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ByFaithAlone last won the day on June 10 2013

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About ByFaithAlone

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  1. This seems to imply (and please correct me if I am wrong) that those who do not believe in a literalistic interpretation of the creation account do not believe in God or are not Christians. You can criticize the interpretation as much as you want but please do not imply that those of us who hold such views are somehow non-believers. Let us be clear, there is a field of study dealing with the interpretation of the Bible, from allegory to prophecy to epistle to history. This is the field of hermeneutics. So describing one part of Scripture as prophecy for example would not discount other parts from being history and vice versa. Similarly, I would contend that an allegorical view of the Creation in Genesis does not discount the real need for a Savior in Christ. Perhaps I am able to steer this conversation towards more of a conciliatory tone. Abdicate and I clearly have different views of the creation account in Genesis and I doubt either of us are likely to be convinced by the other. And that is fine. We should however, grow to learn about each other's positions. From my perspective, the YEC brings a profound respect for Scriptural inerrancy and most YEC thinkers such as Abdicate are worried about a reduction of all of Scripture to simply a nice moral story with no real consequences. And although I disagree that an allegorical view in any way detracts from Scripture, I can certainly understand their position and worry. Similarly, I think YECs can disagree with theistic evolutionists and scientists. However, they should acknowledge that those of us in the theistic evolution camp have a profound respect for God's creation and the study of aforementioned creation (Psalm 19, Psalm 111). I hope such dialogue between opposing viewpoints can engender such respect for each other's views.
  2. I actually never claimed that it is a requirement mandated by Scripture and neither does Catholicism or Orthodoxy as far as I understand their positions. As I mentioned previously, it is is a matter of tradition within both Orthodoxy and Catholicism and is not a matter of doctrine. In other words, it is subject to change if either Church views it as no longer valuable for the spiritual health of the clergy. I think both Catholic and Orthodox doctrine and tradition are both vastly misunderstood by those of us who are Protestant and by dispelling some of these myths we can move closer to ecumenicalism.
  3. Learning new things is always good in my opinion. History is also a passion of mine and science is my passion/profession so we are of one mind there. You mention that our current/historical understanding of the universe is rather unclear. I would sort of agree, especially with the historical part of that statement and we had significantly less data back then. Regarding your question about scientific philosophy, Kuhn emphasized the idea of paradigm shifts, incommensurability, and the impact of researcher's own subjective viewpoints on research. Some of these ideas are very useful and certainly historically important in the philosophy of science. While his idea of paradigm shifts is important, it should be noted that just because there is a paradigm shift doesn't mean that all previous research should be ignored. For example, quantum mechanics and relativity only modified Newtonian mechanics rather than doing away with the previous model.
  4. I think this is probably a vast simplification with no real evidence to back it up as it really hasn't been tried for a long time. You seem to imply that celibacy increases sexual problems but I don't think there are other studies that support that. According to the famous John Jay College study on the issue of pedophilia and sexual misconduct, there is a rate of around 0.5-2% in the Catholic priesthood depending on the time period examined. This is about the same with comparable organizations that are peers (Protestant Churches, etc.) according to Hiel 2018. The rate of pedophiles in the general population is relatively unstudied but I've seen estimates from 0.5-5%. Now none of this is a good thing but it is average according to the data I have seen and nothing seems to indicate that celibacy is at fault. You go on to mention some perceived Biblical problems with the concept of celibacy. As to what the Bible says about celibacy, let us remember that Christ talks about those "who choose to live like enauchs for the sake of the Kingdom" in Matthew 19 and he does not condemn those who do so. Paul further writes in 1 Corinthians 7 about some of the potential benefits of celibacy and marriage. I think that people that grow up in a Protestant environment, myself included, tend to grow up with a rather negative view of celibacy (clerical or otherwise). It is certainly not a doctrinal position that clergy must be celibate. On this, I think Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants agree. However, as a tradition within the Church, it is a fairly old idea and not something I think we should condemn out of hand simply because it is most common in Catholicism.
  5. I think one.opinion touched on this but theistic evolutionists have various views on the nature of Adam (literal vs. allegorical). As I mentioned earlier in this thread, there are multiple articles on sites like Biologos that discuss this matter. And many people within the theistic evolution community express support for a literal Adam. Certainly, mitochondrial DNA does suggest a mitochondrial Eve at some point in our distant past to which all of us are related. Later you mention that there is fabrication and mythology on the part of evolutionary biologists and the scientific community as a whole. Is there a reason that you believe this or any evidence you could provide as to why people from various countries, with various political bents and from various religious and non-religious backgrounds would do such a thing? This entire idea of a global conspiracy seems rather far-fetched without evidence to support it. Especially considering they release their evidence to their peers and the public all the time in the form of articles.
  6. The problem I think would be that the universe is both past-finite and has a known size. Sorry if that was unclear before. Inflationary cosmology indicates that all matter was once condensed into a small area. This then expanded into our observable universe of finite size. Based on cosmic microwave background radiation, physicists attempt to determine something known as the curvature of the universe which is based on both the magnitude of "hot" and "cold" spots of radiation. Physicists have largely determined that the curvature is relatively flat from our perspective which means indicates that the universe is likely much largely than our observable part of it. Perhaps trillions of light years across by some estimates. However, it would still be finite and something of finite size cannot by definition contain an infinite amount of matter. Although the universe is finite, just looking at our observable universe of around 43 billion light years across and even given the most wild improbabilities of life forming, it still seems highly likely that life could have formed given our current understanding of chemistry and biology. The universe is just so vast and light years are such massive distances as to dwarf the probability factors. And yes, in my view God's creative work did ordain for life to come about so there is that as well. We would simply disagree on how he did so and that is fine.
  7. Based on the modern understanding of cosmology, our universe is inflationary (i.e. it expands). The rapid expansion of the early universe is known as the Big Bang. This modern model indicates that our universe is past-finite (i.e. began to exist) and therefore cannot be infinite in the amount of matter it contains. More recently, it was mathematically determined that any inflationary spacetime must not be past complete (another way of saying they must be past-finite). The relevant paper is Borde, Guth, Vilenkin 2008 and is titled "Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete." Once again, regarding evolution that is not quite the definition of evolution. Evolutionary biology does not deal with the formation of life from non-life. That is abiogenesis and is another huge topic. Rather evolutionary biology only explains how and why changes occur in species and how speciation occurs. And although the universe is finite, probability arguments are still ineffective against evolution due to the vastness of the observable universe (some tens of billions of light years across). As to your last point, I'm a theistic evolutionist so I would disagree with you regarding evolution. However, if you are trying to attempt to pose problems to evolutionary biology, I would suggest that other arguments besides probability might be a better try.
  8. Interesting but I've never heard this argument before and it seems to have some flaws. The Bible was given to us (humanity) but I don't think there is anything in the Bible that would preclude intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Nor does it preclude the possibility that they have a relationship with the creator as well. It just simply isn't mentioned either way. Although it would be an interesting to think about how sin, etc. would effect other sentient species.
  9. Out of curiosity, what are the reasons that they think extraterrestrial life is impossible? Seems like it would be impossible to prove (proving a negative and all that). And why do they think it is unbiblical to think extraterrestrial life is impossible?
  10. If I may go back to the original question although the topic has ranged far from it, the verse allows a bishop to be married. It does not say they must be married but rather that they must be blameless (i.e. attempting to live a holy life) and can only be married once. This is the consensus among Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox scholars. These are basic guidelines for a bishop in which rules are set out if he has a wife or children but surely we would not forbid a person who has one child or who could not conceive from becoming a bishop within the church. That would be a warping of Paul's message. Further, Paul (who wrote this epistle to Timothy) is considered by pretty much every Christian scholar to be celibate during his life yet he was a bishop and leader in the early church. In terms of the history of celibacy within the clergy, there is a fairly long tradition of sexual abstinence by clergy long before the schism in 1054. As early as the fourth century church councils (Elvira and Carthage) asked for even those who were married to practice abstinence in order to deny oneself for the Kingdom. In the fifth century, more statements were made on the subject and in the Western Church it became more of a norm while in the Eastern Church it only became the norm for certain members of the clergy. This also helped to discourage simony. In general, celibacy is not a matter of faith or doctrine with the Catholic Church but a matter of tradition and an attempt to deny oneself in order to be closer to God. See Pope Francis and his comments on the matter. That may change in the future and adjust to be more like the East and allow lower level clergy to marry but I personally don't see that happening for some time. If any Catholics out there have any corrections for me that would be great but that is my understanding of how clerical celibacy works within Catholicism.
  11. This is a fairly old article based on a study in 2011. The study was conducted by Purdue (my alma mater) and Stanford. The professors made some rather wild claims that have yet to be replicated in a scientific setting. They claimed that solar flares and other solar activity may cause a difference of plus or minus 0.1% in the decay of a certain element. Even if this were true, it would not effect the assessment of the earth being billions of years old but rather only change the result by perhaps a few million or tens of millions of years. It should be noted that one of the authors (Fischbach) of the paper said the following: “The fluctuations we’re seeing are fractions of a percent and are not likely to radically alter any major anthropological findings...” Additionally, as I mentioned above these results have not been replicated and more recent evidence suggests some flaws in the methods used. Many critics have noted that some parts of the study were done under various conditions that could have effected instrumentation and caused the error. A follow-up paper published by Hardy, Goodwin and and Jacob (2011) accounted for these errors and after correcting them determined that there was no oscillation in values.
  12. Ok so there is a slight problem with the phrasing of your question here. Evolutionary biology is the study of mutations and speciation that occur in life. Abiogenesis is the study of how life came to be from basic chemical components like amino acids. While evolutionary biology is a well accepted and proven scientific theory, abiogenesis is much less understood. Studies have shown that given the conditions present in sea vents (where life appears to have begun on Earth) it is possible for organic molecules to form from inorganic ones (the famous 1952 Miller-Urey Experiments) but how exactly life came into existence is not well understood by the scientific community and other hypotheses have been put forward such as panspermia. Regarding the infinite vs finite nature of the universe, cosmologists are as close to certain as you can be in science that our universe is at the very least past-finite. There is a finite amount of universe although it is still ridiculously vast and contains immense amounts of matter. Despite this finite universe, the time spans involved and the overwhelming amount of matter available makes probability arguments against evolution almost laughably poor in the view of the vast majority of the scientific community.
  13. Ok so this is a very interesting question and the argument itself is rather old and hinges on the idea of contingent vs. necessary beings. In this case 'being' just refers to a given state of affairs and does not imply sentience. In terms of Western philosophy it was used by Aquinas in the Summa Theologica. Basically the premises and conclusion go roughly as follows: 1. Every contingent being as a reason for it's existence. 2. Our universe is a contingent being and must have a necessary being as a cause for it's existence. 3. The universe exists. 4. The universe (being contingent) must have an explanation for it's existence (Principle of Sufficient Reason). 5. Therefore the universe has a necessary being as a cause for it's existence. Your question (and please correct me if I am wrong) concerns the universe itself and where it could derive it's existence from. In logic terms contingent beings are those that begin and/or cease to exist. You and I for example, are contingent beings. The question is if the universe should also be labeled as contingent. Before the 1920s this was one of the larger objections to this argument. Some thought the universe may be infinite and static. There were philosophical objections to that argument but there was no hard scientific proof either way. However, modern views of cosmology have significantly changed. Most scientists agree that our universe (or any inflationary universe) is past-finite or in somewhat more technical terms geodesically past-incomplete. This would make our universe a contingent being. Now of course there are always new objections being raised about the various premises and the past-finite nature of the universe but I hope that helps as a springboard for you to explore a bit more.
  14. It's interesting that you took such a short time to respond to my post (around ten minutes). Perhaps you are a speed reader who looked up some of the references I mentioned with a speed I can only envy but it seems more likely that you did not look through my entire post. This seems even more likely given that you did not address some of the points I made in my previous post. Please do me the courtesy of at least looking through my post and dealing with it point by point. Now let's deal with some of the points you make: (a) evolutionary biology (b) galaxy shape (c) the speed of light (d) the implications of the "old clock" argument I don't know where you are getting the idea that there are multiple theories of evolution. Of course there are different ideas about how it happens and why but evolutionary biology as a whole is based around a central scientific theory. Again, as I mentioned in my previous post, your understanding of evolutionary biology seems to be very flawed if you think that fruit flies would somehow become human. As I also mentioned two posts ago, there are several examples of species divergence into new species (aka speciation) that are observable either currently or through the fossil record. As to each galaxy being the same shape, this is not quite correct. There are several different types of galaxies. Spirals are pretty common (like the Milky Way) but other shapes are observable. Elliptical, lenticular and irregular galaxies are the other major types. Of course these all of sub-types as well but those would be the large families. As to the whole speed of light issue we agree that it is not constant through material. Physicists do try to account for this as best they can when measuring distances between certain galaxies and is one of the sources of error in their calculations that is presented (as in most scientific papers) with appropriate statistics. However, the constant being used in many equations is c or the speed of light in a vacuum. This is understood to be constant under our models of physics. If you would like to argue that the speed of light in a vacuum is not constant you are more than welcome to do so but it would require some significant evidence. Regarding my implication you mention above, I am simply arguing that God would not deceive us via nature as Scripture encourages us to study His creation (Psalm 111:2). You proposed that God has the possibility of making an "old clock" as you put it in your previous analogy. I countered that this would make God a deceiver which would not be in His nature. On this, you and I seem to agree. I would therefore contend that God creating an "old clock" universe would be contradictory to our theistic understanding of God. So that leaves us with two possibilities that theists like ourselves can accept. The first option is that modern scientific understanding is incorrect and the earth is very young and somehow all scientists are completely misunderstanding the vast amounts of data. The second option is that the modern scientific evidence is correct and that it is compatible with both our theological and historical understanding of the creation account in Genesis. I argue for the latter approach while you seem to be arguing for the either the first approach or the "old clock" approach which already has problems as mentioned above.
  15. Michael, once again you are not addressing my points. If you wish to exit the dialogue that is fine. Simply say so rather than posting Scripture without saying why it is relevant. If you are implying that my views are heretical and I need to be "saved with fear" then I would like an immediate retraction. Simply disagreeing with my points is no reason to imply that I am not a Christian in need of you to save me by fear. It would be highly impolite and simply untrue.
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