Punctuation in the Bible. Can its lack be a problem?

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malkie
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Re: Punctuation in the Bible. Can its lack be a problem?

Post by malkie »

Physics Guy wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2024 4:39 pm
...
If you rub your hands together and they get warm, though, then this warmth you feel is not any kind of special heat-stuff getting into your hands. Instead it's that all the ordinary particles that are always there in your hands are now shaking and jostling around more vigorously than they normally are.
...
Heat is real, but it's not a kind of stuff. Mind is real, but it's not a kind of stuff, either.
piet hein (edited by malkie) wrote: Atomyriades
Kinetic Theory is just a name
for milliards and milliards and milliards
of particles playing their infinite game
of billiards and billiards and billiards.
Note: "milliard" is sometimes used for 10^9
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huckelberry
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Re: Punctuation in the Bible. Can its lack be a problem?

Post by huckelberry »

hauslern wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2024 8:53 pm
Dos the science of genetics create a problem for those who argue for the existence of the soul?

https://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics

This site seems to argue that humans have common DNA with the apes and that humans originated in Africa.

"No matter how the calculation is done, the big point still holds: humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos are more closely related to one another than either is to gorillas or any other primate. From the perspective of this powerful test of biological kinship, humans are not only related to the great apes – we are one. The DNA evidence leaves us with one of the greatest surprises in biology: the wall between human, on the one hand, and ape or animal, on the other, has been breached. The human evolutionary tree is embedded within the great apes.
.......
https://australian.museum/learn/science ... thalensis/
hauslern, I may not be seeing the difficulties you are thinking of. That may be because I decided about 1964 that I thought the evidence shows Darwin to be correct. I have been thinking with the idea of evolution for a long time time now. I may harbor doubts that it works without any divine influence or help but the interrelatedness of creatures and our animal nature seems clear and quite natural.

It has been the years that I have owned dogs that have deepened my sense of our kinship with other animals. Dogs think, care, react, play, and make judgements like we do. They do not employ anywhere near the abstract reasoning and other intellectual skills people have, but I think I see the foundations of such in their minds.

I have no reason to exclude dogs and other creatures from the idea of having souls, but I am not certain just what a soul might or might not be. I do not normally think of people as preexisting spirits put in a body. If we have a soul, I think it would be an image of what we physically and mentally grow to be in this life.
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Re: Punctuation in the Bible. Can its lack be a problem?

Post by hauslern »

I had a Labrador that at 16 years I had to put down. I'd like to think she had a soul. She helped me keep my weight down by taking long walks with her.
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Re: Punctuation in the Bible. Can its lack be a problem?

Post by Philo Sofee »

hauslern wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2024 12:57 am
I had a Labrador that at 16 years I had to put down. I'd like to think she had a soul. She helped me keep my weight down by taking long walks with her.
That's what I do with my puppy, too.
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Physics Guy
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Re: Punctuation in the Bible. Can its lack be a problem?

Post by Physics Guy »

Evolution is in no conflict at all with spirit as process or state or phenomenon rather than substance. There are plenty of processes—fire, for example—that can suddenly ignite at a critical point. Sometimes the last little thing that lets the ignition take off is a seemingly tiny detail.

Evolution isn't just irrelevant to that kind of view of spirit, though. Evolution may have some implications. The existence of biochemically similar animals to humans does suggest that those animals might be relatively close to spiritual "ignition", or that whatever "spirit" humans have may be a phenomenon on a continuum rather than an all-or-nothing thing that you either have or don't have.

On the other hand one shouldn't exaggerate the similarity between humans and apes. We share a lot of DNA, but a lot of that DNA seems unlikely to have anything to do with consciousness. Furthermore DNA isn't actually everything. If you pour pure DNA in a test tube, no creature crawls out. DNA has to be "read" by a cellular apparatus that is enormously more complicated than DNA itself. That complicated apparatus is itself created, in every new individual organism, in a way dictated by DNA structure; but the cellular apparatus of each child cell is made by the apparatus of the parent cell. So DNA is always working in a complex, tailored environment. DNA doesn't bootstrap itself. It has evolved in parallel with the whole rest of biochemistry.

The human genome is only about 3.5 gigabytes, which is really compact for what it apparently does. It's like an app that can be compact because it is only going to run on tailor-made hardware with a tailor-made operating system. Small differences in DNA, as between humans and chimps, can be greatly amplified in effect if they mesh with larger differences in the rest of our biological architecture.

I imagine that evolution is more of a threat to theories of spirit as substance. At what point in evolution did the spirit-stuff get attached to pre-human animals?

On the one hand it's not a completely insurmountable problem for substance dualists. There is an important precedent for a special kind of thing getting attached to living cells at a key point in history.

Almost all kinds of living cells, even plant and fungus cells as well as our own, rely on the same kind of weird little molecular machine to recycle their fuel molecules. These machines are called mitochondria, and they are core components in life itself. Each cell typically has a few mitochondria in it, and would die very fast if they ever stop working, but the mitochondria themselves are surprisingly autonomous. They are surrounded by their own membranes and they contain their own DNA, which replicates separately from the rest of the cell's DNA. The generally accepted hypothesis is that mitochondria were originally some kind of independently living bacteria-like organism, which got into a symbiotic arrangement with other cells as hosts, at a very early stage in evolution.

So conceivably a substance dualist could imagine that for the past fifty thousand years or whatever humans have had some similar kind of symbiosis, with some kind of mitochondria-like spirit-thingies getting attached to our nerve cells, or something. Entry-level midi-chlorians, say: beginni-chlorians?

Probably a bigger reason why substance dualists can get past evolution, however, is just that they already have a similar but bigger problem, even without evolution, in explaining how spirit gets attached to each foetus some time between conception and birth. If a dualist can handle that, then handling pre-human hominids is no biggie. The philosophical problems of phylogeny merely recapitulate those of ontogeny.

I still have no real sympathy with substance dualism, and I do think that piling evolution on top of conception, on top of the basic problem of how spirit substance can interact with matter enough to let me raise an eyebrow on purpose, all does add up to an insupportable burden.
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Gadianton
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Re: Punctuation in the Bible. Can its lack be a problem?

Post by Gadianton »

I imagine that evolution is more of a threat to theories of spirit as substance. At what point in evolution did the spirit-stuff get attached to pre-human animals?
I think it's a more pointed threat to the idea of God as creator. Sure, you can mostly accept evolution and then go back to a step we don't understand and say, "see! You need God for that part!", but by then, it's like being on the run from the law.

That being said, I don't think it's the fundamental victory that Richard Dawkins believes it is. It took a lot of setup for evolution to be the knockout punch to the creator. Natural theology going the route of William Paley is the perfect setup. And Christian fundamentalists today have doubled down on a zero-sum war between science and Creationism, which is perfectly fine for non-believers like Dawkins.
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Re: Punctuation in the Bible. Can its lack be a problem?

Post by huckelberry »

Gadianton wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2024 3:32 pm
I imagine that evolution is more of a threat to theories of spirit as substance. At what point in evolution did the spirit-stuff get attached to pre-human animals?
I think it's a more pointed threat to the idea of God as creator. Sure, you can mostly accept evolution and then go back to a step we don't understand and say, "see! You need God for that part!", but by then, it's like being on the run from the law.

That being said, I don't think it's the fundamental victory that Richard Dawkins believes it is. It took a lot of setup for evolution to be the knockout punch to the creator. Natural theology going the route of William Paley is the perfect setup. And Christian fundamentalists today have doubled down on a zero-sum war between science and Creationism, which is perfectly fine for non-believers like Dawkins.
Gadianton, I think you are correct to see fundamentalists as creating a science conflict. I might even wonder if this is done to increase the sense of persecution and threat people enjoy. Or just a location from which to feel extra extra believing (believe despite science and secular society).

I thought that I actually know little of Paley's thinking other than the watchmaker argument. A little google looking and I stumbled upon this interesting bit. It is a summary of an article but I haven't connected to the whole thing.
William Paley's Natural Theology has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent decades with the continuing controversies over the teaching of evolution and the emergence of a new "intelligent design" movement. But while both the movement's supporters and detractors agree that Paley is an intellectual forefather of the present-day movement, this agreement is forged at the expense of historical accuracy. Paley's intelligent design has almost nothing in common with the present day movement and, in fact, suggests theological arguments against the type of reasoning used by the modern movement. Paley wrote in reaction to Hume and in response to the evolutionary theories of Buffon and Erasmus Darwin. In this light, the Natural Theology suggests a different reading than it is usually given. Paley's narrowly-argued theology relies upon the ability to detect the presence of "purpose" in nature without relying upon knowing what those purposes are. His empirically-argued theology leads him to a God who operates through natural law, not in its contravention, and his concern goes far beyond proving the existence of a deity to undertaking the theological project of determining the attributes and characteristics of the deity. Though not himself an evolutionist, Paley put forth a theological worldview consistent with evolution. In fact, given his arguments that the observation of great contrivance increases the testimony of nature to God's power, Paley's philosophy might be more consistent with a theistic Darwinian evolution than with special creation.
Author: Adam Shapiro
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24360034/

Gadianton observed that people's efforts looking for special problems in evolution's development that require God stumble against increasing understanding of natural connections. Even the once ballyhooed missing link is a fading subject, I think. I have on occasion admitted that I incline to picture God as doing some gardening work with the process of evolution. I do not know for sure and do not think it must be so. The truly amazing design in creation is in all of the basic principles and structures that make life possible. Perhaps most obviously in the structure of atoms which make possible the formation of sturdy complicated molecules, the basics of life.
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