Re: Does the Bible teach a flat earth?

From: bivalve (
Date: Tue Jan 07 2003 - 17:17:41 EST

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    >there was no Adam and Eve, no original sin, and thus no need for a savior.<

    I am not quite certain how this reply is supposed to answer the
    question (which was how modern scientific knowledge conflicts with
    anything important in scripture). None of these three assertions are
    scientific, so they are not examples of modern scientific knowledge
    that conflict with Scripture. The latter two are philosophical
    assertions, whereas the first is an historical claim.

    Unless you advocate the independent creation of different human
    populations, then humans share a common ancestor at some point.
    Likewise, particular subgroups of humanity share common ancestry when
    traced back far enough. Thus, there is no scientific improbability
    in the existence of a particular pair of individuals, ancestral to
    either all later humans or to some theologically significant subset
    thereof. The theological plausibility of God selecting two
    individuals as representatives of humanity will depend on one's
    theological views; at the very least, he would have to pick some time
    to commence greater interaction with creatures. Certainly
    Judaeo-Christian theology sees representatives as valid and important.

    Both antievolutionists and atheists often assert that evolution is
    incompatible with original sin. I do not know of any reasonable
    attempts to justify this claim, however. One possibility is that
    they are holding a teleological view, equating evolution with
    progress. This is scientifically unjustified and in fact leads to
    silly results like the conclusion that gulper eels are more advanced
    than humans because they have more extensive modifications of the
    basic vertebrate body plan than we do. Another possibility is that
    they are assuming that evolution equals atheism, which implies that
    neither evil nor good exists.

    As George and others have pointed out, many potentially successful
    evolutionary strategies are in fact considered morally bad. Thus,
    original goodness (pre-fall) requires some reconciliation with
    evolution. However, if original sin is understood as an innate
    tendency to choose to do wrong, then it is possible to assume that
    humanity started with an ability to choose good or evil; having chose
    the latter, we are now stuck with it.

    There is also the abundant evidence of everyday experience that
    demonstrates humanity's proclivity to sin. This does not prove that
    absolutely everyone sins, nor that the tendency is innate rather than
    learned, etc., but it does mean that the doctrine of original sin is
    quite plausible in light of human experience.

    Even if not everyone sinned, that would not eliminate the need for a
    savior for the rest of us. At the practical level, the important
    question is not whether original sin exists, but whether each of us,
    individually, is in need of saving.

    Thus, the three assertions are neither scientifically supported nor
    contingent upon each other.

         Dr. David Campbell
         Old Seashells
         University of Alabama
         Biodiversity & Systematics
         Dept. Biological Sciences
         Box 870345
         Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0345 USA

    That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted
    Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at
    Droitgate Spa

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