Catholicism, evolution, and monogenism
Posted: 27 August 2012 08:18 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Having been raised a strict Catholic, for as long as I remember, I asked questions and received answers that simply seemed contradictory and nonsensical.  I thought that in time I’d come to understand these things with “wisdom,” however, as I aged, I came more to the realization that as George Carlin put it, religion is the “biggest bullshit story every told.”

That said, I would suggest that in today’s world (outside of the long historical context) that Catholicism is the most reasonable Abrahamic religion with regard to being open to science.  Compared to the Protestant fundamentalists advocating Young Earth Creationism, official Church doctrine is a world apart.  And then comes the “reasoning” outside of science.

I was recently browsing the web checking out Catholic teaching on Evolution and ran across how Pope Pius XII stated in the 1950s that there is “no apparent way to reconcile” polygenism with the Biblical idea of original sin (i.e. Adam and Eve separated themselves and thus all humans from God).  Now, put simply, it appears the Church is leaning more toward the idea of accepting polygenism (good, any credible scientist does!).  Meanwhile their theologians are working on reconciling this with the Adam and Eve story; i.e. creating a story to move yet another step away from the a literal biblical interpretation and try to reconcile their mountains of documentation with itself.

This is where the conflict between dogmatic Catholics becomes quite intense.  Accusations are hurled about how this still can’t reconcile, especially when Jesus mentions the story of Abel specifically (Matt 23:35).  Well, that’s a very good point and a very problematic point!  So, Jesus, who is God, who is omniscient, mentions the blood shed by a non-existent human.  Ok, so the next step is that Jesus was speaking figuratively there in terms they could understand.  Why mention a person?  What figurative way is there to interpret this?  If he’s not talking about a person, what blood was shed?  Abstract blood?

This is probably but one of a mountain of these types of inconsistencies that could be pointed out.  I spent a good part of my life trying to reconcile things like this and gave up as a rational person. This is where Sam Harris likes to point out that the religious just call it “mystery” and it doesn’t make sense because we’re not supposed to understand it in our limited minds.  So we’re not supposed to understand the literal story Jesus told as a parable to make us understand?  How then do we understand anything written in these books?  Well, we can understand some, not all, it’s a mystery.  There’s just no end to this circular reasoning.

Thoughts, criticisms?  I just bring this up because I find the whole thing absolutely fascinating in a sort of maddening way.

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Posted: 27 August 2012 08:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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As a follow up to the above, does anyone think the modern Church’s willingness to embrace science could be it’s ultimate undoing?  The advancement of scientific knowledge is exploding exponentially.  While the Church tries to keep up, it seems that they try to wrap up their dogma less with the observable world as they did in the past and be careful to make statements that are unfalsifiable.  Of course, there’s dilemmas like what I post above.  Will science eventually just overwhelm the pace they scramble to alter their teachings? I believe that if a god exists, obviously science will not be inconsistent with that notion, but as the inconsistencies continue to be amended, it seems we’re just left with “god of the gaps.”.

[ Edited: 28 August 2012 09:13 PM by SearchingReason]
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Posted: 28 August 2012 08:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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SearchingReason - 27 August 2012 08:30 PM

As a follow up to the above, does anyone think the modern Church’s willingness to embrace science could be it’s ultimate undoing?  The advancement of scientific knowledge is exploding exponentially.  While the Church tries to keep up, it seems that they try to wrap up their dogma less with the observable world as they did in the past and be careful to make statements that are unfalsifiable.  Of course, there’s dilemmas like what I paste above.  Will science eventually just overwhelm the pace they scramble to alter their teachings? I believe that if a god exists, obviously science will not be inconsistent with that notion, but as the inconsistencies continue to be amended, it seems we’re just left with “god of the gaps.”.


Religion is delusional.
There is simply no way to reconcile logic with any supernatural thought.
Don’t expect reason to enter the arena when forty percent of Americans still believe that creationism makes more sense than evolution and that Jesus will be returning in their lifetime.
Most people still believe in ghosts, UFOs, luck and acupuncture.

 

 

 

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Posted: 29 August 2012 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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That’s a very valid point regarding creationism.  However, I look at that crowd as largely the Protestant fundamentalist group who interpret the Bible literally word for word.  Delusional?  Yes, indeed.  But, consistently so.  I find it in a way even more amazing that the Catholic Church with their 2000 year old hierarchy has recently embraced the scientific facts about Evolution and in cosmology and then is now in the process of literally making stuff up on the fly to make it fit.  Original sin was “divinely interpreted” for all this time in one way and now it’s changing before our eyes.

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Posted: 29 August 2012 09:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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SearchingReason - 29 August 2012 04:49 PM

That’s a very valid point regarding creationism.  However, I look at that crowd as largely the Protestant fundamentalist group who interpret the Bible literally word for word.  Delusional?  Yes, indeed.  But, consistently so.  I find it in a way even more amazing that the Catholic Church with their 2000 year old hierarchy has recently embraced the scientific facts about Evolution and in cosmology and then is now in the process of literally making stuff up on the fly to make it fit.  Original sin was “divinely interpreted” for all this time in one way and now it’s changing before our eyes.


In a very strange way, one has to feel a little sorry for the Catholics whose job it is to reconcile supernatural claptrap with science.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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You could look on the bright side and think about how much fun that could be.  Exercise your creative mind.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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SearchingReason - 30 August 2012 10:32 AM

You could look on the bright side and think about how much fun that could be.  Exercise your creative mind.

There is no fun in trying to reconcile fantasy with science.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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toombaru - 30 August 2012 11:45 AM
SearchingReason - 30 August 2012 10:32 AM

You could look on the bright side and think about how much fun that could be.  Exercise your creative mind.

There is no fun in trying to reconcile fantasy with science.

My last statement was of course, partly in jest.  I was thinking it in the context of incorporating science into something like Star Wars or super heroes.  In a strictly serious sense, there’s no fun making up stuff to reconcile the two to maintain the control over people saying the punishment for wrongdoing is an eternal lake of fire.  Clearly, unless you’re a sadist, that can’t be fun.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 04:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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SearchingReason - 30 August 2012 02:31 PM
toombaru - 30 August 2012 11:45 AM
SearchingReason - 30 August 2012 10:32 AM

You could look on the bright side and think about how much fun that could be.  Exercise your creative mind.

There is no fun in trying to reconcile fantasy with science.

My last statement was of course, partly in jest.  I was thinking it in the context of incorporating science into something like Star Wars or super heroes.  In a strictly serious sense, there’s no fun making up stuff to reconcile the two to maintain the control over people saying the punishment for wrongdoing is an eternal lake of fire.  Clearly, unless you’re a sadist, that can’t be fun.


Sorry for the misunderstanding.
What religion teaches seems cruel doesn’t it?
It makes me sad when an imaginary future life is given priority over the only life humans will ever know,
The majesty and mystery of this most amazing awareness is diminished and overlaid by imaginary fear based flim-flam.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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No problem…text can easily be misinterpreted when you’re not sitting face-to-face.


I agree with you…we have this life.  That is what we’re 100% sure of.  We’re also fortunate enough to be living in a time where science has allowed us to experience it more fully and for a longer average period than ever before.


The “religious” part of me finds the exponentially increasing knowledge in neuroscience and cosmology far more fascinating that trying to reconcile and abstract the meaning of ancient texts to the point where you can somehow make them fit.  For example, there is more evidence today that the observable Universe is not all there is and there’s the potential of infinitely repeating cycles of Universes.  This is a far more scientific basis to hypothesize an “afterlife” than what religion offers.  At least there are mathematical sound theories and scant observations to support such possibilities.  Proof?  No, far from it.  Some supporting evidence for such hypotheses? Yes.  It will be absolutely fascinating if we can continue to make the scientific advances of the past century at the same rate over the coming generations.  A grave danger is that this kind of advancement hinges on whether, as Sam Harris puts it, “1st century humans with 21st century technology” annihilate the Earth first.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 07:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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SearchingReason - 30 August 2012 07:23 PM

No problem…text can easily be misinterpreted when you’re not sitting face-to-face.


I agree with you…we have this life.  That is what we’re 100% sure of.  We’re also fortunate enough to be living in a time where science has allowed us to experience it more fully and for a longer average period than ever before.


The “religious” part of me finds the exponentially increasing knowledge in neuroscience and cosmology far more fascinating that trying to reconcile and abstract the meaning of ancient texts to the point where you can somehow make them fit.  For example, there is more evidence today that the observable Universe is not all there is and there’s the potential of infinitely repeating cycles of Universes.  This is a far more scientific basis to hypothesize an “afterlife” than what religion offers.  At least there are mathematical sound theories and scant observations to support such possibilities.  Proof?  No, far from it.  Some supporting evidence for such hypotheses? Yes.  It will be absolutely fascinating if we can continue to make the scientific advances of the past century at the same rate over the coming generations.  A grave danger is that this kind of advancement hinges on whether, as Sam Harris puts it, “1st century humans with 21st century technology” annihilate the Earth first.

 

When I was in the forth grade, our teacher, Mr Cox, told us that Bonny would be returning to school after a bout with polio,
He told us that the left side of her face had lost its muscle tone and now she had trouble speaking.
He ask us not to make fun of her.
Such a beautiful little girl.
Such brave parents.
Today, polio is gone.
After two thousand years, religion has nothing comparable to offer.

 

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