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Neil deGrasse Tyson on Catholicism and Science

 
On a recent episode of The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert and frequent visitor Neil deGrasse Tyson joked about the astronomical insignificance of New Year’s Day.

Before long, Tyson was talking about the role the Catholic Church played in creating the calendar as we know it. “The world’s calendar is the Gregorian calendar after Pope Gregory,” Tyson explains. “Put that into place in 1582, because the previous Julian calendar was messing up in the year. It was off by ten days. And the pope said, ‘We got to fix this…’ There’s a Vatican Observatory to this day. At the time, before telescopes were invented, these Jesuit priests were put into the service of figuring out why the calendar was shifting in the year.”

Colbert, known for his openness about his Catholic faith, then asks Tyson if it’s true that a Catholic priest formulated the Big Bang Theory. “Yes,” Tyson responds. “Georges Lemaître. Using Einstein’s equations … he deduces that the history of the universe must’ve started with a bang. So Catholics have been in there in multiple places.”

This little exchange might have seemed uninteresting in another era, but not today. The rise in the new atheism and Biblical literalism have made it a commonplace that science and religion are in conflict, and young people are absorbing the idea as axiomatic. In her recent book iGen, about the least religious generation in U.S. history, Dr. Jean Twenge quotes one young person as saying: “I knew from church that I couldn’t believe in both science and God, so that was it. I didn’t believe in God anymore.”

That may be true in some churches, but not the Catholic Church – and it’s worth repeating just as often as the opportunity allows. In Catholicism, belief in science and God are compatible. In fact, Tyson and Colbert’s conversation is a glaring reminder that many Catholic priests and believers have been leading scientists themselves. There are theological and historical reasons for this, but the bottom line is this: Catholicism is a science-friendly religion, and it’s enshrined in the Catholic Catechism.

Even at the peak of the new atheism and its mockery of all things religious in the 2000s, one man seemed to draw the respect and attention of people like Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher: Fr. George Coyne, a priest and astrophysicist who ran the Vatican Observatory outside of Tucson. His very existence was a challenge to the view that religion “poisons” rational, scientific thinking. Like Drummond at the end of Inherit the Wind, who marched out of the courtroom with both the Bible and On the Origin of Species in his hands, Coyne represented an intriguing third option outside of the fray.

The new atheists have largely faded, and affable agnostics like Tyson have filled the vacuum. He may not be an unwavering fan of religion (the first episode of his TV series Comsos painted 16th-century Catholic clerics as anti-science), but he is committed first and foremost to advancing knowledge, not denigrating religion. This is a welcome turn of events, one that has resulted in more positive encounters like the one with Colbert.

And they really only scratched the surface. Catholic scientists were not only behind the formation of the calendar and the formulation of the Big Bang Theory: they were behind groundbreaking discoveries about the size of the earth (Fr. Jean-Félix Picard), pasteurization (Louis Pasteur), and genetics (Gregor Mendel). In fact, one of the first people to correctly explain rainbows was a 13th-century Dominican friar! There’s Roger BaconPascalDescartes – the list goes on and on. The Church’s unfortunate treatment of Galileo (whether the actual events, or the mythical spin on the events lodged in our collective consciousness) was, at worst, a brief spat in a long and respectful friendship. And Copernicus and Galileo, let’s not forget, were both Catholics themselves.

At the end of the interview Colbert asks what “mystery” of the universe keeps Tyson up at night. His response reveals a deep humility about the observable universe. In the future, dark energy will render the universe so large that all of the galaxies – the source of “everything we know about the history of the universe” – will be “ripped” from view. Then he wonders: was some previous chapter of the universe ripped away from us? “Here we are touching the elephant, not knowing that in fact there’s an elephant standing there. Or maybe there’s the shadow of the elephant and the elephant has been moved. We don’t know what we don’t know.”

The shadow side of the material universe – past, present, and future – is baffling indeed. But what we do know is this: when it comes to putting the tools of observation and the light of reason to good use, science has an ally in the Catholic Church.

Matthew Becklo

Written by

Matthew Becklo is a husband and father-to-be, amateur philosopher, and cultural commentator at Aleteia and Word on Fire. His writing has been featured in First Things, The Dish, and Real Clear Religion.

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  • Rob Abney

    1.the bottom line is this: Catholicism is a science-friendly religion.
    2.when it comes to putting the tools of observation and the light of reason to good use, science has an ally in the Catholic Church.

    I wasn't too impressed with the strength of these statements, but you referenced the more accurate statement from the Catechism "nor can truth ever contradict truth".

    • The problem is that the "truths" of Catholicism (and other religions) are not scientific truths, and so science can neither confirm nor deny them. Catholicism is free to maintain that it has religious truths, and science has scientific truths. If it becomes clear that a religious truth claim conflicts with scientific knowledge (as in the Galileo affair), the Catholic Church can simply step back and say, "Oops, we overstepped." It is perhaps commendable that they do so, but I doubt that it wins any converts!

      • Rob Abney

        I don't agree that there are scientific truths and religious truths, there is only truth and it cannot contradict truth.
        Science doesn't need to confirm truth discovered by Catholicism but it cannot contradict it and vice versa.

        • I don't agree that there are scientific truths and religious truths, there is only truth and it cannot contradict truth.

          This is not even a good reading of the Catechism paragraph you quote from:

          159 Faith and science: "Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth." "Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are."

          A clear distinction is implied between faith and reason, as it is earlier in the following:

          157 Faith is certain. It is more certain than all human knowledge because it is founded on the very word of God who cannot lie. . . . .

          Faith, in the Catholic view, is certain, while other human knowledge is not. The Immaculate Conception (if it is true) is not in the same category as E = mc^2 (if that is true).

          • Jim the Scott

            It would help matters David if you stop and think.

            >I don't agree that there are scientific truths and religious truths, there is only truth and it cannot contradict truth.

            Nothing you quoted in the CCC contradicts the above. Where does 159 say Scientific Truth can contradict Religious truth? It says the opposite.

            >A clear distinction is implied between faith and reason, as it is earlier in the following.

            So? These truths cannot contradict that they are distinct species & categories of truth is not in dispute..

            >Faith, in the Catholic view, is certain, while other human knowledge is not.

            Well if I reasonably believe something is a divine revelation then what it reveals logically must be more certain since it comes directly from God.

            Of course that is separate from the issue as to wither or not you can reasonably believe something is a divine revelation.

            >The Immaculate Conception (if it is true) is not in the same category as E = mc^2 (if that is true).

            Amen! At least you get this bit but you should not imply Rob Abney does not.

          • enchess

            >Well if I reasonably believe something is a divine revelation then what
            it reveals logically must be more certain since it comes directly from
            God.

            These are the type of comments that make me consider abandoning this site. You've predicated you're entire argument on a condition your opponents disagree with you on. Do you reasonably believe something is divine revelation? How would you even begin to justify this as "reasonable belief" without any circular logic? Can you formulate predictions and test them? No, because then it'd be science. Is it how the scriptures make you feel? If so, I would hardly call it "reasonable" and would further ask whose beliefs are the "reasonable" ones. Is it because of logical consistency? You'd likely have little to no luck arguing that it is more logical to believe scripture is from God. You know, Occam's Razor and all that.

          • Jim the Scott

            >These are the type of comments that make me consider abandoning this site.

            I don't know what to tell you then?

            > You've predicated you're entire argument on a condition your opponents disagree with you on.

            If you read my last I didn't completely disagree with you. Be fair.

            >Do you reasonably believe something is divine revelation? How would you even begin to justify this as "reasonable belief" without any circular logic?

            Sorry I only do natural theology. You will have to go to one of the other threads that discusses the resurrection of Jesus and divine revelation or the possibility of miracles. Deal with their apologetics arguments it's not my specialty.

            > Can you formulate predictions and test them? No, because then it'd be science. Is it how the scriptures make you feel?

            That is a weird statement. Can I formulate and test predictions George Washington was the first Constitutional President of the US?

            This scientism is absurd?

            >If so, I would hardly call it "reasonable" and would further ask whose beliefs are the "reasonable" ones. Is it because of logical consistency? You'd likely have little to no luck arguing that it is more logical to believe scripture is from God. You know, Occam's Razor and all that.

            Your problem here is you assume Scientism which ironically can't be proven Scientifically thus your assumptions are false by their own standards. Also there are no rational arguments for this view that don't themselves become circular and incoherent.

            Peace.

          • enchess

            I'm not feeling like an extended discussion, so I'll only address part of this. Apologetics are about as convincing as your average conspiracy theory. The non-apologetic stuff here is often completely predicated on the truth of what apologetics tries to argue. It's a house built on a foundation of sand, which I think the Bible might have something to say about good house construction techniques.

          • Jim the Scott

            If you say so but I would need concrete examples in order to believe your evaluation & if you conception-ally treat all inquires of knowledge like scientific investigations that also might be a problem.

            >I'm not feeling like an extended discussion,

            Works for me. I am tired too.

            Cheers & Peace to you.

            :-)

          • Rob Abney

            Faith, in the Catholic view, is certain, while other human knowledge is not. The Immaculate Conception (if it is true) is not in the same category as E = mc^2 (if that is true).

            It seems like we are mostly in agreement except that you include agnostic qualifiers for faith, dogma, and scientific discovery. Lately the SN comment boxes have been a good place to understand how you can have certainty about some propositions but only a reasonable expectation about others.

        • George

          If there was DNA evidence Jesus didn't have a father, would you shrug and ignore it and use the old usual arguments from philosophy and metaphysics?

          • Rob Abney

            I dont understand how that would contradict any truths from philosophy or metaphysics. Can you explain your position, or are you just re-using simple arguments that seem to suggest absurdity? If thats your only objection to Christianity then you can come back because it doesn't even make sense.

          • George

            If there were scientific evidence Jesus was born of a virgin, would you consider that evidence of a miracle, evidence supporting the claims of Christianity?

          • Rob Abney

            Technically, scientific evidence would mean it is not a miracle since a miracle is assumed only when natural means are not likely.

          • If there was DNA evidence Jesus didn't have a father, would you shrug and ignore it and use the old usual arguments from philosophy and metaphysics?

            If there was such evidence for any man who ever lived, I would admit to having no idea how he could have been born. If it was any man other than Jesus of Nazareth, I would not infer that he must have been the son of God. And neither would you. But you would make an exception for Jesus. I don't see why I would have to.

          • Your quotation is so similar to so many others I've seen, I wasn't even going to bother clicking the link. But I knew what I'd be accused of if I didn't.

            I have numerous objections to the author's argument, but I need only one to rebut it. For his evidence, he offers four occurrences that he says are historical facts. They are not facts. They are inferences from a historical fact, and the inference is invalid. The historical fact is that some documents exist comprising narratives that report those occurrences. To a biblical inerrantist, that makes those occurrences facts, but to the rest of us, it doesn't. It is not the case that if some document says something happened, then it happened.

          • “Some writers may toy with the fancy of a ‘Christ―myth,’ but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ―myth’ theories.” ―The New Testament Documents, F. F. Bruce, Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England

            "No one. No one in scholarly circles dealing with ancient Judaism and early Christianity, of any religious or non―religious persuasion holds the view that Jesus never existed. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own truth.”—Larry Hurtado, former Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology (University of Edinburgh)

            "Jesus did more than just exist. He said and did a great many things that most historians are reasonably certain we can know about today. .... A hundred and fifty years ago a fairly well respected scholar named Bruno Bauer maintained that the historical Jesus never existed. Anyone who says that today ― in the academic world at least ― gets grouped with the skinheads who say there was no Holocaust and the scientific holdouts who want to believe the world is flat." ―M A Powell

            "Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40, and Jesus for only 3. Yet the influence of Christ's 3―year ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these men who were among the greatest philosophers of all antiquity." – Unknown

            "There is something so pure and frank and noble about Him that to doubt His sincerity would be like doubting the brightness of the sun." ―― Charles Edward Jefferson

            Or are you seriously suggesting Christians let themselves be persecuted and murdered for something they knew was a lie?

          • Or are you seriously suggesting Christians let themselves be persecuted and murdered for something they knew was a lie?

            Not for a second. It was not a lie. A lie implies deceitful intent, and nobody was trying to deceive anybody.

            But I also don't believe most of the stories about persecution. Most of it never happened, and when it did happen, it was never because anybody was saying "Christ is risen."

          • What's your evidence?

          • You mean, what is my evidence that something did not happen? Is that what you're asking me for?

          • You claimed -

            But I also don't believe most of the stories about persecution. Most of it never happened

            What's your evidence?

          • What's your evidence?

            Absence of credible evidence, coupled with two observations from the modern world. One is that nearly all minorities suffer some persecution. The other is that members of the minority, together with anyone in the majority who happens to sympathize with them, will exaggerate whatever persecution does occur or claim, as instances of persecution, circumstances or events that are not actually persecution.

          • Argumentum ex silentio. Fischer's "Historians' Fallacies" categorically asserts, "Evidence must always be affirmative. Negative evidence is a contradiction in terms--it is no evidence at all. The nonexistence of an object is established not by nonexistent evidence but by affirmative evidence of the fact that it did not, or could not exist."

            Try again.

          • Try again.

            No problem. But before I continue, are you admitting that the evidence actually is insufficient?

          • I make no such admission.

          • I make no such admission.

            OK. With that cleared up . . . .

            I have Fischer’s book, and I’ve read it. All of it. Notwithstanding your proof-texting, he does not support your position.

            Evidence for any proposition is any fact, not itself in dispute, that justifies belief in that proposition. But there is no proposition for which belief is the default. If you can affirm a proposition without evidence, then I can deny it without evidence.

            So, what kind of evidence can you show me for some Christians being threatened with death or other violence for no offense other than affirming the resurrection of Christ?

          • So, what kind of evidence can you show me for some Christians being threatened with death or other violence for no offense other than affirming the resurrection of Christ?

            When did I ever claim as such?

          • When did I ever claim as such?

            Until you do, I rest my case. What you can affirm without evidence, I can deny without evidence.

          • You're tilting at windmills. Try again. <==== This is a hyperlink

          • I know what a strawman is. How have I misrepresented something you have said? If I've made a mistake by misunderstanding you, I'm willing to learn from it.

          • My line of reasoning has always been that absolutely no sound person would allow his or her self to be murdered for something they knew was a lie.

            Accordingly, if Christians refused to renounce their faith even under pain of death it had to be because the resurrection of Christ is an indisputable fact, not fantasy.

          • My line of reasoning has always been that absolutely no sound person would allow his or her self to be murdered for something they knew was a lie.

            Since I've never said that anybody ever did, that line of reasoning is irrelevant.

            Accordingly, if Christians refused to renounce their faith even under pain of death it had to be because the resurrection of Christ is an indisputable fact, not fantasy.

            That too is irrelevant until you show me compelling evidence that some Christians were told, "If you don't deny the resurrection, we will kill you." And by the way, refusing to worship the emperor doesn't as saying "Christ is risen."

          • You are evading the issue.

      • Jim the Scott

        What you ignore David is the scientific consensus at the time of Galileo pointed to a stationary Earth. It would take centuries for the science to develop so as to scientifically prove the Earth moved.

        Any Atheist living at the time of Galileo going by the science alone that was available would conclude Galileo was making immodest claims & unscientific ones.

        • We would hardly revere Galileo as the father of modern science if the theories he was condemned for championing had been the scientific consensus of his day! There is really no profit in arguing the Galileo affair in a forum like this. All the arguments have been run into the ground. Here is all that needs to be said:

          At a ceremony [in 1992] in Rome, before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope John Paul II officially declared that Galileo was right. The formal rehabilitation was based on the findings of a committee of the Academy the Pope set up in 1979, soon after taking office. The committee decided the Inquisition had acted in good faith, but was wrong.

          John Paul II said the following:

          Another lesson which we can draw is that the different branches of knowledge call for different methods. Thanks to his intuition as a brilliant physicist and by relying on different arguments, Galileo, who practically invented the experimental method, understood why only the sun could function as the centre of the world, as it was then known, that is to say, as a planetary system. The error of the theologians of the time, when they maintained the centrality of the earth, was to think that our understanding of the physical world's structure was, in some way, imposed by the literal sense of Sacred Scripture. . . . [boldface added]

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            It actually ran the other way. The scientists of the time maintained the immobility of the earth. (It's location followed more or less from this.) The theologians had accepted the consensus of the settled science and had therefore, from ancient times, read certain passages in a way compatible with the settled science. Nor had they any weenie against rethinking the matter except that a) they were in the middle of the Protestant Revolution and catching flack for being too lenient in reading scripture, b) Galileo, not content with proposing a mathematical model that saved the appearances, insisted on re-interpreting scriptures as if geomobility were true, and c) that sounded an awful lot like Luther to the authorities. When Cardinal Dini went to visit Fr. Grienberger (head of the Roman College) on Galileo's behalf, he reported that "Father Grienberger would have been better pleased if you had first given your proofs before beginning to speak about the Holy Scriptures…” Letter: Dini to Galileo, 7 Mar. 1615 But of course, he never did have any proofs.

          • Do you disagree with Pope John Paul II that the theologians of the time were in error?

          • Nothing in @yeoldestatistician:disqus's comment entails that Pope John Paul II was wrong. We must distinguish between "being in error" and "being culpable for being in error". Just how culpable were those who persecuted Galileo? In order to make a good judgment on culpability or perhaps better, on how much we ought to expect them to have overcome their errors (given how many errors of our own we fail to overcome) you have to put yourself in their shoes and in my time on the internet, very few people are willing to do this.

            Digression: I shouldn't be surprised that few are willing to put themselves in circa 1600 RCC shoes, given Jonathan Haidt's observation:

            And when we add that work to the mountain of research on motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, and the fact that nobody's been able to teach critical thinking. … You know, if you take a statistics class, you'll change your thinking a little bit. But if you try to train people to look for evidence on the other side, it can't be done. It shouldn't be hard, but nobody can do it, and they've been working on this for decades now. At a certain point, you have to just say, 'Might you just be searching for Atlantis, and Atlantis doesn't exist?' (The Rationalist Delusion in Moral Psychology, 16:47)

            (N.B. I keep posting this quote block because I actually want Haidt to be wrong; I'm sure he does as well. But maybe it's just true: you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. And if Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government is right, the better you are at evaluating evidence, the less likely you are to see the other point of view! We humans may be in a much worse pickle than we wish to admit.)

          • Just how culpable were those who persecuted Galileo?

            I think that is beside the point. There have been any number of cases in which the originator of an idea has been scorned and mistreated (e.g., Semmelweis and disinfecting of hands before delivering a baby, Wegner and continental drift), and what is important is that they turned out to be right. I think the several centuries it took for the Catholic Church to vindicate Galileo was much too long, but at least they did it. But apparently some Catholics feel the original decision to force Galileo to recant must be defended. Were the Cardinals and the Pope certain they were right in 1633? I can only imagine that they were. Were they evil men for believing the Bible upheld geocentrism? I would think not. But they were wrong not only about geocentrism but—according to Pope John Paul II—about their use of scripture as a source of scientific knowledge. If Pope John Paul II could admit the Church made a mistake in the 17th century, why do "conservative" Catholics feel the need to spin the story to imply the Church was in some way right?

          • I wouldn't be surprised if a tremendous amount of the remaining contention surrounding the Galileo affair is precisely on whether culpability is the point or besides the point. The RCC is often painted as an evil anti-science behemoth; that I think is very nicely falsified by the historical record, including the Galileo affair when one uses the "culpability" lens. If the point is merely that they are fallible when it comes to empirical matters, things change a lot. It's just that atheists (I know, "I am not an atheist.") have a tendency to use the Galileo affair as a big stick with which to beat the RCC. This has been done for so long and so pervasively that there is almost a social obligation to state how one intends to use the affair differently, if that is what one is doing. If Western culture did more directly communication about values it'd be different, but the fashion is to let a tremendous amount be communicated between the lines. Or at least, that's my observation in these situations. Maybe I'm just a social retard!

            To get back to that lightning rod of a word "certain", I think we need to be very careful. Here's Amazon's description of Ian Hacking's The Emergence of Probability:

            Historical records show that there was no real concept of probability in Europe before the mid-seventeenth century, although the use of dice and other randomizing objects was commonplace. Ian Hacking presents a philosophical critique of early ideas about probability, induction, and statistical inference and the growth of this new family of ideas in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. Hacking invokes a wide intellectual framework involving the growth of science, economics, and the theology of the period. He argues that the transformations that made it possible for probability concepts to emerge have constrained all subsequent development of probability theory and determine the space within which philosophical debate on the subject is still conducted.

            For reference, "mid-seventeenth century" = 1650; Galileo's final sentence was handed out in 1633. What exactly was the alternative to "certain" at that time? I suspect a lot of anachronistic thinking has taken place about this matter, especially by atheists who think that they don't really need to know much history. Note that I haven't read Hacking, but I have made it partway through Jeffrey R. Stout's Flight from Authority: Religion, Morality, and the Quest for Autonomy; Stout draws heavily on Hacking.

          • Sample1

            The Church remained unscathed theologically from the apologies by the last dead pope. It was some sons and daughters of the Church who erred, according to that pope. The Church itself remains holy and immaculate. A distinction that is not only unhelpful but added a new level of insult to injury.

            Mike

          • But if you try to train people to look for evidence on the other side, it can't be done.

            I think what I have read by Jonathan Haidt has been very interesting and eye opening, but I can't believe we are all inescapably imprisoned in our own bubbles. I mean, sure, almost everybody else is, but I'm not. :)

          • Same here!

            More seriously, was that of your own volition, or were you a horse which was led to water and forced to drink?

          • VicqRuiz

            Do you have an explanation for the placing of the works of all three of the great geocentricists - Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler - on the Index, when only one of them raised scriptural issues?

            And, do you agree that it is wrong to punish someone with house arrest for the advocacy of a theory, regardless of that theory's accuracy or error??

          • Jim the Scott

            >We would hardly revere Galileo as the father of modern science if the theories he was condemned for championing had been the scientific consensus of his day!

            Except he was a crap scientist and quite overblown. Can you name one of his "proofs" for heliocentracism? No because all of them are stupid unless you really think the sloshing of the tides actually proves the Earth is moving & I suspect you don't.
            We have to wait for Foucault's pendulum for some of the proofs of the movement of the Earth. It took centuries for science to show us the Earth in fact moves.

            Galileo certainly was no Copernicus who received honors and made more modest claims based on actual evidence he had at the time. At best Galileo sort of guessed correctly but even he was wrong on many many particulars.

            > There is really no profit in arguing the Galileo affair in a forum like this. All the arguments have been run into the ground. Here is all that needs to be said:

            No, it is not all need be said. There is always more too say.

            >At a ceremony [in 1992] in Rome, before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope John Paul II officially declared that Galileo was right. The formal rehabilitation was based on the findings of a committee of the Academy the Pope set up in 1979, soon after taking office. The committee decided the Inquisition had acted in good faith, but was wrong.

            The inquisition was wrong about the Earth not moving. Technically that is not the same as saying Galileo was right or that he didn't bring his misfortunes on himself. Or even that he was competent.

            >John Paul II said the following:

            So? He is not a scientist and he isn't declaring any moral or theological doctrine here via faith and morals. If Pope Paul V can get the motion of the Earth wrong or Pius XII can misunderstand the significance of the Big Bang (i.e it didn't scientifically prove creation as he said only the beginning of our spacetime. Fr. Lemaître himself had to correct him on that) then I will respect St John Paul II's opinions here but I am not going to automatically agree with them. At least not without qualifications. So with that in mind.

            >Another lesson which we can draw is that the different branches of knowledge call for different methods.

            I agree with him here.

            >Thanks to his intuition as a brilliant physicist and by relying on different arguments, Galileo, who practically invented the experimental method,

            Yeh didn't Mike Flynn (who we both know knows a wee bit more science and math then either of us) just say on this very thread "The so-called "scientific method" can be found in the writings of Robert Grosseteste in the 13th century."?

            I would merely attribute this statement to rhetorical flourish on the part of this great Papal Saint. I think Mike Flynn likely more correct.

            >understood why only the sun could function as the centre of the world, as it was then known, that is to say, as a planetary system. The error of the theologians of the time, when they maintained the centrality of the earth, was to think that our understanding of the physical world's structure was, in some way, imposed by the literal sense of Sacred Scripture. . . . [boldface added]

            Well I would agree with this since it's just St John Paul II expounding on the Augustinian principle. I assume you heard about it by now David? The view of Augustine that if a particular interpretation of Scripture about the natural world contradicts the known science the interpretation must be discounted.

            It is why Galileo got into trouble. If he had developed science to where it was centuries later where he could prove the movement of the Earth it would have been a no brainer.

            Cheers man.

      • Foreign Grid

        YOU'RE STILL HERE
        This is amazing. I appreciate you being here this long (I think I might have talked to you 2 or 3 years ago)

    • you referenced the more accurate statement from the Catechism "nor can truth ever contradict truth".

      Isn't that just a restatement of the axiom of noncontradiction? If so, I don't need the church to tell me I should accept it.

      • Rob Abney

        You do if you don't accept it, especially if you don't accept it because you consider it untrue.

        • You do if you don't accept it

          I accept the axiom of noncontradiction, and I accept it for reasons having nothing to do with any teaching that is uniquely Catholic.

          • Rob Abney

            Its not the principle of non-contradiction. It is the idea that the Catholic Church cannot consider something to be true if it contradicts science and vice versa. Of course there are some religious truths that can't be verified scientifically so they would neither be contradicted or confirmed by science.

          • Its not the principle of non-contradiction.

            You could have said so when I asked, "Isn't that just a restatement of the axiom of noncontradiction?"

            It is the idea that the Catholic Church cannot consider something to be true if it contradicts science and vice versa.

            In that case I don't accept it, because I don't accept the church's authority to decide what can or cannot be true.

          • Rob Abney

            In that case I don't accept it, because I don't accept the church's authority to decide what can or cannot be true

            So, you would reject any truth if the Church says it is true, that's very limiting.

          • Sample1

            You misunderstood Doug completely and/or something else.

            Mike

          • Rob Abney

            Great insight, now its all much clearer.

          • Sample1

            Rather than straw man Doug, why not just ask for clarification?

            Mike

          • Rob Abney

            Thanks for your moderation skills, why don't you just say what you think the clarification should be? You are welcome to add to the discussion.

          • Sample1

            No, yet again you misunderstand and/or something else. Asking for a clarification is what could have been done rather than straw manning.

            Mike

          • So, you would reject any truth if the Church says it is true,

            Not what I said. Not all that close, even.

          • Rob Abney

            Are there any truths that you accept that the Church professes? Because from my reading you seemed to say no. If you simply mean you don’t accept a truth solely on the authority of the Church then you are stating the obvious because I wouldn’t expect you to based on previous discussions. Clarify for me if you can so that mikeeditdone will approve the discussion.

          • Are there any truths that you accept that the Church professes?

            There is a problem here, in that the truths the Catholic Church professes are matters of faith and morals. The Church may acknowledge, or assume, or accept, or not contest the physics of, say, why the sky appears blue, but the Church does not profess scientific truths. The Church no longer holds itself up as an authority on empirical matters. So this, it seems to me, a matter largely of "non-overlapping magisteria." The truths the Catholic Church professes are the truths of the Catholic faith.

          • Rob Abney

            "the origins of life and evolution, an essential subject which deeply interests the Church, since revelation, for its part, contains teaching concerning the nature and origins of man. How do the conclusions reached by the various scientific disciplines coincide with those contained in the message of revelation? And if, at first sight, there are apparent contradictions, in what direction do we look for their solution?"
            Pope John Paul II quote seems to indicate that there is some overlap.

          • Are there any truths that you accept that the Church professes?

            Hard to say. I agree with many things said by many Catholics when they defend the faith, but I understand that just because lots of Catholics say something doesn't mean the church professes it.

            If you simply mean you don’t accept a truth solely on the authority of the Church then you are stating the obvious

            I have noticed on many occasions that what seems obvious to me is not necessarily obvious to other people.

          • Rob Abney

            From your Feser review article it seems as if you are interested in exploring Catholic truths. There is definitely a hierarchy that will help you know who makes professions with the most authority. Catholics in comboxes may be accurate in explaining certain truths but have little authority, unlike your previous Protestant apologists who have a variety of levels of authority but ultimately profess authority only to the bible (that's my general understanding of protestant authority, don't quote me on it).
            The truths that the Church teaches must be in harmony (at least not contradictory to) not only with science but also with philosophy. That's why I asked you to state a truth that you agree with or one that you disagree with, and from there you can discuss it with combox Catholics, and we might be able to use a higher level authority to bolster our position.

          • From your Feser review article it seems as if you are interested in exploring Catholic truths.

            If I agreed with that, I would be assuming that there are Catholic truths, but I have no idea how a Catholic truth would differ from any other kind of truth.

            What I am interested in, broadly speaking, is defending a worldview that I call scientific rationalism, of which a primary component is philosophical naturalism. Catholicism interests me insofar as it is one of my worldview's chief adversaries.

            Having said that, I hope I am open-minded enough that, if I were confronted with an irrefutable argument that my worldview was actually indefensible, then I would abandon my worldview. Naturally, I'm not expecting that to happen, and it's possible that my mind is so firmly made up that it couldn't happen. None of us is the best judge of his own virtue, but most of us do the best we can. More than that, no one can ask.

          • And before anyone asks, here is what I mean by "irrefutable argument": A set of one or more premises that I cannot deny such that the affirmation "Naturalism is true" would contradict at least one.

  • Ben

    A book called "The Savior of Science" by Fr. Stanley Jaki explores why modern science first arrived on the scene in Europe around the middle of the last millennium with scientists like Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Descartes and Pascal. Why not from other great cultures of the past like ancient China, Japan, India, Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Greece and Rome?

    Fr.Jaki suggests that the culture that grew out of Christendom was the distinction that provided the premises by which man could finally have a "scientific" worldview. These base premises came from Catholic doctrine such as…

    - God is a rational being that is orderly and reliable; therefore, His creation is also rational, orderly and reliable.

    - All matter, celestial and terrestrial, can be placed on the same basic level, since it was all created out of nothing (ex nilhilo). A pebble is no different than the earth, the sun, the moon, or a cow in terms of being a created thing that can be studied and dissected (not worshiped).

    - Man is made in the image and likeness of God, so we can have confidence in human rationality to understand creation, because our intellect was fashioned by God in His own image.

    - Man can have full trust in a rational creator. This fosters the intellectual courage that can drive us to learn more about creation.

    • Why not from other great cultures of the past like ancient China, Japan, India, Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Greece and Rome?

      The roots of science go all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. Think of Eratosthenes's measurement of the earth's circumference centuries before Christianity. And the modern scientific method was developed by Francis Bacon, who many AT metaphysicists hate.

      • Ben

        The Greeks and other cultures were known for their logic, but science was "stillborn" in those places. To learn about modern science young people in Greece must study what Europeans did.

        • I said the roots of modern science go back to before the Christian era. What Eratosthenes was doing was a proto version of science.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            It would be a science iff he or colleagues in correspondence had gone on to seek the reasons, or physical theory behind it. But a) there was no sense of science as a collegial enterprise or b) one that sough a reason [or propter quid].

          • What is it about "roots of" that you don't understand?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            What is it about "roots of" that enables you to discount the claim of Western European culture to have invented science. (without proving even an example.) We don't credit the barley farmer for the beer.

          • I didn't discount it and that is the whole point I'm making.

          • I discount the claim of Western European culture to have invented science because it didn't invent science. What modern Europeans invented was modern science, which is different in degree, but not in kind, from previous science.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        1. The so-called "scientific method" can be found in the writings of Robert Grosseteste in the 13th century.

        2. "Science" is not the same thing as tinkering, rules of thumb, or the collection of many facts. To measure something even approximately so is not the same thing as a science, let alone Science.

        3. In the modern atmosphere of sexual harassment, citation of Francis Bacon may be impolitic. He compared Nature to a woman whom the masculine scientist could despoil and exploit. cf. "The Masculine Birth of Time."

        • 1. Robert Grosseteste helped get the scientific method closer.

          2. I never said it was. I said the roots of science go back to before the Christian era.

          3. Nobody respects women more than The Thinker. Nobody.

    • A book called "The Savior of Science" by Fr. Stanley Jaki explores why modern science first arrived on the scene in Europe around the middle of the last millennium with scientists like Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Descartes and Pascal.

      A series of articles summarizing his argument was posted here some time ago. I found the argument presented in that series to be quite unpersuasive.

    • George

      "- God is a rational being that is orderly and reliable; therefore, His creation is also rational, orderly and reliable."

      Why does the "rational, orderly, and reliable" universe need an explanation, but the rationality, orderliness, and reliability of the proposed god of theists not need an explanation?

      I can just as easily say Yahweh's rationality and regularity requires another agent to bestow those upon him, can't I? Are we just saying God doesn't need it?

      And does free will fit into this "order" of the universe? Do beings ever choose chaos or irrationality and what does that do to the whole? Can all human behavior, sinful and obedient, be categorized under the orderly concept? Are gay pride parades just part of the order of the universe, contributing to god's rational plan?

      "- Man can have full trust in a rational creator. This fosters the intellectual courage that can drive us to learn more about creation."

      What changes if we don't assume a creator? I don't necessarily disagree that it can foster certain modes of navigating this reality.

      • Ben

        I see you have many questions; don’t we all. The point of my original comment was not to prove the premises listed, but to state how the past Christian culture in Europe (Christendom) accepted those premises, the premises were unique to Christendom and that type of thinking within the culture led to the birth of modern science.
        A few other things:
        “Why does the "rational, orderly, and reliable" universe need an explanation, but the rationality, orderliness, and reliability of the proposed god of theists not need an explanation?”
        The order everything has is contingent upon the order of something else that came before it, until you trace back to some final reality that requires no other condition for its order. This final reality is what Catholic thinkers would call God. There are posts on this blog that go into detail, so I won’t go back and forth about it (search unconditioned reality).
        “And does free will fit into this "order" of the universe?” Yes. What is properly ordered is also good. We are free to choose what is properly ordered (The Good) or what is not properly ordered (The Bad).
        “Can all human behavior, sinful and obedient, be categorized
        under the orderly concept?” Yes. You can choose order or disorder. Good or Bad (sin). Of course, the first step is to know the difference.

  • That may be true in some churches, but not the Catholic Church – and it’s worth repeating just as often as the opportunity allows. In Catholicism, belief in science and God are compatible. In fact, Tyson and Colbert’s conversation is a glaring reminder that many Catholic priests and believers have been leading scientists themselves. There are theological and historical reasons for this, but the bottom line is this: Catholicism is a science-friendly religion, and it’s enshrined in the Catholic Catechism.

    The Catholic Church has at different times been anti-science and pro-science. It is still technically anti-science today in terms of it's belief in free will and the soul, and a historical Adam and Eve, as well as the cosmological claims made in AT metaphysics, which contradict many things in science, like special relativity.

    Though there is no evidence to believe any two people playing the role of Adam and Eve lived at the same time, regardless of how many thousands of years ago it was. So one of course can accept things like evolution and be a Catholic, but you have to believe in a version of evolution science doesn't support.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      I see you are buying into the standard atheistic evolutionary claims about a literal Adam and Eve being scientifically impossible. First, Adam and Eve are, in fact, historical people. They are found in the divinely revealed history book, Genesis. Second, you say that “there is no evidence to believe any two people playing the role of Adam and Eve lived at the same time.” That is not the same thing as saying that there is clear evidence that they did not literally exist as the first true human beings.

      I have authored several articles on precisely this topic, some of which are:

      (1) “The rational credibility of a literal Adam and Eve,” which appears in the peer-reviewed Spanish scholarly journal, Espiritu (2015) at https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=5244649

      (2) “The impenetrable mystery of a literal Adam and Eve,” which can be downloaded on my web site at drbonnette.com Click on article title on home page and download arrow appears on right. This article appears in the peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Nova et Vetera (2017).

      (3) “Time to abandon the Genesis story?”, which appears in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review (2014) at http://www.hprweb.com/2014/07/time-to-abandon-the-genesis-story/

      (4) “Did Adam and Eve really exist?”, which appears in Crisis Magazine (2014) at http://www.hprweb.com/2014/07/time-to-abandon-the-genesis-story/

      Of course, there is also my book, Origin of the Human Species – Third Edition (2014) https://www.amazon.com/Origin-Human-Species-Dennis-Bonnette/dp/1932589686

      In each of these venues, I present evidence supporting the rational credibility of the Catholic teaching of theological monogenism, which affirms the existence of a literal pair of first true human beings, Adam and Eve. I do not make the absurd claim that science proves their existence, but rather show that this theological position is compatible with the evidence-based data of sound natural science.

      • Wait, Dennis, clarify your position for me please. You believe in a literal Adam and Eve whom all of humanity is descended from? They were created whole by god in their form, and did not evolve? How long ago was this in your view? Where were they?

        • Dennis Bonnette

          I suggest you read my articles, specifically the peer-reviewed scholarly ones, and book.

          • I looked through them, didn't find that information. If you don't think human beings evolved along with all other species, then that is definitely a conflict between faith and science.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Read a little more slowly.

          • Jim the Scott

            That would require him to make an honest evaluation. Why should he do that when all that it will do is render it impossible for him to construct a straw man?

          • Which is why I asked him direct questions so that I know exactly what his views are precisely so that I do not strawman them.

          • I can't read an entire book of course but in your article in hprweb I see nothing of the sort.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Homiletic and Pastoral Review is not a peer-reviewed journal. That is why I suggested specifically reading my peer-reviewed articles.

            You do not appear to realize that any analysis other than that posed by young earth creationism entails very complex issues involving the interface of theology, philosophy, and natural science. You would have a better grasp of this if you read in its entirely the article that appeared in Espiritu, "The rational credibility of a literal Adam and Eve."

          • So you think A&E came around the middle Pleistocene some 780 thousand years ago? Still you're not letting the science guide you. You're letting theology guide you. There's nothing in science that leads us to your views. In fact, there seems to be a lot that leads us away from it.

          • You're letting theology guide you

            Of course he is. The relevant question is why we (as non-believers) should accept his theological claims when nobody can demonstrate that theology is a reliable method of knowing? Why should I care what theological conclusion anybody comes to?

            Don't get me wrong, Bonnette is free to make theological claims until he falls over, but I see no reason to accept any of them as reasonable since his only justification appears to be his theology, and that they aren't contradicted by sound science.

          • Why should I care what theological conclusion anybody comes to?

            I think we'd all agree here that people have the right to believe what they want. But why should anyone care? Well, what one thinks is true informs how they behave, and how they vote, for example. And that affects other people. So I think it matters what people believe is true at that level. Dennis will never change his mind of course because he's too far down into the hole, and because ultimately his theological requirements will trump any evidence to the contrary.

          • Agreed, we should care about what people believe because beliefs inform actions, and actions have consequences for others. The question was a bit ambiguous in the wording, and I would have been more accurate by saying "why should I believe that any theological conclusions are actually correct?"

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You make a basic error if you view all truth in these topics as a matter of "rational" science vs. blind fideistic faith.

            My book is primarily a philosophical analysis of the entire theory of evolution as it impacts on multiple major questions, including human origin, the qualitative superiority of true man to brute animals, the possibility of Darwinian naturalistic evolution, the nature of the species concept, and other interesting issues.

            My speculative judgment about the time of true man's first appearance is not based on theology, but rather a philosophical analysis of what evinces true human presence combined with paleoanthropological data offering clear evidence of said presence.

            Your tendency to facilely make grand judgments is not well-suited to finding the actual truth in such complex matters.

          • When did I ever say science is the only way to know anything? Can you please stop with the strawmen scientism claims? The matter here is your claim that a Catholic worldview will never have genuine conflict with scientific truth. That is what we're focusing on. So of course "science" is relevant here.

            Your theological/philosophical views deny your ability to accept a gradual evolution of humans from non-humans and of human intellect from a simpler animalistic intellect, and so you're forced to believe that modern thinking human beings spring onto the scene in literally one generation/moment, and not through a gradual process. That is not what the science says, and therein lies a potential conflict. And your view is informed by the idea that the brain cannot be solely responsible for our intellect. I agree that is not purely theological, but philosophical.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Your claim that my explanation of the sudden appearance of true man conflicts with “what the science says,” and that that ends the matter, betrays precisely the mentality of scientism which you claim does not apply to you.

            You are making what is actually a philosophical claim, and one that flies in the face of facts about human intellective
            abilities long known to classical philosophers. So that readers can see why this is a complex question not settled by scientistic grandstanding, here is an excerpt from one of my recent peer reviewed articles:

            “Still, spiritual faculties need not always be immediately evinced. We detect their presence through signs of intellective activity in the form of special types of tool making or art or culture. Absence of such signs need not mean the absence of intellect, since man sometimes engages in the same survival activities as irrational animals. In addition, physical evidence of intellective activity may be obliterated by the ravages of time. Paleontological evidence of gradual improvement in tool making or other activities over time does not prove that a radical line of demarcation between mere animals and true man is absent. At some point, unequivocal intellective signs make clear the presence of genuine human beings. Before that, merely complex sentient behaviors proper to irrational animals, including subhuman primates, are evident. Even though true man may have already been indiscernibly present, his actual first moment of existence would be difficult to determine.”

            From “The rational credibility of a literal Adam and Eve,” Espiritu LXIV (2015)

          • We are arguing a matter where science is relevant, so you can't accuse me of scientism if I mention “what the science says”. Furthermore, the science here includes much more than just what tools we can find, it also includes our background data from neuroscience and psychology. I'm saying human intellect gradually evolved, as is witnessed by the gradual complexity of human artifacts, and the size of human craniums. Even Neanderthals exhibit some human-like intellect, but not the same level of human intellect.

            And the thing is the classical philosophers are wrong on the intellect. There's no reason to accept that view of human intelligence as it flies in the face of what we know to be true from various sciences, as well as philosophy.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            What is clear is that you do not understand that when a paleoanthropologist or neurologist claims that human intellectual acts are merely emergent brain functions he is actually giving a philosophical interpretation of the scientific data.

            Once you enter the domain of philosophical interpretation of fossil artifacts, your gratuitous claim that "the classical philosophers are wrong on the intellect" becomes subject to the traditional objections of classical philosophers against materialism and sensism.

            I won't argue them all here, but will refer any interested readers to my article on recent ape-language studies, which demonstrates, among other things, that "that even the most sophisticated sensory activities of animals bear no legitimate threat to the radical superiority of the human intellect—an intellect whose spiritual character is rationally demonstrable." http://www.godandscience.org/evolution/ape-language.html

          • Rob Abney

            Dr. Bonnette, you are a real professional and it is obvious that you have studied these subjects extensively and to a very precise level of detail; I just want to say that I admire your willingness to engage with us and correct errors, even repeatedly, in a genteel manner. Great example of Spiritual Works of Mercy.

          • I fail to see what bringing up the fact that animal intellect is not as smart as ours has to do with any of this. Arguably, all interpretation of data is in some way philosophical, so your point is moot. If it is meant to say that they are interpreting the data incorrectly, just say so. When it comes to the classical philosophers on the intellect, they are just wrong. What they claim must happen violates everything we know from physics. This has nothing to do with materialist presuppositions, it has to do with facts. The intellect does not have a causal influence on physical matter. And to say the intellect cannot have a material cause or explanation fails every test done in neuroscience.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            There is so much wrong with what you say that I really know not where to start.

            Physics simply cannot make judgments about either the
            materiality or non-materiality of a power or its acts without exceeding the limits of its discipline. Such judgments are by their very nature philosophical. You are so immersed in a materialist philosophical mentality that you do not even notice the philosophical nature of your claims. You simply assume that there is no more to the intellect than material activity and end the matter without further reflection.

            The very fact that you say “that animal intellect is not as smart as ours” reveals that you fail to grasp the issue. Classical philosophers know that animals simply lack intellect. Period. Sensation is not intellection. You may disagree, but then that means you defend the philosophical position known as sensism, meaning that all knowledge is a form of sense knowledge.

            Yet, the very defense of sensism is a philosophical position, not to be confused with the science of physics itself.

            I could explain the qualitative difference between sensism and intellectualism, and why intellectual acts are irreducibly superior in nature – giving examples, such as the radical difference between the image and the concept – but this thread is not long enough for a good course in philosophical psychology, which is badly needed.

            I can only suggest that you attempt a mentally-open read of
            my article, “A philosophical critical analysis of recent ape-language studies,” mentioned above. Therein is a fairly complete explanation of the radical differences between animal sense cognition and human intellectual cognition. http://www.godandscience.org/evolution/ape-language.html

            And yes, the subject matter of my critique of what animal psychologists are doing with language-trained animals is clearly philosophical in nature -- as the article title indicates. Remember, even a negative judgment against intellectual spirituality constitutes the work of a philosopher, not a physicist – as virtually all academic scholars recognize.

          • Physics simply cannot make judgments about either the materiality or non-materiality of a power or its acts without exceeding the limits of its discipline.

            What are you talking about? If an immaterial force effected material reality in a way such that the effect on the material reality wasn't explained in the system and environment already (due to the conservation of energy) that could be determined by physics.

            As such, if this was happening with human beings, new energy would have to be injected into our system that wasn't explained by the laws of physics and chemistry. So if your view is that an immaterial intellect does such a thing, then it violates known, well established science. If not, then the intellect is a mere epiphenomenon. Regarding material activity, there's no assumption on my part. I'm concluding from what physics, chemistry, and neuroscience tell us. If you have evidence that an intellect has a causal power on the body, let me know.

            The very fact that you say “that animal intellect is not as smart as ours” reveals that you fail to grasp the issue.

            What about neanderthals? Homo heidelbergensis? Cro magnons? Homo erectus? I'm not defending sensism.

            Remember, even a negative judgment against intellectual spirituality constitutes the work of a philosopher, not a physicist – as virtually all academic scholars recognize.

            I have no problem with philosophy, as it's more fundamental than science, but when I hear someone say things that contradict known science, I have to ask them for evidence and bring up the issue. Because that's what many Thomists do. They make claims about the way the world words from their philosophical framework, not realizing that they just said something is true that is already shown to be false from science, or that something is impossible when it is already shown to be possible from science. Point being that certain philosophical views can be wrong.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Let me spell this out for you. Of course, if an undetectable agent can impact physical things so that its effect can be detected by physical measurement, then that effect can be physically detected. That is redundantly self-evident.

            But, the moment you make an inference that the cause of that effect must be material in nature or non-material in nature, you are not merely describing the effect produced, but making a judgment about the ontological nature of its cause. Since the cause itself cannot be directly detected, your inference about its nature cannot be empirically verified, and hence, is not the object of physical science.

            I am not saying that you cannot argue to the nature of the cause, but simply pointing out that your inference is philosophical in nature, not simply physics. If you insist that all causes such as you describe must be physical, that is a philosophical claim. If you insist that such are immaterial, that is a philosophical claim. If you say that such causality cannot violate known physical laws, then you render those laws metaphysical in character (without proof) and also engage in doing philosophy.

            That tells me you do not know the difference between physics and philosophy.

            I have no idea why you ask about other true humans prior to H. sapiens. Do you think that they have “animal intellects” that are not as smart as we? From my research, those you mention are just as human as we and possess the same intellectual powers as “modern man.”

            I am glad to see you admit that philosophy is “more fundamental than science.”

            Your claim that physics can disprove a philosophical claim fails to discern that the “proof” you offer is philosophical in character by the very fact that you allege that it disproves a
            philosophical claim.

            In an earlier comment, you said: “When it comes to the
            classical philosophers on the intellect, they are just wrong. What they claim must happen violates everything we know from physics.”

            Here you are using physics to allegedly disprove a philosophical claim about the intellect. That is a perfect example of what I mean. If physics is the ultimate measure of philosophical truth, then it is transcending its proper discipline and making ontological judgments about philosophical matters. You are again de facto engaged in the same scientism you keep denying.

            Moreover, you really have no concept of why classical philosophers, such as Thomists, insist on the strict immateriality of intellectual functions. That is why I suggested you read my paper on ape-language studies.

            You might at least discover why your “physics” claims against the spirituality of true intellectual acts are philosophical in nature.

            Nothing you have said convinces me that you know the difference between physics and philosophy.

            On the contrary, you appear unable to resist the temptation to engage in scientism at every turn.

          • Let me spell this out for you. Of course, if an undetectable agent can impact physical things so that its effect can be detected by physical measurement, then that effect can be physically detected. That is redundantly self-evident.

            Of course, however many theists (including you) actually deny this by claiming a soul/mind/intellect/anything immaterial that drives/causes human behavior can occur without it violating well established scientific laws.

            But, the moment you make an inference that the cause of that effect must be material in nature or non-material in nature, you are not merely describing the effect produced, but making a judgment about the ontological nature of its cause. Since the cause itself cannot be directly detected, your inference about its nature cannot be empirically verified, and hence, is not the object of physical science.

            Science would be able to say it's not the electromagnetic force doing X, it's not the strong or weak nuclear forces doing X, or gravity doing X, and that there is new energy being injected into the system that isn't accounted for via existing physical forces or energy. Being a Thomist requires that you believe that our actions are not fully accounted for by known physical forces, instead there is an immaterial intellect that "cannot possibly require a material or bodily organ for its operations" in the words of Edward Feser, that "determines that a certain course of action is the best one to take and the will follows it, the body proceeds to move in a way that constitutes the action." That requires a non-physical force unaccounted for in physics. So while an immaterial soul/intellect would not properly be in the domain of science, it's effects on physical matter would, and it can be studied scientifically, at least partially, through its effects. Thing is, there is no immaterial intellect acting on our bodies at all. Everything we do is accounted for by existing physical forces and processes.

            I am not saying that you cannot argue to the nature of the cause, but simply pointing out that your inference is philosophical in nature, not simply physics. If you insist that all causes such as you describe must be physical, that is a philosophical claim. If you insist that such are immaterial, that is a philosophical claim. If you say that such causality cannot violate known physical laws, then you render those laws metaphysical in character (without proof) and also engage in doing philosophy.

            No, I'm saying such causality would violate physical laws, because such a cause would require that those physical laws are false. They simply cannot be true and it be the case that there is an immaterial intellect (of any immaterial force of any kind) acting on physical matter.

            Now I fully expect you to comeback saying I'm making a philosophical claim. Can you define for me what you mean when you say "philosophical claim" and what you mean when you say "scientific claim." There's too much potential for muddy waters here. I need to know that we mean the same things when we use such terms.

            That tells me you do not know the difference between physics and philosophy.

            I think I know the difference, but I think you don't realize that some philosophical claims can have implications for science. In other words, not all philosophical claims are totally neutral on what science says.

            Do you think that they have “animal intellects” that are not as smart as we? From my research, those you mention are just as human as we and possess the same intellectual powers as “modern man.”

            Neanderthals had the same intellect as us? Homo erectus too? There's no evidence for this.

            Your claim that physics can disprove a philosophical claim fails to discern that the “proof” you offer is philosophical in character by the very fact that you allege that it disproves a
            philosophical claim.

            Again, I need you to define what you mean by "philosophical claim." Until we do this we'll be talking right past one another.

            Here you are using physics to allegedly disprove a philosophical claim about the intellect. That is a perfect example of what I mean. If physics is the ultimate measure of philosophical truth, then it is transcending its proper discipline and making ontological judgments about philosophical matters. You are again de facto engaged in the same scientism you keep denying.

            You're making the same mistake Jim the Idiot makes. Physics is not the ultimate measure of philosophical truth. But certain philosophical claims are about the nature of physical reality, and those particular philosophical claims can conflict with science. The Thomistic belief in the intellect is one example. Don't confuse philosophy simpliciter with particular claims within philosophy. That's the mistake you're making.

            Moreover, you really have no concept of why classical philosophers, such as Thomists, insist on the strict immateriality of intellectual functions. That is why I suggested you read my paper on ape-language studies.

            I do have a concept. I've read books by Edward Feser, who's perhaps the best contemporary writer in Thomism today. The immateriality is not what's relevant here. It's whether this immaterial intellect has a causal impact on physical matter. An immaterial mind could exist and be epiphenominal. I'm open to that. What I'm not open to is any claim that says our atoms are being pushed around by this immaterial intellect/mind/sou/whatever you want to call it. Please understand the subtle distinction here.

            Nothing you have said convinces me that you know the difference between physics and philosophy.

            On the contrary, you appear unable to resist the temptation to engage in scientism at every turn.

            I think that is because you don't understand what my view is, because it is highly nuanced philosophically and relies on science very few people are aware of. I am not at all saying science is the measure of all things. I'm saying that certain philosophical claims are about the way physical matter operates (whether directly or indirectly), and this subcategory of philosophical claims intrudes into the domain of science. Don't mistake this for thinking I'm saying all philosophical claims are measured against science. I'm not saying that. I'm saying certain subcategories have scientific implications, where science becomes relevant.

            Anyway I hope we can keep this dialogue civil and respectful and mutually beneficial!!!

          • Dennis Bonnette

            While I could take space to rebut each point above, I think your suggestion to define the difference between physics and philosophy is a good one – one which might avert some future wasted arguments. The only problem is that fully explaining the differences would take more space than this thread permits. So please understand that these are merely selected aspects.

            Both philosophy of nature and natural science (including
            physics) start with observable phenomena, since all knowledge comes through the senses. The former goes from phenomena to the real causes or essences that underlie them, whereas the latter goes from observable phenomena to a formula expressing some regular order in the occurrences of the phenomena, and eventually, using this formula, to prediction of future phenomena.

            Both study being that is sensible and movable, but philosophy of nature focuses on the “being” part, whereas physics focuses on the “sensible” and “movable” part. The former moves from observable facts to conclusions using first principles from metaphysics; the latter through hypotheses, which are provisional statements of consistent relations of phenomena, which are then tested and supported or falsified experimentally.

            What is important here is that natural science makes
            observations and posits hypotheses designed to predict future regularities of phenomena, not to determine real causes, substances, or ultimate explanations. The aim is to formulate observable events of nature into a coherent system, which is why Maritain calls its method empiriological.

            The method of philosophy is simply the application of the
            intellect, in the light of self-evident truths, to an object encountered in experience until it finds a true principle by which to understand the object. What it seeks is not merely higher generality of phenomenal relations, but the
            understanding of nature itself. That is why its method is called ontological by Maritain.

            This all leads to several differences between physics and
            philosophy. The ideal law in physics would be one formula that connects antecedents and consequents in nature’s movements with a universality applicable to every natural process. But that would be merely descriptive, not explanatory in nature. Philosophy seeks ontological explanation.

            As I showed in an earlier OP, (1) the inherent inability of science to go from particular observations to universal laws, and (2) the logical fallacy of “affirming the consequent” in experimental verification, entail that no physical law can ever be truly universal or possess absolute certitude, not even Einstein’s famed relativity theory. Moreover, any statements of physicists that go beyond observation of phenomenal regularities to the claiming of ontological truths about nature are philosophical in nature.
            https://strangenotions.com/does-modern-physics-refute-thomistic-philosophy/

            Even from the above preliminary remarks about physics and philosophy, two important principles follow:

            (1) Any claims that physics actually disproves certain philosophical positions must itself be ontological in nature, and thus, not really physics at all, but philosophy – perhaps, philosophy of science or philosophy of nature.

            (2) Any claims that certain philosophical positions are false because they somehow violate universal physical laws are
            themselves false, because physical laws never can possess the necessary universal certainty.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well said Doc B and clear as glass. In short the claim Special Relativity "implies" or "indicates" or "points too" Externalism is still a philosophical claim not a scientific one.

            One could put it under the umbrella of philosophy of science but it cannot be called a scientific claim.

            It cannot be said to have been "proven scientifically".

            Special relativity is a physical theory and it shows the anachronistic newtonian physical claim that the flow of time is the same everywhere to be false. That is it. I don't doubt this fact but I don't see how it can or cannot "prove" in the strong scientific empirical sense that the flow of time is or is not real. The later being an ontological claim not an empirical one. Nor can it tell me the ontological status of the past, present or future. Whether only the present is real or the past present or future all real.

            Now for my own fun speculations proposed for discussion.

            Given I think the Presentism vs Eternalism dichotomy is insufficient or flawed I don't see why I can't believe only the present in any particular reference frame is real and if observed outside of that reference frame is not? After all I am not physically causally connected to anything outside the frame of my own light cone in the physical universe.

            What really is time? Is it a fourth dimension but if so why would that exclude it from changing especially if one postulates an expanding block universe? If time is analogous to space and space is expanding/changing then why not time?

            Or is time nothing more then the measure of things changing their way threw it?

            Without a precise definition of "Time" and a precise ontological description of what it really is how can we say if it changes or not?

            Side note -There is no reason why we can't have an ontologically privileged reference frame outside our physical reality?

            Peace.

          • The only problem is that fully explaining the differences would take more space than this thread permits. So please understand that these are merely selected aspects.

            Agreed, but you need to realize that too when I write a response. You need to stop assuming that just because I don't mention something it must mean I think it is true or that I'm unaware of it. You have a tendency to do that. We can't possible mention every aspect of a topic in a comment thread. So instead, you can try asking me, as in "Do you mean you adhere to X?" or "Are you aware of X?" instead of assuming I must adhere to X or are unaware of X. I know this is hard, but it would make communication much better.

            Both philosophy of nature and natural science (including physics) start with observable phenomena, since all knowledge comes through the senses. The former goes from phenomena to the real causes or essences that underlie them, whereas the latter goes from observable phenomena to a formula expressing some regular order in the occurrences of the phenomena, and eventually, using this formula, to prediction of future phenomena.

            What observable phenomena is the philosophy of nature working with? If an idea within philosophy of nature is only operating under the observed phenomena of the human level interaction with the world, and is not using observed phenomena obtained through high complex scientific tests, like those in quantum mechanics for example, it's conclusions about "real causes and essences" are tenuous at best. This is exactly the problem with a philosophy like AT metaphysics. We have very good reason to accept that the world at the fundamental level is very different from the world we see at the human level, such that the latter cannot be used to derive conclusions about the former.

            The former moves from observable facts to conclusions using first principles from metaphysics;

            It doesn't necessary use the totality of observable facts, like those that come from science. AT metaphysics uses observable phenomena for example, to derive certain metaphysical conclusions. But it uses a limited set of observable phenomena before science existed, and as such it misunderstand the nature of physical reality as a result of that. Hence it's conclusions are wrong. Given the plethora of scientific facts from observed phenomena over the past 2-300 years, you couldn't create or arrive at AT metaphysics without being wrong.

            What is important here is that natural science makes observations and posits hypotheses designed to predict future regularities of phenomena, not to determine real causes, substances, or ultimate explanations. The aim is to formulate observable events of nature into a coherent system, which is why Maritain calls its method empiriological.

            By knowing the regularity of phenomena you gain insight of what the causes are. And this has enabled us to know that the kind of causality understood in Aristotelian metaphysics is wrong, as it presupposes the philosophical idea of presentism, which science refutes. Causality is a completely different thing once you understand the relevant science. I just about this on my site to explain this view in a way people unfamiliar with it can learn: Causality Doesn't Exist — In The Way We Typically Think It Does: A Further Explanation

            The method of philosophy is simply the application of the
            intellect, in the light of self-evident truths, to an object encountered in experience until it finds a true principle by which to understand the object.

            Some of those supposed self-evident truths may actually not be truths. And so that can ruin the validity of your conclusions. There are right and wrong, better and worse ways to use philosophy to arrive at true ontological claims. So I'm not dismissing the use of philosophy itself at arriving at true ontological claims, as philosophy is required in such a task, I'm saying that you need a philosophy that is informed by science in order to do this successfully, and not merely "observational phenomena," which is all that AT metaphysics uses.

            The ideal law in physics would be one formula that connects antecedents and consequents in nature’s movements with a universality applicable to every natural process. But that would be merely descriptive, not explanatory in nature.

            I fail to see how a complete descriptions of universal physical laws wouldn't be explanatory about the nature of physical things.

            As I showed in an earlier OP, (1) the inherent inability of science to go from particular observations to universal laws, and (2) the logical fallacy of “affirming the consequent” in experimental verification, entail that no physical law can ever be truly universal or possess absolute certitude, not even Einstein’s famed relativity theory.

            In not sure what you mean by (1). Is this referring to the inductive nature of science? Aren't Thomists going from particular observations to universal metaphysical laws/conclusions? And as for (2), can you give me an example of where I or anyone else, like a scientist made this fallacy in a relevant context?

            (1) Any claims that physics actually disproves certain philosophical positions must itself be ontological in nature, and thus, not really physics at all, but philosophy – perhaps, philosophy of science or philosophy of nature.

            Nope. A philosophical claim about ontology that is false can be directly rebutted by a scientific observation, such an experimental test. Again, I'm not saying all such instances will be this way. I'm just saying your in principle claim is incorrect.

            (2) Any claims that certain philosophical positions are false because they somehow violate universal physical laws are themselves false, because physical laws never can possess the necessary universal certainty.

            This is false. We don't actually need universality. All we need are well substantiated tests that indicated the universe works in a certain way, that is different from what a particular philosophy is claiming. And that's because many claims made in philosophy, such as in AT metaphysics, are not claims about a 1 time event that happened years ago that will not happened again. They are claims about how the universe works at every moment, including those moments when we're conducting scientific tests. The former would have trouble being ruled out with scientific laws with certainty, the latter would not.

          • George

            "The method of philosophy is simply the application of the
            intellect, in the light of self-evident truths, to an object encountered in experience until it finds a true principle by which to understand the object. What it seeks is not merely higher generality of phenomenal relations, but the
            understanding of nature itself. That is why its method is called ontological by Maritain."

            And how can we discover if we're wrong in our philosophical conclusions? How do we be intellectually honest? How long can we go forward with the philosophy without checking back on reality with our senses? Forever? We just don't need to nor should we, is that how it works?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            In light of the distinctions between physics and philosophy that I posted earlier, I can make the following responses to a few points in your comment:

            You write, “Thing is, there is no immaterial intellect acting on our bodies at all. Everything we do is accounted for by existing physical forces and processes.”

            If you really understood the proofs for the immateriality of the intellect, you would realize that the main ones require no action on the body at all. For example, the proof from formation of universal concepts demonstrates the spiritual nature of the intellect regardless of any impact on the body at all, since spiritual acts are ontologically independent of
            bodily organs. This means that testing physical impact on the body is entirely irrelevant to whether the human spiritual soul can perform its strictly immaterial function in this manner.

            Bottom line: You cannot conclude to the non-existence of the spiritual soul in the manner you propose – not to mention
            that your conclusion is not a scientific one anyway, but, as shown above, a philosophical claim.

            You write, “I'm saying that certain philosophical claims are about the way physical matter operates (whether directly or indirectly), and this subcategory of philosophical claims intrudes into the domain of science.”

            The problem with this claim itself is that it presumes the universal certainty of physical laws, which, as I have shown, is not warranted. Granting universal physical laws total dominance over all of reality is equivalent to the philosophically false doctrine of scientism.

            You write, “Neanderthals had the same intellect as us? Homo erectus too? There's no evidence for this.”

            This is why I suggested you read some of my published works on human origins, such as the piece in the peer-reviewed philosophy journal, Espiritu, in which I note the following:

            “The first hominin population that might fit the criteria for true humanity appears somewhere around the early Middle Pleistocene period about three quarters of a million years
            ago. This hominin, Homo erectus, had, in this time frame, an arguably modern morphology and apparently could make
            congruent, three-dimensionally symmetrical stone hand axes, and may have been capable of the controlled use of fire.[1] Such abilities evince essential intellective attributes that would render their subjects fit for infusion of the human spiritual soul.”

            "[1] Bonnette, Origin of the Human Species, third edition, xiv-xv, 163-167. See also Thomas Wynn, “Archeology and Cognitive Evolution,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2002), 389-438, especially 398; Naama Goren-Inbar et
            al., Evidence of Hominin Control of Fire at Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel,” Science 304 (2004): 725-727."

            Espiritu link: https://dialnet.unirioja.es...
            Click Texto completo

          • Bottom line: You cannot conclude to the non-existence of the spiritual soul in the manner you propose – not to mention

            I technically didn't. All I said was " there is no immaterial intellect acting on our bodies at all." I'm not saying there isn't an immaterial intellect, I'm saying that if there is an immaterial intellect, it must be acausal to anything in the material world, including our bodies, of course. In other words, it must be epiphenominal. So long as you are prepared to accept that, we can avoid a major potential disagreement in the science, and perhaps move onto other things about the intellect itself. But we need not go there now.

            The problem is that Thomists, like Feser and others, will continually assert, and use language to the effect that either implies or outright says that the intellect is causally effective on the material, as he did in his book, The Last Superstition. One can't have it both ways.

            The problem with this claim itself is that it presumes the universal certainty of physical laws, which, as I have shown, is not warranted. Granting universal physical laws total dominance over all of reality is equivalent to the philosophically false doctrine of scientism.

            No it doesn't. And I already mentioned on the other thread, "We don't actually need universality. All we need are well substantiated tests that indicated the universe works in a certain way, that is different from what a particular philosophy is claiming. And that's because many claims made in philosophy, such as in AT metaphysics, are not claims about a 1 time event that happened years ago that will not happened again. They are claims about how the universe works at every moment, including those moments when we're conducting scientific tests. The former would have trouble being ruled out with scientific laws with certainty, the latter would not."

            This is why I suggested you read some of my published works on human origins, such as the piece in the peer-reviewed philosophy journal, Espiritu, in which I note the following:

            “The first hominin population that might fit the criteria for true humanity appears somewhere around the early Middle Pleistocene period about three quarters of a million years ago. This hominin, Homo erectus, had, in this time frame, an arguably modern morphology and apparently could make congruent, three-dimensionally symmetrical stone hand axes, and may have been capable of the controlled use of fire.[1] Such abilities evince essential intellective attributes that would render their subjects fit for infusion of the human spiritual soul.”

            The claim that homo erectus has a modern morphology is blatantly false. Homo erectus is classified differently from homo sapiens, because it has a different morphology. It's brain was about 20-35% smaller than ours, with a heavier jaw, larger teeth, and a much more prominent brow ridge. Homo erectus also comes on the scene about 1.8 million years ago, way before the middle Pleistocene, which is half a million years ago. It was not human, and that's why it's homo erectus, and not homo sapien. There is evidence homo erectus used tools. But the claim that this means it had a "human spiritual soul" is false since you admit above nothing other than physical matter and forces is required to get even the most complex of human behaviors. And if you disagree with this you'll be saying that an intellect must produce a causal force on the matter of human bodies, which you just denied.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I see you are sneakily trying to get me to admit that the
            human soul is a mere epiphenomenon of the body, which would make it a mere byproduct of the human organism. Hence, the human soul would be no more spiritual and immortal than that of brute animals.

            This I strictly deny.

            You seem to think that the soul cannot interact with the body without somehow breaking universal scientific laws, since, allegedly, you could detect its causal influence.

            This way of looking at the soul/body interaction is strictly Cartesian -- as if “this thing,” the soul moves “that thing,” the body. Hence, it would appear that the mind, as an external agent, moved the body. It would seem that the law of conservation of energy or other physical laws would be defied; for the mind, an immaterial body, could not be bought under this law and would yet be initiating, say, an increase in energy in the physical world.

            This is a problem for Descartes, since he committed the
            abysmal error of making soul/mind and body two distinct substances, whose interaction was essentially incoherent.

            St. Thomas does nothing of the sort. Following Aristotle,
            he insisted that soul/form and body/matter were distinct, not as complete substances in themselves, but as co-principles of being, constituting a single living substance.

            What science observes is the entire living organism, not merely a “body” which it can observe to see if some external agent, the soul, is causing changes in it.

            Quite the contrary, while the soul through its powers is the immanent principle of movement, it is the whole organism (composed of body and soul) which is the agent of its own
            self-motion in living things, and it is the whole organism that is the subject of scientific observations.

            Each movement in any cell or organ of the living body, or the local movement of the entire body, obeys all the laws of chemistry and physics. The immanent activities of the living organism are integrated from within by the one soul, which is the animating and unifying principle that constitutes this body as a single living organism that operates under a higher law than mere physics, a law that makes use of chemical and physical laws to its own ends – the law of the living organism, the law of its nature, given to it by the soul.

            You may not accept the reality of the soul, but attacking
            Thomism for defending it is barking up the wrong tree, since hylemorphism (matter/form doctrine) so unifies the function of these co-principles of being within the living organism that no violation of the laws of science would be detectable.

            Clearly, this also would include the functions of the strictly immaterial intellect, which is not a mere epiphenomenon of the “body,” but a spiritual power of the living human soul which so acts with and in the living substance in a manner so natural as to be no more detectable than the function of the soul when the stomach is digesting our supper.

            As to your statements about Homo erectus and other aspects of human origins, the most important aspect of hominin classification is the presence of intellect, which was not only possible for later members of H. erectus, but is indicated by the paleoanthropological evidence, as I have already documented in my prior comment. Since you do not recognize the spiritual nature of the human intellect, we have no way of intelligently discussing this on this thread. The real evidence in in my book, Origin of the Human Species (third edition) – but I realize I will not likely succeed in getting you to read it.

          • Jim the Scott

            Thoughtless of course per his materialism only believes in material or efficient causes not final or formal causes in nature like we do.

            Then there is the obvious fact he isn't reading Feser closely or carefully. .

            Here is a full explanation.

            http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2008/10/interaction-problem.html

            For example thoughtless says"Thomists, like Feser and others, will continually assert, and use language to the effect that either implies or outright says that the intellect is causally effective on the material, as he did in his book, The Last Superstition. One can't have it both ways."

            But here is what Feser actually says(because he said no such thing above):

            "Aristotle and the Scholastic tradition influenced by him famously held that to understand a thing required knowing each of its four causes: its material cause, the stuff out of which it is made; its formal cause, the specific form or essence that stuff has taken on, and which makes it the kind of thing it is; its efficient cause, that which brought it into existence; and its final cause, the end or purpose toward which it is directed. Modern thought is largely defined by its rejection of two of Aristotle's four causes. For the moderns, there are no such things as substantial forms or fixed essences, and there are no ends or purposes in nature. There are just brute material elements related by purposeless, meaningless, mechanical chains of cause and effect............
            ...............For the moderns, all causation gets reduced to what the Aristotelians called efficient causation; that is to say, for A to have a causal influence on B is for A either to bring B into being or at least in some way to bring into existence some modification of B. Final causality is ruled out; hence there is no place in modern thought for the idea that B might play an explanatory role relative to A insofar as generating B is the end or goal toward which A is directed. Formal causality is also ruled out; there is no question for the moderns of a material object’s being (partially) explained by reference to the substantial form it instantiates. We are supposed instead to make reference only to patterns of efficient causal relations holding between basic material elements (atoms, or corpuscles, or quarks, or whatever)........
            ........It is wrong to think of the soul (of which the intellect is for Aristotelians but a part, not the whole) and the body as independent objects in the first place. The soul is rather a form that informs the matter of the body and the body is the matter which is informed. As with the form and matter of a stone, tree, or earthworm, what we have here are not two substances interacting via efficient causation, but rather two metaphysical components of one substance related by formal causation."END QUOTE

            Mr. Fallacy of Equivocation strikes again. He can't tell the difference between formal causation vs efficient so he treats all causation as efficient and misrepresents Feser as teaching that.

            Like I said when Richard Dawkins argues Evolution with Young Earth Creationists he is not arguing with people who have one or two misunderstandings of science but dozens and dozens. Our Thoughtless friend here is the same.
            Which is why I blocked him. He is an idiot.

            Will he admit this mistake? No he will pretend that is what he was talking about all along & sound more incoherent because formal causation doesn't work like efficient causation.

          • Then there is the obvious fact he isn't reading Feser closely or carefully. .

            Here is a full explanation.

            http://edwardfeser.blogspot...

            For example thoughtless says"Thomists, like Feser and others, will continually assert, and use language to the effect that either implies or outright says that the intellect is causally effective on the material, as he did in his book, The Last Superstition. One can't have it both ways."

            But here is what Feser actually says(because he said no such thing above):

            Oh yes Feser has. Feser's view on consciousness and the will follow a certain chronological order of events from The Last Superstition:

            When the intellect determines that a certain course of action is the best one to take and the will follows it, the body proceeds to move in a way that constitutes the action. The operation of the intellect and will constitute in this case is the formal-cum-final cause of the action, of which the firing of the neurons, flexing of the muscles, etc. are the material cause. (127)

            So the order of events under Feser's metaphysic seems to be: intellect → will → brain/neurons → muscles. This chronology is testable, and, as you have it, it turns out to be false. All the good neuroscience that tests whether the will or the brain decides first, shows that the brain is what decides first. The brain decides, then we become consciously aware of it, and then we act.

            For the moderns, all causation gets reduced to what the Aristotelians called efficient causation; that is to say, for A to have a causal influence on B is for A either to bring B into being or at least in some way to bring into existence some modification of B. Final causality is ruled out; hence there is no place in modern thought for the idea that B might play an explanatory role relative to A insofar as generating B is the end or goal toward which A is directed.

            Even that's not true, because this again assumes presentism that A brings B into existence, and there's no reason I have to assume that. Because SR entails eternalism, A and B both technically exist.

            Most importantly, my view technically is not that causality doesn't exist, it's that causality doesn't exist in the way we typically think it does. That is, my view of causality is completely different from the general every day notion of causality most people have. The naive assumption one often gets when hearing my view is that I'm saying cause and effect relationships don't exist at all, such that if you threw a brick at glass window it wouldn't shatter, or if you jumped in front of a speeding train you wouldn't get smashed to death by it. That's not what my view says at all.

            On my view of causality, if you threw a brick at a glass window it would shatter, if you jumped in front of a speeding train you'd be smashed to death by it. The difference between my view of causality vs the typical view is that on my view causes do not bring their effects into existence in the sense of true ontological becoming.

            In other words, on my view it is not the case that cause A exists, and effect B does not exist, and then cause A brings effect B into existence. Rather, cause A exists and so does effect B, but in a different part of spacetime. For example, imagine that a blue car skids off the road and smashes into a red stop sign, severing it and dragging it along with the car. If someone asked, "What caused the stop sign to be knocked down?" it's perfectly reasonable to say the cause was the car smashing into it. But the existence of the severed stop sign was there already, in the future direction of spacetime. That is, the effect technically exists along with the cause and is not brought into existence by it. To get a representation of this visually, take a look at the spacetime diagram below.

            https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-PlnKAY6zhl0/Wlw2HSjVklI/AAAAAAAACsU/ClEkl2SsjcsYaWAkIWTtCOY-puZHjAdyQCLcBGAs/s1600/cause%2Band%2Beffect%2Bspacetime%2Bdiagram.png

            As such, there is no final causality because time has no objective direction, and formal causes are nothing more that an idea, at best a description of higher level emergent properties/ontologies.

            The soul is rather a form that informs the matter of the body and the body is the matter which is informed. As with the form and matter of a stone, tree, or earthworm, what we have here are not two substances interacting via efficient causation, but rather two metaphysical components of one substance related by formal causation."

            https://www.memecreator.org/static/images/memes/3778463.jpg

            Mr. Fallacy of Equivocation strikes again. He can't tell the difference between formal causation vs efficient so he treats all causation as efficient and misrepresents Feser as teaching that.

            No, I'm saying formal causation doesn't really exist, and that there are only material causes. Formal causes are nothing more that an idea, at best a description of higher level emergent properties/ontologies.

            Our Thoughtless friend here is the same.
            Which is why I blocked him. He is an idiot.

            You still seem to be quite obsessed with me. The idiot like you is the one who doesn't understand the complex nuance of the discussion and who can only think in terms of accusing everyone of scientism.

          • Jim the Scott

            Thoughless continues to lie & or prove his intellectual inferiority.

            I just quoted Feser from his own blog saying the explicit opposite of what Thoughtless claimed.

            His response? To proof text THE LAST SUPERSTITION & even there he ignore what he quotes.

            "The operation of the intellect and will constitute in this case is the formal-cum-final cause of the action, of which the firing of the neurons, flexing of the muscles, etc. are the material cause. (127)"

            Note Feser is discussing formal causes and final causes in terms of the soul but Thoughtless goes on to answer it as if Feser was talking about efficient causality of the soul as if Feser was merely channeling the errors of Descartes?

            He then repeats his "SR scientifically proves Eternalism" fallacious argument for some goofy reason. I guess to change the subject?

            He needs to just simply admit he doesn't know what he is talking about.

          • Thoughless continues to lie & or prove his intellectual inferiority.

            I just quoted Feser from his own blog saying the explicit opposite of what Thoughtless claimed.

            His response? To proof text THE LAST SUPERSTITION & even there he ignore what he quotes.

            "The operation of the intellect and will constitute in this case is the formal-cum-final cause of the action, of which the firing of the neurons, flexing of the muscles, etc. are the material cause. (127)"

            Note Feser is discussing formal causes and final causes in terms of the soul but Thoughtless goes on to answer it as if Feser was talking about efficient causality of the soul as if Feser was merely channeling the errors of Descartes?

            Jim the Idiot continues to fail here, very obviously. If the intellect has no causal power on matter, it must necessarily be epiphenominal. It makes no sense to call it a "cause" in any proper sense of the term. But uncle Feser here is not saying that. He's saying the intellect determines what course of action the physical body makes. To say that the intellect "determines that a certain course of action is the best one to take and the will follows it, the body proceeds to move in a way that constitutes the action" but yet it also is the case that the intellect imposes no cause on matter, makes as little sense as saying, the (a) intellect is not epiphenominal, and (b) the intellect violates no physical laws.

            If A is true, B is false.

            Note Feser is discussing formal causes and final causes in terms of the soul but Thoughtless goes on to answer it as if Feser was talking about efficient causality of the soul as if Feser was merely channeling the errors of Descartes?

            Because that's what his view entails, regardless of whether Feser realizes it or not.

            He then repeats his "SR scientifically proves Eternalism" fallacious argument for some goofy reason. I guess to change the subject?

            No, to show that he was presupposing presentism, which is false, in his quote. And my argument is rock solid. You need to just simply admit you don't know what you're talking about.

          • Jim the Scott

            Thoughtless' further response is like his last, a mindless repetition. He lied about the nature of Feser's claims of the soul's causality & is still trying to change the subject.

            He has no concept of the differences between a formal cause vs an efficient cause. He offers no arguments as to why the soul/intellect can't be a formal cause & he is still pretending Feser is channeling Descartes and believes the immaterial soul in the AT view is some type of efficient cause.

            Let me help this silly person out.

            He could in theory argue there are only two causes in nature (i.e efficient & material) but he is too stupid to figure out Feser is talking about a formal cause here not an efficient one.

            So one wonders with such a lever of extreme ignorance of the subject matter and a complete unwillingness to own it, how could he even begin to make a philosophical argument under the umbrella of Philosophy that there are only two causes in nature?

            I would be dollars to doughnuts if he attempted it then given his pattern & his kneejerk scientism he would claim it is a scientific argument and somehow claim Eternalism is involved or some such weirdness.

            Tis silly.

          • I see you are sneakily trying to get me to admit that the
            human soul is a mere epiphenomenon of the body, which would make it a mere byproduct of the human organism. Hence, the human soul would be no more spiritual and immortal than that of brute animals.

            This I strictly deny.

            Then you must believe that there is an immaterial intellect that has causal impact on the human body in a way that violates well established physical laws because physical laws do not allow for anything like a "spiritual soul" to change the fundamental behavior of the atoms that make up your body. It's the same fundamental parts (quarks and electrons) operating under the same fundamental forces in the standard model and gravity. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

            St. Thomas does nothing of the sort. Following Aristotle, he insisted that soul/form and body/matter were distinct, not as complete substances in themselves, but as co-principles of being, constituting a single living substance.

            Which means that the soul/form must be epiphenominal if it has no causal impact on physical matter. You affirm that the spiritual soul has no causal impact, and then deny the consequence of it, which is that it must be epiphenominal.

            Quite the contrary, while the soul through its powers is the immanent principle of movement, it is the whole organism (composed of body and soul) which is the agent of its own
            self-motion in living things, and it is the whole organism that is the subject of scientific observations.

            You're making a claim about the physical nature of the body: it moves through the immanent powers of the soul. That is a claim you know you cannot substantiate, and one we know is false from science. Movement of the body is solely due to known physical forces, not any kind of soul. If you deny this you again will be claiming an immaterial soul/intellect has a causal force on the human body. The whole organism is subject to scientific investigation. And that investigation has concluded that movement of the body is solely due to known physical forces, not any kind of soul.

            The immanent activities of the living organism are integrated from within by the one soul, which is the animating and unifying principle that constitutes this body as a single living organism that operates under a higher law than mere physics, a law that makes use of chemical and physical laws to its own ends – the law of the living organism, the law of its nature, given to it by the soul.

            What immanent activities? Give examples please. Any activities of the living organism are due to laws pf physics, and nothing else. Define and give an example of an immanent activity, and prove that it is not due to physical forces. What animating principle? Are you saying that movement of the body is due to a principle? A soul? Not physical laws/forces? Sorry but this is the most vaguest thing. I've all heard this before debating many Thomists. I don't think any of them have a coherent concrete understanding what what they're really talking about. I'm skeptical that these terms aren't ultimately just a poetic word salad. But you've studied this for decades. You can offer an explanation that isn't a word salad. Please do so. The same laws of physics that are acting on the atoms in our bodies are acting on the atoms in the entire universe, including rocks. So I don't see how a soul makes use of physical laws to its own ends. The soul in Thomism seems like a completely useless and superfluous concept.

            You may not accept the reality of the soul, but attacking Thomism for defending it is barking up the wrong tree, since hylemorphism (matter/form doctrine) so unifies the function of these co-principles of being within the living organism that no violation of the laws of science would be detectable.

            The principle of the soul is unnecessary, since physical forces and matter are all we need to get the totality of human behavior. That means the soul in Thomism seems like a completely useless and superfluous concept. It's an emergent description of one aspect of human nature at best, not a fundamental principle or ontology necessary to anything. As such, it seems to me to confuse a higher level description for a fundamental ontology. No violation of the laws are detectable because the "soul" isn't a real thing, it's an epiphenomenon at most.

            Clearly, this also would include the functions of the strictly immaterial intellect, which is not a mere epiphenomenon of the “body,” but a spiritual power of the living human soul which so acts with and in the living substance in a manner so natural as to be no more detectable than the function of the soul when the stomach is digesting our supper.

            Um what? Sorry but you must be aware that to many people this sounds like the ultimate word salad. There is no difference between the matter (atoms) making you up and the matter (atoms) making up anything else. There is no "spiritual power" (a vague term in itself) acting in a living "substance" (another vague term) whatsoever. There is no distinct "substance" of living thing vs non-living thing. All living an non-living things are fundamentally made up of quarks and electrons and they all follow the same physical laws. Only their arrangement is different, that's it. I'm skeptical that you can actually take your view seriously.

            As to your statements about Homo erectus and other aspects of human origins, the most important aspect of hominin classification is the presence of intellect, which was not only possible for later members of H. erectus, but is indicated by the paleoanthropological evidence, as I have already documented in my prior comment. Since you do not recognize the spiritual nature of the human intellect, we have no way of intelligently discussing this on this thread. The real evidence in in my book, Origin of the Human Species (third edition) – but I realize I will not likely succeed in getting you to read it.

            From what I can see, your evidence so far is in starting from your Thomistic metaphysics on the nature of the intellect, and then trying to fit the data to that narrative. It seems you do the latter falsely at that, given your claims that homo erectus has the same morphology as modern homo sapiens. It's true that I do not share your view that there's a spiritual nature to the intellect. I don't think there is any good evidence or arguments for it and plenty of evidence to contradict it. If you think homo erectus, who evolved 1.8 million years ago, had the same intellectual capacities as modern humans with it's 35% smaller brain, I have no idea how you justify that. Making simple tools doesn't require modern human-level intellectual abilities.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Why don’t you just say you are a complete scientific materialist and get it over with? The scientism in your every thought and argument is so clear that quotes are not even needed.

            I urged you not to think of the soul/body relationship in Cartesian terms, but I guess the temptation proved irresistible anyway. You are determined either to deny the existence of the soul, or, at least, reduce it to a mere emergent property of the body. Neither is true. The soul (substantial form of a living body) exists in every living organism (not just man) and is not a mere byproduct of the body, but rather the organizing principle of primary matter that specifies the nature of the substantial unity.

            I realize I am using terms that sound like a word salad to you because you are essentially an updated version of a Democritean atomist – a philosophy which was itself rendered archaic by the novel later philosophy of Aristotle.

            Since you don’t accept hylemorphism (matter/form doctrine of Aristotle), it is inconceivable to you that I would suggest that the soul/body composite single substance in no way violates the laws of science, any more than what happens when our “stomach digests our supper.”

            Maybe this will help. I deliberately used the example of a “stomach digesting,” since no one would suggest that it
            violates any physical laws. What you would not grant, but I affirm, is that the stomach itself is part of a living organism that has a soul and body composition, a composition that is present even in the stomach and every other part of an organism. But if you think of soul and body here in Cartesian terms, you make them distinct things and are tempted to apply the laws of science to the body, while thinking the soul’s “part” irrelevant. That sounds like your interpretation to me.

            The real problem is that you simply reject hylemorphism. But that entails denying the substantial unity of anything
            and everything, so that, in your own words, “There is no distinct ‘substance’ of living thing vs non-living thing.” (Does that logically mean that you are non-living?) You implicitly deny your own substantial existence in the process. That is a central observation of a video of mine, sub-titled: “Does Richard Dawkins exist?” https://yt.ax/watch/atheistic-materialism-does-richard-dawkins-exist-22906746/

            In terms of your own philosophical physics, at best you exist as but a temporary epiphenomenon of cerebral activity dependent on a kind of buffered temporary accidental association of massively numerous subatomic particles. I would find it hard to sleep nights thinking that thought.

            Without wasting more words, my point is that at least some intellective activity, such as the formation of universal
            concepts, entails no more physical violation of scientific laws than the stomach does when digesting, since the organs involved do not violate these laws, and the strictly immaterial acts of concept formation, while using organic powers dependent on sense organs, does not change the organs or their powers in the process. To understand this fully would require a full course in philosophical psychology, which is not possible on this thread. Sorry.

            Since you and I totally disagree about the existence and nature of the intellect, any discussion of hominin evolution in this regard is pointless.

          • Why don’t you just say you are a complete scientific materialist and get it over with? The scientism in your every thought and argument is so clear that quotes are not even needed.

            Scientific materialism doesn't = scientism. Scientism is the view that only science can tell us things that are true, or that only things that are meaningful are things that can be scientifically demonstrated. I hold no such view. I'm simply noting that your metaphysical claims require things be true that contradicts known science, and you are in denial of this. This is why many people reject AT metaphysics. Your continued denial that there is any science that contradicts your metaphysical claims is contributing to your view's undoing. Either your soul violates known science, or it is an epiphenomenon. Those are your only 2 choices.

            I urged you not to think of the soul/body relationship in Cartesian terms, but I guess the temptation proved irresistible anyway. You are determined either to deny the existence of the soul, or, at least, reduce it to a mere emergent property of the body. Neither is true. The soul (substantial form of a living body) exists in every living organism (not just man) and is not a mere byproduct of the body, but rather the organizing principle of primary matter that specifies the nature of the substantial unity.

            Which I'm afraid to say sounds like just another poetic word salad that is ultimately meaningless and doesn't correspond to anything in the real world. I'm saying that you are actually forcing me to think of the soul in Cartesian terms by claiming that the soul is not a mere epiphenomenon. You are forcing me to believe the soul changes the fundamental laws determining how atoms behave.

            I realize I am using terms that sound like a word salad to you because you are essentially an updated version of a Democritean atomist – a philosophy which was itself rendered archaic by the novel later philosophy of Aristotle.

            Please, that is not the case at all. Aristotle got so much of his metaphysics completely wrong.

            Since you don’t accept hylemorphism (matter/form doctrine of Aristotle), it is inconceivable to you that I would suggest that the soul/body composite single substance in no way violates the laws of science, any more than what happens when our “stomach digests our supper.”

            I don't think you can define "substance" in a way that encompasses all of what it is and demarcate what it is not. In this context it is a vague, antiquated term that further obfuscates the subject matter. If it violates no laws it must be an epiphenomena, you simply can't have it both ways.

            What you would not grant, but I affirm, is that the stomach itself is part of a living organism that has a soul and body composition, a composition that is present even in the stomach and every other part of an organism. But if you think of soul and body here in Cartesian terms, you make them distinct things and are tempted to apply the laws of science to the body, while thinking the soul’s “part” irrelevant. That sounds like your interpretation to me.

            And I've been saying that this understanding of a soul is at best a mere description of the thing of it's higher, emergent properties. It is not fundamental to the thing and it is an epiphenomenon.

            The real problem is that you simply reject hylemorphism. But that entails denying the substantial unity of anything and everything, so that, in your own words, “There is no distinct ‘substance’ of living thing vs non-living thing.” (Does that logically mean that you are non-living?) You implicitly deny your own substantial existence in the process. That is a central observation of a video of mine, sub-titled: “Does Richard Dawkins exist?” https://yt.ax/watch/atheist...

            Agreed, this is the salient disagreement for us. I think your conclusion is false. Whether something is a "living thing" vs a "non-living thing" doesn't depend on a "substance" — again, a term I think is so vague and antiquated in this context as to ultimately create more confusion than clarity. All that differentiates the living from the non-living is the arrangement of atoms. Those arrangements will give you certain properties that will give you the things we've categorized as living, such as, reproduces, grows, consumes energy, etc. Any talk of a "substance" of living things is already a non-starter.

            In terms of your own philosophical physics, at best you exist as but a temporary epiphenomenon of cerebral activity dependent on a kind of buffered temporary accidental association of massively numerous subatomic particles. I would find it hard to sleep nights thinking that thought.

            That's because you're probably so indoctrinated in your own metaphysics. It also seems that you're defining "you" as just my consciousness. I reject that.

            Without wasting more words, my point is that at least some intellective activity, such as the formation of universal concepts, entails no more physical violation of scientific laws than the stomach does when digesting, since the organs involved do not violate these laws, and the strictly immaterial acts of concept formation, while using organic powers dependent on sense organs, does not change the organs or their powers in the process. To understand this fully would require a full course in philosophical psychology, which is not possible on this thread. Sorry.

            There are also views in the philosophy of psychology that offer a different ontology. Your view, according to Feser, requires that nothing material could in principleproduce the mind having thoughts of concepts, and I see no evidence to think that's true, and evidence to indicate it's false.

            Since you and I totally disagree about the existence and nature of the intellect, any discussion of hominin evolution in this regard is pointless.

            No problem. Enjoying the thread so far, hope you are too. I don't know how often you interact with a naturalist, so hopefully it will be beneficial. For me, I interact with theists of all stripes online all the time and it's taught me so many perspectives.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Somewhere else I think I described your views as “essentially the epitome of de facto scientism.” Since you do say some things that are not based on pure natural science, I guess I should have added the qualifier “de facto” in my preceding comment.

            Other than that, every response you give to any debated
            point is so science-based that scientism is the only fit descriptive term.

            My video is right. The fact that you can only understand
            reality in terms of a quasi-atomistic philosophy forces you to reject hylemorphism outright, which makes all further discussion of how the soul operates without violating the laws of physics moot.

            “All that differentiates the living from the non-living is the arrangement of atoms. Those arrangements will give you certain properties that will give you the things we've categorized as living, such as, reproduces, grows, consumes energy, etc. Any talk of a "substance" of living things is already a non-starter.”

            Our differences are so great that they come down to
            questions of whether there actually are “things” above the “atomic” level. You redefine all terms in such manner as to make common sense definitions unintelligible.

            You remind me of the fellow I once debated in person with for more than an hour before he finally admitted that his atomistic philosophy entailed that he did not really exist. But then he continued on for another hour or so.

            You have no idea how hard it is to debate with someone
            who isn’t actually even there!

          • Somewhere else I think I described your views as “essentially the epitome of de facto scientism.” Since you do say some things that are not based on pure natural science, I guess I should have added the qualifier “de facto” in my preceding comment.

            The matter here is that we're talking about a topic where science becomes relevant, because your view (regardless of whether you're aware of it or not) implies things violated by known science, lest it be an epiphenomenon. If we were talking about a pure philosophical matter, there's be no need for me to bring science into the equation. But we aren't.

            My video is right. The fact that you can only understand
            reality in terms of a quasi-atomistic philosophy forces you to reject hylemorphism outright, which makes all further discussion of how the soul operates without violating the laws of physics moot.

            The burden is on you to give a coherent definition of "substance" that encompasses all it means and clearly demarcates what it doesn't refer to, and show how living things acquire that substance and non-living things don't in a way that avoid my objections. If you wish to pursue this further of course.

            Our differences are so great that they come down to questions of whether there actually are “things” above the “atomic” level. You redefine all terms in such manner as to make common sense definitions unintelligible.

            There are things above the fundamental level, they are emergent properties/ontologies. I think this view will eventually dominate all of philosophy.

            You remind me of the fellow I once debated in person with for more than an hour before he finally admitted that his atomistic philosophy entailed that he did not really exist. But then he continued on for another hour or so.

            I'm sure there is a more nuanced understanding of this. I reject eliminative materialism because I think emergence is unavoidable.

            You have no idea how hard it is to debate with someone who isn’t actually even there!

            I bet it is easier than talking to a wall, which is the feeling I get when debating some theists I encounter on the internet. I think he means that the definition of "you" or "I" is often the emergent identity and if someone is an eliminativist, they reject the higher emergent ontologies.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You may well find this hard to believe, but there was a time in my education that my own science background, especially in chemistry, tended make my rational view of the various "levels" of physical things to be as atomistic as yours appears to be. I knew of no conclusive proof for substantial unities above the “atomic” level.

            I no longer hold that view, though, based on a lot of other evidence that paints a worldview consistent with the existence of real substantial unities at every “level” of things: atomic, molecular, and living organisms. Certain unities exist that atomism alone cannot explain. While some are matter
            dependent, others are not. Specifically, in the latter, would be intellectual acts. These latter entail complex arguments I don’t intend to engage in on this thread, since I still have a life to lead elsewhere. :)

            What might interest you, though, is that I see no conflict between hylemorphic substantial forms that place things into their proper species, on the one hand, and yet allowing environmental or physical determinism of the organism as a whole on the other hand – at least up to and including some spiritual intellectual activities of man. This would mean that
            such deterministic activities would not “break” any physical laws – while, at the same time, allowing an hylemorphic explanation of composite realities, such as plants, animals, and even certain human intellectual acts.

            What does this mean exactly? It means that plants and
            animals are determined in their activities by physical laws that comport with their natures. You think these “natures” do not exist so as to entail any metaphysical forms, but I suspect that you do allow certain consistent behaviors determined by genetic makeup and other atomic factors. I have no problem with this, except that I would say that the atomic consistencies are demarcated by real metaphysical principles that compose the substances in question – if we are talking about organisms in the same natural species.

            Finally, even in the case of man, certain intellectual activities, such as the formation of the universal concept – although such concepts are spiritual in nature and imply therefore an ontological “foundation” which is not material in nature – do not, as I see it, entail any violation of physical “laws,” since they involve the agent intellect acting on the immaterial (but physically dependent) phantasm to abstract the impressed intelligible species which puts the potential or passive intellect into its own proper act of understanding the nature of the object known and from that forming the strictly immaterial universal concept. None of this need, in principle, to violate any physical laws, since, while the immaterial intellective faculties may be using something from the material order, for its own activities, it does not thereby disturb the material organs in so doing.

            In other words, the existence of formal and final causes in organic substances need not conflict with the physical laws that you defend. I am not thereby granting universal certainty to such laws, of course – but that is not the issue at hand.

            Nor do I intend to debate every attendant side issue further. But I do want to show you that the existence of substantial forms in living things need not pose the problem for science that you apparently think it does.

          • Nor do I intend to debate every attendant side issue further. But I do want to show you that the existence of substantial forms in living things need not pose the problem for science that you apparently think it does.

            Of course, because it must be epiphenominal, as I've been arguing this whole time. The problem occurs when you insist it is not epiphenominal and insist as you do here that it violates no physical laws.

            I personally do not have a problem granting ontological status to things above the subatomic level (depending how you do it), I just have a problem with views that insist the higher level ontologies impose a downward causation on the lower level sub atomic ontologies. I can't help but hear this being claimed every time I hear a Thomist talking about the soul or the intellect or "free" will and I can't imagine that they really think the soul or intellect is really epiphenominal, since they will always deny it whenever it is brought up, just as you did here on this thread. So that's my problem.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "The problem occurs when you insist it is not epiphenominal and insist as you do here that it violates no physical laws."

            And that is precisely what it is -- as I have clearly explained in my prior comment.

          • That's impossible. You are claiming two things that are incompatible:

            A. the intellect is not epiphenominal
            B. the intellect violates no physical laws

            If A is true, B is false.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Your problem is that you simply do not know enough Aristotelian hylemorphic philosopical psychology to understand what I wrote above:

            "Finally, even in the case of man, certain intellectual activities, such as the formation of the universal concept – although such concepts are spiritual in nature and imply therefore an ontological “foundation” which is not material in nature – do not, as I see it, entail any violation of physical “laws,” since they involve the agent intellect acting on the immaterial (but physically dependent) phantasm to abstract the impressed intelligible species which puts the potential or passive intellect into its own proper act of understanding the nature of the object known -- and from that forming the strictly immaterial universal concept. None of this need, in principle, to violate any physical laws, since, while the immaterial intellective faculties may be using something from the material order, for its own activities, it does not thereby disturb the material organs in so doing."

          • Your problem is that you simply do not know enough Aristotelian hylemorphic philosopical psychology to understand what I wrote above:

            I was going to comment on this quote but I thought you wanted to wind down this thread. But since you brought it up, let's go there.

            Finally, even in the case of man, certain intellectual activities, such as the formation of the universal concept – although such concepts are spiritual in nature and imply therefore an ontological “foundation” which is not material in nature

            Spiritual in nature? Define that. I've heard Thomists say mental states can't have a material foundation. Can you provide a logical reason why?

            since they involve the agent intellect acting on the immaterial phantasm

            Define the agent intellect and the immaterial phantasm, as you're saying they're two distinct things here.

            to abstract the impressed intelligible species

            Explain what this means as I have no idea what you're saying.

            which puts the potential or passive intellect into its own proper act of understanding the nature of the object known

            How does this conclude from what's before it?

            and from that forming the strictly immaterial universal concept.

            How does the intellect obtain information from the senses, which are physical? How do physical things send information to a nonphysical thing, and how is information stored in a nonphysical thing?

            while the immaterial intellective faculties may be using something from the material order, for its own activities, it does not thereby disturb the material organs in so doing."

            Which entails it is epiphenominal. How do you avoid that?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I want to put this as gently as possible, but Jim the Scott is right above. Your questions reveal that you simply have no knowledge of the Aristotelian philosophical science of psychology. I cannot teach it all to you here. That is unfortunate. But that is why you continue to insist that intellect is a mere byproduct of physical matter. It is also why you cannot comprehend how the strictly immaterial intellect can draw information from the material order (including its epiphenomenal properties) without at the same time changing matter in such fashion as to be detectable by scientific measurements. For the immaterial powers to glean information from the material order to which it is naturally suited, since it is the form of the organic substance, in no way entails that it must change the matter in the process. If it does not change the matter, there is no change to be measured.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well said Doc B.

            Here Feser explains Thoughless' Problem.

            http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/search?q=formal+cause

            QUOTE"It is wrong to think of the soul (of which the intellect is for Aristotelians but a part, not the whole) and the body as independent objects in the first place. The soul is rather a form that informs the matter of the body and the body is the matter which is informed. As with the form and matter of a stone, tree, or earthworm, what we have here are not two substances interacting via efficient causation, but rather two metaphysical components of one substance related by formal causation. As the form of the stone is to the matter making up the stone, the form of the tree to the matter making up the tree, and the form of the earthworm to the matter that makes up the earthworm, so too is the human soul to the human body. There is in principle no such thing as the matter of a stone, tree, or earthworm apart from the form of a stone, tree, or earthworm respectively, and no such thing as the form of any of these things existing apart from their matter. The form and matter don’t “interact” as if they were two distinct objects; rather, the form constitutes the matter as the (one) kind of object it is in the first place."END QUOTE

            As we can see Thoughtless doesn't get any of that.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I can understand how a materialist would find soul/body interaction problematic. Between material substances, every interaction entails a change in both things. But here, the form of the body is "automatically" changed by any change in the body, such as takes place during sensation, where there are changes in the sense organs and naturally and simultaneously changes in the organic faculties attendant to those organs.

            Intellection is all the more puzzling to a materialist, since, properly understood, it is based on a series of changes beginning with the sense organs. The sense object affects the senses in such manner that changes occur both in external and internal senses, such latter as the central sense and imagination. The image thus formed is not itself extended in space as would be a physical entity. Rather, it is one of what the materialists call an "epiphenomenal" property, a sensible form that is not itself extended in space, but which, still being expressed under the conditions of matter (with say extension as apprehended, although it itself is not extended). As expressed by the sense memory in the absence of the originally sensed object, it is called the expressed sensible species, or phantasm. The phantasm is itself immaterial, but still dependent on matter, since it is always under the conditions of matter.

            It is on the phantasm that the agent intellect acts, using the form in the phantasm as an instrumental cause, so as to form the impressed intelligible species. The agent intellect is universal in act in light of its own spiritual nature, but it gets the form from the phantasm. The form in the phantasm is singular because it is still under the conditions of matter, but it is universal in potency -- as a form. The agent intellect is universal in act and thus confers universality on the form in the phantasm so as to form the impressed intelligible species whose function is to put the potential intellect into its own proper act which is the understanding of the nature of the object originally sensed.

            The key point to remember here is that all this is "automatic" and takes place without the spiritual intellective faculties having to change the material organs in any manner -- in order to obtain the information needed to actuate the potential intellect, which is the power that does our actual understanding.

            Since the substantial form and its powers are metaphysically integral to the organic substance of man, the changes in his material organs caused by sensation simultaneously and automatically change the sense and intellective powers of the human soul so that all these steps take place, resulting in both sense and intellective knowledge. If one grasps that the strictly immaterial (spiritual) acts entailed need not in any way change or impact the material organs of sensation (including the brain), but rather enable the potential intellect to be put into the act of knowing the nature of the originally sensed object, then it is evident how sensation can give to man his intellectual understanding of the world around him without thereby causing physical changes which in any way alter the normal laws of physics or chemistry.

            If the above is not a perfect expression of the many facets of the philosophical science involved, please understand that I am writing this impromptu and not as a scholarly paper.

          • Jim the Scott

            >I can understand how a materialist would find soul/body interaction problematic. Between material substances, every interaction entails a change in both things. But here, the form of the body is "automatically" changed by any change in the body, such as takes place during sensation, where there are changes in the sense organs and naturally and simultaneously changes in the organic faculties attendant to those organs.

            Yeh & that is made even more problematic when the materialist in question is a born again dogmatic disciple of Parmenides. Because under that scheme the material changes you see aren't real either.

            Just saying.......

            Anyway as for the rest well said.

          • George

            So does this all add up to something that justifies believing the Saints come down to earth and intervene in human affairs? Mother Theresa fixing a woman's kidneys and Fulton Sheen keeping a newborn deprived of oxygen for an hour alive etc.

          • Jim the Scott

            Sorry I only deal with Natural Theology. For arguments on the possibility of miracles and the flaws in David Hume's critiques you will have to consult someone else. Perhaps the McGrews?

          • I have some knowledge, so I'm not asking you to teach it all to me. The more I learn about AT metaphysics, the more I see it as nonsense. You have to understand that I've asked some of these questions before, and I've heard answers from various Thomists trying to answer them, and in hearing those answers, I often get nothing but word salads. This also brings up another issue: if belief in god requires such deep esoteric knowledge of ancient philosophy, why would such a god include this as part of a person's salvation, since few people understand this?

            It is also why you cannot comprehend how the strictly immaterial intellect can draw information from the material order (including its epiphenomenal properties) without at the same time changing matter in such fashion as to be detectable by scientific measurements.

            I don't think you understand this either, because the very concept isn't coherent or rational or related to anything in reality. On your view, the immaterial intellect necessarily is an epiphenomenon. It is at best a mere description of higher level emergent ontology. I do not see at all how you avoid that, despite your insistence to the contrary. You may think you have an answer to this, but your answer may be false.

            For the immaterial powers to glean information from the material order to which it is naturally suited, since it is the form of the organic substance, in no way entails that it must change the matter in the process. If it does not change the matter, there is no change to be measured.

            Which makes it an epiphenomenon. And a form is at best nothing more than a mere description of higher level emergent ontology. It makes zero sense to call it a cause in any normal understanding of the term "cause."

          • Dennis Bonnette

            ”I often get nothing but word salads.”

            I have finally figured out that whenever a skeptic complains about getting a “word salad” what he really means is that the content was over his head.

            ”This also brings up another issue: if belief in god requires such deep esoteric knowledge of ancient philosophy, why would such a god include this as part of a person's salvation, since few people understand this?”

            This is precisely why God, in his goodness and mercy, gave us public divine revelation, as St. Thomas points out in his Summa Theologiae I, art. 1, c: "Therefore, in order that the salvation of men might be brought about more fitly and more surely, it was necessary that they be taught divine truths by divine revelation."

            The rest of your comment merely documents that you know very little Aristotelian philosophical psychology and are just reasserting your positions without proof.

            A subsistent spiritual substantial form that is intellectual in nature is perfectly capable of existing in its own right, while using information taken from lower material entities as it
            performs its own spiritual functions, such as understanding the essences of material things. Just repeatedly calling the intellect “epiphenomenal” does not make it matter dependent, since its own proper operations, being spiritual in nature, prove that it must subsist independent of matter.

            I realize that you do not know the proofs of the intellect’s spiritual functions. That belongs to a course in the philosophical science of psychology.

          • I have finally figured out that whenever a skeptic complains about getting a “word salad” what he really means is that the content was over his head.

            Oh no, some things in Thomism are definitely word salads.

            This is precisely why God, in his goodness and mercy, gave us public divine revelation, as St. Thomas points out in his Summa Theologiae I, art. 1, c: "Therefore, in order that the salvation of men might be brought about more fitly and more surely, it was necessary that they be taught divine truths by divine revelation."

            Oh right! Totally forgot that. And of course god made sure that his true revelations wouldn't get mixed up with the millions of other false revelations that are all equally supported by one believing on faith.

            The rest of your comment merely documents that you know very little Aristotelian philosophical psychology and are just reasserting your positions without proof.

            You're the one making claims without proof. In fact, you've provided no evidence for your views at all. But, it takes time to do so, and you don't seem to care to make (on your own time) logical arguments for your views like I do.

            A subsistent spiritual substantial form that is intellectual in nature is perfectly capable of existing in its own right, while using information taken from lower material entities as it performs its own spiritual functions, such as understanding the essences of material things.

            Anytime you want to make a coherent logical argument demonstrating the existence of a subsistent spiritual substantial form that is intellectual in nature, that takes information from lower material entities as it performs its own spiritual functions, be my guest.

            Just repeatedly calling the intellect “epiphenomenal” does not make it matter dependent, since its own proper operations, being spiritual in nature, prove that it must subsist independent of matter.

            You haven't proved it exists, let alone that it is spiritual in nature, and not dependent on the physical, so as it stands now your claims here are just asserted. I've given you a dilemma, you have yet to show your way out of it.

            I realize that you do not know the proofs of the intellect’s spiritual functions. That belongs to a course in the philosophical science of psychology.

            I've already heard arguments for it, made by Feser, and they aren't satisfactory.

          • Rob Abney

            since its own proper operations, being spiritual in nature, prove that it must subsist independent of matter

            Does your eternalism view prohibit you from agreeing that this could be possible? Or something else?

          • I'm not focusing on that right now. I'm focusing on how there is no good argument for this.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I have cause to doubt that you understand correctly everything you have read of Dr. Feser's.

            But more to the point, you have claimed that the soul could not exist without its activity being detected by scientific measurement.

            I have proposed and explained how precisely such a spiritual soul could function in such fashion as to not violate physical laws.

            You claim that I have not demonstrated the existence of such a soul.

            But I do not need to do so in order to prove that your claim false. All that is necessary is to show that your claim could be wrong, not that it must be wrong, in order to show that the claim that all soul activity must necessarily be detectable is false.

            And your skepticism in no way defeats the reality of demonstrations of the human soul's spirituality of which you are apparently unaware. I have published them in chapter six, "The human soul's spiritual character and divine origin," of my book, Origin of the Human Species, but please forgive me for not citing the entire chapter in this thread.

          • But more to the point, you have claimed that the soul could not exist without its activity being detected by scientific measurement.

            I have not said that. I have said that if it doesn't, it must be an epiphenomenon, which you denied of course. I have clearly said that you cannot claim that the soul is not an epiphenomenon and claim that it also violates no physical laws. So this means you are not bothering to understand what I'm saying and prefer to caricature it as much as possible.

            And your skepticism in no way defeats the reality of demonstrations of the human soul's spirituality of which you are unaware apparently. I have published them in chapter six of my Origin of the Human Species, but please forgive me for not citing the entire chapter in this thread.

            You are forgiven. A full debate on the soul would obviously take lots of time and perhaps weeks of back and forth dialogue, that we both don't seem to have the time for now. Let's just say that I've heard arguments for the Thomistic soul and I can always spot the flaw in the argument.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Since I have repeatedly stated that the human soul is subsistent, you should know by now that when I say "soul," I am not referring to an epiphenomenal entity. Hence, you ought to realize that my statement is not a caricature of your position.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Let's just say that I've heard arguments for the Thomistic soul and I can always spot the flaw in the argument.

            Except when he has no clue about what is being argued.

            This clown still thinks we are arguing some subspecies of Cartesian dualism. He still doesn't understand the difference between formal causes and efficient ones. Odds are he doesn't even understand what you mean by "subsistent".

            He is just deluded at this point.

          • I know you don't think the soul is epiphenominal, but by you saying it violates no physical laws it entails that it is epiphenominal. I care about what your view entails, not what you say. Because you can say X but your views could logically entail not-X. It's what your views logically entail that matters to me.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Then you clearly do not understand the explanation of how the intellectual soul can use quasi-material entities, such as a phantasm, to form concepts -- without at the same time changing the phantasm or any material organ. This is an act on the part of the spiritual soul -- using, but not changing, something material. You appear to not have any conception of what spiritual activity really means in its own order. I can understand this, since you do not accept the reality of anything genuinely spiritual. But I do not have to prove the existence of such a thing in order to at least acknowledge that its function might not change something material. I hate to use such a stupid Hollywood image, but do you recall the old movie scenes in which some living person simply walks through a "ghost" with no change in either the living person or the ghost? Are you so rooted to materialism that you cannot even imagine that possibility?

          • Then you clearly do not understand the explanation of how the intellectual soul can use quasi-material entities, such as a phantasm, to form concepts -- without at the same time changing the phantasm or any material organ.

            Which is compatible with epiphenominalism. Again, either the soul is epiphenominal, or it has a causal effect on matter. The main issue I have is that you want to deny that it's epiphenominal and claim it has no causal effect on matter. Your view simply isn't consistent.

            This is an act on the part of the spiritual soul -- using, but not changing, something material. You appear to not have any conception of what spiritual activity really means in its own order. I can understand this, since you do not accept the reality of anything genuinely spiritual.

            You seem to be convinced that if I only had knowledge of the soul I would realize it is perfectly coherent and that there are no problems with it. I can accept the reality of anything on good evidence. So there is nothing in my brain blocking me from understanding or accepting something genuinely spiritual. I just need a good argument. But if that's beyond what you have time for, then I'm ok with that. We can perhaps put that off for another time.

            But I do not have to prove the existence of such a thing in order to at least acknowledge that its function might not change something material.

            Again, that's the secondary issue here. The primary issue is you want to deny that it's epiphenominal and claim it has no causal effect on matter. Your view simply isn't consistent. I can grant you the existence of the soul for the sake of argument, it's still epiphenominal. And that's my point.

            Are you so rooted to materialism that you cannot even imagine that possibility?

            Dennis, we are talking past one another. Again! You are still stuck in a caricature of me and my views and I run into this over and over again with you. You are simply ignoring what I've been talking about for several days now, which is that either the soul is epiphenominal, or it has a causal effect on matter. The main issue I have is that you want to deny that it's epiphenominal and claim it has no causal effect on matter. Your view simply isn't consistent.

            Can you focus on that instead of continually focusing on the soul not effecting material matter? I can grant you the existence of the soul for the sake of argument.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "[E]ither the soul is epiphenominal, or it has a causal effect on matter. The main issue I have is that you want to deny that it's epiphenominal and claim it has no causal effect on matter. Your view simply isn't consistent."

            Of course, I deny the human soul is epiphenominal, since it is a subsistent form. It is not a byproduct of the organism, since it is a constituent principle of the organism's essence. Its essence is a composite of substantial form (soul) and quantified primary matter. Combined with the act of existence, the essence constitutes the living organism. Again, since the soul is a principle which is part of that essence, it cannot be a mere byproduct of the organism.

            But it does have a causal effect on matter, NOT as an efficient cause, but as a FORMAL cause (as Jim the Scott points out and I should have earlier).

            Now you say that if it is a cause, it must have an effect on the matter. Yes and no. Yes, it has the effect of being an intrinsic principle that determines the matter to be this specific kind of organism, but no, that fact in itself will not produce any observable difference in the organism with respect to physical laws. You have to remember that Aristotelian philosophical psychology maintains that ALL living things have souls (including plants and animals), since they all have substantial forms and a the soul is defined as the substantial form of any living thing. Hence, merely having a soul does not entail that an organism behaves any differently than any other physical substance -- save that it exhibits the properties of its species (which science also affirms).

            Now my point about the spiritual soul in man having intellectual activities that do not affect the matter of his body is simply that the intellect automatically "looks at" the phantasm in the process of forming the spiritual universal concept. (I say "looks at" to avoid the complex metaphysics alluded to in earlier comments.) This in NO WAY changes the phantasm or any organic powers or organs on which that phantasm depends.

            In this way, the spiritual soul in man exists as a subsistent form (NOT epiphenomenal) and yet can perform at least SOME intellective spiritual acts that in no way affect the material dispositions of the substance.

            This demonstrates that your claim that "E]ither the soul is epiphenominal, or it has a causal effect on matter" is false, unless you include the action of the intrinsic FORMAL cause, which is the substantial form. Yet, merely the fact of having a soul does not make a physical substance behave any differently than any other physical substance. In any event, I do not think you accept the existence of formal causes.

          • Of course, I deny the human soul is epiphenominal, since it is a subsistent form.

            That doesn't entail it isn't epiphenominal.

            It is not a byproduct of the organism, since it is a constituent principle of the organism's essence. Its essence is a composite of substantial form (soul) and quantified primary matter. Combined with the act of existence, the essence constitutes the living organism. Again, since the soul is a principle which is part of that essence, it cannot be a mere byproduct of the organism.

            Absolutely nothing here demonstrates it isn't epiphenominal. You can claim it's a principle, but that's just a claim. If I took a living thing, like a cat and I began removing an atom from it one at a time. If I keep going I'd be left with a single atom, clearly not a cat, and clearly not a living thing. At what point during my process does the "principle of the organism's essence" stop being so?

            But it does have a causal effect on matter, NOT as an efficient cause, but as a FORMAL cause (as Jim the Scott points out and I should have earlier).

            It's not a cause in any normal sense of the word cause! It is at best a description of the higher level ontology/emergent property of a thing. You can call it a cause all you want, and we can simply just disagree with semantics. But

            Now you say that if it is a cause, it must have an effect on the matter. Yes and no. Yes, it has the effect of being an intrinsic principle that determines the matter to be this specific kind of organism, but no, that fact in itself will not produce any observable difference in the organism with respect to physical laws.

            Then it is an epiphenomenon. In other words, the physical description of the thing gives you the complete explanation of why it does X vs Y, or does anything it does. The formal cause is completely irrelevant and unnecessary.

            In this way, the spiritual soul in man exists as a subsistent form (NOT epiphenomenal) and yet can perform at least SOME intellective spiritual acts that in no way affect the material dispositions of the substance.

            The subsistent form would have to be epiphenominal since it is causally impotent on the material and is dependent on the material (ie. no material, no form).

            ...unless you include the action of the intrinsic FORMAL cause, which is the substantial form. Yet, merely the fact of having a soul does not make a physical substance behave any differently than any other physical substance. In any event, I do not think you accept the existence of formal causes.

            There is no "action" of the intrinsic formal cause - if I grant you a formal cause, because it is causally impotent. It has all the properties of an epiphenomenon.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            All that you have demonstrated is that you are an atomist who has no understanding of Aristotle's hylemorphism.

            I tried to answer your concerns as to how the soul could at the same time not be a mere epiphenomenon and yet not causally impact the physical organization of man by its spiritual action of forming a concept. You have not even accepted the suppositions of my explanation. I know you neither understand nor accept hylemorphism.

            I suggest we stop wasting our time.

          • I do have an understanding of Aristotle's hylemorphism, and I think it's false. You didn't answer the dilemma; the idea that the soul has a "spiritual action of forming a concept" is ultimately is meaningless. But I agree, we should end this. I need to start winding down my existing threads to focus on other things. Anyway, I enjoyed our chat.

          • Jim the Scott

            At best we may grant Thougthless really "thinks" he understands hylemorphism but then he wastes our time treating formal causes as if they are equivalent to efficient ones and that is only one of a dozen errors and misunderstandings he holds here.

            Also declaring hylemorphism false while demanding you simultaneously instruct him on the basics of hylemorphism is just beyond comedy.

            I am only flesh and blood...how can I NOT make fun of that?

          • Rob Abney

            This also brings up another issue: if belief in god requires such deep esoteric knowledge of ancient philosophy, why would such a god include this as part of a person's salvation, since few people understand this?

            Oh right! Totally forgot that. And of course god made sure that his true revelations wouldn't get mixed up with the millions of other false revelations that are all equally supported by one believing on faith.

            Seems that you are upset that God is difficult to know but you then reject that He helps us to know Him.

          • He doesn't actually help us know him, that was the whole point of my comment. It was being sarcastic.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Oh no, some things in Thomism are definitely word salads.

            Yep over his head. His problem is he only understands Atheism in terms of polemics against a "scientific" version of Theism like you might find directed against an ID proponent.

            This is what laughing boy thinks about formal and final causes.

            http://www.atheismandthecity.com/2015/08/an-atheist-reviews-last-superstition.html

            Quote"Modern science has for the most part rejected formal and final causes from its considerations, and in doing so, has left theists like Feser furious that we no longer think that everything that exists or happens has a purpose and we instead acknowledge that some things just happen. How dare we! Suppose I get into a car accident. What's its final cause? We could say that the rain on the road and perhaps my mistake were the material and efficient causes that made my car skid off the road, but how can anyone discern a final cause from this? It's easy to find a final cause when speaking of man-made objects like rubber balls, but it's sheer speculation to say that things like a car accident happen for a purpose. It's our tendency to think that everything happens for a reason that we attribute final causes to things (without even knowing their technical terminology in the Aristotelian sense). And this opens up other problems as well. If there is a final cause to my car accident that I'm not aware of, in the sense that nature has conspired against me for some purpose, how can I be said to be responsible in any way, if I am merely an actor in nature's drama? Final causes open up these sorts of dilemmas to those like Feser who wish to cling to libertarian free will. Feser's way of thinking, based on Aristotelian metaphysics will never again be accepted by science, because it smuggles in metaphysics that has no empirical support, like final causes."END QUOTE

            Well that brought down the IQ of the whole room.

            Contrast the above misreading and object stupidity with what Feser actually teaches.

            http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/11/tls-and-formal-causes.html#more

            "Recall first that for the Aristotelian-Thomistic (A-T) tradition, the fundamental sort of final causality that exists in nature is the “directedness” of an efficient cause toward the generation of its typical effect or range of effects. It is similar to what contemporary writers on dispositions and causal powers like C. B. Martin, John Heil, Brian Ellis, Nancy Cartwright, and George Molnar have in mind when they speak, for example, of the way dispositions are “directed toward” or “point to” their characteristic “manifestations,” or the way causal powers are “directed toward” their characteristic effects."

            Moron!!! On the same page he even misreads Feser as defending Platonic realism when he was merely defending realism in general. Thoughtless was corrected but he seems to have no ability whatsoever of owning his mistakes.

            Supermoron.

          • Rob Abney

            You have to understand that I've asked some of these questions before, and I've heard answers from various Thomists trying to answer them

            Would you agree that when you refer to me as a Thomist and to Dr. Bonnette as a Thomist that there is a huge difference between his knowledge and mine? So you can't compare answers and say that his answers are inconsistent with other Thomists, he understands that philosophy better than most.

            I often get nothing but word salads

            Keep trying, you'll understand the words and the sentences if you try.

          • I make no assumption that they all have equal knowledge, but they each had spent significant time learning the subject matter. Maybe some of them screwed up. That certainly could be the case. That's why I prefer to converse with the most knowledgeable people on the subject matter.

            Keep trying, you'll understand the words and the sentences if you try.

            I am trying. Sometimes even learning the definition of the words makes no difference in it still being a word salad.

          • Jim the Scott

            >I have some knowledge, so I'm not asking you to teach it all to me.

            This proves His Responses and anti-AT polemics to date are without exception Straw-man arguments, non-starters, special pleadings and category mistakes. They are 100% worthless.

            A Young Earth Creationist with a 7th graders understanding of biology would do better against evolution then he has done so far against AT.

            It must suck when you crow you have so brilliantly refuted AT and yet you must beg your opponent to educate you in the very subject you are are both debaiting?

            Cheers.

          • Jim the Scott

            He still doesn't understand the difference between a formal cause & an efficient one.

            I note his latest follow up is to ask a series of elementary questions which only goes to prove he doesn't understand the subject matter.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            Is that bifurcation so obvious? Those two things are not incompatible if physical laws under-determine creation.

            By way of analogy, a poetry assignment might require the use of an exception-less meter and rhyming scheme, yet we would still expect great diversity in what gets turned in, because the meter and rhyming scheme under-determine the output.

            Do you have evidence that all of creation is completely determined by physical laws? It is my impression that physical laws, such as we currently understand them, are exception-less completely determine outcomes only to the extent that we turn our attention away from macro and complex phenomena, focusing on simple systems where experimental control allows ceteris paribus comparisons. In other words, we know that laws are exception-less the universe is deterministic ... except for the exceptions.

            EDITED in strikethrough areas to hopefully stay more on point.

          • Do you have evidence that all of creation is completely determined by physical laws?

            All of creation? Are we assuming theism right from the start?

            My point doesn't refer to all of creation the universe, it only applies to things in our everyday experience, which includes the fundamental workings of all of human activity and behavior. And the answer to that is yes, it is completely determined by physical laws - without exception. This is what we know as Core Theory, and there's a wonderful equation that proves it:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fd3dd06051c1c69807f24489a59312175f63c43fbba4743e74846db6cf663fd1.jpg

            This is not obvious unless you keep up to date with the progression in physics. So you are correct in one sense that this is not obvious to lay people.

            In other words, we know that laws are exception-less the universe is deterministic ... except for the exceptions.

            We know it's deterministic, at the very least in the sense that the matter that makes up you and I is determined by the laws in the equation above without exception. So the dichotomy stands:

            A. the intellect is not epiphenominal
            B. the intellect violates no physical laws

            If A is true, B is false.

          • Rob Abney

            Please explain how that equation supports your position?

          • Too long to explain here in this thread, but I explain why here: The Argument From Core Theory

          • Rob Abney

            That’s a circular argument.

          • Circular? Prove that.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            "Universe" instead of "creation" is fine by me. (Though I don't want to quibble, I do want to explain my initial word choice: to the extent that "universe" is understood to refer to refer only to the physical universe, and to the extent that that may carry along an implication that the physical universe is all that there is, the word "universe" may have at least as much restrictive metaphysical baggage as does the word "creation".)

            When you say that your Core Theory equation "proves" something about determinism, I want to charitably assume that you are just speaking loosely ... but that doesn't seem to be the case. In any case: equations per se don't form the ultimate basis of scientific proofs. In science, it is the equations themselves that ultimately are "proved" (proved in the sense of surviving good attempts at falsification), via experimentation. This is true even in the case of equations that are derived from other equations: the ultimate basis of proof is empirical, not mathematical. I trust your expertise that the Core Equation has been proved in that sense. That is, I will grant that, despite what I can only assume are many excellent attempts at falsification, no one has ever found any systematic departures from the Core Equation.

            However:

            1. That only shows that the Core Equation is (as best we can tell) exception-less. Granting that exception-less status is still a long way from granting that the equation determines all outcomes. (Again, consider the exception-less meter and rhyming scheme in the poem analogy, which are not sufficient to determine the entirety of the poem.)
            2. The empirical evidence for the Core Equation consists of controlled experiments with "simple" systems (i.e. systems where all but a few factors can be held nearly constant). That type of experimentation is excellent for doing physics, but it ends up (by self-restriction) telling us nothing about complex organic systems. To learn about complex organic systems, we need higher level sciences such as chemistry and biology. And as we enter into those domains of science, the Core Equation fades from view and we no longer have any basis for saying how completely it determines what happens within this higher-level scope.

            In order to show that the Core Equation determines all outcomes, you would need to show me that it can predict when a child will hiccup, or whether the NASDAQ will go up or down tomorrow, or precisely where a solar flare will occur on the sun's surface. To the best of my knowledge, it cannot be used to do any of those things. I suspect you will claim that *in principle* the Core Equation could be used to make all such predictions, given the initial knowledge of LaPlace's Demon. But as far as I can tell that would be a faith claim, not one motivated by purely scientific reasoning.

          • In any case: equations per se don't form the ultimate basis of scientific proofs. In science, it is the equations themselves that ultimately are "proved" (proved in the sense of surviving good attempts at falsification), via experimentation.

            The Core Theory equation is derived from 60+ years of experimentation. It is not pure theory, every single bit of it is experimentally validated to many degrees. As such it is an empirical proof.

            no one has ever found any systematic departures from the Core Equation.

            You are correct. Every single experiment ever performed agrees with it, but remember the Core Theory equation only applies to the everyday world of human interaction, animals, weather, etc. It does not apply to things outside our everyday realm, such as inside black holes, or at the moment of the big bang. So it is not an equation for everything, just all the domains relevant to everyday human life.

            Granting that exception-less status is still a long way from granting that the equation determines all outcomes. (Again, consider the exception-less meter and rhyming scheme in the poem analogy, which are not sufficient to determine the entirety of the poem.)

            I'm not sure I get you here. In the domain of applicability for CT, it determines all outcomes.

            2. The empirical evidence for the Core Equation consists of controlled experiments with "simple" systems (i.e. systems where all but a few factors can be held nearly constant). That type of experimentation is excellent for doing physics, but it ends up (by self-restriction) telling us nothing about complex organic systems.

            It tells you the fundamental rules that those complex systems (which are all made up of quarks and electrons) behave by. Of course at higher levels (chemistry, biology, sociology) it would be foolish to use the equation to predict outcomes because it's too fundamental, and the computing power you'd need would exceed the earth's output. That's why we have those higher level sciences - to explain the world at those higher domains.

            I suspect you will claim that *in principle* the Core Equation could be used to make all such predictions, given the initial knowledge of LaPlace's Demon. But as far as I can tell that would be a faith claim, not one motivated by purely scientific reasoning.

            If by faith claim you mean a claim with no evidence, I disagree. All the higher level sciences when broken down to their fundamental parts reduce down to physics, and we have the complete description of the fundamental rules that those parts operate under. If something at the higher levels of say, biology, did something that would violate the equation, then the equation would have to be wrong, because a force that existed at that higher level would have to have a downward causation onto the fundamental constituents. There's more I can add but I need to eat dinner!

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            If something at the higher levels of say, biology, did something that would violate the equation,

            Again, neither I, nor Doctor Bonnette, are talking about any equations being violated. I am trusting your expertise that this equation is never violated (at least not within the "human-scale" scope that you delimit). But again, just because a rule is exception-less, that does not entail that the given rule plus initial conditions is sufficient to determine outcomes.

            then the equation would have to be wrong, because a force that existed at that higher level would have to have a downward causation onto the fundamental constituents.

            Of course if the equation were violated it would have to be wrong, but we are not talking about violations. We are talking about what is sufficient to determine outcomes. To use another analogy, I might be fully convinced that you will never violate traffic laws, but that is not sufficient to determine where you are going to drive.

          • As I understand it (and I really don't!), a purely physical being (a human without a spiritual soul) could not make a truly free decision in much the same way a computer cannot generate truly random numbers (which seems to be an acknowledged fact).

            But suppose we grant that. It raises the question of what a truly free decision is. Is a freely made decision exempt from the principal of sufficient reason? As I understand the Catholic viewpoint, a person can always make a free choice. If a person at some point must make a soul-saving or soul-damning decision, he or she is always free to choose either one. In a hypothetical in which that point is reached, a decision is made, and time is run back so the decision can be approached again, and then again, and then again, a thousand times, if the decision is different even 1 out of a thousand times, how is that possible? One assumes that such a momentous decision is made based on the sum total of what that person is at the crucial moment, which is why Catholics believe in eternal reward and eternal punishment. But if the decision can go either way, then the exact same version of a person can sometimes go to heaven and sometimes hell. The only thing different between the two versions of the person is the decision itself. If the decision can go one way one time and another way the next, who or what is making the decision? What is the basis for it? If it has a solid basis and is attributable to the person who makes it, then the decision should spring from who and what the person is. But if it can go either way, it does not spring from who and what the person is.

            It seems to me that what we call "freely deciding" must work by some rules, even if the mechanism is "spiritual," or else the deciding is actually random.

            Furthermore, to love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But, then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy, therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness.

          • Rob Abney

            I am sure that I can't answer these thought provoking questions but will just add to your thoughts on this subject by suggesting that what "forms" a human is the presence of intellect and will, or in different terms, to be able to know and to love.
            Maybe, to love is to suffer unless one can know that suffering is part of a greater good so that same suffering is love.
            A free choice of the will always requires the will to be in-formed by the intellect which includes knowledge of all of one's past free will choices.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            It seems to me that what we call "freely deciding" must work by some rules, even if the mechanism is "spiritual," or else the deciding is actually random.

            If it's acceptable to you, I would propose to first rephrase that a bit:

            I would rather say that freely deciding must work according to some logic. (I would rather not say "rules" as that implies a generic and universal type of logic, whereas the logic of complex organic systems may augment that universal, generic logic with logics that are idiosyncratic, particular, and personal.)

            I think that what makes a decision free is precisely the affirmation of the relevant logic. In other words, when I act in a way that affirms both the generic logic of the universe and the particular logic of my personal character, it is precisely in cooperating with those logics that I am free.

            If I fail to act in a way that affirms the relevant logics, then there is no reason. There cannot be a reason for that failure: because what fails to be logical cannot be reasonable. The failure is a surd, an absence. One cannot explain an absence of logic, precisely because logic is absent. Theologically, in Christianity at least, the answer to the questions, "Why this absence of logic? Why this surd?", is only: "be patient and wait hopefully, more logic (and hence more freedom) is on the way".

            So freedom is not a choice between logic or illogic. Freedom is what is experienced in the affirmation of logic.

            I know this won't address your concerns to your satisfaction, nor does it entirely address your concerns to my own satisfaction (we probably won't resolve all questions of grace and nature in a combox), but I hope that progresses things along a bit.

            In any case, to return to The Thinkers question, my original goal was simply to point out that the existence of exception-less rules of physics does not imply determinism.

            ====

            To avoid suffering, one must not love. But, then one suffers from not loving.

            or, as another guy put it:

            We only live, only suspire
            Consumed by either fire or fire.

          • Rob Abney

            Good to see you back at SN Jim. I was reading your response thinking "how poetic", then you concluded with poetry!

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            Thanks Rob!

            I'm actually trying to stay off -- busy work situation (and coaching my daughter's Jr. High hoops team on the side) -- but sometimes I can't resist.

            I'll try to close out ongoing thread as satisfactorily as possible and then probably go dormant again until mid-March at least. But I always come back!

          • Rob Abney

            Ok, but you may or may not know - Thinker never concedes a point!

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            Unfortunately I'm a little pig-headed myself ... bad combination!

          • But again, just because a rule is exception-less, that does not entail that the given rule plus initial conditions is sufficient to determine outcomes.

            I'm not sure what you mean here.

            Of course if the equation were violated it would have to be wrong, but we are not talking about violations. We are talking about what is sufficient to determine outcomes. To use another analogy, I might be fully convinced that you will never violate traffic laws, but that is not sufficient to determine where you are going to drive.

            Sorry, just not understanding your point of view. You seem to be saying the equation is never violated but does not determine all outcomes, which would entail an outcome that differs from (violates) the equation. Am I wrong in my assessment there?

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            I think my more recent comment may clarify, but I'll elaborate here as well.

            Given initial conditions, the solutions to the equation are only unique if you ignore the error term that is necessary for the equation to determine actual measurements. When you include the error term, the solutions are not unique, but probabilistic. In other words, the equation per se (minus error term) under-determines the actual outcome measurements.

          • What error term?

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            The one that either implicitly or explicitly accompanies every measurement.

          • Measurement uncertainty is usually due to incomplete knowledge of a given value at the start of the measurement. QM goes to 11 decimal places of accuracy. And we've measured gravitational waves to 1/1000th the width of a single proton. That is incredibly precise. With living systems we're mostly using the laws of chemistry, energy. But the laws of chemistry depend on the laws of physics. They don't exist independently of them and of course there's no contradictions between them. I really don't see your overall point. You say CT is true and precise but say it may allow for higher level things to effect the lower level stuff, but CT says all forces are in the standard model and gravity.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            But the laws of chemistry depend on the laws of physics. They don't exist independently of them and of course there's no contradictions between them.

            I agree on both of those points, but from their interdependence it does not follow that the laws of chemistry are reducible to the laws of physics. It is not at all clear that the former could in principle be derived or predicted from the latter. If you want to make such a claim, I think you have a lot of work to do.

            The difficulty is even more clear if we consider physics and biology. Physics is entirely silent on the question of whether life even exists. "Life" is just a category that physics doesn't traffic in. And so there is no possible way that biological claims about life can be derived, predicted, or anticipated by the laws of physics a purely physics-based line of inquiry.

            EDIT: see strikethrough. Sloppy writing made me overstate my case initially.

          • Some things in science are indeed independent of the other sciences, especially the sciences furthest away. For example, you don't need to know any physics to understand the rules and concepts of economics, because they're so far removed. But for chemistry and physics, they are so closely related that everything in chemistry is ultimately explained by physics. For example, why are some chemicals colored?, what happens at the melting point?, why does carbon exist in so many different forms? You need physics for explaining this.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            All the higher level sciences when broken down to their fundamental parts reduce down to physics

            I missed the part where you proved this. Yes, if you isolate particles from a frog and do particle physics experiments on them, you can describe the behavior of those particles almost perfectly in isolation, using only equations from physics. But at that point you are no longer studying how those particles behave when they are part of a frog. You will fail to detect any top-down causation, because that analytical methodology prescinds from the whole organism (the frog) that would be doing the "causing from the top".

            I think the problem is that you are forgetting the error term in your equation. Actual measurements do depart from the predictions of Core Theory, however infinitesimally and (apparently) non-systematically. The contribution of "error terms" may be exceedingly small when making predictions about individual particles in highly controlled experimental systems, but one has to "roll up" billions of those "error terms" in order to describe a complex system. The Core Theory equation is silent as to the joint distribution of those individual error terms, so there is plenty of room for other principles to be at work -- without ever violating Core Theory -- when we start considering the top-down effects of joint configurations, a.k.a. "forms" (such as frogs).

          • You will fail to detect any top-down causation, because that analytical methodology prescinds from the whole organism (the frog) that would be doing the "causing from the top".

            What? Your claim here is that atoms behave under different laws when they are part of living things? Such that quantum mechanics doesn't apply to the parts? Is that your view?

            I think the problem is that you are forgetting the error term in your equation. Actual measurements do depart from the predictions of Core Theory, however infinitesimally and (apparently) non-systematically. The contribution of "error terms" may be exceedingly small when making predictions about individual particles in highly controlled experimental systems, but one has to "roll up" billions of those "error terms" in order to describe a complex system.

            Where? Give examples. What experiment deviates from CT?

            The Core Theory equation is silent as to the joint distribution of those individual error terms, so there is plenty of room for other principles to be at work -- without ever violating Core Theory -- when we start considering the top-down effects of joint configurations, a.k.a. "forms" (such as frogs).

            No it doesn't, because such top down effects would necessarily violate the equation. This is especially true because of a feature in quantum mechanics known as crossing symmetry. Crossing symmetry says that if one field can interact with another one, the second field can produce particles of the first one. This means that if there were a new particle or force that could interact with the stuff that we're made of, it would be able to be created by the annihilation of a particle and its antiparticle, due to the fact that in quantum field theory every particle has an antiparticle with an opposite charge. More simply: if a new particle can interact with ordinary particles, then that particle can be created in high energy collisions. We've tested collisions of particles and their antiparticles with enormous energies and no new particles or forces were found. This rules out all possible new particles and forces that can interact with people, animals, or inanimate objects made of atoms that is in any way noticeable or detectable. Any top down force or effect would require a new field or particle that was not present in the system.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            Your claim here is that atoms behave under different laws when they are part of living things? Such that quantum mechanics doesn't apply to the parts?

            No, I assume that all the same laws of physics apply. But all natural laws are ceteris paribus laws. That is, they are sufficient to determine outcomes in idealized systems, when you hold everything else equal. When a particle participates in a complex system, like a frog, you are no longer holding everything else equal, so all bets are off in terms of whether the physics laws in question still uniquely determines the outcome. Additional (higher level) laws or logic may be part of what determines the outcome in such systems. It's not a matter of violating anything. It's just a matter of what ceteris paribus causality has to mean.

            What experiment deviates from CT?

            If you understand CT as a statistical law, with an error term to reflect measurement error, then no experiment violates it (so far as I'm aware). That is, it is not violated in a statistical sense of there being too many measurements that are too far from the expected value. OTOH, if -- as appears to be the case -- you understand CT as a precisely deterministic law without an error term, then every experiment that involves measurement (which is to say, every experiment ever done) "violates" it, because all measurement is subject to uncertainty. So, take your pick.

            because such top down effects would necessarily violate the equation

            You keep talking about violating the law. I don't know how many times I can say it: I am assuming, at least for purposes of this argument, that CT is never violated. I am not talking about violations, and I am not talking about additional fields or particles. I am saying that, as far as we can tell, the law under- determines what will happen in a complex systems, just as traffic laws under-determine where you are going to drive. I am saying that therefore the joint configuration of all particles in the system may be an additional (not contrary) determinant of outcomes.

          • No, I assume that all the same laws of physics apply.

            Then you assume that there are no other particles or forces not found in the equation.

            That is, they are sufficient to determine outcomes in idealized systems, when you hold everything else equal. When a particle participates in a complex system, like a frog, you are no longer holding everything else equal, so all bets are off in terms of whether the physics laws in question still uniquely determines the outcome. Additional (higher level) laws or logic may be part of what determines the outcome in such systems. It's not a matter of violating anything. It's just a matter of what ceteris paribus causality has to mean.

            The equation covers all possible path integrals of the system, called the action, so it's taking into consideration every possible outcome of an initial condition. If atoms in a frog were to behave in ways contrary to what QM says, things like the conservation of energy and momentum would be violated. So the notion of ceteris paribus laws here is irrelevant. Higher level laws, like say, the 2nd law of thermodynamics come from the lower level laws, and there is a one way direction of "causality" so to speak.

            If you understand CT as a statistical law, with an error term to reflect measurement error, then no experiment violates it (so far as I'm aware). That is, it is not violated in a statistical sense of there being too many measurements that are too far from the expected value. OTOH, if -- as appears to be the case -- you understand CT as a precisely deterministic law without an error term, then every experiment that involves measurement (which is to say, every experiment ever done) "violates" it, because all measurement is subject to uncertainty. So, take your pick.

            Oh OK, I see what you're saying now. In QFT experiments go to 11 decimal places, which is like measuring the width of the continental US to an accuracy of the width of a single human hair. That's pretty a damn accurate. In fact, it's the most accurate predictions in all of science, that I'm aware of. To calculate everything we'd need a lot more computing power or the Laplacian demon variety. But your point is that there may be things included within the existing particles and forces that allow for "forms" to have a causal impact on the behavior of complex systems. I don't even see how that's coherent. By what known and existing force/whatever do these higher level "forms" impose their impact to determine the system behavior? Is it via thermodynamics? Is it via gravity? CT imposes severe restrictions on that possibility. In fact, it rules it out.

            You keep talking about violating the law. I don't know how many times I can say it: I am assuming, at least for purposes of this argument, that CT is never violated. I am not talking about violations, and I am not talking about additional fields or particles. I am saying that, as far as we can tell, the law under- determines what will happen in a complex systems, just as traffic laws under-determine where you are going to drive. I am saying that therefore the joint configuration of all particles in the system may be an additional (not contrary) determinant of outcomes.

            Ok so CT is never violated. Then you have no point as far as I can see, because higher stuff is dependent on the fundamentals, and the fundamentals are described in CT. Ultimately there just 3 forces: electromagnetism, 2 nuclear forces, and then gravity, which is just the curvature of spacetime, and not technically a force, even though it's often described as a force.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            In QFT experiments go to 11 decimal places

            Yes, that breathtaking level of imprecision leaves very little room for other principles to be in play in determining the behavior of a single fermion. But now multiply that imprecision by the number of fermions in a frog, and then tell me if I'm still compelled to believe that CT is the only logic in play in the joint behavior of all those frog-fermions.

            By what known and existing force/whatever do these higher level "forms" impose their impact to determine the system behavior?

            By the same principle that allows two people to dance together in ways that could not have been predicted if one watched them each dance alone. Coordination and relationship changes outcomes. It doesn't make sense to ask for a physical mechanism by which this occurs. The entire point is that holistic forms and configurations, as distinct from elemental properties, can have a causal influence of their own.

          • Yes, that breathtaking level of imprecision leaves very little room for other principles to be in play in determining the behavior of a single fermion. But now multiply that imprecision by the number of fermions in a frog, and then tell me if I'm still compelled to believe that CT is the only logic in play in the joint behavior of all those frog-fermions.

            At the fundamental level, yes it is, because no higher levels of physics or chemistry are at play.

            By the same principle that allows two people to dance together in ways that could not have been predicted if one watched them each dance alone. Coordination and relationship changes outcomes. It doesn't make sense to ask for a physical mechanism by which this occurs. The entire point is that holistic forms and configurations, as distinct from elemental properties, can have a causal influence of their own.

            Still the only forces at work here are the 4 forces in nature. All factors at higher levels reduce down to that. For example, a particular song comes on that has a known dance, and the couple start dancing that way. Let's say for simplicity that it's the 90s megahit, the Macarena. If I was standing there in the audience, once I hear that song I could predict they'd start doing the Macarena. But the reason why they start doing the Macarena, is because of the sound waves coming into their ears which is information going into their brain which stimulates their existing memory to do the Macarena, which is stored in neurons which are made up on atoms, which of course all follow the CT equation. It's all still the CT equation. Don't think that the CT equation applies only to single atoms, it applies to everything in the everyday realm. The traffic analogy doesn't apply, because traffic rules do not determine driving. A speed limit of 60 at most only says you won't go passed 60, it doesn't say whether you will go 50 or 40.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            OK, we are at an impasse and I don't want to keep repeating myself, as I'm sure you do not either. Thank you for a pleasant and instructive conversation. Until we meet again!

          • No problem Jim! The feeling is mutual. I'm always happy when I can have a pleasant dialogue with someone I disagree with. Have a great weekend!

          • Dennis Bonnette

            A good part of the problem is that Thinker does not really grasp the epistemic limits of physics and physical laws. And yes, claiming that something is "completely determined by physical laws - without exception" logically denies such limits.

            I have elsewhere pointed out the logical weakness of the inductive method used in natural science, meaning that you can never proceed from particular scientific observations to formation of a truly universal scientific law, since, as David Hume realized, you can associate regular patterns of phenomena forever, and yet, never know whether that regularity actually holds universally.

            Hume’s weak form of induction through simple repetition of associated observed phenomena fails to produce universally certain physical laws.

            Thinker does not see the relevance of the logical fallacy of “affirming the consequent,” apparently not grasping that it is the reason that no scientific experiment is ever definitive in proving a “universal law.” That is because any successful experimental results merely “tend to support” hypotheses, since the fallacy means that some other unknown factor
            could always have accounted for the “successful” result.

            The so-called “critical experiment” attempts to eliminate all confounding factors, but is only as good as the assumptions of the experimenter himself.

            Once one understands the true epistemic limitations of
            physics, intellectual humility requires that it not be used as the absolute measuring stick for all truth -- including claims, such as (1) that all reality is deterministic and (2) that spiritual powers could never influence physical events, or (3), that such influence must necessarily be scientifically measurable.

          • Jim the Scott

            Thoughtless writes:

            >Of course, because it must be epiphenominal, as I've been arguing this whole time.

            It is as I said "Boo hoo! No Fair! You are not a Cartesian dualist".

            On that note Feser once pointed out that most objections one could make against Cartesian dualism can be brought against property dualism.

            With a few extra problems thrown in.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphenomenalism#Arguments_against

            Quote"The most powerful argument against epiphenomenalism is that it is self-contradictory: If we have knowledge about epiphenomenalism, then our brains know about the existence of the mind, but if epiphenomenalism were correct, then our brains should not have any knowledge about the mind, because the mind does not affect anything physical.[9]

            However, some philosophers do not accept this as a rigorous refutation. For example, Victor Argonov states that epiphenomenalism is a questionable, but experimentally falsifiable theory. He argues that personal mind is not the only source of knowledge about the existence of mind in the world. A creature (even a zombie) could have knowledge about mind and the mind-body problem by virtue of some innate knowledge.[10] The information about mind (and its problematic properties such as qualia) could have been, in principle, implicitly "written" in the material world since its creation. Epiphenomenalists can say that God created immaterial mind and a detailed "program" of material human behavior that makes it possible to speak about the mind–body problem. That version of epiphenomenalism seems highly exotic, but it cannot be excluded from consideration by pure theory. However, Argonov suggests that experiments could refute epiphenomenalism. In particular, epiphenomenalism could be refuted if neural correlates of consciousness can be found in the human brain, and it is proven that human speech about consciousness is caused by them.

            Some philosophers, such as Dennett, reject both epiphenomenalism and the existence of qualia with the same charge that Gilbert Ryle leveled against a Cartesian "ghost in the machine", that they too are category mistakes. A quale or conscious experience would not belong to the category of objects of reference on this account, but rather to the category of ways of doing things.

            Functionalists assert that mental states are well described by their overall role, their activity in relation to the organism as a whole. "This doctrine is rooted in Aristotle's conception of the soul, and has antecedents in Hobbes's conception of the mind as a 'calculating machine', but it has become fully articulated (and popularly endorsed) only in the last third of the 20th century."[11] In so far as it mediates stimulus and response, a mental function is analogous to a program that processes input/output in automata theory. In principle, multiple realisability would guarantee platform dependencies can be avoided, whether in terms of hardware and operating system or, ex hypothesi, biology and philosophy. Because a high-level language is a practical requirement for developing the most complex programs, functionalism implies that a non-reductive physicalism would offer a similar advantage over a strictly eliminative materialism.

            Eliminative materialists believe "folk psychology" is so unscientific that, ultimately, it will be better to eliminate primitive concepts such as mind, desire and belief, in favor of a future neuro-scientific account. A more moderate position such as J. L. Mackie's error theory suggests that false beliefs should be stripped away from a mental concept without eliminating the concept itself, the legitimate core meaning being left intact.

            Benjamin Libet's results are quoted[12] in favor of epiphenomenalism, but he believes subjects still have a "conscious veto", since the readiness potential does not invariably lead to an action. In Freedom Evolves, Daniel Dennett argues that a no-free-will conclusion is based on dubious assumptions about the location of consciousness, as well as questioning the accuracy and interpretation of Libet's results. Similar criticism of Libet-style research has been made by neuroscientist Adina Roskies and cognitive theorists Tim Bayne and Alfred Mele.

            Others have argued that data such as the Bereitschaftspotential undermine epiphenomenalism for the same reason, that such experiments rely on a subject reporting the point in time at which a conscious experience and a conscious decision occurs, thus relying on the subject to be able to consciously perform an action. That ability would seem to be at odds with early epiphenomenalism, which according to Huxley is the broad claim that consciousness is "completely without any power… as the steam-whistle which accompanies the work of a locomotive engine is without influence upon its machinery".[13]

            Adrian G. Guggisberg and Annaïs Mottaz have also challenged those findings.[14]

            A study by Aaron Schurger and colleagues published in PNAS[15] challenged assumptions about the causal nature of the readiness potential itself (and the "pre-movement buildup" of neural activity in general), thus denying the conclusions drawn from studies such as Libet's[16] and Fried's.[17]

            In favor of interactionism, Celia Green (2003) argues that epiphenomenalism does not even provide a satisfactory 'out' from the problem of interaction posed by substance dualism. Although it does not entail substance dualism, according to Green, epiphenomenalism implies a one-way form of interactionism that is just as hard to conceive of as the two-way form embodied in substance dualism. Green suggests the assumption that it is less of a problem may arise from the unexamined belief that physical events have some sort of primacy over mental ones.

            Donald Symons dismisses epiphenomenalism from an evolutionary perspective. He says that the view that mind is an epiphenomenon of brain activity is not consistent with evolutionary theory, because if mind were functionless, it would have disappeared long ago, as it would not have been favoured by evolution.[18]"END QUOTE

          • On that note Feser once pointed out that most objections one could make against Cartesian dualism can be brought against property dualism.

            With a few extra problems thrown in.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

            Quote"The most powerful argument against epiphenomenalism is that it is self-contradictory: If we have knowledge about epiphenomenalism, then our brains know about the existence of the mind, but if epiphenomenalism were correct, then our brains should not have any knowledge about the mind, because the mind does not affect anything physical.[9]

            Jim the Idiot is completely obsessed with me. Looks like I got into his head.

            Oh St. Feser to the rescue!!!! He's never wrong about anything! LOL. Substance dualism has many more problems. The interaction problem being the fatal one.

            That quote is wrong. It is wrong where it says "but if epiphenomenalism were correct, then our brains should not have any knowledge about the mind, because the mind does not affect anything physical."

            There is nothing in epiphenominalism that states or entails that if it is true, our brains can't have any knowledge about the mind, because that knowledge is ultimately physical brain states, and only physical things are causing anything else here. The mind is not causally effective because "knowledge of epiphenominalism" is due to a physical brain state.

            For example, Victor Argonov states that epiphenomenalism is a questionable, but experimentally falsifiable theory.

            Um, if mental causation could be demonstrated epiphenominalism would be proved false .Very easy to falsify it. All those other objections are just as misled in different ways.

          • George

            "substantial forms in living things need not pose the problem for science that you apparently think it does."

            Does it do anything useful? Or is it just predicting the dice roll after the dice have been rolled?

          • Jim the Scott

            How are any of your vague inane questions useful? Or do you just post them for s***s and giggles?

          • George

            "In terms of your own philosophical physics, at best you exist as but a temporary epiphenomenon of cerebral activity dependent on a kind of buffered temporary accidental association of massively numerous subatomic particles. I would find it hard to sleep nights thinking that thought."

            Yeah. We can either deal with it or not.

            "any more than what happens when our “stomach digests our supper.” "

            "my point is that at least some intellective activity, such as the formation of universal
            concepts, entails no more physical violation of scientific laws than the stomach does when digesting, since the organs involved do not violate these laws"

            You're reminding me very strongly of atheist reasoning. Intellect not being a substance but a process, with digestion being the example used.

          • Jim the Scott

            If you want to sum up Thoughtless long winded nonsense & rambling goofy response you could do so by simply saying this "BOO HOO! NO FAIR! You are not a Cartesian dualist!!!!"

            Like I said he doesn't just hold one or two mistakes. He holds dozens and dozens of mistakes. Correcting one mistake and he throws out two more.

            He doesn't understand a formal cause from an efficient cause from a hole in the head and unless we can explain the whole of Catholic doctrine in terms of Reductionist materialism then it must be "false".

            Then there is the dogmatic scientism he uses which is as plain as a Bulgarian Pin Up model which he denies but it is self evident he relies on it at every turn. He is like the Reformed Christian I argue with who rebuff polemics against Sola Scriptura but claiming I am attack a view called "solo scriptura". A distinction without a difference as is his "non-scientism" scientism.

          • The issue is that Dennis is claiming two things that are incompatible:

            A. insist the intellect is not epiphenominal
            B. insist that the intellect violates no physical laws

            If A is true, B is false.

            You're too stupid to understand this of course because you know nothing of the subject matter and see everything in terms of your MO of accusing everyone of scientism with your tourette's syndrome.

            But glad you're keeping the collective intellect of this site combox at the middle school level.

          • George

            "but making a judgment about the ontological nature of its cause"

            How about this instead: "Rather than dogmatically conclude either way, let's wait for more evidence, and in the MEANTIME, let's simply NOT claim and indoctrinate (for instance, children) that there is immaterial stuff that complicates things."

            That's roughly a position that I feel comfortable giving, but apologists want to shout over that with "Scientism! You're just as bad!" And all the while they'd like me to become a catholic, where presumably I should start believing in demonic possession and the supposed spirit of Fulton Sheen intervening on earth to keep stillborn babies alive without oxygen for over an hour.

            I'm totally willing to take a course on how this immaterial stuff works, what it does, what gaps it fills, what predictions it makes, and all the accompanying complications given they turn out justified. If I expect intellectual honesty from the field of immateriality, will I be satisfied, or will I find mercenary convenience based on the immediate needs of the discussion at hand?

          • BCE

            I would guess animals don't contemplate the immaterial realm.
            The fact that human animals do, might mean there is some advantage to doing so. There's no evidence our brains are different then that of mankind 12,000 years ago(from earliest known societies) most have " immaterial stuff" as you put it, it seems universal.
            I don't know if scientists would consider the predilection "mercenary".
            Atheists might want to consider that although as atheists they think a particular immaterial concept (spirits, essences, truth, justice, good, evil) is doubtful, non-the-less the brain will create these concepts(as they might serve some purpose) and possibly do not undermine our intelligence, but advance it....
            (as evident that we're the most intelligent species and we do think about immaterial things)

          • Jim the Scott

            >That's roughly a position that I feel comfortable giving, but apologists want to shout over that with "Scientism! You're just as bad!".

            Because certain species of low brow lazy Atheists want to pretend all god concepts are equivalent and employ some type of general one size fits all atheist polemic that can be crafted to refute them all. That is just self defeating. Classic Theists like Thomists and western Theism in general contend the existence of God is something that can only be known philosophically & lazy Atheists (especially if they are influenced by modern Gnu Atheists) are more often then not skilled in arguing against "Scientific Theism" not "philosophical Theism". So they employ a lot of argumentative fallacies of equivocation and pretend all views of Theism are scientific & waste everyone's time.

            You have to argue against the God I believe in not the one you wished I believed in because you are used to arguing with others who believe in such a god that I am personally an atheist toward believing in. Got that?

            Philosophy is more fundamental then science. Science may be more accurate (& even then that is dodgy). You cannot prove or disprove God's existence scientifically. Nor can you scientifically prove Atheist views like Reductionist Materialism. Radical Skepticism, metaphysical naturalism, Platonic Atheism etc right or wrong.

            You must do philosophy and the real question becomes "Will you do it well or badly?".

            >I'm totally willing to take a course on how this immaterial stuff works, what it does, what gaps it fills, what predictions it makes, and all the accompanying complications given they turn out justified.

            “There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.
            —Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, 1995”

            You believe in Scientism. You believe the only meaningful knowledge that exists is scientific. The problem with that belief is it is itself not a scientific view thus by it's own standards it is not meaningful. It is irrational and incoherent even if there are no gods.

            The scientific method itself by which you make predictions of the behavior of physical processes and mechanisms is based on philosophical presuppositions that can't be proven scientifically.

            > And all the while they'd like me to become a catholic,

            As I recall ex-Atheists like Feser didn't become Catholic overnight.

            You have to get past Natural Theology and Natural Philosophy but you want to jump into Saints answering prayers?

            It's like skipping basic Math and going straight to calculus.

            Why?

          • Such judgments are by their very nature philosophical.

            All judgments -- yours, mine, everybody's -- become philosophical when they involve answering the question "What do we know and how do we know it?"

            You simply assume that there is no more to the intellect than material activity

            I do not assume that. I have inferred it from a lifetime of studying the arguments of people who say there is more to our intellects than material activity. And I began that study, by the way, convinced that those people had to be right.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I accept the sincerity of your investigation, but you leave me wondering exactly who and what you read on the matter.

            Much like the proofs for God's existence, I read a lot of alleged proofs that would not convince me either. If they were all I knew, I would not think a rational proof existed myself.

            If you are really serious about the matter, I would urge you to read a serious presentation, such as that found in Benignus Gerrity's Nature, Knowledge, and God (Bruce, 1947), pp. 188-206, especially the sections discussing concepts vs. images, pp. 193-196. You likely can find it in a library.

          • but you leave me wondering exactly who and what you read on the matter.

            As I said, it was a life-long study, and I wasn't maintaining a bibliography. Nor was I taking any other notes until I returned to college in my old age to get a philosophy degree. Some of the papers I wrote at the time were at least tangentially relevant to the subject. If you're interested, you can get a hint at where I'm coming from by reading my "Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism," which I've posted at http://dougshaver.net/philosophy/College/plantinganaturalism.htm.

            If you are really serious about the matter, I would urge you to read a serious presentation, such as that found in Benignus Gerrity's Nature, Knowledge, and God (Bruce, 1947), pp. 188-206, especially the sections discussing concepts vs. images, pp. 193-196.

            It seems inevitable in these discussion that someone will suggest one more book that I haven't already read, and will assure me that that book will present the killer argument that has eluded me over all these years. Being committed to maintaining an open mind, I have gotten several of those books and read them, only to discover, without fail, that their arguments lacked the promised cogency.

            As time permits, I will see if I can get a copy of this one and pay special attention to the passage you cited.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Your comments on Plantinga are not at all in the area I am thinking about. I don't know where you did your philosophy degree, but most American universities are heavily analytic in content -- and often not offering much depth in classical philosophy, such as A-T. Benignus takes a very different approach. You may already know the A-T type arguments, but if you have not seen them, they might be worth your effort. Benignus gives the best single summary of that tradition you can find in a single book -- omitting ethics and political philosophy entirely, though. Besides the nice thing about finding a copy in a library is that you simply return it if it does not impress you! He is writing right after WWII and some of the content is a bit dated as a result, but it was recent enough to address issues raised by modern physics to some extent.

            While I am loathe to give you this link as if it were the full logic you would find in Benignus, I did publish an article you can look up online at http://www.godandscience.org/evolution/ape-language.html dealing with ape-language studies. Right near the bottom is a section on "image and concept" that gives at least a hint at the type of argument Benignus develops more fully. It was tangential to my own topic, so I did not develop it that much -- but it may give you enough "flavor" to know if you have seen it before.

            And you don't even have to return it to the library!

          • I don't know where you did your philosophy degree, but most American universities are heavily analytic in content -- and often not offering much depth in classical philosophy, such as A-T.

            Cal State San Bernardino, and your description of its focus is accurate. My professors paid little attention to Aristotle and almost none to Aquinas.

            You may already know the A-T type arguments, but if you have not seen them, they might be worth your effort.

            I have read Feser’s The Last Superstition. I intended to write a fairly detailed critique of it to post on my website, and I have finished the first draft. It needs much revision, though, and I’m having trouble sustaining the motivation to complete that task. I’m hoping to get back on it soon.

            Besides the nice thing about finding a copy in a library is that you simply return it if it does not impress you!

            Actually, one reason I hate using a library is that I prefer to keep any book I have read regardless of how much or little it has impressed me. The inconvenience of a trip to the library just to return it is almost incidental.

            While I am loathe to give you this link as if it were the full logic you would find in Benignus, I did publish an article you can look up online at http://www.godandscience.or... dealing with ape-language studies. Right near the bottom is a section on "image and concept" that gives at least a hint at the type of argument Benignus develops more fully.

            I get it that a single article is unlikely to convey everything you think I should know. I appreciate the link. I’ll check it out first chance.

          • Jim the Scott

            Thoughtless' double think is so entertaining.

            To this day he treats science and philosophy & metaphysics as interchangeable & denies he holds scientism. LOL!

            He seems to think just because you can use science to examine physical reality and you can make a philosophical and or metaphysical examinations of physical reality therefore you can use science to "refute" philosophical or metaphysical claims about physical reality.

            He really can't comprehend category mistakes. It's amazing......

          • To this day he treats science and philosophy & metaphysics as interchangeable & denies he holds scientism. LOL!

            Jim the Idiot's reasoning is so entertaining. Despite the fact that it's been proved to him dozens of times that claims in philosophy, metaphysics, or theology can be about the nature of the physical universe, which includes the domain of science, he still pretends that it is in principle impossible that a claim in philosophy, metaphysics, or theology can have any bearing to science whatsoever.

            That means the young earth creationism can't be informed by science, whether presentism is true can't be informed by science, whether or not we have immaterial souls animating us can't be informed by science. We just can't find any science whatsoever that can tell us anything about whether the earth is 6000 years old, or whether only the present exists, or we're being animated by ghosts!!!!

            He seems to think just because you can use science to examine physical reality and you can make a philosophical and or metaphysical examinations of physical reality therefore you can use science to "refute" philosophical or metaphysical claims about physical reality.

            This is easily shown false. I claim that some metaphysical views make claims or assume things about the nature of physical reality, and such claims or assumptions fall within the purview of science. Here is why using AT metaphysics as an example:

            1. AT metaphysics claims act/potency causality distinctions are real.
            2. Act/potency claims that A will actualize B's coming into existence.
            3. This requires a true ontological coming into existence or "becoming" of effects by their causes.
            4. Such a claim presupposes the view on time known as presentism is true.
            5. Presentism says that only the present moment exists and does so universally, and that the past and future do not exist.
            6. Presentism's claims about time fall within the purview of scientific investigation.

            I could stop right here because I've demonstrated my claim: Some metaphysical claims make or assume things about the nature of physical reality, and such claims fall within the purview of science. However, I can go a step further:

            7. Scientific theories and experimental data have falsified the view known as presentism via special and general relativity.
            8. Therefore, AT metaphysics assumes a view on the theory of time that falls within the purview of scientific investigation and that has been falsified for 100 years.
            9. Thomism would be false as a result of this.

            He really can't comprehend category mistakes. It's amazing......

            Right, and since math and science are in different categories, they can never overlap!!!! Take that Einstein!!

          • Jim the Scott

            Thoughtless is so entertainingly contradictory. You tell him you are not making a scientific argument. He ignores that & kvetches your case is unscientific quote"Still you're not letting the science guide you. You're letting theology guide you".END QUOTE

            Then he says this beauty QUOTE"When did I ever say science is the only way to know anything? Can you please stop with the strawmen scientism claims?".END QUOTE

            Wow!

            Somebody please freeze Mr. Jello.

          • He's making an argument with scientific implications. And so I'm informing him of those points. Been down this road before. Jim the Idiot still doesn't get it.

          • BCE

            With a relatively huge populations known to exist(ie Egypt and Persia)
            for the Genesis author to discern man is like dirt, and began with a small expanding, migrating population is insightful.
            After all the story could have been, ....there was a great celestial fruit tree from which grew woman and a great nut tree from which grew man and God cast them onto the moon, they lay waste the land. So one man and one women fled to earth...but that's not the Genesis story.
            Instead humans are made on earth, after fish and from elements found in dirt. There is one humanity of man and women.

            Mutations occur usually in individuals. Usually random. So there is an origin.
            Even radiation, or a virus (which can cause mutation to a group) might have a first person effected(even if measured in minutes). Then the change(mutation) must be transmittable to offspring
            And though one group, with a distinct mitochondrial profile, may decades or centuries later meet another group, and their intermixing create a first "group"
            of humans, doesn't mean among thousands there is not firsts.
            Even huge cities like New York can record the first child born of the 2018 New Year (and that's out of millions) And that child could have a unique bit of dna.
            So I can except a statistical first couple.

          • Rob Abney

            Why can't you read an entire book?

          • I don't have the time to do so in the course of this discussion. That's why it's best to answer questions that are directly asked.

          • Rob Abney

            You don't have to be restricted to the course of this discussion, you've been discussing these subjects for a long time anyway.

          • I don't know Dennis's particular views. And almost every Christian on this subject seems to have their own perspective on dealing with A&E and science and there are often highly nuanced differences between them.

          • Rob Abney

            If you are perplexed by a variety of views then you should concentrate on more reliable views, views that have to be peer-reviewed for instance, or a book-length study. Unless you are just looking for inconsistencies so that you can re-affirm your own view.

          • Sgt Carver

            It's always amusing the way "childlike belief" is lauded and even celebrated by religious people.

            But as soon as a question is raised by an atheist they have to read a book. Often if the reply is "I've read it and......", then the reply is "Aw but you must read two more books before you can object, because of course you didn't really understand it"..... and on it goes.

            Edited for spelling... twice embarrassingly :-)

          • But as soon as a question is raised by an atheist they have to read a book.

            True! And the book you are supposed to read is invariably either out of print or exorbitantly expensive (or both).

          • Jim the Scott

            Actually like Sandra Bernhard on a Saturday Night that goes both ways.

          • Rob Abney

            That's a gross misrepresentation of my interactions with Thinker. But if you've had that suggested to you a lot then maybe it's an indication of a need that you are demonstrating. Reading a book is not that hard, some people even read more than one!

          • Jim the Scott

            Wow! The links are right there(I read them years ago). The articles on http://drbonnette.com/ are as plain as a Bulgarian Pin Up and Thoughtless can't read plain English(or string together a coherent thought or formulate an intelligent objection).

            Wow.

          • You wouldn't know what an intelligent objection was if it were a Bulgarian pin up on your prison cell wall.

      • Jim the Scott

        I think Thoughtless can't get past his fundamentalist mentality nor can he comprehend how a literal Adam and Eve is possible within Theistic Evolution.

        For him you either believe in a literal fiat creation Adam and Eve made 6000 years ago literally from dust or you "don't "believe in the Bible.

        He is just so uneducated.

        • Nonsense of course. I'm well aware that the Catholic Church's official position on evolution is that it is true. But how that fits into a literal Adam and Eve is not clear. So when Dennis mentioned his views, a smart person would ask for clarification, instead of making assumptions on what the other person thinks, which is exactly what I did.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            It appears that you are unaware that the Catholic Church has taken no official position on the theory of evolution. It is not the work of the Church to teach natural scientific theories. Still, the Church may take a position on some specific scientific teaching, should that teaching appear to conflict with official Church teaching.

          • Pope John Paul II gave the green light to evolution back in 1996 or 97 as did Pope Pius XII in 1950. Official or not, evolution is OK among Catholics. But back to the point, there are things you're saying a Catholic must believe that are in contradiction with science. You can't say it is compatible with science if you have to hold faith over evidence. Such a view is precisely why religion has a bad reputation today (other than terrorism and the homophobia).

          • Dennis Bonnette

            It does not surprise me that you do not know the difference between a private papal opinion and the official Magisterium of the Church. The sense in which "evolution is OK among Catholics" requires elaboration.

            As to whether what I am saying conflicts with science, that is simply an assertion on your part -- made without a careful reading of my published papers. You make many assumptions and unproven claims, as usual.

          • Well then I was wrong on the church. I thought it was officially made decades ago.

            Your published papers (from what I can see so far) admit that the science doesn't lead you to your conclusion, theology does. Regarding my claims. I probably provide more evidence for my claims than most people on this site. I put forth arguments and evidence (as in the case for my argument for eternalism). Who else on this site provides so much backing up of their claims. Regarding the historical Adam and Eve, read biologist Jerry Coyne. He's written on the subject quite a bit: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/adam-and-eve-the-ultimate-standoff-between-science-and-faith-and-a-contest/

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Species, also, that are new, if any such appear, existed beforehand in various active powers; so that animals, and perhaps even new species of animals, are produced by putrefaction by the power which the stars and elements received at the beginning.
            -- Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica, Part I Q73 A1 reply3

            Species etiam novae, si quae apparent, praeextiterunt in quibusdam activis virtutibus, sicut et animalia ex putrefactione generata producuntur ex virtutibus stellarum et elementorum quas a principio acceperunt, etiam si novae species talium animalium producantur.

            IOW, new species would emerge from the potencies of older species by means of natural powers. This is no big deal. Augustine, centuries before Aquinas, wrote:

            It is therefore, causally that Scripture has said that earth brought forth the crops and trees, in the sense that it received the power of bringing them forth. In the earth from the beginning, in what I might call the roots of time, God created what was to be in times to come.
            Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis, On the literal meanings of Genesis, Book V Ch. 4:11

            Causaliter ergo tunc dictum est produxisse terram herbam et lignum, id est producendi accepisse virtutem. In ea quippe iam tamquam in radicibus, ut ita dixerim, temporum facta erant, quae per tempora futura erant.

            IOW, the power of bringing forth the various species was given to the earth [nature] herself.

          • "various active powers"

            explain.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Physical bodies possess powers by which they are capable of acting directly on other physical bodies. There are a variety of such powers. Gravitation is one; so is reproduction, et al. So is motion -- although as you contend that motion does not exist, you are a Darwin denier, de facto. So new species may arise from old ex putrefactione or perhaps more specifically from mutation of the powers implicit in the genetic code. This could be followed by a "natural selection" by which the actions of the animal are improved or not by the mutation. (However, to believe this, you must believe that change [i.e. motion, or kinesis] is real.

          • Jim the Scott

            >although as you contend that motion does not exist, you are a Darwin denier, de facto.

            It is worst then that Mike. Thoughtless is a born again Parmenidean who thinks Special Relativity(physics) "scientifically" proves Eternalism(a philosophical theory of time). Yet he denies holding to scientism?

            It is beyond entertaining.

          • What's beyond entertaining is your ongoing failure to understand what my view is or what my arguments are or any of the relevant subject matter. Thinking a well tested science theory confirms a view on time (that was derived from that scientific theory) is not scientism. You just can't help yourself accusing others of scientism. Knee jerk.

          • Nope. Evolution is a higher level theory, in biology. All higher level ontologies are emergent from the lower level ontologies - namely physics. Motion, movement, cause and effect - all are emergent phenomena not found in the fundamental science. So evolution is perfectly compatible with eternalism for example. It just means that the 4 dimensional existence of the tree of life extends eternally in spacetime, but still isn't the same in every simultaneous time. Hence we evolved because we didn't just appear as we are now in spacetime. We are part of a continuous 4 dimensional exists that exists differently in different parts of spacetime, which is what we call evolution.

            Is your point that Aquinas wrote about evolution? I'm still not getting your point.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            I have not seen such excellent tap dancing since the estimable Donald O Conner retired the stage.

          • Perhaps you need to read again.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "Your published papers (from what I can see so far) admit that the science doesn't lead you to your conclusion, theology does."

            What conclusion? That Adam and Eve are real? Theology does say that. But I do not claim that science says that -- and that was never the purpose of my enquiries. The most common theme of my work in this area has been to show that science does not preclude the existence of a literal Adam.

            I suspect that you are thinking that I am trying to prove more than I claim to prove.

            I am satisfied merely to show that science does not preclude a literal Adam, since, if that is true, then theology is free to proclaim his existence as a doctrinal, not scientific, truth.

          • Don't you mean a literal Adam and Eve? Since there were two?

          • D.B. "....That Adam and Eve are real?...."
            T.T. "....you mean a literal Adam and Eve..."

            You are really literally asking if by real he means literal.

            Regarding the path of Dirt-To-Man which both Genesis and Science affirm, whence the ontological history of becoming with respect to that which outlives the body proper vs. that which God creates – lifeless – outside of Eden? Speaking of outliving – outdistancing – the body proper:

            Survivalism & Corruptionism are looked at in http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2016/03/so-what-are-you-doing-after-your-funeral.html as that which outlives the body is not impersonal and static, but personal and in motion.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            If you examine the dogma of original sin in relation to its commission, you would find that the doctrinal formulations refer to Adam alone -- and that it was solely by his action that it involved all of his descendants. That he had a wife, Eve, is simply an obvious attendant fact, which Genesis states.

          • Well said.

            [1] What is and is not being claimed with respect to Adam, Eve, & Genetics: https://www.str.org/blog/are-methods-designed-measure-initial-human-population-size-valid#.WaRRDT596Ul

            [2] In that same discussion, the problem of overreaching: http://disq.us/p/1ilsjzq

            [3] N.T. Wright, John Polkinghorne, and Allister McGrath on Adam and Eve: http://disq.us/p/1jcknyj

            And, for precision, these:

            [4] http://disq.us/p/1glno2c
            [5] http://disq.us/p/1glno3k
            [6] http://disq.us/p/1jcknyj (this is [2] from above etc.)

            [7] http://disq.us/p/1ilsjzq
            [8] http://disq.us/p/1dxtk5e

            [9] http://disq.us/p/1hw2r14
            [10] http://disq.us/p/1ee0afb

            The Lifeless Adam which God creates in and by Dirt-To-Man outside of Eden is certainly a part of the Whole, and, just the same, it is certainly not the Whole.

          • The path of Dirt-To-Man which both Genesis and Science affirm is interesting. There are, per Christianity, real distinctions to be made amid the ontological history of becoming with respect to that which outlives the body proper vs. that which God creates – lifeless – outside of Eden.

            Speaking of outliving – outdistancing – the corporeal or the body-proper:

            Survivalism & Corruptionism are looked at in http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2016/03/so-what-are-you-doing-after-your-funeral.html

            The contours of the Christian metaphysic which outlive the body are not impersonal and static, but personal and in motion.

            It is true that our Non-Theist friends *overreach* in their heated reaction to Christian claims here, as per the link in the previous comment. Also, we can add that they also *under-reach* in that they do not actually include the entire show of what the Christian defines as Material / Immaterial (and so on).

          • Sgt Carver

            The most common theme of my work in this area has been to show that science does not preclude the existence of a literal Adam.

            That seems like good example of a God* of the gaps argument.

            ETA: Perhaps an Adam of the gaps in your case.

          • Jim the Scott

            >That seems like good example of a God* of the gaps argument.

            >ETA: Perhaps an Adam of the gaps in your case.

            Not really. God of the Gaps is an appeal to God or the supernatural to account for gaps in scientific knowledge. Science can't tell us if we have souls or not or if our intellects or consciousness are material only in the reductionist sense or emergent properties in the non-reductionist or immaterial etc....

            Those are philosophical questions.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            It is obvious that you do not have any depth on this topic and have not read my materials carefully. Otherwise, you would know that Coyne's reference to Mitachondrial Eve is totally irrelevant to theological monogenism. And his reference to the bottleneck problem merely opens a discussion which my writings address in far greater detail.

            Again, you don't even seem to understand what my conclusion is. Can you spell out what you think it is? If you understood it, you would not keep saying it proceeds from Catholic theology. Truth is that I make a number of conclusions on this complex topic, which is why my position is best understood only by reading entire publications -- and not expressed by posting simplistic statements on this thread.

          • Your writings state that humans cross bread to get more genetic diversity, correct? The data Coyne writes about is relevant to the discussion.

            Dennis, the reason why I asked you direct questions was so that I wouldn't strawman your beliefs. But instead you prefer to link me to entire books which you know I will not have the time to read in the course of this dialogue. That's why I prefer you just answer my questions directly instead of having me play the guessing game. If you were genuinely interested in me not strawmanning your views, this is what you would do.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            No, I do not state that humans crossbred to get needed genetic diversity. I state that that is one possibility should such a solution be needed to explain present genetic diversity. This is one of the reasons this topic takes article length explanations, since many subtle distinctions are both relevant and needed. That is why I refer you to the entire articles and my book.

            I do not see you exploring the epistemic challenge posed by an entire science based on computer modeling of many hypothetical assumptions built into hugely chronologically retrospective calculations about genetic conditions hundreds of thousands of years ago that can never be replicated in real time.

            This is not the sort of science that you can easily verify like testing whether an acid neutralizes a base in a local laboratory. That is why grandiose assertions about what is "scientifically possible" are not scientifically possible.

          • I agree it's complex, and perhaps we shouldn't go down this trail because of that. Regarding the epistemic challenges, I agree this is not like going into a lab and mixing a few chemicals. But when scientists do their genetic modelling, in many of the recent tests, they are making reasonable assumptions. The literal A&E view often forces one to make unreasonable assumptions to fit the theology, like when some theists (not necessarily you) say that the mutation rate was much higher in the past and then suddenly slowed down to get the amount of genetic diversity to allow for a literal A&E. This is ad hoc. So we have cases where theology forces one to make unreasonable assumptions to force the data to fit the religious belief. Do this enough and you can see the problem of fitting the square peg into the round hole, and the conflict between science and theology.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You may be surprised to learn that I agree with at least some of what you say here. While what I know of genetic computer modeling does not move me to accept that recent assumptions bridge the inherent weaknesses of such very ancient retrospective speculations, I do personally reject the scientific claims often made on behalf of young earth creationism. That is why my own research in this area attempts to rely on peer reviewed studies in reputable scientific journals for those issues appropriate to such matters.

            This is still no justification for ignoring truths that can be obtained through other sciences, such as the various philosophical and theological disciplines.

          • Ok, well then on that relatively positive note, we can end this particular thread. Thanks for the discussion.

          • Jim the Scott

            Nobody believes Thoughtless when claims he doesn't want to "strawman" the arguments. If past behavior is a predictor of future behavior that seems self evident.

            I know Dr. B you are making modest claims that science doesn't preclude biological monogenesis & that evolution doesn't preclude a literal Adam and Eve. But Thoughtless can't state plainly what he means, nor state his views plainly or coherently nor take people at their word. He is pointless.
            Like I said Sophists are not interesting. Lazy Sophists are the worst.

            Thoughtless no doubt thinks we believe Adam and Eve are literally Y Chromosome Adam or Mitochondria Eve which of course is laughable since they lived thousands of years apart. For all we know the real Biblical Adam and Eve's genes died out of the gene pool long ago.

            Speaking for myself I think your defense of a biological monogenesis is ambitious and perhaps plausible but many years ago I don't think you remember (I call myself BenYachov on Feser's board) I told you I prefer a more minimalist view. I condone a theological monogenesis that makes room for a biological polygenesis.

            http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/12/knowing-ape-from-adam.html

            http://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/papers/kemp-monogenism.pdf

            The First Man
            http://www.aish.com/tp/i/moha/48931772.html

            Cheers boss.

          • I know Dr. B you are making modest claims that science doesn't preclude biological monogenesis & that evolution doesn't preclude a literal Adam and Eve. But Thoughtless can't state plainly what he means, nor state his views plainly or coherently nor take people at their word. He is pointless.

            And the kind of the strawmen must be right, because he never let's his bias paint all people he disagrees with into the caricatures he wants them to be!!! Never!!!

            Thoughtless no doubt thinks we believe Adam and Eve are literally Y Chromosome Adam or Mitochondria Eve which of course is laughable since they lived thousands of years apart. For all we know the real Biblical Adam and Eve's genes died out of the gene pool long ago.

            Nope. Your projections are amazing. Your tendency to strawman and caricature atheists as simple-minded positivists and scientistic makes you think all atheists must do the same kind of thing to all theists.

          • flan man

            Let me guess, there's another out of print book I have to read on it?

      • The claims that a literal Adam and Eve are basically impossible is not an atheistic view, it's just the standard scientific view. There's no need to call it atheistic. I see no evidence from what you linked that Adam and Eve were literal historical people. In fact, this is one of the areas genetic research has been done. All I see is one study you cite from Ayala in the mid 90s, but there have been more studies since then.

        • Dennis Bonnette

          You say, "I see no evidence from what you linked that Adam and Eve were literal historical people."

          You have not even read carefully my immediately preceding comment, where I say clearly, "I do not make the absurd claim that science proves their existence,..." -- much less show signs of having read my peer-reviewed papers with care.

          • Jim the Scott

            >You have not even read carefully my immediately preceding comment, where I say clearly, "I do not make the absurd claim that science proves their existence,..."

            As I recall Thoughtless refused to believe me when I tried to tell him the Trinity was not something that can be proven philosophically. He refused to believe me.

            His MO would suggest he will now go out of his way to make up some elaborate ad hoc assertion that Science needs to prove their existence.

            He is stuck in Scientism mode.

          • No, I believed you that the trinity could not be proved philosophically because I insisted it couldn't. The issue was with you insisting god is proven logically, while also insisting that this god just so happens to be a trinity. That requires god has a fundamental essence and nature that is not logically necessary, yet the Thomist claims god is his essence, and his essence proves his necessary existence.

          • Jim the Scott

            Thoughtless is a liar or an idiot or both.

            Thought to be charitable I am going to go with just an idiot.

            >No, I believed you that the trinity could not be proved philosophically because I insisted it couldn't.

            Then logically he can attempt no logical argument against it since the Trinity is outside of logic (other then the principle of non-contradiction which it does not come in conflict).

            > The issue was with you insisting god is proven logically,

            The existence of God is proven philosophically which involves logic. I don't know what "god is proven logically" means as it is ambiguous equivocal phrase on your part and is not proper Thomistic terminology.

            > while also insisting that this god just so happens to be a trinity.

            Philosophy tells us a Classic Theistic God exists. Only the NT can tell us this God is a Trinity or the Rabbinic interpretation of the Old Testament or the Koran can tell us this God is a Unitarian Deity. This is outside of logic.

            >That requires god has a fundamental essence and nature that is not logically necessary,

            Logic cannot tell us God is a Trinity only divine revelation can tell us that. Logically if God is "X" then he cannot be "Not X".
            by logical necessity.

            The only application of Logic & necessity here that can be applied is if "God is a Trinity" then He cannot "Not be a Trinity" & vs versa. That is it.

            >yet the Thomist claims god is his essence, and his essence proves his necessary existence.

            That is a word salad. God is His own Existence. There is no real distinction between "How God exists" vs "That God exists" in His nature but that has nothing to do with Him being a Trinity or not.

            Thoughtless just doesn't want to believe me when I say the Trinity cannot be known to be true via reason or philosophy.

            Then again he is the moron who doesn't know the difference between a formal cause vs a efficient cause from a hole in his head.

          • BCE

            SN who is Jim calling "Thoughtless" a "liar" or "idiot"?
            (regardless) Jim it's fine to call their statements thoughtless, idiotic, or deceptive but not the person. Please stop using idiot and moron.

          • Jim the Scott

            >it's fine to call their statements thoughtless, idiotic, or deceptive but not the person.

            That seems to me to be a distinction without a difference. For example hypothetically if I said what you just said was "thoughtless, idiotic, or deceptive" I think it is safe to say you would be offended.

            Sorry I have no use for phony curtesy. But...because you asked nicely BCE I will take what you have said under advisement & I don't just say that to blow you off. I mean it. But I can't promise anything.

            cheers

          • Michael Murray

            You could read the site commenting guidelines.

            https://strangenotions.com/commenting/

          • It's pretty clear no one's minding the store. Or Brandon Vogt just doesn't care about enforcing his own commenting guidelines (at least against fellow Catholics). Or both.

          • Jim the Scott

            Brandon I think has a new addition and is busy. I also note he hasn't exactly tried to restrain Thoughtless' behavior either & I note you aren't exactly scandalized by that.

            But hey tribalism right?

          • & I note you aren't exactly scandalized by that

            Actually, I don't read The Thinker's comments. I have ignored almost the entire discussion on Thomism and "scientism" (or whatever) with The Thinker, Dr. Bonnette, and you. If The Thinker's comments violate the guidelines, then Brandon or someone acting in his stead (Bonnette or Becklo?) ought to remind you both of the guidelines.

            So you are mistaken (among other things) to accuse me of tribalism. I haven't seen any violations of the guidelines by The Thinker because I have scarcely read a word he has written.

          • Jim the Scott

            > I have ignored almost the entire discussion on Thomism and "scientism".....So you are mistaken (among other things) to accuse me of tribalism. I haven't seen any violations of the guidelines by The Thinker because I have scarcely read a word he has written.

            Of course you have...it only reinforces your selective outrage.

            Whatever dude.

          • Rob Abney

            Actually, I don't read The Thinker's comments

            That's good advice for everyone, his comments are meant to confuse and sound authoritative; but Jim has attacked his ideas and found the errors that are always present. Jim has to be relentless because Thinker is relentless.

          • Jim the Scott

            David & friends are "offended" by my insults of Thoughtless(& he conveniently feigns ignorance as to the insults coming the other way...just saying) but what offends me is not really Thoughtless' insults(he could say things about my own Mother for all I care) but the fact he has given such bad arguments.

            Add to that the way he constantly misreads his opponents arguments and the source material.

            In his own "review" of THE LAST SUPERSTITION he falsely claims Feser defended Plato's strong realism. He can't make any intellectual distinction between a formal cause vs an efficient cause & he is immune to correction.

            Dozens and dozens of mistakes. One would think Atheists and religious skeptics with some pride in their disbelief would object to such a bad portrayal of Atheist thought?

          • Rob Abney

            I agree that he has been immune from correction. You and Dr. Bonnette have performed a stellar good cop, bad cop routine. In catholic terms, you have used the spiritual work of mercy to instruct the ignorant and Dr. Bonnette has used the spiritual work of mercy to counsel the doubtful. Neither has made much progress but you are obligated to try fraternal correction or risk the pain of mortal sin.

          • Jim the Scott

            God can judge his soul and mine & I pray He does so with mercy for both of us.

            But I condemn without pity his crappy non-starter fallacious arguments.

            Knowing what I know about the proper distinction between philosophical and rational knowledge vs Scientific and empirical knowledge (which has nothing to do with wither or not God exists) if I lost my faith tomorrow I would not look back fondly on Thoughtless' arguments. I would still say they are irrational, illogical, incoherent and ignorant. Much like as a Classic Theist I now look back on my lightly held young Earth Creationist beliefs in my decadent ill spent Heavy Metal youth with equal disdain.

            Any so called "Theist" who believes the existence of God is a scientific question is IMHO opinion as goofy as the "Atheist" who think Science can prove temporal philosophies true or false or Materialism or whatever.

            I'm not having it.

            Peace guy.

          • BCE

            Let me raise my hand, I said I don't like name calling, like idiot and moron.
            I have family members with significant brain injuries
            There is no other sub plot.
            I asked it as a favor only.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Let me raise my hand, I said I don't like name calling, like idiot and moron. I have family members with significant brain injuries

            FYI I am the Father of three mentally handicapped autistic Children.

            I see a moral and practical difference between labeling those whose cognitive deficiencies are medical vs those that seem willful. The former is cruel and the later is justified my view.

            BTW since we are playing the feelings card I don't need to be lectured about something I deal with everyday of my life.

            Just so we are clear.

          • Jim the Scott

            I just did a drive by over at a blog called "Outshines the Sun".

            It is amazing how two faced you and your fellow religious skeptics are....but that I can forgive.

            It's the insular mentality among you lot I find troubling.

          • Jim the Scott

            I'll think about it.

            Peace.

          • Jim the Scott

            I notice Thougthless doesn't follow rule one, three, six and seven.

            As for moi Jim the Scott is just a play on Jim Scott my name.

          • Jim the Scott

            Why are you afraid to argue Mike?

            Over at "Outshines the Sun" you said.

            >It's a metaphysical truth. Science just deals with facts about reality.

            So you don't realize the above is itself a metaphysical statement(& an incoherent one)?

            So you don't understand "metaphysics" to be the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space but what some type of buzzword for "magic" or "the supernatural" ?

            Do tell us.

          • Michael Murray

            I've had lots of those kinds of discussions in the past here and they usually end up at in impasse. It's not something I'm that interested in repeating over and over again. If you want to talk to anyone there why not just post a comment over there.

          • Jim the Scott

            Suit yourself Mike. I did do a little drive bye over there.....;-) but I doubt they will post it.

          • Michael Murray

            There shouldn't be any problem with you posting over there. Give me or Sample1 a yell if you want us to chase something up.

          • Jim the Scott

            There is nothing to post but insults & it's an anti-intellectual sewer.

            Plus the two insulting posts I put up took 12 hours to get threw the filter.

          • That seems to me to be a distinction without a difference.

            Different strokes, maybe. I think there is a pretty important distinction to be made between people and their utterances.

            For example hypothetically if I said what you just said was "thoughtless, idiotic, or deceptive" I think it is safe to say you would be offended.

            I won't try to speak for BCE, but some people are going to be offended by anything other than total agreement. If the object of the game is to offend nobody, anytime, anywhere, then you'd better not ever say anything negative about anything they say.

            Brandon didn't consult me when he wrote the rules, but the usual reason for saying "Criticize the comments, not the commenters" is that the debate is supposed to be about the ideas, not about the people holding the ideas. Smart people can and do believe stupid things.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well said.

          • Michael Murray

            I think "Thoughtless" = "The Thinker".

          • You can't talk sense to a Neanderthal.

          • The existence of God is proven philosophically which involves logic. I don't know what "god is proven logically" means as it is ambiguous equivocal phrase on your part and is not proper Thomistic terminology.

            There's nothing ambiguous about what "god is proven logically" means. It means you have prove god's existence using logic. You can't do that because you can't prove a trinitarian god must exist, and god's nature is trinitarian.

            Philosophy tells us a Classic Theistic God exists. Only the NT can tell us this God is a Trinity or the Rabbinic interpretation of the Old Testament or the Koran can tell us this God is a Unitarian Deity. This is outside of logic.

            Your last sentence undermines your first sentence.

            Logic cannot tell us God is a Trinity only divine revelation can tell us that. Logically if God is "X" then he cannot be "Not X". by logical necessity.

            There's no logically necessary reason why god is X rather than not X, and that means you don't have a logically necessary reason godX exists.

            The only application of Logic & necessity here that can be applied is if "God is a Trinity" then He cannot "Not be a Trinity" & vs versa. That is it.

            Can't even write coherent sentences. Of course if a thing is X, it can't be not-X, but if there's no necessary reason the thing has to be X, and X is essential to its nature, you can't tell me X is a necessary thing.

            That is a word salad. God is His own Existence. There is no real distinction between "How God exists" vs "That God exists" in His nature but that has nothing to do with Him being a Trinity or not.

            I agree Thomism is a word salad. God exists as a trinity, you tell me, god is necessary, you tell me, but there's no necessary reason god's a trinity. That means your trini-god isn't necessary.

            Thoughtless just doesn't want to believe me when I say the Trinity cannot be known to be true via reason or philosophy.

            I've fully accepted that all along. In fact, that's a part of my argument. The fact that there's no necessary reason why god's a trinity entails that your god isn't a necessary being.

            Then again he is the moron who doesn't know the difference between a formal cause vs a efficient cause from a hole in his head.

            The formal "causes" you speak of are really just descriptions of properties. To call them causes makes a mockery of the word.

          • As I recall Thoughtless refused to believe me when I tried to tell him the Trinity was not something that can be proven philosophically. He refused to believe me.

            No I didn't. I argued that because it can't be proved philosophically, there is no basis for saying your trinitarian god is a necessary being, since you're claiming its essence is necessary, yet its essence is trinitarian, which is certainly not necessary. You will ulitmate never to make this compatible with the PSR, and so you're forced to water the PSR down to squeeze your trini-god into it.

            Once again, you can't follow the basics of any debate of discussion because you're too busy being an idiot attacking strawmen.

            His MO would suggest he will now go out of his way to make up some elaborate ad hoc assertion that Science needs to prove their existence.

            Go easy on that strawman.

            He is stuck in Scientism mode.

            There's no scientism at all in anything I wrote. Your MO is:

            1. Accuse everyone of positivism/scientism
            2. Repeat step 1.

          • I know, you use theology. And because of that, and because there's evidence that contradicts your view, it doesn't appear to be compatible with science.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Should we be shocked that, as an atheist, you think that theology must contradict science?

            As to the "evidence that contradicts [my] view," that is precisely the kind of assertion that can be judged only in light of precisely what my view is in relation to natural science. Since it appears that you have not yet read the peer reviewed articles carefully, you are hardly yet in a position to make such a claim. And, I would suggest that if and when you do read my articles, you will come to realize that the issues involved in this area are exceedingly complex -- so that such facile assertions as you have just made will be difficult to sustain.

          • I agree, they are very complex. But I actually thought you accepted the standard evolutionary picture - that all life, including humans, evolved. I was a bit shocked to hear that you might think humans are the sole exception. Your paper doesn't clearly say if you think they were born from previous "subhumans" or created whole.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am not sure which paper you are reading, but I do not attempt to limit the possibilities to just a single alternative. Being "created whole" is a logical possibility, but would not appear intimately connected with an evolutionary scenario, which is the main scenario that I am exploring. Hence, some real connection to subhuman hominins is more central to the subject matter. On the other hand, some claim that a "created whole" scenario might be connected to hominin evolution as a method used by God to create a template. The Espiritu article follows evolution most closely, whereas the Nova et Vetera article explores very complex philosophical issues attendant to the "interbreeding hypothesis." As I said, this is an inherently complex subject matter where facile judgments are problematic.

          • As I said, this is an inherently complex subject matter where facile judgments are

            Such is especially true during our chats regarding special relativity.

            If you were presented with good conclusive evidence that there could not have been a literal Adam and Eve, would you accept it, or would your theological beliefs trump the evidence?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            The position of the Catholic Church has always been most reasonable on this kind of point. Faith properly taught and reason adequately understood can never be in actual conflict with one another.

            Your understanding of "faith" appears to be fideistic, which is the Protestant position. Catholicism does not operate on "faith alone," but is based also on the preambula fidei, that is, the rational presuppositions of faith. Such would include what you think to be purely philosophical positions, for example, the first principles of reason and being, the reality of the extramental world, the existence and veracity of God who is the Author of Revelation, and so forth. The Catholic intellectual tradition is little known and generally badly understood by most atheistic writers today.

            On the topic of Adam and Eve, I have written an entire book as well as a number of articles (some linked above) dealing with the very extensive evidence pertinent to this subject matter. You assume that the only relevant evidence comes from natural science. This is a scientistic assumption. It ignores the proper role of the theological and philosophical sciences, which must also be considered in any adequate understanding of the human origin.

          • I disagree that it's always been reasonable. Denying heliocentricism post Copernicus wasn't reasonable. The rational presuppositions of faith are not all that the Catholic tradition has, as there is faith in the detail of revelation, which cannot be arrived at logically. Hence you will always have to believe certain things (like a literal Adam and Eve) not by evidence (which you admit) but because the Bible says so. I'm not saying the only relevant evidence must come from science, I'm talking about cases where science and theological doctrines/belief conflict. What takes precedence?

            Again I ask my question: If you were presented with good conclusive evidence that there could not have been a literal Adam and Eve, would you accept it, or would your theological beliefs trump the evidence?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You miss the point. It is not that Catholic theologians have never erred in matters of science. It is simply that it is Catholic teaching that true faith and correct science will, in fact, never contradict each other.

            I do not live in fear that the hypothetical conflict that you suggest will ever be reality with which I will have to deal.

            If we finally discover that the moon is really made out of green cheese, will you be willing to eat it?

          • I'm asking if it was a reality, what would take precedence? You're saying it cannot. I'm giving you the scenario that it is. So: If you were presented with good conclusive evidence that there could not have been a literal Adam and Eve, would you accept it, or would your theological beliefs trump the evidence?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You are implicitly assuming that "theological beliefs" are based on pure fideism, a position which the Church has always rejected. My total worldview presents me with sufficient rational evidence that a literal Adam and Eve are necessarily compatible with whatever science may legitimately conclude. Note, I say "legitimately." I might as well ask you: If you were presented with absolute proof that God exists, would you abandon your militant atheism? Honestly?

            From my perspective, you are merely asking me about what I am certain is a contrary-to-fact hypothesis.

            And you still did not answer my question about whether you are willing to eat a piece of the moon, if we discover it is made out of green cheese.

          • You are reading into what I wrote. I'm not at all assuming theological beliefs must be in the form of fideism. I already posed the scenario in terms of legitimate science. Good conclusive evidence is legitimate science. IF that happened what would take precedence?

            So I'm asking again: If you were presented with good conclusive evidence that there could not have been a literal Adam and Eve, would you accept it, or would your theological beliefs trump the evidence?

            I will answer all your questions once you directly answer mine.

          • Jim the Scott

            > I'm not at all assuming theological beliefs must be in the form of fideism.

            He pretty much does that. He makes all these argumentative fallacies and mistakes and when you call him out on it he flatly denies what he just did.

            Like I said trying to nail Jello!

            He is also oblivious to all the upvotes you gave me when I called him out on these errors. He really doesn't think it's him?

          • You pretty much call all people who even mention the word science positivists. Can't help yourself.

          • flan man

            but I do not attempt to limit the possibilities to just a single alternative.

            Well, of course. The idea is to keep the field as wide open as possible. If one avenue is attacked, the answer is, "I never said that was what I was saying. I'm merely saying it's one of the possibilities..."

            Science, and say, the justice system, try exactly to do the opposite: to limit the possibilities to a single alternative. There is no point otherwise. But this endeavor is the opposite: It's the maintenance of a little bubble of doubt that faith can live in. A slippery, changing bubble of definitions that one *never quite understands in just the exact sense* that the speaker says it. There is always one more book or obscure article that must be read. You haven't read my book, you haven't understood the article, you don't understand my meaning. We understand it fine.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      1. Neither free will nor the soul are topics on which natural science can speak competently. Soul (anima) is simply the essential form of a living thing, and its existence can be demonstrated simply by identifying a thing that is alive. And that the will, or intellective appetite, is not determined to specific ends is easily shown. Since you cannot desire what you do not know, the freedom of the will follows from the incompletion of the intellect. (Otherwise, you run the risk of undermining natural science by assigning its "discoveries" to automatically determined conclusions.)

      2. Suppose there were once 10,000 biological humans. Then there must have been
      two of them. It is only needful to believe that there was one man from
      whom all presently-existing men have descended, not that there was only
      one man.It is not at all unusual to find all but one line of descent going extinct eventually, even if there had been others.

      3. It's unclear how the demonstrations (which are not cosmological claims, but logical demonstrations) contradict special relativity. Heck, even within the bounds of natural science, we have not yet reconciled relativity and quantum mechanics.

      • 1. Don't see an conclusive argument there.

        2. OK so your view is that Adam and Even were not the first two people.

        3. Thomism requires presentism be true.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          1. What argument? You asserted that belief in life and volition were "unscientific." I wonder to what extent either topic involves the metric properties of physical bodies. That is, to what extent did they involve natural science?

          2. My view is that this cannot be disputed by measuring the properties of physical bodies. A human being, sensu strictu, is a being with intellect and free will. Paleontology cannot distinguish between a fossil who possessed reason and an otherwise biologically identical one who did not.

          3. Well, in that sense, so does physics, biology, et al. After all, there cannot be evolution of species unless there is motion. Natural science is the study of motion. Achilles really does catch the tortoise. But Thomism holds that in the eyes of God, all things happen at once (even things that have not happened, but might have. (i.e., all things real and really possible). http://www.dhspriory.org/thomas/summa/FP/FP014.html#FPQ14A7THEP1

          Now, as the Platonists argue, Divine Mathematics enables our minds to more closely approach the mind of God. Thus, through the model of Minkowski 4-space, we can more clearly appreciate the simultaneity of all events when the universe is seen "from the outside." It but requires a being who is eternal, unchanging, and "outside" the universe. Such a being would by your definition be all-knowing, too.

          • 1. I didn't mean to say that you made anything like a formal argument, but what point are you trying to demonstrate? Are you saying there is something more than natural physical forces guiding our behavior?

            2. Free will? What do you mean by that? Libertarian free will?

            3. Not at all since movement is just worldtubes angled relative to one another in spacetime. Presentism is not required at all. A 4d eternal universe also cannot have a creator since it never came into being. And I know you're going to say it's contingent, and so it needs a necessary reason, and that this reason is god. That is false, and cannot be demonstrated for reasons we can get into.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            1. The point i was making was that the Catholic Church cannot be "still technically anti-science today" because it teaches the relative freedom of the intellective appetite. Whether or not the will is free is not a scientific question: it cannot in principle be settled by measuring the metric properties of physical bodies. If you recall, the Church was called "anti-scientific" in the early 1900s because she opposed eugenics, which many believed was also a scientific conclusion simply because lots of Darwinians preached it.

            The same applies to "life" (anima, soul).

            Are you saying there is something more than natural physical forces guiding our behavior?

            Many people are guided by the secular law to avoid theft and murder. But whether an act is right or wrong cannot be measured in centimeters, amperes, lumens, or any other physical units. So clearly there are factors other than phyics involved.

            2. By "free will" (liberum arbitrium) I mean exactly what has always been meant. The will is an appetite for the products of conception, just as the sensory appetites are for the products of perception. It constitutes an attraction to or revulsion from intellective concepts. However, one cannot be attracted by something that he doesn't know. Therefore, if the concept is not known fully, the will is not determined to any particular course of action in achieving it. And that which is not determined is free of such constraint.

            Objectors to free will (liberum arbitrium) sometimes present human acts that they claim are not freely chosen! (Gasp!) But this is not exactly a new observation:

            Man does many things without deliberation, sometimes not even thinking of what he is doing; for instance when one moves one's foot or hand, or scratches one's beard, while intent on something else.
            -- Thomas Aquinas, S. theologiae, II-Pt.1, Q1, Art.1, Obj.3

            No one for the next seven hundred years thought this was a fatal objection to free will because no one thought free will meant that all acts of a human were deliberate. Then came the invention of the Internet Comm Box and the apotheosis of the dormitory bull session, in which the half-educated come up with tired, centuries-old arguments that they think are not only stunningly original but dispositive.

            3. Although this has been stressed many times, creation does not mean a beginning in time. Aquinas knew of no demonstration that the world had a beginning in time, and so all his other demonstrations assume sec. arg. that the world is eternal. But being eternal is not proof against being caused by something else. You have said repeatedly that you understood this point, but then you regress to comments such as this one that show you do not.

          • 1. It still has claims that you're not allowed to think your way out of, like in a literal A&E for example. The Church also made friends with Hitler and aided in some of this atrocities and were complicit on others. I don't find being a believing Catholic compatible with science, since I'm asked to deny certain things I know.

            2. Do you believe the will or intellect has a causal influence on the physical body?

            3. I'm aware of this view, and I said that the reasons you have for god creating an eternal universe do not work. I've articulated why that is the case on this site before. Hence just because I'm aware of your view, it doesn't mean I can't say that "A 4d eternal universe also cannot have a creator since it never came into being," and the reason why is because your arguments that you think counter this do not work.

      • Jim the Scott

        Well said Mike it is good to read someone with a Professional understanding of Math and Science there are too many wannbees who post here.

        Also anybody who uses Krasnikov Tubes in his Hard Science Fiction novels by definition is way cool.

        Peace.

    • westcoast77

      My Catholic Bible (NAB, used in the US in daily mass readings, Bible study classes, etc..) states in the introduction to Genesis that "the plot of Genesis 2-11 has been borrowed from creation-flood stories attested in Mesopotamian literature of the second and early first millenium." Were you unaware of that?

      I don't know where you get your notion that the Catholic church endorses belief in a "historical Adam and Eve." Even early theologians like Augustine advised that if anything in scripture contradicted what we know of science, or our own common sense, we should examine those texts for a deeper underlying meaning.

      If you're curious about the topic, I recommend you read "The Genesis of Science" by Dr. James Hannam, a physicist and historian of science. The subtitle of this book is "How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution."

      • Jim the Scott

        First thing you need to realize is Thoughless (Thinker)drops fallacies of equivocation faster then someone with eczema drops skin flakes.

        He makes up his own terms or formulations of our doctrines rather then deal with them as they are actually defined & refuses correction. He does this to ridicule our beliefs rather then deal with them on their own terms. In my vain discussion with him on the Incarnation he miscast it the course of a few posts in Monophysite terms and then Nestorian terms, Gnostic heresy and in terms of imagining the Divine Nature somehow transmutes and changes into a human nature as opposed uniting two distinct natures without confusion or mixture in a single divine person which is the correct formulation. I guess he could not really imagine the incarnation given his dogmatic reductionist materialist beliefs but he seemed oblivious to the fact we don't hold to that view? Or maybe he is just a twit?

        Second the Catholic Church considers the following doctrinal proposition infallible dogma "The first man was created by God" and She teaches infallibly things such as "Our first parents, before the fall, were endowed with sanctifying grace." as such we do believe there was a historic or rather a real Adam and Eve who existed in the beginning. We don't have to believe God literally took a pile of dust and directly turned it into a fully formed adult man. We can believe at the dawn of our race God created a soul and put it in a hominid animal. We can reconcile biological polygenesis with a theological monogenesis.

        https://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/papers/kemp-monogenism.pdf

        As too "the plot of Genesis 2-11 has been borrowed from creation-flood stories attested in Mesopotamian literature of the second and early first millenium." those naturally are stylized expositions on how our first parent fell and don't have to be taken hyper literally anymore then the Song AMERICAN PIE which is a stylized poetic exposition on the history of Rock and Roll as too be taken literally. McJagger or Jim Morison in that song is not literally "the devil". Jerry Lee Lewis is not literally a Jester who stole a literal thorny crown from a literal King Elvis.

        BTW one great take away from Genesis 1: 2-11. The Pagan Mesopotamian creation myths where Atheistic in the literal sense. In their scheme Primordial Chaos gave birth to the "gods" who for all intensive purposes are analogous to Physical Laws who shape the rest of the Chaos into the world and then as an after thought create men as slaves to amuse them. There is no supreme eternal God in this myth. Now Genesis flips the script. God is at the Beginning and creates Primordial Chaos and shapes the world from it in an orderly fashion.

        Cheers.

      • I don't know where you get your notion that the Catholic church endorses belief in a "historical Adam and Eve."

        The Thinker is not in error here. You might check the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Adam and Eve ("our first parents"), or read some of the posts and messages of Dr. Dennis Bonnette. The "official" Catholic Church is untroubled by the fact that material in Genesis came from earlier sources. Since the Bible is divinely inspired, it matters not what the sources of the material are. Everything is "guaranteed" by the Holy Spirit.

        • westcoast77

          Without deeper and broader study of Catholic doctrine and philosophy, you'll keep making the same errors. When you limit your arguments to brief passages of one document, cited primarily to support your biases, you're bound to miss the big picture.

          I was thoroughly catechized when I converted to the Catholic faith 10 years ago. Before that, while still an agnostic, I was lucky enough to be educated in Benedictine and later Jesuit institutions, where the core curriculum included intensive study in the areas of theology and philosophy. My suggestion to you is to read more. If Augustine, Duns Scotus, and Aquinas are not to your taste, at least read summaries of the history of Catholic philosophy through the centuries. Failing that, at least watch some Bishop Barron videos.

          Also, don't appoint yourself the arbiter of the "official" Catholic Church position on anything. That's almost funny.

          • Without deeper and broader study of Catholic doctrine and philosophy, you'll keep making the same errors.

            What errors are you referring to? You said to The Thinker, "I don't know where you get your notion that the Catholic church endorses belief in a 'historical Adam and Eve.'" I quoted (very briefly) the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I can quote it at greater length. (Note: Boldface is added; italics is in the original.)

            390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

            375 The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original "state of holiness and justice". This grace of original holiness was "to share in. . .divine life".

            404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man". By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.

            407 The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man's situation and activity in the world. By our first parents' sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails "captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil". . . .

            I do not find a hint in there that "first parents" refers to anything other than two human individuals, the first of the human race, from whom the rest of the human race descended. We are even told in 404 that Adam and Eve committed a personal sin. We are told that there is figurative language in Genesis, but that it affirms a primeval event: "Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents."

            Is it your position that your vast education in things Catholic allows you to somehow read between the lines of the Catechism to discern a message not available to the ordinary reader? Does the Catechism not say what it means?

            By the way, I am aware that the Catechism is the "starting point" for delving into Catholic doctrine, but are you claiming that if one digs deeper, one will find that Adam and Eve really were not historical individuals who actually committed a personal sin of disobedience? If that is your position, please explain it in detail.

          • westcoast77

            If you dig deeper, you'll just become more confused, because you're unwilling to do the work involved. You object when you're advised to read books, even as you issue challenges that are far beyond the scope of explanation via blog comments.

            You ask about the historicity of Adam and Eve. This brings us to questions about monogenism v. polygenism. A papal encyclical (which is instructive for moral teaching, but is neither infallible nor authoritatively binding, as it isn't delivered ex cathedra) warns against polygenist theories. Some have postulated that Adam and Eve were not literally the first human beings, because we can't deny the existence of Neanderthals and Denisovans, who may have been subspecies of homo sapiens. Their reasoning is that Adam and Eve were simply the first humans endowed by God with souls.

            What do I think about that? Since I'm not a geneticist, I'm not sure. I read as much as I can on such topics, written by Feser, McGrath, Plantinga, Collins, etc. I ponder and discuss with my spiritual director and others, and I accept that I don't have all the answers. Neither do you.

            Earlier in this thread, someone aptly pointed out the philosophical inconsistencies of your own remarks. If you honestly want to know what Catholics believe, but you don't want to expend much effort, stick with the Nicene Creed. It's short, to the point, and spells out the essentials of Catholic faith.

          • You talk a lot about me and my inadequacies, and you talk a lot about your own superiority, but you don't talk about the issues at hand. Why, if Adam and Eve were not historical persons, does the Catechism of the Catholic Church—while acknowledging that there is much in Genesis that is figurative—nevertheless assert that Adam and Eve were our "first parents" and speak of the "personal sin" they committed. Do you not accept the Catechism as authoritative? If it isn't, what is?

            I accept that I don't have all the answers. Neither do you.

            As to the authentic facts of human origins, I certainly don't have all the answers. The issue here is what the Catholic Church teaches. My question to you is the following: If we cannot look to the Catechism for at least the beginning of an answer as to what the Church teaches (not what actually happened), where can we look?

            Please address the issue at hand. I don't need another lecture about how superior your knowledge of Catholicism is and what I ought to read. I am not going to get into some kind of silly competition with you about whose credentials are superior, but I will say that I was born, raised, and educated (through 12th grade) in excellent Catholic schools.

            By the way, I am a bibliophile and thoroughly enjoy getting (reasonable) book recommendations. It is just a fact that books recommended in forums like this are often out of print and/or quite expensive. Is there a book you would recommend on this specific topic?

          • westcoast77

            Books by all the authors I mentioned are neither out of print nor expensive, and are available online in paperback and other formats. A bibliophile should know that. If you don't want to read anything about your own question, here's a link for you with a very brief sampling of ideas on the topic of Adam and Eve:
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2013/05/difficulties-with-adam-and-eve.html#disqus_thread

            You seem less interested in serious discussion than in posing what you think are gotcha questions. Binary thinking is also evident in your comments. Unfortunately for you, profound questions stimulate profound answers. You will not find the depth of Catholic philosophy summarized in the catechism, nor will you find material that entitles you to ask a Catholic for a black-and-white answer to any question that allows you to judge their faith.

            Bishop Robert Barron titled one of his books "Vibrant Paradoxes: The Both/And of Catholicism." I'm guessing you haven't read that either. Maybe you would consider its $10-$25 price too costly. But unless you're willing to open your mind and consider philosophical positions that embrace paradoxical thought, you're going to remain stuck in your personal dogma.

          • I am struck by your continued avoidance of the question: What does the Catholic Church teach about whether Adam and Eve were historical individuals? Father Longenecker, whose blog post you refer me to, says, "All you have to believe is that there was, somewhere at some point in time a man and a woman who were our first parents and that they made a monumental choice to disobey God." Yet above you said the following:

            I don't know where you get your notion that the Catholic church endorses belief in a "historical Adam and Eve." Even early theologians like Augustine advised that if anything in scripture contradicted what we know of science, or our own common sense, we should examine those texts for a deeper underlying meaning.

            You seem to imply that there is some Catholic principle or teaching that overrides the clear statements in the Catechism that Adam and Eve are the "first parents" of the human race and whose actions had a profound effect on their descendants, the human race. I would say Father Longenecker's statement is entirely consistent with the Catechism—that is, much of the story in Genesis is figurative, but the core truth is that the human race began with "two parents" whose sin affected all their descendants.

            What I find odd is that most if not all Catholics who write on this blog are almost certainly in disagreement with you and believe the Church does indeed teach that Adam and Eve are truly the "first parents" of the human race. And yet you are having an ongoing argument with me rather than the believers. As an agnostic, my view is that a historical Adam and Eve never existed, but as someone who was educated Catholic, I believe the Catholic Church teaches that the human race had "first parents." What you believe remains very unclear.

            I have no objection to paying $9.99 for Vibrant Paradoxes by Bishop Barron. It just arrived on my Kindle.

          • Rob Abney

            That’s a good book, you could have gotten cheaper from a Lighthouse kiosk found in most Catholic Churches.

          • westcoast77

            You're right, Rob, but I don't think David Nichol goes to a Catholic Church.

          • Rob Abney

            No, I don't think he does either but cheap books might be just the incentive he needs to walk into St. Patrick's cathedral one day.

          • westcoast77

            Good for you. Bishop Barron is a brilliant theologian with an engaging and accessible writing style. The book's blurb refers to his "bringing together themes and motifs that many would consider mutually exclusive or, at best, awkward in their juxtaposition."

            I've given you my responses to your challenge about a historical Adam and Eve. There is no simple true/false answer. The word Adam just means man. The name Eve is related to the Hebrew word for living, and Genesis describes her as the mother of all living things. Compare that with the scientific designation of Mitochondrial Eve. Same person? No. Ditto for Y-chromosomal Adam. Does man have an inherent sin nature? Yes. Figurative story, primeval truth.

            Now consider this. If Adam and Eve were our first parents, from whom all humans descended, who did Cain and Abel marry? The Midrash indicates that the two sons had twin sisters, and each son married his brother's twin. Now, as you may know, the catechism forbids incest. That's a paradox, in which scriptural annotation of Hebrew scripture is discounted in the Roman Catholic Catechism.

            My question for you is why you are fixated on Adam and Eve? As a practicing Catholic, I'm more concerned about social justice issues: poverty, homelessness, racial and gender inequality, unjust wars, refugees, immigration, etc. When judging us, Jesus is not going to care what we think about Adam and Eve. He's going to call us to account for what we did to help the poorest of his children.

          • My question for you is why you are fixated on Adam and Eve?

            I am not fixated on Adam and Eve. The account in Genesis was brought up four days ago by The Thinker and responded to at length by Dr. Dennis Bonnette, an official contributor to this blog who has written a book on human origins from a Catholic point of view. Additional comments were made by scbrown(lhrm)2017, Tommy, and Jim the Scott. The topic was under discussion for two days before I stepped in to point out to you that I considered The Thinker to be correct in his belief that the "official" Catholic Church teaching required belief in a literal set of "first parents." I pressed you on the subject because I have commented on Strange Notions for well over five years and know the prevailing opinion here among Catholic contributors and commenters is that Adam and Eve were historical figures. Why none of them are challenging you is a mystery.

            When judging us, Jesus is not going to care what we think about Adam and Eve. He's going to call us to account for what we did to help the poorest of his children.

            I am agnostic when it comes to the existence of God or the truth claims made by the Catholic Church. Should I ever commit to Catholicism, I imagine I would agree with your above statement and apply it much more broadly. It strikes me that Jesus would not be so much concerned with whether or not good people followed many of the "rules" of Catholicism, including its unreasonable and cruel teachings on sexuality.

          • Jim the Scott

            The Catholic Church does believe and infallibly teaches God created the first man and speaks of our first parents. So you are correct we do believe in a "historical Adam"(& this is me saying this who often picks on you for getting Catholic doctrine wrong in the past) since if God really did this by either sometime in the past turning a pile of dust into a man by supernatural means or re-creating a hominid animal in such a way as to give it an immaterial immortal soul made in the Divine Image and as such the animal ceases to exist and Adam begins to exist this would have happened in past history.

            I think maybe westcoast77 might have misunderstood you too mean Genesis 1:2-11 was seen as historical in the modern or late sense.

            Anyway cheers.

          • I think maybe westcoast77 might have misunderstood you too mean Genesis 1:2-11 was seen as historical in the modern or late sense.

            I don't think so. The Catechism passages I quoted at length are quite clear that much of the story is in "figurative language." As I read westcoast77, he believes the historicity of "first parents" is an open question. Why don't you and he have a little chat. :)

          • Jim the Scott

            I did post something to him a while ago about this but I have not heard back.

            >As I read westcoast77, he believes the historicity of "first parents" is an open question.

            If that truly is his view (& I don't say it is or isn't) that is the liberal Protestant understanding of Theistic Evolution not the Catholic. Catholics can have none of that.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            It just so happens that I am the author of the entry on "monogenism and polygenism" in the peer reviewed 2012-2013 New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement: Ethics and Philosophy.

            In the context of offering many other proofs that Catholic doctrine still affirms a literal Adam and Eve, I wrote there:

            "Although Pius XII clearly forbade acceptance of polygenism, his positive affirmation of monogenism is far more significant. Humani generis professes that “revealed truth and… the magisterium of the Church teach” that original sin “proceeds from a sin truly committed by one Adam [ab uno Adamo],” which is “transmitted to all by generation, and exists in each one as his own” (sec. 37). Hence, Pius XII declares
            that the proper reading of both Scripture and DOGMA, such as found in St. Paul and the Council of Trent, affirms a sin committed by one Adam—a sin that all true men inherit from Adam “by generation,” thus eliminating the possibility of other contemporaneous true humans who were not his descendants."

            David Nickol is absolutely correct in citing the more recent Catechism of the Catholic Church as continuing to affirm that same truth that a literal Adam and Eve committed original sin. The dogma of original sin it totally incoherent without our two first parents actually committing said sin which is "transmitted to all by generation."

          • Jim the Scott

            In the past I have often picked on David for getting Catholicism wrong or confusing it with Protestantism. But he is not wrong here and you confirm it.

            Skeptics and non-believers who get our beliefs correct are quite refreshing don't you think? Too bad others have a lower learning curve...........

          • Arthur Jeffries

            By the way, I am a bibliophile and thoroughly enjoy getting (reasonable) book recommendations. It is just a fact that books recommended in forums like this are often out of print and/or quite expensive. Is there a book you would recommend on this specific topic?

            Free and online: Scientific Insights into the Evolution of the Universe and of Life.

          • Thanks! I have downloaded it to my Kindle. The type is a bit small, but still readable.

      • I don't know where you get your notion that the Catholic church endorses belief in a "historical Adam and Eve."

        Tell that to Dennis Bonnette. He's the one who believes that. I personally don't care what the Catholic Church says is true.

      • Rob Abney

        theologians like Augustine advised that if anything in scripture contradicted what we know of science, or our own common sense, we should examine those texts for a deeper underlying meaning.

        An alternative reading of this is that if the science contradicts scripture then maybe the science is incorrect.

  • Jim the Scott

    Of course if you don't understand the difference between Science, philosophy, theology and metaphysics & equivocate between them at the drop of a hat then claiming the Catholic Church is "anti-science" is a hollow claim.

    Also presupposing scientism and not owning it doesn't help either.......

  • Jim the Scott

    Me thinks somebody doth protest too much?

    BTW if SR and GR " prove" the flow of time is unreal(BTW certain people need to answer Phil instead of dodging & moving on to a different topic) and there is no privileged reference frame then the motion of the planets is unreal. Thus the "movement" of the Earth around the sun is unreal. Thus Galileo was "wrong" and the Church in a sense was "right".

    Or is it ad hoc that it only proves time is unreal & not planetary motion for "reasons" ?

    Cue the "you just don't understand SR" music.....

    • I answer all of Phil's questions, here's an example proving so. The motion of the planets is relative to one another, and it is due to the fact that different worldtubes are angled relative to others. There is no possible logic to go from that to "the Church in a sense was 'right'."

  • Jim the Scott

    Phil has not been answered.

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/strangenotions/brute_facts_vs_sufficient_reasons/#comment-3711333505

    We all know he never will be. I predicted this.

  • Jim the Scott

    I called it! No answer just dodging by trying to shift the burden of proof. I guess we will never know how relativity of simultaneity equals eternalism? Especially if the only response is too say "Well how does it not?".

    Meanwhile I have been reading Smolin and Oderberg. Smolin doesn't believe either eternalism or presentism adequately describe time. I think he is right. Also he doesn't confuse philosophy with science. It's very refreshing.

    • Apparently you can't read because this is not a shifting of the burden of proof. This is me explaining to him how he's wrong (and has been wrong for months because he's ignorant on the subject matter and refuses to actually learn it).

  • Jim the Scott

    Relativity gives more respectability to the geocentric view than Newtonian physics does, relativity is not geocentric. Rather, relativity states that the Sun, the Earth, the Moon, Jupiter, or any other point for that matter could be chosen as a center of the solar system with equal validity. Thus unlike the old Geocentric models or the early original Galilean model it doesn't postulate a center too the universe (i.e. Earth or Sun). It implies an acentric universe.

    But since any point in the solar can be chosen as the center we can hardly complain if the Bible appears to (according to some interpretations) chose the Earth as the "center".

    So ironically in a sense Galileo was "wrong" and the Church was "right". This isn't just my conclusion or that of weird neo-Geocentrists (who make YEC's roll their eyes) my secular Physics professor taught me this in college.

    The Earth is the "center" in the sense Rome was the center of the Empire. Now you can't have an absolute center located on the surface of a sphere but you can have a "relative" one. Pun intended.

    It's a fun thought experiment thought I hardly believe Relativity exhausts reality.

    • Relativity gives more respectability to the geocentric view than Newtonian physics does, relativity is not geocentric. Rather, relativity states that the Sun, the Earth, the Moon, Jupiter, or any other point for that matter could be chosen as a center of the solar system with equal validity.

      No it can't because the geocentric view assumes the earth is objectively still. Even if we assumed the earth was still it still couldn't be the center of the solar system because of gravitational forces.

      So ironically in a sense Galileo was "wrong" and the Church was "right". This isn't just my conclusion or that of weird neo-Geocentrists (who make YEC's roll their eyes) my secular Physics professor taught me this in college.

      You can't choose any point of the solar system as its center because gravitational forces wouldn't allow a point like the earth to be the center.

  • No I think this is probably correct the Catholic Church is not as anti science as many may believe, if it is anti science at all.

    This is something the Catholic Church shares with Islam Judaism and Hinduism. All are compatible with science though certainly fundamentalist versions may be anti science.

    • In recent decades the Catholic Church has said condoms are evil and worse than aids. That's pretty anti science. It's just false to say that being a Catholic doesn't force you to believe anything scientific.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        In recent decades the Catholic Church has said condoms are evil and worse than aids. That's pretty anti science.

        I'm not sure that questions of "better" or "worse" are matters of science rather than ethics.

        I wouldn't mind learning when and where she said condoms were "worse than AIDS."

        • Your holy former Pope, Mr. Ratzinger said so: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/mar/17/pope-africa-condoms-aids Technically he said they won't help the problem. That of course is anti-scientific since we know they will.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            So "technically" the Church never said what you claimed, only that "they won't help the problem." But again, that is not a scientific claim, but a policy claim. Perhaps they will help as much as vigilantes or concealed carry permits help reduce murder rates. Or perhaps it is only the technical issues that concern the technician whereas in society there are far more variables in play. For all I know, the B-16 was more aware of the Risk Thermostat than others. That is certainly as believable as that the Guardian would get some matter correct in this field.

          • Saying condoms will make AIDS spread more or that it will not help the problem is anti-scientific, and not only that, it's contributed to more deaths in Africa because clearly we know from factual data that condoms prevent disease.

          • Arthur Jeffries

            Pope Emeritus Benedict merely stated his personal opinion. There is no Catholic doctrine about the efficacy of condoms in preventing the transmission of AIDS.

          • He's the vicar of Christ for crying out loud!

          • Arthur Jeffries

            If you, Herald, and Tommy think that everything the pope says is automatically Catholic doctrine, then you all have a deep misunderstanding of of how doctrine and dogma develop in the Catholic Church. There is no Catholic doctrine about the efficacy of condoms in preventing the transmission of AIDS.

          • There is no Catholic doctrine about the efficacy of condoms in preventing the transmission of AIDS.

            You are, of course, correct regarding doctrine. However, it would be wrong to deny that the Church has vigorously opposed condom use as a moral evil and has at times suggested condom use increases rather than decreases) the spread of AIDS (e.g., by giving a false sense of security leading to more sexual activity), and in one truly outrageous case "telling people in countries stricken by Aids not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass . . . ."

            A wise theologian in a forum in which I used to participate always liked to ask what you meant by "the Church" when you attributed actions, positions, and attitudes to it. It may be that often when someone in authority in the Church makes a statement, he is expressing his own opinion. With that as a caution, it still seems fair to me to say the Church has "a thing" about condoms.

          • Arthur Jeffries

            So if another Cardinal disagreed with Cardinal Trujillo's comments, would that mean that he was in disagreement with "the Church"? Of course not. Neither was the Guardian accurate to call Trujillo "a senior Vatican spokesman", as if he was speaking on behalf of the Holy See. Trujillo spoke for himself and for a single Council within the Curia, not for the Holy See or "the Church."

            Catholic doctrine forbids the use of artificial contraception. Since condoms are a form of artificial contraception, the institutional church does indeed have a thing about condoms, but that's because of a traditional understanding of natural law, not science.

          • So if another Cardinal disagreed with Cardinal Trujillo's comments, would that mean that he was in disagreement with "the Church"?

            I took pains in my last paragraph to acknowledge that a statement from a high official in the Catholic Church often cannot be repeated and attributed to "the Church." On the other hand, when a Cardinal and head of a Pontifical Commission speaks, he certainly speaks with more authority than the man in the street. When he speaks out against condoms, clearly reflecting the past teachings of the Church, it is not unreasonable to take him seriously. And in that context, when he makes an egregious factual error and uses it to bolster his anti-condom message, I don't think "the Church" is entirely off the hook.

            Remember, this was a question of fact, and to the best of my knowledge, the World Health Organization objected to his comments, but no other Cardinal or Church authority did.

            It is not an effective defense of "the Church" to claim that any person, even one in high office, is merely giving his own personal opinion as a "private citizen" when he—I don't need to add "or she"—makes a statement about Church teaching. Certainly there is no dogma or doctrine in favor of sex abuse of minors by priests, or authorizing cover-ups of such, but it would be very disingenuous that the sex-abuse scandals have not been a problem within "the Church."

            Catholic doctrine forbids the use of artificial contraception. Since condoms are a form of artificial contraception . . . .

            Of course, the Church opposes any use of condoms, not just uses for contraception. For example, to the best of my knowledge, it continues (after much study) to be the position of the Church that married couples, one who has AIDS and the other not, may not use condoms even if the woman is past childbearing age. The can be no contraception when conception is impossible.

            It is my perception that the Church has a "thing" about condoms. It is not exactly doctrine. But I think the widespread perception is that the Church has some kind of strange animus against condoms that it doesn't have against, say, oral contraceptives. There are actually approved uses for oral contraceptives (e.g., in the treatment of endometriosis), but there are no approved uses of condoms, even in cases where they are used without contraceptive "intent" or even the possibility of acting as contraceptives.

          • Arthur Jeffries

            The late Cardinal Trujillo, a churchman who I viewed negatively during his lifetime and still do today as I consider his legacy, spoke as an individual Catholic prelate and as president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. It is quite possible, even probable, that his opinion was a popular one within the Vatican at that time, but I don't see how his words clearly reflected traditional Church teaching. There is no teaching from the magisterium on the efficacy of condoms in preventing AIDS.

            You are correct that the sex-abuse scandals are a problem within the Church. There were certain policies and a regrettable mentality within the Church that significantly contributed to and sustained sexual abuse for decades.

            There are actually approved uses for oral contraceptives (e.g., in the treatment of endometriosis), but there are no approved uses of condoms, even in cases where they are used without contraceptive "intent" or even the possibility of acting as contraceptives.

            That is true.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Of course, the Church opposes any use of condoms, not just uses for contraception.

            Where do you get this idea from? I know for example I can "use" a condom with a tiny hole poked in the bottom to collect my sperm to give to a Doctor to check my sperm count.

            This is completely morally licit.

            What are your sources David?

          • Oh, of course there are many "uses" of condoms that the Catholic Church does not prohibit. For example, as long as safety considerations are attended to, it is not sinful to fill condoms with water and throw them off the roof. Let's use some common sense in interpreting here.

            I am well aware of this "use" of condoms in Catholic fertility medicine. See, for example, this comment from a year ago, in which I mention it. Forgive me, but the idea of deliberately poking holes in condoms to make them acceptable for licit Catholic use in collecting sperm samples is both hilarious and disturbing, the latter because it turns the man's wife into a masturbation device.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Oh, of course there are many "uses" of condoms that the Catholic Church does not prohibit. For example, as long as safety considerations are attended to, it is not sinful to fill condoms with water and throw them off the roof. Let's use some common sense in interpreting here.

            Actually the common sense theological interpretation here is condoms cannot be used to thwart the final causality of the sex act. Which is putting sperm in the appropriate lady part. The overall final cause of sex in general is reproduction but the final cause of the sex act itself is too put sperm in the lady part for reproduction. Specifically the Vagina.

            >I am well aware of this "use" of condoms in Catholic fertility medicine. See, for example, this comment from a year ago, in which I mention it. Forgive me, but the idea of deliberately poking holes in condoms to make them acceptable for licit Catholic use in collecting sperm samples is both hilarious and disturbing, the latter because it turns the man's wife into a masturbation device.

            No that is not correct(forgive my vulgarity but...) having the wife toss her husband off or ejaculate in her mouth or her rectum makes her a masturbation device. Here you are using a legitimate licit act that may be done between married persons for an additional good end which is also morally licit.

            It is not disturbing at all. Thought your implicit re-definition of "masturbation" is clearly a novelty.

            PS. Cheers

          • Jim the Scott

            I don't know why this is hard David? Presidents can express their opinions vs issuing executive orders or sign bills making law and policy. Cardinals and Popes can express their opinions and those in Authority can act formally to teach and bind the faithful to matters of Faith and morals?

            Do you really not know the difference?

          • Jim the Scott

            >and in one truly outrageous case "telling people in countries stricken by Aids not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass . . . ."

            Actually what people should not do is fornicate nor commit adultery and then the problem of AIDS is reduced.

            Just as people should not rob banks but the Church is not morally obligated to give out bullet proof vests to potential bank robbers to reduce the fatality of bank robbers getting shot by bank guards or police.

            But hey of you want to give condoms to fornicators and bullet proof vests to bank robbers knock yourself out. Just don't condemn me or my Church because we don't want to do it.

            BTW the political left are the people trying to force Nuns to provide birth control women can buy for themselves. That seems more awful then anything the Church is or is not doing. That is Fascism.

          • If people just wouldn't sin, there would be no need for confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation).

          • Rob Abney

            Should we infer that since very few people receive the Sacrament that there is not much sinning?

          • Jim the Scott

            >If people just wouldn't sin, there would be no need for confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation).

            Obviously! But confession is medicine that treats a wound. It is not something we give too people to enable them to wound themselves.

            Indeed if I went to confession and let the Priest know I was going to sin again without making any effort to avoid it & then I told him I was not worried about it because I could always confess again well....... he would be duty bound not to give me absolution since that would indicate I wasn't really sorry.

          • Even the vicar of Christ can sometimes get it wrong.

      • I don't think that's anti science. I think it's immoral but it's not like they're denying what aids is or how it's transmitted.

        • You don't think that saying condoms will make the AIDS epidemic worse is anti-science?

          • If there is science saying condoms reduce the spread of AIDS, (and I expect there is) and they say that's wrong I'd agree that that is an indication of an anti-science position. But that isn't what you said originally, or it wasn't clear.

          • Jim the Scott

            >If there is science saying condoms reduce the spread of AIDS,

            I am sure there is science that says the use of bullet proof vests by bank robbers reduces the fatality of the same but that doesn't mean the Church should encourage the giving of free bullet proof vests to potential bank robbers.

            OTOH if we did do this wouldn't it encourage more bank robbing which in there would be in increased chance the poor sods who robbed the banks might get shot in the head instead of the chest?

            The odds of me catching AIDS or getting a girl up the duff is rather small if I use a condom. They are really good odds but only if I ever plan to bonk only one lady in my lifetime. Statistically if a condom is 10% effective doesn't that mean statistically at least 10 will break after I had sex at least a 100 times?

            Anyway getting back too the bank robbery analogy I see no reason why the Church should give out free bullet proof vests to potential bank robber anymore then She should give out condoms to potential fornicators. Both acts are immoral. The bank robbers can get their condoms & vests from elsewhere.

            The citation of "science" is rather silly & perhaps Mike Flynn can chime in with some particulars considering Statistics is his field.

          • I don't see what this has to do with the OP, or the discussion between myself and the thinker.

          • Jim the Scott

            What does morality and condom use have to do with the OP?

            You:
            "I don't think that's anti science. I think it's immoral"

            So you can discuss tangents & I can't comment? I don't understand you here?

          • I'd discuss what you like. What point are you wanting to make? I'm not sure we disagree

          • Jim the Scott

            >What point are you wanting to make?

            Maybe Condoms do reduces AIDS but that doesn't make their use moral or the act of fornication moral. For Banks Robbers Bullet proof vests would likely save lives but we don't have to give them out.

            I was reacting to your apparent claim it is immoral not to give out condoms(at least that is how I understood you). A commons sense bank robber can get his own vest and fornicators and adulterers can get their own condoms. The Church does not have to be involved.

          • Yes, I think HIV is spread through unprotect sexual intercourse, among other things. I think a good way to reduce the suffering and drain on resources is to, promote the use of, and make available, condoms.

            I think fornication is a moral good and I see no harm from consenting sex.

            So yes I think persuading people not to use condoms is immoral as it can only increase risk of STI's and unwanted pregnancy.

            Why do you think fornication is more immoral than reducing STIs and unwanted pregnancy? I guess you think consenting sex is like robbing a bank?

          • Rob Abney

            I think fornication is a moral good and I see no harm from consenting sex.

            In light of all the sexual scandals at present, how does one assure that the consenting sexual partner is not being coerced?

          • Jim the Scott

            >Yes, I think HIV is spread through unprotect sexual intercourse, among other things. I think a good way to reduce the suffering and drain on resources is to, promote the use of, and make available, condoms.

            Your statistics are flawed. A condom is great protection if you only plain to have sex once in your life.

            >I think fornication is a moral good and I see no harm from consenting sex.

            Clearly it puts one at greater risk for unwanted pregnancy and STD's. Abstinence and monogamy not so much.

            >So yes I think persuading people not to use condoms is immoral as it can only increase risk of STI's and unwanted pregnancy.

            You are being silly. We Catholic may persuade people to abstain from fornication and embrace monogamy. Telling them to put on condoms for fornication is like formally instructing bank robbers to wear bullet proof vests. Giving out such vests would only encourage such activity.

            >Why do you think fornication is more immoral than reducing STIs and unwanted pregnancy? I guess you think consenting sex is like robbing a bank?

            Both are intrinsically evil. You can't directly do what is evil so good may come from it. Why do you need Catholics to help people do evil?

          • I don't have any stats. But I am confident in this belief that it reduces the risk of pregnancy and transmission of STIs.

            Sure abstinence from all kinds of good things is safer. The advice simply is, that if you have sex do it safely, here are the risks. Not driving is safer, but if you do wear a seatbelt and don't drink.

            But you don't persuade people to be abstinent. You try, but we end up with people doing it anyway without protection.

            And no. Having sex is not robbing a bank. Its having sex. There is nothing immoral about sex if it is consenting. There is further nothing wrong with telling people to use safety equipment. A better anology would be you telling people to never wear helmets. They say they want to ride a bike and you say there is no totally safe way to to that.

            I personally have no problem encouraging people to have sex. There are lots of ways to protect yourself and be safe.

            But sex is not intrinsically evil, and that's the heart of the dispute. Robbing a bank is wrong and harmful for a number of obvious reasons but what's wrong with sex?

          • Jim the Scott

            >I don't have any stats. But I am confident in this belief that it reduces the risk of pregnancy and transmission of STIs.

            As no doubt bullet proof vests reduce the deaths of bank robbers.

            >Sure abstinence from all kinds of good things is safer. The advice simply is, that if you have sex do it safely, here are the risks. Not driving is safer, but if you do wear a seatbelt and don't drink.

            Common sense tells me if I rob a bank and have the opportunity to wear a bullet proof vest and a mask so I am not identified I should do it if I am going to commit a crime successfully. Obviously if I was going to cheat on the wife(not that I ever have or would) I would wear the condom and whatnot. So what? That I can figure out how to sin successfully by misusing my intellect doesn't mean I should nor help others to do so.

            But I should not expect the Church to oversee the distribution of ballistic armor to bank robbers anymore then they should condoms.

            >But you don't persuade people to be abstinent. You try, but we end up with people doing it anyway without protection.

            I think people are smart enough to figure it out for themselves. But sin often makes you stupid. I don't have pity for the willfully stupid.

            >And no. Having sex is not robbing a bank. Its having sex.

            No fornicating is evil just like stealing. That they use different means to their bad end is merely incidental.

            > There is nothing immoral about sex if it is consenting.

            No sex is immoral if you do it outside of heterosexual marriage & we Catholics won't help you do it and we will only tell you should not do it.

            >There is further nothing wrong with telling people to use safety equipment. A better anology would be you telling people to never wear helmets. They say they want to ride a bike and you say there is no totally safe way to to that.

            You are begging the question. Since I and my Catholic Christian brethren hold fornication to be evil thus to instruct people how to use "safety equipment" is morally no different then telling potential bank robbers how to use ballistic armor.

            >I personally have no problem encouraging people to have sex. There are lots of ways to protect yourself and be safe.

            Do what you like but Catholics will not help you too that end.

            >But sex is not intrinsically evil, and that's the heart of the dispute.

            Sex is not in intrinsically evil otherwise the wife and I would have had no children. But fornication and adultery are intrinsically evil.

            > Robbing a bank is wrong and harmful for a number of obvious reasons but what's wrong with sex?

            Fornication is against the divine revelation of the Old and New Testament and the secondary precepts of the natural law.

          • I get you. You believe that helping people have safe sex is worse than just telling them not to have sex unless it is for procreation.

            And that's the heart of the disagreement. You see sex for pleasure as a bad and risky thing. I see it as a good and risky thing.

            You think it's bad to tell people about and assist them in safety precautions if they're going to engage in the activity because you think that doing so risks encouraging more people to do it, and that outweighs any benefits of health that may be gleaned from the assistance.

            So for you it's like telling people how to do a self-destructive thing safely.

            Even if I shared you view that it is self destructive or wrong, I wound still advocate for education and access to this life saving equipment for harm reduction purposes.

            I think climbing Mt Everest is insanely risky, 1 in 4 die, and unethical, it polluted the mountain. But I would still advocate for good education and access to safety equipment.

            I think personal use of heroin is incredibly risky and always a bad idea, but I support safe injection sites.

            I chemical weapons are awful, should never be used and should be eradicated. But I'd never discourage safety education about them!

            Its kinda funny right now my wife and I are under a doctor's order to use condoms, because she gave birth two months ago. But even this you would consider sinful and to be discouraged.

            And one stat I do have is that over 80%of American Catholics approve of birth control and 98% if Catholic women have used it.

          • Rob Abney

            Congratulations Papa BGA!

          • Michael Murray

            Congratulations to you and your wife ! I hope you are getting some sleep.

          • Thanks. We're doing great!

          • Jim the Scott

            >I get you. You believe that helping people have safe sex is worse than just telling them not to have sex unless it is for procreation.

            No, both are intrinsically evil. Murder is worst then stealing but you still can't steal as it is instrinsically evil. I could in principle say it is a lesser to have safe sex vs unprotected fornication BUT it would still be intrinsically evil thus we Catholics can't and won't help you do it.

            >And that's the heart of the disagreement. You see sex for pleasure as a bad and risky thing. I see it as a good and risky thing.

            No I see the pleasure part of sex as secondary but the procreation is primary.

            >You think it's bad to tell people about and assist them in safety precautions if they're going to engage in the activity because you think that doing so risks encouraging more people to do it, and that outweighs any benefits of health that may be gleaned from the assistance.

            Your begging the question. I am sure bullet proof vests have a lot of benefits but evil is evil.

            >So for you it's like telling people how to do a self-destructive thing safely.

            Correct.

            >Even if I shared you view that it is self destructive or wrong, I wound still advocate for education and access to this life saving equipment for harm reduction purposes.

            That sound kind of utilitarian or consequentialist in nature so I will have to pass. One would be doing something they know to be evil so that good may come from it. St John Paul II said that is a no-no.

            >I think climbing Mt Everest is insanely risky, 1 in 4 die, and unethical, it polluted the mountain. But I would still advocate for good education and access to safety equipment.

            I don't think climbing a mountain or sport is in essence evil. But it can be per accidents evil. So yeh a case could be made that recreational climbing of Everest is not good. (Scientific and exploration are another issue).

            >I think personal use of heroin is incredibly risky and always a bad idea, but I support safe injection sites.

            Maybe or maybe not. I would have to consult a Catholic moral theologian.
            Admittedly there are some exceptions to the rule. Like Nuns in the Congo using non-abortifacient birth control pills to prevent conception if they are rapped. Technically it is not contraception since Nuns by definition never intend to have sex.

            >I chemical weapons are awful, should never be used and should be eradicated. But I'd never discourage safety education about them!

            Weapons are not per say evil or not. Their use (delibrately on civilian populations in a so called "total war") on whom and by whom would dictate their morality.

            >Its kinda funny right now my wife and I are under a doctor's order to use condoms, because she gave birth two months ago. But even this you would consider sinful and to be discouraged.

            Pretty much I practice NFP so at the risk of TMI the wife and I are used to binging ;-) during the infertile period and resting during the fertile one.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8S1NnVToaw

            >And one stat I do have is that over 80%of American Catholics approve of birth control and 98% if Catholic women have used it.

            That means about as much to me as in the 5th and 6th centuries when the majority of "Catholic" held the Arian heresy.

            I'll stick with the Pope.

            Cheers.

          • BCE

            You have a very simplistic idea.
            We have civil marital contracts. Even without laws societies have rituals that help establish which persons under what circumstance can consent and with whom. Only very small or isolated populations can function without them. What is "moral" is greater then a personal choice.
            A tribe will establish ways to sanction or deny who they consider
            partners. The functional reality is... coupling(sex partners) is not considered a mere private decision.
            Who might have sex and with whom, is not an act without major social implications. Evolutionary biologists have described this.
            Even with all our modern ideas, sex outside of socially recognized
            relationships is hugely costly. Saying there is "nothing immoral...if it is consenting" is not true.
            I think you yourself could list all kinds of psychological, biological, social, and material costs if all that you took into consideration
            before you had sex is if the other person consented. At least I hope so.

          • I don't know about "can" but I'd agree that all societies have rules, rituals, norms and mores, and function through them.

            I don't know what you mean by "greater" but I do think morality is extremely important, if not paramount to humanity.

            Coupling and marriage is not entirely private. But I think sex should be as unless people consent to being public about it n certain circumstances.

            I certainly agree who has sex with whom has huge implications.

            I don't know what you mean by "costly" but I'd certainly agree that sex can be extremely harmful.

            No, I think the only issue with respect to whether sex is immoral is whether there is consent. Informed consent, and real consent, which is not a simple question or simple to adduce. Certainly informed consent can be harmful. It can lead to disease, and regret or social problems
            like if you consent to cheat on a partner but there it's not really the sex but the dishonesty and breach of trust that causes the harm and I'd agree is immoral.
            I suppose that we could say one partner may be acting immorally by having consenting sex with someone much younger or much more vulnerable, but in such situations I think consent is not exactly clear, and unclear consent or consent under pressure is not consent. But I'd admit a grey area there. But maybe I'm missing something. What are examples of consenting sex that is immoral?

          • BCE

            Congratulations.

            First let me say that there are optimums; as much as we like to think about equality and individual rights, nature doesn't care.

            When I say sex and who society considers to be couples, is of public interest, I don't mean you and your wife don't have privacy.
            I mean, take for instance marriage, it's socially presumed married persons have sex.
            If you are legally married, then when your child was born, you are presumed to be the father, if not married there is no Prima Facie
            presumption(you must sign an acknowledgement or be adjudicated)

            Because people think they can safely hook up, have sex and go on their merry way, they view it as simply looking to meet their own need.
            The societal acceptance that this is ok means a significant
            number of people do it.
            And it means billions are spent by court systems in adjudicating
            non married parents, when before 1970 over 80% of children were born within a marriage.
            With 1 in 6 kids in the US hungry we are forced to spend money tracking down sex partners

            Now you can say that's not your problem, and children are not
            the goal or reason for having sex, nature has its own interests,
            where a single behavior functions for pleasure, companionship, who is in your circle of providers, and procreation. Social species can't just pull out one of these self-interests thinking they don't impact the others.

            The problem is people believe behaviors are just the the exercise of rights and we fail to realize social implications.
            If you are legally married, that social proclamation communicates,
            like the dance of a bee.

            You identify problems such as what is consent? Yes that alone
            makes a case for courtship.
            Consider Hamilton's rule. It's the excepted evolutionary theory for social altruism.
            What one notices in the theory is that identifyng partners is
            a matter of consideration for the group.
            If that was not the case it couldn't support the outcome.

          • Rob Abney

            where a single behavior functions for pleasure, companionship, who is in your circle of providers, and procreation. Social species can't just pull out one of these self-interests thinking they don't impact the others

            That's a great summary!

          • You may presume my wife and I had sex to make this chikd but you'd be wrong.

            People can and do have sex for pleasure whether they're married or not. And it is safe enough, if you're informed and take precautions. Even married sex has risks.

            Significant numbers of people have casual sex and have for ever. And there is nothing immoral about it.

            I don't say it's not my problem. Its everyone's problem. I great way to reduce this harm is to educate people on safe sex and consent. Because I was well educated on these, I actually ended up having less casual sex than I might of because I was not always convinced of consent. I always used a condom and got tested for STIs periodically.

            But legal marriage is a false proxy for safety and protection. Rape is not unheard of and neither us transmission of STIs, within marriage.

            My goodness "courtship"? Of course you know that nose rape is date raoe, while courting, right?

            There's just no replacement for good education on steps to ascertain consent.

            I'd say the Catholic Church is a big culprit in people's hang ups about sex. Reinforcing stigma that makes decisions of consent and the use of protection less likely.

          • BCE

            Your comments are exactly what I suggest are the relativistic
            non-scientific ones.
            Yes rape occurs in dating....is that the optimum? Yes, marriage doesn't
            eliminate risk.
            "courtship" yes it doesn't resolve all problems or all risks.
            As I said, animals have a range of behaviors, just because they exist does not make them all equally optimum.
            Your comment "there is NOTHING immoral about having sex if it is consenting"
            Ok so you stand by that?
            You need not reply.
            My point was "NOTHING" was simplistic, you asked why.
            Now since you keep defending yourself, I'd conclude your use of "NOTHING" must have some other motive, otherwise you would have acknowledge "nothing" was hyperbole and our exchange end.
            You've obviously convinced yourself that "consent" is sufficient.

            ps I did not presume how your wife conceived.
            my point was if someone is married when a wife gives birth there is a legal presumption of fraternal interest, unless contested ( demonstrating a social interest)
            Which was not about how one conceives
            Why you want to presume I was suggesting anything else is beyond me

          • Certainly my comments are not scientific, not sure what you mean by relativistic.

            The optimum in dating is that sex happen on dates or in any other context with consent. It would be sub optimal to abstain entirely.

            I'm not sure why you are talking about optimization.

            Yes I stand by it, there is nothing immoral in it per se. But just like anything you do, the act can be part of an immoral circumstance. Just like giving an extravagant gift to someone you love is not per second immoral, but it can be in some contexts.

            Presumably the disagreement here is whether using a condom is immoral or consentual sex not for the purpose of procreating is immoral. What are your thoughts on these issues?

          • Rob Abney

            The optimum in dating is that sex happen on dates or in any other context with consent

            Brian, this is an interesting subject that is in the news presently, obtaining consent. I would suggest that the "optimal" way to have LEGITIMATE CONSENT is the Catholic way, to freely and openly marry the partner and commit to a lifelong relationship as a spouse, and to be open to children to bind yourselves together most fully. This way would even work if you were a big-time movie producer in Hollywood, although I don't know if it's been tried there.
            What other ways are available that you would recommend to someone to obtain legitimate consent?

          • SpokenMind

            Hi Brian,

            [The optimum in dating is that sex happen on dates or in any other context with consent. It would be sub optimal to abstain entirely.]

            I hope you don't mind my jumping in here, but I am wondering if you have considered the following scenario.

            Despite taking all the proper precautions, your partner becomes pregnant and wants to have the baby.

            Would you be willing and prepared to financially support that child for the next 18 years?

            Peace.

          • Absolutely.

          • SpokenMind

            Awesome. I wish all men would behave this way.

          • SpokenMind

            Hi Brian,

            Thanks for being open with your personal thoughts in this public space.

            There may be some common ground between us.

            We both seem to place a high value on raising good kids. I would go so far as to say it is one of the most important things we do as humans.

            I also hope you might at least see some wisdom and value in the ideals that Catholics have regarding family. A good family is a great environment for raising children.

            I understand that many families fall short of these ideals, but I think the ideals themselves are still good and worthy of being strived for.

            Perhaps one day when you are ready to settle down, these ideals might seem more attractive.

            Peace and all the best!

            Job 42:5

          • BCE

            You presume too much. While I might have(other) thoughts, my point was very simple (and I mean very, very simply) that your idea
            that there is "nothing" immoral about sex if it is consenting,
            sounds simplistic. Not that your words need interpreting, but nothing means nothing, not even one other consideration.
            I wanted to clarify, for myself, your use of "nothing" and if just a grammatical device, like if I said "nothing bugs me more then long lines" well of course lot's of things do.

          • Rob Abney

            I don't have any stats. But I am confident in this belief that it reduces the risk of pregnancy and transmission of STIs.

            This sounds like a poorly informed conclusion that you've reached based solely on your own con-fidence (in other words: your own personal faith)

          • No it actually comes from education in school and from training as a planned parenthood volunteer and emplyee. But that was over 20 years ago.

          • Rob Abney

            Well, that seems even less impressive, to have faith in pp without any evidence.

          • Not faith, but of course I'm not sure what you mean by that term.

            The education I received was as part of a youth outreach theatre company run by planned parenthood that did plays about issues for high school youth. It was presented by professionals working in various fields, so the education on condoms and contraception was I believe by a planned parenthood employees whose job was to research and public education on safe sex. I recall clear referenced statistics on the effectiveness of condoms, which was identified as about 70% in preventing pregnancy. However it was noted that most people were not educated on proper application of condoms. It was known that many men would keep one in their wallet which would decrease effectiveness enormously. Do you want me to go on?

            Sure I trusted these people because they and we all knew this information was going to be presented to youth in public schools and if it was wrong or exaggerated the organization would be in serious trouble. It had been doing it for ten years at that point. The information was consistent but more in-depth than I learned in sex-ed.

            Discussions on rape and consent came from rape counsellors and one rape survivor. I have since learned a great deal more by reading rape decisions in Canadian jurisprudence and in education working at a community legal clinic.

            Call that faith or unimpressive if you like, where do you get your facts on this subject?

          • Rob Abney

            I called it faith and unimpressive because you oresented it as if you had no reason for your position, initially you said that you didn't know any associated stats.
            My position is based on Catholic marriage guidelines, I explained in another comment to you.

          • No, you called it faith and unimpressive after I told you the source of my information.

            You have now told me the source of yours, I prefer mine thanks.

            Thus the guidelines that say don't ever use contraception, and where the vast majority of Catholics do anyway?

          • Rob Abney

            We already knew that you preferred your own guidelines. What is your point about the majority of Catholics’ contraception practices, is that why you promote contraception?

          • The point is because the guidelines are failing. You should stop resisting education and availability of contraception so that when the vast majority of your adherents want it, they can get it and use it properly.

          • Rob Abney

            How can you say the guidelines are failing if they are not being followed?
            This discussion was generally about the notion that condoms are the answer for controlling the spread of AIDs but that the statistics haven't supported that, so I'm not sure your assessment of PP's education is based on accurate information either. I don't think there is much impediment in the pursuit of contraception.
            The question of mine that you haven't addressed is how do you ascertain legitimate, valid consent?

          • I thought I did.

            You must take reasonable steps to ascertain consent. One good way is to ask directly and specifically. With a new partner better to ask up to four times. Especially if you or the partner are not well known to each other. Its important to be clear about what you are going to do, not just intercourse, but foreplay and other acts. If you are into kink or rough stuff you should have a full conversation and indentify safe words. Its important to be aware during the act as well, if you are at all questioning if the other person is into what you're doing, stop and confirm consent. Make sure the other person feels comfortable.

            If in doubt at all if the other person is being sincere stop, do something else, say "let's do this another time I'm not sure you're sure"

            You want to be fully convinced that the other person is really interested in doing this. Be aware that sometimes people feel pressured by the situation or you even if you didn't intend it. Always err on the side of caution. Be aware that consent can be withdrawn at any point.

            Be especially cautious if alcohol is involved. I'd say never have sex with someone who is drunk and who is unused to being drunk. Having sex with strangers while drunk is risky as you and the partner may not remember or remember accuately, and by definition you will likely lack your best judgement. I'm not saying this is never okay, but be aware it's risky. Use your reduced inhibitions to have a really direct discussion of consent.

            Discuss sexual history and protection if possible. Never have unprotected sex with strangers, or with a partner who has had other partners since being last tested, even if you've used condoms.

            Don't have sex with someone much younger than yourself or where there is a power imbalance unless you have taken appropriate steps to ensure they do not feel pressured. In some situations like this no steps will overcome the circumstantial pressure, eg doctor patient, some boss employee situations, most teacher student situations, if not all. Obviously never have any sexual contact with someone under the age of consent.

            Needless to say, your steps will need to be less stringent the more you know your partners and the more you've had sex with them. Consent in these situations can often be implied but should never be taken for granted. I still always ask my wife if she wants to have sex.

            But as there are infinite contexts under which sex can occur there will be many many ways to ensure consent. I can't go through everything here. In my experience good sex education on the full range of sexual encounters is vital. It can be hard for some people to discuss this stuff even with a well known partner. But if you've had good sex Ed, you won't have this problem. I found it impossible to have sex with someone without having a good discussion first. This has always either turned into a turn on or clarified that consent was unclear and delayed sex or we didn't do itat all

          • Rob Abney

            I thought I did

            I think you would have remembered if you'd already listed these details.
            You have some good points, but some of your advice is contradictory to obtaining consent. For instance, never having unprotected sex with a stranger should be never have any sex with a stranger.
            But to be this open and direct with someone is probably very rare and an unrealistic expectation. You may enjoy writing about it here and it may turn you on as you say, but to be able to discuss sex like this would mean that you have objectified the relationship, or that you are married. But if you are married and have built trust that only two people who have fully committed themselves to each other can do, then you won't need much of this discussion. And as I said before, freely chosen marriage is the only way to overcome a power imbalance.
            Although marriage isn't always perfect, it has much fewer pitfalls than your progressive approach has.
            Thanks for answering my question.

          • I did list them. Maybe it was another thread, or I didn't hit post.

            That isn't a contradiction.

            Its fair to say you don't think you should ever have sex with a stranger. But many people do, and they need to know how to do it safe and with consent.

            It may be rare, but not at all unrealistic. Most of the partners I've had have been surprised at how open and direct I've been, but it's always been a positive thing.

            Objectified? Not at all. Its quite the opposite. Its being sex positive it's communicatimg. Its acknowledging that the other person is an agent that needs informed consent and that this has to be done with comfort and knowledge fully on both sides. And indeed it may be that the discussion is simply, that we want to get off on each other and not have any strings. Its important for people to agree on that if it's what's going on!

            "But if you are married and have built trust that only two people who have fully committed themselves to each other can do, then you won't need much of this discussion."

            Goodness. Marriage is by no means a confirmation of trust. My parents were Catholic, married for 20 years, by all accounts virgins. They both cheated on each other. My mom's a lesbian. History is filled with Catholic wives being raped by their husbands.

            Freely chosen marriage isn't enough. You need to confirm consent every time.

            The question was how to obtain consent. I've told you how in many circumstances. You may feel that in some circumstances there are insufficient reasonable steps. But people do have sex out if wedlock. Enormous numbers of women are raped all the time. People need to be educated on how to protect themselves.

            Your church has had hundreds of years trying the "don't talk about it, only have sex for children, and only in marriage" it's a disaster, for obvious reasons.

          • Rob Abney

            Marriage is by no means a confirmation of trust. My parents were Catholic, married for 20 years, by all accounts virgins. They both cheated on each other. My mom's a lesbian. History is filled with Catholic wives being raped by their husbands.

            You omitted a qualifier that I had clearly stated, I'll repeat it "have built trust that only two people who have fully committed themselves to each other can do".
            Your examples cite people who seem to have not fully committed to each other.

            Your church has had hundreds of years trying the "don't talk about it, only have sex for children, and only in marriage" it's a disaster, for obvious reasons.

            The "obvious" reasons are not clear to me. You are inventing "the don't talk about it" advice, I'm saying that an optimal situation can be construed where the level of detail that you suggest is assumed by the trusting couples. You are also wrong about "only have sex for children".
            Since you learned many of these sex ed concepts over the past 20 years or so, and many others did too, then why are we in a toxic sexual abuse environment right now? To paraphrase Chesterton, the church's advice has not failed, it has not been tried.

          • "have built trust that only two people who have fully committed themselves to each other can do"

            Sure in those cases steps for consent will be less. But that status is independent on getting married or even making a lifelong commitment. But sure after building a relationship with someone ascertaining consent is easier, but still not guaranteed and must be confirmed every time as even the most commited partner may not want sex at the same time .

            There are obviously circumstances in which people may have made no commitment but consent can be just as well obtained .for example long time casual partners, or prostitution there can be less concern with consent than in married couples.

            We aren't in a toxic abuse relationship right now. Or no more toxic than its always vern Only in the last few decades has the issue of consent begun to be discussed in a serious and open way. Men continue to act without consent and rape and abuse women, probably less than they ever have.

            What we've been seeing us the process of protecting the right not to be sexually assaulted being enforced. We've come a long way since "she's my wife" was a legal defense to rape. We still have a huge way to go.

            I honestly don't know what your church advocates. I support early and thourogh sex education on all aspects of this including contraception and the especially consent. Do you disagree?

          • Rob Abney

            The Church advocates sex as part of marriage and for marriage to be for love.

            Sure in those cases steps for consent will be less. But that status is independent on getting married or even making a lifelong commitment

            Obtaining consent is not independent of marriage, it is an extension of marriage, it is assumed. And part of the assumption is that the spouses communicate effectively because they have promised each other that they will give their whole self to this marriage and to this marriage only.
            But sex with a stranger or with a prostitute or a casual friend will never be safe because there is no love, there is no self-sacrifice for the good of the other. There will always be the chance of STD, single motherhood, abortion, claims of sex against your will, and more.

          • "Obtaining consent is not independent of marriage, it is an extension of marriage, it is assumed."

            No it should never be assumed, consent must be given every time. A shame you don't seem to get this.

            If they are communicating they need not assume consent. You need consent whether or not you have married a partner.

            I don't see why you think lack of love means sex us unsafe. Nor do I see why self-sacrifice should entail safety in sex.

            There is always a risk of STD, single motherhood, abortion, claims of sex against your will, even if you're married to the person.

            The way to deal with these risks is to address them directly.

          • Rob Abney

            I don't see why you think lack of love means sex us unsafe. Nor do I see why self-sacrifice should entail safety in sex

            I know you can’t see why. Two people who love each other and each will the greatest good for the other offers the optimal situation for both of them, including sex, I’m not sure why you would argue against that.

          • I agree that is optimal for a relationship and arguably for sex. I didn't say it wasn't optimal I said I don't see why a lack of love makes sex unsafe.

          • Rob Abney

            Love is defined as "willing the good of the other for the other", so any activity that lacks love will be unsafe.
            You promote various methods that seem to be safe and consensual if the rules that you outline are followed but those techniques are always dependent upon the two people in the relationship having good reason to follow such rules.
            If you want to protect yourself then make sure that the person you are with is strongly interested in willing the good for you.
            If you want to protect the person you are with then be sure that you are willing that person's good rather than your own.
            The optimal way for two people to will the good of the other is through freely committing to lifelong monogamous marriage that has no restrictions. Then it is easier to know that consent has been given, there is minimal chance of unknown STD's, pregnancy is accepted when it occurs.
            This is not a religious position, it is a practical philosophical position. But the current culture seems to view marriage as too restrictive so contrived "rules of engagement" are devised to pretend that one night stands and prostitution can be just as safe and fulfilling as marriage, they cannot be because they lack the self-sacrificial component that is only available through marriage - there is no other way.
            Stop teaching young people that unmarried sex is safe, it is not. Teach them the "optimal"!

          • I buckled my seatbelt today without love, was that unsafe? I braked for a jaywalker without love rather with anger. That was unsafe too?

            Yes my safety advice only works if it's followed. I would say that yes people who engage in risky behaviors have inherent reason to follow safety precautions.

            "If you want to protect yourself then make sure that the person you are with is strongly interested in willing the good for you."

            I agree .Even better to never have sex, even safer! Or never leave your house unless you know all people you may encounter love you.

            "The optimal way for two people to will the good of the other is through freely committing to lifelong monogamous marriage that has no restrictions."

            No, the optimal way for them to will this is to just will it, marriage is an institution that supports that, in many cases but is not necessary for it .my wife and my's will for the goodwill for each other existed long before we got married. Lots of married people hate each other, betray each other, murder and rape each other.

            Sure it's easier to confirm consent the more you know someone but getting married is irrelevant to this. People get married the day they meet, they will need more steps to confirm consent than an unmarried couple that have been having sex for decades.

            No the easiest way to get consent is to ask clearly.

            No one has said that prostitution or one night stands are as safe as sex with long term monogamous couples. I'm saying it is more risky, but this can be mitigated by reasonable steps, but I agree it will never be as safe. But driving a formula 1 rave will never be as safe as a bike race and while I might think the former is madness I'd never discourage safety precautions for those who do it. Does the church argue people should abstain from climbing Mount Everest? It has a death rate of 1 in 4. Does it suggest we should not support good safe mountain climbing equipment and only advocate abstention? Of course not. This is not about safety for the church .it's a theological prohibition on contraception.

          • Rob Abney

            This is not about safety for the church .it's a theological prohibition on contraception

            It would be interesting to read how you can support such a claim, I understand that you believe it but it is not based on any reasoning.

            Even better to never have sex, even safer! Or never leave your house unless you know all people you may encounter love you.

            This is a good illustration of your misunderstanding. I am almost certain that you do not believe that life is better without sex. It is a natural part of life and marriage is the natural way for sex to occur. Fortunately, we can leave the house because most of the people we encounter are like you in the jaywalking situation:

            I braked for a jaywalker without love rather with anger

            I am confident that you avoided hitting the jaywalker because you felt a certain affinity for a fellow human being.

            Let's take a look at PP approach to safe Jaywalking. Its best to never jaywalk but we know you are going to do it so use these safety precautions: 1. always assure that the car has a big rubber safety device on it to reduce the chance of injury when the car hits you, 2. if the car hits you then hurry to a local clinic so that the resulting injuries can be addressed, then go on with life just as before.

          • I support it for the reasons above. The Catholic Church does not argue abstention from all pleasurable but risky behaviours, except sex. This shows that the Church's abhorrence with condoms or premarital sex is not because it thinks condoning them would be condoning the risky behaviors, otherwise it would be arguing against all kinds of safety equipment. Ban all extreme sports, it would be pushing a ban on contact football. It would say don't educate people on how to do these activities more safely, because that might encourage them to do these inherently risky things .

            No sex only in marriage is a completely artificial way for sex to occur.

            But an affinity isn't love! I have a great affinity for many women who are not my wife as well.

            Nonsense. The analogy to jaywalking and condoms is the church saying don't educate kids to look both ways, that'll encourage danferous jaywalking.

          • Rob Abney

            The Catholic Church does not argue abstention from all pleasurable but risky behaviours, except sex. This shows that the Church's abhorrence with condoms or premarital sex is not because it thinks condoning them would be condoning the risky behaviors

            You are right, the Church is not taking a stance on risky behavior, it is teaching that sex is part of marriage, and sex and marriage are both a demonstration of love. The Church teaches that married sex with contraception is not a total gift of self but rather that it objectifies the act by reducing it. The Church does teach against premarital sex, it doesn't really have a position on contraception use in sex acts outside of marriage. To refute this you should explain how sex in any relationship outside of marriage can be a total act of love, because that is what the Church is teaching.

            sex only in marriage is a completely artificial way for sex to occur.

            if by artificial you mean man-made then I agree, almost all societies have had this institution since sex was invented!

            But an affinity isn't love! I have a great affinity for many women who are not my wife as well.

            I hope that you do understand that there are different degrees of love.

            Nonsense. The analogy to jaywalking and condoms is the church saying don't educate kids to look both ways, that'll encourage danferous jaywalking.

            Again you've made an incomplete analogy, when you teach a kid to cross the street you teach him/her to cross at a crosswalk. If there are no crosswalks then there is no such thing as jaywalking.

            If you are going to teach kids and young people then teach them the optimal, why teach any less, they can learn how to behave like beasts on their own.

          • Oh I thought the Catholic Church was against non marital sex and contraception use .

            Well the sex I had with my wife in the two years before we got married was just as living as after.

            But I'm not saying that all sex is it should be a total act of love. Why should it?

            That's exactly what I mean by artificial.

            Yes I understand there are different degrees of love. But your avoiding the issue. You said that you can't be safe without being loving. I said I braked for someone I didn't love, you then changed from love to affinity implying that because I had an affinity for that stranger I braked for it fell within what you meant by what was required to act in safety, not optimal love but the kind of affinity you can have for a stranger you've never met and who has made you angry. So either you need to retract you view that live is necessary to act in safety or accept that casual sex can be safe enough.

            Yes of course you tell kids to cross at crosswalks but you also teach them to look both ways .

          • Rob Abney

            Oh I thought the Catholic Church was against non marital sex and contraception use .

            Good, now you have a better understanding of the Church's position. It gets misrepresented often.

            Well the sex I had with my wife in the two years before we got married was just as living as after.

            I'm not judging particular instances, I'm speaking generally; a fiancee makes plans but a spouse makes vows - the degree of love is different.

            I used the word affinity for the jaywalker because I thought you would object to me saying that you loved the jaywalker. But, that is one of the main reasons that you did not run him over, you love him - not the same as you love your wife, not the same as you loved your fiancee, not the same as you love your parents....

            Finally, why does a kid need to look both ways if he is at a crosswalk, why not just observe the walk/don't walk sign, that's what I do.

          • Forgive me. I am going to teach my daughter all of it. I am going to teach her to be prepared. So whatever choices she makes she has the knowledge to be as safe as possible. Hopefully she will agree to and not partake in high risky sexual behaviour. But if she chooses to, I want her to be ready and knowledgeable.

            And yes I will teach her to use cross walks but also to look both ways.

          • Rob Abney

            Will you teach her to jaywalk?

          • If you are on a corner with a stoplight, and there is no traffic coming in either direction as far as the eye can see (which even happens to me in Manhattan occasionally), do you wait for a green light before crossing? Always?

            The one and only time I was hit by a car (a taxi), I had waited for a green light to cross. I have never been hit while crossing against the light.

          • Rob Abney

            Based on your logic, you should simply take precautions for yourself and always freely jaywalk. And your fellow New Yorkers would say “whatsamatter with you”

          • I wouldn't, never said I would.

            Funny though, my Atheist parents never did. But my Catholic grandfather literally taught me to Jay walk .

          • Rob Abney

            You do understand that this jaywalking analogy doesn’t matter what religion a person is?

            But jaywalking is analogous to premarital sex, both are corruptions of the optimal way to perform. I’m glad that you won’t teach her to jaywalk, I hope you won’t teach her to engage in premarital sex. It will be difficult though because there are a lot of apologists for less than optimal sex and contraceptive evangelists.

          • No I don't agree with that. Premarital sex is optimal for what it is .Its great. I don't regret any of the premarital sex i had. Much of it was pretty optimal.

            When and how my daughter engages in sex will be entirely her own decision I won't teach to, or not to. I will do my best to preopre her to make her choices.

          • Rob Abney

            I won't teach to, or not to

            Pathetic.

            I will do my best to preopre her to make her choices

            That’s more like it, you have an unconditional commitment to her.

          • Go fuck yourself Rob. I've had it with your sanctimonious bullshit.

            Bye SN!

          • Rob Abney

            Your usual reaction. I hope you grow up soon.

          • You seem to be arguing that the safest course and the most virtuous are always the same. Of course that is not true. The safest thing for a wife to do is never to become pregnant. Do you recommend to all women to remain childless in the name of safety? That would be "optimal"!

          • Rob Abney

            You seem to be arguing that the safest course and the most virtuous are always the same

            I'm not advocating safe sex, I'm advocating married sex. BGA's Planned Parenthood approach teaches "safe sex" but is really an implicit encouragement of risky behavior that can be somewhat less risky with his suggestions but is always risky due to it occurring in a relationship as an exchange rather than as part of spouses' love for each other.

          • Michael Murray

            I think if used correctly condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy, that is out of 100 couples using condoms correctly for a year two couples will get pregnant. But there are some common mistakes

            Are condom user errors common?

            Yes. Most errors are, in fact, user errors. Some mistakes couples make include placing the condom
            upside down and then turning it over (29.1%), taking condom off too soon (28.4%), putting the condom
            on too late (19.7%), opening the package with a sharp object (10%) and using an oil-based lubricant (6.5%). Of course, the most frequent mistake is not using a condom at all.

            My guess would be that last one although it sounds self-evident is people trying to guess that a certain times of the female partners cycle it is safe not to bother with the condom.

            http://www.factsaboutcondoms.com/pdf/Condom%20Effectiveness%20FAQ%202.4.13.pdf

          • SpokenMind

            Hi Brian,

            I hope you don't mind me picking your brain a bit.

            [I think fornication is a moral good and I see no harm from consenting sex.]

            Are there any exceptions to this premise?

            What about between a teenager and an adult?

            What about between two adults whose spouses/significant others would disapprove?

            What if a child is conceived as a result?

            What about the risk of STDs?

          • Michael Murray

            Statistically if a condom is 10% effective doesn't that mean statistically at least 10 will break after I had sex at least a 100 times?

            No as David Nickol points out they measure contraceptive effectiveness by the percentage of couples who aren't pregnant after a years use. I've never see data on how many times those couples have actually had sex during that year.

          • Michael Murray

            I guess you could make a guess. Say the average couple in the cohort has sex twice a week. So 100 time a years. So 100 x 100 couples is 10,000 acts of intercourse and 15 failures if condoms are 85% effective. So 15/10,000 is 15/100 percent or 0.15 % chance of failure on a single use.

          • Jim the Scott

            That sounds like a better model but a monogamous couple is at a low rist of STD's.

          • SpokenMind
          • Rob Abney

            I read the second article, it is very good with facts that are contrary to popular opinions.

          • SpokenMind

            There are two interesting excerpts from the Washington Post article, which is not known for being conservative:

            "In a 2008 article in Science called 'Reassessing HIV Prevention' 10 AIDS experts concluded that 'consistent condom use has not reached a sufficiently high level, even after many years of widespread and often aggressive promotion, to produce a measurable slowing of new infections in the generalized epidemics of Sub-Saharan Africa.' "

            "So what has worked in Africa? Strategies that break up these multiple and concurrent sexual networks -- or, in plain language, faithful mutual monogamy or at least reduction in numbers of partners, especially concurrent ones. 'Closed' or faithful polygamy can work as well. "

            One of the common misconceptions is that condom usage solves the spreading of AIDS issue. For each individual act, a condom will lower the odds of AIDS being transmitted, however, the realistic problem is, people are having more sex, with more partners, the net result being AIDS spreads.

            Here's an intersting video:

            http://reallifecatholic.com/video/#7750-video-grid/34685-why-condoms-arent-the-answer

          • I watched the video and I am afraid it is unconvincing and possible very misleading. The video claims that the rate of HIV infection in Thailand is 50 times that in the Philippines. It is true that Thailand's rate of infection is very high (1.1%), but the rate in the Philippines is 0.1%, making Thailand's rate 11 times higher. That is definitely not good, but 11 is not 50.

            Also, a 2017 article says that "the Philippines has registered the fastest-growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Asia-Pacific in the past six years with a 140-percent increase in the number of new infections." And yet the video holds up the Philippines as a good example.

            In what cannot possibly be true, the video says, "When it comes to pregnancy the Planned Parenthood Research Council had to admit that the leading cause of unplanned teen pregnancies is not a failure to use contraception but a failure of contraception to work." I can find no such statement from Planned Parenthood. Just the opposite, in fact. See, for example, "Declines in Teen Pregnancy Risk Entirely Driven by Improved Contraceptive Use: Levels of Teen Sexual Activity Essentially Unchanged Between 2007–2012."

          • Rob Abney

            You are misrepresenting the statistics David. You don't agree with the 50 times higher term (and you cite 2016 stats from wikipedia: Thailand's 450,000 of 68,000,000 vs Phillipine's 56,000 of 100,000,000) but you do agree with the 140% higher term (At the end of 2016, there were 10,500 Filipinos infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) up from 4,300 in 2010). Also Chris Stefanick referenced the statistics from 2004 not 2016 that your link referred to. So, it seems you are comparing apples to oranges to promote the latex mission.

          • Good catch on the dates for the statistics. It may or may not have been the case that the disparity between Thailand and the Philippines was as great as the video claimed at the 20-year mark, but we are at the 34-year mark. And after a period low numbers and slow growth, the Philippines has the highest infection rate in the Asia-Pacific.

            But I am really rather sorry I made the observation in the first place, and I am thankful it did not start a new sub-thread. The real point to be made is that statistics like that are meaningless, especially when used to make a religious point. The Philippines and Thailand are two dramatically different countries, and simple comparisons of their statistics tell us nothing about condom use. From doing a little research, I discovered that the strain of HIV in Thailand earlier on was more virulent than the strain in the Philippines. Now the strain from Thailand has spread to the Philippines, and the low rate of condom use in that country is now one of the reasons for the recent rapid spread of AIDS. Thailand, on the other hand, is hailed for its success in bringing the early rate of AIDS transmissions down by something like 80 percent.

            So, it seems you are comparing apples to oranges to promote the latex mission.

            I rarely take offense, but I found this to be a gratuitous insult. I would be quite pleased to see AIDS brought under control with no use of condoms or 100% use of condoms. I have no interest or stake whatsoever in a "latex mission," and I think that remark is an insult to me and to everyone who thinks condoms can play a role in halting the spread of AIDS. I think that people who promote (or merely approve of) the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS do so not because of any love of condoms, but because they feel condom use is one of many approaches to curtailing the spread of AIDS. If there is any individual who believes that providing every individual in a country with a lifetime supply of condoms will halt the AIDS epidemic, then he or she is a fool. On the other hand, if there is someone who believes that preaching abstinence is the sole solution, then he or she is a fool, too.

            The morality of the use of condoms is religious question to which forums like this can be reasonably informative. The effectiveness of condom use is a complex scientific, medical, psychological, and sociological question, and I think it is unhelpful for people whose real objections to condom use are moral to imagine they are trying to make a medical case when their actual motivation is to justify their moral beliefs.

          • Rob Abney

            I voice objection to condom use based upon justification of the natural law which is the basis for many of the Catholic religious beliefs but is not "a" religious belief. So, when you accuse me of ulterior religious motives then you make the same prejudicial mistake that I made when I said you were part of the latex mission. I apologize for insulting you.
            Application of natural law, in the broad sense to do good and avoid evil, can be problematic in particular individual circumstances but when it is considered in the population of a country it is not hard to see that recommending condoms is exactly the wrong message to send. And most of the studies agree with that even though simplistically it seems that condoms could solve the problem, but that sort of reductionist thinking ignores the real issues which are psychological and sociological.

          • natural law which is the basis for many of the Catholic religious beliefs but is not "a" religious belief

            I see the Catholic understanding of natural law and Catholicism itself as inseparable. There are other understandings of natural law, even atheist understandings. But when you as a Catholic invoke the concept of natural law, you are obviously invoking the Catholic understanding, and it is part of Catholic religious belief. It would make no sense to me if someone were to say he or she believed in natural law theory as taught by the Catholic Church, but did not believe in Catholicism.

            So, when you accuse me of ulterior religious motives then you make the same prejudicial mistake that I made when I said you were part of the latex mission.

            If Catholicism is true, and if a person is a faithful Catholic, then I fail to understand what "ulterior religious motives" would be. If one is a Catholic, then one's guiding motives and principles should be Catholic.

            The reason why I said in another comment that Catholics seem to have a "thing" about condoms is that they seem to be seen as evil under any and all circumstances. But does the Church teach that "fornication" or gay sex is mores sinful when condoms are used than when they are not? As I understand it, the answer is "no." Or perhaps "no comment." The Church is saying, "Don't engage in sexual activity outside of marriage, and don't use contraception inside of marriage. End of message from the Church." The Church does not say, "If you are going to engage in illicit behavior, then at least do it in a specific way." The Church, for example, would not say to an unmarried heterosexual couple, "You mustn't have sex, but if you absolutely can't resist, then take steps to make sure you don't get pregnant and/or catch any diseases." However, I don't see anything wrong with public health authorities setting the questions of sexual morality of specific behavior aside and say, "It's best and safest if you practice abstinence, but if you don't, here's the next best thing."

            I also don't see anything wrong with people making this decision for themselves. To take an unpleasant example, suppose there were a rapist who had a sexually transmitted disease and decided, because he had some shreds of human decency, to use condoms to prevent infecting his victims. We can all agree that the rapist should most definitely never rape again. But would he be more evil or less evil if he used condoms? I think the answer is clearly "less evil." But it is understandable that the Church and event the state would not want to say, "It is better for rapists to use condoms." The message would seem to give some kind of license to rapists, even though in reality it does nothing of the kind.

          • Rob Abney

            I cannot tell what informs your conscience to make the distinctions you outlined. Why is it different for fornicators to be told that a condom could lessen the evil of their act but a rapist's evil cannot be lessened with the same advice?

          • SpokenMind

            Hi David,

            Thanks for sharing your perspective.

            Just because the author doesn't site his sources in the video, it is incorrect to say they are false. Not all studies can be found on the internet.

            If someone has sex with a condom 6 times (if a condom is 85% effective), that's roughly the equivalent of having sex with no condom. Doesn't seem like much of a solution to me.

            All the best.

          • If someone has sex with a condom 6 times (if a condom is 85% effective), that's roughly the equivalent of having sex with no condom.

            First, thank you for your friendly tone. I wish all of us (including me) could be as cordial.

            The effectiveness of condoms is not measured by one-time use. It is measured by use over a period of one year. So for effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, condoms used consistently and correctly are 98% effective. For 100 couples using condoms consistently and correctly, there will be 2 pregnancies per year. (For couples using no form of birth control, there will be 86 pregnancies within a year.) Even the most ardent supporters of condom use acknowledge that since people aren't perfect, condoms in actual practice wind up being about 85 percent effective. That is, 100 couples using condoms reasonably and conscientiously (but not consistently and correctly) will wind up with 15 pregnancies per year

            Studies with monogamous couples in which one partner has AIDS and the other doesn't have shown that condoms used consistently and correctly are 98% to 99% effective. That is, over a given period of time, if condoms are used consistently and correctly, out of 100 couples using condoms, AIDS will be contracted by one or two of the uninfected partners.

            It should be noted that with today's antiretroviral drugs, it is possible for someone infected with HIV to have a viral load of zero (that is, no virus detectable in their body) and it is quite possible that they cannot infect a partner even during unprotected sex.

            Also, it should be noted that PrEP can be used in the fight against AIDS:

            Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently.

            Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%. Your risk of getting HIV from sex can be even lower if you combine PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods.

            So the fight against AIDS transmission is no longer just a matter of condoms versus abstinence (or monogamy)

          • Rob Abney

            The pregnancy study concludes that consistently and correctly is difficult to obtain so 15 pregnancies result; so can we assume that that stat applies to the HIV carriers as well, that 15 of them will contract the virus. And even if those outcomes are equal it seems much more problematic to contract a serious, often fatal disease than to have a newborn baby.
            I don't think that I would want to counsel an individual to take that chance.

          • As I pointed out, antiretrovirals and PrEP have changed the equation. Also, Catholic advice to gay people, unmarried people, and divorced people (i.e., Catholics who married and are now divorced) is never to engage in sex at all. Realistically, most people are going to have sex, including people who are risking unwanted pregnancies or infection with various diseases.

          • Rob Abney

            Catholic advice to gay people, unmarried people, and divorced people (i.e., Catholics who married and are now divorced) is never to engage in sex at all

            No, the advice is to totally commit yourself to another, and that total commitment will include sex. That total commitment will require self sacrifice.

            Realistically, most people are going to have sex, including people who are risking unwanted pregnancies or infection with various diseases.

            Is that a statistic you can cite or just your opinion?

          • SpokenMind

            Hi David,

            Thanks for sharing your perspective.

            It seems like knowing whether your partner has AIDS are not would be the most important thing to know. Personally, I wouldn't risk my life and use a condom just to have sex with someone with AIDS (even if they are taking the latest, most advanced drugs).

            It also seems like knowing whether one's partner is likely to be fertile or not would be a good thing to know if one wanted to get pregnant or not.

            I think it's fair to say that in practical reality, using condoms hasn't prevented the spread of AIDS and STDs. In my opinion, I think it would be worse now without them, but it doesn't solve the problem like abstinence or faithful monogamy does.

            Take care.

  • Jim the Scott

    Geocentricism is the view the Earth is the center of the Cosmos in some fashion. It doesn't require belief the Earth doesn't move nor does it require it be the physical center nor does it require everything must move directly around the Earth as Tyco Brac postulated.

    No the Geocentricism of Ptolemy required all that. But some people have this deep need to commit fallacies of equivocation. Would it kill them to use precise and accurate definitions I wonder? Most likely yes.......

    PS. Did some thoughtless individual just suggest Catholics are not "scientific" unless they put a piece of rubber laytex on their manhood?

    So if I did this and made love to my wife then that makes me "scientific"? But what if I cut off the tip of the rubber thingy(so as to avoid the sin of contraception) & have at it with the Mrs? Does that make me a little scientific or does it invalidate all my science all together?

    This Scientism sacramental theology looks so fascinating. Did Darwin appear in an Apparition to reveal this too us?

    • "the Earth is the center of the Cosmos in some fashion" "nor does it require it be the physical center"

      Make up your mind.

      PS. Did some thoughtless individual just suggest Catholics are not "scientific" unless they put a piece of rubber laytex on their manhood?

      Nope. Some thoughtful person said that the Catholic view that condoms are worse than spreading AIDS is unscientific. Furthermore, the church said condoms will make the disease worse and not less. Very unscientific.

      This Scientism sacramental theology looks so fascinating. Did Darwin appear in an Apparition to reveal this too us?

      You're favorite go-to false accusations. You're running out of lines.

  • Jim the Scott

    Chastity is more effective at preventing AIDS. Condoms break. OTOH only fornicators would have need of a condom and they are sinning anyway by fornicating.
    It's like choosing to rob a bank with or without a bullet proof vest. Duh! That is just common sense sinning. Catholics say don't sin.

    But the Geocentracism of Ptolemy required an unmoving Earth and for the whole of creation to revolve directly around it.

    Geocentracism in general not so much.

    • Chastity is more effective at preventing AIDS. Condoms break. OTOH only fornicators would have need of a condom and they are sinning anyway by fornicating.
      It's like choosing to rob a bank with or without a bullet proof vest. Duh! That is just common sense sinning. Catholics say don't sin.

      I guess it was kind of foolish for god to create us through the evolutionary process knowing how it would hard wire us for promiscuous sexual lust then, huh?

      But the Geocentracism of Ptolemy required an unmoving Earth and for the whole of creation to revolve directly around it.

      Geocentracism in general not so much.

      Regardless, it can't be compatible with relativity because no existing force could make the solar system revolve around the earth.

      • BCE

        I thought you were more cautious to not get caught up in slanting science to fit a political agenda.
        You state "wires us for promiscuous..." as if fact.
        I've read many theories, including field studies and Sexual Exuberance.
        While perhaps science would not describe human mating to exactly match the Christian one, it is not promiscuous either, especially as understood by teens and the target group( millennials who might enjoy the anti-establishment slant and atheists who enjoy its anti-Christian influence) while these authors like the attention and no doubt the $$$$$
        Hamilton's rule alone suggests "promiscuity" is not the strategy for altruistic species, and altruistic species are not generally described as "promiscuous"
        Other problems including species where males only have one chance, one season or a short window of reproductive opportunity.
        Suggesting "promiscuity" has been definitively proved by scientists, to be the evolved preferred human construct, is a misrepresentation with many omissions.
        Suggesting ...you are meant to be "promiscuous" denies people the facts about how much more complex human "family" life is.
        Because that statement omits so much, it is unscrupulous.

        • That we're hard wired for sexual lust via the evolutionary process is uncontroversial and true. We humans are not naturally monogamous nor are we only ever sexually promiscuous. We are a combination of the two: able to have long lasting monogamous bonds, but also able to be sexually promiscuous, especially in males, as is the case of almost every mammalian species. Different people will have more or less of this. So I'm not saying that every single person has the desire to be sexually promiscuous. But males especially have the tendency for sexual promiscuity. There's no political agenda here.

          • BCE

            Again "especially males" omits so much.
            First, there are competing drives.
            Females give birth, their relationship to their offspring is presumed.
            How did evolution create altruistic males?
            How does nature reconcile evolved altruistic tendency and robust sex drive?
            Inclusive fitness... includes males who care for their young and females that can be sexually receptive with no estrus or season.

            How do males know the child they invest their care in is theirs?
            It's not the exception, a health population has enough members following the optimum.
            Males know because they remain near the female and ward off rivals.
            That behavior increases their odds of successfully rearing their own genetic fruit. Too much male promiscuity can lead to female disinterest, aggression, child abandonment and lower survival rates.
            The risk of male aggression is high.
            "Wired" to be sexual ready is tampered with being "wired" to be cautious,
            jealous, protective, territorial etc. Nature has "wired" human males and females with all kinds of emotions and behaviors to promote fidelity and family stability. Those same evolved emotions promote "group fitness"
            as an extension. Loyalty to spouse, kinfolk, tribe.

            You're well read, I'm not explaining this because I think otherwise.
            But for junior atheist-in- the making, who use the"promiscuous" meme to refute Christian ethics, I want them to be aware they're being manipulated.

          • How did evolution create altruistic males?
            How does nature reconcile evolved altruistic tendency and robust sex drive?

            Altruism developed because we're a social species dependent on one another. So we had to develop certain behaviors like altruism for our very survival. Also, most altruism is reciprocal.

            Nature reconciles altruism with a robust sex drive many ways. One way is by us having a dominance hierarchy. This sets up cultural rules on what one can and cannot do. The question I have is if sexual lust is a sin, why create us in a way that hard wires it into our DNA? If god didn't want us to have lust, god could have just made us without lust.

            How do males know the child they invest their care in is theirs?

            They go on the Maury Povich show. Duh.

            Ha just kidding.

            Males know because they remain near the female and ward off rivals.That behavior increases their odds of successfully rearing their own genetic fruit.

            Agreed. Unfortunately it leads to so much sexual violence and jealousy.

            Too much male promiscuity can lead to female disinterest, aggression, child abandonment and lower survival rates.

            Yes, there is a balance there. Too much = bad. But sexual lust exists for a reason of course. It's natures way of getting us to make more of us. And nature has made it so that we always have to overdo it. We need to want more sex than is necessary to reproduce. I mean technically, we could only have sex 5 or 10 times and get 5 or 10 children, and that would be enough. But our sex drives are not like that. From a survival perspective, we always have to want it much more to compensate for cases when the child dies, or when pregnancy doesn't occur, and the like. That's why in so many species the males are always trying to have sex. It's hard wired into us, for better or worse. And given all the news about male sexual behavior recently, it seems to be for the worse.

          • BCE

            And we were getting along so well!
            You must be tired. You usually try and stay on topic and avoid going for ...... where you think God went wrong.
            But regardless of Websters lust, Catholic lust is not the absence of desire
            not even lots of desire. Just thinking and acting on selfish desire without concern for yourself as a whole complex person, the other person, their family or yours, the community and all mankind.
            That's a lot to consider before you have sex. But as you so rightly point out, there's a lot at stake, sex effects individuals, families, and whole communities.
            Contrary to how some consider animals, animals do not lust, they
            do not sin.
            You're right, God could have made us differently.. more like bees, or cows or crows ...
            You're the one stuck with us as mere animals that rape.... and stuck with that not being a sin.
            Theists are in the same universe as you, they're just stuck thinking divine truth making that objectively wrong.

          • I just don't think 'sin' is a useful concept. And that's why many people don't include it as an equation when talking about human behavior or ethics.

          • BCE

            I understand and respect you.
            But you invite a response if you yourself use the word or leave science to
            discuss God.

            BTW
            I hate to beat a dead horse but....
            I can not say for certainty why human (or male) sexuality and mating is the way it is.
            I just take exception with strong assertions as though we do.

            But we do know we need to be cautious, as ethology explores
            genetic evolved behaviors.
            Such that, going back to an altruism example, humans adopt abandon infants.
            It can be wrong to conclude we evolved to adopt.
            We may have evolved to care for our own infants (even though there is exception and aberration ) A viable species only needs a high level of
            successful parents and not an absolute totality.
            Once the trait is inherited, it's there; so the cries of an abandoned infant
            cue a mother and she responds and adopts it.
            We can adopt puppies too, but it can be a mistake to presume we
            evolved for the purpose to adopt. We may be wired to respond
            to helplessness, or cries and so it's the helplessness and cries.
            Male robins are cued to be aggressive toward a certain shade of red
            (That of other males) But they will be aggressive toward red paper.
            Obviously the object of their evolved behavior is not red paper.

            So human males might be hyper-sexual for promiscuity...to spread their seed, as some want to suggest.
            But that could be wrong, it could be that there were females who became sexually receptive all year long, even during pregnancy.
            That kept the male around, protecting her during her pregnancy,
            providing her food etc. The one female is encouraging
            his fidelity with frequent sex.She and her young had higher survival.
            Those males who gave up the more risky behavior of promiscuity
            for one female, could still have frequent sex while avoiding other aggressive males.
            So now he(and she)like sex and a fair amount of it.
            So his lust may have evolved to keep him.Not for him to stray.
            So why does he stray anyway?
            That's like.... why have an outer ear if you're born deaf?

          • Once the trait is inherited, it's there; so the cries of an abandoned infant cue a mother and she responds and adopts it.

            You know, a few weeks ago I was watching a video online of a professor talking about how through out much of human history, when a baby was born with a defect, or if there were simply too many babies already and not enough resources, most cultures just abandoned it. And I'm talking about prehistoric cultures.

            And he made an interesting moral point that brings up a thorny dilemma: given how our tribal ancestors leaved in extreme environments where food and resources were always scarce (I'm talking about before agriculture and animal domestication) if a baby is born with a defect, of if there's just too many mouths to feed already, and there isn't a reasonable way to care for the baby that doesn't put the whole family/tribe at risk, is it reasonable to abandon the baby? If it's the baby vs the whole family, what do you do? He argues that our ancestors often abandoned the baby, and that this happened quite often right up until the modern era (like in tribal cultures, Eskimo cultures where resources are always thin) and that this actually allowed our species to thrive because the survival of everyone would've been in jeopardy otherwise. Crazy right?

            We're so removed from the way our ancestors lived in the modern era. Life was real tough thousands of years ago. It seems that sometimes abandoning babies when resources are tight allowed our species to exist.

            But of course mothers have to have that motherly instinct to care for her young.

            But that could be wrong, it could be that there were females who became sexually receptive all year long, even during pregnancy.
            That kept the male around, protecting her during her pregnancy,
            providing her food etc. The one female is encouraging
            his fidelity with frequent sex.She and her young had higher survival.
            Those males who gave up the more risky behavior of promiscuity
            for one female, could still have frequent sex while avoiding other aggressive males.

            There's definitely an aspect of truth to that, which is why women's breast and lips swell during pregnancy, to keep her man around longer. It is beneficial to have a stable provider around for your kid's future. But you can also get other women pregnant, spread your seed and have other men raise the baby if they think it's theirs. It seems there's an aspect of that in us too.

          • Rob Abney

            We're so removed from the way our ancestors lived in the modern era. Life was real tough thousands of years ago. It seems that sometimes abandoning babies when resources are tight allowed our species to exist.

            I don't consider us to be far removed from those actions. Millions of babies are aborted every year due to "tight resources".

          • Aborting fetuses and killing babies or young children is very different.

          • Rob Abney

            That's your philosophical position; but do you agree that the actions of modern man and our prehistoric ancestors seems to have similar motivations.

          • BCE

            As I pointed out to *The Thinker about the kind of conclusions we make about human adaptations can be biased
            What we don't know is if instead of using infanticide many in some tribes starved which could be better then resorting to infanticide.
            For then there would be less competition in the region for food.
            Then neighboring tribes could survive without killing their infants.
            Perhaps learning instead more effective hunting and storing of food.
            God only knows! Maybe not resorting to the default of abandoning and killing promotes forward thinking, planning and innovation and infanticide because it's fast and over is lame
            Wanting to conclude that there is only one path to human survival ( and it's contrary to Christian ethics) is a mistake Atheists make.

          • I think all of our positions are technically philosophical. To your question, I would say yes.

  • enchess

    Embracing science means embracing the idea that authoritative claims require a wealth of evidence. It embraces the idea that assumptions should be challenged and tested, not just taken on faith. I've yet to meet anyone who doubts Christians can contribute greatly to science. That's a straw-man. The thing is Christian faith is impossible to hold as absolute truth under the same scrutiny science is held to. They have to have two separate modes of thinking, one for religion and one for science. That's why people say religion and science are incompatible. You must completely reorient the way you think to go from one to another.

    • Jim the Scott

      Science can only prove scientific truths. No more. It can't prove history, logic, philosophy, Metaphysics, Math, etc... It can only stay in it's own lane.

      To think otherwise is the incoherence of scientism which is a disease here.

      >The thing is Christian faith is impossible to hold as absolute truth under the same scrutiny science is held to.

      But it can still be held as reasonably true under other rational means of inquiry. Also your implicit claim here science can hold "absolute truth" because of it's methodology is not a scientific claim and it's not a coherent or rational claim.
      Science is tentative and new data is always being discovered to change the science so the truths it finds by definition are not absolute. If you marry the science of our age you will be a widow in the next one my dear.

      >That's why people say religion and science are incompatible.

      Only people who claim religion makes scientific claims and well not all religions do that. Christianity comes to mind. You can point to young earth creationists down South but I can point to ancient Church Fathers who openly said the days in Genesis where not literal 24 hour days but epochs of time or I can point to Philo or Augustine who based on their literal interpretation of Genesis 2:4-5 came up with the doctrine of instantaneous creation and regarded the days of Genesis one as symbolic not literal.

      • enchess

        Science doesn't make claims of knowing absolute truth, yes, I know. Religion does, however. There is no objective measure of the truth of religion, yet the religious hold its truth as absolute. Do you seriously not see any issue here? If I'm a scientist trying to investigate the origins of the universe and also a Christian, I can either ignore my faith and do good science or embrace faith have a strong bias (and thus poor science). I'm not going to tell people not to be religious or tell religious people not to go into science. I will, however, call BS on anyone who claims a "Christian perspective" in science. Christian science is oxymoronic at worst and irrelevant/meaningless at best. It's like claiming value in bringing a "Republican perspective" to cooking. It's either a nonsense notion or the person saying it has a very bizarre idea of what "cooking" means.

        • Jim the Scott

          >Science doesn't make claims of knowing absolute truth, yes, I know.

          Good we are on the same page.

          > Religion does, however.

          Or rather I can have a reasonable belief(not necessarily absolute) a specific authority or revelation comes from God and whatever theological or moral truth taught by that authority I can be absolutely confident of it's truth since it comes from God.

          > There is no objective measure of the truth of religion, yet the religious hold its truth as absolute.

          Rather there is no absolute way to know which religious authority is true but there might be reasonable arguments and standards for accepting them as true.

          Once you accept them if you believe what they tell you comes from God you can be absolutely certain of it because of the source.

          For example I am reasonably certain I have been communicating with Dr. Dennis Bonnette over the net & given who he is I am more strongly confident in his professional expositions on Thomistic Philosophy then I would be from a laymen. If I had good reason to believe God was talking to me & based on those good reason I would trust what He tells me as being absolutely true given God's qualifications.

          > Do you seriously not see any issue here? If I'm a scientist trying to investigate the origins of the universe and also a Christian,

          A scientist can only explore testable physical phenomena. To go beyond that required metaphysics & philosophy and other methods of inquiry. Just as a metal detector can only tell us about metal coins not wooden ones. We can't discount the existence of wooden coins just because we have less reliable means of finding them then metal ones.

          > I can either ignore my faith and do good science or embrace faith have a strong bias (and thus poor science).

          I can't fathom how one excludes the other? I think you are thinking of dubious scientific claims made by some religious people. Like fundamentalists who insist the Cosmos is 10,000 years old or less.

          Not all religions or religious people make scientific claims in the name of religion.

          > I'm not going to tell people not to be religious or tell religious people not to go into science. I will, however, call BS on anyone who claims a "Christian perspective" in science.

          I sympathize with that as if there was a "Christian perspective" on calculating the square root of 3? OTOH Christians can crow about historic Christian contributions to science.

          >Christian science is oxymoronic at worst and irrelevant/meaningless at best. It's like claiming value in bringing a "Republican perspective" to cooking. It's either a nonsense notion or the person saying it has a very bizarre idea of what "cooking" means.

          I think I agree.

          Cheers.

          • flan man

            Rather there is no absolute way to know which religious authority is true but there might be reasonable arguments and standards for accepting them as true.

            >and what are they?

            If I had good reason to believe God was talking to me & based on those good reason I would trust what He tells me as being absolutely true given God's qualifications.

            > What would constitute a good reason to believe God was talking to you?

          • Jim the Scott

            Well said.

  • SpokenMind
  • I have taken an admittedly very quick look at Dr. Bonnette's paper "The Impenetrable Mystery of a Literal Adam and Eve," and though I grant that I did not study it in detail, nevertheless I came across what I believe would be a major stumbling block for those who find it difficult to accept Dr. Bonnett's positions. Here is a brief quote:

    While paleoanthropologists may not be able to discern the exact point in the paleontological record at which true man first appears, sound philosophy demonstrates that such a singular event must exist. At some point in time, the first rational-souled, genuine human beings must have suddenly appeared: Adam and Eve, created by God radically superior in nature to all previous primates.

    The underlying assumption, as I take it, is that philosophy demonstrates that human beings cannot possibly be purely physical beings, and true humans could not have "evolved" since (on the assumption that something like evolution took place), evolution could never have resulted in beings with human intellect and will, these being capacities that only something "spiritual" could produce. Thus, if evolution took place in some way resembling what the scientific consensus is, God had to intervene to turn two "port-humans" into two true humans—Adam and Eve.

    Of course, once it is posited that every true human being must necessarily be a "composite" of matter and spirit, or body and soul, then divine intervention at some point must be an absolute fact, "pure" evolution must be rejected. It could not have taken place in small increments over millions of years. There had to be divine intervention to create true men (matter and spirit) from purely physical creatures.

    So the fundamental philosophical question is whether true human beings must have a "spiritual soul" to exist.

    • You're on the right track. Basically Dennis is starting with his presupposition to his philosophical and religious beliefs as given, and then he's trying to fit all the data into that presupposition. That's what all Thomists do. Such is their commitment to their underlying metaphysics. And that's why they will always be wrong. Their metaphysics is wrong and it forces them to interpret all the data through it as a lens. If and when science and their metaphysics conflict, they will always ignore the science in favor of what their metaphysics forces them to believe about what's scientifically true, even to the point of absurdity if need be.

    • Jim the Scott

      The human soul cannot be the product of evolution but of divine creation only.
      The human body certainly can be purely the product of evolution.

      Of course science cannot prove or disprove the soul (in the Thomistic Sense) nor can science prove or disprove we are material beings only in the reductionist materialist sense nor in the sense of the non-reductionist materialist claim our intellects are emergent properties.

      Those who claim otherwise profess scientism.

      So get to philosophizing.

      • Then you're forced to admit the soul is an epiphenomenon because if you insist it isn't, then you're in effect saying the soul has causal power on physical matter of some kind, and you will be insisting it has an effect science can investigate.

    • Rob Abney

      So the fundamental philosophical question is whether true human beings must have a "spiritual soul" to exist.

      David, here is an excerpt from a group of Thomists explaining Evolution, at http://www.thomisticevolution.org/
      "Reflecting on the capacities of the human soul, Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas concluded that our soul, unlike the rose soul or the kangaroo soul, is immaterial. But whereas rose and kangaroo souls are coextensive with matter, the human soul has to exceed matter because it is able to do things that exceed the capacities of matter. Specifically, Aristotle and Aquinas argued that the human soul is immaterial because it is able to grasp and process abstract ideas like “truth” or “justice” or “beauty” that do not have length, width, or height. To put it another way, the human soul is immaterial because it has the capacity to grasp the complex and abstract ideas, precisely the ideas that we find uniquely expressed in human language.

      One of the things that Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas explained is that a soul is “fitted” to its body in the same way that a key is fitted to its lock. Thus, a human soul can only inform a body that is able to support those capacities. Biologically, this means that a human soul can only inform a body that has a brain that is complex enough to deal with and process language."

    • Jim the Scott

      >I believe would be a major stumbling block for those who find it difficult to accept Dr. Bonnett's positions.

      Some people cannot except knowledge that is not subject to empirical verification or give up their believe empirical verification has unlimited investigative ability that it can even dictate to us metaphysics and ontology.

      It is insane if you ask me even if their are no gods.

  • Joseph Lukowski

    the christmas remark that they mention of why christrmas is in its place is not really true. Too much detail with scripture references to get into here. but it isntr because of Saturnellia. or whatever that is.

  • Jim the Scott

    >Their metaphysics is wrong and it forces them to interpret all the data through it as a lens. If and when science and their metaphysics conflict, they will always ignore the science in favor of what their metaphysics forces them to believe about what's scientifically true, even to the point of absurdity if need be.

    The above is a Scientism presupposition. To claim otherwise is a delusion.

    Scientism proposes all true knowledge is that which we can only know via empirical investigation.

    If metaphysical claims and philosophical can be tested via empirical investigation then they aren't really metaphysical claims or philosophical ones but scientific ones.

    So what then is the real difference between science vs metaphysics vs philosophy?
    Just because we can use these distinct categories of investigation to explore physical reality doesn't mean they are inter changable. You can't interchange them without making a category mistake.

    Of course the claims of scientism cannot be verified or refuted scientifically and thus are false by their own standard.

    This is an irrational belief even if there are no gods.

    • The above a Scientism presupposition. To claim otherwise is delusion.

      Nope. The delusional one is you.

      Scientism proposes all true knowledge is that which we can only know via empirical investigation.

      Which is not what I'm saying because I can know many things wholly without scientific evidence, like that libertarian free will is false.

      If metaphysical claims and philosophical can be tested via empirical investigation then they aren't really metaphysical claims or philosophical ones but scientific ones.

      Nope. Some metaphysical views make claims or assume things about the nature of physical reality, and such claims or assumptions fall within the purview of science. Here is why using AT metaphysics as an example:

      1. AT metaphysics claims act/potency causality distinctions are real.
      2. Act/potency claims that A will actualize B's coming into existence.
      3. This requires a true ontological coming into existence or "becoming" of effects by their causes.
      4. Such a claim presupposes the view on time known as presentism is true.
      5. Presentism says that only the present moment exists and does so universally, and that the past and future do not exist.
      6. Presentism's claims about time fall within the purview of scientific investigation.

      This is your fundamental categorical error: thinking that no philosophical or metaphysical views make claims or assume things about the nature of physical reality. The claim that Adam and Eve were created by god 6000 years ago (or any time ago) by god is a claim that can be decided by science, and that is not a scientific claim.

      So what then is the real difference between science vs metaphysics vs philosophy? Just because we can use these distinct categories of investigation to explore physical reality doesn't mean they are inter changable. You can't interchange them without making a category mistake.

      They are not interchangeagle but they overlap. Just like how math and science are not the same category, but they overlap.

      Of course the claims of scientism cannot be verified or refuted scientifically and thus are false by their own standard.

      Wow you're so smart, did you figure that all out by yourself????

  • Jim the Scott

    Presentism and Eternalism are philosophical claims about the nature of time. They are not scientific claims thus they cannot even in principle be confirmed or denied by empirical investigation. They are not physical theories like special relativity thus they are not scientific views. One cannot show via science the past present or future is real or not or that the flow of time is real or not. Nor can one claim Special Relativity scientifically "proves" Eternalism or a Block Universe or not.

    Then there is the problem of "empirical incoherence". For physical theory
    rests on the empirical evidence of observation and experiment, which involves scientists having certain experiences. This is in turn a matter of an event of formulating a prediction being followed by the event of performing an observation to test the prediction; of moving from a state of ignorance to a state of knowledge; and so forth. But all of this involves change. Hence if there is no change, then there is no such thing as having the experiences which provide the empirical evidence for any scientific theory in the name of which someone might take the position that there is no such thing as change. Such a position is what Healey (following Barrett 1999) calls “empirically incoherent.”

    It is just silly to deny the reality of change & then claim experiments which rely on observed changes actually disprove change.

    BTW I note Brandon said under b-theory time one could modestly claim change and causality still exist, just in a more constricted, nuanced fashion. But the moment you admit the "illusion" is even partially real one looses the argument trying to use Eternalism to overthrow Thomistic Metaphysics.

    To be a disciple of Parmenides one must say all change is illusion.

  • To believe in two "first parents," made human beings (with spiritual souls) by the direct intervention in evolutionary history by God, which humans committed some kind of sin that affected humanity itself and all the descendants of the "first parents" is to believe in divine revelation and is purely a matter of religious faith. Even if one believes that philosophy demonstrates there had to be divine intervention to boost protocol-humans to true humans, there are no reasons other than (a) the belief that the Bible is a divinely inspired text and (b) that the correct interpretation of Genesis points to literal "first parents."

    As long as those one disagrees with posit an omniscient, omnipotent deity who can (and does) intervene in history, there is not much hope of a productive debate over what science can and cannot tell us. It is perfectly possible, after all, that God created the universe, along with what we imagine we perceive as its history, a few thousand years ago. Why not? A God who could create a universe with a big bang 14 billion years ago could certainly create a "universe in progress" that appeared 14-billion years old but was far, far younger.

    It is clear even in Dr. Bonnette's papers that the real importance of the existence of a literal Adam and Eve is to preserve the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin. It is the only reason I can fathom for the "necessity" of a historical Adam and Eve. Virtually all of the rest of the creation account (or accounts) in Genesis are interpreted figuratively by Catholicism. Why should Genesis be read to teach the literal existence of two "first parents," even by those who believe the Bible is divinely inspired? To repeat myself, the only reason I can see is to preserve the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin.

    What we are dealing with in this discussion, it seems to me, is science versus the Bible, much in the same way as the Galileo affair. It is the Bible and only the Bible that can be produced as "evidence" for two and only two "first parents."

    • Jim the Scott

      >To believe in two "first parents," made human beings (with spiritual souls) by the direct intervention in evolutionary history by God, which humans committed some kind of sin that affected humanity itself and all the descendants of the "first parents" is to believe in divine revelation and is purely a matter of religious faith.

      Unless I think I have reason to trust that faith or reasonably trust that revelation?

      > Even if one believes that philosophy demonstrates there had to be divine intervention to boost protocol-humans to true humans, there are no reasons other than (a) the belief that the Bible is a divinely inspired text and (b) that the correct interpretation of Genesis points to literal "first parents."

      Maybe? Divinity could have created many first parents but without divine revelation we wouldn't know one way or another anymore then we would know if God is or is not a Trinity.

      OTOH I think biological Monogenesis vs Polygenesis are scientific issues. If you could prove biological monogenesis you would prove literal first parents.

      Of course biological polygenesis doesn't exclude theological monogenesis.
      https://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/papers/kemp-monogenism.pdf

      >As long as those one disagrees with posit an omniscient, omnipotent deity who can (and does) intervene in history, there is not much hope of a productive debate over what science can and cannot tell us.

      But that begs the question. We have to have an ongoing debate over the existence of God whose existence of course is a philosophical question not a scientific one.

      >It is perfectly possible, after all, that God created the universe, along with what we imagine we perceive as its history, a few thousand years ago.

      If I believe Bertram Russell he said it is possible the universe can just come into existence without a cause and it is also possible in came into existence a few thousand years ago along with what we imagine we perceive as it's history. But radical skepticism can only get you so far.

      >Why not? A God who could create a universe with a big bang 14 billion years ago could certainly create a "universe in progress" that appeared 14-billion years old but was far, far younger.

      Or we are all just plugged into the Matrix.

      >It is clear even in Dr. Bonnette's papers that the real importance of the existence of a literal Adam and Eve is to preserve the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin.

      Well if you consult the Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ott. It says
      "The first man was created by God." (de fide) which means it's an infallible dogma. Everybody know that.

      >It is the only reason I can fathom for the "necessity" of a historical Adam and Eve. Virtually all of the rest of the creation account (or accounts) in Genesis are interpreted figuratively by Catholicism.

      Actually historically the figurative interpretation is as old if not older then the literalistic accounts. Philo of Alexandra is pretty old and he takes Genesis one figuratively and interprets Genesis 2:4-5 literally to believe in a version of instantaneous Creation (thought he also believed in an eternal creation because of his Platonic views). It is not completely against Judaism since their midrash interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2 tells us "God created and destroyed world before ours".

      > Why should Genesis be read to teach the literal existence of two "first parents," even by those who believe the Bible is divinely inspired? To repeat myself, the only reason I can see is to preserve the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin.

      David have I not taught you by now we Catholics don't believe the Bible is clear & needs an interpretor?

      >What we are dealing with in this discussion, it seems to me, is science versus the Bible, much in the same way as the Galileo affair.

      Nah I am with Mike Flynn here. The ancient Science taught us geocentricism and ancient Christians and Jews just interpreted the Bible in like of the science they excepted & was accepted by the Pagans and even early Atheists like Democretus (who Ironically was also a flat earther...just saying ;-) ).

      >It is the Bible and only the Bible that can be produced as "evidence" for two and only two "first parents."

      I partially agree and I partially disagree. Science could prove or disprove biological monogenesis vs polygenesis. The consensus at this point leans toward polygenesis.

      But if it did prove monogenesis you could and would still say "We don't know these two people where Biblical Adam and Eve".

      Science makes actually modest claims which is why we need history, philosophy, arguments about the possibility of miracles, metaphysics and a great body of knowledge beyond mere science.

      Peace David. I hope you had a good holidays cause mine sucked. But what can you do.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      What you are saying is absolutely correct about the reason for belief in Adam and Eve.

      Well, almost.

      The only differences I would point out are that (1) the Catholic teaching is not "Bible only," but the dogmatic teachings of the Council of Trent on original sin, and (2) this is not quite like the case of Galileo, since no such dogmatic defined teachings were ever at issue.

      I have never shrunk from saying that holding the existence of a literal Adam and Eve is based on religious belief, not only for Catholics, but also for most Christians down through history.

      The only point of debate in recent times has been the affirmation by some that such a belief in two first true human parents of all mankind is "scientifically impossible." That is the claim which I dispute in some of my more recent writings.

      • Thank you so much for this reply. I understand that it would not be enough to say, "The Bible says there were two 'first parents,'" since the Bible also says creation took place in six days. It is the authoritative interpretation of the Bible by the Catholic Church as well as subsequent authoritative pronouncements by the Church.

        Two quick questions. Does Humani Generis leave any "wiggle room" at all in the sentence, "Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin . . . ."? To say "in no way apparent" seems to stop short of "impossible." And does Humani Generis qualify as infallible? Sorry—one more question: Why does the Church not seem to "count" Eve's disobedience, only Adam's? After all, God punishes Eve (Genesis 3:16). Are we to imagine that if Adam had not sinned, there would have been no curse on women as the result of Eve's transgression? (Or is this a matter on which it is pointless to speculate?)

        • Jim the Scott

          >Does Humani Generis leave any "wiggle room" at all in the sentence, "Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin . . . ."? To say "in no way apparent" seems to stop short of "impossible.

          No it is just Pius XII confessing he can't figure out a way at the time of this writing to reconcile polygenesis with original sin.
          But the language does leave open the possibility such a reconciliation is possible.

          Kemp is my favorite.
          https://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/papers/kemp-monogenism.pdf

          > And does Humani Generis qualify as infallible?

          Maybe according to the ordinary magisterium? But as per Vatican One it is still binding and Catholics have to give it assent.

          > Why does the Church not seem to "count" Eve's disobedience, only Adam's?

          He is the source of humanity not Eve. Eve comes from him too like the rest of us a view I believe is in fact possible under evolution too.

        • Arthur Jeffries

          Does Humani Generis leave any "wiggle room" at all in the sentence, "Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin . . . ."? To say "in no way apparent" seems to stop short of "impossible."

          Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, a microbiologist, wrote a very fine series of essays titled The Historicity of Adam and Eve. This quote is from part one:

          Pope Pius XII ruled out polygenism because he could not imagine how an account of several original first couples could be reconciled with the Church’s teaching on original sin. As we will discuss in the essays that follow, this is not surprising because scientists in 1950 believed that the human race was descended from several original first non-human couples who were scattered throughout the planet.

          As we will also see, scientists today now think that our species is descended from several first human couples living in the same geographical area. Therefore, in the fourth essay on the historicity of Adam and Eve, I will propose that this contemporary scientific account on human origins can be reconciled with the Church’s teaching on original sin. Thus, I will argue that an account of polygenism that is in accord with everything that we know and believe about original sin remains true to the magisterial statement of Pope Pius XII in Humani generis.

          When was the last time that clergy or religious were censured for promoting polygenism? It's telling that Rome hasn't taken action on the issue in decades.

    • SpokenMind

      Hi David,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      [A God who could create a universe with a big bang 14 billion years ago could certainly create a "universe in progress" that appeared 14-billion years old but was far, far younger.]

      While this is theoretically possible, in my opinion, it is extremely unlikely. What would be the point of such a "heavenly head-fake"? An intentionally created false perception of reality, taken to its extreme, would mean everything is not as it seems.

      [To repeat myself, the only reason I can see is to preserve the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin.]

      Permit me to share my thoughts. Genesis was written long before the Catholic Church existed. The Catholic concept of original sin came from Genesis.

      Some theologians believe "Adam and Even" were the first couple to receive souls from God. Once receiving their souls, humankind then had a quantum leap in abiltity (self-consciousness, free will, empathy, capacity for conceptual ideas, etc.) Perhaps, this is another significant point of the story.

      Peace.

      • I agree the idea of God creating the universe thousands of years ago along with a seeming 14-billion year history is ludicrous, but we have to admit that God could do it. We can argue he wouldn't, but we can't argue he couldn't.

        Genesis was written long before the Catholic Church existed. The Catholic concept of original sin came from Genesis.

        The Catholic concept of original sin came from an interpretation of Genesis (and St. Paul), but it is a purely Christian interpretation. The story of Adam and Eve is never mentioned again in Hebrew Scripture (the Old Testament) and Original Sin (and "the Fall") are not found in Judaism.

        It is difficult to harmonize the story in Genesis with evolution as it had to have occurred, since God makes Adam first, then decides it is not good for Adam to be alone, then makes all the animals, and only then creates Eve from Adam's rib since no animal proves to be a suitable companion for the man. Harold Bloom, in The Book of J, speculates that J (one of the four sources for the Torah—JEPD) was a woman, and that the creation of a woman companion after none of the animals would do is J's little joke.

        • SpokenMind

          Hi David,

          First, I have to commend you for your accurate understanding of the Catholic Church's theology in this area.

          Unless one believes a miracle occurred, it is hard to swallow that God literally took a rib from Adam and made Eve. Some theologians and linguists translate the word "tsela" (the word usually translated as "rib") as "side". When looking at the phrase in this way, it indicates they are made of the same stuff and complementary.

          All the best.

        • Jim the Scott

          Anyway now that you have gotten my attention.

          >The Catholic concept of original sin came from an interpretation of Genesis (and St. Paul), but it is a purely Christian interpretation.

          Not really. It does have some roots in Judaism.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_sin#In_Judaism

          Quote"The doctrine of "inherited sin" is not found in most of mainstream Judaism. Although some in Orthodox Judaism place blame on Adam for overall corruption of the world, and though there were some Jewish teachers in Babylon[111] who believed that mortality was a punishment brought upon humanity on account of Adam's sin, that is not the dominant view in most of Judaism today. Modern Judaism generally teaches that humans are born sin-free and untainted, and choose to sin later and bring suffering to themselves.[112][113]

          Jewish theologians are divided in regard to the cause of what is called "original sin". Some teach that it was due to Adam's yielding to temptation in eating of the forbidden fruit and has been inherited by his descendants; the majority of chazalic opinions, however, do not hold Adam responsible for the sins of humanity,[114] teaching that, in Genesis 8:21 and 6:5-8, God recognized that Adam did not willfully sin. However, Adam is recognized by some[111] as having brought death into the world by his disobedience. Because of his sin, his descendants will live a mortal life, which will end in death of their bodies.[115] According to book Legends of the Jews, in Judgement Day, Adam will disavow any complaints of all men who accuse him as the cause of death pass on every human on earth. Instead, Adam will reproach their mortality because of their sins.[116]END QUOTE

          The thing is Christianity took a lot from Judaism and ran with it. Some Orthodox Jews I have spoken too think their is some comparison between "original sin" and the Jewish concept of the "evil impulse".

          BTW original sin can also be traced Psalm 51.

          Cheers.

  • Jim the Scott

    >Genesis is wrong. And any dogmas that are based on Genesis are by extension wrong too.

    (activate irony mode)

    Gee son you convinced me with such eloquence, unassailable logic and complex argument filled with such keen insight and fascinating content. So much more refreshing then people who write mere glib dismissals.

    (deactivate irony mode)

    • I can see how many believers (and even nonbelievers) can maintain that faith and science can go hand in hand (non-overlapping magisteria). However, I see little evidence of "man's . . . wise stewardship of creation!"

      • Fair comment.

      • Jim the Scott

        So men never act wisely is what you are really saying?

        Because the Pope is presupposing there are men(& women) who act wisely.

  • Matjaž Horvat

    It would be nice if proponents of a long-age Genesis 1-11 actually addressed the theological, linguistic and scientific (speaking of the latter, you’re making it seem like no creationist is a qualified scientist, which is definitely not the case) arguments of those who believe a plain reading is the best, instead of simply calling them literalists and leaving it at that.

    For example, you could start by addressing this inconvenient lingusitic fact:

    ‘Dr John R. Howitt, a personal friend of mine ... wrote to appropriate professors in nine leading universities, asking, “Do you consider that the Hebrew word yom (day), as used in Genesis 1, accompanied by a numeral should properly be translated as

    a day as commonly understood,
    an age,
    either a day or an age without preference?”
    ‘Oxford and Cambridge did not reply, but the professors at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Toronto, London, McGill, and Manitoba replied unanimously that it should be translated as a day as commonly understood. Professor Robert H. Pfeiffer of Harvard added, “of twenty-four hours” to his reply.’

    Dr Bolton Davidheiser, A Statement Concerning the Ministry of Dr Hugh Ross, published by the author.’

    Source: https://creation.com/professors-a-day-means-a-day

    • Jim the Scott

      I remember this argument from my youth.

      "A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night."

      Maybe "yom" literally means "24 hours worth of time" from sun up to sun down but obviously it can analogously mean longer then that and the Bible obviously uses it in an analogous fashion as opposed to a literal one & we are given no reason why the writer in Genesis isn't using it in such an analogous fashion as opposed to a literal one.

      The ancient Rabbis (who read it in Hebrew) said "the Yoms/days of Breshit/Genesis are not like our Days."

      The Rabbis speculated the Hebrew Calendar actually begins at Genesis 2:4-5 not Genesis 1:1.

      So I am skeptical of the Young Earth Creationist's "plain reading".

      PS A Bull is literally a male cow. But a Bull in the China Shot is analogously using a Bull as a metaphor for chaos and destruction.

  • Jim the Scott

    I can understand and sympathize with why Richard Dawkins refuses to debate Young Earth Creationists. They don’t just hold one or two errors about science but many dozen and trying to correct one error usually has them throwing out two more. In the end he tires of trying to keep up with all the mistakes and retreats from the field with them crowing “victory”. Arguing with certain Thoughtless types who show equal ignorance over AT philosophy is like that.
    Some comments on an incoherent “argument” against AT metaphysics and incorrect use of proper terms.

    >1. AT metaphysics claims act/potency causality distinctions are real.

    This is a meaningless statement. The Act/Potency distinction is a modelling of real change that explains how both change and stasis can be real. The above statement taken at face value implies we can have an act/potency distinction that is “unreal” when the above is by definition a metaphysical description of how change can be real.
    Parmenides’ position was essentially that (1) change would require being to arise out of non-being or nothingness, but (2) from non-being or nothingness, nothing can arise, so that (3) change is impossible.
    The problem with Parmenides’ reasoning, in Aristotle’s view, is neither in the inference from (1) and (2) to (3), nor with premise (2), with which Aristotle agrees. It is rather with premise (1), the thesis that change would involve being arising from non-being. For there is, according to Aristotle, an alternative analysis of change, on which it involves, not being arising from non-being, but rather one kind of being arising from another kind. In particular, there is being-in-act – the ways a thing actually is; and there is being-in-potency – the ways a thing could potentially be. For instance, a given rubber ball might “in act” or actually be spherical, solid, smooth to the touch, red in color, and sitting motionless in a drawer. But “in potency” or potentially it is fat and squishy (if melted), rough to the touch (if worn out through use), light pink (if left out in the sun too long), and rolling across the ground (if dropped). These potentialities or potencies are real features of the ball itself even if they are not actualities. The ball’s potential flatness, squishiness, roughness, etc. are not nothing, even if they do not have the kind of being that the ball’s roundness, solidity, smoothness, etc. currently have. That is why the ball can become flat, squishy, and rough in a way it cannot become sentient, or eloquent, or capable of doing arithmetic. Being-in-potency is thus a middle ground between being-in-act on the one hand, and sheer nothingness or non-being on the other. And change is not a matter of being arising from nonbeing, but rather of being-in-act arising from being-in-potency. It is the actualization of a potential – of something previously non-actual but still real.

    2. Act/potency claims that A will actualize B's coming into existence.

    No Act/Potency is a metaphysical description of how one being may become another type of being & thus really change in contrast to Parmenides claim change would require being to come from non-being. The way it is written above implies it is a physical theory of nature which by definition would be subject to experimentation. But it is not any such thing it is a metaphysical description of change and it can be argued for or against using philosophy but it cannot be refuted or confirmed scientifically.

    >3. This requires a true ontological coming into existence or "becoming" of effects by their causes.
    At best the above nonsense sounds like the person is recasting Act/Potency in terms of the conclusions of Parmenides. That is it looks like someone who assumes the definition of change is being coming from non-beling. Other then that it is gibberish.

    I see no point in giving further analysis. But my charge of Scientism clearly stands. Act/potency is not a physical theory it is a metaphysical one and as such it cannot in principle be tested scientifically.

    Physical theories and physical theories alone can be tested by science

    One concluding thought. Time in the most basic sense is the measure of change something goes through from the past to present to future. Now science at best can tell us our measure of the flow of time is faster or slower compared to different referent frames under different conditions but it has nothing to tell us regarding it’s reality or unreality or the reality or unreality of time flow (i.e. changing). Wither only the present is real in some sense or the past, present and future are equally real in some sense is a matter of philosophy not science. That quality of time cannot be measured only the quantity of time can be measured.

  • Jim the Scott

    Note I crib from Feser because I only steal from the best.

    PS:
    according to PhilosophyPaper survey 26% of Philosopher accept B theory/eternalism and 15% accept A theory/presentism but 58% reject both.

    https://philpapers.org/surveys/results.pl

  • Jim the Scott

    Some Thoughtless individuals claim Special Relativity scientifically proves Eternalism.

    Professor B says that claim is a Philosophical view not a scientific one. It seems Physicist Lee Smolin agrees with Dr. B in chapter 6 of his book Time Reborn he calls the view that Special Relativity implies or points to Eternalism a Philosophical view which is made by a philosophical inference. He rejects that particular view because of the Cosmological fallacy. He says Special Relativity cannot be applied to the whole of the Universe because it does not contain all Physics. He says Special Relativity doesn't contain Gravity.

    With each passing day the more I read on this subject the more I am convinced my charges of scientism have been spot on.

  • Sample1

    Sure. Leaving aside quibbles, one can (or for centuries) be a Catholic and a scientist. What is relatively new is that one can now be an unpersecuted atheist and a scientist.

    Mike

  • Jim the Scott

    Thoughtless of course per his materialism only believes in material or efficient causes not final or formal causes in nature like we do.

    Then there is the obvious fact he isn't reading Feser closely or carefully. .

    Here is a full explanation on mental causality.

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2008/10/interaction-problem.html

    For example thoughtless says"Thomists, like Feser and others, will continually assert, and use language to the effect that either implies or outright says that the intellect is causally effective on the material, as he did in his book, The Last Superstition. One can't have it both ways."

    But here is what Feser actually says(because he said no such thing above):

    "Aristotle and the Scholastic tradition influenced by him famously held that to understand a thing required knowing each of its four causes: its material cause, the stuff out of which it is made; its formal cause, the specific form or essence that stuff has taken on, and which makes it the kind of thing it is; its efficient cause, that which brought it into existence; and its final cause, the end or purpose toward which it is directed. Modern thought is largely defined by its rejection of two of Aristotle's four causes. For the moderns, there are no such things as substantial forms or fixed essences, and there are no ends or purposes in nature. There are just brute material elements related by purposeless, meaningless, mechanical chains of cause and effect............
    ...............For the moderns, all causation gets reduced to what the Aristotelians called efficient causation; that is to say, for A to have a causal influence on B is for A either to bring B into being or at least in some way to bring into existence some modification of B. Final causality is ruled out; hence there is no place in modern thought for the idea that B might play an explanatory role relative to A insofar as generating B is the end or goal toward which A is directed. Formal causality is also ruled out; there is no question for the moderns of a material object’s being (partially) explained by reference to the substantial form it instantiates. We are supposed instead to make reference only to patterns of efficient causal relations holding between basic material elements (atoms, or corpuscles, or quarks, or whatever)........
    ........It is wrong to think of the soul (of which the intellect is for Aristotelians but a part, not the whole) and the body as independent objects in the first place. The soul is rather a form that informs the matter of the body and the body is the matter which is informed. As with the form and matter of a stone, tree, or earthworm, what we have here are not two substances interacting via efficient causation, but rather two metaphysical components of one substance related by formal causation."END QUOTE

    Mr. Fallacy of Equivocation strikes again. He can't tell the difference between formal causation vs efficient so he treats all causation as efficient and misrepresents Feser as teaching that. He thinks the immaterial Soul(intellect) has an efficient causal action on the brain like Descartes might irrationally imagine & that we AT people believe that. No! Will you get off your lazy arse and answer our actual beliefs and not your straw man. Geez I am tired of correcting this clown.

    Like I said when Richard Dawkins argues Evolution with Young Earth Creationists he is not arguing with people who have one or two misunderstandings of science but dozens and dozens. Our Thoughtless friend here is the same.
    Which is why I blocked him. He is an idiot.

    Will he admit this mistake? No he will pretend that is what he was talking about all along & sound more incoherent because formal causation doesn't work like efficient causation.

  • Dennis Bonnette

    To The Thinker

    Now I better understand where you are coming from in your general intellectual worldview. Basically, you are so impressed by the scientific advances of the last couple centuries that you honestly think that all that has been discovered today totally trumps the entire history of previous human knowledge. No wonder you think that Thomism is an archaic philosophy, built on naïve presumptions combined with false basic intuitions formed before we finally have found out the deepest truths about the world through modern physics theories, such as quantum mechanics and
    relativity!

    You answer every question in terms of modern scientific understandings of evolution, neurology, physics, and so forth. This is essentially the epitome of de facto scientism.

    In my earlier comments, I explained the difference between philosophy and physics – and how the actual way modern physics works entails inherent limitations on what it can tell us about the world. The full implications of these limitations apparently have escaped you.

    Physics deals only with predictions of the behavior of future phenomena, based on hypotheses derived from presently observed phenomena. It does not make ontological judgments about the world as does philosophy. It is descriptive – describing present and future predictions of relations of observable phenomena, not ultimately explanatory in terms of the reality of substances in themselves. You think that more and more generalized description of phenomena equates to ontological explanation, but the latter task belongs to philosophy, not physics.

    What tempts you to this inference is dogmatic belief that universal physical laws trump all apparently conflicting philosophical claims.

    When I give you the evidence that physical laws do not and cannot have the omniscient power you implicitly ascribe to them, you apparently cannot bring yourself to grasp the epistemic ineptitude of physics when it essentially is proposed as a grand philosophical system.

    I pointed out the logical weakness of induction, meaning that you can never proceed from particular scientific observations to formation of a truly universal scientific law, since, as David Hume realized, you can associate regular patterns of phenomena forever, and yet, never know whether that regularity actually holds universally. Diverting attention from this logical weakness, you point to an allegedly equivalent
    weakness in Thomism, asking, “Aren't Thomists going from particular observations to universal metaphysical laws/conclusions?”

    The answer is yes we do. We do it by forming a universal concept of being in the very first encounter with reality, just as all human beings naturally do. Technically, this is done through a sensio-intellective abstraction apparently totally unknown to you. From this, basic principles of being are derived that apply universally and with
    certitude. First among these is the principle of non-contradiction without which the mind itself cannot even function. You yourself have stated that you accept its validity.

    Most critically, please notice that this certitude is affirmed, even though you have absolutely no natural scientific explanation of how we have such objective certitude of its universal application! Rather, the fact is that the certitude of non-contradiction comes from metaphysical intuition – the natural metaphysics of human intelligence, if you will. Or, do you now doubt the validity of the principle of non-contradiction?

    Yes, both physics and philosophy employ induction, but Hume’s weak form of induction through simple repetition of associated observed phenomena fails to produce universally certain physical laws, whereas metaphysical induction is the basis for validly universal first principles of being. Even if you wrongly doubt some such principles, the apodictally-certain principle of non-contradiction is sufficient to make the case.

    And this real universal certitude arises from that “archaic” Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy you think so outdated and useless today!

    You mock the relevance of the fallacy of “affirming the consequent,” apparently not grasping that it is the reason that no scientific experiment is ever definitive in proving a “universal law.” That is because any successful experimental results merely “tend to support” hypotheses, since the fallacy means that some other unknown factor
    could always have accounted for the “successful” result. The so-called “critical experiment” attempts to eliminate all confounding factors, but is only as good as the assumptions of the experimenter himself.

    Once one understands the true epistemic limitations of physics, its scientistic role as arbiter of all truth is horrifically compromised.

    The other leg of this argument is the realization that claims of ontological truth belong, not to the merely phenomenal world of physics, but to philosophical realism. Hence, empirically non-verifiable interpretations of physical theories, such as eternalism, are not part of physics as such, but rather constitute a philosophical position about reality for which one can give arguments, but no direct experimental
    proof. The experimental proofs belong to the physical theory of special relativity, not eternalism. Otherwise, every single competent theoretical physicist, including Maudlin and Smolin, would absolutely have to hold eternalism as an essential property of special relativity theory.

    Finally, we must not forget that it is self-contradictory to claim that the findings of modern science entirely abrogate the initial observations of human experience which affirm such realities as motion, time, extramental reality, and real physical causation of one thing upon another – since all those original observations are understood as true conditions under which experiments validating modern physics were performed.

    Ever since the Age of Enlightment, each new generation has swallowed the myth that the “modern mind” has finally achieved essential omniscience, and that the eternal truths of past ages are outdated and false.

    History has a nasty way of placing such intellectual hubris into its appropriate dust bin.

    • Sample1

      I don’t think either of you are personally guilty of hubris. However, the methods of science (approximate models of reality open to improvement) and the methods of your religion (certitude/universality via authority) cannot help but demonstrate how different their approaches to understanding experience are.

      Catholics sometimes make the worst Catholics. Just own your impeccable method rather than trying to dismantle other’s. I hold more respect, in a certain sense, for the cloistered monk who fully embraces a faith I can’t in good conscience ascribe to than the New Evangelism that tries to have one foot in empiricism and another in mysticism.

      Mike

      • Dennis Bonnette

        Without any contention intended, I would just point out that philosophy is not religion. Thomist philosophers don't take premises from revelation. But the religion which is Catholicism does teach that faith and reason are fully compatible, and that certain preambula fidei (preambles to faith, such as the existence of God) can be known by unaided natural reason.

        • Sample1

          Sure, philosophy and religion may be different but Thomistic philosophy is a specialized attempt to explain the Catholic religion.

          Mike

          • Dennis Bonnette

            If what you are suggesting has much truth to it, then we must assume that Aristotle was a good Catholic. ;-)

          • Jim the Scott

            >Sure, philosophy and religion may be different but Thomistic philosophy is a specialized attempt to explain the Catholic religion.

            There are Protestant Thomists, and secular Essentialists.

            So there you are.......

          • Sample1

            And there are atheist clergy too.

            Mike

          • Jim the Scott

            There are also Atheists who pray.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/non-believers-say-their-prayers-to-no-one/2013/06/24/b7c8cf50-d915-11e2-a9f2-42ee3912ae0e_story.html?utm_term=.846877878484

            It takes all kinds. Fr. Grotechel of happy memory during one of his talks said there was a survey somewhere that said "10% of all Irish Atheists believe in the Divinity of Christ".

            It takes all kinds to make a world.

          • Sample1

            It takes all kinds to make a world.

            I’ll have to think about what that means for you.

            Mike

          • Jim the Scott

            Cheers.

      • Jim the Scott

        The existence of God is a philosophical question only not a scientific one. At least according to the God Thomists are interested in. The idea that science can verify or refute philosophy, philosophical propositions, ontology or metaphysics is not a scientific view but a philosophical one and it is an incoherent philosophical one. It is just a species of Scientism/Positivism at best at worst a clear category mistake.
        Thoughtless cannot accept that obvious truth as all of his polemics are bound up in refuting Scientific Theism. So he has to redefine Thomism and equivocate in order to "scientifically" refute it because he clearly lack the philosophical sophistication to fight Thomism on it's own ground. It is obvious he lacks competence in both science and philosophy.

        There is no middle ground here. If there is no God or gods all of the polemics Thoughless has brought forth are either non-starters, strawmen or red herrings. An Atheist who wishes to offer philosophical critique of Aristotelian/Thomism is in the right ball park. Morons like Thoughtless who conflate Science and philosophy just lower the IQ of the room.

        He can't even tell the difference between formal causality vs efficient causality. Or Descartes vs Aquinas and when you correct one of his mistakes he brings two more into the fray.

        Tedious.

      • Rob Abney

        forming a universal concept of being in the very first encounter with reality, just as all human beings naturally do. Technically, this is done through a sensio-intellective abstraction apparently totally unknown to you. From this, basic principles of being are derived that apply universally and with certitude. First among these is the principle of non-contradiction without which the mind itself cannot even function.

        How can you confuse such a clear statement of the basics of metaphysics with religion? What seems religious about it?

    • Rob Abney

      Dr Bonnette, can you comment on this; you explain how we have certitude,

      basic principles of being are derived that apply universally and with certitude. First among these is the principle of non-contradiction without which the mind itself cannot even function.

      but van Inwagen seems to deny that certitude is possible,

      A quote from Peter van Inwagen's Metaphysics: In the end we must confess that we have no idea why there is no established body of metaphysical results. It cannot be denied that this is a fact, however, and the beginning student of metaphysics should keep this fact and its implications in mind. One implication is that neither the author of this book nor your instructor (if you are reading this book because it is an assigned text) is in a position in relation to you that is like the position of the author of your text (or your instructor) in geology or tax law or music theory. All of these people will be the masters of a certain body of knowledge, and, on many matters, if you disagree with them you will simply be wrong. In metaphysics, however, you are perfectly free to disagree with anything the acknowledged experts say—other than their assertions about what philosophers have said in the past or are saying in the present.

      • Dennis Bonnette

        Well, all I can say is that he is one of the "acknowledged experts" with whom one has a right to disagree. You don't learn philosophy from history, since that is merely the record of others' thoughts. One only has certitude of truth in his own mind, and I suggest that no one really doubts the first principle of non-contradiction. Since this principle is based on the mind's immediate grasp of the concept of being, and since it is an incontrovertible truth that all are forced to admit if they are to say anything about anything at all, I submit that we know at least one thing with certitude that is not merely the assertions of other thinkers. And, since this certitude pertains to the concept of being and its proper predication, I submit that we all share at least some common metaphysical knowledge -- based on what once philosopher has called "the natural metaphysics of human intelligence."

        • Rob Abney

          Thanks, I agree with that. It is limited and specific in scope. I'll try to find out what he has to say about the principle of non contradiction.

  • Hollister David

    "Affable agnostic" is an inaccurate label for Tyson.

    Yes, Tyson has tried to distance himself from the more militant atheists and criticized people like Dawkins for being too harsh.

    But so far as I know most the stuff Dawkins says is factual. Tyson, on the other hand, invents histories to support his rants against religion.

    Dawkin's strident complaints are infinitely preferable to Tyson bearing false witness in a warm, friendly voice.

    To see some of Tyson's false histories see http://hopsblog-hop.blogspot.com/2016/01/fact-checking-neil-degrasse-tyson.html

    • Jim the Scott

      >But so far as I know most the stuff Dawkins says is factual.

      How so? His chapter on the Five Ways of Aquinas is crap also he doesn't exactly have an understanding of the God of the Philosophers. For him "god" must mean some complex (as opposed to divinely simple) preternatural anthropomorphic entity.

      His atheist skill set is rather limited to anti-evolutionist Young Earth Creationist Christians & Fundamentalists. Nothing more sophisticated then that.

      http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/02/dawkins-on-omnipotence-and-omniscience.html

      http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/11/dawkins-vs-aquinas-on-pints-with-aquinas.html

      • George

        "divinely simple"

        Why should we not be skeptical of that?

        • Jim the Scott

          That is a very ambiguous question. Let me answer it with another equally ambiguous one.....

          Why should we be skeptical of that?

  • VicqRuiz

    If it's correct that the Catholic Church has been a positive force in the development of observational science, then we should be able to test that.

    Let's divide the history of the Western world into three periods:

    First, the start of recorded history until the establishment of Christianity as state religion under Constantine and Theodosius.

    Second, the period of essentially unchallenged Catholic supremacy from Theodosius to Henry VIII and Luther.

    Third, the period from the early Reformation to the present day.

    In which of these three eras did observational science demonstrate the greatest increase in knowledge about the universe, and in which the least??

    • Rob Abney

      No contest, the first era had the greatest, it went from no knowledge at all to the Roman empire.

  • Pueblo Southwest

    Just an observation but the appearances are that most of these scientists could use some help in another field, psychology, to determine if their opinions are formed by other than demonstrable fact. The "honest agnostic" argument may fly when sitting around and gazing at ones naval but hardly meets the test of a meaningful contribution to the physical sciences.

  • Jim the Scott

    To repeat.

    At best we may grant Thougthless really "thinks" he understands hylemorphism but then he wastes our time treating formal causes as if they are equivalent to efficient ones and that is only one of a dozen errors and misunderstandings he holds here.

    Also declaring hylemorphism false while demanding Dr. Bonnette simultaneously instruct him on the basics of hylemorphism is just beyond comedy.

    I am only flesh and blood...how can I NOT make fun of that?

    • At best we may grant Thougthless really "thinks" he understands hylemorphism but then he wastes our time treating formal causes as if they are equivalent to efficient ones and that is only one of a dozen errors and misunderstandings he holds here.

      The formal "causes" you speak of are really just descriptions of properties. To call them "causes" makes a mockery of the word.

      Also declaring hylemorphism false while demanding Dr. Bonnette simultaneously instruct him on the basics of hylemorphism is just beyond comedy.

      Asking someone to explain X doesn't always entail that the one asking doesn't understand X, it may mean the person asking just wants clarification on how the other person understands X.

      I have to do this all with people all the time with people on subjects that I already know deeply.

  • Marier Villarreal

    I know it's a bit late to join into the discussion, but I read all 538 comments, and I have to say that the arguments that The Thinker and other agnostics/atheists gave are more convincing to me (I can't remember all right now, but I came out convinced).

    I just wanted to write this to let you know it's changed my perspective of the world and what we are. Just neurons with complex laws. I'm interested in how the words soul and consciousness are connected, and HOW they became to be. I know there's a part of the brain that controls the 8 or more different kinds of consciousness, so maybe someone could research about it? Maybe not, since all we have are fossils from ancient "humans". But we must remember that we are animals too.

    Also, looking into how time is considered a fourth dimension and how relative time is convinced me more about it.
    I began learning about time-space in Wikipedia. Yeah, Wiki might not be the best place to learn about it, and I did not look at the references, but it's so weird that time is in the NOW. We don't know how to measure time, but I guess we can by intuition when we are fully conscious about it. It's fascinating.

    For atheists/agnostics, I'd like to talk about TIME. How we humans experience time, in a universe where time is a fourth dimension. Time relativity is interesting.

    If any theist believes s/he has an argument that can change my mind and REFUTE this:

    A. the intellect is not epiphenominal

    B. the intellect violates no physical laws

    If A is true, B is false.

    Then fair enough, tell me, if anyone is still interested in this debate. Also, I give kudos if you have the time to refute the arguments by The Thinker, NOT by copy/pasting your rebuttals.

    Please, keep this appropriate and NO name calling. I never got why some of you called each other morons and idiots. It doesn't help the discussion in my opinion.

    • Michael Murray

      There aren't many atheists / agnostics here anymore. Many of the past posters have been banned so you will find them not replying if you reply to old posts. You can find some of them here

      http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/

      although that isn't particularly active anymore. Also some post over here

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/

      A naturalist perspective on how consciousness arises is a big question. There are some summaries of the field around like the Very Short Introduction book by Susan Blackmore which you can find on Amazon

      https://www.susanblackmore.uk/

      • Marier Villarreal

        Thank you! I'm reading "An Open Letter to Atheists", and I also checked out the other links ^^. I'm currently not able to buy books, but I'm glad there are authors who look into this :)

    • Jim the Scott

      I will make this as brief as I can.

      >Also, I give kudos if you have the time to refute the arguments by The Thinker, NOT by copy/pasting your rebuttals.

      That is kind of an irrational demand(it is also hypocritical since TT does it too). It's like saying just because I cannot prove Evolution or Quantum Physics true in 50 words or less of my own words then neither must be true. So you want answers without references to professional explanations by experts? That is like picking a fight with a Young Earth Creationist who irrationally demands you are not allowed to cite Richard Dawkins on Evolution or any Science expert only your own words. Why have experts then? If you are not going to take any of this seriously.....

      >If any theist believes s/he has an argument that can change my mind and REFUTE this:

      >A. the intellect is not epiphenominal

      >B. the intellect violates no physical laws

      >If A is true, B is false.

      That looks like Donald Davidson’s argument? which Feser addresses here.

      https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/05/davidsons-anomalous-monism.html

      I cite him:
      "Is the mental identical with the physical, despite there being no law-like correlation between them?

      My answer, which will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog, is No, it is not. And the reason Davidson’s argument fails to show otherwise is that his conception of causation is (in my estimation) radically deficient. As I have argued elsewhere

      http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2008/10/interaction-problem.html

      the correct way to understand mental-physical “interaction” is on the model of what Aristotelians call formal causation rather than efficient causation. And one reason for thinking so is that conceiving of it on the model of efficient causation makes it hard – for materialists no less than for dualists – to avoid epiphenomenalism (as I noted here).

      http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/04/interaction-problem-part-ii.html

      That is the end of my quote. Go read the rest yourself but I warn you that it is not lite reading nor simple. If you are looking for a simplistic Theism to refute an equally simplistic Atheism/skepticism you are likely better off in the echo chamber over at OTS like Murray suggests.

      You need to hit the books. One thing you should drop is the false either/or fallacy you implicitly have here. That is that we may only choose between Cartusian dualism on the one hand and epiphenomenalism on the other. Yeh we are Thomists here. Both are simply wrong. Go learn about the third option.

      • Marier Villarreal

        Thanks for the links. I realized my mistake about the "rebuttals without copy-pasting".
        Once again, thank you for the links.

        • Jim the Scott

          >I realized my mistake about the "rebuttals without copy-pasting".

          I like people who own their mistakes. It is very important to do that regardless of what you believe or disbelieve. I think some people think owning them shows weakness (because they are admitting their ignorance or deficiency in knowing something) but I think that is great strength. It helps us grow. Socrates as we recall was the wisest man in antiquity since he knew that he knew not. People who pretend they know something they clearly don't are tedious. Like the YEC person with his 5th grader's understanding of biology and science taking on College graduate level science to incompetently critique evolution. Saying "brilliant" things like "The 2nd law of Thermo-dynamics refutes evolution" (ah short answer NO). Or persons who confuse scientific arguments with philosophical/metaphysical ones.

          Or other persons who think hylemorphism is some form of Cartesian dualism and now lately some form of property dualism(hint..it is neither).

          It's tedious whatever you choose to believe for whatever reasons.

          >Once again, thank you for the links.

          You are welcome enjoy.

    • Jim the Scott

      Oh and TT apparently doesn't have a professional understanding of physics.

      This guy OTOH does and if you want to slog threw it gives awesome reasons why Eternalism isn't true and cannot in principle be proven true.

      He is an MIT graduate.

      http://www.arcaneknowledge.org/philtheo/temporal/temporal.htm

      On the Reality of Temporal Succession
      Past, Present and Future in Light of Relativity
      Daniel J. Castellano (2018)

  • Here's a list of scientists who were/are Christian: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christians_in_science_and_technology

    2/3 of the 20th century Nobel science prize winners were Christian. Includes folks like Max Planck, Freeman Dyson and Werner Heisenberg. It doesn't mention mathematician Kurt Gödel, though.

    Tyson graciously acknowledged some Catholic contributions on that Colbert show. That doesn't change the fact that he has invented histories to make the argument that religious belief stifles innovation. Tyson likes to claim that Newton could have easily done n-body perturbation theory in an afternoon had he not been content with the notion that God kept the solar system stable. His claims are based on exceptionally poor scholarship. His stories about Muslim cleric Hamid al Ghazali are demonstrably false.

    I provide citations and sources at http://hopsblog-hop.blogspot.com/2016/01/fact-checking-neil-degrasse-tyson.html

    • rationalobservations?

      No one knows how many of the greatest minds of history were atheists in times when to admit such a thing was to commit suicide via the vile barbarity of the church and christian torturers - as Giordano Bruno and many other geniuses discovered.

      The conditions before the advent of universal education and free, secular democracy in the christian dominated western world were entirely similar to those under another brand of totalitarian theocratic domination in the east that still prevails today.

      We do know that today in the educated, free, secular democracies of the developed world - vanishingly few intellectuals, scholars and scientists are also religionists.

      http://statusmind.com/images/2014/09/Smart-Quotes-49704-statusmind.com.jpg

      • Rob Abney

        So, there have been many great minds in the past who also happened to be cowards, scared to profess their true lack of faith?
        And how does Bruno measure the age of the universe in order to meet Planck's requirement that all things must be measurable?

        • rationalobservations?

          There are still too few nations in which the remaining religious do not discriminate against the growing demographic of the godless non religious.

          The growing majority of Americans shun church and reject religion yet most are still anxious about revealing their rational godless status.

          The past two decades have revealed a truer indication of the level of scepticism in the western world but 1600 years of brutal terror, tirture, persecution and murder by Christians under Christian totalitarianism obviously leave folk memory scars that are only slowly fading.

          The good news is that education and free secular democracy have already proven to be the antidote to the poison of religion in many of the world's most peaceful and secular nations.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            > "The growing majority of Americans shun church and reject religion .... "

            I am not quite sure where you are getting your data.

            According to the Catalyst journal (June 2018), Frank Newport of Gallup polling reported in 2012 that 80% of Americans are Christian and that 95% of "all Americans who have a religion are Christian." (Italics are Newport's) He found that more than 90% believe in God.

            The same source reports that a 2015 Pew Research Center survey found 16.1% unaffiliated, but only 1.6% identified as atheist; 2.4% as agnostic, while 12.1% report as "nothing in particular."

            But, a 2014 Pew survey found 34% of the unaffiliated said religion is either "very important" or "somewhat important." Again, of the unaffiliated or "nones," an amazing 61% say they believe in God, while only 33% say they do not.

            While statistics and polling are not exact sciences, crunching all those numbers still gives a general estimate of about 90% of Americans believing in God.

            These data do not appear to confirm your claim that "a growing majority of Americans shun church and reject religion...."

          • rationalobservations?

            Even church leaders of all the diverse and different Christian businesses, cults and sects recognise that folk lie in polls and surveys. The actual attendance figures reveal that fewer than 18% of Americans can be found in a church on any given Sunday.
            https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/139575-7-startling-facts-an-up-close-look-at-church-attendance-in-america.html

        • rationalobservations?

          i wonder if you are brave enough to go into any of the Islamic theocracies in which atheism is a capital offence (as it was for centuries under christian totalitarianism) and denounce Islam by pronouncing non-belief in Alah?
          No?
          You are the coward then.

          Giordano Bruno did not have the technology to measure the age of the universe but probably considered that it could be measured. He was burned to death after having a red hot spike driven through his tongue for revealing a lie in bibles btw so thanks for raising this further evidence against your claims.

          Similarly the apparently religiot Max Planck must have assumed the age of the universe could be measured when sufficient further advances in the sum total of all human knowledge allowed - as it does today.

          How do you measure any of the undetected and undetectable gods?

          (Your condition of arrogant ignorance and blanket denial is once again noted.)

          • Rob Abney

            I might be a coward in that situation but I’m not being proclaimed as a Great Mind, my point is that you cannot be a great mind and a coward. If you can name some of the great minds who were cowards then go ahead.
            You ascribe to Bruno and Planck a lot of faith in the future abilities of mankind, how do you know that to be true? Also, what is the calculated age of the universe? Did it start with the big bang? If so what caused the Big Bang ? If not how do we calculate prior to that event?

          • David Nickol

            What do you mean by coward? Sir Issac Newton was surely one of the greatest minds of all times, but he kept his unorthodox religious views quiet. Should he have spoken out?

          • Rob Abney

            I don't believe he kept his religious views quiet, he seems to have been quite the anti-Catholic fundamentalist, a well-accepted view after the English reformation.

          • rationalobservations?

            Your assertion that a great mind cannot be a coward appears irrational.
            Great minds come in all characters including the mentally ill lunatic Sir Isaac Newton who wasted much of his life on mysticism and alchemy and was a religious maniac and all round weirdo.

            On the other hand - Had Albert Einstein not run away from Germany and the genocidal christian crusade of the 3rd Reich he would not have become the hero of physics we remember today.

            You appear to doubt the evidence supported fact of the "Big Bang" yet offer no evidence supported explanation of an alternative?

            If you are an advocate of a primary and uncaused cause of the 13,820,000,000 year old universe and all it contains then that could include an uncaused "Big Bang".

            Evidence of the existence of the universe and all it contains is only evidence of the existence of the universe and all it contains. Nothing more.

            There is no evidence that magic exists or is needed and no evidence of any of the existence of any of the millions of undetectable and undetected gods, goddesses and god-men dreamed up by ignorant men.

            https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DMpyUPxVQAAvbDh.jpg

          • Rob Abney

            Evidence of the existence of the universe and all it contains is only evidence of the existence of the universe and all it contains. Nothing more.

            It is evidence that there must be a cause, do you deny a cause based on your Islamic background, your atheism, or your trust in science. We don't want to throw all scientific achievements out by proclaiming that not all effects need a cause.
            Read this article from here at SN and join in the discussion, your memes are too simplistic. https://strangenotions.com/why-an-infinite-regress-among-proper-causes-is-metaphysically-impossible/

          • rationalobservations?

            The article you link to is full of unscientific, unsupported opinion that ignores modern science and ignores the fact it is only creationists who believe the infinite 13,820,000,000 year old naturally evolved and evolving universe could, would or should need to be magically wished into existence FROM NOTHING by a hypothetical super-spook that itself came FROM NOTHING.

            You ask: "... do you deny a cause based on your Islamic background, your atheism, or your trust in science."
            I do not deny an entirely natural and non-magical "cause" and my scepticism of a magical and supernatural "cause" is prompted by the irrationality and improbability of such a concept and the total, absolute and complete absence of evidence and need for of any magic or super-spook at the origin of our universe when much more compelling hypotheses exist.

            It is clear that your belief in a super-spook from nothing that wished the universe into existence from nothing is based only upon the delusional mythology of ancient ignorant barbarians.

            The failure to validate, justify or excuse belief in debunked superstition based bunkum is something you share with a rapidly declining number of ignorant and indoctrinated religionists.

            Your delusions are too ridiculous and simplistic.

            https://i2.wp.com/www.skeptical-science.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Creationist-Debate.jpg?ssl=1

          • Rob Abney

            Why don't you stop name calling and casting aspersions and engage the subject.
            Focus on this, what caused the universe to begin 13.8 billion years ago? Do you assert that there is no cause or that the universe caused itself?

          • rationalobservations?

            Oh dear. Just because you are confused and confounded it doesn't mean that you are being singled out for "name calling".

            Q: "... what caused the universe to begin 13.8 billion years ago?
            A: No one knows if it actually began then or is a continuation of prior processes obliterated by the "Big Bang". If there were prior processes - no one knows what they were since no detected evidence of anything natural (or hypothetically "supernatural") survived the Big Bang.

            Q: "Do you assert that there is no cause or that the universe caused itself?
            A: No. See first answer above:

            Here's questions for you:
            1) Do you assert that any of the gods actually exist and must have created themselves from nothing?
            2) Do you assert that the originally Canaanite god Yahweh created the universe from nothing?

            Now focus on this (take all the time you need!):

            If you answer "yes" to either of those questions please explain how something from nothing can be achieved and what evidence there is that any super-spooks actually exist and how the universe was wished into existence from nothing by any entirely hypothetical super-spook?

            https://i2.wp.com/www.skeptical-science.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Creationist-Debate.jpg?ssl=1

          • Rob Abney

            You believe that we cannot know the cause of the universe but you do agree that there is a cause. That’s philosophy not science.
            I do not assert that the one true God created Himself. And I do not believe that “nothing” was ever the state of existence. So your last question doesn’t qualify as needing an answer.
            You’ve posted your cute little meme twice now. Do you realize that Catholics consider there to be no contradictions between the Bible and science? But try to find a meme with your opponent holding a copy of the Summa Theologiae, that will be a better representation of how we point out the errors of atheists. You can read it online here: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/

          • rationalobservations?

            Your dishonest attempt to misrepresent me with your own simplistic straw man non arguments fails.
            Your link to a pathetic evidence devoid lie factory is pitiful and ridiculous.
            All the errors are on the side of self serving and fraudulent religion.
            Thank goodness religion is in accelerating decline and education and free secular democracy have already proven to be the antidote to the poison of religion.

      • Again 2/3 of the 20th century Nobel prize winners were Christian. The church wasn't torturing and killing non believers in the 20th century.

        Your wall of text seems bath salt inspired.

        • rationalobservations?

          You will need to present evidence supporting this familiar but apparently dishonest propaganda.
          I have rejected and exposed the fraudulent religion of my now predominantly secular and non religious nation yet am still counted as a "christian" by that organisation.

          Don't you ever accept the evidence of only a tiny percentage of most western nations who still attend church as a key to the absence of belief in the lies of religion?

          • BCE

            No doubt we can't know how many of the "greatest minds" were lost.
            And since Christianity includes mercy, it makes even one needless death
            unjust, and a scandal.
            Great minds might be lost in a plague or storm: but particularly
            wrong when deliberate.
            But, we also don't know how many great minds are lost by abortion.

            There's a presumption in your premise (not your invention)
            that the inquisition and witch hunts, of mostly Christian(Catholic) Europe, regressed the progress of human science.
            Why phrase the great loss of intellectual ideas as being a Western
            European(Catholic) problem.
            A bias? As though white Europeans were the true heirs of human knowledge, and any loss among them would not be made up for by
            the rest of humanity.

          • rationalobservations?

            You offer personal opinions but no logic or evidence supported argument that favours the existence of any of the millions of undetected and undetectable gods and goddesses or supports the validity of the men who invented those gods and goddesses and the politico-corporate businesses that profit so greatly from selling those gods and goddesses to the gullible and the ignorant.

            Many religionists are almost as altruistic as most humanist atheists. Religion is almost exclusively self serving and anti-humanitarian.

          • BCE

            What?
            I didn't comment at all about "gods".
            I said (addressing your example of Bruno ) that I agree the church
            was wrong.
            That [no doubt statistically] there would be "great minds" among the
            millions aborted ( and No, I don't need to prove it)
            I'm not excusing a single murder, but you grieved the loss of "the greatest minds" by persecution, but not the loss of "great minds"among the aborted.
            And lastly, implicit, when arguing against the Catholic church,
            and the potential loss of intellectuals(like Bruno) and other great minds
            "of history" there's something in that, that implies, both that Europe under Christendom was the seat of advanced knowledge, and that the rest of the non Christian world was lagging. Otherwise, wouldn't you mourn the loss of great minds everywhere, by anyone, including the millions of abortions?
            Now here's what's sad, but you miss. No doubt among the world wide
            aborted, many of those infants would have grown up, to not only be
            great minds, but be atheists. So I'm the one who's impartial.
            And finally, yes I get to respond to what portions of your comments
            I want to.

          • rationalobservations?

            Your tedious C&P is full of assumptions, leading questions and straw men arguments.
            Get back to me if you ever have anything interesting and evidence supported to present.

          • The Wikipedia article has citations.

          • rationalobservations?

            Opinions cited and religious propaganda recycled is not credible evidence.

  • Phil Tanny

    You write...

    ...but he (Tyson) is committed first and foremost to advancing knowledge, not denigrating religion.

    And like most scientists, what Tyson seems not to grasp is that his commitment to advancing knowledge is the modern version of a blind faith ideology, one not fundamentally rooted in reason.

    The simplest example can illustrate this.

    If you have children, do you give them access to as much power as possible as quickly as possible? Of course not, as that would be insane.

    What happens on their 18th birthday to change this equation? Not that much! Yes, they can now successfully manage more power than earlier, but not as much power as possible delivered as fast as possible.

    See? Common sense, that's all that required to see that it's not rational to be committed to advancing knowledge without limit, which is what almost all scientists believe in.

    Don't take my word for it, just ask them, what new knowledge are you willing to say no to? Observe for yourself how vague, waffling and timid the replies are.

  • mentummike

    Tyson is mischaracterized here. He is a viscious, anti-theistic naturalist, through and through. He holds "nature" in the highest - and I do mean highest - regard. Despite the fact that he had to concede some historical facts and be gracious to his host, even a superficial review of his public comments over the years discounts even the slightest hint of agnosticism.

    Also, don't automatically assume that Protestants and Jews have not contributed to science - or that they share in the largely mythical "anti-science" mindset of a minority of Christians. Protestants funded most of the first colleges and universities. And sadly, most cessationist denominations in general have more regard for science than they do scripture.

    • Sample1

      ...concede some historical facts...

      I recently made a purchase and because my chip is damaged one has to insert it three times before getting the “swipe instead” option. As I swiped, the grocer remarked, and this is all he said to me, “three times like Peter.”

      I said, quizzically to this unknown citizen, “excuse me?” He replied, “like Peter, with the cock crowing.” I purposely paused and replied, “that’s a reference to a religion right?” Now my demeanor was inquisitive and friendly but his previously friendly demeanor noticeably morphed into disappointing terseness. “It’s not religion, it’s historical fact!” I just left with a friendly, “oh.”

      There is a sleeping creepiness behind the faith mask. Like I’m supposed to belong to their club and give a clubhouse wink when the code words are repeated. It’s all so...tribal, ape-like and, well, cute. If it wasn’t so sinister. I was gracious. The grocer, on the otherhand, is probably ranting online to some civil rights hate group right now wishing for the good old days when someone like me could be burned alive and rid of their presence.

      So yeah, Neil is the real danger. Good grief.

      Mike, excommunicated

      • Ficino

        Or three times like "I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you!"?

      • Mark

        A failed credit card chip turns revealed a sinister sleeping creepiness civil rights hate group activist that wants to burn you alive. So glad you made it out alive.

    • Phil Tanny

      He holds "nature" in the highest - and I do mean highest - regard.

      People connect with God's creation in a wide variety of ways, and if one sincerely holds that creation in the highest regard, we might be happy with that and not demand that they connect in exactly the same way that we do.

      And anyway, Catholic doctrine claims that God is ever present in all times and places, which if true would mean nature=God and God=nature. I know Catholic doctrine doesn't take it that far, but perhaps it should.