Re: [asa] Evolution of the Soul

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Thu Sep 28 2006 - 15:51:29 EDT

Come on, Greg, don't give us the one meaning per word stuff. "Nature" is
not restricted to what can be studied scientifically. Were it, you'd have
to argue that the set of the sail had to be composed of several related
pieces because that's the way tea sets are.

As to evolution, the term basically refers to change. Biologically, it
may seem to be progressive or degenerative. Sacculinus, with a female
little more than overactive ovaries, is just as surely the product of
evolution as mammals, with remarkable control of the internal
environment, are. It is certain that societies change, mainly by human
interaction, but influenced by phenomena that human beings do not
control. And there are some matters forced on one social group by
another, like the results of communism and fascism. Looks like social
evolution to me. May I say his even though my degrees are not in

On Thu, 28 Sep 2006 11:56:01 -0400 (EDT) Gregory Arago
<> writes:
Only two questions come to me regarding the comments: first in David
Campbell’s post, I wonder what is (a) ‘spiritual nature’ and why those
words are combined together. This causes me, as a social scientist, to
react in a similar way to when sociologists write about ‘the nature of’
society, since it is clear that discourse grows around each
concept/percept separately and respectively. Perhaps it is David’s notion
that the two signifiers can and must be kept together, or integrated,
that is, nature and spirit? In such a case, would evolution (a purely
naturalistic process philosophy) of the soul be considered a (purely)
‘natural’ thing? Is there thus *no* intervention or moment of direct
spiritual contact from God to his creation, from an ET, TE, or CE
viewpoint? Perhaps it is not as cut-and-dry as I make it out to be
Second, it was pondered by Dave S. about “whether contemporary animists,
whom we acknowledge as truly human, lost knowledge of God or never
progressed to it.” This made me wonder about whether ‘progress’ is an
inevitable component of evolutionary thought, and whether the en-souling
of humankind is considered ‘progress.’ Likewise, my post was really about
learning answers to the “question whether some power or a personal deity
is the requisite element in humanity.” This seems to link with Jim’s
comment about “a different aspect of reality which is harder to
conceptualize and describe in consensus.” Chris gives a direct answer:
“No, I don't believe it is necessary to hypothesize a particular,
intrinsic ‘soulishness’ that was implanted miraculously.” Is this a
typical or responsible position on the supposed evolution of the soul?
Third, it is necessary to comment on what seems sloppy or perhaps
disrespectful thinking. It was said, “The people in the Bible go through
a social evolution. Society has continued this evolution.” Then later in
the same post, “I am not a sociologist - just an observer…I don't know if
this sociological evolution is the evolution of the soul.” Could it be
imagined saying to a cosmologist or immunologist something about their
discipline as if it’s true, without really *knowing* about cosmology or
immunology? Social scientists must and should protect the sovereignty of
their academic field as much as natural scientists and humanitarian
scholars should. I can say to Debbie (though in fact many social
scientists would agree with her general reasoning), the times are a
changing’! (Neo)-Evolutionary sociology is illiterate, in the sense that
it doesn’t account for (one of) the very thing(s) that defines social
science apart from natural science; the presence of human choice,
decision-making, i.e. the human factor. ‘Sociological evolution’ and
‘evolution of the soul’ are not the same thing (just don’t trust E.O.
Wilson’s, K. Wilber’s, or for that matter, R. Steiner’s words for it!
E.g. a German in 1997 called Wilber “the foremost thinker in the field of
the evolution of consciousness.”).

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Received on Thu Sep 28 15:55:48 2006

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