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Barcelona Conference on Reason and Belief in the Societies of Knowledge - Conference Report

from Michael Blume, 11. July 2011, 07:33

On July 5th to 6th, the dedicated anthropologists of the Universities of Barcelona and Lleida brought together scientists from various scientific faculties and nations to discuss the changing roles of Religion(s) & Science(s) in contemporary culture(s). After the "Explaining Religion"-conference in Bristol (UK), it proved to be another hotspot concerning cognitive and evolutionary studies of religion in Europe within a year. Although it is, of course, impossible to condense content-rich lectures into a few sentences, I will try my best to give a brief overview of some main arguments. The event took place at the Faculty of Geography and History at Barcelona University.

After the welcoming presentation by Carles Salazar (Lleida). Robert McCauley from the Center for Mind, Brain and Culture at Emory University (USA) did a brillant opening lecture on "Maturationally Natural Cognition Hinders Science and Facilitates Religion". I can't wait for his upcoming book "Why Religion is Natural and Science is not"!


I spoke next, and his presentation of cognitive findings proved to be a wonderful chance to introduce evolutionary studies on the subject. If you would like to, you may download my paper "Two realms, one winner? Scientific vs. Religious 'Knowledge' in Evolutionary Perspective" here.

In concordance, Jasper Sorensen (Aarhus University) pointed out the survival of "Ritualized practice in an Age of Science", as magical and religious performances were aimed at different functions than "pure" science could fullfill.

Jaoa de Pina-Cabral (University of Lisbon) pointed out that it was high time to recover the term "Superstition or the margins of belief" as its primitivistic notions were no longer supported by anthropology. In fact, "modern" socities were relying on superstitions and beliefs as any other. What struck me with his formidable talks and the ensuing discussions were the surprising convergence of João's well-tested anthropological findings to those of the late F.A. von Hayek in the last chapters of his "Fatal Conceit"!

Tim Jenkins (Jesus College, Cambridge) explored the "Moral employment of scientific thought", bringing about "moral communities" relying on scientific language and themes - ranging from New Age to Science Fiction and Richard Dawkins. According to Tim, they were forming and representing hybrid forms of urban folklore, creatively combining scientific and moral issues and 'knowledge'.

Simon Coleman reflected on "The Social Life of Concepts: Public and Private 'Knowledge' of Scientistic Creationism" especially in the UK. Based on a range of interviews, he convincingly showed that many Creationists did perceive their stand as a personal and moral one and where not paticularly interested in empirical data on evolutionary theory. Ironically, though, the same applied to popular opponents of Creationism such as Richard Dawkins who did not show particular interest in empirical testing of their religion-related hypotheses! (Think of D.S. Wlison's critique of Dawkins about him not bringing on the evolutionary legwork.) According to Simon, many of these debates about Creationism and Scientism were framed as 'scientific', although they were based less on empirical research but largely on popular constructions of each other.

Marit Melhuus (University of Oslo) reflected on "The human embryo" in the perspective of sciences, religions and politics. She showed that the embryo is focussing ethical and political debates from a range of religious and secular worldviews as an almost iconic symbol. At the same time, these 'intercultural' debates were framed in various national and deniminational settings, leading to diverse results even within Europe. Her nuanced lecture supported observations about the central role of reproduction-related topics in contemporary debates between religious and secular camps.

Tom Inglis (University College, Dublin) presented results from 100 in-depth-interviews conducted in Ireland exploring "Religion, Magic and Practical Reason: Meaning and everyday life". Instead of finding some people doing and others avoiding these domains, He found a complex mixture in every case. Magical thinking manifested itself in1. devotional Catholicism, 2. non-institutional forms of faith-healing beliefs and 3. in superstitions (such as charms). Tom urged us fellow scientists to be more sincere about respective phenomena in our lives instead of pretending their nonexistence in order to secure our reputations.



Heonik Kwon (London School of Economics) presented the radically divergent ways of US-Americans and Vietnamese publics to conceptualize "Vietnam War's Wounds to the Soul". While the United States adopted the clinical paradigm known today as the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), postwar Vietnam society concentrated on the sufferings of tragic war dead in the afterlife. Many of the fallen evolved into superempirical agents to be venerated religiously as well as into socialist heroines and heroes. I was struck by remarkable similarities to German socialisms, although the religious-cultural background differed greatly and plan to review Heonik's "Ghost's of War in Vietnam" in the next weeks in this blog.

Finally, Roger Sansi-Roca (Goldsmith College, London) applied cognitive theories of religion to spirit possession in Afro-Brazilian Candomble. He urged for a stronger reflection of the limitations brought about by using vocabulars of western psychology to life processes within various cultures.

As you can imagine, the debates went on throughout the breaks and dinner times deep into the night. Frankly speaking, I learned a lot and was caught again by the sheer potentials of interdisciplinary dialogue in the scientific exploration of science(s) and religion(s).

Thus, I want to thank Carles Salazar, Maria Coma, Gerard Horta and Joan Bestard for the chance to participate in such a well-designed, well-organized and scientifically fruitful conference!

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Natur des Glaubens: Warum Religion natürlich ist und Wissenschaft nicht...
Natur des Glaubens: Vernunft und Glauben in den Wissensgesellschaften - Rückblick auf die Barcelona-Konferenz

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  1. John Jacob Lyons @ Michael: "Scientific vs Religious 'Knowledge' "
    12.07.2011 | 00:25

    Plato defined knowledge as 'justified true belief'. Accepting this definition, I believe you are suggesting that such knowledge can be either scientific or religious. I understand that you contend that they are simply complementary forms of knowledge and are not in conflict.
    If I have accurately represented your view Michael, I cannot agree with it.

    A religious Christian may well claim to 'know' that Jesus was resurrected while a scientist may well claim to 'know' that resurrection from death is impossible. These versions of 'knowledge' are not complementary; they are in conflict.

    More fundamentally, the origin of this conflict between scientific and religious knowledge arises from the method of 'knowing' or, in Plato's terms, how the belief is justified. For the scientist it is the scientific method; hypothesis, prediction, empirical testing, theory modification etc. For the religious person it is; revelation, scripture, spiritual feelings, faith etc. The clear difference between these methods of 'knowledge' acquisition is bound to result in a lack of congruence between the two kinds of knowledge acquired.

    Have I misunderstood your view and constructed a 'straw-man' my friend?

  2. 12.07.2011 | 06:58

    Dear John,

    indeed - as a dedicated evolutionist, Plato is not my reference of choice. :-)

    From an evolutionary perspective, I would define knowlegde as "justified as tried and tested", ranging from myths and rituals of hunters and gatherers to the specific knowledges of artists, authors and cooks to scientific hypotheses, to name a few. The advantage of this wide definition lies in the abilities to discern divergent domains (magisteria) and to explore its various ways of acquisition (from the nearly instinctive to the hard-to-earn) and evolutionary outcomes.

    Best wishes!

  3. John Jacob Lyons @ Michael: "Scientific vs Religious 'Knowledge' "
    12.07.2011 | 13:09

    Wow! This is a very broad and wide-ranging definition of 'knowledge' Michael.

    If I understand you correctly, it would seem to include a belief in the existence of fairies for example. Those that have such a belief may well agree between themselves that it is a 'tried and tested' belief and is therefore 'knowledge' within their community. On this definition, I would suggest that any subjective belief, however bizarre, is, in fact, 'knowledge'.

    That's fine. However, in that case I suggest that we also need another word for the 'knowledge' that has subjected itself to, and has stood up to, the rigors of the scientific method and rational inquiry. Let's call it (improbably) 'science-ledge'.

    Now --- You write "Evolution shaped us to be epistemological pluralists capable of valuable discoveries in the “various branches of knowledge” of science(s), art(s) and religion(s)."

    OK. But, evolution has also shaped us to use the scientific method to discover what I have called 'science-ledge'. And some of this specific kind of knowledge is universally accepted and has enabled us to make progress in understanding ourselves and our world. As a scientist, I try to use the scientific method in attempting to access 'truth/ reality' but acknowledge that many ideas useful to science - e.g., hypotheses and techniques - do arise from your broader definition of 'knowledge'.

    However, unless it subjects itself to scientific inquiry, I don't accept that religion is another legitimate way to get to 'truth/reality'. It simply ranks 'pari-passu' alongside other 'knowledge' that is not 'science-ledge'.

    Please accept my apologies for the extremely ugly term 'science-ledge' but I couldn't think of a better one after you had commandeered the word 'knowledge' to include mere 'belief'.

  4. Michael Blume Scientific & Religious Knowledge
    12.07.2011 | 15:26

    Dear John,

    yes, I think you got the notion. And of course, there has been a high esteem for people knowledgeable about fairies, able to tell captivating stories about them etc. in human history.

    I do agree in full that the scientific method is offering a very special way to earn specific and very valuable knowlegde (science-ledge :-) ). But then, we see that other kinds of knowledge (such as in arts or religions) may also help in bringing up evolutionary successful behaviors (i.e. larger families). Science alone does not seem to suffice. And that is very interesting from a scientific and evolutionary point of view, too!

  5. John Jacob Lyons @ Michael: "Scientific vs Religious 'Knowledge' "
    12.07.2011 | 17:14

    Firstly I want to thank you for continuing to engage with this discussion and to let you know how much I am enjoying it. I hope that you and your other readers/ contributors also feel it is worthwhile.

    As you have demonstrated, it is quite clear that religion/ religiosity is currently proving to be an adaptive behaviour. Do we know whether or not this has been the case in the past Michael?

    Furthermore, in my article 'The Genetic Priming of Religiosity' published here on 24 March 2011, I suggested that, although the reasons were very different, religiosity was probably adaptive right from its inception. I also suggested that this may well explain our empirically demonstrated, precocious predisposition toward super-natural/ religious explanation in early childhood. I.e. that we are genetically primed for religiosity.

    We agree that religiosity is currently adaptive whereas belief in the scientific method probably is not. Is this a good thing? I would say 'No' we are already suffering from over-population. Does religion provide another way (to science) of knowing our universe? I would say 'No'
    Religion is not 'science-ledge' as I have argued above.

    Is there another relevant implication resulting from the fact that religion is currently an adaptive behaviour; one that I have missed?

    Obviously, the fact that we can examine religion scientifically does not make religion scientific. We must distinguish the subject of inquiry from the means we use to examine it.

  6. 13.07.2011 | 19:32

    Thanks for your inquiries, which I will try to adress in the blog-style of fruitful dialogue. :-)

    As you have demonstrated, it is quite clear that religion/ religiosity is currently proving to be an adaptive behaviour. Do we know whether or not this has been the case in the past Michael?

    There are strong indicators (such as the prominent featuring of fertility in paleolithic figurines, the respective narratives in the biblical book of Exodus etc.), but evolutionary studies will have to proceed for further clarification.

    Furthermore, in my article 'The Genetic Priming of Religiosity' published here on 24 March 2011, I suggested that, although the reasons were very different, religiosity was probably adaptive right from its inception. I also suggested that this may well explain our empirically demonstrated, precocious predisposition toward super-natural/ religious explanation in early childhood. I.e. that we are genetically primed for religiosity.

    It seems that we are agreeing here. :-)
    We agree that religiosity is currently adaptive whereas belief in the scientific method probably is not.

    No, I wouldn't say that. Although the reproductive potential of religiosity is demonstrated, one could argue that scientific knowledge has been decisive in even allowing so many people to live on our planet! Whether science is adaptive should be explored in the future and I am especially interested in Robert McCauley's upcoming book on the subject.

    Is this a good thing? I would say 'No' we are already suffering from over-population. Does religion provide another way (to science) of knowing our universe? I would say 'No' Religion is not 'science-ledge' as I have argued above.

    I think it could be helpful to take a look at another magisteria mentioned in order to distinguish our subjective feelings from a broader perspective. Would you concede that arts, musics and poems might contribute to a better and deeper understanding of the universe, even if they are making non-empirical claims (for example about the meaning of life)? I would say Yes, they sure help us to navigate not only our environments, but also our inner world in a way science (which I cherish tremendously) could not do it.
    Is there another relevant implication resulting from the fact that religion is currently an adaptive behaviour; one that I have missed?

    Well, I think so. For example, the flourishing findings in the evolutionary studies of religion seem to support the assumption that evolutionary theory is true and able to encompass all human phenomena. Darwin seems to have been right in this respect, too. See:
    http://www.scilogs.eu/...eligiosity-and-religion-s

    Obviously, the fact that we can examine religion scientifically does not make religion scientific. We must distinguish the subject of inquiry from the means we use to examine it.

    Yes, that's the very point that seems important to me, too. Sciences, Arts and Religions are surely related in various ways, but they are constituting different and non-interchangeable ways of perceiving ourselves and the environments we live in. Instead of trying to conquest or substitute one with the other, we should be ready to accept and explore diverse magisteria in our lives.

    Although I am fully convinced that this actor I saw on stage has not been the real Hamlet and the story may not been verified empirically, I would reject people demanding to shut down all theatres and movies in the name of science(s) or religion(s). We evolved to be epistemological pluralists, and I feel that's a great thing to explore!

  7. J. A. Le Fevre @ Michael
    13.07.2011 | 21:47

    Enjoyed your article (Blume_Barcelona_ReligiousKnowledge), but wish to reemphasize that religion motivates far beyond simple reproduction. Life has traditionally been tough, at times very tough, and religion has done much to motivate people to accept and work through the trials and tribulations that nature throws our way.

  8. J. A. Le Fevre @ John
    14.07.2011 | 00:37

    (John wrote) ‘. . . it is quite clear that religion/ religiosity is currently proving to be an adaptive behaviour. Do we know whether or not this has been the case in the past.'

    I must say: Absolutely! As I pointed out in my guest post of Jan. 01, 2011, organized religion was the development that led to civilization (A thought echoed in the article on Göbekli Tepe referenced in Michael’s paper.). No human community lacking organized religion ever developed cities, writing or metal tools. There could be no science without first religion (and writing).

    (John wrote) 'Does religion provide another way (to science) of knowing our universe?’

    If I might put my own spin on this, I would say you are asking the wrong question. Science may tell us how much hydrogen is burned per day by the sun, but it was religion that taught us to love our neighbor. Knowing ourselves, knowing how to live our lives is much more important, much more significant to man than knowing about black holes or how to combust hydrogen. Until we learned how to live a bit better (allowing our communities to be stable), the rest of the universe was pointless (as well as impossible) to understand.

  9. John Jacob Lyons @ Michael: "Scientific vs Religious 'Knowledge' "
    14.07.2011 | 16:30

    Thanks Michael.

    " --- scientific knowledge has been decisive in even allowing so many people to live on our planet!"

    Of course. But this does not seem to address the issue I raised. In evolutionary theory a behaviour is 'adaptive' if it increases the expected fecundity of the individual organism that manifests that behaviour. I accept that there is evidence that religiosity is currently adaptive in this sense and I speculate that belief in the scientific method is not.

    " -- Would you concede that arts, musics and poems might contribute to a better and deeper understanding of the universe?

    A great question! Yes, I would. I would also add religion to this list. They all enhance human life. They also make a contribution to our understanding of our universe in the way I have suggested in earlier posts. Mainly unwittingly, they feed into the scientific method (SM) but, I contend, they are not a complementary way of exploring/understanding our universe. In this context, SM is the river of understanding while I suggest that the arts and religion are tributaries.

    "We evolved to be epistemological pluralists ---"

    Yes, we can handle more than one epistemology. However, to my mind, there is only one primary epistemology (SM) that enables us to husband and extend our knowledge [I have reclaimed this word :))] of the universe in which we find ourselves.

    I could easily describe the epistemology of SM and I think you would accept that it is well suited to the task I have described. I would challenge anyone that believes that religion is a complementary way of husbanding and extending our knowledge of the universe to write down an epistemology of religion in general, or of any particular religion, that is similarly up to the task.

  10. John Jacob Lyons @ J A Le Fevre: "Scientific vs Religious 'Knowledge' "
    14.07.2011 | 16:50

    Thanks for responding.

    " --- it was religion that taught us to love our neighbor"

    Did it? Evolutionary psychologists suggest that the advantages of caring for our neighbour became apparent as 'reciprocal altruism', 'kin selection' and 'mutual cooperation' long before Jesus said that this was the right thing to do.

    But this misses the point anyway. The issue is whether or not religion is another relevant kind of knowledge that is complementary to the scientific method. On this point, please see my latest reply to Michael in particular.

    Whether religion has been 'a good thing' for human society is another question entirely.

    Best wishes.

  11. J. A. Le Fevre @ John
    14.07.2011 | 18:44

    Evolutionary psychologists can put any manner of names to any manner of phenomenon they wish, but humans never learned to live together in large groups without organized religion – they never learned to organize governments, never learned to still their instincts to smite their neighbors – whatever anyone says about reciprocal altruism, other instincts seemed to override it. The focus of religion has been to know ourselves and how to live in this world. Basic and essential knowledge that no amount of science can be practiced without. Adaption is far more than fecundity, it is a sum of effective mechanism (DNA in our case) and effective behavior. Behavior requires knowledge and motivation beyond mechanism – religion has brought us the knowledge and motivation that now allows science to be studied. While science excels at explaining the universe, it is far more important to know ourselves and how to live. The universe is not the only thing that we need to explore, not the only knowledge we need to extend.

  12. John Jacob Lyons @J A Le Fevre
    14.07.2011 | 19:57

    With great respect, I would prefer not to be diverted into a discussion of whether or not religion has been a 'good thing' for humanity. There is much to be said on both sides of this interesting issue but Michael's paper at this Conference raised the question of whether or not religion ranks alongside science as 'knowledge' and all my comments on this particular thread have referred to this issue.

  13. J. A. Le Fevre @ John
    15.07.2011 | 00:51

    You are attempting to define knowledge too narrowly. It is not just about the universe, it is about our world as well and understanding humans - something religion has specialized in. Any utility of religion lies in the knowledge it has discovered, the wisdom it has incorporated. (Knowledge justified, if you would, by effecting utility to man.)

  14. John Jacob Lyons @ J A Le Fevre: "Scientific vs Religious 'Knowledge' "
    15.07.2011 | 05:49

    As I have said above, if religion is indeed a kind of 'knowledge' one should be able to state its epistemology. I can summarize the epistemology of science with reference to the scientific method; can you do the same for religion in general or any particular religion?

  15. J. A. Le Fevre John: Religion (general)
    15.07.2011 | 17:56

    Epistemology, from Wiki: The theory of knowledge, esp. with regard to its methods, validity, and scope.
    I tried to be clear in my post that the scope of religious knowledge is the human, and human society. As regards validity, I see no human society surviving these last 30,000 years without it. The justification/validation of knowledge is test, be that from science or life. For method, religion is applied and tested through life, not laboratory. The ultimate test for science is likewise life (and/or the universe, etc.), though testing typically begins in the lab. The issue of validation and justification is much less good or bad than succeed or fail. Societies without religion have consistently failed in the face of competition from those with. My comments were not that religion does good or bad, but that it has been extensively validated in real-world testing. My larger point is that some secular scientists want to take everything gained from religion and pretend that religion somehow wasn’t the process that has made their lives even possible. Building a world of (approaching) 7 billion souls would not have been possible without science, but building a city of one thousand souls was not possible without organized religion.

  16. John Jacob Lyons @ J A Le Fevre: "Scientific vs Religious 'Knowledge' "
    15.07.2011 | 21:08

    Thanks "J A".

    The question I am addressing is whether or not religious beliefs/contentions can be considered to be knowledge. To count as a body of knowledge with an appropriate epistemology one needs to show, inter alia, that such beliefs/contentions are objectively tested for validity and to describe how this is done.

    It is quite clear to me that no religion can claim to approach religious beliefs in this way and therefore such beliefs do not constitute a body of knowledge with an appropriate epistemology.

    I feel that I must rest my case at this point "J A" since I am in danger of repeating points that I made to Michael earlier in this thread. Many thanks for discussing this with me.

  17. J. A. LeFevre @ John
    17.07.2011 | 16:52

    You are simply insisting that you have defined yourself to a conclusion that is not there.

  18. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre, John Jacob Lyons & Michael Blume
    11.09.2011 | 20:58

    ABSTRACT - The Darwinian Model of Homo Sapiens is based solely on the outdated biology of the human species of 1870, and also did not take into account the cognitive and volitional powers of the human species, linking them falsely with the biological powers as their source and etiology.

    The Darwinian Model is therefore obsolete as a model for explaining the nature and powers of human beings and must be replaced by a model that takes into account, not only the cognitive and volitional powers of human beings, but also the empirical and observable data of the human embryonic sciences, as well as the massive biological knowledge revealed by the radiological and ultra-sound techniques, recorded in more than 100 scientific journals, chronicling this new body of scientific exploration and investigation.

    The only model that takes into accoung this vast new body of knowledge, as well as the cognitive and volitional powers of Homo Sapiens, is the Aristotelian-Thomistic Model, since it takes into account the totality of the empirical data, and the powers, habits and achievements of the human species in the history of human civilization and culture.

    Portions of this study will appear from time to time on this website, for those interested in this debate on the Biology of Religion.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  19. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre, John Jacob Lyons & Michael Blume
    11.09.2011 | 21:08

    A clarification of my last Post.

    The title of this study is:

    "The Obsolescence of the Darwinian Model for a Biology of Religion: A Biogenetic Study by Clifford Stevens

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  20. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Two realms by Michael Blume
    18.09.2011 | 05:37

    Two Realms: One Winne? Scientific vs. Religious "Knowledge: in Evolutionary Perspective by Dr. Michael Blume

    A Critique by Clifford Stevens

    This study endorses ths view that religion in human beings is the result of the biological powers of the human organism, under the guise of reconciling evolutionary and religious explanations of life.

    The reconciling thesis is that the two are overlapping magistra, and that their unification is to be found in the evolutionary doctrine of adaptive behavior.

    Dr. Blume posits a conflict between what he describes as an Epistomological Monism and an Epistemological Pluralism and indicates a preference for the second, thus the conflict between science and religion is not conclusive.

    The most serious limitation of study is Dr. Blumes definition of religion, and his goal in the study is to identify the "proximate mechanism linking religionary and evolutionary fitness".
    The greatest weakness of the study is that it is more a psychology or sociology of religion and not a Biology of Religion.

    His final conclusion is that religion consists of "symbolic narratives" motivating believers by communal attachement to "superempirical agents". A weakness of the study is the failure o define either religious or scientific knowledge or to explain what he means by "superemprical agents. One would think that he would have consulted a dictionary for a definition of religio, which is "the service and adoration of a god as expressed in forms of worship". This is neither a study of evolution or of religio, ut is the linking of certain concepts in evolutionary theory to affirm that there is no conflict between these two forms of knowledge.

    I. Thomistic Anthropology and the Epiphany of Human Powers.

    THESIS 1 - My study will contrast the biological model of Homo Sapiens, upon which Dr. Blume's study is based, with the Thomistic model, which includes a detailed study of the biological powers, as well as the itellectual and volitional powers which are specific to humana beings and which Drl Blume makes no mention of in his study.l

    It is not clear in his study, to which of the specifically human powers religion is attached to, and the concept of religion is left hanging in the air, indicating a terminus a quo,but the terminus ad quem is not even considered.

    One of the major flaws of the study is that the author does not seem to be aware that he has created a phantom "religion", going nowhere and having no objective purpose than "communal attachment to superempirical agents". One of these "agents" could be Dr. Faust's Mephistopheles or the Mad Hatter or Cheshire Cat of Alice in Wonderland.

    They could refer to any construction or fantasy from ghosts and goblins on Halloween to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes or Fatima.

    The expression is so general that it means nothing and has no scientific value whatsoever. Also, how does he distinguish betwee=n the "Beast" of William Golding's "Lord of Flies" from Moses and the Burning Bush of the Book of Exodus.l He seems unable to distinguish between genuine religion or rank superstition.

    He lumps them all under the one designation of "superempirical agents", which can include a rosary by an Italian mother praying for her sick child - to the Devil worship of certain coveys of witches - to a Hollywood star consulting her horoscope in the Los Angeles Times.

    This failure to distinguish true religion from false makes the study anything butg scientific, and it seems a ploy to underline an evolutionary doctrine that has no bearing on the subject under discussion and to call up from evolutionary history the approved list of evolutionary actors to back the thesis that Homo Sapiens is defined by his biology and that religion is an adaptive technique to assure the continued replication of the race.

    THESIS 2 -In contrast to the evolutionary model of Dr. Blume's study, the Thomistic model is straight and forthcoming: it recognizes, first of all an epiphany of powers in the human embryo, each one emerging according to exemplars in the DNA structure, informational in conten, but shot through with the specificity inherited from the parents. There is no evidence of biological supremacy or determinism and the biological powers are the substratum and herald of the intellectual and volitional powers which have been dormant in a condition of somatic organizational and development repose.

    The most notabl characteristic of the human embryo is the integer nature of embryonic development, the whole implicit in the tiny one-celled zygote and that whole repeated in meiosis and in the massive replication of the single cell that is the zygote. The integration of somatic, psychosomatic, intellectual and volitional powers is the most marked phenomenon of human embyonic life displaying a unity of development and the complete separation of the various powers in the totality of that development.

    The oneness is rooted in the underlying subject of this development, with its genetic code and signature giving specificity to each phase of development.

    (to be continued)

    Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska 5211505

  21. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Biology of Religion
    19.09.2011 | 03:32

    "Two Realms,One Winner? Scientific v. Religious "Knowledge" in Evolutionary Perspective by Dr. Michael Blume

    A Critique by Clifford Stevens

    (continued)

    THESIS 3 - The origin of all truly human activity originates (terminus a quo) in the intellectual and volitional powers of the human species. It terminates, however, in works of speech, art, science, literature, religion, medicine, pedagogy, politics, ethics, morals, athletics, covering the almost unlimited of human activities.

    The Terminus ad Quem of human activity takes place within the human mind and outside it, and its scope and range are as broad and varied as human life itself.

    It is the intellectual and volitional powers that have created human civilization and culture as we know it historically and and as we know it contemporaneously.

    It is scientically and utterly impossible that the biological powers of the human organism, which are limited in their scope and effects to the human organism itself, could be the cause and etiology of human achievements and culture.

    The biological powers serve and are the servants and instruments of the intellectual and volitional powers, but their immediate effects are within the human organism itself and are simply the physical substratum from which the intellectual and volitional powers work.

    Therefore, the hypothesis that religion or any of the activities listed above, has its etiology and cause in biology is not only unproved, but patently false.

    Clifford Stevens

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