior to theirs -- and modern medicine is a perfect example of that. (I say this, BTW, as one who had a tooth filling with a side order of gingivectomy this morning. Oh, how I cringe at the thought of how my mouth might have suffered in an age before modern dentistry. I don't know if I would have had the guts to brush my teeth with urine the way the ancient Romans did. But that's a whole other tangent...)

: . . . because frankly, we would have fared no better in their shoes.

Well, apparently SOME of us fared better, otherwise our culture would not have evolved the way it did! (Hmmm, you might almost say that some of us "mutated" and took the culture with them!)

: Quite possibly you agree with this view; I just got the sense from your post that you considered our

: culture (the people, not the science) to be somehow superior to the ancients (the people, not the

: science). Of course, this was probably a misreading on my part. ::blush::

Well, I have no problem whatsoever with saying that some cultures are superior to others. And science is definitely a part of culture. But I would never say that individual people are better or worse than other people simply because they come out of certain cultures, if that's what you were thinking.

popechild wrote:

: Since I know how important accuracy in details is to you, I thought I'd mention that the book I

: think you're referring to is "Darwinism Defeated?" I was having trouble finding it in a search

: for "Defeating Darwinism?"

Those who live by the sword... <_<

Yeah, that's the book. I linked to the Amazon.com page for it a few posts, I think.

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I'm back!

In relation (once again) to the question of apparently inconsistent supper gospel chronologies, I quite frankly haven't done as much research in that area as I should have. I have a feeling, however, that as Jews and personal acquaintances of Christ during His Incarnation, they would have got their facts straight. Perhaps you don't think that; I doubt we're gonna come to any kind of agreement in this area.

: : This, from the same man who said, "You and I shouldn't state how God created this or that or

: : how long it took..."

:

: I did not SAY that God created, erm, creation in six days. I said I am CONVINCED that evidence

: supports this view. Both are absolute statements, but I am only affirming one (the latter).

This begins to look like a difference that makes no difference ...

Well, it does make a difference. When I said that we shouldn't state how God created things, I was NOT saying we shouldn't state that we are convinced that the evidence points to God creating things this or that way. I was simply saying that we should not state, as an absolute statement, how God created things (at least in the regard in question), because we'll never know for sure. That's all.

Sorry, Plankton, but I haven't got a clue what you're saying. If a scientist believes that it is impossible to count to 50, then he will have to believe that it is impossible to count to 51, 52, 53, etc. Or, to redeploy one of Michael Behe's favorite metaphors, if a scientist says that it is impossible to make a spring, then he will have to say that it is impossible to make a mousetrap.

OK, listen. The Cambrian explosion is an impossibility for macroevolution. Dawkins doesn't use that exact word; he calls it an imperfection. But as far as I know, it is an impossibility, unless they've come up with an explanation for it by now. And yes, if it really is an impossibility, by all means, don't believe the theory. That's what I'm advocating, remember. However, Dawkins and his colleagues have nothing better to believe (at least at the time of their quoted writing), because they believed the existence of a divine Creator was scientifically impossible. Obviously you're not coming from an atheistic stance, but what Dawkins' quote ...

It is as though they (the fossils) were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists ... Both schools of though (Punctuationists and Gradualists) despise so-called scientific creationists equally, and both agree that the major gaps are real, that thay are true imperfections in the fossil record. The only alternative explanation of the sudden appearance of so many complex animal types in the Cambrian era is divine creation and (we) both reject this alternative.

... seems to be saying is that the only alternative is six-day creationism. After all, it wouldn't make much difference if God had guided macroevolution; the impossibility is still there. Perhaps you disagree with my statement that the Cambrian explosion is an impossibility with the theory. However, from his writing, Dawkins doesn't seem to disagree.

The modern science vs. ancient science issue:

Let's remember "we" did not make any contributions to modern science. Maybe you have; I certainly haven't. By all means, praise Edison, praise, Einstein, praise Darwin. But don't refer to the giants of science throughout history as "we". True, Edison, Einstein, Darwin etc. were ahead of their time, and advances in modern science have been brought about because men like these were, in a sense, superior, in terms of intellect at least. However, these advances TOOK TIME. "Modern science" didn't come up with everything; on the contrary, I would say that the advances were made before our time and we have benefited from them simply because we're right behind them.

I think I ultimately agree with what you're saying here: the beliefs of modern science are superior to those of the ancients. But let's try to remember that "we" didn't make it happen. Giants of science, throughout history, did.

Just trying to keep "us" all humble ... :)

I don't have time to post my theory about taking the Bible literally YET. I wrote it down, but it's quite long, and this post is long enough already. I'll post it tomorrow, if I have time.

I know you're all waiting for it. :D

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OK, so here's why I believe Genesis should be, to some extent, taken literally. I think the Bible as a rule should be taken literally, simply because it is for the most part a history account (or it claims to be, anyway). True, there are the Psalms and Proverbs and Epistles and prophecies etc., but all of the non-history books are relevant to the history discussed in the Bible, as well as being very spiritually relevant. And in general, history accounts should be taken literally; otherwise they would somewhat fail as history accounts. Genesis is also history; it's obvious just from reading the book. So by default, the creation account should be taken literally; it wouldn't really be logical to single out one part of what claims to be a history account and choose to interpret it in a non-literal (unliteral?) way.

However, there are definitely places in the Bible where things are not meant to be taken literally. Sometimes they are obvious, such as when the angel explains the symbolic meanings of Daniel's visions, or when Jesus explained his parables. Other times they are less obvious, such as in Revelation, where not all of the visions are said to have a symbolic meaning, much less explained. However, because of Revelation's figurative-sounding language, which is similar to such books as Daniel, as well and its recurring numbers and themes, I can deduce that it is probably not meant to be taken completely literally.

I incline to the framework theory of Genesis; that the days of creation are not necessarily recorded in order. This is supported by the literary clues that can be found throughout the passage. But I find nothing to suggest that the days were not literal days (as seems to be required by creationist evolution); the Hebrew word for "day" in the passage specifically means a literal sun-up to sun-down day. This explains the recurring inclusion of the phrase "There was morning and there was evening; the such-and-such day." I find here not only nothing to suggest that the days referred to were not literal days, but evidence to the contrary; that the days specifically refer to literal days.

On a side note, I think it's important to note that the Bible wasn't completely consistent with the scientific beliefs of its day, but we now know that many of these apparent inconsistencies are scientifically true. I can cite specific examples (for instance, the belief at the time was that earth sat on a large animal; Job 26: 7 seems to contradict this belief), but I won't bother if it won't contribute any food for thought. I bring up this issue because it seems like the creationist evolutionists here believe what they do because they believe that the scientific evidence suggests it, not because the Bible suggests it. It just seems that throughout history, the Bible has been a more reliable source of truth than the scientific beliefs of the given time; I think that's important to remember.

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Genesis is also history; it's obvious just from reading the book. So by default, the creation account should be taken literally; it wouldn't really be logical to single out one part of what claims to be a history account and choose to interpret it in a non-literal (unliteral?) way.

Well, I'm certainly not an expert, but IIRC, Genesis itself is not a monolithic account. The early parts of Genesis incorporate two different early Hebrew accounts. A friend of mine was telling me about this when he took an Old Testament class; I'm sure someone else here can jump in with the details. (Biblical scholars, where are you? MLeary?).

And in general, history accounts should be taken literally; otherwise they would somewhat fail as history accounts.

Not entirely accurate either. As someone who has studied English Renaissance history, I would say that we take history accounts like Holinshed's Chronicles with a fairly large grain of salt, but that doesn't discount their value.

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Plankton wrote:

: I have a feeling, however, that as Jews and personal acquaintances of Christ during His Incarnation,

: they would have got their facts straight.

What does "as Jews" have to do with any of that? Have you ever compared Matthew's use of the Old Testament to the Old Testament itself? He says there were 14 generations of Judean kings, but anyone who has read I & II Kings or I & II Chronicles knows that that isn't true -- not literally, anyway.

And then there is the tangled question of Matthew's relationship to the other gospels; most scholars these days agree that Matthew borrowed and revised material from Mark's gospel (and from other sources), but I don't want to assume that point of view here, since I know that some members of this board are skeptical of that theory (I believe MattPage is one such person, but don't quote me on that).

As for "personal acquaintances", Mark is traditionally said to have gotten his information from Peter; he wasn't there himself. And even if he was, memories can change after three or four decades (which is how long most scholars believe the gap between the life of Jesus and the writing of Mark was).

: : : : This, from the same man who said, "You and I shouldn't state how God created this or that or

: : : : how long it took..."

: : :

: : : I did not SAY that God created, erm, creation in six days. I said I am CONVINCED that evidence

: : : supports this view. Both are absolute statements, but I am only affirming one (the latter).

: :

: : This begins to look like a difference that makes no difference ...

:

: Well, it does make a difference. When I said that we shouldn't state how God created things, I was

: NOT saying we shouldn't state that we are convinced that the evidence points to God creating

: things this or that way. I was simply saying that we should not state, as an absolute statement, how

: God created things (at least in the regard in question), because we'll never know for sure. That's all.

So what you're saying is, I CAN state that you are wrong when you say the Earth was created in six days, but I must be open to evidence that contradicts me? I have never been anything but.

: OK, listen. The Cambrian explosion is an impossibility for macroevolution.

No it isn't.

: But as far as I know, it is an impossibility, unless they've come up with an explanation for it by now.

There is more than one explanation at the moment. They're called "theories".

: However, from his writing, Dawkins doesn't seem to disagree.

Actually, he DOES disagree. You cannot take a word like "imperfections" and say that it means something very different from what the author intended it to mean, not if you want to engage in honest dialogue. And the fact that there are "gaps" in the fossil record is, as I have said before, not surprising in the least; indeed, we should expect them, especially given that we have spent so little time spent studying the record.

: But don't refer to the giants of science throughout history as "we".

I am referring to the entire culture which produced such giants and made them possible. These men did not exist in a vacuum. But that is somewhat beside the point. The key point here is that "we" have achieved things that "they" -- the earlier cultures which wrote the various creation myths -- did not. You seem to think it is wrong to say that "our" science is better than "theirs". But in fact, "our" science IS better than "theirs".

It matters not one whit whether you or I played an influential role in creating the science in question; the fact remains, it is "our" science and not "their" science. Likewise, neither you nor I played any part in creating the scriptures, but they are still "our" scriptures and not "their" scriptures, and to the extent that you or I beleive "our" scriptures are uniquely inspired, we believe that "our" scriptures ARE better than "theirs".

: I think I ultimately agree with what you're saying here: the beliefs of modern science are superior to

: those of the ancients. But let's try to remember that "we" didn't make it happen.

An irrelevant point, since it is "we" who keep their science alive, just as "we" keep the ancient faith alive -- unless, of course, we drop the ball and we DON'T keep these things alive.

: I think the Bible as a rule should be taken literally, simply because it is for the most part a history

: account (or it claims to be, anyway).

Well, parts of it do and parts of it don't. And even when a text claims to be an historical account, we still have to ask HOW history was written way back when. For example, the ancient Greeks, at least as far back as Thucydides, openly admitted that they developed the "themes" of their works by putting dialogue and speeches on the lips of the "characters" in their books -- dialogue and speeches which did not necessarily reflect what was actually said at the time. Is it not plausible that, say, the Book of Acts, which is definitely written like Greek history, does the same with at least some of ITS speeches and dialogue?

: And in general, history accounts should be taken literally; otherwise they would somewhat fail as

: history accounts.

Really? You have never "read between the lines" of a history book?

: Genesis is also history; it's obvious just from reading the book.

Actually, it ISN'T all that obvious. As C.S. Lewis said, the Bible starts as myth and then becomes legend and seems to "come into focus" as you move along through it. E.g., the Pharaohs of Genesis and Exodus are nameless; it is not until the time of the Kings that the Pharaohs can be tied with precision to specific historic persons. And there are interesting patterns of doubling in Genesis, where it seems that two versions of a myth or legend have been preserved almost side-by-side -- you see that in the two creation myths, and also in the two legends about Hagar being banished into the desert with her unborn/newborn child.

: I incline to the framework theory of Genesis; that the days of creation are not necessarily recorded

: in order. This is supported by the literary clues that can be found throughout the passage.

Never heard of 'em.

: But I find nothing to suggest that the days were not literal days (as seems to be required by

: creationist evolution); the Hebrew word for "day" in the passage specifically means a literal sun-up

: to sun-down day. This explains the recurring inclusion of the phrase "There was morning and there

: was evening; the such-and-such day."

So what do you do with those three days that existed BEFORE there was a sun to go up and down? :)

: It just seems that throughout history, the Bible has been a more reliable source of truth than the

: scientific beliefs of the given time; I think that's important to remember.

And the Bible frequently agrees with the myths of its time, too; I think that's important to remember, too.

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FWIW, the framework theory holds that the "six days" of the creation week are a literary structure in which God's creative activity is narratively organized. The theory is not that they are six literal days that could have occurred in a different order.

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