RE: [asa] Evolution of the Soul

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Tue Sep 26 2006 - 14:28:06 EDT

Before one dwells into the difficult problem of humanity, one has to
tackle first the problem of life, which ought to be much simpler;
however, all problems in physics pale in comparison to it. Surely, there
is no humanity without life!





From: [] On
Behalf Of D. F. Siemens, Jr.
Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2006 1:44 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Evolution of the Soul



You make a good point that we don't know some things about the origin of
true human beings. However, the altars and burials of Neanderthals are
suggestive that they believed in a power greater than they and some kind
of existence beyond death. Indeed, the more ancient Venuses may also be
cited. Nevertheless, there is a question whether some power or a
personal deity is the requisite element in humanity. But then we have
the current problem of determining whether contemporary animists, whom
we acknowledge as truly human, lost knowledge of God or never progressed
to it. Seems to me that the answer has to be given in theological terms,
with all the differences of interpretation that are found. Of course,
the views are almost always accompanied with what Peirce noted, "This
time I'm right."



On Tue, 26 Sep 2006 11:47:08 -0500 "David Campbell"
<> writes:

        Among those who accept both evolutionary origins of humans and
the existence of human spiritual nature, some have suggested a fairly
direct infusion of this spiritual nature into a non-spiritual,
biologically evolved body. Others have suggested a gradual evolution of
spirituality, paralleling biological evolution. Yet another possibility
is that God designed organisms such that, when a particular threshold of
intellectual capacity was reached via evolution, the organism would
become spiritually aware as well.


        I don't know any good way to test these ideas. If we could
establish agreement as to what physical evidence consistutes evidence of
a spiritual nature, then we could look for traces of them in the
archeological record. Although several people have proposed such
criteria, there isn't general agreement. Furthermore, inability to find
such traces associated with early hominids could merely mean that the
traces are not preserved or that we're not looking for the right thing,
so it would be hard to get a clear answer even with agreement on what to
look for.


        Accepting evolution more or less entails accepting that the
Bible is not especially concerned with telling us about the methods of
creation. Knowing that God did it doesn't distinguish among the options
above (not to mention other possibilities that I didn't think of).


        This is somewhat related to the question of when and how babies
get souls, to the historically debated question of whether newly
discovered peoples were fully human and in need of evangelism, to
speculation on the spiritual status of extraterrestrials, etc.
Arguments on those topics might provide some ideas, but probably would
not provide many answers, except insofar as taking a particular stance
on one of these might have implications for the others.
        Dr. David Campbell
        425 Scientific Collections
        University of Alabama
        "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue Sep 26 14:28:47 2006

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Sep 26 2006 - 14:28:47 EDT