Thursday, June 26, 2008

Opening Up a Dialogue...

I want to open up the dialogue on theistic evolution. I know very little about it, all though I have read some of the literature.

Now, my biggest problem with theistic evolution used to be the age of the earth. The bible had genealogies in it that added up to only a few thousand years time, yet we know that the earth is billions of years old. However, I discussed this with blogger "Created and Rational" and he responded:

"Well it has to do with whether or not the geneologies are complete. For example in Matthew 1:8 it says that Joram begot Uzziah, however this is actually skipping several generations as Joram was Uzziah's great-great grandfather.This could be the case in the Geneologies leading from Adam to Abraham."

Indeed, it does appear the genealogies were abbrieviated. It is plausible that the earth is old and Christianity/Judaism true. But what about the evolution of man and the soul? Do theistic evolutionists think that a Homo Erectus was infused with a soul one day, or did the soul come in a little at a time? And was there a religion in the first tens of thousands of years before Moses 5,000 years ago?

11 comments:

BEAJ said...

To my understanding, theistic evolutionists do not deny the age of the earth or evolution. They just think that there was a plan and/or that God had a hand in the evolutionary process.
Check this guy out. I'm even on his blog roll.

Created Rationalist said...

Hi, thanks for inviting me, well as far as homo erectus being infused with a soul, personally I think that the Acheulian toolkit (the technology used by most homonids after homo habilis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acheulian) shows signs of understanding of abstract concepts, and appreciation for art, indicating that homo erectus had a soul. One interesting article you might like to look at is http://www.godandscience.org/evolution/evolution_contradict_genesis.html
an article by a Roman Catholic biologist named Dennis Bonnett, he argues that Homo Erectus might have been soul-bearing and that Adam may have been a homo erectus. I believe thawt there was some sort of primodial monotheism practiced by the first soul-bearing homonids, but it may have been lost in time and replaced largely by animistic beliefs only to be revived in Abraham's day.

I hope that helps

Created Rationalist said...

In essence what many theistic evolutionists (including myself) believe is that Adam was a homo erectus, although they differ on whether he was fully adult and God simply infused a soul or actually created him as a member of a race physiologically and genetically identical to Homo erectus but drastically different in other respects.

openparachute said...

There have been a series of articles on this from a New Zealand pastor who has 'come out' supporting evolution and the reaction this has caused (he hosts a radio talk back programme:
Some of the lionks are:
I am a Christian who Believes in Theistic Evolution
Christianity vs Evolution - A False Debate
Theistic Evolution - Some Reading
Theistic Evolution - Dealing with the Theology
Theistic Evolution - My Fears
Science in the Classroom

AIGBusted said...

These are great responses guys! Thanks to each and every one of you. I will probably post more on this in the future.

Eugene said...

I'm not sure if it qualifies as "Theistic Evolution" but in chapter 5 of "The Problem of Pain" CS Lewis actually makes a pretty interesting case for how evolution and the Genesis account of the Fall can be reconciled.

Personally, I'm not fond of the "Theistic Evolutionist" label. Why should I have to wear a label in the first place. I am a Christian, I believe in God and that He is the Creator AND I accept all scientific fact. Labels should be for the dissenters from the norm, let the YEC's wear the special nametags! After all I don't call myself a "Solid Earthist" because there are people who believe the earth is hollow. I also don't see the need to connect my religious beliefs to every piece of science I accept - or should I have to call myself a Theistic cellularist/atomist/gravitationalist/spherical Earthist as well?

Created Rationalist said...

perhaps we could replace it with the term "evolutionary creationism"

Michael said...

CR,

Abstract thinking is not a cognitive ability unique to hominids. Even the 'lowly' mouse has abstract thinking and the ability to conceptualize abstract categories and functionality. For example, see this study on the neural correlates of mouse nest encoding [1].

As for appreciation for art, I'm not sure what you mean by that. How does one determine, without natural language interaction, that an organism appreciates art? Can you think of a test? Of the top of my head, we could look for signs indicating pleasure center activation (such as increase in dopamine neurotransmitters) or activation of the nucleus accumbens, when in the presence of art, whatever that might be.

Regards,
Mike

Refs
----

[1] - Longnian Lin, Guifen Chen, Hui Kuang, Dong Wang, and Joe Z. Tsien. Neural encoding of the concept of nest in the mouse brain. PNAS published online Mar 27, 2007. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/104/14/6066

hexidecima said...

created rationalist, just why do you claim that there was "some sort of primordial monotheism" practiced by the first homonids? What evidence do you have, other than your guess? Exactly what determines if something has a "soul"? If Homo Erectus had a soul, what about Homo Neanderthalis? Didn't God love them as much so that's why they died out? I do love just how willfully ignorant theists can be when it comes to even their attempts to co-opt science into their beliefs. Look here at an actual modern representation of the human "family tree", not the expected old and superseded information that theists always use.

Why do you find the idea of a magic man resurrecting himself from death to be any more easy to believe than oh, a global flood or God creating the earth a few thousand years ago? None of these has any evidence to support it but you seem to be sure you can tell the difference better than your creationist fellow believers. You seem to be quite able to compartmentalize your superstitious beliefs.

AIGBusted said...

Hey Hex,

Let's try not to attack the theistic evolutionist position. Christians are perfectly capable of believing in a global flood, but if Genesis doesn't necessarily tell of a literal global flood, then its OK to believe what science says.

Created Rationalist said...

hexidecima you have completely misunderstood what I am trying to say.

"created rationalist, just why do you claim that there was "some sort of primordial monotheism" practiced by the first homonids? What evidence do you have, other than your guess?"

Yes it is guess, science is marching forward all we can do for now is wait patiently, its very possible I am wrong and a different model is correct.

"Exactly what determines if something has a "soul"? If Homo Erectus had a soul, what about Homo Neanderthalis?"

That is a good question but I don't have enough room to talk about it here, I'll address it on my blog. Yes neanderthals would have souls, this is a painfully obvious logical extrapolation its amazing you didn't understand thats exactly what I am talking about.

"Didn't God love them as much so that's why they died out?"

What is the point in that question? You could have asked "if God loved them so much why did he let them die out" which would be a good question but this is nothing but incoherent rambling on your part.

"I do love just how willfully ignorant theists can be when it comes to even their attempts to co-opt science into their beliefs. Look here at an actual modern representation of the human "family tree", not the expected old and superseded information that theists always use."

I understand very well that neanderthals and humans share common ancestry with earlier I don't have a problem with that and it represents no threat to my position beyond your imagination. And by giving an actual representation of the human family tree I expect you were supposed to give a link. Apparently you didn't I'll supply it for you http://anthropology.si.edu/humanorigins/ha/a_tree.html

"Why do you find the idea of a magic man resurrecting himself from death to be any more easy to believe than oh, a global flood or God creating the earth a few thousand years ago? None of these has any evidence to support it but you seem to be sure you can tell the difference better than your creationist fellow believers. You seem to be quite able to compartmentalize your superstitious beliefs."

The flood was not a miracle it was a natural event which can be disproven and it has. The ressurection was miracle which for now has not been disproven. And as for having superstitious beliefs I have no interest in conforming to your opinion of what is superstitious and what is not.