PvM posted Entry 1700 on November 21, 2005 12:32 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1695

After various other Vatican officials had already expressed their discomfort with the Intelligent Design Creationism movement, Cardinal Schonborn, who initially had confused some with his comments about intelligent design, has finally outlined the details.

Schonborn, whose initial comments on Intelligent Design may have been coached by organizations supporting ID, seems to have come to the realization that Intelligent Design is scientifically vacuous.

When Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn waded into a heated debate over evolution in the United States, his goal was not to persuade American schools to teach that God created the world in six days.

Nor was it to condemn Charles Darwin and his “The Origin of Species,” a book that Schoenborn, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Vienna, considers a great work in the history of ideas.

That’s a good beginning. After all, it’s hard to deny the important role of Darwin in evolutionary theory

His concern, Schoenborn told Reuters at his episcopal palace in central Vienna, was to stand up for common sense in a debate that had become ideological. He wanted to make clear where the Church thinks scientists overstep their bounds.

Indeed, scientists on both side of the debate often confuse and abuse science to support their respective positions. The simple fact is that science cannot address issues of supernatural and faith, one way or another.

“The Church’s task now is to defend reason,” he explained, citing as his inspiration his former theology professor Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict.

“The theory of evolution is a scientific theory,” he said. “What I call evolutionism is an ideological view that says evolution can explain everything in the whole development of the cosmos, from the Big Bang to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.”

A conflation often observed among Intelligent Design Creationists as well. It seems that Schonborn may have been provided some poor advice on these topics.

Often tipped as a potential future pope, Schoenborn, 60, came under stinging attack by U.S. scientists after he published an op-ed article in the New York Times last July backing the “Intelligent Design” view of the world’s origins.

The harsher critics charged he was a simpleton trying to replace science with creationism – the view that God made the world exactly as laid out in Genesis, the first book of the Bible – and throw American education back by a century.

Dismissing this censure with a smile, the cardinal spelled out a position that respects Darwin’s achievements but rejects neo-Darwinist views he said go beyond what science can prove.

So far so good. Nothing wrong with establishing the proper limitations of scientific inquiry.

“The biblical teaching about creation is not a scientific theory,” he said, restating a Catholic view that contrasts with the literal reading of some conservative U.S. Protestants opposed to Darwin. “Christian teaching about creation is not an alternative to evolution.”

Finally, Schonborn seems to have clarified his statements and as many have predicted, they indicate that he was not really talking about Intelligent Design but rather about ‘intelligent design’.

INTELLIGENT DESIGN

Schoenborn agrees with the Intelligent Design theory that the complexity of life clearly points to a superior intelligence that must have devised this system. He based this on reason, not science, as Intelligent Design theorists claim to do.

Good to hear Schonborn distantiate himself from a scientifically vacuous position.

“The next step is to ask – which intelligence? As a believer, of course I think it is the intelligence of the Creator,” he said.”

Hence ‘intelligent design’.

snip

DEFENDS CRITICISM

“If this is a scientific theory, it must be open to scientific criticism,” he said. “What I’m criticizing is a kind of strategy to immunize it, as if it were an offence to Darwin’s dignity to say there are some issues this theory can’t explain.

Evolution is open to scientific criticism, of course much of the ‘criticisms’ raised by ID is often based on ignorance or an incomplete portrayal or understanding of present day scientific theory and hypotheses. A good example is the Cambrian, which is seen by many creationists as a discontinuity in life when researchers are unearthing more and more evidence to the contrary.

“There’s a kind of ban on discussing this and critics of the evolution theory are discredited or discriminated against from the start,” he said.

Seems that Schonborn still has to shake the latest remnants of ID rethoric.

snip

Similarly he has to realize that the following statement is again a conflation of various concepts

“Common sense tells us that matter cannot organize itself,” he said. “It needs information to do that, and information is a manifestation of intelligence.”

Information as defined by ID creationists is NOT a manifestation of intelligence. On the contrary, information defined by IDers is a manifestation of ignorance.

Although his reading on evolution has covered several scientific disciplines, Schoenborn stressed his objections to neo-Darwinism were essentially philosophical.

Like his mentor Pope Benedict, he is deeply concerned that materialism – the science-based view that matter is the only reality – is crowding out religious and spiritual thinking in modern man’s perception of the world.

“It’s all about materialism, that’s the key issue,” he said.

That’s good to know and as a scientist and Christian I can respect this. However, some have used the philosophical position to argue for a ‘scientific position’ which is for all practical reasons totally vacuous and in fact theologically risky.

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Comment #59143

Posted by Steven Thomas Smith on November 21, 2005 1:41 PM (e)

“Common sense tells us that matter cannot organize itself …. It needs information to do that, and information is a manifestation of intelligence.”

Google these beautiful snowflakes. Whose common sense says that matter isn’t self-organizing?

And where does Shannon information I = –log p invoke the necessity of intelligence? And if it’s not Shannon information the Cardinal refers to, what is it?

Comment #59147

Posted by Tiax on November 21, 2005 2:11 PM (e)

“The Church’s task now is to defend reason,” he explained, citing as his inspiration his former theology professor Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict.

BWHA?

“The theory of evolution is a scientific theory,” he said. “What I call evolutionism is an ideological view that says evolution can explain everything in the whole development of the cosmos, from the Big Bang to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.”

I never heard a single person assert than evolution can explain anything like this. Maybe I missed the last chapter of Darwin’s book where he explains how his theory on the origins of species also explains the big bang.

This guy’s off his proverbial rocker.

Comment #59152

Posted by Corkscrew on November 21, 2005 2:26 PM (e)

Information (in the sense they’re using it) is just data with a context. DNA and co. provide the data, the organism’s environment provides the context. I really don’t understand the problem.

Comment #59154

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 21, 2005 2:31 PM (e)

The Church’s task now is to defend reason,” he explained

Could any readers near the Santa Croce church in Florence investigate that rumbling sound?

Comment #59159

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 21, 2005 2:40 PM (e)

“What I would like is to see in schools is a critical and open spirit, in a positive sense, so we don’t make a dogma out of the theory of evolution but we say it is a theory that has a lot going for it but has no answers for some questions.”

As opposed to Inteligent Design creationism, which has the same answer for every question.

(in case you forgot, it’s “God did it.)

Like his mentor Pope Benedict, he is deeply concerned that materialism – the science-based view that matter is the only reality – is crowding out religious and spiritual thinking in modern man’s perception of the world.

“It’s all about materialism, that’s the key issue,” he said.

‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Creationism is not the issue because I say it’s not. We’re going after materialistic chemistry and physics next.’

It is as if the cardinal stepped in pig excrement, and is now trying to clean his shoes by wiping it on his cassock. It’s too bad he isn’t man enough to admit that he was wrong, and that he was duped.

Comment #59163

Posted by PhilVaz on November 21, 2005 2:49 PM (e)

Tiax: “I never heard a single person assert that evolution can explain anything like this…..This guy’s off his proverbial rocker.”

Cardinal Schonborn was more specific in his first catechetical lecture for 2005/2006.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p91.htm

What he has a problem with are those who take evolution as an atheistic or materialistic worldview. He quotes Julian Huxley, Will Provine, and Peter Atkins as follows:

Sir Julian Huxley (1959): “In the Evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer either need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created, it evolved. So did all animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and body. So did religion. Evolutionary man can no longer take refuge from his loneliness in the arms of a divinized father figure….” (Huxley)

Schonborn comments: “I am convinced that this is not a claim within the realm of the natural sciences but rather the expression of a worldview. It is essentially a ‘confession of faith’ – that faith being materialism.”

Will Provine (1988): “Modern science directly implies that the world is organized strictly in accordance with deterministic principles or chance. There are no purposive principles whatsoever in nature. There are no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable.” (Provine)

Schonborn comments: “This too is not a conclusion derived from natural science; it is a philosophical claim.”

Peter Atkins (1992): “Humanity should accept that science has eliminated the justification for believing in cosmic purpose, and that any survival of purpose is inspired solely by sentiment.” (Atkins)

Schonborn comments: “Again, this is a ‘confession of faith’; it is not a strictly scientific claim. These and similar statements could be heard this summer and are one reason that I said in my short article in the New York Times concerning this sort of ‘border-crossings,’ that they constitute ideology rather than science, a worldview.”

And to repeat what he writes on evolution: “I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained. In the citations given above, it is unequivocally the case that such have been violated. When science adheres to its own method, it cannot come into conflict with faith. But perhaps one finds it difficult to stay within one’s territory, for we are, after all, not simply scientists but also human beings, with feelings, who struggle with faith, human beings, who seek the meaning of life. And thus as natural scientists we are constantly and inevitably bringing in questions reflecting worldviews.
“ (Schonborn, 10/2/2005, Creation and Evolution: To the Debate As It Stands)

He’s not off his rocker, he is simply defending the Catholic position that faith and reason do not conflict, that God can be known by reason, and that evolution does not disprove God and should not be cited by philosophical materialists as if it does.

Schonborn also doesn’t hide the fact that the intelligent Creator he believes in is the God of Christianity, the Creator of Genesis 1 and the Nicene Creed, “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth….”. Looking forward to his planned book on the subject, based on the catechetical lectures. Maybe he can have a Catholic biologist review it or contribute a chapter.

Phil P

Comment #59165

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 21, 2005 2:57 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #59167

Posted by k.e. on November 21, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

As I have said elsewhere the CC surgically removed the nearest thing to “Zen in Christianity” the “Gospel of Thomas” the so called 5th Gospel around the time they got the keys to the continent(500AD)… a little too inconvenient when you’ve got a lot of real estate to manage. So now they can’t fit the “which came first man or god” into the picture.

Comment #59168

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 21, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

Nor was it to condemn Charles Darwin and his “The Origin of Species”, a book that Schoenborn, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Vienna, considers a great work in the history of ideas….
He questioned neo-Darwinism, the scientifically updated version of Darwin’s thesis first published in 1859, and its argument that natural selection – the so-called “survival of the fittest” – created life out of matter randomly.

It’s too bad the cardinal idd not understand that “great work in the history of ideas”.

Comment #59171

Posted by Hyperion on November 21, 2005 3:07 PM (e)

I think that Schonborn was trying to say that he had no problems with evolution from a scientific perspective, and that his position was purely theological, that in his position as a theologian, he liked the idea of everything being made by G_d or a designer or some such.

I think, and I may be wrong of course, that he was trying to say something akin to our “teach it in a comparative religion course, but keep it out of science” line. Since he actually happens to be a theologian, of course he’s going to want to have a discussion on its theological implications, he’s just not very adept at putting it in those terms.

Comment #59172

Posted by PhilVaz on November 21, 2005 3:22 PM (e)

k.e.: “the CC surgically removed the nearest thing to ‘Zen in Christianity’ the ‘Gospel of Thomas’ the so called 5th Gospel around the time they got the keys to the continent (500AD)”

You are saying the Gospel of Thomas has as much credibility to be in the NT canon as the four canonical Gospels? Who can you cite before 500 AD who believed the Gospel of Thomas was inspired Scripture? Did Irenaeus, Augustine, Athanasius, Jerome, Ambrose, or any of the major Fathers or Doctors of the Catholic Church ever cite that Gospel? Perhaps more a topic for the Catholic Answers boards http://forums.catholic.com

bayesian: “It’s too bad the cardinal did not understand that ‘great work in the history of ideas’”.

Let’s be fair, here is Schonborn on Darwin:

“With this, his major work, Darwin undoubtedly scored a brilliant coup, and it remains a great oeuvre [work] in the history of ideas. With an astounding gift for observation, enormous diligence, and mental prowess, he succeeded in producing one of that history’s most influential works. He could already see in advance that his research would create many areas of endeavor. Today one can truly say that the ‘evolution’ paradigm has become, so to speak, a ‘master key,’ extending itself within many fields of knowledge.” (Schonborn, 10/2/2005, Creation and Evolution: To the Debate As It Stands)

So he gives Darwin his due, and hopefully he sticks to his good philosophical rather than poor biological critiques of “Darwinism” or “evolutionism.”

Phil P

Comment #59177

Posted by Tiax on November 21, 2005 3:28 PM (e)

My problem with the cardinal’s statements is that he is taking this idea of materialism and laying it squarely on Darwin’s shoulders, essentially saying that evolution and materialism are equivalent: “What I call evolutionism is an ideological view that says evolution can explain everything in the whole development of the cosmos, from the Big Bang to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony”

This just isn’t what’s being said, even in the passages he quotes. Huxley, if I am reading correctly, is making the point that within evolution, there is no more need for a God. We don’t have to rely on a creator to explain why we have dogs and cats and peas and cows. The other two are speaking to their interpretations of modern science’s findings as a whole, not simply of evolution.

A big reason we are seeing this ‘controversy’ (though using that word now makes me feel uneasy) over evolution is because people don’t want to discuss materialism, and their proverbial ‘beef’ with it, but they want to target evolution instead, and act like it’s the same thing.

Comment #59178

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 21, 2005 3:29 PM (e)

Let’s be fair, here is Schonborn on Darwin:
etc

Quite a load of rhetoric there, and yet, as quoted in the Reuters article, the cardinal claims that someone is touting natural selection as random. There is also the conflation of origin of life with evolution of existing life. Natural selection must have something to select.

Comment #59179

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 21, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

My problem with the cardinal’s statements is that he is taking this idea of materialism and laying it squarely on Darwin’s shoulders, essentially saying that evolution and materialism are equivalent: “What I call evolutionism is an ideological view that says evolution can explain everything in the whole development of the cosmos, from the Big Bang to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony”

This just isn’t what’s being said, even in the passages he quotes. Huxley, if I am reading correctly, is making the point that within evolution, there is no more need for a God. We don’t have to rely on a creator to explain why we have dogs and cats and peas and cows. The other two are speaking to their interpretations of modern science’s findings as a whole, not simply of evolution.

Yes. As I said, they are going after materialistic chemistry and physics next, and everything that does not specifically invoke the supernatural.

Comment #59193

Posted by limpidense on November 21, 2005 4:21 PM (e)

This man, and the Pope behind (above?) him have made one thing very, very clear: they don’t give a hoot in hell for science, and any truths scientists uncover matters only to the degree they can be used to further armor their preconceptions; never to challenge them.

Evolution/Big bang/9th??? This guy clearly hasn’t read a single book on any of these, and couldn’t care less about them.

They’re nothing but a pack of cards.

Comment #59199

Posted by Tiax on November 21, 2005 4:30 PM (e)

Bayesian Bouffant wrote:

Yes. As I said, they are going after materialistic chemistry and physics next, and everything that does not specifically invoke the supernatural.

It’s already begun!

“Common sense tells us that matter cannot organise itself,” he said.

Common sense tells us that subatomic particles cannot attach themselves to one another with such strength that pulling them apart can release startling amounts of energy. An Intelligent Agent must have put those atomic nucleii together, and the only question that remains to be answered is, “Which Agent.” Anyone who tries to refute my belief that an Intelligent Agent is responsible for the bonding of protons and neutrons in a nucleus is over-stepping the boundaries of science.

Comment #59219

Posted by PhilVaz on November 21, 2005 5:20 PM (e)

limp: “This man, and the Pope behind (above?) him have made one thing very, very clear: they don’t give a hoot in hell for science….”

Schonborn: “I am thankful for the immense work of the natural sciences. Their furthering of our knowledge boggles the mind. They do not restrict faith in the creation; they strengthen me in my belief in the Creator and in how wisely and wonderfully He has made all things.” (10/2/2005, catechetical lecture)

Schonborn edited the Catechism which says in paragraph 283: “The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers….”

Ratzinger/Benedict: “…science has long since disposed of the concepts that we have just now heard – the idea of a world that is completely comprehensible in terms of space and time, and the idea that creation was built up piece by piece over the course of seven [or six] days. Instead of this we now face measurements that transcend all comprehension. Today we hear of the Big Bang, which happened billions of years ago and with which the universe began its expansion – an expansion that continues to occur without interruption. And it was not in neat succession that the stars were hung and the green of the fields created; it was rather in complex ways and over vast periods of time that the earth and the universe were constructed as we now know them….”

And

“We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God [he means Genesis 1-2], which we just heard, does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. It explains their inmost origin and casts light on the project that they are. And, vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments.” (from In The Beginning…. by Ratzinger/Benedict)

They might not understand the details of biology or cosmology, but they do give a hoot in heaven. They simply don’t like the materialistic worldview. Philosophical or metaphysical materialism is not science, but methodological naturalism is science (whether biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, or meteorology). I’ve seen many in here agree with that.

Phil P

Comment #59247

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 21, 2005 7:21 PM (e)

Gee, whenever I ask an IDer to tell me what the scientific theory of ID is, all I get is thundering silence. But give them chance to tell us all about their religious opinions, and the IDers can’t seem to shut up.

Odd, if ID isn’t really about religion.

Unless, of course, IDers are simply lying to us about that.

But hey, Heddle, Donald, and everyone else who wants to regale us with your religious opinions — I have a simple question for you. Why, exactly, are your particular religious opinions any better than anyoen else’s? Why should anyone pay any more attention to your particualr religious opinions than they should to, say, mine or ym next door neighbor’s or my car mechanic’s or my veterinarian’s or the kid who delivers my pizzas? Other than your say-so?

(Note: this question doesn’t really apply to Carol, since she’s just here to shill for her employer’s book.)

Comment #59252

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 21, 2005 7:28 PM (e)

But hey, Heddle, Donald, and everyone else who wants to regale us with your religious opinions —- I have a simple question for you. Why, exactly, are your particular religious opinions any better than anyoen else’s? Why should anyone pay any more attention to your particualr religious opinions than they should to, say, mine or ym next door neighbor’s or my car mechanic’s or my veterinarian’s or the kid who delivers my pizzas? Other than your say-so?

Lenny, you’ve never told us, what religion is the kid who delivers your pizzas? And is he cool with you always talking about him like this? :-)

Comment #59263

Posted by natural cynic on November 21, 2005 7:40 PM (e)

If there ever was a case of group selection in the world of ideas, it would be the denial of the gnostic gospels from the time of Iraneus onwards (~150CE). There were competing gospels, but the early church fathers, in their (uh) wisdom deemed any ideas outside their canon as anathema. And did a pretty good job of expunging any mentions of alternate gospels from anything but heresy trials.

Comment #59265

Posted by buddha on November 21, 2005 7:41 PM (e)

PhilVaz wrote:

He’s not off his rocker, he is simply defending the Catholic position that faith and reason do not conflict, that God can be known by reason, and that evolution does not disprove God and should not be cited by philosophical materialists as if it does.

Evolution does not disprove any god, but it does show that a god is not needed to explain the diversity of life. As it happens, a god is not needed to explain anything else, either. You might say that a god is still possible, but if this is your standard for belief then I am surprised you do not also believe in djinns, goblins, and magic star goats.

Comment #59269

Posted by buddha on November 21, 2005 7:50 PM (e)

Schoenborn agrees with the Intelligent Design theory that the complexity of life clearly points to a superior intelligence that must have devised this system. He based this on reason, not science, as Intelligent Design theorists claim to do.

Ah, so now it’s based on reason and not science. Now, what reason would that be? Ummm… “life is so complicated it must have been designed!” Where have I heard this before?

Comment #59274

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on November 21, 2005 8:16 PM (e)

It should be of little surprise to anyone here that I am a Pastafarian.

All hail the Spaghetti Monster, mateys! Arrhhh!

Comment #59279

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 21, 2005 8:34 PM (e)

Posted by Lenny’s Pizza Guy on November 21, 2005 08:16 PM (e) (s)

It should be of little surprise to anyone here that I am a Pastafarian.

All hail the Spaghetti Monster, mateys! Arrhhh!

You are only a believer to “shill” your (or your company’s) product; without a disclaimer you are a charlatan Mr. “Leny’s Pizza delivery technician”.

Comment #59280

Posted by Valz on November 21, 2005 8:36 PM (e)

buddha wrote:

Evolution does not disprove any god, but it does show that a god is not needed to explain the diversity of life. As it happens, a god is not needed to explain anything else, either. You might say that a god is still possible, but if this is your standard for belief then I am surprised you do not also believe in djinns, goblins, and magic star goats.

God is not a scientific explanation that “competes” alongside other scientific theories. Your argument may work against those that use the god-of-the-gaps in order to support their beliefs. I am not sure how PhilVaz feels, but as a Catholic my view has a more holistic aproach towards the evidence for God’s existence. It its not contingent upon what we can’t explain or don’t know, as ID does. Rather it is based on what we do know.

I think that what you talk about here is also a fallacy, an inverse god-of-the-gaps of sorts. Just because we have a scientific explanation for something does not means God didn’t create it. So, you arguing against God’s existence on the basis that we got a scientific explanation for something is, in my opinion, fallacious.

Valz

Comment #59284

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 21, 2005 9:08 PM (e)

Lenny, you’ve never told us, what religion is the kid who delivers your pizzas?

I don’t know — he won’t tell me. After all, his religious opinions aren’t any better than anyone else’s. ;>

And is he cool with you always talking about him like this? :-)

Shhhhh, don’t tell him. He’s already pissed at me because I don’t, uh, tip him very well. ;>

Comment #59286

Posted by buddha on November 21, 2005 9:08 PM (e)

Valz wrote:

[…] as a Catholic my view has a more holistic aproach towards the evidence for God’s existence […] it is based on what we do know.

What is this evidence?

Just because we have a scientific explanation for something does not means God didn’t create it.

The scientific explanation does not disprove any of the various gods. If you are to accept one of these on the basis of no evidence then why not accept the whole lot? Since some of these beliefs contradict others, this is a reductio ad absurdum against believing in any given god on the basis of no evidence. Hence, Occam’s Razor.

So, you arguing against God’s existence on the basis that we got a scientific explanation for something is, in my opinion, fallacious.

I am not arguing against the existence of gods. I am arguing against belief in the existence of gods.

Comment #59289

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on November 21, 2005 9:14 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott, apparently in a crabby mood over something Carol and Lenny were “discussing” earlier:

You are only a believer to “shill” your (or your company’s) product; without a disclaimer you are a charlatan Mr. “Leny’s Pizza delivery technician”.

No pizza for you, pal.

Comment #59322

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 12:51 AM (e)

PhilVaz
k.e.: “the CC surgically removed the nearest thing to ‘Zen in Christianity’ the ‘Gospel of Thomas’ the so called 5th Gospel around the time they got the keys to the continent (500AD))… a little too inconvenient when you’ve got a lot of real estate to manage. So now they can’t fit the “which came first man or god” into the picture”

You are saying the Gospel of Thomas has as much credibility to be in the NT canon as the four canonical Gospels? Who can you cite before 500 AD who believed the Gospel of Thomas was inspired Scripture? Did Irenaeus, Augustine, Athanasius, Jerome, Ambrose, or any of the major Fathers or Doctors of the Catholic Church ever cite that Gospel? Perhaps more a topic for the Catholic Answers boards http://forums.catholic.com

You missed out the bold bit.

A Religion is a reflection of those tribes’ needs, it binds together the needs of the tribe and the tribe worships itself via that religion. So it must cater for all members of the tribe if it is to function as a binding agent, the CC does not do a bad job but it is missing a vital theological tool.

Eastern religion has as much mysticism if not more than western religion however it also solved the problems of individual/group “perception” and individual/group “selfworship of words or ideas as well as goods/nature(true materialism).”

Hinduism has the basic precept that the divine is in each person and is one an in part of the whole PLUS the concept of GODS and ANTI GODS the divine battle engaged here on this Blog is formalized in heaven where the gods and the antigods (and depending on which side you are on….. the other side are the antigods) have over countless millennia of fighting agreed to a truce where Shiva* dances his cosmic dance on the neck of ignorance and that allows the tribe to get on with life, the theology stays out of SEX and allow for mans natural tendency not to agree on matters theological not to tear society apart. NOW THAT is a Religion (tribal self-worship) that the west can learn from.

The last time I went to a Catholic Mass during the service the congregation is admonished to turn and “greet the god” in the parishioners surrounding them by shaking their hands and uttering a humbling greeting. Quite a nice experience really. That IS the very basis of Hinduism.
That the Church of England is starting to integrate the Hindu greeting ( Namaste) in teaching children is for me a good sign. It doesn’t mean you have to take on the whole lot, however if we stand on the shoulders of giants we all progress.

Hinduism learnt from Buddhism that “all is illusion” and an example would be Hindu ascetic mystics in the upper Ganjis’ river at the birth place of Hinduism a holy of holy places, practice years of release from desire for material goods and mediate on the concept of Ego reduction. Still the lay people come to them these holy icons to ask for miracles and faith healing and even when told “all is illusion” they find solace in various sayings from the scriptures and pay money for their release of guilt. Does this sound familiar?

Buddhism nicely adds some formal logic on top of that and reduced the “mind at large” to a single point and an infinite dimension the same time.
It is not based on Aristotelian truth
I.e. that something can be true or false
With the additional logical “truth” something can be true and false, exist and not exist at the same time , 2500 years before quantum mechanics -just through logic!

Another example of cross-pollination in religion an Islamic friend of mine pointed out was that Mohammed said that “all desire causes suffering” a basic precept of Buddhism. This is “anti-materialism” in its true sense-“ the desire for goods and desire for ‘incorrect’ thoughts causes suffering”;

However if you really think about it …desires IS the cause of all suffering. That interesting ripple in the theological cloth of the universe is no good if you’ve got fish to catch, which was my initial point.
But it serves a useful purpose for metaphysics and fits right in with science. The Churches that cannot deal with which came first- man or god will be in for interesting times ahead.

PhilVaz do you only indulge in an endless board game that moves pieces around in an imaginary court of heaven, the eternal lawyer relying on precedent of a single tribal land. Do you ever travel and look at other cultures beyond your horizon by yourself free of even a tiny bit of guilt and preconception? Even for a lawyer there are fresh “ambulances” to follow in the “Mind at Large”
Do you Study language? Art? Theology outside of your pond, past and present to understand even a tiny bit of all of mankind’s efforts in creativity?
Are you familiar with J. Campbell and “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” or any of the other work by people without a religious axe to grind on comparative religion?
Do you understand the symbols of Myth, the Stages of the Mythical Hero Journey, the striking commonality of mans Myths across cultures?

*
A group lesson Plan for children to develop skills to decode Myth
http://www.askasia.org/frclasrm/lessplan/l000052.htm

A picture of Shiva Dancing on the Dwarf of Ignorance

http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/EG89/

Comment #59330

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 2:03 AM (e)

PhilVaz
….one other historical point which may put things into perspective for you.

Around 500 AD Emperor Justinian closed down the pagan Greek schools and replaced Greek science which around 800 years earlier, yes around 275 BCE; already found the earth revolved around the sun and calculated the diameter of the earth and the moon to within a few percent and replaced them with Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 which set back Western Civilization 1000 years.

I suppose that’s what you meant by infallibility

Comment #59341

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 22, 2005 5:45 AM (e)

Posted by Lenny’s Pizza Guy on November 21, 2005 09:14 PM (e) (s)

Stephen Elliott, apparently in a crabby mood over something Carol and Lenny were “discussing” earlier:

You are only a believer to “shill” your (or your company’s) product; without a disclaimer you are a charlatan Mr. “Lenny’s Pizza delivery technician”.

No pizza for you, pal.

Damn,
I failed to consider the consequences of my heresy.
I repent!
(can I have a 12 inch peperoni now?)

Comment #59345

Posted by Chris Lawson on November 22, 2005 6:42 AM (e)

Dear PhilVaz,

I have three comments that I think invalidate your defence of Schonborn.

(1)
“Will Provine (1988): “Modern science directly implies that the world is organized strictly in accordance with deterministic principles or chance. There are no purposive principles whatsoever in nature. There are no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable.” (Provine)
Schonborn comments: “This too is not a conclusion derived from natural science; it is a philosophical claim.””

So Schonborn gets all antsy about Provine saying that modern science *implies* no purpose and that gods are *not rationally detectable*. In other words, even saying that God is a matter of faith not science is enough to get Provine onto Schonborn’s List of Dread Materialists. And Schonborn’s comment is wrong. Provine’s statement is both a philosophical claim *and* a conclusion derived from natural science. These are not mutually exclusive categories. And as we shall see… “Schonborn: “I am thankful for the immense work of the natural sciences. Their furthering of our knowledge boggles the mind. They do not restrict faith in the creation; they strengthen me in my belief in the Creator and in how wisely and wonderfully He has made all things.” (10/2/2005, catechetical lecture).” How come Provine making a philosophical claim derived from his knowledge of science is a Bad Thing but when Schonborn does it, it’s Divine Reasoning?

(2)”Dismissing this censure with a smile, the cardinal spelled out a position that respects Darwin’s achievements but rejects neo-Darwinist views he said go beyond what science can prove.” But neo-Darwinism is nothing more than another term for the Modern Synthesis, that is, the application of modern genetics to Darwinian evolution. Far from “going beyond what science can prove,” neo-Darwinism is the bedrock of modern evolutionary theory. You’ll hear neo-Darwinism described as Dread Materialism…guess where?…in the pages of ID propaganda and Creationist rants. There are neo-Darwinists who are aggressively materialist (such as Richard Dawkins), but any fair use of the phrase neo-Darwinist would also have to include Theodosius Dobzhansky, who wrote one of the founding books of the Modern Synthesis in 1937, and he was a lifelong Russian Orthodox Christian. So I guess this is further evidence that Schonborn is getting his information from anti-evolution propagandists rather than reading the source material for himself.

(3) “Schoenborn agrees with the Intelligent Design theory that the complexity of life clearly points to a superior intelligence that must have devised this system. He based this on reason, not science, as Intelligent Design theorists claim to do.” As buddha has pointed out already, this is claptrap. It is Schonborn’s way of deluding himself that he has *reasoned* God’s existence through complexity. Despite everything, he has clearly NOT corrected his flawed understanding of evolution and he has NOT rejected the Discovery Institute’s kindergarten version of the Argument from Design.

In conclusion, while I would not go so far as to say that Schonborn is off his rocker, I think the quotes you provided make it amply clear that he is just as rampantly pro-ID as ever and has only made his “clarification” because it has become politically untenable to be seen in the company of the Discovery Institute after Pope Benedict’s stern rejection. Not to mention being too intellectually lazy to read outside the ID propaganda loop and being a hypocrite about deriving philosophical positions from scientific knowledge.

regards,
Chris

Comment #59353

Posted by drakvl on November 22, 2005 8:43 AM (e)

Still not satisfied. As I understand it, evolutionary theory treats the development of life as a dynamical system; and one of the most beautiful ideas I’ve seen comes from the study of dynamical systems, the idea that order can arise from a probabilistic system purely by virtue of the mathematical properties of that system.

As Schonborn said, “Common sense tells us that matter cannot organize itself.” And how many times has common sense been wrong?

And also, k.e. You write: “With the additional logical “truth” something can be true and false, exist and not exist at the same time , 2500 years before quantum mechanics -just through logic!”

Every system of logic I’ve heard of incorporates noncontradiction (well, except for paraconsistent systems, but the study of those is younger than quantum mechanics (http://logica.rug.ac.be/centrum/events/WCP97/global.html)). I’d be very surprised if quantum mechanics, which relies heavily on mathematics (seeing as it’s physics), violated the law of noncontradiction, as logic is one of the foundations of math. (Oh, how I wish folks – especially Objectivists – would realize this: things can be logical, yet violate common sense!)

Comment #59361

Posted by PhilVaz on November 22, 2005 10:02 AM (e)

k.e.: “You missed out the bold bit. A Religion is a reflection of those tribes’ needs, it binds together the needs of the tribe and the tribe worships itself via that religion. So it must cater for all members of the tribe if it is to function as a binding agent, the CC does not do a bad job but it is missing a vital theological tool.”

Thanks for the eastern religion lesson. I was only responding to your claim that the Catholic Church supposedly removed the Gospel of Thomas around 500 AD. Do you have any evidence for that? It was never removed since it was never in the canon. All the evidence from the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and early canon lists shows the Gospel of Thomas wasn’t removed around 500 AD. And Yes I have heard and read Joseph Campbell. He’s cool and so is eastern religion. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam have some truth, I just think Catholicism is truer. I’d put up Peter Kreeft’s books against Joseph Campbell’s books anytime. Handbook of Christian Apologetics vs. Hero of a Thousand Faces. I’ve compared and constrasted. And I take Genesis 1-3 to be of the literary genre of “myth” so I am not a literalist. As for infallibility, this is restricted to “faith and morals” and science is outside that domain. The Church Fathers and Doctors before Copernicus/Galileo were geocentrists, and they were wrong scientifically. No problem with infallibility.

Chris Lawson: “How come Provine making a philosophical claim derived from his knowledge of science is a Bad Thing but when Schonborn does it, it’s Divine Reasoning?”

It is not bad, but Schonborn’s point is that Provine’s statement “there are no gods that are rationally detectable” is a philosophical claim, not a scientific one. Yes, Provine based his conclusion on his inference from science, and theists too sometimes make inferences from science that God exists (origin of the universe, design and complexity, fine-tuning, etc). However, the claim “there is a God” and “there are no gods” are philosophical, theological, or metaphysical claims, not scientific ones.

The others that Schonborn cites are clearly making philosophical claims, not scientific. Julian Huxley says that souls and religion evolved, and “evolutionary man can no longer take refuge…in a divinized father figure….” I.E. God doesn’t exist and we learn that from evolution according to Huxley. Peter Atkins claims that science has eliminated cosmic purpose. Richard Dawkins has said that “biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” And Eugenie Scott of the NCSE responding to Phillip Johnson on this has said:

“Let’s start with the places where we agree. I agree that many scientists have been very sloppy about how they use terms like natural selection, purpose, etc – and I for one, as Phil [Johnson] has kindly pointed out, have criticized this, I’ve criticized Dawkins. Many other scientists have [as well]. I am not a believer. I would agree philosophically with Richard Dawkins. But I don’t think that he should be confusing his philosophical views with science. He shouldn’t be passing his philosophical views about materialism off as if they’re inevitably arising from evolution.” (Firing Line Debate, 12/1997)

Amen. Praise the Lord. Cardinal Schonborn, Phillip Johnson and Eugenie Scott all agree.

Schonborn clarified his New York Times editorial and what he meant by “neo-Darwinian dogma” when he wrote: “I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained. In the citations given above [Julian Huxley, Will Provine, Peter Atkins, and I’ll add Richard Dawkins], it is unequivocally the case that such have been violated. When science adheres to its own method, it cannot come into conflict with faith. But perhaps one finds it difficult to stay within one’s territory, for we are, after all, not simply scientists but also human beings, with feelings, who struggle with faith, human beings, who seek the meaning of life. And thus as natural scientists we are constantly and inevitably bringing in questions reflecting worldviews.” (Schonborn, 10/2/2005, Creation and Evolution: To the Debate As It Stands)

And Ken Miller cites Richard Dawkins on the same point:

“In a universe of physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” (Dawkins, cited in Miller page 171)

Dawkins says: there is no design, no purpose, no evil, no good and we get all this from evolutionary biology. Miller also cites Provine, Gould, and Dennet with similar ideas.

The National Academy of Sciences (cited by Miller) states:

“At the root of the apparent conflict between some religions and evolution is a misunderstanding of the critical difference between religious and scientific ways of knowing. Religions and science answer different questions about the world. Whether there is a purpose to the universe or a purpose for human existence are not questions for science. Religious and scientific ways of knowing have played, and will continue to play, significant roles in human history.” (NAS, cited in Miller, page 169)

The NAS says: Whether there is purpose are not questions for science.

And the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Schonborn was general editor) agrees: “The great interest accorded to these [scientific] studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin….” (paragraph 284)

Meanings (or purpose) for our existence goes beyond the domain of the natural sciences. They are philosophical, theological, or metaphysical claims. Schonborn, the Catechism, the NAS, Miller, and Scott are right, while Huxley, Provine, Atkins, and Dawkins are very wrong.

Phil P

Comment #59378

Posted by Tiax on November 22, 2005 12:11 PM (e)

Who could have had any inkling of the immeasurability of the cosmos? Of course, it says in the Bible: “…as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand upon the sea shore,” (Genesis 22: 17), but could men have known then that the number of stars does in fact correspond to the grains of sands on the shore?

Here’s a question: Do we know that there are a vast number of stars in the universe because of what it says in the bible, or do we know that the bible means that there are a vast number of stars in the universe because of what we found via science?

Comment #59391

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 1:22 PM (e)


drakvl

(Oh, how I wish folks — especially Objectivists — would realize this: things can be logical, yet violate common sense!)

Then that would make me an ambijectivist ;0

Thanks drakvl for bringing me up to date on that, very interesting.
RE QM.. bit of a long bow to draw metaphysical “logic” into physics on my part. Of course I should have made it clear it was a metaphor or an analogy- heh!

An interesting point on paraconsistent systems

Inconsistent but Non-Trivial Theories
A most telling reason for paraconsistent logic is the fact that there are theories which are inconsistent but non-trivial. Clearly, once we admit the existence of such theories, their underlying logics must be paraconsistent. Examples of inconsistent but non-trivial theories are easy to produce. An example can be derived from the history of science. (In fact, many examples can be given from this area.) Consider Bohr’s theory of the atom. According to this, an electron orbits the nucleus of the atom without radiating energy. However, according to Maxwell’s equations, which formed an integral part of the theory, an electron which is accelerating in orbit must radiate energy. Hence Bohr’s account of the behaviour of the atom was inconsistent. Yet, patently, not everything concerning the behavior of electrons was inferred from it. Hence, whatever inference mechanism it was that underlay it, this must have been paraconsistent.

I wonder if Hiddle,Djinski et. al. are on to this ?
Then they could say god exists and doesn’t exist at the same time, now prove that it is not so !…. Oh that would be Buddhism[BY WAY OF EXAMPLE}

Myth of course requires a subjective, intuitive view to make any sense.. to draw meaning.

My wife is an artist and when she looks a work of art particularly modern abstract or postmodernist she understands it subjectively and intuitively and can tell me what the artist was trying to get across to the viewer, I get some of it but not all, the same with Symbology in movies.
Understanding Myth and the Symbols of Myth may require a guide.

Take for example “The Large Glass” by Marcel Duchamp’s
-a beautiful cosmic joke.

My “bride” can go for days on that.

or literature

“Finnegan’s Wake” anyone

riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend
of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. Sir Tristram, violer d’amores, fr’over the short sea, had passen- core rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor

…aaahhh… Beautiful

Help is available -J. Campbell “A skeleton Key to Finnegan’s Wake”

Science is purely objective and trying to view theology purely objectively will always lead back to the problem; which came first the chicken or the egg, man or god.
Buddhism [BY WAY OF EXAMPLE} does not have that problem and still manages to function because it allows for a theistic view by the lay church.

PhilVaz the CC surgically removed the Gospel of Thomas and other gnostic texts as heresies according to my sources (a sort of bonfire of the vanities) at the same time as they shut down the Greek pagan schools and ushered in the dark ages. The CC is to be commended as I have consistently pointed out elsewhere for recognizing and warning of the dangers of fundamentalism and the difficulty of embracing a conflicting story was a problem for early Zen as well. See this link if you are interested http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/10/oh_the_irony.html#comment-54159
You still need to widen your view if you want to play.

Common sense tells us ???
Anyone up for $1^120 bet on me proving “Pascals Wager” was wrong ?-oh yes I’m serious. And before you take me up ask yourself this. Why do we need priests. Any other contrarians can run this simple test.
Plant 2 rows of carrots and pray for one row to produce bigger carrots- no weaseling.

Comment #59481

Posted by Henry J on November 22, 2005 9:04 PM (e)

Re “Inconsistent but Non-Trivial Theories […] Consider Bohr’s theory of the atom.”

Or Quantum Theory vs. General Relativity.

Henry

Comment #59485

Posted by Porlock Junior on November 22, 2005 9:58 PM (e)

Way up in the thread (59154) there was a rumor of rumblings at Santa Croce in Florence. Early reports seem to have attributed this to Galileo rolling(*) in his grave; but it may have been from his applauding the Church for having adopted the one-Truth doctrine that he urged on it in his time. I.e., there being one truth, which comes from God, any seeming conflict between science and religion must be worked out in terms of the evidence, and whatever interpretations conflict with the evidence need to be modified. Don’t blame me for this message, which I’m not even sure is true; blame Galileo. Of course, with his fondness for sensory experience and logical inferences, Galileo expected some Biblical interpretations to be the ones that got amended.

(*) Not turning in his grave, surely. Perhaps many people would, like Achilles, be glad to turn in their graves, but graves just have no trade-in value.

It may be held that Galileo was just saying this to curry favor (long before anyone showed him the instruments of torture, by the way), and was really a closet atheist; but to back that up with evidence will require adopting standards of evidence suitable to YEC.

After that, the thread becomes a contest of “My religion is better than yours”; or more often, “Some other guy’s religion is better than yours”: Buddhists, Greeks, whoever is convenient. Trouble is, those other guys can be pretty slippery.

k.e. says, “Around 500 AD Emperor Justinian closed down the pagan Greek schools and replaced Greek science which around 800 years earlier, yes around 275 BCE; already found the earth revolved around the sun and calculated the diameter of the earth and the moon to within a few percent…”

Perhaps this is not meant to be some kind of analogy with evolution or modern heliocentrism? After all, heliocentrism in Greek thought was one theory, not a popular one, with no compelling empirical or theoretical backing that we know of, not generally accepted by the pundits, and sometimes denounced as being against religion.

Concerning those Classical pundits: Aristotle was a long time before 500 AD, to be sure; but Ptolemy (2nd century AD) might have been surprised to know that the Greeks had “found” that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Ptolemy was a great man: one of the last two people (with Galen) to do any major new piece of science in Europe before Copernicus. So, at least, says Howard Margolis, and I find his case persuasive. It almost makes you wonder whether Justinian and the various Popes were fully responsible for the stagnation of science for all those years.

Comment #59493

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 11:11 PM (e)

Porlock Junior I was talking about Buddhism in the “subjective sense” note the huge square brackets and …..the truth in the objective sense…
Who decides the truth?

Objective truth is tested by logic. Aristotelian truth is called “explosive” for one good reason and when applied to the objective interpretation of God always produces the same result guaranteed!

Most people need guidance. That guidance is provided by GUIDES who were those GUIDES ?
The greatest GUIDES to objective truth in religious/science history were ?

I for one would not be comparing a pope or any other interpreter of the world of god (subjective)-[he may get close though depending on his personality] to Einstein/Bohr/Darwin and practically all of modern science today on science (objective)Jesus(his actual words if they can be found and translation agreed on) on man/god(objective)Buddha on man/god(objective).
Everyones subjective interpretation then represents the “mind at large” call that god if you want, just consider what happens if in one instant all human life were to be extinguished in one moment and apply explosive truth. NOW do you see what the fundies are up to ?

Comment #59500

Posted by Porlock Junior on November 22, 2005 11:46 PM (e)

k.e.,

I like to think I have understood for a long time what the fundies are up to. I must admit that your latest post seems uncharacteristically opaque, making it hard for me to see what you are up to at the moment.

No problem; I’m just inclined to pickiness on hist. of sci. matters, hence my Ptolemy shtick. I’m not out looking for a religious debate, especially on PT.

Comment #59501

Posted by k.e. on November 22, 2005 11:52 PM (e)

And more on
—NOW do you see what the fundies are up to ?™
What happens when you “Put GOD in a box”
….Pandoras box in reverse, all that exists in the world would be ?……

Comment #59505

Posted by k.e. on November 23, 2005 1:17 AM (e)

Porlock
on me being …..uncharacteristically opaque….
sorry thinking on the run
As someone once said Act quickly … Think slowly

drakvl tuned me into something that helped with understanding
the fundamenatlist to theistic mindset as the one common thread they (might) have if they were put on a scale of “extreme” to “mild”.

agreed on the religious debate

I need to have a think about object/subjective divide

Comment #59518

Posted by Chris Lawson on November 23, 2005 5:29 AM (e)

To PhilVaz:

I did not respond to Schoenborn’s quotes of Dawkins and Huxley because they indeed took a materialist stance and I wasn’t interested in discussing whether that was justified or not in this forum. I was only pointing out that Schonborn had unfairly criticised Provine’s statement. Provine’s statement was pure science. He said that gods are not rationally detectable. If you disagree with that, I would like you or your pal Schonborn to propose the experimental apparatus by which you would rationally detect god. If you can do that, then you can book a flight to Sweden for your Nobel Prize. If you can’t do that, then you should admit your error and retract your criticism of Provine’s quote.

I also note that you avoided answering my objection that Schonborn was happy to criticise materialists for drawing on science to support their beliefs, but at the same time Schonborn draws on science to support his own beliefs. I quote again, “I am thankful for the immense work of the natural sciences. Their furthering of our knowledge boggles the mind. They do not restrict faith in the creation; they strengthen me in my belief in the Creator and in how wisely and wonderfully He has made all things.” Uh huh. Right. I can see how Schonborn is against drawing philosophical conclusions from natural science.

Both yourself and Schonborn believe very strongly in maintaining the DMZ between science and religion, but in much the same way that East Germany used to maintain the Berlin Wall. You only want to prevent the traffic going one way.

regards,
Chris

Comment #59572

Posted by Randy on November 23, 2005 1:20 PM (e)

PhilVaz wrote:

You are saying the Gospel of Thomas has as much credibility to be in the NT canon as the four canonical Gospels? Who can you cite before 500 AD who believed the Gospel of Thomas was inspired Scripture? Did Irenaeus, Augustine, Athanasius, Jerome, Ambrose, or any of the major Fathers or Doctors of the Catholic Church ever cite that Gospel? Perhaps more a topic for the Catholic Answers boards http://forums.catholic.com

Actually, The Gospel of Thomas had a lot of authority among the Gnostics, and many other Christian churches, well into the fourth century, CE. After the Church in Rome (there was no Catholic church at the time) made its pact with the devil – uh, I mean Constantine – at the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, that authority began to fade… often on the point of a sword. BTW, the orthodoxy of the fledgling Roman Catholic church of the time, in contrast to the Gnostics, was that the Bible should be taken literally. One of Eusebius’s main complaints about the Gnostics was that they could find an allegorical meaning in nearly anything. Ain’t it funny how things change? Oh, and Irenaenus predated the Catholic churuch by 200 years.

Comment #59706

Posted by PhilVaz on November 23, 2005 11:59 PM (e)

Chris Lawson: “He [Will Provine] said that gods are not rationally detectable.”

OK, maybe I mis-read Provine. If by rationally detectable he means only scientifically detectable, then I agree that God is not scientifically detectable since science by definition is naturalistic. We cannot perform an experiment to detect God. We can infer God from the existence of the universe, but we cannot demonstrate or “prove” God by science. However, reason is not limited to science since there are rational philosophical arguments for God.

On the gospel of Thomas, I am aware that it was accepted or at least mentioned by various Gnostic groups, along with dozens of other gospels, letters, acts, and other early writings with the names of apostles on them. However, there is no evidence the orthodox Catholic Church ever accepted, and thus they never surgically removed, the pseudo-gospel of Thomas. Gnosticism was finished as far as the Catholic Church was concerned from the responses made to it by St. Irenaeus (Against Heresies) in the late 2nd century. My sources for that are JND Kelly, Jaroslav Pelikan, Phillip Hughes, and the online Catholic Encyclopedia.

“The attempt to picture Gnosticism as a mighty movement of the human mind towards the noblest and highest truth, a movement in some way parallel to that of Christianity, has completely failed. It has been abandoned by recent unprejudiced scholars such as W. Bousset and O. Gruppe….Gnosticism was not an advance, it was a retrogression. It was born amidst the last throes of expiring cults and civilizations in Western Asia and Egypt….During at least two centuries it was a real danger to Christianity, though not so great as some modern writers would make us believe, as if the merest breath might have changed the fortunes of Gnostic, as against orthodox, Christianity….Christianity survived, and not Gnosticism, because the former was the fittest – immeasurably, nay infinitely, so. Gnosticism died not by chance, but because it lacked vital power within itself; and no amount of theosophistic literature, flooding English and German markets, can give life to that which perished from intrinsic and essential defects….Both Hegesippus and Irenaeus proved that Gnostic doctrines did not belong to that deposit of faith which was taught by the true succession of bishops in the primary sees of Christendom; both in triumphant conclusion drew up a list of the Bishops of Rome, from Peter to the Roman bishop of their day; as Gnosticism was not taught by that Church [Rome] with which the Christians everywhere must agree, it stood self-condemned.” (article on Gnosticism)

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06592a.htm

As for the Gospel of Thomas, though probably written about 150 AD, there is no evidence it was ever accepted since it doesn’t appear on any canon lists before 500 AD. The four canonical gospels were written by the end of the first century, accepted by all the orthodox Catholic Bishops and Fathers, and the full 27-book NT canon was acknowledged by the 4th century (Athanasius in easter festal letters, and the Councils of Hippo/Carthage 393/397 AD). The various canon lists of the 4th century do not include the Gospel of Thomas:

Catalogue inserted in codex Claromontanus, 4th century AD
The canon of Cyril of Jerusalem, c. 350
The Cheltenham Canon, c. 360
The canon approved by the Synod of Laodicea, c. 363
The canon approved by the ‘Apostolic’ Canons, c. 385
The canon of Gregory of Nazianzus, c. 329-389
The canon of Amphilochius of Iconium, c. 394
The canon approved by the Third Synod of Carthage, c. 397

http://www.ntcanon.org/lists.shtml

http://www.ntcanon.org/Gospel_of_Thomas.shtml

Phil P

Comment #59709

Posted by k.e. on November 24, 2005 12:21 AM (e)

The CC surgically removed the Gospel of Thomas [My words]the orthodox Catholic Church never accepted [your words] the gnostic texts as heresies according to my sources (a sort of bonfire of the sanities) at the same time as they shut down the Greek pagan schools and ushered in 1000 years of dark ages.
Hi Phil P

Yes OK of course the you state the obvious, IT was good for the CC terrific, a fantastic success 1000 years of Glory - for the CC.

Not much use for western civilization as whole though. Civilization such as medicine, astronomy, chemistry and every other science that threatened the “Word of God” as interpreted by the CC.

The Renaissance produced a wonderful reflowereing of western science and art and was ALMOST stamped out by the “Bonfire of the Vanities” and the “removal of the heresies” of Galileo who it seems asked for the “Noble Truth”(an example would be heaven and hell are states of mind in the here and now-GP2) as you put it to override “The Word of God” as interpreted by by the Bishops.

I rest my case.

Comment #59712

Posted by PhilVaz on November 24, 2005 12:37 AM (e)

Randy: “Oh, and Irenaenus predated the Catholic church by 200 years.”

Sorry you got that wrong. St. Ignatius of Antioch, writing in 110 AD, apparently didn’t know this:

“You must all follow the lead of the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed that of the Father; follow the presbytery as you would the Apostles; reverence the deacons as you would God’s commandment. Let no one do anything touching the Church, apart from the bishop. Let that celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid which is held under the bishop or anyone to whom he has committed it. Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not permitted without authorization from the bishop either to baptize or to hold an agape [love feast or Eucharist]; but whatever he approves is also pleasing to God. Thus everything you do will be proof against danger and valid.” (Letter to the Smyrneans)

St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote several authentic letters on the hierarchical Catholic Church led by bishops, presbyters (priests), deacons.

St. Cyprian of Carthage, writing in 250 AD (50 years after Irenaeus) wrote on “The Unity of the Catholic Church.” Much in there on the primacy of Peter, the settling of the church on the bishops, and the hierarchy and priesthood of the Catholic Church. He is most explicit.

see also on Ignatius of Antioch
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ignatius.html
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07644a.htm

on Cyprian of Carthage
http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num44.htm

and The Church of the early Fathers
http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1996/9606fea1.asp

Anglican canon A.J. Mason on the historicity of Catholicism:

“Here we are well supplied. The testimony is ample, and it is consistent. Whatever variations may be discerned, in accordance with the idiosyncrasies of particular authors, the main outlines of the conception are the SAME. Alike at Rome and at Alexandria, in Africa and in the East, men believed in a great spiritual community, founded by Christ, through His Spirit working in His Apostles, to which all the promises of the Old Testament were attached. This community was necessarily UNIQUE. In it, and in it ALONE, the gifts and graces of the Spirit of Christ were to be looked for. In spite of human imperfections, it was guided and permeated in every part by the Spirit. Nor was this community an intangible thing. It was a reality of experience, embodied in a practical discipline.

“The society was well known and unmistakable. Its doctrine was everywhere the SAME; its worship, with rich diversity of forms, centered around one Eucharistic memorial. It had an ORGANIZED HIERARCHY for worship and for the pastorate of souls. This hierarchy maintained union between the local branches, and did so in the name and by the authority of Christ. However far back the history is traced, no date can be assigned, however roughly, for the appearance of Catholicism in the Church. The Church was Catholic from the outset.” (Anglican canon A.J. Mason, cited in The Church and Infallibility by B.C. Butler)

I realize this isn’t the Catholic Answers boards. Maybe you guys should stick with science.

Phil P

Comment #59716

Posted by k.e. on November 24, 2005 1:47 AM (e)

Phil
I DO accept and commend all efforts to promote a peaceful solution AND from what I see the interfaith dialog and ANY move to a unifying positive religious tolerance of competing doctrine and dogma. As far as I am aware the CC is making very positive moves in that direction.
On your last post.
An argument from authority no matter how convincing does not solve the underlying issue currently facing the CC that of literal Truth causing friction with objective truth as more objective truth is uncovered. By all means move literal Truth and god knows there are thousands of them however.

Until science uncovers and explains the subconscious and finds a cure for its worst excesses; Its interplay with dreams and perceived reality can best be explained by a combination of science and the study of Myth and Mythical Archetypes. How can a new Myth be developed that meets these requirements ?

Back to the Master of Myth: J Campbell (”Myths to Live By” last sentence)


It is - and will forever be, as long as our human race exists- the old, everlasting, perennial mythology, in its “subjective sense”, poetically renewed in terms neither of remembered past nor of a projected future, but of now: addressed, that is to say, not to the flattery of “peoples,” but to the waking of individuals in the knowledge of themselves, not simply as egos fighting for place on the surface of this beautiful planet, but equally as centers of Mind at Large*- each in his own way at one with all and with no horizons

*12th Century “The book of the twenty-four Philosophers”
The Book of 24 Philosophers is a work ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus,
written in Europe around the year 1200. It consists of 24 definitions
of God, the most famous of which is ‘God is an infinite sphere whose
centre is everywhere and whose circumference is no where’, quoted by
Meister Eckhart, Alan of Lille and Thomas Bradwardine, among others. A
critical edition of this text has recently been published:

Comment #59919

Posted by buddha on November 24, 2005 6:58 PM (e)

PhilVaz wrote:

We can infer God from the existence of the universe, but we cannot demonstrate or “prove” God by science.

As I have noted already, the cosmological argument is not a good argument.

However, reason is not limited to science since there are rational philosophical arguments for God.

If you have a deductive argument for the existence of gods then why don’t you share it with us?

Maybe you guys should stick with science.

Maybe you should stick with superstition.

Comment #59978

Posted by Chris Lawson on November 25, 2005 9:12 AM (e)

To PhilVaz:

Thank you for reading Provine’s quote more carefully. However, you still did not address the question of why it is all right for Schonborn (and yourself) to say that you can infer God from the natural sciences, but it is not OK for atheists and materialists to infer a lack of God. Both parties are drawing a philosophical position from natural science. Why is it OK to infer God from Nature, but a terrible trespass on religion’s territory to infer materialism from Nature?

I have nothing against you (or Schonborn) responding to Dawkins’s and Huxley’s arguments, btw, but please discard the argument that only those who infer a beneficent Creator are allowed to draw philosophical or religious statements from science.

Also, I’m sure you didn’t mean it but your post makes it look like I made comments about the Gospel of Thomas. I have not made any contribution to that aspect of the discussion. Much as I find gnostic history fascinating (and wish I knew a lot more), I don’t feel this is the forum.

Comment #59987

Posted by PhilVaz on November 25, 2005 11:14 AM (e)

Chris Lawson: “but it is not OK for atheists and materialists to infer a lack of God.”

I thought I answered this in my first reply to you. I said it is OK, but it is not a scientific argument, it is a philosophical argument. That was Schonborn’s main point in his catechetical lecture.

In my opinion, it is OK for Dawkins, Provine, or whoever to make rational arguments for the non-existence of God from the facts of evolution and the universe as they see them. But those are ultimately philosophical arguments. And it is OK for Schonborn and myself to conclude God exists from the existence of the universe.

I will stick with Catholicism and continue to correct errors on Catholic teaching as I see them in here. buddha, I will not stick with superstition and I don’t need to since I don’t live in the 15th century. buddha can read William Lane Craig and Peter Kreeft and my pages for what I think are good arguments for God, along with my pro-evolution, pro-21st-century science articles. I have no problem with atheists or agnostics per se, nor any problem with evolution. I am the kind of person you want to be friends with in your battle with the ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked (but “I’d rather not consider that”) anti-evolutionists.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/philos.htm
http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/
http://www.peterkreeft.com

Phil P

Comment #59990

Posted by k.e. on November 25, 2005 11:44 AM (e)

Bravo Phil

Well done

What do you think of the Idea of a

Female Gnostic Pope
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/11/clergy_project.html#comment-59962

One tiny little niggle .. I would like to see a lot less reliance on ignorance and a lot more reason from the Top. Do you see what I mean ?

Comment #59991

Posted by k.e. on November 25, 2005 11:46 AM (e)

Phil

You may find this useful.
http://www.multifaithnet.org/images/content/seminarpapers/discussionaboutorallityandliteracy.htm

Comment #60139

Posted by buddha on November 26, 2005 7:50 AM (e)

PhilVaz wrote:

buddha can read William Lane Craig and Peter Kreeft and my pages for what I think are good arguments for God […]

Been there, done that. If you think those are good arguments then I see no point trying to communicate with you. [Shit, Peter Kreeft even offered Pascal’s Wager…]

Comment #60201

Posted by Chris Lawson on November 26, 2005 4:05 PM (e)

To PhilVaz:

“In my opinion, it is OK for Dawkins, Provine, or whoever to make rational arguments for the non-existence of God from the facts of evolution and the universe as they see them. But those are ultimately philosophical arguments. And it is OK for Schonborn and myself to conclude God exists from the existence of the universe.”

I’m glad to hear that, but the reason I took up this argument was your defence of Schonborn attacking these writers for drawing philosophical conclusions from science. If you look at the quotes Schonborn provided, none of them are particularly evangelical. Of the quotes, all of them were saying that science had removed the logical *necessity* for purpose/design. Nobody said that it was wrong to believe in design, just that it was not supported by science. And yet Schonborn (and yourself) clearly feel that this is wrong (which is fine) and that these scientists have violated some sort of ethical pact by making these arguments (which is not fine). That was what I was arguing against. You can’t have it both ways and claim that God can be inferred from the natural sciences *and* say that “I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained. In the citations given above, it is unequivocally the case that such have been violated” (Schonborn quoted by yourself).

You say, “I have no problem with atheists or agnostics per se, nor any problem with evolution. I am the kind of person you want to be friends with in your battle with the ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked (but “I’d rather not consider that”) anti-evolutionists.”

And I say, I would like to have you on side. Clearly you don’t agree with anti-evolutionists, and that’s a good thing, but I don’t want you on-side simply because we have a common enemy. I want you to be genuinely on-side. And I’m afraid that is rather difficult as long as you defend Schonborn. If you want to believe in evolution and the Christian God, that would put you in the company of one of the greatest evolutionary theorists of all time, Theodosius Dobzhansky. But Schonborn is no Dobzhansky. Where Dobzhansky wrote a famous essay against Creationism, Schonborn was put up to write a pro-ID (ie Creationist) article by the Discovery Institute, then made some wishy-washy “clarifications” once it became clear to him that he was out of step with mainstream Catholic thinking. And while you may say, “I have no problem with atheists or agnostics per se, nor any problem with evolution,” this is clearly not Schonborn’s attitude, where any attempt to argue the atheist ot materialist case from nature is “violating borders” while finding God in nature is, well, natural. Defending a belief in God is fine. Defending Schonborn does not put us in the same foxhole.

regards, Chris

Comment #60217

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 26, 2005 5:26 PM (e)

You say, “I have no problem with atheists or agnostics per se, nor any problem with evolution. I am the kind of person you want to be friends with in your battle with the ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked (but “I’d rather not consider that”) anti-evolutionists.”

And I say, I would like to have you on side. Clearly you don’t agree with anti-evolutionists, and that’s a good thing, but I don’t want you on-side simply because we have a common enemy. I want you to be genuinely on-side. And I’m afraid that is rather difficult as long as you defend Schonborn.

Maybe you need to think about what fight, exactly, you are fighting here …. .