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How old is the earth?


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#41 Guest_Thinh Ton

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Posted 20 November 2002 - 02:24 AM

Hello all!

I've been here for the first time and am struck about the high tendency of hostility against the evolution theory in particular, but also against science in general articualted in the commentaries of yours. Concerning the theory of evolution I am of the opinion that it is currently the best explanation of the reality we are faced at. Even Christian theologies cannot ignore that if they don't want to be taken unseriously in the scientific and acadamic dialogue. In respect to the Bible, I think we have to take into consideration what the Bible really says and what not. And the Bible does not make any articulation about evolution as such.


#42 Guest_sinjin smithe

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Posted 20 November 2002 - 02:39 AM

Well, I guess I will throw my two cents into the cauldron. One interesting thing is that all scientific theories about the origin of the universe violates one of the first two laws of thermodynamics.


#43 Owen Jones

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Posted 20 November 2002 - 01:34 PM

Dear Mr. Ton,

While it is true that many Christians attempt to rely on Genesis as a complete and total scientific explanation of the origin of things, which I don't believe it is intended to be, that should not allow us to be distracted from the central problems. I'll offer a short list which is not intended to be comprehensive:

1) There is no shred of scientific evidence to support any of Darwin's Theories. In Origin of the Species he said that he had the evidence elsewhere but he never produced it. Scientists in his own day effectively refuted all of the four pillars of Darwinian evolution.

2) Specifically, there is no evidence that anything has ever evolved into anything else. If you are anyone else can produce such evidence, believe me, it will get noticed. Things mutate and adapt, but only within species.

3) While there is change, even development in nature, there is no evidence of gradual change. There are no missing links precisely because there are no links. Human beings appeared dramatically, suddenly, just as everything has.

4) That something can be spontaneously produced out of nothing defies all we know about mathematics and physics.

5) That virtually all educated, intelligent human beings up until the 18th century believed that only God created means utterly nothing to Darwinians says more about their foolishness than anything.

6) Darwinism is a social theory produced by English Victorianism. It is the mild-mannered English version of Hegelianism which claims that history is inevitably progressing to an ultimate point of fulfillment in time. This is of course absurd, a form of occultism if you go back and study the intellectual origins of this idea in the Italian REnaissance.

7) Darwinism, like all progressivist ideologies, claims to be scientific when it is not, and is inherently totalitarian. It rejects any questions regarding its system. And any progressivism necessarily resorts at some point to political power to achieve its goals. Since its goals can never be achieved -- social perfection -- it has to grab more and more power and eliminate, by force if necessary, the reactionaries who are conspiring to prevent the progress from taking place.

But the bottom line is this -- please, if you can, show me evidence of one species evolving into another species.

Seraphim


#44 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 20 November 2002 - 06:06 PM

Dear Thinh Ton and others,

Welcome to the discussion community, Thinh; it is nice to have you here, and especially to hear your views on the past life of this thread.

I would start by offering one word of caution: message boards of this type are, by their nature, rather often filled with the postulation of certain ideas and their comparison with Orthodox thought; and given that many of these ideas come from a culture outside of the Church, such boards are often filled with 'dis-proofs'. This shouldn't be taken to imply, in the case of scientific thought in specific, that the Church is in some way 'anti-science' - but only to imply that such discussion as these tend to bring out views by negation rather than spontaneous, positive description. Posted Image

But on your question regarding evolution in particular, I thought I might respond to two of the points raised by Owen in his post:

1) There is no shred of scientific evidence to support any of Darwin's Theories. In Origin of the Species he said that he had the evidence elsewhere but he never produced it. Scientists in his own day effectively refuted all of the four pillars of Darwinian evolution.

2) Specifically, there is no evidence that anything has ever evolved into anything else. If you [or] anyone else can produce such evidence, believe me, it will get noticed. Things mutate and adapt, but only within species.


I think that point 1 needs to be qualified carefully with point 2. In the sense that 'evidence' might be taken to mean general observations that can be interpreted in line with an over-arching theory of evolution, then there is, in fact, abundant evidence for such a theory. It is all circumstantial evidence, mind you; but there is plenty of this.

What is entirely absent is any direct evidence for evolution as a coherent theory. Evolution as a cosmological and anthropological theory is not simply the idea that things change and adapt over time (which they obviously do, and demonstrations of which form the whole of the 'proofs' or evidence offered for evolution), but that such change and adaption can actually form a new species out of one (or many) that previously exists -- and for this there has never been a single piece of direct evidence discovered. This is not mere religious banter directed against a view which many religious people dislike; it is the actual state of the scientific theory taken from a scientific perspective - and thankfully more and more scientists are now willing to admit it.

The theological motivations for a rejection of the theory of evolution are interesting and poignant in their own right; but they are often interpreted by individuals and groups as religious beliefs standing at odds with the 'overwhelming evidence of modern science'. If one is fair and honest, he or she will see that this simply isn't the case.

Seraphim Rose, who wrote much (of mixed quality) on the theory of evolution from an Orthodox perspective, effectively boiled the issue down: Given that there is no scientific proof either for or against the theory of evolution, but that the ascertainable data can be interpreted through either a progressive humanist or traditional Christian lense, the acceptance of either becomes a question of faith and belief. The data itself presupposes no conclusions, but allows for many. The one which an individual accepts depends on faith far more than it does on science.

INXC, Matthew

#45 Guest_sinjin smithe

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Posted 20 November 2002 - 08:27 PM

Matthew I believe that Father Seraphim Rose wrote a book about this whole issue of which I forget the title. I hoping to get the book one day and read it.


#46 Guest_Katerina

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Posted 20 November 2002 - 09:42 PM

"Genesis, Creation and Early Man"
He first investigates what the Fathers of the Church have to say about the subject.

In Christian Love,

Katerina


#47 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 20 November 2002 - 10:33 PM

I believe that Father Seraphim Rose wrote a book about this whole issue of which I forget the title.


This volume is, indeed, Genesis, Creation and Early Man, as Katerina mentioned. However, it is somewhat inaccurate to say that Fr Seraphim 'wrote a book' on this subject: the said work is actually a collection of independent texts, lectures, notes and other writings compiled after Fr Seraphim's repose by members of his community.

Whether one ends up agreeing with the entirety of Seraphim Rose's methodology and conclusions in all regards, the volume is an insightful look at the matter from a different perspective; and Fr Seraphim collected together multiple patristic texts that speak to the matter, which is of value on its own.

INXC, Matthew

#48 Moses Anthony

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Posted 21 November 2002 - 01:15 AM

Dear Thinh,

You're correct in saying that the Bible does not speak specifically about evolution. The problem is this; it is impossible to believe in the evolutionary theory, and at the same time hold to the tenets of The Faith as expresed in Holy Scripture. The two are in no way compatible!

If it were not for the advancements of computer scientists -some of whom no doubt devout Christians-, who would be reading these posts. Holy Tradition; ie, the Scriptures is not a book of science, but from where I sit, when it speaks about scientific matters it is correct.

Now as to the other point you raised, being taken seriously in academic dialogue. To be taken seriously in any context, one must believe what they're saying. Scripture tells us that the person who vascillates is like a wave of the sea, unstable in all their ways. It is because of failure to do that very thing, that 'religious people' are not taken seriously, even in debates about matters of faith.

It's true that the Bible doesn't speak about evolution, but then again, neither does the evolutionary theory speak concerning Almighty God.

There's been some discussions about this very thing, and about knowledge in general, which the moderator no doubt has archived. I suggest you search through these.

Moses

#49 Owen Jones

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Posted 21 November 2002 - 01:32 AM

mmmm....

I don't think the issue of Darwinian evolution hinges on belief. It is simply bad science. However, the bad science is the result of an implicit atheism, which is itself not simply an issue of belief, but also bad science. I wish more people understood theology as a science. It is as rigorous as any other science in its investigatory approach. It simply has different methods of measurement. All classical theologians saw themselves as rigorous scientists, with theology at the pinnacle of science. Without the foundational sciences of geometry, mathematics, astronomy, there could be no theology. Theology is not just a matter of belief. If it were simply a matter of belief, then Christian theology could be no more compelling than Buddhist theology, or Muslim theology, or chocolat theology.


#50 Guest_Thinh Ton

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Posted 21 November 2002 - 04:28 AM

Hello all,

thank you for your statements.

To be clear: I understand THEORIES as models which try to explain and to bring into coherence what is observed in nature in order to understand the world which we also call reality. Every theory is an approach to reality on the base of scientific data. I am aware that each theory therefore is not absolute and finally remains in its very essence a speculative reconstruction. But however, every scientific theory is never built up arbitrary, but is back up by measurable observations, which people use to call “evidence”. In this case we call it a verification of this theory, but in turn, it can also be falsified by “evidence” as well. Well, an evidence is never evident out of itself, which means it needs to be interpreted (in the frame of a theoretical paradigm itself or of a certain world view) in order to give this “evidence” any sense. A look at the history of science shows us that theories perished and new theories appeared, depending on their plausibilities and the level of knowledge of the time (see also Thomas Kuhn’s theory of science). As we see, even in science there is a process taking place which is nothing else than an evolution.
I think that the fact of evolution in the proper sense of a (slow) development cannot be denied. And exactly in that sense I do understand evolution.
Evolution theory can be interpreted very differently, even theistically. I would like to know in what regard do you think the evolution theory is incompatible with the Christian faith.

Best wishes,

Thinh



#51 Owen Jones

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Posted 21 November 2002 - 01:00 PM

Dear Thinh,

Theory means something quite different in classical philosophy and classical Christian theology than it does post-18th century. It certainly is not a "model." As for the methods of science you have laid out, this is not the only method. It's the post-enlightenment scientific method which has led to certain advances in some areas but also movement backwards in others, due to the fact that truth has been reduced to method, which one cannot do in principle. Truth is not a function of method. You might want to look at Hans Georg Gadamer's "Truth and Method."

We've already addressed some of your questions regarding evolution/development. It really depends on who's theory of evolution your are talking about, but certainly today Darwin's is normative. I'm sure we haven't proven anything to you, but I think we've raised the problem cogently by asking the question: where is the evidence that any species has ever evolved into another species? Where is the evidence that simple organisms have evolved over time into more complex organisms? Where is the evidence that living things can evolve from non-living things --what is the mechanism. There are also increasing alarm bells regarding the deliberate falsification of some of the experiments that have been used to justify Darwinism and are standard features of all of the textbooks.

There are other questions that easily dispense with the pillars of Darwinism. More recently, biologists, flummoxed by these and other questions, have developed new terminologies in order to skirt the questions, terminologies such as "punctuated equilibrium." I'm not sure anyone understands what these terminologies mean. In fact, if there was any scientific field in total disarray it would be biologists who cannot even state with assurance that there is such a thing as life. They have no cogent definition of life, of what constitutes a living thing. That's because Darwinism is not science but a progressivist ideology.

NOw, is there development in nature over time? This is quite a different question.


#52 Guest_sinjin smithe

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Posted 21 November 2002 - 05:00 PM

Owen, what do you mean by biologists cannot state with assurance that their is a thing called life? When I took my biology course it seemed to me that there was a set of criteria as to what constitutes a living thing.


#53 Owen Jones

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Posted 21 November 2002 - 05:22 PM

A good book on this subject is the New Biology by Augros and Stanciu. In it they quote numerous biologists questioning or at least very confused about the very definition of life. Textbooks run about 30 years behind the intellectual fashions.




#54 Guest_sinjin smithe

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Posted 21 November 2002 - 05:31 PM

Thanks Owen for the book suggestion, I will check it out. As my biochemistry professor tells me, textbooks are full of errors.


#55 Denis Chapaev

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 04:50 PM

How do you do, dear participants of the forum.
It's my 1-st message on this forum.

I've recently begun to study the Orthodox tradition so there is a question about age of the Earth:
they speak about 6000-years-old. Where is this number from? Are there scientific transactions of orthodox saint fathers about age of the Earth?

Thank you for your answer beforehand.
Yours faithfully.

P.S. I'm sorry to have troubled you and for my clumsy English.

#56 David Lanier

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 10:11 PM

Evolution and Creationism and how the two can live together. That is not a subject that can be easily addressed with a few paragraphs.

I highly recommend Fr. Thomas Hopko's 17 part lecture series on Darwin and Christianity for a much more in depth discussion and analysis.

#57 Ryan

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 12:13 PM

I think those attempting to reconcile Christianity with Darwinism are missing the bigger picture- the fundamental contradictions between the Christian worldview and the Enlightenment ideology nowadays known generically as "modern science." I wish Philip Sherrard's book Human Image: World Image were more widely known and available- it cuts right through the pointless debates between "creationists" and Darwinists.

http://deniseharveyp...age-world-image

#58 Michael Stickles

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 01:33 PM

Fr. Seraphim Rose's book Genesis, Creation and Early Man (published by St. Herman Press, they have a new edition coming out) covers the patristic understanding of creation. There is also St. Basil the Great's Hexaemeron, a series of nine lectures on the six days of creation.

A review of Fr. Seraphim Rose's book says that the Fathers "were not dogmatic about the precise age of the earth ... but they placed it approximately at 5500 BC ." However, this review was by an Evangelical young-earth creationist, so I am unsure whether the Fathers quoted by Fr. Seraphim actually said that, or whether the reviewer was reading it into the text (I haven't read the book myself).

The primary source of the 6000 years figure seems to be various calculations based on the genealogies in the Bible. The oldest I am aware of is that of Venerable Bede, the church historian (6th/7th century), who placed creation at 3952 BC. Similar calculations were made in the 16th-18th centuries by the Anglican Bishop James Ussher, the French scholar Joseph Scaliger, Sir Isaac Newton, and Johannes Kepler, among others, with creation dates ranging from 3949 BC - 4004 BC. Various creation science groups have since published studies claiming that various processes from magnetic field decay to helium diffusion support this figure, but I've never looked at those studies closely and can't say if they make sense or not.

My own understanding of the patristic view (based, unfortunately, on minimal information) is that the Fathers really didn't put much stock in such calculations. Rather, it seems that for them the reason for examining the creation was essentially what St. Basil said at the conclusion of his first homily of the Hexaemeron:

Let us glorify the supreme Artificer for all that was wisely and skillfully made; by the beauty of visible things let us raise ourselves to Him who is above all beauty; by the grandeur of bodies, sensible and limited in their nature, let us conceive of the infinite Being whose immensity and omnipotence surpass all the efforts of the imagination.


In Christ,
Michael

#59 Denis Chapaev

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 01:40 PM

I highly recommend Fr. Thomas Hopko's 17 part lecture series on Darwin and Christianity for a much more in depth discussion and analysis.


Thank you for Thomas Hopko's lecture about this question, Mr. David Lanier.
Is there a book variant of the lecture?

#60 Denis Chapaev

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 01:50 PM

Thanks. It's necessary to read Hexaemeron.




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