Theistic Evolution

The theory that some all powerful deity created everything and put the laws of evolution and physics in place to create and maintain the world we see all around us. A form of creationism (IMHO), but without all of the bible, quaran, <insert holy book name here> stuff.

What do you think? A valid theory or a lazy way of trying to "explain" our existence?
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Anthony RussoCommented:
This is pretty much what many of the creationists have transformed their Intelligent Design argument into. They realize it is ridiculous to deny evolution since the evidence is everywhere so they maintain that the start of life had to be from a creator and then the evolution happened after that. There is absolutely nothing to back this up of course outside of the Bible (or whatever holy book).
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Paul SauvéRetiredCommented:
These beliefs come from the Old Testament of the Bible, and are generally accepted by followers of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

The Old Testament is based on the oral tradition of the people from what we now call the Middle East.

These beliefs in creationism were held until relatively recently, in fact up to the time that Charles Darwin formulated a scientific argument for the theory of evolution by means of natural selection...

However, Darwin was not the first to write about evolution: History of Evolutionary Theory | Infoplease.com
Evolutionary concepts appeared in some early Greek writings, e.g., in the works of Thales, Empedocles, Anaximander, and Aristotle. Under the restraining influence of the Church, no evolutionary theories developed during some 15 centuries of the Christian era to challenge the belief in special creation and the literal interpretation of the first part of Genesis; however, much data was accumulated that was to be utilized by later theorists.
We can find many references to these works by searching the Internet.

Then the arguments started... and they are still going on today!
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I think it is just another way for certain kinds of people to attract attention to themselves so they can create a 'following' that will give them money and support them.
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tliottaCommented:
I can't find a point in any Creationist belief, but one that posits evolution as a natural consequence of 'creation' has always seemed much more palatable.

In Creationism, there is the thought that things as complex as we are couldn't possibly happen naturally. Yet, there is the required parallel belief that a far more complex being, 'the Creator', has to exist without a similar required creation. The second belief necessarily makes the first one moot. I can't see how anyone can reconcile the two with a straight face.

Tom
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PaulHewsCommented:
I don't think it's necessarily one or the other: neither valid, nor lazy.  It's the last gap in which God may hide.

We can't see back before the big bang, before space, time and all matter came into being.  This provides a pretty big gap to hide your deity.  Of course this presupposes a deity.  

The one argument that is usually used to support this is that there are a number of physical constants, which must have been fine tuned to support life.  If you read that article, you'll see that the issue may not be as simple as that.

For me, if there was such a thing as a caring personal god, with whom we could communicate telepathically, we would be more aware of it.  The evidence indicates that the universe looks just like it would if it formed from natural causes.  So why presuppose a deity?
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viki2000Commented:
How would respond to Ray Comfort's questions below about evolution?:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3-2CGOMQ
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Other than the fact that Ray Comfort is a quack...  I watched the first 4 minutes (you didn't think I'd watch all that crap did you?) and it got to the point where the denial of science started.  Actually, you don't have to go back millions of years.  There are food plants that have 'evolved' in the last 100 years (though I just saw the program on PBS, I don't remember the exact details).

And What is Evolution?  It is nothing more than the fact that natural things change and some survive better than others.  Long term change can be because radiation changes the DNA of a cell or two so that it starts to act differently.  

Natural Selection is more about what got 'selected' for dinner than about being 'better' so you survived.  And there are examples within our lifetimes about places where the climate has changed because of an event like a volcano covering the landscape where the life that was there before can no longer live there.  That kind of change is also part of evolution.

Evolution is not a belief but a name given to the observation of the facts of the changes in natural living things.  I suppose it could be a 'belief' in that you believe that these well documented changes have happened.
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PaulHewsCommented:
Ray Comfort is the perfect example of the obstinate "scientific" creationist.  He continues to promote pseudo-scientific ideas that have been disproved ages ago.  In some cases he's interacted with people who have demonstrated the falsity of his statements right to his face.  Yet the next week, he'll say the exact same thing, without changes.

Comfort asks: "Give me one observable piece of evidence for Darwinian evolution."

Well there's a ton of evidence:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

But this kind of evidence is not the kind that Comfort wants.  He wants to see crocodiles changing into ducks.  So by Comfort's standard for evidence, all the DNA analysis, all the inspection of the fossil record, all the classification of morphology and all the study on speciation is good for nothing.  According to him, all this we have to take on "faith" because we haven't observed it happening in front of our eyes.

The trouble is that this is not how science works.  We use logic and a framework of tests and theory to explain how something happened in the past or describe something that is not directly observable. There is so much evidence for common descent and macroevolution that scientists describe it as a fact as well as a theory.
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Paul SauvéRetiredCommented:
@viki2000

>>How would respond to Ray Comfort's questions below about evolution?

Well Mme. Vicki, this is my point of view, not Ray Comfort's. (Well, you didn't really tell us what YOU have faith in, other than Ray Comfort!)

Yes - but unless you 'have faith' in science, none of the theory of evolution (emphasis on theory) does NOT make any sense:

  - Charles Darwin theory of evolution timeline
  -  Theory of Evolution Timeline

Nor, for that matter, studies on Geologic and Biological Timeline of the Earth...

However, I'm a scientist (Chemistry and IT). I have faith in what I managed to accomplish at university - my ability to learn and discern. I also have faith in those people who came before me. And most of those who came before me also had faith in God!

So I don't really see any problem or contradiction with faith in God, belief in the Old Testament and faith in science and scientists.

So I guess I'm NOT like you - I believe science and not Ray Comfort.
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PaulHewsCommented:
paulsauve,

I guess I shy away from the word faith, if only because people like Ray Comfort use it to make it seem as if science and religion are exactly the same.  

I mean sure your peer reviewers have “faith in science,” but if you attempt to publish your conclusion without any evidence or data, you might find out how quickly they become “doubting Thomases.”
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viki2000Commented:
For sure I am not up to date with all scientific discoveries, that's why I ask, are any results showing how the smallest entity of life (a cell) is made in the lab from dead matter (only substances)? Can we do that now?
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
They have been able to create simple RNA/DNA in the lab with nothing more than heat and electricity for a long time.  The theory is that lightning and the high temperatures of earth at it's formation created a lot of such things and some came together and became living things.  It likely took a long time and there a lot more things that did not work than did.
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viki2000Commented:
Do you have a link where I can read about that research with RNA/DNA creation in the lab?
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viki2000Commented:
Some years ago I watched a documentary named "Unlocking the Mystery of Life"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWvS1UfXl8k
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
This search will bring up a lot of info about it:  https://www.google.com/search?q=RNA%2FDNA+creation+in+the+lab
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hdhondtCommented:
Getting back to the original question, I do not think that the idea of the universe being created with all its laws ready to go is silly. Even science cannot reject it at this point. In fact, scientists are already thinking that we may be able to create a Big Bang one day. It's only a matter of squeezing a vacuum in the correct way. If we do that, are we then "god" to the new universe?

Here's where science differs from creationism: science never stops asking questions. We're pretty sure the Big Bang happened, so we're already asking what came "before". With creationism, when you get to the point where you no longer believe what your senses are telling you, you claim that "god did it". That is where you (are required to) stop asking questions. You are not allowed to ask "where did god come from", you have to put a limit on your knowledge. You have to stop thinking and just "believe". I'm sorry but, if god did create us with an intelligent mind, I expect to use it without people telling me when to stop thinking.

are any results showing how the smallest entity of life (a cell) is made in the lab from dead matter
We cannot quite do that yet, but we have already made cells with synthetic DNA, and we are getting close to the point where we can build some form of RNA that reproduces itself.

Of course, creationists will never be happy until we can show them every step from simple chemicals to a real cell. That will never happen, just as we cannot show every step from fish to mammal, or any other evolutionary sequence. If we cannot show you a fossil halfway between fish and amphibian, you ask for a missing link. If we do find that fossil, you claim there are now 2 missing links: one between fish and intermediate, the other between intermediate and amphibian.

I should also point out another creationist red herring: the theory of evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. Evolution only details how life evolves, once it exists.

Again, you could claim that god created the first life, 4 billion years ago. Alternatively, you could go along with Fred Hoyle, and claim that the earth was seeded with life from interstellar space. Scientists do not accept either of those hypotheses as yet. We're too close to creating life ourselves to accept a god, and Hoyle's idea (for which there is no evidence anyway) simply puts the origin of life back further into the past.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Most scientists are not looking for 'creation' but for evidence and information on the things that have happened.  But then, that's what science does.
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hdhondtCommented:
@Dave

I agree with you - that's why I said science does not stop asking questions.

But, until we know why the Big Bang happened, it is a possibility. The same is true for the origin of life. It's not what I think, but it is possible - in the same way that Newton can be excused for being a firm believer in the historical truth of the bible. Of course, if you do believe that way then, like Newton, you may eventually be proven wrong.
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viki2000Commented:
Before the alleged Big Bang the known laws of physics are not valid anymore.
Then what do you expect to know about what was before?
I quote Stephen Hawking about such singularity:
http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html

"
At this time, the Big Bang, all the matter in the universe, would have been on top of itself. The density would have been infinite. It would have been what is called, a singularity. At a singularity, all the laws of physics would have broken down. This means that the state of the universe, after the Big Bang, will not depend on anything that may have happened before, because the deterministic laws that govern the universe will break down in the Big Bang. The universe will evolve from the Big Bang, completely independently of what it was like before. Even the amount of matter in the universe, can be different to what it was before the Big Bang, as the Law of Conservation of Matter, will break down at the Big Bang.
"
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
It is already known that "the known laws of physics are not valid" in extreme situations.  The "the known laws of physics" have been created by people from the situations that they can observe and measure.  Really extreme situations like the inside of black holes can't be directly observed and measured so science has concluded by remote observation that "the known laws of physics are not valid" inside black holes.  The theory that I read is that the density of matter is so great that even atoms and electrons break down.  Our 'laws of physics' are based on 'normal matter'.  And they are not really 'laws' but theories that have been verified for our 'normal circumstances' over and over again.

And that is the difference between Newton's theories and Einstein's.  For short to moderate distances, both theories come with essentially the same answer.  At extreme distances, Einstein's theories provide better answers.  And yes, they have been tested.
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hdhondtCommented:
The density would have been infinite.
It's highly unlikely this would happen. It's more likely that, before that happens, new laws will come into effect. However, some physicists can accept the infinities, and they may be right. At this stage we're only guessing - in scientific terms: we're generating hypotheses.

We know that General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are incompatible with each other at very small distances - like in the Big Bang, or in a black hole. For decades scientists have been working on ideas to merge GR and QM. Examples are String Theory and Loop Quantum Gravity. None of these have yet to emerge as a likely contender but they do take care of the infinities. String Theory should really be called the "String Hypothesis" as it would require a lot more validation before it can become a theory.

If the density at the Big Bang really was infinite, then we would be unable to talk about "before", but if the density was limited to some extremely high but finite value, we may one day be able to talk sense about this. You could read "A Universe from Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss'.
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viki2000Commented:
If we translate the above comments in the view of the posed question, then it would be as: the created beings cannot know how the reality was before creation; cannot know how the Creator was/is unless is not revealed.

The theistic evolution is not a new idea. It has adepts and raises a lot of questions.
First, many of the existing religions have to be “abolished”. They just don’t match with this idea.

When such hypothesis of theistic evolution is considered, then a new religion appears and we have to answer some questions:
- At what stage the creature was made? Starting with what point evolved? Does the creature evolved alone or with help from Creator? Do we still evolve now? Is the Creator still present? Interacts or only observe? What would the purpose of such creation?
- How is that Creator? How can we describe the Creator? Can be known? Along history, is any story, legend, belief about such Creator, except the philosophical concept? In other words, what may sustain such view beside the proposed view over God, creation, universe, world?
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I never even try to answer any of those questions or even think about them.  They are meaningless.  To me, the only possible "Creator" is some creature who is still laughing about us trying to figure everything out.
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viki2000Commented:
A creature who is able to produce life, no matter at what stage, is intelligent.
Why such creature should laugh about us?
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hdhondtCommented:
It has adepts and raises a lot of questions. First, many of the existing religions have to be “abolished”. They just don’t match with this idea.
Fundamentalist, young earth creationists (christian, muslim, jew?) may not accept theistic evolution, but lots of others do. That includes most catholics and anglicans.

And, I'm intelligent (I think) and I do laugh at lots of things - including many things I've done. So why wouldn't a creator? If we can create another Big Bang, we'll be creators too. I hope we still have a sense of humour when we do!
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viki2000Commented:
"Fundamentalist, young earth creationists (christian, muslim, jew?) may not accept theistic evolution, but lots of others do. That includes most catholics and anglicans."

Lots of other maybe, but I doubt of catholics and anglicans. Here we refer to doctrine not at what each individual believe and is only registered as catholic and anglican to a church somewhere.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglicanism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholicism

When you say evolution, any Christian with theistic evolution belief will consider that man of was made by God, at least at the stage mentioned by Darwinist evolution as Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon or whatever similar, a man who looks as we do today.

Tell me one Christians denomination or Judeo-Christian religion which consider the Creator made one species and from that form of life evolved all others including human beings.
And by the way, what religion do you know to promote that view?
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hdhondtCommented:
Catholics do not doubt evolution (even the pope has admitted that), but they feel that god started it all (with the Big Bang). They accept the reality of evolution - perhaps they learned from the Galileo debacle? They also insist that god intervened in human evolution, to give us a soul.
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viki2000Commented:
I was ready to say:
"I hope you don't speak about a popular belief among some catholics.
Could you point to the catholic doctrine which sustain your point of view?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVWLwjpJxNs"

but I was surprised to find additional info about official statements, which is as you pointed indeed, but only up to a certain point:

http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=18524
http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/vaticanview.html
http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/preview.aspx?id=236
http://www.stjameshopewell.org/questions/question_evolution.html
http://www.catholic.com/tracts/adam-eve-and-evolution

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution 

"Concerning biological evolution, the Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God, and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to him.

Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. Pope Pius XII declared that "the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God" (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are. "
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viki2000Commented:
Well Big_Daddy,

you found it: is Catholicism.
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PaulHewsCommented:
viki2000,

I can tell you that moderate Christians of other denominations certainly believe in common descent with theistic evolution, with the proviso of souls being given at some stage of evolution.  It is generally understood among members of these groups, that Genesis is allegorical.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acceptance_of_evolution_by_religious_groups
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Anthony RussoCommented:
"So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are."

So since science today disproves what the bible has said about Adam and Eve we will ignore that part but cling to this other part about the soul. This way we can still say what happens in the bible is right even though it is blatantly wrong over and over again in regards to the physical world.

This reminds me of the Amish and the Mennonites. When I first heard of the Mennonites, it sounded like the best gimmick in the world for them.

"Hey. We're Amish and all that but not using electricity and driving in buggies instead of cars is archaic and a backwards way to live today so now we are going to create an offshoot that is allowed to do those things."

Religion is apparently stone solid doctrine until it becomes too inconvenient to prove it's truth, or too inconvenient to follow it's rules. Then they just decide to change it.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Why such creature should laugh about us?
Because many of the things that 'we' say are not intelligent.  In fact so far from it as to be ridiculous.
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Author Commented:
Well Big_Daddy,

you found it: is Catholicism


cool, we managed to solve one of life's grand mysteries within a few days of discussion!


Catholics do not doubt evolution (even the pope has admitted that), but they feel that god started it all (with the Big Bang). They accept the reality of evolution........

at this point in time of mankinds existence, do you all think this is a reasonable approach to take? forget about what "religion" you believe in, and forget the part of soul creation, can this explanation have any validity to it?

we can't say for certain if the Big Bang actually happened (although it's looking like the best theory right now, so let's use it for now), and we definitely can't say whether or not anything existed before it, but based upon our knowledge, it seems almost logical (to me at least) that there COULD have been existence before it.

Another theory I've read about is the cyclic model:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model

this theorizes that there have been in infinite amount of big bangs and big crunches (collapses of the universe). but wouldn't something like this to have been "started" somewhere?
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Paul SauvéRetiredCommented:
>>Do you have a link where I can read about that research with RNA/DNA creation in the lab? (viki2000 - ID: 39531480)

Just happened upon this today: September 30, 2013 - UW engineers invent programming language to build synthetic DNA
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tliottaCommented:
A couple small bits before getting back to the question:

Yet the next week, he'll say the exact same thing, without changes.

I wish I could take credit for the following quote, but I ran across it years ago and never forgot it.
You can't reason a man out of a position he didn't reason himself into.
Next:
...are any results showing how the smallest entity of life (a cell) is made in the lab from dead matter (only substances)?

Since that's not within the scope of evolutionary theory, it's irrelevant to this discussion. It is, however, a great example of a side issue that's brought up to confuse the question. It's been pointed out over and over and over that it should be covered separately, yet that admonition is constantly ignored. The fact that it gets ignored might be an example why some shouldn't take positions in debates about the underlying science. It demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of 'science'.

The theory of evolution is not about the origin of life. It is about differentiation of life. It addresses how and why living things change over time. It doesn't say anything about how life gets started nor even if the origin of life is within the scope of science at all. Darwin's big work was 'On the Origin of Species [by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life]', not 'On the Origin of Life'.

There is a huge difference between those two subjects. It's maybe like the difference between the inventive work that resulted in the very first "horseless carriage" and the subsequent marketing forces that gave rise to all of the different automobile manufacturers since then. The original early inventive processes are not the same as the later business processes. They are covered under two different areas of human behavior

Now...

forget about what "religion" you believe in, and forget the part of soul creation, can this explanation have any validity to it?

Yes.

And it's "yes" whether the 'soul creation' is part of it or not. But the question is incomplete.

To become more complete for this question thread, the question might explicitly ask about "scientific validity". That puts a scope around it that helps guide discussion. In particular, it essentially excludes anything that is untestable. If some proposed hypothesis includes elements that cannot be tested, then it cannot be part of 'science'. It can be "reasonable", but that's not synonymous with "scientific". There are congruences between those, but not equivalence.

So, the approach can easily be "reasonable". It just isn't "scientific" because 'science' has specific constraints that limits which "reasonable" propositions can be included. 'Science' is a restricted subset of 'reason'. There are no known possible tests for 'creation' nor 'creator'. Therefore, it falls outside of 'science' for now. It just doesn't fall outside of 'reason'.

Tom
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viki2000Commented:
@ The_Big_Daddy

„Catholics do not doubt evolution (even the pope has admitted that), but they feel that god started it all (with the Big Bang). They accept the reality of evolution........
at this point in time of mankinds existence, do you all think this is a reasonable approach to take?“


Not at all. When I have time, maybe over the weekend I can tell why I consider the Catholics latest doctrine wrong.

“it seems almost logical (to me at least) that there COULD have been existence before it.
Another theory I've read about is the cyclic model:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model
this theorizes that there have been in infinite amount of big bangs and big crunches (collapses of the universe). but wouldn't something like this to have been "started" somewhere?”

The cyclic model is not only since 1930 when Einstein mentioned it. Is far way older than that. Is thousands of years old.
Is presented in Hinduism with their 3 gods: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver and Shiva the destroyer or transformer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trimurti 
And the existence before universe/world is created/manifested is considered to be pure consciousness.
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hdhondtCommented:
Not at all. When I have time, maybe over the weekend I can tell why I consider the Catholics latest doctrine wrong.

Well, the catholics got their face rubbed into reality with Galileo, and they've learnt from it (rather slowly). Or are you trying to tell us that not only is evolution wrong, and the Big Bang never happened, but also that the earth is flat and the sun and stars travel around it in 24 hours?
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viki2000Commented:
Let's not dream as Alice in Wonderland.
Some years ago, these 2 guys, Richards/Gonzalez,  made an interesting hypothesis: "that the Earth was designed to both sustain complex life and enable scientific discovery." in the documentary "Privileged Planet":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnWyPIzTOTw
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Author Commented:
To become more complete for this question thread, the question might explicitly ask about "scientific validity". That puts a scope around it that helps guide discussion. In particular, it essentially excludes anything that is untestable. If some proposed hypothesis includes elements that cannot be tested, then it cannot be part of 'science'. It can be "reasonable", but that's not synonymous with "scientific". There are congruences between those, but not equivalence.

I specifically did not narrow it down to relate it to science, because our knowledge of science is not infinite, there is so much out there we do not know. i'm not looking for any kind of proof one way or another, no one here can make that claim. i'm asking if it's REASONABLE to at the very least consider non-scientific ideas, such as some all powerful creator that caused the big bang, and also putting the laws of science in place for us to observe

@viki2000

interesting, I'll have to read up on that more, thanks for the link :)
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viki2000Commented:
@paulsauve ID: 39538366

I guess that program and a real machine to generate synthetic DNA together with 3D printers for organs ([http://www.ted.com/talks/anthony_atala_printing_a_human_kidney.html )
will be a great help in medicine to repair/replace damaged tissues and/or organs.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I'm pretty much of the opinion that if it is non-scientific, it is not "reasonable", it's opinion and conjecture.  To me science and reason are both based on the concepts of logic and evidence that can be followed and checked by others.
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PaulHewsCommented:
viki2000,
Some years ago, these 2 guys, Richards/Gonzalez,  made an interesting hypothesis: "that the Earth was designed to both sustain complex life and enable scientific discovery." in the documentary "Privileged Planet"

A lot of things went right on earth for complex life to evolve.

This I will take as a given.  

We are still working out the details of the rarity of earth sized planets in the goldilocks zone.  The best guess currently, based on Kepler telescope data, is that planets very similar to earth in size and location relative to the star are only found on about 1.4 to 2.7% of all Sol-like stars.  So there should be 2 billion in our galaxy alone.

When you factor in that there are 100-200 billion galaxies, the law of large numbers starts to make what seems improbable to be either probable or at least not impossible, because the only one we know about is ours.  If we are the one planet out of trillions that supports life, then to our eyes it is logical that life appears improbable and that our planet appears to be very privileged.  

This also does not factor in how much we don't know about our solar system, whether other kinds of life forms exist than what we have on earth, whether other types of planets could support them, (like gas giants, which seem to be more common), etc.

I don't find probabilistic assertions for intelligent design convincing.  

First, there are so many factors, with so little hard data, that I think it is vastly more likely that most of these calculations have serious flaws than it is likely that life evolved as a cosmically improbable lottery winner.

Also, even if something is unlikely, once we know that it is a reality, we have to find the most likely explanation.  We can't just say "well this is unlikely, so god" because this doesn't really indicate how god, as an explanation, is more likely than a naturalistic explanation, especially if the only evidence for god is the low probability of occurrence of the phenomenon, and no evidence for any other supernatural process exists.  

By my calculations, the probability of god is 1/10^94 which is smaller than the probability that a tornado could sweep through a hospital and assemble Fred Hoyle.
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viki2000Commented:
In terms of such estimation, as far I know, all we have is the Drake equation, which gives no reliable results:
http://www.seti.org/drakeequation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation
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viki2000Commented:
@tliotta
"The theory of evolution is not about the origin of life. It is about differentiation of life."

For me makes sense such statement. I have a question related with it. Maybe was addressed before, but I don't remember some satisfactory answers.

When we speak about theory of evolution and we look at the present species on earth, why we don't see now also the intermediary species, mutations between main present species?
Or is everything hidden in that nice cocoon of  "many many intermediary species" during "many many years"?
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viki2000Commented:
@The_Big_Daddy
“this theorizes that there have been in infinite amount of big bangs and big crunches (collapses of the universe). but wouldn't something like this to have been "started" somewhere?”

The answer may be: not necessary.
If we consider God as cause (creation-destruction), immortal, beyond time and material, multidimensional existence, then the start point is within God’s consciousness.
Stephen Hawking said some years ago that God may be seen as initial cause, and then the universe evolved alone, but in his latest statements declared that is no need of any God. The Bing-Bang just happened. In other words, the cause is in itself.
As I see it, God was replaced with universe/matter/energy.
As consequence, no matter what approach you consider right, does not need a start, an external cause. The cause, the start is in itself.
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hdhondtCommented:
why we don't see now also the intermediary species
We do have a huge number of intermediary species. Think of beavers, otters and seals (intermediate between land and water-based mammals); the platypus and echidna (intermediate between reptile and mammal). Then go through the fossils we have and you'll find many intermediaries leading up to horses, whales, humans, amphibians, birds, etc.

Evolution works gradually, not in jumps (and even Stephen Gould's punctuated equilibrium agrees with that - he just said it speeds up and slows down). Hence it is extremely hard to decide where one species finishes and another starts. Even the definition of "species" is not at all clear. Just think of ring species, or consider Ligers and tigons. As these hybrids are fertile, can we really say that a tiger is a different species from a lion?

i'm asking if it's REASONABLE to at the very least consider non-scientific ideas, such as some all powerful creator that caused the big bang
It's reasonable to consider other ideas. However, the principles of science still apply. If there is no way of testing or falsifying an idea, then it's not science. Postulating a creator effectively puts a limit to scientific enquiry: further questions become irrelevant.

As the vacuum is unstable, a Big Bang would have had to happen if there was nothingness before it. The fact that our universe is finely tuned for (our kind of) life implies there is more to it though. As I've said earlier, there are a number of possibilities for the universe before the Big Bang: earlier universes, an earlier civilisation starting a BB, or a creator. If the latter, how do we know it's (no he or she, here!) not just another mortal being like us - but with more science and power at its disposal? There are already observations under way that may give us some indication about the existence (or not) of other universes. If they exist, then a putative creator is even further removed from us.

And of course, science never stops asking questions. If the universe started because a vacuum is unstable, then why is the vacuum that way? If a creator started the BB, where did the creator come from? This last question in particular is one that is off-limits for religions.
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viki2000Commented:
@The_Big_Daddy

What Caused the Big Bang?:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uabNtlLfYyU

Present scientific answer: we are keep looking.
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viki2000Commented:
@hdhondt ID: 39538969

the earth is not flat but according with latest measurements the universe is flat:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqb1lSdqRZY
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hdhondtCommented:
@viki2000

But, the bible says it is flat...
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viki2000Commented:
Could you please indicate where the Bible said the earth is flat?
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hdhondtCommented:
@viki2000

It doesn't say so outright, but there are many passages that can only be true if the earth is flat. Have a look at http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Biblical_flat_earth_claims

The best one to me is when Jesus, from a high mountain, is shown all the kingdoms of the world. Want to try that on a sphere?

There are other passages (e.g. Isaiah 40:22) where the earth is said to be a circle. Even the ancient Hebrews knew the difference between a sphere and a circle.

These things are not a problem, except to those who want the bible taken literally.
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Author Commented:
thanks everyone for their thoughts!
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viki2000Commented:
@hdhondt

Sorry, I have no more time to reply.
My company was sold and I have to work more on some important projects.

There are a lot to be said. Is not true the vision presented above. There are hours of debates on that theme. I can provide links pro/cons. The same with intermediary species info that you mentioned and some other staff here.
I will just drop it for the moment.
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tliottaCommented:
i'm asking if it's REASONABLE to at the very least consider non-scientific ideas, such as some all powerful creator that caused the big bang, and also putting the laws of science in place for us to observe

And I answered "Yes." I also mentioned why it could be "reasonable".

However, you also went on specifically to include "validity" without saying what you meant by it: "...can this explanation have any validity to it?"

In terms of reasoning, validity has useful meanings. In terms of truth, it can have somewhat different meanings. We can provide reasoning about nonsensical circumstances. Many reasoned dialogs concern paradoxes, contradictions, fictions and other untrue or impossible scenarios.

A reasoned consequence can be valid in a fictional environment. It might have no validity at all in a real environment.

Without some kind of scope, there's no way to know if anything has "validity" or not.

Tom
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Author Commented:
my original question was more along the lines of "do you think its reasonable", meaning, in your own opinion. opinions aren't necessarily right or wrong, I just wanted to see what other people thought about the matter. Given the scope of the actual idea, I don't think anyone involved here in the thread would actually suggest there is a right or wrong answer here, it was more to just discuss the possibility of it.

if you want to discuss it more I can always create a "Part 2" thread :)
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