scilogs Biology of Religion

Charles Darwin and his Evolutionary Studies of Religion at ESEB 2011 - Lecture

from Michael Blume, 20. August 2011, 07:35

Today, the 13th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) convenes at Tübingen University. A special I am looking forward to is the Outreach Symposium "Evolution - More than Biology" with Joseph Carroll (Literary Studies, University of Missouri, St. Louis), Esben Andersen (Economics, Aalborg University), Frank Ryan (Medicine, University of Sheffield) - and with me, from the field of scientific study of religion. Our shared aim is to introduce the colleagues from biology into thos interdisciplinary fields that have opened up to an evolutionary perspectives these last years. I am glad and grateful for the honor to introduce evolutionary studies of religiosity and religions.

As my topic, I decided to present the works of a theologian, whose works are not only important to evolutionary biology, but should be understood as awesome, interfaculty bridge building: Charles Darwin. - Yes, Darwin graduated in theology (and nothing else) and his great "Descent of Man" (1871) included a whole subchapter, definitions and hypotheses about the evolution of religiosity and religions.

In order to use and enrich the chances of the new media, I decided to put an extended version of my Darwin-lecture at my science-blogs:

"Evolutionary Studies of Religiosity and Religions, started by Charles Darwin",
Lecture at the 13th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), Tübingen University 2011

And for those preferring to listen and to see the slides, I am presenting the lecture as a two-part YouTube-lecture:

Second Part:

Just enjoy (by reading or listening) - and thank you very much for your interest!

Retrospect: The Outreach symposium at the ESEB-conference has been a huge success! Here is a picture taken two minutes before the start of my talk...



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Comments

  1. John Jacob Lyons Does the Scientific Account of Religiosity tend to Erode Belief?
    20.08.2011 | 10:49

    Some time ago I discussed this important issue with Justin Barrett. I have reproduced below one of my contributions to this discussion since I believe it is relevant to this article Michael.

    "Any scientific explanation of belief will appeal, in the first instance, to the conscious, rational mind. How might the conscious, rational mind of an open-minded, questing agnostic react to its first exposure to the scientific explanation of belief? Would it contribute anything meaningful at all to his/her thoughts about the reality or otherwise of a god?

    Our agnostic reasons that a good basis for personal belief would be either positive empirical evidence or positive, allbeit subjective, personal experience. Bearing in mind the lack of any scientifically acceptable empirical evidence for the reality of any god, and the fact that only a relatively modest proportion of believers have had a confirmatory personal experience, he reasons that the scientific explanation that he has just been given could well explain the very high proportion of adults (80%?) worldwide who would claim to believe in the existence of a higher power. Furthermore, the diversity of the deities cited by the thousands of different, and contradictory, religions around the world would also be consistent with this scientific explanation.

    I think it is highly likely that the consilience of the scientific explanation of belief together with the points I have made above are indeed relevant to our questing, open-minded agnostic. It explains the high level of belief, in many cases in the absence of either empirical or personal evidence, and the diversity of the gods proposed by the multi-various religions, sects and cults around the world. At the rational, conscious level it would appear that the scientific explanation is indeed relevant to the issue.

    What about the unconscious, intuitive level of cognition? The complete scientific explanation of belief includes explanation of the fact that such belief brings meaning, beauty, inspiration, a sense of calm and inner peace and other wonderful feelings to many believers. However, our unconscious and conscious levels of cognition do not operate independently and, once the strength of belief is weakened at the conscious level, it is likely to have a negative impact on the benefits of belief that I have referred to. In some ways sadly, when doubt creeps in at a conscious level, it may well erode faith at all levels. Realization of self-delution has always played a large part in apostasy.

    I conclude that explaining belief scientifically will indeed tend to explain away belief."

  2. John Jacob Lyons Does the Scientific Account of Religiosity tend to Erode Belief?
    20.08.2011 | 11:44

    I just want to add that the scientific account of religiosity that some of us have been formulating over the past few years is the only explanation I can think of that accounts for the worldwide ubiquity and diversity of religious belief. Can anyone else provide an alternative explanation for this simultaneous ubiquity and diversity?

  3. 20.08.2011 | 12:03

    Thanks for your interesting contribution.

    As a scientist in the field and a religious person, I am not making the experience that the evolutionary exploration of religiosity is undermining beliefs. Are evolutionary studies of musicality undermining music, or are those exploring the evolution of human speech undermining language?

    Personally, I am a little bit tired about discussions about the existence of God as these tend to become emotional and ideological very quickly. Evolutionary studies of religion are flourishing because atheists, agnostics and theists stopped shouting at each other and rightfully began to concentrate on the empirical and evolutionary questions instead. There remains so much to be explored, and that is the reason I am happily participating in the field.

  4. John Jacob Lyons @Michael
    20.08.2011 | 12:54

    "Are evolutionary studies of musicality undermining music, or are those exploring the evolution of human speech undermining language?"

    I agree with you that we need to avoid getting into a discussion about the existence or otherwise of God.

    Having said that, I would like to comment on the rigor of your analogy above.

    As you say, neither our enjoyment of music, language nor religious practice are touched by study/analysis, whether using evolutionary theory or otherwise. We can continue to enjoy them.

    However, neither music nor language involves belief. Because religion does involve belief, any purely humanistic explanation of our religiosity is bound to impact this belief since it will tend to demonstrate that religiosity would exist whether or not our beliefs are true.

  5. 20.08.2011 | 21:44

    I agree with you, save for one single word. You wrote: Because religion does involve belief, any purely humanistic explanation of our religiosity is bound to impact this belief since it will tend to demonstrate that religiosity would exist whether or not our beliefs are true.

    Well, I can't see how evolutionary theory qualifies as "humanistic". It was first presented by a theologian ;-) , and it is not about humanity, but about life in general. If anything, the finding seems to be fully congruent with many religious beliefs: The entire universe is evolving capacities to transcendence and worship. Teilhard de Chardin would certainly be very happy with that. Cp.:
    http://www.scilogs.eu/...ification-of-the-universe

    And there are already "evolutionary preachers" around, actively embracing evolutionary studies as part of their worldviews. Cp. Michael Dowd "Thank God for Evolution":
    http://www.scilogs.eu/...evolution-by-michael-dowd

    Finally, a new study just found that higher education is affecting various belief systems in various ways, weakening some and strengthening others:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...inkusaolp00000008

    I would bet that the same would apply to evolutionary studies, too. From my experiences among colleagues in the field of evolutionary studies of religion, I might conclude that atheists tended to stay atheists whereas believers tended to stay believers - but the mutual understanding and respect tended to grow. Although sheer curiosity might be the original motivation, more respect concerning the other seems to be a well-taken side effect of evolutionary studies. :-)

  6. John Jacob Lyons @ Michael
    21.08.2011 | 13:13

    You write "I can't see how evolutionary theory qualifies as "humanistic"."

    Yes, I see your point. I used the word 'humanistic' when I meant 'secular'. I was referring to the relatively recent scientific account of religiosity as the resultant of: evolutionary theory (HAAD, parental authority and attachment), existential considerations, social factors etc. I call this 'secular' because it does not need to introduce theological concepts. I accept that such concepts can be introduced, possibly as interpretation, without contradiction at any point but they are not necessary to account for most of the religiosity in the world.

    So, I believe that most of the religiosity we see in the world can be explained by this purely scientific account.

    I want to thank you Michael for the excellent links you often provide. They are always interesting and informative.

  7. Li Kong Evolution
    31.08.2011 | 03:05

    Some might suggest that there could be an evolution of languages from apes to human languages. Discuss.
    Refer to the website address for the derivation of modern English as follows:
    http://www.englishclub.com/...language-history.htm
    No doubts English language has its derivation from Germanic languages due to their invasion during 5th centurary A.D., many of the modern English words have the same written and spoken words from old English. Or in other words, modern English words might turn up to be the mixture of native languages and Germanic languages as a result of invasion. However, no matter how English languages change, it has still been from human languages since it is the mixture of English languages and Germanic languages. American languages might well be mixed with Latin words and some of their words might have the prefix or roots words to be derived similarly from Latin words. Thus, English languages have not been evolving instead, they tend to borrow from foreign human languages to form part of their languages so that the languages would be changed from time to time. No matter how it changes, it still adheres with the principality that one language might adopt foreign human languages to be added to be part of their languages. The same is in Malaysia. Some like to use Allahmad to be part of their English word and it means Oh! My God. since Allah is the God of Muslims. They simply borrow word from other foreign human language to be part of their English.

    The same as Spanish. Refer to the website address for the derivation of Spanish as follows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language
    Spanish has its derivation from Roman languages and many of Spanish words are quite similar to Roman languages.

    From the extracted examples, it gives a clear picture to us that human languages have not been evolved themselves. The reason why there would be change of languages has been merely due to one country’s language has adopted words from another country to form part of their languages so as to cause the change. However, bear in mind that despite there could be change of human languages, it is simply due to one country’s language adopts another country to be part of their languages. Or in other words, no doubt how the human languages have been transformed, it would still be human languages since it tends to use foreign words to form part of their languages so as to create new languages.

    All the apes’ languages, whether they are in Africa, Eastern Countries or Western or etc., sound alike and none of them sound like human languages. Even if there would be change of apes’ languages from Africa due to the influence of apes from Eastern Countries, the change could be within the spoken apes’ languages since none of them could speak human languages. As apes’ languages are entirely different from human languages, how could apes be evolved from human beings then?

    Even if you would try to train any apes in any region to speak in human languages, none of the apes could be able to learn that type of skill to speak in human languages. As that is so, how could human beings be evolved from apes unless there would be a proof that apes could be trained to speak human languages?

    If human languages could be evolved from apes’ languages, some spoken words from human languages would have identical sounds as apes due to the borrowing of words from apes from another from other regions or countries for the transformation. As none of the spoken words from human languages would have the identical sounds as apes, how could human beings be evolved from apes?

    If human languages cold be evolved from apes’, many languages should have certain similarity with apes’ languages. Not only that, some human beings might understand apes languages due to the similarity of their languages with apes. Why is it that none of the human beings could understand apes’ languages? As that is so, how could human beings be evolved from apes?

  8. John Jacob Lyons @ Li Kong, Evolution
    31.08.2011 | 11:32

    You ask "As none of the spoken words from human languages would have the identical sounds as apes, how could human beings be evolved from apes?"

    The evolution of human language ability is currently a 'hot topic' in science. In the US, both the University of California (UCLA) and George Washington University, for example, are doing ground-breaking work in this area.

    Comparative studies of the physiology of the jaw, throat and vocal chords in man and chimp have explained, at a proximate level, the difference in ability in terms of sound production. But this just scratches the surface so to speak.

    At George Washington University they have been carrying out comparative studies of Broca's Area; part of the brain which has been shown to be fundamental to the ability to produce speech. No surprises there. It is bigger and more complex in humans.

    At a more ultimate, genetic, level, UCLA have noticed that there are differences between the species in the form of the FOXP2 transcription factor. This is a gene that orchestrates the operation of other genes during the development of many, if not all, the faculties involved in the production of the vocal ability of the individual.

    OK. So far, so far! But, in order to answer your excellent question, we need to explain the divergence of the evolutionary trajectory between chimps on one hand and Homo sapiens on the other, don't we? We need to start talking Natural Selection (in particular, differential selection pressures) and, if I may make so bold, Genetic Priming.

    Since I need to start my day proper right now, I will try to return to this part of my reply later on.

  9. John Jacob Lyons @ Li Kong, Evolution
    31.08.2011 | 12:47

    Re-reading your post, I think I may be able to spare you my lecture on comparative selective pressure in natural selection and genetic priming; such a pity. Although they are indeed interconnected, your question seems to relate to the cultural evolution of language rather than to the genetic evolution of linguistic ability.

    The answer to this interpretation of your question is analogous to the answer to the question "Why do no components of the crystal-set radio of the 1930s appear in the modern digital radio?. Does this not show that the modern radio did not evolve from the old type of radio?" The answer in a resounding 'No!' in both cases.

    The semantic content of the chimp's 'language' was completely superseded by human language. There was no further use for sounds that expressed the semantic content of the earlier form of communication. In the same way, none of the components of the crystal-set have been found to be useful in a modern digital radio. All the necessary functionality is now performed in a new way and with different components.

    I hope this answers your question Li.

  10. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre
    31.08.2011 | 17:22

    This will be my first attack on the scientific validity of a Biology of Religion.

    Man, Religion and God
    by Clifford Stevens

    With the publication of Robert Brennan's "Thomistic Psychology" in 1941, Thomistic studies took a giant step forward in the consideration of that which is specifically and distinctly human in Homo Sapiens from an exclusively scientific and empirical point of view: human beings s creatures of the earh, with an array of biological, somatic, psychomatic and cognitive powers and faculties that are exercised in their concrete earthly existence.

    The Thomistic view of human nature from a purely scientific point of view clashes remarkedly from that of a host of bioligists who, drawing erroneously upon the doctrine of Natural Selection of Charles Darwin, claims that human beings are completely the product of biological powers and that the specifically intellectual and emotive powers are mere illusions produced by adaptive behavior and other deep-seated patterns hidden in the somatic and psychosomatic structures of the Human Genome.

    This article will demonstrate from the empirical data of human emberyonic science that THERE IS NO CAUSAL LINK between the biological structure of human beings and the human cognitive powers, and that the Human Genome is specifically human, self-contained, and that the Human Embryo is equipped with "exemplars" of its somatic, psychosomatic and cognitive powers from the moment of conceptionl

    This article will also demonstrate that religion has its origin in the Human Intellect, based upon a reasons judgment of objective and observable realities.

    The Biology of Religion is, therefore, a pseudo-science masquerading as a science, erroneously stating that the biological forces of human beings are the controlling mechanism of all human behavior.

    Father Clifford Stevens

  11. J. A. Le Fevre Father Stevens -
    31.08.2011 | 18:31

    On your pilgrimage to la Mancha you can expect large windmills in your path. You are drawing on ideas that even you recognize were dismissed 60 years ago, and have received no validation nor support since. If you seek to reinvent the entire science of biology, I suggest you begin with where it is at today.

  12. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre
    31.08.2011 | 22:57

    Dr. Le Fevre - I am afraid that it is you who are not current on the scholarship. I mentioned "Thomistic Psychology" because it was a watershed in Thomistic Studies, when all the developments in the evolutionary and biological sciences were taken into account.

    You are apparently aware of "L'Initiation a Saint Thomas d'Aquin: Sa personne et son oeuvre" Jean Torrell, published in 1993, or of the multitude of articles appearing in specialized journals in France, Germany, Poland,Italy and Spain, or my own articles in "Angelicum" in 1980 and this year.

    It is not a matter of current or past developments, it is a lack of any causal link between the biological powers of human beings and human cognitive and emotive powers. I am not attacking evolution or the scientific work of Charles Darwin, I am attackin and calling into question your misuse of his work in applying it where it does not belong, and drawing from that application theories and conclusions that are not based on solid scientific evidence.

    You have built up a whole body of pseudoscience claiming to demonstrate that human behavior and religion are illusions, pure fictions and biological fantasies. That premise and those conclusions will not stand up to the latest developments in embryonic science or the latest research in DNA and its informational sequences.

    The fact that I may have been around a little longer than you have does not mean that I am not up on the latest developments, even in your science. I cannot as a priest advise you to examine your conscience, but you should certainly examine the factual flaw that is staring you right in the face.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  13. Nathan Jonfield Subject
    01.09.2011 | 03:49

    Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image.” Genesis 2:21-22, “And the LORD GOD caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept:... the ribe, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

  14. Michael Blume @Nathan Jonfield
    01.09.2011 | 10:00

    So what?

  15. ali @Father Clifford Stevens
    01.09.2011 | 10:10
    This article will demonstrate from the empirical data of human emberyonic science that THERE IS NO CAUSAL LINK between the biological structure of human beings and the human cognitive powers, and that the Human Genome is specifically human, self-contained, and that the Human Embryo is equipped with "exemplars" of its somatic, psychosomatic and cognitive powers from the moment of conception

    We are all looking forward to your proof the inexistence of a "causal link" (alone methodologically I am very interested in it). Please excuse me if in the meantime until your single article (probably in a vanity journal) disproves everything we know I stick to the accumulated knowledge of the last 150 years of literally hundreds of thousands of scientists in a vast number of fields from Geology to Biology.

  16. 01.09.2011 | 10:14

    Thanks, @ali. I couldn't agree more...

  17. ali @Nathan Jonfield
    01.09.2011 | 10:15
    And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. (Leviticus 11.6).
  18. Taede A. Smedes @ John Jacob Lyons
    01.09.2011 | 10:20

    Your write:

    "In some ways sadly, when doubt creeps in at a conscious level, it may well erode faith at all levels. Realization of self-delution has always played a large part in apostasy.

    I conclude that explaining belief scientifically will indeed tend to explain away belief."

    I think your conclusion is a non-sequitur. It doesn't follow automatically from the scientific explanation of belief that belief is explained away. You add your own premiss, viz. that "when doubt creeps in at a conscious level, it may well erode faith at all levels". Yes, that may happen. But I've only seen it happen with people who believe religious belief is about (existential) certainty, and that religious ideas function more or less like scientific explanations or hypotheses. If such hypotheses or explanations are confronted with scientific explanations or hypotheses, yes there will be conflict.

    I don't want to sound offensive, but in my experience this is typical of an American religiosity. American theology has its own history, going back to 19-century Baconianism which emphasized that religious belief had the same epistemic status as scientific hypotheses. This view is still dominant in many forms of American Protestantism (esp. evangelical forms of it). In my (European) perspective, this is quite a strange form of belief (although it's becoming more prominent in Europe as well, due to the influence of American-evangelical forms of religion in Europe). Most European believers probably wouldn't see their faith as a quasi-scientific hypothesis they endorse. It's a way of life, not an explanation.

    Moreover, in Europe religious belief has been much influenced by existentialist thought (or perhaps Existentialism was initially influenced by theology, who knows?). So most religious believers would not say that their religious belief is about certainty, but that doubt is central to it. Is that apostacy? No, it's how religious faith works, it's even biblical (look at the little boy Samuel, who starts to doubt his own mental sanity when called three times by a mysterious voice at night).

    If your faith is based on certainty of belief, it may be liable to erosion due to an increase in scientific understanding. However, for most believers, doubt is inherent to faith, and science really does not add so much to that, either positively or negatively.

    Indeed, if you talked to Barrett you'll probably know that he sees resonances between the cognitive science of religion and ideas from Reformed Epistemology (Plantinga et al.). Barrett sometimes hints at the idea that a cognitive and evolutionary explanation of how religious belief works may actually be beneficial to faith, in the sense that it indicates that religious people aren't crazy at all, they're just doing what comes natural to humans. But there's no guarantee for certainty. There never is in life...

  19. John Jacob Lyons @ Taede A Smedes
    01.09.2011 | 11:27

    Thanks for that thoughtful, knowledgeable, but fatally flawed response Taede.

    You write " --- It doesn't follow automatically from the scientific explanation of belief that belief is explained away."

    The fatal flaw arises because you begin your argument with this blatant 'straw-man' Taede. I didn't say this at all. You correctly quote me at the very beginning of your post to say --------------

    " --- I conclude that explaining belief scientifically will indeed tend to explain away belief."

    That is a totally different proposition. I actually used the phrase 'tend to' whereas you have converted this to 'follow automatically'. As you know, in philosophical/ scientific discourse, it is de rigueur to represent as accurately as possible any position that you wish to oppose. You transgress my friend.

    Of course it doesn't 'follow automatically'. But I continue to argue that it will tend to erode belief.

    You go on to support my position from your own experience ----------------

    " --- I've only seen it happen with people who believe religious belief is about (existential) certainty ---"

    You are simply saying that you have witnessed the tendency I anticipate; but only in a particular sub-group of believers. However, you go on to tell us that the religiosity of this sub-group is "typical of American religiosity" and is also "becoming more prominent in Europe".

    You are making a good job of supporting my argument; so I will simply 'rest my case'.

  20. Taede A. Smedes @John Jacob Lyons
    01.09.2011 | 11:44

    My point was, to generalize a bit, that American believers seem much more afraid of scientific insights that touch on their religious belief than Europeans. So what you are saying about the tendency the belief is being eroded by scientific insights, may yield for many American believers, but not for many Europeans. In other words, your claim is too general. The only religious faith that is being eroded is of the sort that is structured like a quasi-scientific explanation or hypothesis. So you may have a point as to American religiosity, but in Europe, most people simply don't see science as a threat because they experience their faith of being of an entirely different order. (That's also the reason why in Europe we don't have so many rows about creationism. Most European believers find creationism to be a typical American phenomenon - which it is.) So, I'm only supporting your argument if you take American religiosity as being the prototype of religiosity in general. Unless you are thinking that, I am not supporting your argument at all!

  21. John Jacob Lyons @ Taede A Smedes
    01.09.2011 | 12:56

    You write "In other words, your claim is too general."

    In the post that began this thread, I related my argument to a 'questing agnostic'. In my experience, there are many people who would state their religion as 'Christian', for example, but whose views, when these are explicitly revealed and examined, are close to the 'questing agnostic' end of the religiosity spectrum.

    I suggest that doubt will tend to increase when and if such individuals become aware of, and are able to understand, the scientific explanation of the observed worldwide ubiquity of religiosity that exists concurrently with the worldwide diversity of religions.

    If we are both correct, we now have the 'American style' literal Christian believers you have identified and the 'questing agnostics' that I have described. On this account, the potential scope of the doubt that can be sown by the scientific explanation widens.

    In your penultimate post you say of religion that for some ------------

    "It's a way of life, not an explanation."

    Yes, of course. But the fact that for some people it can become foundational to their life, and to their social life in particular, is part of the scientific explanation of religiosity that I have referred to.

  22. John Jacob Lyons Existential Fear and The Meaning of Life; (no less!)
    01.09.2011 | 16:59

    I would like to raise an issue closely related to the question I posed at the beginning of this thread.

    Many of us fear death. Many of us wonder about 'The Meaning of Life'? Belief in a religion usually offers some relief from the fear of death as well as some kind of explanation of the meaning of human existence.

    Does a thorough understanding of Evolutionary Theory (ET) offer satisfactory, alternative answers to these two existential issues?

    What do you think?

    Can you explain how your religiosity and/or your understanding of ET enables you to deal with these issues?

  23. Jason Tannery CREATIONISM VERSUS EVOLUTIONISM
    01.09.2011 | 18:56

    Genesis 2:7, "(mentions that)And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." As the phrase, the Lord God formed man of the dust of the grund, is mentioned in Genesis 2:7, it gives the implication God formed man directly from the dust instead of causing apes to evolve to human beings. Unless it is mentioned that God evolved man from apes, it is then rational to jump into the conclusion that human beings were evolved from apes. As the phrase, God formed man of the dust, is mentioned in Genesis 2:7, it implies direct creation of human beings from dust.

  24. Jason Tannery DIVERSIFICATION OF LANGUAGES THROUGH BABEL
    01.09.2011 | 23:41

    Genesis 11:9, "Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." Genesis 11:9 has spelt out clearly that diversification of human languages were not throughout a long period of time. Instead, it was at Babel that God caused human languages to be multiplied. Or in other words, human beings spoke one language prior to the event of Genesis 11:9.

  25. J. A. Le Fevre @ Nathan and Jason
    02.09.2011 | 00:52

    In The Literal Interpretation of Genesis, St. Augustine wrote: (Borrowed and paraphrased from ‘Wiki’)

    - It is so obvious to any reasoned observer that the claims made in Genesis are at odds with the observations made in life that to assert a literal interpretation will bring mockery upon the Christian. -
    ‘In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation.’
    — De Genesi ad literam, 2:9
    Christian theologians have recognized for 1600 years that Genesis is not to be taken literally. That many have forgotten this truth is a reflection on their study or education. My mother (~1970) echoed Michael’s comments above: ‘Creationism is bad science and bad theology.’

  26. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to Ali
    02.09.2011 | 05:23

    To quote a man wiser than myself in scientific matters - Erwin Schrodinger - beware the man of one science, whether it is 150 years old or older. The fact is the causal link is lacking and I'm afraid you are not up on the latest science, especially the science of the Human Genome. No one, ad I mean no one, has come up with a model of what is being revealed there: there are genetic signstures and genetic fingerprints and a few genetic items that might suprise you. I think you are still laboring on what was uncover years ago, and you need to bring your kowledge up to date.
    I would advise that you read the Preface of Erwin Schrodinger's "What is life and it might give you a little humility of the real scientist. From your words, I would I would imagine that your gift for analysis is well developed, but what is needed now is a gift for synthesis which Schrodinger was attempting in several groundbreaking books.

    Here is two of his sayings which I think you should ponder, since they threaten the very concept of a "Biology of Religion" and point to the flaw that will prove it is scientifically untenable:

    "Neither in the theory of evolution nor in thje mind-matter problem has science been able to adumbrate the causal linkage satisfactorily even to its most ardent disciples."

    "The scientist subconsciously - almost inadvertently - simplifies his problem of understanding Nature by disregarding or cutting out of the picture to be constructed, himself, his own personality, the subject of cognizance."

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  27. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to Michael Blume & John Jacob Lyons
    02.09.2011 | 17:04

    The Biology of Religion, as it is explained by this new school of scientists, is a form Biological Determinism, which is propagandized under the banner of Charles Darwin, as if he were the author of this science, and that it is simply another variant of Darwinian Evolution.

    It has the same goal, however, of Economic Determinism, and that is to explain every area of human life, culture and civiliation by biological factors and to make this "science" the universal science to explain to which every other area of human life is explained and is subject.

    Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection is being used to explain away the freedom and autonomy of the human intellect and to reduce all things human to the level of unthinking mindlessness, and the final goal of this "science" is clear: atheism is "scentific" and only atheists are true scientists.l

    In the scientific community, this standard is already being used as a form of quality control, and even sincerely religious biologists have been lured into accepting a "Biology of Religion" as the standard of scientific authenticity, as if it were a new form of Darwinism and not the standard for a new form of atheism.l

    This is clear from the very definition of the "Biology of Religion". Religion is sone form of human civilization and culture for which science has no scientific explanation and which is a dominant and critical dimension in human life and purpose. Religion, for these Biologists, is no longer the free and reasonable act of a thinking and reasoning human being, it is an illusion built into the genes of every living person and is part of the biological inheritance inscribed on their DNA.

    This is also clear from the titles coming off the presses of this new scientitic enterprise: "The Biology of Religion: The Darwinian Gospel" - "The God Delusion" - "The Fracture of an Illusion: Science and the Dissolution of Religion" - Religion Explained: The Human Instincts that Fashion Gods, Spirits and Ancestors" - The Biological Evolution of Religious Mind and Behavior".

    This is not science, it is propaganda of the most subtle and effective kind, because it is linked to a scientitic label, giving the impression that the scientist is the ultimate judge of human affairs and that human beings are simply the product of biological forces over which they have no contro. The Biology of Religin is simply the banner for a new form of atheism that masquerades under the name of science.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  28. John Jacob Lyons @ Michael
    03.09.2011 | 09:17

    As I have pointed out elsewhere on this blog, the current scientific account of religiosity is neither deterministic nor purely biological/ genetic. It includes components that are social, existential, parental, political, established patterns of cognition and free-will.

    This account of religiosity is not a threat to faith because it is bad science as some would have you believe. It is a threat because it is good science. Please see my previous posts on this thread in this regard.

    As a psychologist, I expect that simply bad-mouthing the scientific account using sophistry and pseudo-science will be an ego-defense adopted by some believers. The more enlightened faithful will engage positively with it.

  29. John Jacob Lyons @ Michael
    03.09.2011 | 10:06

    The last use of the word 'threat' in my post above is unnecessarily confrontational. I would replace it with the more philosophical word 'challenge'.

    However, I think that some believers do indeed perceive it as a threat to religious belief and are reacting accordingly.

  30. Jason Tannery EVOLUTION
    04.09.2011 | 03:49

    Refer to website address http://www.pbs.org/...n/library/faq/cat01.html#Q02 pertaining to question 2 (Isn’t evolution just a theory that remains unproven?) that was raised.

    It is mentioned in the 3rd line of the paragraph that a science theory stands until proven wrong – It is never proven correct. This statement is a bit ridiculous in the sense that a theory might come from someone’s imagination through logical link among all the facts and yet nothing could disapprove this theory and it could be established to be part of the science.

    Charles Darwin mentioned that human beings would have evolved from apes. Some might say that human beings could be originated from bears or polar bears since these animals also have almost the same physical bodies as human beings. Both bears as well as polar bears could hold things with their hands. Some might well argue that their physical bodies changed to adapt to their physical bodies to the ultimate form of human beings. Why was it that Charles Darwin needed to suggest that human beings would have evolved from apes when bears and polar bears could be used to be another source to support his theory? All these queries prove that his theory was simply from his own imagination

    As Charles Darwin mentioned that human beings would have evolved from apes to accept his so-called, evolution theory, which was the ancestors of the apes? Which was the predecessor of apes? Or in other words, there would be a time when plants would evolve to animals through the process of evolution? Could we find evolution theory be a little ridiculous in which plants could develop to the extreme to animals?

    Refer to the website address http://www.allaboutscience.org/...of-evolution.htm pertaining to the evolution theory.

    The following is the extract under the sub-title of Darwin's Theory of Evolution - The Premise:

    “Darwin's Theory of Evolution is the widely held notion that all life is related and has descended from a common ancestor: the birds and the bananas, the fishes and the flowers -- all related…”

    Great to know that birds and the bananas have the common ancestor. Many queries have to be raised pertaining to their common ancestor: Which was the predecessor of birds and bananas? Which animal was the best to be the predecessor of birds in order to be evolved to the ultimate birds? Which animal that had the beak and feathers as the same as birds to be placed as the predecessor of birds? If you would mention that there were either Pteranodon or Pterodactyl or Petinosaurus or Quetzalcoatlus or Rhamporphydon or Archaeopteryx or Avisaurus or Piksi or Confiucionornis or Haopterus or Microraptor or Rahonavis or The Pterosaur or Rhamphorhynchus, then a question will be raised that who was the predecessor of any one of these dinosaurs? Why was it so? How was it happened?

    Birds and bananas are two different sources and yet Charles Darwin’s theory supports that they have the common ancestor. Further questions have to be raised: What made the common ancestor to stream out into two entire different groups and that is one could not be stationed at a place (such as, plants) and another is movable (such as, birds that could fly around). To allow common ancestor to evolve into plants and to station at one area would simply restrict its movement. Don’t you find it as poor redevelopment as going backward instead of evolving or advancing.

    As Charles Darwin’s theory supports that birds and bananas have their common ancestor, what would be the proof that they have the same ancestor despite all their features and functions are different?

  31. Bjørn Østman Subject
    05.09.2011 | 03:34

    Hi Michael.

    I saw your talk, and enjoyed it very much. And there did indeed seem to be a lot of interest among the biologists.

    One question that you were asked that I think should be better dealt with: What about the heritability of religiosity? Of course it is not genetically inherited, and it also seems that conversion rates are quite high. I remember seeing a great graphic once of rates between various religions and atheism that showed quite large numbers of conversion. Have you seen it?

  32. J. A. LeFevre @ Jason
    05.09.2011 | 03:36

    Its all in the DNA. Any decent high school level course on evolutionary biology should explain it.

  33. Michael Blume @Bjorn
    05.09.2011 | 08:10

    Thanks for your interest and question!

    Religiosity turns out to be partially (genetically) heritable as other biocultural traits such as musicality, intelligence etc. See here for new and older Twin Studies:
    http://www.scilogs.eu/...med-by-another-twin-study

    Of course, the distinction between the primarily inherited biological foundations (religiosity, musicality, creativity etc.) and its primarily learned cultural expression (religious traditions, songs, arts etc.) are to be taken into account! And when people are spared from existential insecurity, many of them chose to dampen their investments in religious practices, leaving the highly religious as child-rich minorities among demographically imploding seculars. See, for example:
    http://www.scilogs.eu/...and-data-by-eric-kaufmann

  34. John Jacob Lyons @ Bjorn
    05.09.2011 | 11:22

    Please follow the link below for my response to your question to Michael about the heritability of religiosity.

    Of course, the article only refers to genetic heritability. Cultural heritability of religiosity is another, very relevant, issue.

    http://www.scilogs.eu/...-post-by-john-jacob-lyons

  35. John Jacob Lyons @ Bjorn
    05.09.2011 | 15:54

    To clarify.

    I suggest that there is a sub-group of genes in the human genome that is relevant to religiosity. I further suggest that the strength of an individual's potential religiosity will be influenced by the actual gene-values (these are called alleles) that the individual has inherited. I refer to behaviours of this kind as being 'genetically primed'.

    As I have implied, I believe that we are (differentially) genetically primed for several other adaptive behaviours in addition to religiosity; language, musicality and even morality are examples.

  36. John Jacob Lyons @ Michael re Genetic Priming generally
    05.09.2011 | 16:25

    If it is correct, I believe that my 'Genetic Priming' theory is potentially important in evolutionary theory generally. But --- Is it correct?

    I have been blogging about it for 2/3 years now on well-known scientific blogs and it hasn't been challenged at all by other evolutionary theorists. However, they seem to accept it without giving it their explicit endorsement and, to my knowledge, it has never been referenced. Academic inertia in similar circumstances has been noted before by other theorists.

    Having said that it was endorsed as being novel and correct in an e-mail I received from Daniel Dennett some time ago.

    It is a very challenging theory to test empirically since it relates to the effect of adaptive BEHAVIOUR on the genome. However, I think that I can prove, deductively, that it must occur given a consistent adaptive behaviour.

  37. Jason Tannery EVOLUTION AND ITS EVIDENCE
    05.09.2011 | 18:37

    The following are the extracts from the website address http://en.wikipedia.org/...troduction_to_evolution pertaining to the introduction of evolution.
    The biodiversity of life evolves by means of mutations, genetic drift and natural selection. The process of natural selection is based on three conditions. First, all individuals are supplied with hereditary material in the form of genes that are received from their parents, then passed on to their offspring. Second, organisms tend to produce more offspring than the environment can support. Third, there are variations among offspring as a consequence of either the introduction of new genes via random changes called mutations or reshuffling of existing genes during sexual reproduction.[1][2][3]
    From the above extracts, it is clear that biodiversity occurs as a result of the interaction of all the elements, such as, mutations, genetic drift and natural selection. In order for the process of natural selection to occur so as to achieve diversification through evolution, three conditions have to be fulfilled and these include inheriting genes from one generation to another; the multiplication of offspring; and the introduction of new genes via random changes or reshuffling of existing genes.
    There are a number of queries have to be raised below pertaining to the phrase, all individuals… hereditary material in the form of genes that are…from their parents then passed on to their offspring, that is extracted above, plays a part for the contribution to the ultimate evolution:
    a) If all individual hereditary materials in the form of genes from their parents have to be passed on to their offspring, all their offspring should have some hereditary material in the form of genes that are identical to their common ancestor. Let’s assume that banana and bird have the same ancestor. As hereditary material in the form of genes would pass on from their ancestor to the ultimate evolution to banana and bird, there should have certain hereditary material in the form of genes that could be found common among banana and bird. As banana and bird are two different natures without any common genes among them, how could there be common ancestor for both banana and bird? The same is for any kind of plants and animals. As there is no common gene among plants and animals and not even animals, such as, between crocodiles and apes, how could there be any common ancestor among them?
    b) If human beings were evolved from apes, which animal would be the one that caused apes to be evolved initially that had the identical genes that would have passed down to them? As none of the animals have the same genes as apes, how could apes be formed through evolution? As apes could not be formed through evolution, how could there be common ancestor between banana and apes as there is no trace between apes and other animals?
    The following are the extracts from the website address http://en.wikipedia.org/...n_evolutionary_genetics under the sub-title of ‘Origin of Apes’:
    Biologists classify humans, along with only a few other species, as great apes (species in the family Hominidae). The Hominidae include two distinct species of chimpanzee (the bonobo, Pan paniscus, and the common chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes), two species of gorilla (the western gorilla, Gorilla gorilla, and the eastern gorilla, Gorilla graueri), and two species of orangutan (the Bornean orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus, and the Sumatran orangutan, Pongo abelii)…
    As mentioned in the extract above that biologists have found two distinct species of chimpanzee; the common chimpanzee; two species of gorilla; and two species of orangutan to have the same gene as human beings. However, there are a few queries that have to be raised pertaining to the reliability of these sources that have been gathered for the support of evolution:
    a) As there are only a few apes have been found to have the same gene as human beings instead of all, would there be such a co-incidence in which only these few apes are so distinctive from other apes at the time of their creation to have the same gene as human beings? Or in other words, it would be that these few apes might have already been created initially to have the same gene as human beings co-incidentally and this was not the result of evolution that would have presumed by Charles Darwin. If these apes would have been created co-incidentally to have the same gene as human beings, it would be irrational to use these apes to prove that human beings would have been evolved from apes? Let’s give you an example for illustration. When you examine a stranger that declares to be your missing brother and find out that he has the same blood group of ‘0’ as you, would you simply conclude that this stranger must be your brother. Certainly you could not! This is due to that stranger might not be your brother. The reason that that stranger has the same blood group as you might be simply out of co-incidence. Thus, it might be a co-incidence to have these apes to be created initially to have the same gene as human beings. If it could be a co-incidence, it is irrational to use the reason that these apes that have the same gene as human beings to conclude that human beings were evolved from apes.
    b) There would be a possibility that these few apes and human beings could be created distinctively from each other and there should not be any relationship among these few apes and human beings at the time of creation.

    c) Charles Darwin might support that human beings were evolved from apes. However, his theory could not have full supported since one might argue why he should insist to choose apes instead of from other animals for evolution. Unless there has been an experiment that has done successfully that could convert the apes as listed above to human beings in the past, it is then rational to support that there is a proven science that human beings could be evolved from apes. To insist that human beings were evolved from apes and yet did not have eye-witness through experiment that human beings could be evolved from apes, the theory is somewhat not tested and simply out of his imagination.

    As there could be many alternative reasons that could not come to the conclusion that human beings were evolved from apes and yet Charles Darwin was not the one that was born at the time of the birth of first human beings, to jump into the conclusion that human beings were evolved from apes without any eye-witness of the evolution but simply through comparing gene is a bit speculative.
    If these selected few species of apes were evolved from the few chosen apes as mentioned above, i.e. two distinct species of chimpanzee and etc., a few queries have to be raised pertaining to other apes:
    a)Why has it been that the rest of the apes could not have the capability in evolving to other human race except the limited groups of apes that have discovered by biologists that have the same gene as human beings?
    b)What made the limited apes that have the same gene as human beings to be so distinctive that only these groups of apes could be evolved to human beings? Would there be any eye-witness or experiment to prove that these limited apes that have the same gene as human beings were those that could evolve to human beings? Was there somebody in the past had tested these limited apes that they could be evolved to human beings? If there was no experiment to be done to have the eye-witness that these apes could be evolved to human beings, the theory itself is rather speculative and not tested. Unless someone did test the evolution theory by changing the environment to could suit the apes in evolution and yet they had been successfully performed the test that these apes could transform into human beings, it is then rational to support Charles Darwin’s theory and mentions that they are really tested.

  38. J. A. LeFevre @ Jason
    05.09.2011 | 19:50

    With just a little more effort, you could completely misunderstand everything you read. Yes, humans have common ancestors, and share some genes with ameba and slime molds. We share some genes with all of the apes, and with all of the bananas. The more alike we are (ie: chimps) the more genes we share. The less alike (ie: molds) the less we share. One book I enjoyed on the topic was: Francis S. Collins, ‘The Language of God’. Dr. Collins headed the Human Genome Project and currently serves as the Director of the US National Institutes of Health. He does proselytize some, but I am assuming that this would not bother you.

  39. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre
    06.09.2011 | 04:16

    What I find most objectionable to your posts is the reduction of human beings to their biology, and the interpreting of human behavior solely in the light of thbiological.factors. I was pleased that you mentioned in one of them that you did look upon these factors as determinative, but that seems contrary to everything I have read in these posts, and contrary also to the books by Boyer, Oland, etc.

    Your concept of Homo Religiosus seems limited only to the senses. What motivates you, as a psychologist, to treat human beings merely as refined animals, as if the human Intellect, the human reasoning power and the human power of choice were simply non-entities?
    You seem to reduce human behavior to sense and emotion, to feeling and passion, and leave out that which distinctly human in human men and women.
    If I have judged you wrongly, I would like to be corrected. I recognize this as Biological Determinism, the reduction of human beings to their biology. What say you?

    Father Clifford Stevens

  40. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre
    06.09.2011 | 04:20

    Correction of my last post:

    "That you did NOT look upon these factors as determinative......"

    Father Clifford Stevens

  41. J. A. LeFevre Father Stevens
    06.09.2011 | 05:14

    I most surly object to your characterizations, and I likewise disagree with Boyer, as I stated in Michael’s review of the ‘Illusion’ book. You are far too quick jumping to conclusions and miss-interpreting comments.

  42. John Jacob Lyons @ Michael and @ Father Stevens
    06.09.2011 | 10:48

    ( Copied from my earlier post) 'As I have pointed out elsewhere on this blog, the current scientific account of religiosity is neither deterministic nor purely biological/ genetic. It includes components that are social, existential, parental, political, established patterns of cognition and free-will.'

    Is there something about this statement that is difficult to understand? Of course not! Then why the accusations of "biological/ genetic determinism" from Father Stevens?

    Easy! Assumed determinism can be attacked with impunity! This is a 'straw-man' tactic that is blatant, unsophisticated and totally dishonest.

    I have' of course, included 'free-will' as a component of behaviour. It is only because free-will (or free-cognition) is a component of our behaviour that we can be held responsible for our behaviour. There is indeed a very substantial deterministic component to human behaviour but we can usually override it with our free-cognition.

    Dear Father Stevens. Please, please, please use yours to abandon recourse to misrepresentation and straw-men in your posts.

  43. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to John Jacob Lyons & J.A. LeFevre
    06.09.2011 | 13:39

    Well, last some clarifications. My objections are certainly not to what you both have just stated, but I do object to the designation "Biology of Religion", and to the recent books which have been published with titles that suggest that religion is an illusion rooted in the senses. Also, why link your work with Darwinian evolution? It seems to me that that is deceptive and misleading.

    This is really a debate about Homo Religiosus, or are you really furthering the cause of Homo Darwiniosus?

    Father Clifford Stevens

    Boys Town, Nebraska

  44. Bjørn Østman Conversions
    06.09.2011 | 16:04

    Michael and John,

    thanks for your comments. However, I notice that nowhere in those posts that you link to do you say anything about conversion rates. You may believe as you do that there is a genetic component to religiosity, but it remains that whether we actually are religious or not can change during our lifetime, and we also know that at least reported religiosity (rather, religious affiliation) has changed in society far faster than it could if it was a purely genetic trait.

    So, I think that when speaking of the evolution of religiosity (and affiliation in particular), you ought to put more emphasis on factors that govern conversion. Modeling the evolution of religiosity without it is just too much of an oversimplification.

  45. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to John Jacob Lyons & J.A. LeFevre
    06.09.2011 | 17:51

    Just a few additions to my last Comment indicating exactly where we disagree:

    Darwinian principles applied to non-humaan mammalian species is a Theory, and a good one.

    Darwinian principles applied to Homo Sapiens is a Supposition, and a poor one.

    And there are scientific and statistical studies here at Boys Town covering almost 100 years to prove that. These studies were not made with Darwinian principles in mind, but they can demonstrate factually and empirically that Homo Darwiniosus is a scientific fiction, a methodological blunder and a Darwinian hoax.

    And anyone with an ounce of professional integrity has to denounce the 13th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, insofar as it touches upon the biology and behavior of human beings.

    Every major study of human psychology, especially studies of the Adlerian School of Individual Psychyogy, and in particular, those of Dr. Franza Plewa, who was in residence here at Boys Town in the 40's, 50's, and 60's, indicate that the Darwinian model has no foundation as an explanation of human psychology and behavior. What is indicated clearly, demonstratively and with scientific accuracy is that the model for human psychology and behavior is that of Arisotle and Thomas Aquinas, because their exposition of the powers, habit and volitional life of human beings most accurately models the scientific and empirical evidence.

    I claim that your Homo Darwiniosus is false and scienifically unprovable, and leads only to false and unprovable hypotheses about human nature and the human condition.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  46. John Jacob Lyons @ Bjorn
    06.09.2011 | 18:05

    You make a very good point about conversion Bjorn. As far as I am aware, we know very little about current trends.

    Of course, it is likely that we know more about conversion into religion than apostasy out of religion since the latter tends to be both a gradual process of erosion and is generally unrecorded.

    What do we know Michael?

  47. J. A. Le Fevre Father Stevens
    06.09.2011 | 22:27

    Just as you misinterpret virtually every post on this blog you respond to, I suspect you are misreading these studies you keep referring to. Stop making unsupported claims for studies you are not sharing with us. If you believe that man is not also an animal, you are simply wrong. Period.

    Further, according to what little I have read on Thomistic Psychology, even plants have a soul. How is that different from Man?

  48. Michael Blume @Bjorn: Conversions & Heritability
    06.09.2011 | 23:05

    You can find data on transition (conversion) rates for example in this post:
    http://www.scilogs.eu/...tility-in-the-us-gss-data

    Conversion rates do not deny the existence of genetic foundations, but are emphasizing them: People are inheriting religiosity by nature and religious traditions (affiliations) by culture. Correspondingly, people are changing their musical tastes and cultures throughout their biographies (with almost none sticking to those hits learned in kindergarden) as a matter of cultural expression of the biological trait.

    Among the interesting findings in transition rates are those that show that women not only tend to stay in religious affiliations more often than males - but that they also tend to enter religious affiliations more often even if they were raised in non-religious families. Unfortunately, most of what I have written on the subject so far is in German (with only an English abstract):
    http://www.blume-religionswissenschaft.de/...e.pdf

    And there are some sentences about religious affiliation and gender in here:
    http://www.blume-religionswissenschaft.de/...9.pdf

    Best wishes!

  49. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre
    07.09.2011 | 00:53

    You have misunderstood both Aristotle and Aquinas. The term soul, Latin anima, refers to a principle of life, not a spiritual faculty. I have not interpreted your posts, since all are presuming that that which is uniqely in human beings are in some way the products of the biology of non-human mammalian species. I have never said that man is not an "animal", in the sense of having sense faculties "similar" to those of other mammalian species, but he is defined as a "rational animal", but only in that sense. His "animality" and the use of it, is completely modified or qualified by that which is specifically and uniquely human in him.

    The fact is you seem still to be lost in "The Descent of Man" while the science of the human species, in studies of adolescent children, like Father Flanagan's work and those inspired by his monumental achievement; by the seed studies of Alfred Adler in his Child Guidance Clinics in Vienna, and by exaustive Thomistic studies on the human intellect, morality, habitus, as well as studies in Forensic Science and adolescent criminality and a hundred other areas of Anthropolical Science.

    I am sorry if you are offended by my reservations about your work, and do not think I am not appreciative for some of the work and studies I have come across in these blogs.

    But an error in the beginning only leads to massive errors in the end, and it those massive errors that concern me, and these so-called "scientific" attacks upon the nature and innate dignity of human beings.

    |I got my interest in science when I swas 12 years old, when I saw a movie with Paul Muni about Louis Pasteur, and my interest in a whole host of sciences, including microbiology came from running smack into Max Delbruck when he parted company with Niels Bohr to dedicate his life to biology.

    I have not argued in these pages from a religious or theological perspective, nor have I mentioned God in any of my objections to your work. I just cannot see, if you are religious as you say, when books like those of Boyer, Oland and Bjorn Grind.

    Have you not suspected, somewhere along the line, that things like "adaptive behavior" and hundreds of other expressions have nothing to do with genuine religion, which is based on the use of human reason and judgment? I have never said that human intellect and will are not affected by human emotion or the human senses, but the human being is the master of these or we fall into areas that medical science and forensics are concerned with.

    I also object to making evolution a universal science and making it the master and explanation of human behavior, culture and civilization. I don't think I have been unreasonable or unfair. I have just questioned some of the basic principles and conclusions of your science since I find it a minor form of evolutionary terrorism, which Darwin realized and never really got over it to his dying day.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  50. Nathan Jonfield COMMON ANCESTOR
    07.09.2011 | 04:39

    According to the Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, all living things, whether they are plants, animals and etc., have a common ancestor.  There are a few queries to be raised regarding the so-called, common ancestor: a) As we know all living things, whether they are plants or animals or etc., need to have a couple, i.e. male and female, in order to produce the next living things.  A single ancestor, such as either a male ancestor or female, would not have reproduction.  How could there be only a single common ancestor in the beginning since it would have needed male ancestor as well as female of similar types in order to have reproduction?  It is irrational to assume that different kinds of ancestors could perform reproduction.  It is the same as a cow could not find a life-partner to mix with a rooster to perform reproduction.  Certainly!  If there would be common ancestor for evolution, there must be male and female ancestors with the same kind in order to achieve reproduction.  To mention that all living things would have a common ancestor, is rather illogical.  This is due to there must be male and female ancestors and they must be of the same kind to interact for reproduction.  Not only that, they have to meet with each other instead of one was in one part of the earth and another was in another.  Thus, the concept to have one common ancestor for reproduction does not seem correctly and this proves that evolution’s theory might not be true in reality. b) If all living things in this world have a common ancestor, it gives the implication that all plants and animals could be considered as the brothers and sisters.  As plants, chicken, cows, human beings and etc. could have the common ancestor, the conclusion would turn up to be weird that we always consume our plants, chicken and beef even though they are part of our brothers and sisters.  Thus, evolution’s theory would seem to be weird if all living things would have a common ancestor.

  51. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre, John Jacob Lyons & Michael Blume
    07.09.2011 | 06:11

    I would guess that you, or some of your colleagues hold that conscience, too, is caused by evolution, and therefore is purely subjective and there is no objective right or wrong - and that Survival of the Fittest is the first law of life.

    Well, there are gangs of teenagers on the streets of Chicago and Los Angeles who believe this - and there are bodies of dead tenagers on those streets who also believed it. I don't imagine you have thought of the moral and social consequences of Homo Darwiniosus? Well, here at Boys Town and in a dozen mini-camppuses around the country have to welcome the broken and battered lives of those tried to live out that doctrine.

    I don't know where conscience comes into your Darwinian science, and I wonder if a certain brand of Social Darwinism is snotg part of it.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  52. John Jacob Lyons Michael
    07.09.2011 | 09:13

    Have you noticed that discussion with a person happy to use misinformation, non-sequiturs, red-herrings, straw-men, sophistry and misrepresentation to support their argument resembles a confrontation with the Hydra? -- You may knock those heads off one at a time but those philosophically ugly things just keep on comin'!

    Anyone that equates evolutionary theory with 'social darwinism', 'the survival of the fittest' and gang culture needs so much instruction in the subject that productive discussion is almost impossible.

    When the two characteristics arise in the same individual, I suggest that further discussion is a complete waste of time and, as the Americans sometimes say "I'm outo'here!"

  53. 07.09.2011 | 09:50

    I, for one, decided to ignore these increasingly fundamentalist and aggressive rantings, too. After all, they are visible for anyone to see and speak for themselves. I have to admit that I am somewhat embarrassed as a Christian, though.

    I assume that the good Father sincerely believes evolutionary studies to be dangerous - primarily because he seems to have missed the real depth of evolutionary studies and debates throughout the last decades. For example, he seems to assume that the outdated understanding of "Survival of the Fittest" is still state of the art among contemporary evolutionists. Of course, definitions of evolutionary fitness have long changed for the better. For example, he probably never saw this video by the very colleagues of Tuebingen biology:
    http://www.scilogs.eu/...he-reproductive-advantage

    So, just let him be. Either he will learn or help us inform the public about the dangers of fundamentalism by giving an example. :-)

  54. Michael Blume @Nathan Jonfield
    07.09.2011 | 10:11

    I assume that you are kidding... Simple (such as single-celled) organisms reproduce by cloning to this day and parthogenesis is observable in everyday nature:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis

    Sexual reproduction evolved later on, leading to more variations (every child a singular genetic mix) and still more complexity. That's hardly a scientific secret, but mandatory knowledge for any German schoolchildren...

  55. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to Michael Blume & John Jacob Lyons
    07.09.2011 | 15:51

    I am suspect of any Christian who would use the designation "Biology of Religion" and take seriously any so-called "research" in that area. From what I have read in your blogs you are building up a body of pseudo-knowledge having no basis in reality and no basis in genuine science. You don't seem to realize that your "Biology of Religion" is serving the cause of Atheism well and they can point to you as converts to Richard Dawkins claim that Homo Sapiens is completely the product of evolution and that religion in all its forms is an illusion and fantasy.

    You had better start looking carefully at your premises and their conclusions with regard to the human race or you will find yourselves in some pretty bad company. The company you keep now is rather suspect and they go by the names of Pascal Boyer and company.

    His is a direct attack upon the validity of any religion, including your own, and you seem to share, if not his conclusions, at least his principles.

    I would think there is a matter of conscience here somewhere.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  56. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to Michael Blume & John Jacob Lyons
    07.09.2011 | 17:33

    Besides, when it is demonstrated that religion has nothing to do with biology, and that the source and cause and etiology of religion is human reason and the human intellect, you will find yourself in disgrace in the scientific community you are so eager to be a part of. Religion and biology simply don't mix and there is no way you can prove i.

    Mircea Eliade will throw you right out of the kitchen. Or aren't you familiar with the big names in a speciality you claim as your own?

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  57. John Jacob Lyons @ Michael
    07.09.2011 | 22:03

    Mircea Eliade was known as a 'philosopher' and was a supporter of 'The Iron Guard', a Fascist, antisemitic Romanian political party. He also had some very wacky pseudo-religious ideas.

    An odd reference authority for anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a scientist or, for that matter, as a decent human being.

  58. Jason Tannery Queries about reliability of evidence for evolution
    08.09.2011 | 00:40

    Refer to the website address http://www.darwins-theory-of-evolution.com/ pertaining to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. It has been mentioned under the sub-title of ‘Darwin's Theory of Evolution - Slowly But Surely...’ that Darwin's Theory of Evolution is a slow gradual process. As Charles Darwin supported that human beings were evolved from apes and that evolution is a slow gradual process, it implies that there would be a certain animals that would have the same gene as apes and that cause a certain group of apes to be able to evolve to human beings. However, there seems to be a missing link before the apes since which animals would be the appropriate predecessor right before the transformation to apes. As evolution is a slowly gradual process, certainly there should be the predecessor that could evolve into apes that could in turn evolve into human beings in the latter stage of evolution. As there is a missing link that which animals could be the predecessor just right before the apes, how Charles Darwin could link up every animal up to the common ancestor in which it could give rise to both bird and bananas?
    Besides, the predecessor, that should be right before the selected apes that have the same gene as human beings, should have all types of genes that other apes have. This is due to this predecessor has to be the common predecessor of all the apes. Yet in reality, there is no animal in this universe that has all the genes of all the apes and these include the genes that could be similar to human beings. As there is no animal in this universe that has all the genes and these include the gene that is similar to human beings and the genes that are from other apes, there is a shortfall in Darwin’s theory of evolution since his theory could not be proven in the sense that how he could link up all animals and apes as well as human beings to have the common ancestor.
    Refer to the website address http://www.allaboutthejourney.org/...evolution.htm pertaining to the theory of evolution. It is mentioned in fourth paragraph that all living things have the same common ancestor under Macro Evolution. As mentioned early, there is a missing link for the predecessor right before apes. How could Charles Darwin establish the link between apes to human beings; and from apes to their predecessor right before apes; and even trace it back to the common ancestor? As there is a missing link among animals to link up every animal, such as, bird, man and etc., how could Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution be sounded then?
    Refer to the website address http://www.allaboutcreation.org/...r-evolution.htm under the sub-title of ‘Evidence of Evolution – Homology. It is mentioned that many animals, that have similar bone structures, could provide the evidence of evolution. As bone structures of animals have been used for the evidence of evolution, it gives the implication that all animals with bone structures should be covered under the activation of the same gene and those that do not have bone structures should be treated as another. The common ancestor that could produce both sets of living things, such as, a group with bone structure and another without, should be one that would have bone structure. Or in other words, the common ancestor should be the one with bone structure so that he could produce living things with bone structure. Using similar bone structure as a guideline to determine the process of evolution would seem a little weird in the sense that this common ancestor could produce living things without bone structure despite this common ancestor were with bone structure. As using many animals that have similar bone structures so as to provide of evolution, would turn up to be unsounded in theory due to the common ancestor could produce living things with and without bone structure despite the common ancestor was itself with bone structure. Thus, it is not the good source for the proof of evolution through animals with bone structure since it would turn up that the common ancestor would seem odd that could produce living things without bone structure despite it was with bone structure.
    Refer to the website address http://www.allaboutcreation.org/...r-evolution.htm pertaining to Evidence for Evolution – Embryology. It is mentioned that (ex) Embryos of different vertebrates look alike in their early stages, giving the superficial appearance of relationship. (crit) Embryos of different vertebrates DO NOT look alike in their early stages.
    The discovery of similarity of embryos could also be located in the website address as follows:http://www.sciencedaily.com/...12/101215112815.htm
    There are a few reasons that different species in the same class of living things, such as, mammals, with similar embryos could not provide the proof of evolution:
    a)There could be a possibility that all the living things, that we have currently, have been created with embryos with their own groups initially instead of by means of evolution or creationary evolution. If that could be so, the different species in the same class of living things with similar embryos should not be formed as the proof of evolution.
    b)Despite the embryos could be identical among similar class of animals, the adults of the animals differ from one to another. As the end-result of the development of embryos from different animals differs from one to another, it does not provide the proof that all animals would be evolved from common ancestor. The same as all metals, such as, copper, zinc, iron and etc. Could we conclude that all metals have common substance that causes them to exist just because all are metals? By using the similarity of embryos to conclude that all animals would have the common ancestor, is simply the same as a person would comment that you are my close brother since you have hands and legs the same as me. It would be rather ridiculous for a person to speak to a fly that they are closely related since their embryos are alike and that they would have the same ancestor.
    c)Let’s assume the existence of evolution and that embryos could be used to establish the process of evolution. As embryos have to be used for the grouping of evolution, it is rational to group all the plants embryos to be in the same group of evolution and all the animal embryos to be another. Thus, the common ancestor of both of these plant embryos and animals should be one that could produce both plant embryos as well as animal. As it would seem to be impossible to have such a common ancestor to reproduce living things with plant embryos and at the same time to have animal as well, it would turn up that using embryos as a guide to determine the existence of evolution would not be feasible. Thus, it is irrational to use the existence of embryos to determine the existence of evolution or else it would turn up that the common ancestor would turn up to be odd in which one could not locate to have such a strange creature in the past to have such a capability to produce animal embryos as well as plant simultaneously.
    Refer to the website address http://www.allaboutcreation.org/...r-evolution.htm under the sub-title of ‘Evidence of Evolution – Observed Natural Selection. It is mentioned in the 2nd paragraph under this sub-title that only the fittest survive. However, it has been shown from time to time that this logic does not sound truthfully in the sense that many animals, especially dinosaurs, have turned up to be extinct despite they were once the fittest in the past as compared to the tiny insects. The same as happened to Barbary lion (Refer to the website addresshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_Lion) which has turned up to be extinct despite it looked tough as compared to some other lions that have existed nowadays. The same are for the fake of Atlas bear and Barbary leopard too. From the above examples it could come to the conclusion that the principality, that the fittest would survive, might not be true in reality. Some might well strongly support that human beings were evolved from apes and yet apes would still survive. Thus, the natural selection would not be the best source of the evidence of evolution due to some cases might not seem to work naturally.

  59. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to John Jacob Lyons
    08.09.2011 | 00:56

    Mircea Eliade was accused of many things - and in the political turmoil of Romania at the time, it was hard to know who was who, or who was what. But he was a devout and committed nationalist and his contribution to the roots of religion massive and unprecedented.

    But this has nothing to do with our debate.

    Religion is my business and you have made it a commodity on the black market of trivial pursuits without making any personal investment except the exchange of ideas.

    Religion is a life and death business, not the intellectual exercise you are engaged in and your lack of sensitivity to the effect of your ideas on those who may be listening in, I find not only ungracious, but bordering on barbarism.

    You are narrowed by your own certaities, and that easily develops into bigotry.

    Father Clifford Stevens

  60. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre, John Jacob Lyons & Michael Blume
    08.09.2011 | 20:56

    On the Unsustainability of a Biology of Religion

    An Interdisciplinary Study

    by Clifford Stevens

    On August 11th of this year, the 13th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology met at Tubingen University in Germany with a host of scientists fro around the world, with one of its major topics: "Evolutionary Studies of Religiosity and Religion".

    This topic of the Congress was an extension of a series of studies that have come off the presses in recent years, furthering the concept of a "Biology of Religion", with the main thesis that the phenomenon of religion in human beings is an illusion, caused by somatic and psychomatic invasions of the human psyche that create the illusion of reality in the human mind and imagination.

    This study, "On the Unsustainability of a Biology of Religion", drawing upon the latest researches and observations of the human embryonic and genetic sciences, will demonstrate

    1) that a causal link between the human biological powers and the human intellectual powers does not exist.

    2) that such a link is genetically impossible.

    3) that the causality of the biological powers of the human organism is limited to somatic and psychosomatic effects exclusively.

    4) that the human intellectual powers have a scope, structure and range untouched and beyond that of the biological powers.

    This study will proceed in the following manner:

    1) the nature and scope of the biological powers of the human organism.

    2) the nature and scope of the human intellectual powers.

    3) an analogy with the relationship of the atomic elements of Quantum Physics with the biological elements of Molecular Biology applied to the relationship between the biological powers of the human organism and the human intellectual powers.

    4) THe Human Intellect is a distinct order of reality from that of Biology.

    5) The Etiology of Religion is the Human Intellect and Reasoning Power.

    To be continued.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  61. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre, John Jacob Lyons & Michael Blume
    09.09.2011 | 15:00

    The Unsustainability of a Biology nof Religion

    A Interdisciplinary Study
    by Clifford Stevens

    1st Installment

    The Nature and Scope of the Biological Powers of the Human Organism

    In 1943, modern science took a huge step forward when Erwin Schrodinger, one of the poineers of Quantum Mechanics, gave two lectures at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies on "What is Life" and "Matter and Mind". He recognized that the principles of Physics could not explain the phenomena of the new science of Molecular Biology and that his science had found a border that it could not cross and a natural barrier to applying principles and conclusions of Quantum Physics to life forms.

    What he recognized was that Quantum Physics was not a universal science and applied strictly to the actions of atoms and subatomic particles, and that its principles and conclusions could not be applied to the actions and phenomena of the biological sciences.

    He recognized that Quantum Physics was the study of but one aspect of reality and that its principles and laws could not explain the phenomena of the life sciences.in particular, molecular biology, which at the time was in its infancy and had to await the discovery of DNA a decade later to reveal the inner workings of life forms.

    This was true, even though atoms, protons, electrons and photons and other micromatter particles were part of the composition of living cells, but the cells themselves did not follow the laws of Physics. Here were two physical realities, joined together in a unity, each following its own laws, one the material substratum of the other, and neither interfering with each others activities or compositions.

    What was revealed to Schrodinger was a new world of physical reality that in some respects contradicted the composition of matter, as he knew it, giving new forms to matter that he found strange and wonderful, for which, in his own science, there was no explanation. Nature itself had placed a barrier beyond which the laws of Physics did not apply, even though the subatomic particles that were part of the composition of life forms follwed their own laws without interference.

    1. The Biological Powers of the Human Embryo.

    With the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953, the mystery of the starting point and genetic thrust of human embryonic life began. The physical starting poing ws known, the zygote,the fertilized ovum of the human species, but without precision intruments to penetrate the miniscule structure of Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid(DNA), the search for the basic units of human life and development came to a scientific dead end.

    X-Ray crystallography revealed that DNA had a regular, repeating structure, but the cartography of the structure had escaped biologists. In 1943, the American Avery Oswald had demonstrated that DNA carries genetic information, but no one knew how it worked.

    What was lacking was a workable model of the structure, yet every experimental model which had beeb tried, had failed. At one point in their experiments at the Cavendish Laboratories in the United Kingdom,,Watson, who was visually more sensitive than Crickl, saw a cross-shaped pattern in the X-Ray photograph of DNA, and concluded that DNA had a double-helix shape, and Crick, an expert on crystal structure, saw that DNA had two helix chains running in opposite directions.

    To be continued

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  62. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to Michael Blume
    09.09.2011 | 15:15

    Dr. Blume - I have just listened to you lecture at the ESEB Symposium and I found it filled with unproved suppositions, a less than careful reading of Charles Darwin himself, and a host of bogeymen drawn up from the depths and dregs of the human psyche. This is pure fiction as I will demonstrate from time to time in my own study of the biological powers of the Human Organism.

    I notice that somewhere on this site or a similar one, Richard Dawkins gave famous talk on the Psychology of Religion, and if he gave it at your Symposium, I am surprised that you did not walk out, since he attempted to destroy the very foundations of your own religion.

    It is these contradictions in your whole enterprise that shoots holes in almost every facet of your Biology of Religion. But then you have never been challebged by someone who knows as much about biological science as you do, and a lot more besides.

    It is your lack of solid interdisciplinary studies that is your problem and so you cannot come up with an integrated view that makes any sense.

    The next thing you will be telling us that Harry Potter is a fine exemplification of something in the corpus of Charles Darwin's writings.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  63. Jason Tannery Query about reliabilty of fossil to be evidence of evolution
    09.09.2011 | 18:12

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral#Reproduction http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2011/02/14/happy-valentines-day-charles-darwin-there-is-no-proof-for-your-heresy/
    Refer to the website address http://www.allaboutcreation.org/...r-evolution.htm under the sub-title of ‘Evidence for Evolution – The Fossil Record’ in which fossils have been used for the support of evolution. The following are the comments that fossils might not be a reliable source to support evolution:
    a) Animals could have been created initially to be that some might have the combination of features for a few groups of animals instead of these should be the result of evolution. If that could be so, there should not be any reason for one to use an animal’s fossil that contains the features of a few groups of animals to conclude that the animal in the fossil could be the common ancestor for these few groups of animals.
    b) Nobody in this world did have eye-witness that the animals in the fossils would be the one that would evolve to the creature that biologists suspect to evolve to. To jump into the conclusion that the fossil should be the ancestor of a certain group of animals is rather speculative.
    Let’s elaborate further for the example as indicated in the website address as above. No doubts Archeopteryx’s teeth and its claws on its wings might cause biologists to feel that it could be the common ancestor of both reptile and bird. However, there could be a possibility that Archeopteryx might not be the common ancestor of reptile and bird due to these three animals might have been created initially to have these appearances instead of these were the result of evolution. As we were not born at the time of the creation of reptile and bird and did not observe how reptile and bird were formed, there could be a possibility that reptile and bird were formed not as a result of evolution from Archeopteryx. It could be the co-incidence that Archeopteryx was created initially which teeth and claws on its wings seem to look alike as reptile and bird respectively instead of there were the result of evolution.
    c) Let’s assume that evolution could be established. Animal fossils might not be able to serve as evidence due to the lack of evidence where it would come from or where it would go to. The placing of the animal fossil among animals so as to determine the process of evolution is rather a little speculation.
    Let’s use Archeopteryx to be the elaboration. There are many different arrangements could be suggested in placing the Archeopteryx among the animals to determine which animal could be the ancestor. Let’s suggest the number of possibilities in placing Archeopteryx between bird and reptile:
    1) There could be a possibility to place Archeopteryx in the middle of reptile and bird for the proof that reptile would evolve to Acheopteryx and latter to bird.

    2) There could be a possibility to place Archeopteryx to be after bird and before reptile just to show that bird could evolve to Acheopteryx and latter to the complete piece of reptile.
    3) One might assume Acheopteryx to be the ancestor for bird and reptile so as to place Acheopteryx right before bird and reptile.
    d) There could be a possibility that these three animals are not related since their features have existed ever since the creation instead of through evolution.
    From the above example, it is obvious that the discovery of fossil does not provide a clear hint about the process of evolution.
    Let’s assume that Acheopteryx should be the ancestor of both bird and reptile. There are a few query has to be raised why Acheopteryx should be placed to be the ancestor of both bird and reptile:
    a) It is irrational to use the teeth of Acheopteryx to comment that it must be the predecessor right before reptile just because both animals have identical shape of teeth. This is due to there would be a possibility that Acheopteryx and reptile would have been created initially with the same outlook of teeth shape instead of it was due to the result of evolution. As there could be a possibility of the initial formation of the existence of teeth for both animals instead of evolution, it is irrational to use Acheopteryx to be the proof that it could be the predecessor right before reptile. The same concept could be applied between Acheopteryx and bird.
    b) There are animals, such as, bats, sharks and etc., that could have the same teeth of Acheopteryx as well as wings. To mention that Acheopteryx could be the ancestor of bird and reptile instead of others is a bit speculation.
    c)How could Acheopteryx be treated as the ancestor of reptiles despite its body did not look bulky and with four legs as reptiles have? Other than the teeth of Acheopteryx, there is no similarity between this animal and reptiles whether in terms of bodies shape or etc., to jump into the conclusion that Acheopteryx would be the ancestor of reptile is a bit speculation. There has been no eye-witness in the past or any experiment that would have performed to prove that Acheopteryx could evolve to reptile or vice versa. To jump into the conclusion that Acheopteryx would evolve to reptiles is rather subjective or even through wild imagination. This conclusion has been arrived without any eye-witness that Acheopteryx did evolve to reptile. Or in other words, evolution is a bit guessing game to link up various animals through fossil. The same that could a person comment that you must be his son if both of you are so odd that have six fingers per hand? Certainly not! The same has to be applied to Acheopteryx that we could not confirm that it should be the ancestor of reptiles by simply observing its teeth despite its body shape and legs differ from reptile.
    From the above analyses, it seems to be that placing an animal’s fossil could be some kind of speculation so as to determine what role, i.e. whether it was an ancestor of an animal or not.
    Some biologists might argue that the word, fittest, in biology does not imply that organism that wins some objective contest of toughness, but it simply means that it is best able to survive and reproduce under the conditions it finds itself living under. However, they fail to understand that sometimes there are external factors that are beyond the control of nature in which they could not survive despite the surrounding environment might be suitable for them to survive and reproduce. The factors that could seriously affect or destroy animals’ lives and to cause natural selection not to be seemed be at work in nature are:

    a)The sudden occurrence of natural disasters, such as, famine, Tsunami, Twister, earthquake, forests caught in fire due to extremely hot weather and etc., that could cause animals to be extinct despite animals might well be able to adapt to their surroundings for survivals.

    b)Despite animals might have the capability to survive in their surrounding environment, they might be turned up to be extinct due to many hunters might kill them for the sake to use the part of their bodies, such as, skin, for trade or any other purpose.

    Refer to the website address http://www.animalsgoingextinct.blogspot.com/ and you would discover many animals are going to be extinct due to natural disasters and some through the fault of human beings.

    From the above explanations, it is clear that sometimes it is beyond the control of nature that animals might not be able to survive as a result of natural disasters and the fault of human beings despite they might well fit to survive in their surrounding environments.

  64. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Religion and biology
    10.09.2011 | 05:40

    It is well-known on the websites of SciLog that I have been carrying on a debate with certain promoters of a science that hasbeen given the designation "The Biology of Religion" and our dbate hs been furious and fierce. I object to the title for two reasons: 1st, it is based on the premise that Biology is the Etiology, the cause and source of religion in human beings, and 2nd, it is a fraudulent claim since none of these promoters of the science have a primary and first-hand knowledge of human biology, nor have they done any primary research or observation of the human embryonic science. Their knowledge is second-hand and hearsay.

    The scientific knowledge upon which their premises and conclusions are based are not from a detailed observation of the human embryo, but from the biology of noon-human mammalian species. Their terms and biological references are standard in evolutionary science, but they are not drawn from personal acquaintance with the facts of human embryonic life itself, but from mere suppositions that these terms are apt descriptions of human embryos that they have never personally observed.

    Human biological science is bound up completely with a knowledge of the human cell and the DNA sequences that constitute the heart of each cell. No study of human biological science is valid if it simply uses evolutionary pre-suppositions that have nogt been tested in the detailed observations of the human embryo and the somatic and psychosomatic structures that emerge with embhryonic development.

    To see the root and seed of religion in the action and interaction of purely biological forces has no observational or factual basis whatsoever and the claim is fraudulent if the empirical data is really drawn from the biology of non-human mammalian species.

    The mere supposition that evolutionary patterns of non-human mammalian species apply to human biology is not true science. It is an hypothesis to avoid a difficulty: the difficulty to spend time in genuine research and the hard work of observation and classification.

    My claim is twofold. 1st, that biology is not the etiology of religion, the etiology of religion is human intelligence, and 2nd, many of the conclusions of this "science" are fraudulentk since they are not based on personal knowledge of human biology and of human embryonic life in particular. I would like to see wide conversation on these objections to a Biology of Religion, or is SciLog a closed society of same-thinking colleagues which will accept input only from within that closed society?

    I admit that my observations are unfriendly and divisive, but that is how true science develops, as if evident from the controversy between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr over Quantum Mechanics. My criticisms are based upon my personal knowledge of human embryonic life which is extensive and detailed. I would like to have someone answer me with a like knowledge.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  65. Michael Blume @Father Stevens
    10.09.2011 | 08:29

    Sorry to have to correct you. Any scientific debate we might have had stopped as you uttered increasingly insulting fundamentalist rantings, bringing even less-informed followers to this site. The comments you are posting speak for themselves and may be of interest to those exploring religious Creationism, so I simply let them stay for the moment.

  66. George Toh NO WAY TO SUPPORT EVOLUTION
    10.09.2011 | 09:29

    Michael Blume, You have no better ground to support your evolution's theory and that is why you have given up your dialogue to what I have seen so far.

    Genesis 2:21, "(mentions that) And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;" The phrase, the Lord...took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh, in Genesis 2:21 gives a definite answer that God created human beings. God's creation is not by means of evolution or creationary evolution. It was merely through His involvement in direct creation of human beings in taking out the rib of a man to form a woman.

    The following shows the irregularity of probabilities of genes as well as DNA that show no link to evolution:

    The website address in http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/korthof83.htm has listed out the similarity of DNA sequence in the genome of other organisms starting with DNA sequence in which creationary evolution has used to support evolutionary theory:

    The probabilities of human gene sequence that codes for protein could be found among different animals are listed below from the above extract: Chimpanzee (100%); Dog (99%); Mouse (99%); Chicken (75%); Fruitfly (60%); and Roundworm (35%). For the probabilities of the human gene sequence that codes for protein could be located animals above, there is an irregularity of human gene among these animals. The probability for roundworm has been found to have much lesser than fruitfly despite the size of the roundworm (35%) might be comparatively bigger in bodily shape as compared to fruitly (60%). Not only that, mouse should be smaller in size than chicken and yet tits probability could be far much higher at 99%. Dog could be no much better than chimpanzee whether in turn of its capability to adapt the environment or its body size and yet the probability could be at as high as 99%. As there is an irregularity of probability of human gene sequence that codes for protein that could be located among different animals, it is hard to jump into the conclusion that human gene sequence that codes for protein that animals have could be the outcome of common ancestor. This is due to it is rational to think that the smallest animals could have the lowest probability of human genes than the biggest as a result of evolution. The initial common ancestor might well be small in size. As and when the animals keep on evolving, the creatures would turn up to be bigger in size in each evolution with the improvement in the development of gene. As the probabilities of human gene sequence that codes for protein show irregular genes among animals, it does not seem to provide a clue that existing animals would have been formed from evolution. Why should there be an irregularity of human gene that codes for protein among animals?

    The probabilities of human random DNA segment between genes could does not code for proteins among different animals are listed below: Chimpanzee (98%); Dog (52%); Mouse (40%); Chicken (4%); Fruitfly (-0%); and Roundworm (-0%). Again, despite the mouse is smaller in size as compared to chicken, yet the probability of human DNA that could be located in mouse is much higher than it. The dog is slightly bigger in size as compared to chicken and yet the probability of human DNA could be as high as 52%. Thus, the probabilities of human random DNA segment between genes among animals are irregular. As there are irregularity of the probability of DNA among the animals, it is hard to use these variations to conclude animals would have been evolved from time to time.

  67. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to Michael Blume
    10.09.2011 | 15:25

    I have not brought into this debate the real basis of my objections to your Biology of Religion.

    It is that your science is not based upon the latest researches and data from human embryonic science and the biology of the human organism.

    I can demonstrate that your scientific evidence is dated and that you resort to evolutionary concepts that do not apply to the human embryonic science of today.

    I can show that from the vast researches in embryonic science of the present day: from radiological science, from ultra-sound and from at least two hundred embryonic sciences that have developed since the rise of modern medicine, as well as from at least 25 journals that are breaking down embryonic science into new specialties and from hundreds of slide carousels of detaile photos of the intimate details of embryonic life.l

    You are still in the backwash of Darwinian studies that have not kept up on the developments of modern embryonic science and you are going to look foolish if you base your arguments on a science that has been dead for over one hundred years.

    I think for your own good and your own professional reputation, you should enter this debate with scientific data and empirical evidence. Up to now you and your colleagyes are making assumptionss that cannot be backed up by the new developments of a science you claim to be master of.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  68. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to Michael Blume
    10.09.2011 | 20:52

    And furthermore - I have never used an argument from theology, from religion, from the Bible, from creationism, from Intelligent Design, or from the rantings of fundamentalist Christians.

    My arguments are from science and science alone - and what makes you think a priest cannot be a good scientist? That is an evolutionary bias that you have in spite of the records of Copernicus, Gregor Mendel, Georges LeMaitre, and a host of Jesuit scientists who are part of Western scientific history and whose names are on landmarks on the moon.

    Your problem is a total lack of knowledge of contemporary embyonic science and the latest developments in human biology, and so the scientific basis for your Biology of Religion is shown to be non-existent, something you are unwilling tgo face, because it threatens your professional standing in the Biology of Religion of community.

    The Biology of Religion is a Darwinian hoax, but you cling to it as Ernest Haeckel did his "Theory of Recapitulation" or his "Biogenic Law of Embryological Parallelism".

    Somehow you have been deceived into thinking that evolutionary biology is a universal science and provides the scientific solution to contemporary problems that touch the human condition.

    But the fact is it has a very narrow application and significance, and if you had taken even one course in Cultural Anthropology, you could never have made that mistake.

    But you have joined the chorus of Richard Dawkins and company in trying to demonstrate that the whole of human civilzation and culture rests upon a few Darwinian principles that blots our religion, every other science but your own, and 5,000 years of human history. And you seem to look upon this as "a consummation devoutly to be wished".

    So, if you're going to argue, use your best arguments, not the old saw that this is battle between Darwinians and Bible thumping bigots. I know your science as well as you do, and this expression of your science is false, lacking a solid scientific base. You may just have to close up shop and go home.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  69. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to Michael Blume
    10.09.2011 | 22:45

    On the Unsustainability of a Biology of Religion: An Interdisciplinary Study

    By Clifford Stevens

    2nd Installment

    What Watson and Crick discovered was the magic and mystery of the human embryo, and the biological engine of human development, from its beginnings in the zygote to the fully developed man and woman of the human species.

    But DNA was far more than that. It was not only a blueprint and engine for embryonic development and the carrier of lines of inheritance, but within the miniscule structure wass the genetic signature of a human person, a signature and person different and distinct from any other member of the human species.

    The womb, then, is not an embryonic anteroom of the human person, who does not emerge into human personhood only when it emerges from the birth canal. It is the temporary habitation of a developing human being, with embryonic and extra-embryonic support systems designed specifally for the preservatin and development of a human being, from coneption to birth and beyond, in such fascinating autobiographical detail that scientists are still trying to unravel the multiplicity of genetic factors that contribute to that autobiography.

    It is clear with each embryo, that we are not dealing with some anonymous member of the human species, but a specific, particular, identifiable human person of that species, identified, particularized and wrapped up in a genetic singularity that sets him or her apart from any other member of the human species.

    It is this genetic signature of the human embryo that begins to unravel the deep workings of the Human Genome. It is a genetic mystery how, with such a multitude of parts, faculties and functions, there is a unifying movement to end end, an end kept unerringly on target, as if driven and directed by some unifying force or principle.

    In any discussion of the human embryo, we have to start with the Human Genome, but its complexity and its massive store of genetic information makes it almost impossible to read. It is, in fact, the equivalent of several massive libraries, and it is possible that it will take several lifetimes or even several centuries to unravel, decode and interpret the information of even one strand of DNA>

    The most dedicated physicist or mathematician has to marvel a the masterpiece of design in the fertilized ovum alone, to say nothing of the human embryo in the sixth week of gestation,

    THe genetic embroidery "shows no dull repetition, but an elaborate, coherent, and meaningful design" The heart of that design is the chromosome filter of DNA, the material carrier of life, and of 3 billion units of information that have occupied scientists for more than half a century, and created a multitude of biological specialties that fill the pages of a hundred scientific journals.

    The algebra of genetics, as the molecular biolohgist Max Delbruck recognized, is not merely biologica, but has an information cotent that is beyond somatics aqnd beyond chemical and organic compounds.

    "Since", Delbruck observed, "some experimental situations are complimentary to each other, there is always the chance that certain theories attempting to achieve an interpretation of the observations, will involve a mutually exclusive argument between a physical and a nohn-physical concept."

    In other words, the genetic signature is not mere etching on the massive wall of the DNA structure, but has an inforational content as well, revealing something more than a unique sequence of base pairs. This elaborate embroidery is the living tissue of a human person inhabiting that embroidery, as the sole occupant of a biological structure designed for his or her exclusiv use.

    To be continued

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  70. Jason Tannery Query about reliability of evolution tree
    10.09.2011 | 23:42

    Let’s assume that evolution could be true. As all animals and plants could be traced back to a common ancestor, the common ancestor must be one that has to be capable in asexual reproduction. The only living things that could be found to be asexual reproduction are archaea, bacteria, protists, algae and fungi. As all these living things are either micro-organisms or the selected plants instead of any other living things, it implies the common ancestor could be either micro-organism or the selected plants. There are a few queries have to be raised pertaining to the reliability of the source that has been used to support the evolution:

    a)Biologists did successfully clone animals in the past and even to use the gene to improve the animals. However, what they do is just improving the living thing instead of modifying it into different kind of animals. If they would clone any animals, such as cow, they still produce cow at the end of the experiment without causing it to stream out into different kind of animal, such as giraffe. Has there any experiment been performed in the past that could develop into a more complexity of animals, such as, from micro-organism to worm or fly or etc.? If none of the scientists have done the experiment successfully in converting micro-organism into a worm or fly, the evolutionary theory is simply a concept without being tested.

    b)As the common ancestor could be micro-organism or a selected plant, it is simply without bone structure or could be one that could have either plant embryo or animal. As this common ancestor could be an algae or fungi or archaea or protists or etc., how could it be able to be developed into both plants and animals with complexity of bone structure? Did biologists perform the experiment successfully to convert any of these living things into a more complex animal, such as, worm or fly or etc.? Or else, the evolution theory is just a concept without being tested.

    c)As this common ancestor could be either plant embryo or animal, how could it be able to stream out into plants as well as animals? Or in other words, how could this common ancestor be able to produce plant embryo as well as animal despite it was simply either micro-organism or plant? Did the biologists perform the experiment in the past successfully to cause micro-organism to be able to convert into both plants as well as animals with complexity of nature?

    Refer to the website address http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant under the sub-title of ‘Evolution’. A proposed phylogenetic tree of Plantae has been drawn. There are a few queries pertaining to the reliability of the evolution tree:

    There is a great work done in joining plants from one to another to determine the process of evolution. However, a query has to be raised whether the tree of evolution has been drawn through fixing the plants that ought to be there due to the comparing of feature instead of through testing and observing the nature that these could occur. Let’s give you an illustration: From the chart, it could come to the conclusion that Chlorophyta was the predecessor right before the plants, i.e.Ulvophyoese, Cholrophyoese and Trebouxiophyoese. Did any biologists see or did perform experiment that Ulvophyoese could transform into Ulvophyoese, Cholrophyoese as well as Trebouxiophyoese in the past? If they did not do the experiment and just fixed them into the evolution tree due to the feature and/or the nature of these plants, it implies that there was no eye-witness or experiment did in the past to prove that Ulvophyoese could be able to evolve to Ulvophyoese, Cholrophyoese and Trebouxiophyoese.

    Some biologists might comment that evolution tree might be done through thousands and thousands of individual bits of data–observations made in the real world, testable and repeatable by anyone who takes the time to look. Things like the shapes of bones and how they fit together, genetic sequences, behaviors, developmental sequences, shared features with fossil forms and so on. As they did not perform the test whether the plants or animals could be transformed in accordance to the evolution tree that has been drawn, there could be a possibility that the evolution could not be workable as what has been drawn in the evolution tree. Besides, the plants could have been created initially with similar features and they were not the result of evolution.

  71. John Jacob Lyons @ (Pastor?) Jason Tannery
    11.09.2011 | 12:31

    Dear Jason,

    You may wonder why your posts are, generally speaking, ignored by the scientists that contribute to this blog. I suggest that this is the case because we wish to discuss rather than to educate. The same fate has recently befallen other contributors whose posts betray similar need.

    "You write "The only living things that could be found to be asexual reproduction are archaea, bacteria, protists, algae and fungi."

    In fact, asexual reproduction can be found in individuals belonging to many more complex animal species; bees, ants, wasps, scorpions, hammerhead sharks and the Komodo Dragon are just some examples.

    If you don't get the factual basis of your premises right, the conclusions that you draw will not be worthy of serious consideration.

    Please check your facts Jason.

  72. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre, John Jacob Lyons & Michael Blume
    11.09.2011 | 21:31

    ABSTRACT - The Darwinian Model of Homo Saiens 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 obssolete 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 obeservable and empirical 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 journals, chronicling this new body of scientific exploration and investigation.

    The only model that takes into account this vast new body of scientific 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.

    The title of this study is; The Obsolescence of the Darwinian Model for a Biology of Religion: A Biogenetic Study.
    by Clifford Stevens

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

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  73. Cris Biology of Religion
    12.09.2011 | 01:01

    Welcome to the cuckoos den! I feel like I'm in a time machine and have been transported back a century or two.

    Some of the ancient references in this comment string are for the ages, or rock of ages as the case may be.

    Keep up the good work Michael (and LeFevre -- that LaMancha reference was brilliant).

  74. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Religion and biology
    12.09.2011 | 04:14

    I am sure there is someone out there in SciLog land who is not just a follower of the pack, who sees through the inconsistencies and contradictions of a "Biology of Religion", and who also sees that biologists have no business tackling the subject of religion, because they are simply unequipped intellectually to do so. I beg you to join this debate with your own questions and your own probing of the basic issues at stake.

    Because this debate is going to go public and will probably end up on the pages of Time, Newsweek, the Economist, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, the Guardian and the New York Times.

    The issue is not an attack of religion o science, but an attack of "science" on religion, far more subtle and destructive than Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion", because it denies and undermines the solid scientific and rational foundations of religion by making religion simply an outgrowth of the biological powers of the human organism.

    The truth or falsehood of this "Biology of Religion" rests on one factg and one fact alone: is there a causal link between the biology of the human organism and the cognitive and volitional powers. There is none - and the whole house of cards of a Biology of Religion comes tubbling down and a lot of professional reputations will go with it.

    I beg those who doubt this to take up a copy of Robert Brennan's "Thomistic Psychology" and read the chapters on "Man the Integer", "THe Sensitive Knowlege of Man", "The Intellectual Powers of Man", and "The Volitional Life of Man", something you will never find in the pages of a "Biology of Religion".

    As well a this description of the power, scope and purpose of human intelligence:

    "This is the earthly goal of man: to evolve his intellectual powers to their fullest; to arrive at the maximuim of consciousess; to open the eyes of his understanding upon all things, so that upon the tablet of his mind the order of the whole universe and all its parts may be enrolled."

    Contrast this with the cramped and mindless world of a Biology of Religion, where the intellectual and volitional powers are subhuman and nothing more than animal instincts and biological phantoms.

    It is certainly time for rebellion among the troops and for some bold person to say: "Enough", and begin to ask serious and critical questions of those in charge of the enterprise.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  75. Nathan Jonfield SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGIOSITY
    12.09.2011 | 04:15

    Chis, If the foundation of the evolution of the living things have been found to be speculation, this proves the evolution's theory is some kind of speculation with wild imaginatio. As that could be so, the same logic about the reliabilty of scientific study of religiosity that could erode belief. Biologists simply compare the change of belief to arrive with their conclusion. This is the same as what they have done to achieve evolution tree as what we do in jig-saw puzzles. Try to fix the data what it fix to form picture. It includes trial and error without any truth in it.

  76. Nathan Jonfield COULD A COMPLEX ANIMAL BE COMMON ANCESTOR?
    12.09.2011 | 08:26

    There are quite a number of sophisticated animals in this world could be able to perform asexual reproduction. Could there be any possibility that a common ancestor could be an animal instead of micro-organism or plant?

    Let’s assume that this common ancestor could be a sophisticated animal since many of these animals in this world could perform asexual reproduction and these include bees, ants, wasps, scorpions, hammerhead, sharks and the Komodo Dragon. Despite these animals could perform asexual reproduction, it is irrational to assume that the common ancestor of all living things could be an animal for the following reasons:
    i)It is irrational to assume that the common ancestor could start up with an animal. This is due to the so-called, animal (common ancestor), has to develop backward into micro-organism instead of evolving into a more complexity of living thing. As all living things have been assumed by evolutionists to have a common ancestor, this so-called, animal (common ancestor), would evolve into micro-organism, this certainly contradicts the teaching of evolution theory since this animal (common ancestor) has to be grown backward instead of evolving.
    ii)If the common ancestor could be an animal, how could this animal be able to turn up to have its offspring to have plant embryo, animal as well as micro-organism? As it is irrational to have such a common ancestor as animal to reproduce offspring to have plant embryo as well as micro-organism, how could the common ancestor be a sophisticated animal?
    iii)If the common ancestor could be a vertebrate animal, how could this animal be able to turn up to have its offspring to develop into invertebrate offspring and vice versa?

  77. John Jacob Lyons @ Cris, Biology of Religion
    12.09.2011 | 11:56

    Dear Cris,

    I want to reassure you that you haven't stepped into a time machine. Some of us accept that:-

    * Homo sapiens (HS) is an animal species that evolved from a common ancestor with the Pan species several million years ago.

    * the genome of HS - which is, of course, biological - plays a significant role in the development of the central nervous system of members of that species and therefore in all products of that system including behaviour.

    * religiosity is a particular behaviour of many of the species HS.

    It is therefore meaningful and useful to consider the Biology of Religion in order to understand religiosity.

    There are those that find it difficult to accept these facts because religious belief has become foundational to their lives and they feel that this foundation is under threat.

    Many scientists would agree with the precepts I have stated above but, nonetheless, are deeply religious. They see that science cannot 'explain away' belief completely since there are mysteries to our existence on this planet that science can never explain.

    At present this blog appears to be attracting a number of 'science-naysayers' that feel it necessary to protect their faith by waging a, completely unnecessary, war on the science/ scientists.

    Some of us have decided that it is futile to engage with the bad-science posts of these well-meaning but misguided contributors and are simply reading their posts with mounting incredulity.

    Best wishes,

    John

  78. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to John Jacob Lyons
    12.09.2011 | 14:08

    Dear Chris -

    I'm afraid John Jacob Lyons is completely lacking in knowledge of the human embryo and is back in the days of Ernst Haeckel with his "Theory of Recapitulation" and his even more ridiculous "Biogenic Law of Embryonic Parallelism". He is right that the Human Genome plays a significant role in the development of the central nervous system, but he does not mention the fact that the Human Genome contains non-physical elements, recognized by Max Delbruck, in fact, the informational sequences of DNA are non-physical and to deny that is to wipe Max Delbruck off the map as the most eminent and knowledgeable molecular biologist in history.

    John Jacob Lyons knowledge is not the work of personal observation and study of the Human Genome, and even if it were, the study of the Human Genomne will not be exhausted in your lifetime or in mine, and Lyons refuses to recognize that the cause of HUMAN behavior is the intellectual and volitional powers of human beings and you can test that out with yourself.

    The human senses are not identical to those of non-human mammalian species, they are in an entirely different category. THe central nervous system is not the cause of distinctly human behavior or of distinctly human faculties and to make that assertion is either bad science or a lie.

    The neural system of human beings is the psychosomatic base of a human being's emotional, psychological and affective life, the complex organ of sense and feeling, the foundation of taste, smell and touch; the motor of passsion and physical coordination, the thermostat of pleasure and pain, and the base of locomotion and physical awareness - hbut not of the intellectual and volitional life of Homo Sapiens and to state otherwise is disproved by your experience and mine.

    Specificity is the core meaning of what it means to feel, to sense, to experience pain and pleasure. The neural base of human embryonic life and the underlying base of that specificity is a human person, endowed with intelligence. It is organically impossible that the somatic and psychosomatic development of the human emnbryo take place without an underlying subject, and that underlying subject is an identifiale human person with its own genetic signature etched across the chromosomes of its DNA, not once but thousands of times, and that identifiable subject is human, not animal, although it possesses sense faculyties similar to, but not identical to, the sense faculties of non-human mammalian species.

    John Jacob Lyons draws his knowledge of human biology, not from the Human Genome, but from the three-soul concept of medieval biology, which saw the somnatic, sensual and intellectual development as totally unrelated, the human person magically appearing like the top of a three-storied structure. The intellectual and behavioral development of the human embryo is not from the central nervous system, the subject of that development is present from the moment of conception and that subject is endowed with intellectual and volitional powers that are operational before the unborn child emerges from the womb.

    John Jacob Lyons is still back in the Naturalist period of Ernst Haeckel. HE is so convinced, contrary to all contemporary studies of the Human Genome, that Homo Sapiens is defined solely by his biological powerfs - and that bias is contrary to all of the pertinent evidence. He is still an amateur in matters that pertain to Homo Sapiens and that is proved by your experience, if you study yourself very carefully.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  79. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to John Jacob Lyons
    12.09.2011 | 16:28

    You see, Chris, something that Dr. Lyons does not realize is that in the conception of any species, the parents pass on their whole nature to their offspring, not just a portion. Human parents pass on the totality of human nature to their offspring, not just their biology, and that human nature includes the intellectual and volitional powers that are specific to human nature. But, if you believe as Dr. Lyons does, that human beings are really just refined animals - well, you can see where that logic leads. What he states is scientifically,anthropologically, and even biologically impossible. A little course in Aristotle might have helped as Max Delbruck said one time. Dr. Lyons mistakes human nature with animal nature, and comes up with a biological monstrosity like Frankenstein and it belongs in fiction just like Mary Shelleyl's literary creation - but it isn't science.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Bosy Town, Nebraska

  80. John Jacob Lyons Evolution/ Origin of Homo sapiens and his/her Behaviour
    12.09.2011 | 17:44

    If my brief account of the origins of the species and its behaviour (see my post to Cris today at 11:56) is rejected by any fellow contributors, I would really like to hear alternative explanations of:-

    1. THE ORIGIN OF THE HOMO SAPIENS SPECIES?

    2. THE ORIGIN OF THE INTELLIGENCE AND REASONING POWER OF HOMO SAPIENS?

  81. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J.A. Le Fevre, John Jacob Lyons & Michael Blume
    12.09.2011 | 17:47

    You see, Drs. Blume, Lyons and Le Fevre, you have been checkmated again. You try to prove that in the conception of any species, including the human, parents do not pass on the totality of their own natures, and you will be laughed out of the scientific community.

    I think you forget the most important item in this whole debate - if biology is the etiology of religion, it is also the etiology of your "science" - and where does that leave you and your science?

    You will be challenged in the public arena and you will have gto defend you Biology of Religion with something more than - "this is a debate between religious fundamentalism and science. Y

    Your science is a bogus science, and all the appeals to "adaptive behavior" and the ancestral influence of ants, bees and wasps will get you nowhere. You basic premises are false, unproved and unprovaable and I can demonstrate that frfom more than the few posts I have exhanged with you.

    Part of this problem is that you concept of religion is infantile, fraudulent and an insult to anyone who is genuinely religious - but this has been a ploy of a certain brand of scientist since Thomas Huxley.

    Religion has a solid base in science, but it is not an empirical science so it is no wonder that you cannot find its roots. It is a science that goes back to Aristotle and is really the basis of all other sciences.

    Both Erwin Schrodinger and Max Delbruck, certainly your own seniors in the scientific profession, bewailed the fact that Aristotle had been deserted by scientists of the Logical Positivism and Karl Popper schools, and so resorted to a kind of propaganda to hide the poverty of their "scientific" conclusions.l

    With the rose of molecular biology and its many tributary sciences, with the discovery of DNA by Watson and Crick, as well as the rise of a multitude of embryonic sciences, you are left behind by the amazing details of the development of Homo Sapiens that is being uncovered, as well as an embryonic science that refuteds most of your scientific conclusions.

    Homo Sapiens is not the product of evolution, nor can he be reduced to the action of his biological powers. He is a species unique unto himself, distinct in his powers, habits and intellectual grandeur, the master of his own destiny and the sole architect of his past and future.

    Your attempts to reduce him to the level of dumb beasts was a failure when Charles Darwin wrote his "The Descent of Man" and it willbe a failure as long as true science reigns and human beings can separate truth fsrom biological fantasy.

    Father Clifford Stevens

    Boys Town, Nebraska

  82. Cris Biology of Religion
    12.09.2011 | 19:43

    Thanks John; I think all positivists (however defined) can accept what you have said.

    If these guys can't accept that biology, in conjunction with culture, is the basis for human cognition and behavior, they shouldn't stop there.

    I would suggest they go whole hog, and advocate for the phlogiston "theory" of chemistry, and humors "theory" of medicine. It makes one wonder whether they can even bring themselves to accept the germ theory of disease.

    Fear and denial make for bizarre bedfellows.

  83. John Jacob Lyons @Cris, Biology of Religion
    12.09.2011 | 19:57

    Nice to have some support and sensible comment here Cris.

    Have you read my Genetic Priming article on this blog:-

    http://www.scilogs.eu/...;at_xt=4d8bc83ede65d24d,1

    I would welcome your comments Cris.

  84. John Jacob Lyons MY CHALLENGE
    12.09.2011 | 20:32

    I repeat ----------------

    If my brief account of the origins of the species and its behaviour (see my post to Cris today at 11:56) is rejected by any fellow contributors, I would really like to hear alternative explanations of:-

    1. THE ORIGIN OF THE HOMO SAPIENS SPECIES?

    2. THE ORIGIN OF THE INTELLIGENCE AND REASONING POWER OF HOMO SAPIENS?

  85. J. A. Le Fevre @ John
    12.09.2011 | 20:35

    It may just be a minor point, but culture and lifestyle, independant of (or absent) belief are often foundational to the choice to be religious. (In all, I think 'belief' is highly overrated).

  86. John Jacob Lyons @J A Le Fevre
    12.09.2011 | 21:09

    I completely agree with you!

    I have consistently written in previous posts that the scientific explanation of religiosity includes; existential concern, upbringing/ social pressure, social advantages, inertia and several other factors as well as the 'genetic priming' that I have written about on this site.

  87. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to John Jacob Lyons
    13.09.2011 | 00:47

    Don't you have the tiniest suspicion that the concept of God may have something to do with the origin of religion? The definition of God in my dictionary is "the service and adoration of God as expressed in forms of worship".

    Are you so turned off by the concept of God that you have to create some other definition of religion? I would like to know, just out of curiosity, why you are so deadset against the very idea of God.

    There seems to be a hardness of heart and a blindness of mind that I find extraordinary. I am a student of human nature, too, and I am curious: Why this battle against God and religion? I would judge we are dealing here with some kind of emotional or psychological obex, caused by, not something in the evolution of Homo Sapiens, but in your own personal life and history. Why is the concept of God so anathema to you?

    I can understand Sartre and a few others whose personal moral life was such a disaster that the very thought of God could bring about something resembling a nervous breakdown. Most antipathies of this kind some from some childhood exeriences or from some deep-seated hatred of an abusive parent upon which the psyche has attached the concept of god. I would be interested in knowing your explanation.

    I have figured out the deep psychological roots of Richard Dawkins antipathy,but it would be interested in knowing yours.

    This is far more interesting question than the Biology of Religion. Where are you coming from anyway?

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  88. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J. A. Le Fevre, John Jacob Lyons & Michael Blume:
    13.09.2011 | 00:57

    I would ask the same questions of Dr. J.A. Le Fevre and Dr. Michael Blume, since all three of you seem to be burdened with the same antipathy.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  89. Nathan Jonfield COULD HUMAN BEINGS BE EVOLVED FROM HOMO SAPIENS?
    13.09.2011 | 02:50

    John Jacob Lyons,
    You have again used the fossil from homo sapiens to support your evolution theory. The conclusion that human beings would have been evolved from homo sapiens was derived from comparison between fossil and apes and even to human beings. To arrive at the conclusion simply by the similarity between homo sapiens and apes to human beings and to arrange them in an order that it would seem fit that human beings were evolved from homo sapiens. However, the arrangement in placing homo sapiens to be the ancestor of human beings is simply as the work of jig saw puzzles. The biologists place it as what they thought to be instead of through experiment or through their observation that homo sapiens could evolve into human beings. Indeed, there have not been any experiment been done in the past to test the homo sapiens so as to examine whether these could really be able to evolve to human beings. They simply place the skulls of homo sapiens in their best order in order to comment that human beings were evolved from homo sapiens. You were not born even at the time of the creation of human beings. Did you ever have eye-witness that homo sapiens did evolve into human beings? Or else, your knowledge is simply through wild imagination so to say.

    Besides, there could be a possibility that all homo sapiens, apes and human beings were created initially with a slight a little identical shape. If that could be so, it would be irrational to jump into the conclusion that human beings would have their ancestor to be homo sapiens.
    If you would observe the heads among those people that are currently living in this world, certainly you could locate men and women with different shapes of heads. Some heads of modern human beings could have the shapes as apes. Could you use the shapes of heads to determine how far they develop into, such as, those whose shapes as close as an ape could be less intelligent than the other? Certainly, it is impossible to do that. This is due to some people whose heads’ shapes would be as close as apes would even be able to enter into university for study. Some human beings with heads that are smaller in size could also have their access to study in university. What does this prove? The different shapes of human beings do not imply the simultaneous evolution of intelligence. As comparing the shapes of human beings could not determine the stage of evolution, how could we use the shapes of the heads among homo sapiens and apes and human beings to come to the conclusion that human beings could be evolved from apes?
    Religions might be varied from time to time. However, there are many factors that cause these to be varied instead of due to evolution:
    a)People with wild imagination as you could simply use their own imagination to abuse the original script to suit their belief and these cause religious belief to erode.
    b)It might be due to the influence of the external source that is mentioned outside the religious script that causes religious belief to erode. For example, the introduction of religious harmony in recent years might cause many religions to accept each other and some worse to introduce the teaching into their original script in which it is not mentioning.
    c)To evolve from one to another, things have to become better and better. Yet you have mentioned that knowledge has been eroded. Certainly this should not be considered as intellectual evolution but intellectual erosion. How could the word, evolution, be introduced into human intelligence if some have turned up to be erosion instead of advancing or improving?

  90. Nathan Jonfield SKULLS' SHAPES MIGHT BE VARIED FROM ONE TO ANOTHER AMONG HUMAN BEINGS
    13.09.2011 | 03:15

    The way that biologists arrive the conclusion that homo sapiens could be the ancestors right before human beings due to they arrange the heads of the skulls in such a way to suit their mindset on evolution.

    If they could use skulls to arrange in order to determine which animals could be the ancestor right before human beings, could this be done that they would use modern human beings’ skulls to be arranged in order whether in terms of shape or in terms of size to determine who should be our great grand father then? Certainly we cannot do it! This is due to some families might have parents with bigger heads and yet give birth to children when reach adults might turn up to be small heads. You might have notice that some families might give birth to children whose heads’ shapes might not be identical to their parents.

    As the heads of human beings are varied from one region to another and from one race to another and even from one country to another, how could they be so sure that human beings would be evolved from homo sapiens just by comparing the shapes of the heads? Don’t biologists know that those people with smaller heads and even funny shapes and some even look like the heads of apes could be graduated from university! Thus, the shapes of the modern human beings could not be used to determine how intelligence that these people should be. As the shape of the modern human beings could not be used to determine how intelligence a person could be, how could we comment that human beings could be evolved from low class animals, as homo sapiens which brains were less intelligent than human beings?

  91. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to Nathan Jonfield
    13.09.2011 | 03:45

    The critical questions is: is the classificaion of life forms the history of life forms? One can only classify what one can observe and to posit the classification of life forms for the history of life forms seems to be scientifically untenable and scientifically invalid.

    Fsther Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  92. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to Nathan Jonfield
    13.09.2011 | 03:53

    The real question is: Does the classification of life forms the history of life forms. You can classify only what you can observe and to posit classification of life forms for the history of life forms seems to be scientifically questionble.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  93. John Jacob Lyons Reply to Father Clifford Stevens
    13.09.2011 | 06:35

    Thanks very much for that reply. Now we are getting someplace!!

    To be absolutely clear, my questions were:-

    If my brief account of the origins of the species and its behaviour (see my post to Cris today (Sept 12) at 11:56) is rejected by any fellow contributors, I would really like to hear alternative explanations of:-

    1. THE ORIGIN OF THE HOMO SAPIENS SPECIES?

    2. THE ORIGIN OF THE INTELLIGENCE AND REASONING POWER OF HOMO SAPIENS?

    From your reply, I take it that your answer to both of my questions is:-

    THEY WERE BOTH CREATED BY GOD!

    Is this correct? I don't want to misinterpret your response Father.

    Best wishes,

    John

  94. Nathan Jonfield IS IT CORRECT THAT GOD CREATED BOTH THINGS?
    13.09.2011 | 08:02

    John Jacob Lyons,

    A smart question! If I would say that it would be created by God, you would have a bombardment.

    If I would comment that it would not be created by God, you would have asked alternatively!

    I would inform you that Christianity and Muslim too have the verse in their religions that God created human beings. No doubts you might not believe God would create something. As you do not believe God could create something, the God that you believe would not be the same God what religions hold true. The God you believe should be the God that has no power and is not omnipotent that could create things. Alternatively you might be one that does not believe in God.

    Let’s put it aside the query who was the one created human beings.

    Let’s me ask you a simple question. You believe all living things are evolved from a common ancestor. I would ask you one question. Who was the one that created this common ancestor? Don’t tell me that this common ancestor could exist without any creation! If you mention that this common ancestor was created, then I would tell you that you have agreed with me that there would be something that created the common ancestor. So, we call it the creator, the one that created the living thing.

  95. Nathan Jonfield WHO WAS THE PREDECESSOR OF HOMO SAPIENS?
    13.09.2011 | 08:18

    John Jacob Lyons,

    You have mentioned that human beings were evolved from homo sapiens. Great! A good answer! Let me ask you a question who was the predecessor right before homo sapiens. What make you so sure it could be the selected animal to be the predecessor of homo sapiens?

    Please reply the above question and more questions will be followed after your reply!

  96. John Jacob Lyons @ Nathan Jonfield
    13.09.2011 | 08:38

    You write "A smart question! If I would say that it would be created by God, you would have a bombardment. If I would comment that it would not be created by God, you would have asked alternatively!"

    Not at all Nathan. All I seek are two straight answers to two simple questions. I am not here to be "smart" or to win arguments. I simply want to engage and cooperate with others in seeking the truth (or establish our differences) to the best of our joint ability.

    Am I correct to interpret your answer to both my questions to be:-

    THEY WERE BOTH CREATED BY GOD! ?

    Your question about "a common ancestor" is a very good, important and interesting one but I think you are referring to 'the first replicator' rather than to the common ancestor. I am happy to discuss this issue in due course but, as a good scientist, I would like to take one step at time.

    Firstly, I suggest that we need to establish whether or not I have correctly interpreted your answers to my two questions. What say you?

    Best wishes,

    John

  97. Nathan Jonfield ANCESTORS
    13.09.2011 | 10:09

    When I mention the phrase, a common ancestor, under the title, Is it correct that God created both things?, I refer to the common ancestor of all living things.

    When I mention the phrase, the predecessor of homo sapiens, I refer to the ancestor that was one step before homo sapiens instead of the common ancestor of all living things. Or in other words, the one that would turn up to be homo sapiens.

  98. John Jacob Lyons @ Nathan re MY CHALLENGE
    13.09.2011 | 11:26

    What is so difficult about my questions Nathan? If you will give me clear answers, I will be able to continue the discussion. I wrote as follows:-

    If my brief account of the origins of the human species and its behaviour (see my post to Cris today at 11:56) is rejected by any fellow contributors, I would really like to hear alternative explanations of:-

    1. THE ORIGIN OF THE HOMO SAPIENS SPECIES?

    2. THE ORIGIN OF THE INTELLIGENCE AND REASONING POWER OF HOMO SAPIENS?

    I have given the scientific view on these issues in some detail in previous posts. I understand that you are one of the contributors who reject this scientific account; so I am asking you for your own answers to these questions.

  99. Nathan Jonfield WHATWAS THE ORIGIN OF ............
    13.09.2011 | 11:49

    A little bit tricky question. I will deal with it soon.

  100. Father Clifford Stevens 751041 Reply to J. A. Le Fevre, John Jacob Lyons & Michael Blume:
    13.09.2011 | 15:44

    Darwinism in Crisis by Clifford Stevens

    The almost two century bulwark of Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory is bursting at the seams these days by a challenge from the very religion it had consigned to the depths of non-entity or tried to link to the adaptive behavior of ants, bees or wasps in the chain of evolution or simply dismissed as a harmless fantasy of childlike minds.

    The challenge has come from a century or more of Thomistic studies, which have produced remarkable investigations of human nature, exploring the human psyche in a series of interdisciplinary studies that challenge most of the scientific pre-suppositions of Darwin's "The Descent of Man" and its basic tenet that human beings are defined by their biology.

    What has been shown to be totally inaccurate in the Darwinian corpus is the evolutionary model that has been standard for 150 years: human beings are totally defined by their biology, and even the so-called "higher powers", the intellectual and volitional powers are merely outgrowths and products of the biological powers of the human organism.

    Thomistic scholars, in a series of studies beginning in the early part of the 20th century, have publilshed in-depth studies in a multitude of articles books, monographs and doctoral theses, providing a more accurate model of the powers, habits and behavior of human beings, with a more exhaustive analysis of these powers and a more definitive description of what human nature is really all about.

    In science, a theory is simply a model of the data revealed by the observation and analysis of a scientific subject, in his case the observation and analysis of human beings.

    What is revealed by the Thomistic studies, is that the evolutionary model is not an accurate model of human nature, since it does not take into account the nature, scope and rangeof the human intellectual and volitional powers and degrades them to merely effects of biological intervention

    With the publication of Robert Brennan's "Thomistic Psychology" in 1941, the culmination of half a century of Thomistic explorations into the nature of human beings, Thomistic studies took a gia=ny step forward in the study of what is specifically and distinctly human. They came up with a definition of Homo Sapiens that radically contradicted the Darwinian model: human beings are creatures of the earth, with an array of biological, somatic, psychosomatic, intellectual and volitional powers radically different from the Darwinian model.

    Brennan's classic work was followed by studies in specialized journals in Europe, the United States and Canada, culminating in the major work on St. Thomas Aquinas in the 20th century: "L'Initiation a Saint Thomas d'Aquin: Sa personne et son ouevre" by Jean Torrell, O.P..

    The challenge to Darwin's "The Descent of Man" was obvious in the exhaustive nature of the Thomistic studies and in the new model presented to the scientific community on the nature of human beings in their earthly existence.

    The most profound effect that these studies have had is in the Darwinian specialty called a "Biology of Religion", whose major thesis is that religion is the product of the biological powers of the human organism and that the intelletual and volitionary powers are mere illusions, created by various adaptive behaviors in evolutionary history.

    THe Thomistic model has found scientific validity in the recent mappings of the Human Genome and in the explosion of studies of the human embryo9, giving a scientific basis for the Thomistic model ad a wealth of new evidence supporting the Thomistic view.

    1. The Darwinian Model.
    2. The Thomistic Model.
    3. The Human Genome.
    4. THe Embryonic Sciences.
    5t. Conclusions.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

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