From: John W Burgeson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Sep 10 2003 - 11:22:55 EDT
Terry wrote: "Does any of this data really address the question as to
when "spiritual humanity" appeared? I know Glenn's take--what's yours?"
Firstly, I think all of this data DOES pertain to that question. How it
is to be interpreted, of course, is a reasonable question.
The validity (or lack thereof) of any one of the data points is too far
outside any area of expertise that I have for me to express an opinion on
it. But the set, taken as a whole, cannot be ignored when asking the
question, nor can I address the question on the "say sos" of authorities,
who clearly differ with one another.
One of the books that has influenced my thinking in recent years is by
Julian Jaynes and is titled "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown
of the Bicameral Mind." I cannot accept Jaynes' thesis; I also cannot
ignore the data he brings to the subject. Similarly with Glenn's two
books. I cannot accept his model (I cannot reject it either) and I cannot
ignore the evidences he has so carefully amassed.
As I have aid a few times, I am, basically, a progressive creationist.
But this is a theological stance, not one based on science. As to "when"
the first spiritual person appeared, that is the gut question. I've not
studied that question long enough to venture a public opinion. Glenn has,
and I respect him for that. We differ about the pertinence of certain
data points (compassion in Homo Erectus 1.7MYR ago for instance is
unpersuasive to me because compassion in certain animals in the present
day is easily demonstrated), but other data points are more problematical
for anyone who asserts that "spiritual humanity" only emerged (was
created?) a few thousand years ago.
Terry continued: "Is it conceivable that some of these humanlike
are "anticipatory" to full-blown human beingness? I.e. some of the
physical, psychological, and social elements are present, but they're
not fully human yet. Not sure where I'd exactly draw the line, but it
doesn't seem necessary to me to say that just because human-like
characteristics exist that we have human beings in the image of God
that are capable of a personal relationship with God."
I agree that such is "conceivable," and I more or less agree with what
you write. The question, and the data, lead us into the age old question
-- what does it mean to be human?" Or "a spiritual human?" Or -- "a
spiritual being?" Can an animal be one? Can an animal have a "personal
relationship with God?" If not, why not? If so, how would we tell?
The sciences of biology/genetics are quickly leading us into all sorts of
scenarios previously only hinted at in sci-fi stories. Huxley's Brave New
World is, I suggest, only a few short decades away. When part human, part
animal entities are created, will they be spiritual beings? Of course,
this has already been done -- the 99.5% cow, 0.5% human already exists --
a whole herd of them as a matter of fact. Some people who have looked
into their eyes have said they see a spark of humanity there. But it is
hard to preach to them, for they speak only cow. <G>
It is darn hard to approach these questions scientifically. But it is my
intention to do so, at least to the extent I can. If my theology suffers
as a result, then it was probably bad theology to begin with.
Thanks for asking the question. I have no bone to pick with those who
find different answers than I do. There are those who will ignore the
data points. That, to me, violates the 2nd law of Epicurus (see page 6 of
my web site), and makes their assertions of no interest.
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