Theistic Evolution

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by morsecode, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. morsecode

    morsecode New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    2
    I've been thinking about this lately, and I've managed to put my thoughts in a semi-coherent way; in another forum, for someone to discuss it with me.

    Theistic evolution is the notion that the theory of evolution does not conflict with the concept of God as it is conceptualized in the major religions. I posit that there are some conflicts in that view, and this is why:

    "I should say what are the problems that arise when one say that evolution is God's/god's way of creating the various forms of life on Earth.

    If one considers god's presence in nature in deistic fashion, simply because we claim it to be the first cause, the one who set all things in motion, but who never meddles on the laws of it's creation; for whatever reason (i.e. the first cause could be gone or it wasn't a being as we know it in the first place), then I see no problems with that, because it is just unprovable, unknowable and probable.

    But, when considering the notion of theistic evolution where God either directs the evolutionary processes and/or meddles in the processes, and/or that we are his "special creation", then some questions arise, is evolution then goal oriented?, in the sense of a creature being the goal of evolution, and if so, is that creature homo sapiens sapiens? are we the apex of creation? that would be the case if one believes in us being the special creation, or that God directed the process in order for him to, eventually, give us souls and, eventually, his word. If so, then it is probable that we won't speciate, adapt, be subject of selective pressures, nor evolve, in short, we are in 'Divine Stasis'. This is a pretty lofty implication, which can be falsifiable in the long run.

    And then, what if we are not a special creation,? but still subject to all the evolutionary mechanisms that God created, that means that eventually Homo sapiens would be extinct, and perhaps another being or beings would take its place. Would these newly evolved humans have souls? if the answer is no, then why they don't get souls when we did? if the answer is yes, then does that mean that other archaic human beings had souls too? are there some neanderthals in heaven? how far back did these beings started to get souls? since our common ancestor with the chimpanzee? (of which there is irrevocable proof, in the form of the endogenic retroviruses 'footprints' in our genome, which we have in common with the chimpanzee) did God favored our lineage and not the chimpanzee's? If so, what was the element that triggered God to give us a soul, a spirit within us, was it our sapience? is the fact that we can even start to consider an all powerful god an indication of its favor towards us? then how can we know that other archaic humans didn't have it too? albeit in a less powerful state.

    There has been a recent discovery of stringed sea-shells in neanderthal sites, it seems to have been used as a collar, and the shells had blue pigment, which means that neanderthals could think symbolically, perhaps they even had language, using these collars to identify each other, as in "he of the blue shells", perhaps they could even talk about other neanderthals when the neanderthal in question wasn't present, as in "yeah, blue shells is such an ass, but don't tell him that I said it." Perhaps their syntax wasn't as well developed as ours, if they had any, but there is a good possibility that they had a deep syntax, a capability to create language. So, this means that they get a lesser soul, in accordance to their lesser power of mind?

    And what if other humans evolve while we are still here? do they get a different soul or is the same for them too? do they even get one, do we recognize them as soul-less? Perhaps they've got even better mental capabilities, do they get a better soul? possibly they could drive us to extinction, which would make it seem like it's a game to God, the better human gets the better soul, the better communication to God, the better Alliance with God.

    Other point of conflict is the idea of original sin, granted it is mostly a Catholic belief, but then again the Catholic higher ups are the ones who most commonly accept the notion of theistic evolution. When did this original sin happened when there was no fall of man? are we to be a dammed mass of existence just because we are subject to the evolutionary trappings God himself made?

    I don't know, it all seems too weird and goofy to me to consider it seriously."
     
    #1 morsecode, Jan 31, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
  2. morsecode

    morsecode New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    2
    eh, guess not.
     
  3. Gillette

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,309
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    14
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    God doesn't play dice with the universe. He plays Grand Theft Auto.

    There's not much to say to your first post other than that you've got strong arguments for your position.
     
  4. Guy-jin

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Messages:
    3,835
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    669
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    It's difficult for me to come up with a meaningful response because I do not believe in God/gods. Therefore, the concept of a "soul" is meaningless to me and pontificating on what species have "souls" is equally meaningless.

    A better question, to me, is why are you so concerned with the quality of your "soul" relative to other organisms?

    From a Buddhist perspective, a dog may be lower on the karmic chain, but it is no less worthy of respect as a sentient being. Therefore, it is worthwhile to consider the "value" of its "soul" given that its soul is valuable regardless?

    Again, as an Atheist, these things don't concern me. Souls don't exist, therefore I don't care about them and have trouble understanding why they concern other people.
     
  5. Drifterwood

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    15,725
    Likes Received:
    386
    Location:
    Fingringhoe (GB)
    Can I suggest that you take a look at self organisation and chaos theory. I am not a scientist let alone a biologist, but this explanation, I do find attractive. In essence, within "chaos", self organisation is a "natural" process. It does not need a first mover. From self organisation, trillions upon countless (infinite) possibilities exist, have existed and will probably come to exist. Some of these work and stay around for a while, mutating, adapting etc etc, which is what we think of as Darwinian evolution.

    God is not required for existence, and what to some may seem like inexplicable acts of creation, are but one of the countless number of possibilities under self organisation. They amaze and astound us, fill us with awe, but that is because we're not half as clever as we like to think. God is a contrived gap filler, and as the gaps get filled, so we evolve god. Well, some do, some get all fundie.
     
  6. morsecode

    morsecode New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    2
    When some Christians, last Pope included, go out and say that they see no conflict between belief in God and the way the Earth got populated with such a diversity of species; it makes my head scratch, and I tried to find some of the tensions between the two, especially the one about the "special creation" thing.

    So, when most Christians believe that we are the only being with a soul, I asked myself what is that soul? of course it is not a "soul," as in the religious concept of a "soul," it's just the mind. We don't think, therefore we are, it's the other way around, and when modern neuroscience can explain a good deal about our cognitive state without resorting to a soul that connects to our body through the pituitary gland, and there is still people believing something perhaps even more rudimentary than that, as they probably think that the soul is like a "ghost in the machine", chillin' and watching the "Cartesian Theater," I don't understand how they could reconcile the both, how could they explain a connection between our bodies and souls.

    Of course we don't have souls, I was just trying to point out the absurdities so someone could explain how some of these religious can reconcile the concept without conflict, no matter if that person was a believer, atheist, or skeptic.

    Most Buddhism is mostly atheist, and is soaked with metaphysics, there are just some sects that worship Buddha as a god. But as far as I know, the soul of a dog is the soul of a man, just reincarnated as a dog. I don't like that train of thought, for obvious reasons, and because it just paves the way to conformity, "right now, you are in this caste, in extreme poverty and in suppression because you broke the rules in a past life, and if you try to disturb the order, you are fucked." Not a nice thing to say.

    One more thing... meh, whatever, you probably already know this.
     
  7. morsecode

    morsecode New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thanks, I will check it out.

    I'm not comfortable at all with the a idea of a prime mover being a sentient being, much less the prime mover directing this system, unless that prime mover refer to impersonal laws of nature, laws of nature that don't give purpose in the existential sense, but the purpose of organization, reproduction and survival in biological beings.

    A first cause is more agreeable to me, again not in the sense of a sentient being, but something that caused the universe out of nothing; either an actual nothingness or a quantum vacuum, perhaps the Big Bang singularity and this cause are simultaneous, I don't know, perhaps physicists don't know, I will have to check that out too. My main problem with a sentient first cause (God/god) is that before the Big Bang, there was no time, it was atemporal, so if this god existed before there was temporality, then it must have been stuck in that timeless state, probably not aware of it's godliness, it would be like the Mona Lisa coming to life. But of course this is all conjecture, just stuff from an argument against an argument for god.

    Also, the cause and effect dichotomy is inductive, the fact that cause and effect is what we all 'see' in our life, because it is useful, it doesn't mean that that is all that there is or ever will be, after all, virtual particles seem to pop in and out of existence.
     
    #7 morsecode, Feb 1, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
Draft saved Draft deleted