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Walking with Cavemen - Evolution

Gregg Bolinger
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In order to participate in this discussion you must abide by the following rules or this thread might be closed:
1. Do not take any statements personally
2. You must conceed that there is no right answer, therefor, everything in here is just your opinion
3. Because of #2 you are not allowed to try and force your opinion on anyone participating in this discussion.

I was watching "Walking with Cavemen" on the Discovery Channel last night. I thought it was a really good program. However, because of my beliefs, I have a hard time with some parts of Evolution.
I believe that things evolve. There is no denying that. The hard part for me is the evolution of ape into man. It kind of ruins my whole Adam and Eve belief structure. Unless they were apes or "primative man".
It is my opinion that it is possible for things to de-evolve. Therefor, would it not be possible that rather than calling them "primative man" those species could be called "advanced ape" and over time the apes started de-evolving in order to take there place in the kingdom?
I would be interested in hearing opinions on this statement, as well as some other non-christian evolution belief structures.
Please keep this nice. I don't want it to close.


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Anonymous
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I'm a Christian and I believe in Evolution. Impossible! - you say. But I read the Bible interpretively. Some have charged that I read it and interpret it as I please, choosing the parts I want to believe in and the parts I don't. But it is my opinion that one cannot literally read the Bible simply because language inherently is flawed by its syntax and structure. Further, langauge is also flawed by its translations. Wasn't the Old Testament originally written in Hebrew? Then it was translated into Latin, Greek, English, Chinese, etc. Meanings and words are lost a thousand times before we read them.
Therefore, the story of Adam and Eve should be read allegorically - not literally.
Another random thought - the Bible is eerily similar to Greek Mythology (and other mythologies that predated the Bible). How can something be taken verbatim when it is, itself, based on another text?
Jason Menard
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Check out this link regarding Adam, Eve, and evolution from a Catholic standpoint.
Basically, there are generally three basic positions towards the origins of man. Special or instantaneous creation holds that man did not develop but was instantaneously created by God. Developmental creation or theistic evolution holds that man did develop from a previous state but that development was under the guidance of God. Atheistic evolution holds that man developed from random forces alone.
The Catholic Church allows that man's body could have evolved from a previous state under God's guidance, theistic evolution, but that the creation of Man's soul is an act of special creation. As such, the soul does not evolve and is not something that is inherited.
That page also has some good references regarding Adam and Eve and the fall of man.. Basically, Adam and Eve are simply the first human couple from which all Man is descended.
On the fall of man, the Catholic Catechism states, "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." In other words, it isn't necessary that events be taken literally.
Equally interesting imho is the part regarding the interaction of science and religion. The gist of it is that the two are by no means mutually exclusive. This can be clairified by accepting that where there is apparent disagreement between the Bible and commonly accepted scientific truths, the Holy Spirit, inspiring the men who wrote the Bible, explained these truths in a somewhat figurative way or in common speech of the time.
The Catechism puts it succinctly: "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 the faith derive from the same God."
Michael Morris
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I was watching "Walking with Cavemen" on the Discovery Channel last night. I thought it was a really good program. However, because of my beliefs, I have a hard time with some parts of Evolution.
I don't know what your beliefs are Gregg and I certainly do not want to offend you in any way so please do not take any. As Jason pointed out we Catholics have no problem accepting the coexistance of evolution and the single act by God that caused Man to become a living soul. When we read in Genensis, "let us create man in our image" we believe that man bears a strong resemblence to God in his soul, not his body as God is pure spirit. We believe the Bible is a book of theology, not a book of science. God chooses to speak to his people in ways they can understand. What was Jesus favorite manner of teaching? Parables, stories that the common man could understand. When one tries to interpret the Bible literally he is confronted with one conundrum after another. Those who are adamant that evolution cannot coexist with faith in an Almighty God are putting God in a virtual box. Assuming that he could not have created the Universe and mankind in any manner which he saw fit. Quoting the Bible "Man's ways are not God's ways and God's ways are not man's ways." We cannot begin to understand God's actions. We Catholics call such things mysteries, like the Trinity, we will never understand these things fully.
It is my opinion that it is possible for things to de-evolve. Therefor, would it not be possible that rather than calling them "primative man" those species could be called "advanced ape" and over time the apes started de-evolving in order to take there place in the kingdom?
I think de-evolution is a possibility, but on a limited basis. After all, all creatures carry millions of recessive genes. If certain conditions exist in nature then those genes can be reactivated to ensure the survival of the species. I recall reading somewhere that we still carry the genes for spontaneous regeneration, like a lizard regrowing a tail. Now that is an obvious advantage to a reptile that had little chance of competing head to head with warm blooded mammals. So he chose to be docile and to give up a tail every once in a while to ensure the survival of his species.
[ June 16, 2003: Message edited by: Michael Morris ]

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Gregg Bolinger
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Ok, so let me state what I think Michael and Jason are possibly eluding to.
In Genesis when Moses writes of how God created Man and Woman or Adam and Eve, what He really did was simply "breathe" life into them or gave man a soul. So men and women existed as Primitive Man but then God gave primative man a soul.
That I can understand. I was raised Baptist so I was always taught to take the Bible literally. My wife is Catholic and sometimes we have discussions about whether or not we believe a lot of the stories in the Bible actually existed or if they are simply "parables" as Michael stated.
I have always believed in theistic evolution as Jason mentioned, I just didn't know the term, except when it came to the creation of Man. An intellegent person cannot dismiss the scientific proof of evolution. It's just hard for me to conceed that I came from an Ape like species.
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It's just hard for me to conceed that I came from an Ape like species.
Gregg. You just violated your own rule of safe participating in this discussion:
1. Do not take any statements personally

Now let's get serious!
What is this "soul" thing that helps Catholics to believe that science and religion do not contradict each other? How do you define "soul"?


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Richard Hawkes
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If Adam and Eve were primitive humans/apes then they must have evolved from that state into what we are now. I don't buy the de-evloving theory. It more likely that a closed evolutionary path would remain as it is or die out. I guess in a million years time we'll know if humans are evolving physically.
If humans didn't evolve, then they must have just popped into existence, sentient and soul bearing, and at a point when advanced apes ceased to exist. Why at that particular time anyway? Why not just give apes sentience and souls?
Another theory: the human soul evolved along with our bodies. The Adam and Eve story is the story of innocent childlike souls transforming into inquisitive, questioning souls capable of believing in something.
For me? I like bananas, that all the proof I need
Anonymous
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"However, because of my beliefs, I have a hard time with some parts of Evolution."
There is no spoon, how, when, why, what - you spend your life asking questions only to end up with no real answers, what is proof after all - a point where the individual meets a state of evidential acceptance in order to appease their own doubt and curiosity.
Because of this, it is you that ask's the qestions and ultimately you that answers them, what you can't answer was not created by you, not a god - just another.
So you see - there's the religeous argument blown to bits, religion teaches us to be obsessed with a single omnipotent being, but in fact there is only us and our collective thoughts and actions are our real "god".
SJ Adnams
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Religion gives people the reassurance that GOD is in everything around us. Those that are not religious have a GOD sized hole in everything around us.
Some people find it difficult to live with GOD sized holes, and become religious. Others learn to live with it and accept that there are people in the world who can't.
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
What is this "soul" thing that helps Catholics to believe that science and religion do not contradict each other? How do you define "soul"?
Your soul is the eternal part of you that will live on after your death.
Answer this question:
Are you a body or do you have a body?


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Cindy Glass
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Well I was raised strict Lutheran and taught creationism. However it never made much sense to me - even if that is the way the Bible describes it.
Evolution on the other hand makes all the sense in the world. I personally have no problem believing that humans evolved from a branch of the primate family. There is less than 1% difference in our DNA from that of a Gorilla anyway.
I figure that God is REALLY smart. Smart enough to be able to forsee the zillion of events that it would take to nuture a species through the changes required to evolve them into something that is capable of containing a "soul". Setting the ball in motion on purpose is equivalent to creating man.
I am ambivalent on whether the soul came along as PART of the evolution (implying that other species besides man might eventually evolve a soul), or whether God took a separate step to provide that piece of the puzzle (doesn't seem to fit the pattern of his observed behavior). If I had a better concept of what a soul actually WAS then I might have a stronger opinion.


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Michael Morris
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I am ambivalent on whether the soul came along as PART of the evolution (implying that other species besides man might eventually evolve a soul), or whether God took a separate step to provide that piece of the puzzle (doesn't seem to fit the pattern of his observed behavior). If I had a better concept of what a soul actually WAS then I might have a stronger opinion.
I think that is exactly what the creation story is all about. God breathing into man the breath of life giving him two natures, physical and spiritual. That act of creation continues with God giving a soul to each conceived human. Only the body is subject to the physical laws of the universe. If any creature could acquire a soul thru evolution then the soul would also be subject to the physical laws and by definition would not be spiritual.
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From Mapraputa
---------------------------------------------
Now let's get serious!
What is this "soul" thing that helps Catholics to believe that science and religion do not contradict each other? How do you define "soul"?
---------------------------------------------
How do you explain the difference between life and death, scientifically? There must be something in a 'living body' that distinguishes it from a 'dead body'. What is it? Religiously, that something is called a soul. Remove the soul and what remains is considered as a dead body. So we can define 'soul' as one of the two components that make up a living being, the other component being the body itself. Good enough ? And that concept of soul is true not only for Catholics but also for most(or all?) other faiths and beliefs.
Also, the body-soul combination is not limited to humans only. Other animals including apes too have souls (because they too live and die). What is the difference between a body of a living ape and a body of a dead ape? It must be the soul. But I fail to explain myself the same concept of body-soul when I think about micro beings like bacteria (do they have soul too?) And how about now-living-now-dead beings like viruses. Viruses are just complex chemicals like proteins that need host cells. So do they kind of borrow the soul from the host temporarily ?


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Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
If Adam and Eve were primitive humans/apes then they must have evolved from that state into what we are now.

If I understand what the point-of-view expressed in the links I gave was, Adam and Eve were not primitive humans/apes (in other words, they weren't a precursor to humans as we are today), they were the first homo sapiens.
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Mumbai cha bhau:
How do you explain the difference between life and death, scientifically? There must be something in a 'living body' that distinguishes it from a 'dead body'. What is it? Religiously, that something is called a soul.

I would disagree on this one. The difference between a living organism and a dead organism is a series of physical/chemical processes. Living organisms are able to carry out these processes, dead organisms are not. The reasons dead organisms cannot carry out these processes are very much physical. For example, your body cannot carry oxygenated blood to tissues and organs that require oxygen if an artery is severed. Something that requires oxygen, such as your brain, will not be able to continute functioning in its absence and death will result.
Now I would agree that bodies that are scientifically considered alive usually house a soul (excepting certain instances where the body is being kept alive by artificial means) whereas dead bodies do not, but I do not personally believe that the presence or the absence of the soul is what defines life itself. Maybe it's a quality required for sentient life though?
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
Maybe it's a quality required for sentient life though?

In my humble opinion, a person without a soul would be indistinguishable from a person with a soul. In other words, a soulless human being would pass the Turing test.
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Your soul is the eternal part of you that will live on after your death.
Doesn't work as a definition. If I do not believe that any part of me will live after my death, your sentence doesn't make sense
Answer this question:
Are you a body or do you have a body?

This is purely linguistical question.Our language is metaphorical, whatever we say is imprecise. We can apply the same logic to a table, for example. Does the table own its "body" or it is its body? If we take physical representation of "table" away, do we still have a table?
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
This is purely linguistical question.Our language is metaphorical, whatever we say is imprecise.

I disagree. The way I understood the question, if I may re-phrase it, was that it was asking "what is the essence of Map". Is the essence of Map simply a body and a host of chemical and physical processes, or is the essence of Map something more than that? Are you merely the sum of your physical parts?
If Map could be cloned, we would have a perfect physical representation of Map. Would that mean that it was also Map? If you hold that a person is merely the sum of their physical parts then you would have to believe that this is essentially true, although naturally the Map clone does not have the same experience as the original Map. But then you might hold that what makes up Map is simply the sum of the physical parts plus experience.
I still can't buy it though. An individual is somehow more than the sum of their physical parts and experience.
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

This is purely linguistical question.Our language is metaphorical, whatever we say is imprecise. We can apply the same logic to a table, for example. Does the table own its "body" or it is its body? If we take physical representation of "table" away, do we still have a table?

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Michael Morris
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Something that no one seems to have hit upon here is how do you explain human intelligence without something more than a physical nature. Certainly there are other primates whose brain size come close to that of humans and most would agree that dolphin brain size rivals that of humans as well. Yet where are their acts of intelligence? If building a society as complex as humankind were only dependent on brain size, surely some other species would have done it by now. Why also is man the only animal that is compelled to worship a higher being? Take a culture's god away and they will invent one. One final question, why is man the only creature that will kill for reasons other than purely instinctive ones? How does a person who claims that a human is physical only explain these apparent anamolies.
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Originally posted by Sriraj Rajaram:

Strike one for the Russian Bride!

Indian H1, it's already 4 years as I am not a Bride. Maybe it's time to stop putting stupid labels on each other? You don't think so?
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Originally posted by Michael Morris:
Certainly there are other primates whose brain size come close to that of humans and most would agree that dolphin brain size rivals that of humans as well. Yet where are their acts of intelligence?

Actually many animals have complex societies. Look at Ant hills. Look at bee hives. It took 10's of thousands of years for man to build a society that spanned more than just one tribe or village.
Then there are the physical limitations. In all posibility dolphins ARE as intelligent as humans. But how do you build a society with out being able to handle materials. How do you gain the mechanisms to acquire knowledge that can be passed from generation to generation and therefore allow for a growth in total knowledge. Folklore only goes so far. Without books to make that happen, humans would still be some variation of cavemen.
So it takes a combination of intelligence, physical capability, and social tendancies for the whole thing to build up to what humans have today.
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

Indian H1, it's already 4 years as I am not a Bride. Maybe it's time to stop putting stupid labels on each other? You don't think so?

Strike 2 for the woman!!!
Paul McKenna
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Umm.. wondering if a software could have soul??? Ummm...
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JM: I still can't buy it though. An individual is somehow more than the sum of their physical parts and experience.
But this can be said about all levels of organization. Chemistry cannot be reduced to physics, biology cannot be reduced to chemistry and psychology cannot be explained from chemical reactions. As soon as we have enough first-order phenomena, a higher order phenomenon emerges.
But to say that human "soul" (whatever it is) is "the eternal part of you that will live on after your death" is like to say that the essence of table, let's call it "tableness" or, better yet, "table's soul" will be with us forever, even after poor table is burned.
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An Interesting thought:
I was watching CNN sometime back and two people were debating over a similar concept. One person said that if all of human life was wiped out on earth all other life would flourish, as a retort the other person said that such a flourishing life would be nothing more random acts of violence amongst other species combined with random acts of mating.
Does this prove that it is the human "soul" that allows Mankind to transcend beyond the natural animal instincts of violence and mating???
Jason Menard
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I'm losing my grip on your analogy Map. A table, as we all know, is an inanimate object, and does not have a soul, or any other characteristics which we could define as human (well, it has legs, and I have known humans that were about as interesting as tables, but I digress...).
The religious argument is that humans are created in the image of God, and that which is in the image of God is Man's soul. As God is eternal, so is the soul. Or something like that anyway. I'm not a theologian, but I don't think this precludes animals from having souls, simply that their souls are not made in the image of God (but somebody please correct me on this).
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Sriraj Rajaram:
Does this prove that it is the human "soul" that allows Mankind to transcend beyond the natural animal instincts of violence and mating???

It is our frontal lobe (unique to humans) which allows us to transcend these instincts. It allows for abstract thinking (evaluation of possibilities, predictive choice making, conscious suppression of natural instincts, etc...), which is pretty much the key to our success as a species. This frontal lobe development was absent in the other human-like species along the evolutionary chain.
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

It is our frontal lobe (unique to humans) which allows us to transcend these instincts. It allows for abstract thinking (evaluation of possibilities, predictive choice making, conscious suppression of natural instincts, etc...),

Which then brings us back to square one! It isnt the soul that distinguishes us from other species, it is the frontal lobe. Now, the question remains whether the frontal lobe was provided to man as a gift of god or whether it took place as a normal act of evolution. I'm inclined to agree with the latter.
Michael Morris
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Originally posted by Cindy Glass:

Actually many animals have complex societies. Look at Ant hills. Look at bee hives. It took 10's of thousands of years for man to build a society that spanned more than just one tribe or village.
Then there are the physical limitations. In all posibility dolphins ARE as intelligent as humans. But how do you build a society with out being able to handle materials. How do you gain the mechanisms to acquire knowledge that can be passed from generation to generation and therefore allow for a growth in total knowledge. Folklore only goes so far. Without books to make that happen, humans would still be some variation of cavemen.
So it takes a combination of intelligence, physical capability, and social tendancies for the whole thing to build up to what humans have today.

The animal societies you mentioned are based solely on instinct. Those animals are prewired to do exactly those things because they have evolved to do just that. Man, on the other hand, can choose to deny instinct. If you take an animal and mistreat it and not provide food until it becomes very hungry will immediately take any food you give it. Man, many times under such conditions will choose not to take the food from his tormentor, thus denying the physical instinct to survive. Many humans have chosen to lead a completely ascetic life denying their physical urges as much as possible. What animal does that? I would argue that Man's ability to reason has nothing to do with knowledge. Certainly knowledge will enhance the ability to reason but you are born with the gift of rational thought.
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Which then brings us back to square one! It isnt the soul that distinguishes us from other species, it is the frontal lobe. Now, the question remains whether the frontal lobe was provided to man as a gift of god or whether it took place as a normal act of evolution. I'm inclined to agree with the latter.
Plenty of physical things separate us from animals, but these say nothing for or against the existance of the soul one way or the other. One of these differnces is the frontal lobe, which allows certain patterns of thought. The fact that we walk upright on two legs is also of great importance, and there are no other animals who spend as much time doing so, but this is just another physical difference.
[ June 17, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
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Originally posted by Sriraj Rajaram:
Umm.. wondering if a software could have soul??? Ummm...

Christians!
Catholics! Baptists! Lutherans!
Save this lost soul, send him a copy of GEB book!
frank davis
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Originally posted by Sriraj Rajaram:

Which then brings us back to square one! It isnt the soul that distinguishes us from other species, it is the frontal lobe. Now, the question remains whether the frontal lobe was provided to man as a gift of god or whether it took place as a normal act of evolution. I'm inclined to agree with the latter.

Its certainly possible to describe human behavior and physiology in purely materialistic terms. You can point to almost any behavior or anatomical feature and explain it by the latest evolutionary (socio-biology) theory. But does every piece of the human puzzle fit neatly together ? Yes, it all does fit nice and neatly if you disregard a few stray pieces of the puzzle that you then relegate to the corner and ignore.
The experiments of Rhine I thought strongly showed the existence of ESP through statistical means. Other phenomena throughout history have suggested possiblity of reincarnation and survival after death. There's a whole bunch of things out there that don't fit nicely into a purely materialistic framework.
But in another sense its good that such things are ignored since they could lead to ignorant superstition and undermine the science and ability to reason that has taken thousands of years for mankind to develop and which is still rare in some parts of the world.
Richard Hawkes
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Originally posted by Michael Morris:
One final question, why is man the only creature that will kill for reasons other than purely instinctive ones?
I watched a documentary about a chimpanzee group that showed what seemed like a planned act of violence against an infant chimp that was politically motivated. Two adult chimps stole the baby of one of the mothers killed it then partially ate it then discarded the body. This act had nothing to do with hunger but with authority, revenge and punishment (against the mother we think), and was planned. It was quite shocking to watch and the researchers had never witnessed or heard of this behaviour before. Maybe the researchers were applying human meanings to these acts, but maybe not. It shows the potential for non-instinctive behaviour.
Plenty of animals have distinct personalities and humans today still act on instincts. It seems to me the differences are largely a question of the relative sophistication of the brain; the boundary between humanity and other mammals is not clear cut, though the difference seems huge in terms of intelligence. There is no evidence to suggest that chimpanzee brains cannot become more sophisticated through evolution. Only time will tell.
"Soul" is a useful concept for describing us-ness, and I do believe that a human is more than the sum of its parts. But this doesn't have to be because of supernatural sentience or soul. Experience through living combined with minor differences in physical make-up could achieve this I think. Why not?
Why is it that a person's personality can change due to chemical imbalances in the brain (through pathology or otherwise, temporarily and permanently)? If the host body can effect the personality of the person/soul (and therefore its choices in the world), where does that leave the soul after the body dies? Is the afterlife-soul the product of external forces (social and chemical) during its life on Earth?
I can't really say what sentience or consciousness is beyond the fact that I'm aware of my existence. One interesting theory I read some time ago claimed that (very simply put) sentience was essentially the brain communicating with itself, between left and right sides. It is this process which creates the amazing abilities we have to suddenly "have an idea"; where do hypotheses really come from for instance? (must find the article it was quite interesting!)
Maybe its the fact that humans are capable of inspiration (combined with or because of superior intelligence) that makes us so special, nothing more. Perhaps it is our gods that are the result of this inspiration? I wouldn't say that worshipping a supreme being is instinctive; some people may feel the need to but its certainly not something that all humans need (though societies have found it useful). Its entirely possible that God exists purely because we're capable of questioning the whys of our existence. Personally I believe God is created in the image of Man.
Richard Hawkes
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
But in another sense its good that such things are ignored since they could lead to ignorant superstition and undermine the science and ability to reason
I suspect that they're largely ignored because they don't sit happily with the conventional thoughts of the main religions and athiests alike.
However they shouldn't be ignored IMO. Science, philosophy, theology and art are all products of the creative power of humanity and should be applied to further our understanding of all aspects of the universe.
Just wondering - can anyone imagine the consequences for western society if one could prove beyond all doubt the existence of life after death?
Paul McKenna
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Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
Personally I believe God is created in the image of Man.

Now I know why you're my favourite Brit!
God doesnt exist for any other species on this planet, yet the Human species and its existence is so intertwined with this entity (Or so we like to believe..)
Richard's statement makes a lot of sense to me. It was the human mind that created the innumerable images of God, it is the Human mind that debates and disputes over the acts and wishes of God.. therefore the human mind is God!
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JM: I'm losing my grip on your analogy Map. A table, as we all know, is an inanimate object, and does not have a soul, or any other characteristics which we could define as human (well, it has legs, and I have known humans that were about as interesting as tables, but I digress...).

I was trying to imply that your argument "An individual is somehow more than the sum of their physical parts and experience" can be applied to just about anything. A table is also more than a sum of atoms, I do not see a principal difference between the essence of Map and the essence of a table. Um, rather than Map is probably a phenomenon of higher order than a table. In other words, both a table and a soul are natural phenomena.
I read a good analogy somewhere, neither a plane nor plane fuel can fly by themselves, but their combination acquires a new quality -- it can fly. When we are talking about an eternal soul that can exist separately from body, it's no better for me than to say that there is some supernatural eternal matter in a plane, that allows it to fly.
The religious argument is that humans are created in the image of God, and that which is in the image of God is Man's soul. As God is eternal, so is the soul.
One of Russian dissidents once said that his disagreement with the government is purely aesthetical. That's the deepest account of anti-communism I ever read. I guess, my disagreement with the religious argument is also purely aesthetical -- the idea of God, that he created us in his image, and now watching each and every our movement to be able to sum up our morale balance at the end, this just isn't beautiful. There is beauty in every science and I couldn't find anything that would match this beauty in religious texts, which I admittedly never studied in proper depth.
frank davis
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Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
[b]I guess, my disagreement with the religious argument is also purely aesthetical -- the idea of God, that he created us in his image, and now watching each and every our movement to be able to sum up our morale balance at the end, this just isn't beautiful. There is beauty in every science and I couldn't find anything that would match this beauty in religious texts, which I admittedly never studied in proper depth.

The concept of karma, action and re-action, or even as the Buddha states it in some translations, the law of cause and effect is more mechanical and perhaps more to your taste than the idea of some Being summing up your 'moral balance'. There are thousands of religions, look hard enough and you'll find one to fit your tastes - thats why there are thousands of them.
frank davis
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Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Just wondering - can anyone imagine the consequences for western society if one could prove beyond all doubt the existence of life after death?

Some accounts of the Near Death Experiences (NDE) have people remembering conversations of other people who were not in the room where they were 'dead'. If true, the implications of such events blows away many common assumptions on which we live and base our lives - materialism, consumerism, possible future lives, etc
Anectdotal evidence, without any controls, is a bad thing to base anything on, but as the numbers of such events grow they warrant consideration by thoughtful people (but be mindfull that a whole lot of bad evidence doesn't equal good evidence).
There was another book I read about 25 years ago called 20 Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation by Stevenson. Perhaps best to read this with a copy of Skeptic's Society journal around. Usually these topics are covered with sensationalism and without scientific controls or in-depth investigation. For a simple example, many times investigators will ask leading questions prompting the interviewee to respond in certain ways, and in other cases, all other possible alternatives are not vigorously pursued. Still, questions remain...
Nirvan Sagar
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Joined: May 01, 2003
Posts: 26
Though it may seem to some that the past has answers to our origins , the reason to exist and our place in the Universe . I say look ahead.
What if I one day we stumble across life outside our planet , what would that mean ?.. that we arent special.
And then we ventured further more and we saw civilizations evolved to their peak and just vanished , what would that mean ? .. that like them we are expendable.
Religion does not answer them , religion makes us look special that we are Gods dear darlings , but then are we ?
Look around .. God created us in his image and we create Robots in our image .. . Its only a matter of years that we witness the birth of AI. Truly they will make us redundant and imagine they compute away to discover God , where does that leave us in the equation ..a tool?
 
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subject: Walking with Cavemen - Evolution