Desktop image of Scrivener website digression

Vic-k will be disappointed…

Received as intended :wink:

As a creationist who believes in “in species evolution” I believe there is much to support both your statements. I would wrap them into a single statement similar to

Let’s see how long it takes to start a fight over that!

You don’t have any kids, do you? Otherwise you would know just how bad it can be…

:wink:

As an atheist who believes in a personal spirituality, I’m dying to know how this works. Care to enlighten me, if it’s not too personal[1]? I promise not to start a fight.

I’ve been rumbled! :smiley: I’d rather donate my ovaries to medical science. I have six nieces and nephews ranging from 3 to 21 years old - enough already. The gene pool would not benefit from my polluting input, in any case :wink:

Sarah

[1] I have learned that sex is ok to talk about, politics is dodgy in some situations, but discussing religion can be like dropping a ton of rubber balls on a field of full of land-mines.

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I had a big long treatise proving my position when it dawned on me you didn’t want proof, but an explanation.

To make it as plain as possible I believe the following as it related to creation and evolution.
• There is a divine being (God).
• The Divine created what we know/see/experience as well as life.
• The Divine created a world that would change and creatures that would change (evolve) with it.
• The change is managed by rules set in place by the Divine.
• Man calls these rules science.

Please note this is not a theological point but an explanation of how God and evolution are reconciled. If you want to talk theology we should do it via email or PM as I don’t want KB to be dragged into a debate that continues to show how unloving and un-accepting “people of faith” can be.

This is because the majority of “christians” are unthinking twits. There, I said it and now you know one of the greats shames of modern Christianity. The Church (Protestant and catholic alike) has become a bastion of ignorance. We have placed “faith in man” above “faith in God” and emphasized blind conformity over prayerful consideration.

And before anyone jumps down my throat please re-read that entire paragraph. The generalization is accurate. Consider that the audience and think. If you want to argue please email or PM me and save poor KB from having to kick us all out.

My key question in there would be: what did the divine element create? Complex organisms much like ourselves, or perhaps only the necessary proteins and molecules for replicating life? What I’m getting at: How does the fossil record, which is integral to the theory of evolution, reconcile with certain metaphysical questions like the nature/effect of sin and so forth that are common to Christian belief systems. At what point in biological and geological history was the redemption aspect implemented—or do you see the fossil record as incorrectly interpreted entirely, and simply have no problem with the biological study of allele frequencies and so forth.

Who created God? Wait, it’s turtles all the way down… :wink:

Actually, folk are free to talk about what they like here, though I will split this over into the “And Now For That Coffee” area of the forum. And I will ask that everyone is respectful of one another, as this sort of discussion on a forum can too easily get into an intractable and angry debate (not that this applies to any of the posts so far, but such a discussion here does make me a little nervous). As soon as there is a hint of insult, I’ll be closing the thread (I read that the longer a forum thread gets, the closer to 100% the chances get of someone calling someone else a Nazi, so let’s try to avoid that). It’s no secret I’m an atheist myself (and you can’t prove a negative :slight_smile: ), but I’ll do my best to stay out of the discussion as I tend to get a bit heated about this sort of thing and like and respect Jaysen and others way too much to disagree (see, I don’t think everyone “of faith” is un-accepting, despite Jaysen’s intimation!).

All the best,
Keith

P.S. And no matter what you believe, the Battlestar Galactica finale was still s**t. :slight_smile:
P.P.S. You can tell it’s a sensitive topic when smileys start to proliferate.
P.P.P.S. Except for the Battlestar Galactica bit. I meant that.

Godwin’s Law :slight_smile:

That’s the one. I think it came up before and you linked to it then, too. All this has happened before… Wait, noooo…!

I think there is a corollary for that condition, too… Hmm.

Genesis has two different accounts of creation:

1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Stark difference: humans are the image of God, or they are dust of the ground. If both are true, then the earth is sacred and so are its creatures, soil, and climate.

Darwin considered that possibility in his Autobiography and drew this conclusion:

[i]When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.

I cannot throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.[/i]

Keith, am I allowed to ask Jaysen what he thinks of Sarah Palin?

:smiling_imp:

(Jaysen, you’re among friends here, of all persuasions. I’m kind of a creationist too, though I haven’t thought it out nearly as neatly as you have. And I’m not at all sure about the nature of the creative “force,” but jeez, there are an awful lot of spectacularly impressive patterns around, here and in the rest of the known–and supposedly unknown–universe, so either something had a hand in all this or a lot more monkeys are closeted somewhere typing out Shakespeare that are dreamt of in my philosophy.)

KB, I thank you for your respect and as I hope you know I am not going to jeopardize your reputation. If you call a halt, I will always comply. For the record all three of the idiots here are well known even when one of us is missing!

In no particular order.

The problem most have is not one of “faith” (substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen). We all have faith. When is the last time any of us saw an electron? Yet we have evidence of its existence, this post is evidence of electrons. We know that the current models of atomic and particle physics are approximations of reality suited to an explanation we can comprehend. You can add string theory and quantum sciences to this. I would suggest that much of what we know as theology falls into this same category; approximations of reality suited to an explanation we can comprehend. We can’t see electrons, we have evidence of their existence, so we make a model to explain it. s/electrons/God/ and this is where we start.

The fossil record is consistent with the concept of creation in literal terms. Per Genesis 3:14 a classification of animal was cursed to “slink on your belly”. In practical terms this could be a source of mass extinction of a large number species from a family that currently “slinks on” its belly. The fossil record would also be supported by the flood of Noah. A global flood in the time line noted in Genesis 9 would result in massive distribution of sedimentary material.

Age of the fossil record is a matter of dispute which leaves some casualties on both sides. I hold that the “years” counted in biblical terms are probably accurate. While I understand the science behind carbon dating I question the ability to know how much C14 was present through direct ingestion vs. leeching. I will admit to coming to a point where answering this particular question no longer mattered to me and I chose faith over science. There are others much more qualified than I am to discuss this. Some of their explanations get into rotational and orbital decays altering measurements of days, others get into “multiple use theory” of the “void” that became our home, still others move in druid’s path of “2 different lines of man”, one pure one impure (we are in the latter). Enough of that.

As to what was created, the simple answer is “everything”. From the sub-atomic to the homo-sapiens we all originate from Him (english neuter is masculine, I am not being sexist). Theories abound as to if we are “recycled” matter from previous creations to if we are spontaneous extensions of energy. While some try to utilize string, quantum and various other scientific theory I again choose my faith. If you s/Agnostic/Believer on the last line from Darwin you have me. I will explain why later.

The sin nature is the problem that really sticks in one’s eye. The idea that we are wrong from the get go with no choosing of our own seems to point to a heartless and spiteful God. I think that this is an understandable conclusion while simultaneously disagreeing with it. The idea is actually inherent in evolution: an descendent inherits traits from its predecessor. If we consider what the fall entailed, eating the fruit of the tree that made us aware of good and evil, this inherited trait is knowledge. The knowledge you have ensures survival and will be passed to the next generation. Right on down to you and me.

So what was wrong with this knowledge? It had nothing to do with the knowledge but the rebellion against God. He said “don’t” but they did. We now have the knowledge and are accomplices by default. Much like the guy who hitches a ride and winds up in jail for drug possession, it wasn’t his, but he is guilty by association.

If one really wants to read a good apologetic on why a “good and just God allows man to suffer” (which is what we do under the sin nature) look into C. S. Lewis’ The problem of Pain. While he deals with the physical suffering, the case of inherited sin is made in a manner that is easy to understand.

Before I point out why I keep choosing what seems to be the “blind faith” route let me address druid’s image vs sacred earth point at the same time I answer amber on the redemption.

Druid is right on both accounts. The Earth is sacred and we were to be the caretakers of it. We have failed miserably haven’t we? and we ARE made in His image. I can take wood and carve it into an image of myself, but it wont be me, right? It would still be wood. If I were to value that wooden image and it was taken from me I could offer a reward to get it back. Our model breaks down at this point because my wooden image is not a sentient being capable of making choices and we are. It is that “sentient” part that we call the soul that is truly the image of God. The soul is housed for a brief 70 years (if we are lucky) in a shell of dust. The soul and shell are corrupted by the inherited sin, and God has offered a reward for our return. This is the redemption that Christian faiths call salvation. We mark this redemption as the resurrection of Christ.

The implementation of this redemption was marked at the time of the fall. Genesis 3 records the cursing of mankind as well as the outline of the coming redemption. The promise is that we will be restored to a “pre-sin state”. What is the evidence of this? Good question. Let’s save that for another time. I still owe you a “why do you choose faith” answer.

It comes down to one point for me. Ready? Evolution. In my mind if there was no God then evolution would have weeded out the conscience a long time ago. The conscience is not a benefit to the species. Remorse, guilt, regret. No need for those. Seems to me that we have something in us that is outside evolution/nature and is hence supernatural, the “breath of life”, or evolution stopped working. If we didn’t struggle to keep nonviable infants alive we would be evolving only the strongest genes. But we have ethical issues with the very idea of letting grown adults choose to end their suffering let alone the idea that some children are simply not fit to live (this is an argument to illustrate a point, not my personal view). This goes against reason if we subscribe to evolution as a basis for our existence. That leave me with a Creator. Hence my choice.

Well past my bedtime. I will pick this up again tomorrow.

Hopefully I have made an understandable explanation of my position. If there is anything you find offensive please let me know directly. My intent is not to offend but to explain. Any offense is both unintentional and counter productive. If anyone wants to ask a question privately please feel free to PM or eMail me. While not the smartest guy around I have spent a little time trying to understand what I believe and why.

Mum,

Palin is a bit of an embarrassment to us poor republicans (please don’t ask me why I am a republican, I am not sure I know). Bush, then Bush again and then suggesting Palin… Please God, end our suffering.

If you read the Bible, look at Paul’s description of himself in Philippians 3:5-6. Not an Israelite, but the idea is the same. All the right denominations, all the right private schools, all the right theological education, just to realize that the church misses the big point.

So yes, I think about this stuff more than anything else. But not in the terms of “how do I preach it”. More “how did You intend it”.

Make sense?

Given the contempt many of your co-religionists have for evolution, it’s refreshing to see you cite it as a proof of the existence of God.

Still, I disagree with your argument. Remorse (and its close cousin, empathy) is very helpful if man is seen as a social, rather than solitary animal. In fact, evidence of conscience has been found in non-human primates: it allows bad chimpanzees to get back on the good side of their clans.

Katherine

Katherine,

Not being smart person I may be using the wrong words. The conscience and it’s lingering on the example emotions is the problem, not the emotions themselves. How often to other primates commit suicide due to guilt over an action? I agree that a demonstration of remorse is a survival trait that can be explained by evolution. Living life haunted by that remorse is not.

As to my “co-religionists” … we have a long standing feud. I feel that God created things to let us wonder at them. We SHOULD question “why” and “how”. Science uncovers the rules he put in place a creation. In my view science is working as much to show us God as it is to disprove Him. In my mind a person who really believes in God has nothing to fear as science will eventually expose Him to us. Crazy, but the logical conclusion of believing in a Creator.

What truly bogles my mind is the militant stance that my “co-religionists” take on anything that forces them to answer simple questions. If you can’t answer the simple ones why should we trust you with the complex ones? Is the concept of the trinity really as important as “why didn’t God heal my baby?” The latter is simple and meaningful. But know one wants to answer it. When you come to something as important, and simple as evolution, or abortion, or even right to die laws, they want to focus on the abstract theological areas of dispute instead of the real point that we “Christians” should be focusing on: addressing the needs of our fellow man.

BTW evolution of a species is not in question for me. It is the origin of all through evolution that I question. I have seen enough changes in my short life time to know that a species WILL adapt to its environment and hence will alter over time. I have little patience for those of my faith who say “evolution is not from God”.

Ah, yes. An important distinction.

As Galileo reputedly said, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the Creator who endowed us with reason and intellect intended for us to forgo their use.”

Katherine

Jaysen, although I said I was going to keep out of this discussion, given that this has so far been one of those rare internet discussions about faith or lack of on the internet where everyone is being reasonable, I do have one question, and it’s the old one of the turtles. If creationists see the universe and its complexity as being irreducibly complex and thus evidencing the work of an intelligent mind behind it, a creator, then doesn’t the same logic dictate that the creator itself must be irreducibly complex and thus necessitate its own creator, ad infinitum? I have never seen a satisfactory counter-argument to this - all counter-arguments seem to be based around the old Cartesian syllogism of perfection (we have an idea of perfection, therefore perfection must exist; God is perfect by his very nature, otherwise he wouldn’t be God; ergo, God exists). That is, the argument that God’s perfection means that no further explanation is required. But that argument is not an explanation but a refusal to give one, a deflection; and if God cannot be explained without some other creator behind him, and so on, then why not stop one short, cutting out the unnecessary step that can be neither proved nor disproved. That is, rather than: “Argument: The universe is so complicated that there must be a creator; counter-argument: ah, but if the creator is capable of such complicated work then it must be complicated too, so there must be a creator of the creator; justification: no, the creator is perfect and so does not need explaining in terms of creation himself”, why not just say: “the universe does not need explaining in terms of a creator”, thus cutting out all unnecessary and unprovable steps which abandon explanation? The mind-boggling question at the core of all this is probably, why existence over non-existence at all? Answering “God” just seems to me to move the question one layer back, to put it at a slight distance, while avoiding a concrete answer.

I believe that at this point there is no good or logical argument and so it comes down to the old “leap of faith”; I cannot see how any logical argument can explain away what is for me a fundamental flaw in the “God hypothesis” (as Dawkins would put it :slight_smile: ).

I hope I have expressed this in a manner that does not insult in any way - I’m just genuinely interested in how this can be explained without it coming down to “God doesn’t need explanation”.

Respectfully and with best regards as always,
Keith

P.S. Of course you realise that I only stopped by this thread because you promised an explanation for Battlestar Galactica. :slight_smile:

** content removed as this was a partial post and is repeated in my post following this – Jaysen **

Nope, you can’t. Philosophers and theologians have been trying to prove (or disprove) the existence of God for thousands of years.

Believers would say that the need for a leap of faith is not a “flaw in the hypothesis,” but an essential part of the divine mystery.

Katherine

KB your position is both clear and non-insulting. It is also one that more folks who claim faith should struggle with. Let me be frank. At some point there is a step of faith. One that says “I can take this no further, I must decide”. I see this as a step, not a leap. No one can tell you when this point has come, but at some point you have faith that either God exist or God does not exist. Both positions are positions of faith.

As to my answer to your point. I do not believe that the world is irreducible complex.I believe that we are prevented from further reduction through limitations inherited by the fall of man (original sin). Read this as “God has been hidden from us”. It is the sin nature that prevents us from connecting the dots. This is not a redirect as much as an admission that we, homo-sapiens, are unable to prove the very thing that we claim to require proof of. It is a limitation of being man.

The next question then is “why believe?” I would hold that one make the step to believe for the same reason one takes a step to believe in electrons. That is that the evidence to support existence out weighs the evidence that supports non-existence. For me the irrefutable evidence is embodied in this very conversation. Reason.

C. S. Lewis postulated in Miracles that reason itself proves the supernatural. It exists outside the natural as is evidenced by its ability to control the natural as well as extend beyond the self (think communication). In addition reason can be removed and returned to the natural (unconscious vs. conscious). Reason and conscience seem, please note that this is my opinion, to go against what we know and understand of evolution as it relates to natural selection. In the case of reason the conflict is less pronounced but still existent.

Reason tipped the scales for in scientific discovery. That we, a mere conglomeration of atoms could pull apart the world around us and delve the depths of “what is” and discover the why, we have clearly gone beyond the natural and into a realm that is unnatural. Reason allows us to create ideas, art, communications all of which point to a source that is more than a conglomeration of atoms. This thing in us that demands answers and seeks them out is, in my opinion, unnatural with compared to all other forms of life. Where did it come from? I keep coming back to the “breath of life”. For me it is a simple step to faith.

If you feel that I have avoided your point it was not intentional. The answer is in there but may not be clear. If it is not please let me know.

As to BSG: a theological premise is that God allows us to despair to bring us to a point that we will turn to Him (the last resort).

Apologies: I started writing this before a certain degree of conversation played out, so hopefully I have not overlapped already discussed points.

I feel there is a bit of a breakdown in the English language here, because the type of mental activity involved in spiritual and religious faith is not of the same type that is involved in the acceptance of evidence for things which cannot be directly observed (this can be observed directly by monitoring brain activity). The latter can be arrived at empirically, and done so any number of times and in edge cases where the theory breaks down, forming the boundaries of what is known to be or not to be (within ranges of probability). The former is an acceptance of things which cannot be deduced, tested, or reproduced because they operate and are said to exist outside of the boundaries of the physical limits of the universe (by which we can include those things which are counter-intuitive or seeming not of, as they can be derived, as in super-symmetrical particles (although recently there has been an applied demonstration of one such particle in a laboratory, so even these counter-intuitive and elusive particles could one day be as known and fathomable as a rock), dark matter, and such), and therefore outside of the realm of human reason altogether.

Accepting that the probability for the inverse square law being in effect 900 million light-years away is an inductive method of probability reasoning based on very reproducible techniques in local space—or if you will an extrapolation of known laws beyond the areas of direct observation. Science does this all of the time; we couldn’t study the effects of massive meteor impacts otherwise, let alone exotic particle physics.

I could agree with you in that these two modes of thought could appear to be similar in nature, but because one says, “It is probable because of what I know here,” and another says, “I know this to be, even though I could never prove it to you”, they are of different domains. The former contains a partial amount of logical matter from the latter, but there are components of the latter which are not duplicated in the former. So logically speaking it would be less than accurate to say that everyone subscribes to faith models as a way of explaining religious or spiritual faith. It’s a classic case of B is like A :: thus A is like B, being logically false.

Well, literally speaking there are chronological problems with that. For instance the Permian glacial scarring which is evident on four continents, indicates massive glacier activity in directions which are contrary to how glaciers form: they all run from the coasts to the centre of the continents, and in the case of India they start at the top and run into the Tibetan range. These scarring patterns make sense, as do the glossopteris fossilised trees which accompany them, if you view the Permian land mass in a partial Pangaea state. Back-tracing tectonic activity to that state, you find the scattered and illogical glacial scarring all comes together into one region and rightly moves outward from the centre of the continent toward the coasts.

The chronological problem for the flood theory (which is stated to account for 99% of tectonic shifting) is that the glaciers would then have to pre-date the flood. The problem there, naturally, is that the antediluvian metereological conditions are described as such to be unfavourable (or downright impossible) for glacier formation to happen, let alone the great scale and speed of the glaciers, which is indicative of an ice age—not your ordinary “garden glaciers”.

A post-flood ice age could make a sort of sense, but then you have the continents already within 1% of their modern day configuration, and return to the illogically scarred Permian rock layers.

Regarding sedimentary distribution; massive topic so I’ll try to keep it brief and down to a few questions:

How do you explain the sorting of life into the sediment layers in the manner in which they appear? True, there are anomalies here and there, and most can be explained with nothing more complicated than digging a six foot deep hole and burying a human into a layer which existed a hundred years before they were born, metaphorically speaking. Edge cases aside where beasts straddle soft layers, you don’t find complex life in the older layers. If these layers were put down rapidly (in the space of a little over a month), then how is it that simple (and hence much lighter) life is found in the “older” layers beneath the newer layers?

One answer you often hear is, the complex (and more intelligent) life sought higher ground as the waters rose, hence the simple and mindless were buried first. Well, the problem with that is you would have to accept that not a single dinosaur had the wits to climb as high as an elephant, say. Another problem is precisely that of size. Light organisms would, in such a rapidly forming layer of mud, stay buoyed up in the higher levels while great beasts weighing many tons would rapidly sink through the soft layers. We should see, in most cases, an inverse order of what we get.

There are other sorting problems as well. Pollen can become fossilised as well. From pollen we can determine many things, including climate conditions, plant types, where the greatest amounts of biomass were at the time, and so forth. Since these pollens are distributed amongst the layers as are the fossils, what mechanism could have caused them to become sorted in this way—and as well, why would these pollens be in the same layers as the debris of their associated plants?

Another problem with explaining the rock layers as rapidly forming is the evidences of age that we have in those layers. One already mentioned, the Permian layer has evidence of glaciers which took hundreds if not thousands of years to score great swaths of land from the coasts of Africa to the heartland. This is not the only example of scratching and scoring upon the surface of a layer. We have found rain drops (something which shouldn’t have existed in some of them), trees mounted in the layer as they grew, evidence of decertification and desiccation of the soil, water and wind erosion, foot prints from the larger beasts. In short, they constitution of these layers looks in every way like the layers of an archeological dig—they appear to have been lived upon and to have suffered and prospered as the surface of the planet continues so today: slowly and gradually accumulating and burying this historic trace of what once bared itself to the sun. These formations make no sense in the conditions described which would require their rapid accumulation and tumult.

I am not familiar with the terminology you are using, but presume you mean accumulation and decay rates. C-14 and C-12 variability in both the accumulation and decay states are both well known conditions, and have been calculated for by calibrating it with the methods of dendrochronology back to 11,000 years ago. Once calibrated, these variances can be taken into account and the methods are quite accurate. If C-14 were as inaccurate as some believe it to be, nobody would be using it.

Beyond that, uranium-thorium coral dating has been used to calibrate C-14 back to 30,000 years. These two methods of calibration would be difficult to counter with flood mechanics. There are further calibrations using sedimentary varve U-Th dates and ocean cores, as well as annual layers in the Greenland ice sheets—but since you doubt the veracity of these as dating agents, it wouldn’t mean anything for me to say that C-14 has been calibrated back to 50,000 years ago. 11,000, it would be extremely difficult to contradict dendrochronology, and the coral dating methods would be very hard as well to rebut. Dendrochonology gives us other bits of valuable information with which to ascertain the accuracy of C-14, including magnetic field fluctuations (not a steady increase as Hovind speculates).

As I have attempted to make clear, the notion of dating relies upon dozens of disciplines, all working together to calibrate and verify one another. There isn’t one grail method that can produce a universally useful result. Even the most reliable, like dendrochronology, obviously have their limitations, since in the evolutionists point of view, you would eventually arrive upon an era prior to the evolution of anything resembling a tree, or encounter vast periods of time in which no useful fossils of trees have been found. All it takes is one gap to break the method from that point hence. Likewise, radiometric dating does not always work. Even stratigraphic or biostratigraphic techniques have rough areas in one geological location or another. All of these singular cases are not a problem when you have a rope-like weaving of many strands.

But, as you have stated this is for you a point where you have chosen faith, which I respect, so I will not labour the point (more than I have). The philosophy has, to me, always seemed a plausible way of perception, as to be quite honest that is how we approach nearly everything (where only two paths might be a simplification). I myself would have a hard time on these two paths (if not mainly because I’ve always been far more comfortable in a philosophy where the accumulation and evolution of knowledge exists as opposed to a state where some knowledge is impermeable to accumulation, or “absolute” if you will), but can likewise exist upon the path of a completely unrelated two-ism, altruism and selfishness, with a certain level of grace (as do I suspect most decent humans do).

On sin. I feel you have slightly misunderstood my question, but I fault myself for stating it briefly. I have no issue with the matter of “how can a benevolent being allow suffering to exist”, as the arguments for that actually make sense to me—especially considering the perspective. I consider myself a benevolent being, but do not go out of my way to solve and reduce the strife and death that exists between my colonies of cells and the cells of the food I ingest. I understand the conflict has a purpose, and that the outcome of that death and suffering happening in my gut will result in my benevolence living to see another day. Not quite a perfect metaphor (unless you subscribe to a highly pantheistic view), but I hope it serves my point. Nor do I have a problem with how such a thing could result in a cascading of that thing, as I am well versed in cultural and psychological matters. It is not troubling to me that a “flaw” could easily pass itself down from generation to generation and even transmute and manifest in evolving ways (what was sin then, isn’t now, and vice versa; slaves and concubines; capital punishment and homosexuality), and any attempt to moralise that process (to say it is evil to allow it to do so), would be simplistic.

What I meant to get at with my question involving sin is this: If certain fundamental and as far as we can tell, essential, conditions of material and energy existence are the result of sin, then this creates some interesting conundrums. If the entropic state of the universe; decay and death and the slow waning of all things is a product of sin, then what explanation is there for the evidence of sin in any direction we can point a telescope?

Doctrinally, from scripture, we are told that sin is a largely localised phenomena. It started one place, but those were cast out to this local space, and then tainted the inhabitants of this local space with the process further. Yet even with a Wal*Mart telescope I can look out, thousands of light years away, and see the evidence of massive explosions which took place long ago; evidence of the entropic conditions of physics and the laws of thermodynamics which work on those stars just as they do on our star.

And even if you do subscribe to the notion that everything was created intact down to the last photon (and thus by implication we can see things a million light years away, only 10,000 years later), there would still be as with those Permian scars, chronological problems with that. Witness the deadly gamma-ray burst that we recently discovered happening to a distant galaxy. Some other galaxy had a severe black-hole malfunction and is bathing large percentages of a nearby galaxy with gamma-rays so volatile and destructive that nothing could possibly survive. I do not think that such possibility for extrasolar life is presumptuous under the divine model, for else-wise there would be no true need for all of this space. But even if that galaxy is empty, even if we suppose the whole universe is empty except for this creation here, it is still a demonstration of destructive energy forces which depend upon models of existence requiring sin.

From that we can deduce that sin is not a localised effect, and that the moment Adam and Eve consumed their forbidden dinner, the entire universe went corrupt around them simultaneously. Anyone with a passing knowledge of the scale of the universe would find that astonishing, I think. Our little spot in the universe is so insignificantly tiny that even those things which are at the very limits of our vision could be contained with a grain of sand upon the shores of its full scale.

That astonishing bit aside, the chronological difficulty is thus: If all this came about 10,000 years ago or thereabouts, we have a slight problem in that even if the light of the gamma-ray soaked galaxy was created in between so that we could see it, it is still so far away that the event we are witnessed happened long, long, long, long before the original sin.

I suppose one could submit that the non-localised phenomena we see are in fact the after-effects of the original-original sin which was cast down to this part of the universe. This would however, contradict a number of doctrinal pillars or fundaments, if we were created in an already sinful and decaying environment.

Out of all of your arguments I find this the most intriguing.

I would disagree on a few technical points. I don’t think that consciousness as a mental model is solely limited to the human species. There is evidence of self-awareness in a number of complex animals, as well as deductive reasoning and even calculation, learned behaviour, and tool usage. It isn’t common, and granted nowhere near the level of sophistication in which we possess it—but I do not think it is accurate to state that consciousness is something we alone possess.

Additionally, natural selection does not always (perhaps it could be said rarely does it) work intuitively. Things do not always come about because they are somehow best, and in many cases evolution can cause things to go extinct by their very defects. While not extinct, I suppose a good example of this would be the female peacock’s predilection towards the colour blue, which has resulted in brilliant blue male birds with such plumage and hue that it hardly solves any “survival” benefits, yet they keep on getting bluer and more fantastic as time goes by due to sexual selection.

So it is not inconceivable that something like consciousness could erupt, and given that while it has traits that do not benefit survival that you have listed, it undeniably has traits which are of great benefit, too. The ability creatively invent the skinning of an animal, or the invention of fire, would allow a species to endure in conditions that would otherwise have doomed them to extinction.

This is getting into a topic that is rife with considerable debate amongst evolutionists, and I suppose I side with the factions which point to how sociological and psychological factors such as guilt and so forth could benefit the species and in advanced social animals, even non-reproductive members of the group would then benefit the reproductive viability of the species.

If the capacity (note, I’m not saying guilt has a gene, but the capacity for it) for advanced social mechanics causes a species to flourish, then to me it does have a reasonable answer for existence.

Likewise. I came from an extremely religious background, and my views have been formed mostly prior to that. I always strive to understand the world around me, and to have reasons for what I believe in. So your position is entirely respectful to me, and not surprising in the least. In a system with trillions of variables and data, it is entirely possible for two rational people to come to conflicting, logical points of view and find no fault in their chain of decisions. We wouldn’t have fully rational political strife, otherwise. As for political strife lacking in all rational basis, well there are those as well. Palin is certainly not a new phenomena, and alas she will not be the last.