Oct 21

Natural Selection (Survival of the Fittest) is presented from the Evolution Viewpoint as the mechanism by which one kind of organic evolves into another. When in fact Natural Selection helps in keeping the gene pool from becoming corrupted and weeds out those deemed unfit for survival by the environment. Survival of the Fittest does not explain their arrival.

22 Responses to “Program #40 – Natural Selection”

  1. Andrew Ables Says:

    Ok firstly, I would just like to state: I believe in God. Absolutely. However you have the wrong perspective on what evolution really is.

    When you talk about elephants, and HUMANS shooting them. This isn’t natural selection. It is Artificial selection. Prime examples of artificial selection include Maize—> Corn, Cattle from their small variety to what they are today, Dogs? (the largest amount of variety out of any domesticated animal).

    You keep mentioning species change. A species change occurs only when one animal can not (not including infertility) mate, and produce viable offspring with another animal. i.e. two different species.

    BENEFICIAL mutations. Black skin (or vise versa white skin). more (less) melanin produced to decrease damage caused by UV rays (save energy).


    Evolve simply means change. Change in allele frequency. How can you deny that if you have the same amount of white rabbits and brown rabbits, then in the arctic after 50years there is a far more amount of white rabbit, thats a change in gene frequency. Evolving = change. the frequency of rabbits changed. i.e. evolution

    Look at bacteria. They reproduce at an exponential rate. There are many different KINDS of e.coli. Yet we always need newer medications to fight them. Because we kill the majority and yet there are some who are immune and still reproduce, changing gene frequency, proving evolution.

    Stop believing and start understanding.

    Mules, ligers, zonkeys. are all inviable. It is possible they came from a common ancestor (hence why they can breed…) but there has been enough change over the years to cause inviability.

    “people believe what they choose to believe” you guys are kind of hypocrits, you are living your own example! Of course when we cause mutation with chemicals and of the such their won’t be a beneficial mutation, we don’t live in comic-book land where you can roll around in chemicals and gain beneficial attributes.

    STOP STOP STOP rolling people into groups. Damn that is sad. “scientists don’t listen to christians”…. because all christians give evolution a chance? You put an evolutionist in with a bible thumper, and 9 times out of 10 they will fight. Simple as that. Don’t put yourself on a pedestal because you have so much faith in your beliefs. I realize it is impossible to assume that you could be wrong, it would go against every min spent in a church or praying or whatever. But at the same time in order to keep an open-mind you must listen, and assume there is a possibilty that someone else is right. Evolution is about understanding, not believing.

  2. Dr. John R. Nay Says:

    Thank you for your comments. I would like to discuss your comments one at a time.

    First, how do you differentiate between Artificial Selection and Natural Selection?

    If evolution is true and various animals evolve defensive and offensive weapons, then why not humans? (If in fact humans are animals.) If man is at the top of the evolution chain and should elect to eliminate elephants that have tusks, why not?

  3. Andrew Ables Says:

    Well yes, we are definitely animals. But within the spectrum of animals is energy expenditure. Humans for example have the highest developed brain. So we lack other things: Strength for example (comparatively we are close to the weakest animal alive). Point being. Our intellect has a HUGE undeniable impact on the world and it’s outcome. Our impact is so powerful, right? So natural selection is the powerful force that selects FITNESS traits in nature, animals that find their niche, and are mechanized by one of the following: Recombination, gene flow, mutation, or genetic drift.. Artificial selection however, is Humans selecting animals for favorable traits. So animals survive purely on when we decide they survive. Thats power. Look at corn from maize, look at the progression in cattle. Look at the variation between dogs. Fisheries, chickens, fruit (larger, more sugary, no seeds). The examples are endless, all things which would of been quite impossible without our impact.

    So yeah we could eliminate tusks in elephants, I doubt we WILLINGLY want to do that, not good for profit. But needless to say it is happening, but we aren’t choosing it to happen, scientist are not sending people out to “kill off the big tusks so small tusks are more frequent”. If we would just remove the tusks without killing the animal then large tusks would obviously still be around. Malpractice on human element.

    I hope I answered your questions, feel free to keep asking!

  4. Dr. John R. Nay Says:

    I appreciate your response, but I’m still having difficulty in understanding the difference between Natural Selection and Artificial Selection, in particular the latter. I believe that I understand what is meant by “Natural Selection”. When you say that Artificial Selection is “… Humans selecting animals for favorable traits. So animals survive purely on when we decide they survive.” – Should it not be “… Animals selecting animals for favorable traits. So animals survive purely on when we (animals) decide they (animals) survive.”?

    What is the difference between animals that elect to select out elephants with tusks relative to animals that do not wish to select out elephants with tusks? How does one decide which animal is right? Or if they’re both wrong and another option (from an organic or inorganic source) is right?

  5. Andrew Ables Says:

    alright. I will try to clearify. In artificial selection NO undesirable traits survive, in natural selection at times undesirables survive and sometimes desirables die, there is a lot of luck, time, place, etc etc.
    There is no right and wrong in the animal kingdom, those words are something humans made up. Animals do what they have to, to survive. That and even though we are biologically animals, we are separated in the aspect (agreeable on the creationist side too, right?). One could stretch to say that even when we artificially select, it is STILL natural selection as far as us being a component. Hopefully that helped

  6. Dr. John R. Nay Says:

    “… no right and wrong in the animal kingdom, ….” – Please permit me to form a logic syllogism:

    1. Man is an animal.
    2. There is no right and wrong in the animal kingdom.
    Therefore, man can do no right or wrong.

    The logic of the syllogism leads to the Holocaust being an amoral event. To continue with this logic, if atheists had the power and selected the creationists for elimination it would be an amoral decision (and vice-versa).

    Please permit a further illustration of the application of this logic: If bond-haired, blue-eyed people were in power, they could select all other races for elimination should they so choose. The decision and any action from the application of the decision would be amoral. If there are fallacies in this syllogism, would you please point them out to me.

    In reference to “That and even though we are biologically animals, we are separated in the aspect…?” What aspect?

    “One could stretch to say that even when we artificially select, it is STILL natural selection as far as us being a component.” Specifically, how is this a “stretch”?

    Please do address my final questions from my last post, i.e. What is the difference between animals that elect to select out elephants with tusks relative to animals that do not wish to select out elephants with tusks? How does one decide which animal is right? Or if they’re both wrong and another option (from an organic or inorganic source) is right? (In light of there being no right or wrong.)

  7. Andrew Ables Says:

    Ok, fine be frustrating,

    Difference between other animals and humans.

    Humans use logic to reason. While animals use instinct. We as humans do not always act upon our instincts, we have the ability to rationalize. Whether it be because we have a soul, or just a highly developed brain, or a mixture of both, I cannot tell you, that is FAR beside the point. Just realize that there is infact a difference between Humans and other animals. Please note that it is arguable that primates and some other forms of life have “reason” but overall they are generally controlled by their instincts.

    Therefor to answer your question, animals can’t ARTIFICIALLY SELECT for other animals, they lack the reason and logic to do so. When an animal kills another animal it is out of instinct alone. So if animals can’t, but we can. Then we separate what is natural, and what is artificial.

    Why do you insist on adding morality to this discussion anyways? Which animal is right? Ok, pointing out fallacy. Nazi’s compared to animals. Animals do not hate. That’s a mankind emotion. Therefor animals do not with out proper reason kill. So the logic of animals (lets assume lions) kill elephants to survive, over Nazi’s killing Jews because they hate them. Doesn’t seem quite to par.

    Besides, Right and Wrong is subjective. Yes don’t kill people, what if someone is threatening your child’s life, and you see no other option? The list goes on, I am sure you can think of a plethora of examples.

    I feel as though you are trying to bait me into saying something, because your questions are rather redundant and I feel as though I am beating a dead horse.

    Needless to say, this is a positive experience.

  8. Dr. John R. Nay Says:

    “Besides, Right and Wrong is subjective.” – How can Right and Wrong be subjective if ” … there is no Right and Wrong, ….”?

    What do you mean by the term, “soul”?

    Realize that when you say, “…., they (animals) lack the reason and logic to do so.” , the direct implication is that Natural Selection is not the product of reason or logic.

    “Animals do not hate.” – 1. Man is an animal. 2. Animals do not hate. Therefore, man doesn’t hate. This is the logical conclusion from these premises. Perhaps there is a false premise here, i.e. “Man is an animal.”?

  9. Andrew Ables Says:

    Why do you insist on asking me questions you already know the answers to? This isn’t about nit picking fine lines between definitions.

    There is a right and wrong when humans are concerned. And I didn’t draw those lines, societies do.

    WE ARE SEPARATED FROM ANIMALS. Yes biologically speaking we are in fact animals, however, we are also different and in our own class apart from them. I am not sure what separates us from animals, just for this topic’s sake, assume that I am correct.

    Natural selection IS NOT the product of reason or logic, so yes that point is made.

    The term soul was just part of my own belief system, and should not be used in the context of explaining evolution or any of it’s counterparts.

  10. Dr. John R. Nay Says:

    Definitions: As you know, we are using “words” to share our ideas. Words mean what they are used to mean in the context of there usage. Thus, there are several definitions to most all words. Short illustration – I used to assign my philosophy class the following:
    Ask this of no less than five people and document the responses – A hunter is out hunting squirrels. He sees a squirrel on a tree. As he approaches the tree the squirrel moves to the other side. The hunter walks around the tree to the other side. The squirrel will move around the tree as the hunter moves to the other side. The hunter stops on the other side of the tree. The question is “Did the hunter go around the squirrel?” Some would say No, as the squirrel was facing him the entire time. Some might say Yes, as the hunter is now 180 degrees from where he was, and not only went around the squirrel, but the tree as well, e.g.. he was on the North side of the tree and now he is on the South side of the tree. Some might say No, as it wasn’t a 360 degree circle. And still others No, as the hunter never saw the backside of the squirrel. One can take this to dividing the 360 degrees to ad infinitum and say that the distance is infinitely divisible and the hunter can NEVER go around the squirrel. (There is more.)
    Of course this all has to do with what one means by “around”! Soooooooooooo, for effective communication to take place we need to insure that the definitions behind to words used are the same for those involved.

    “There is a right and wrong when humans are concerned. And I didn’t draw those lines, societies do.” – 1. There IS a right and wrong when humans are concerned. 2. Humans are animals. 3. There is NO right and wrong with animals. (Inferred). Therefore, —————-? This is not logical.

    “WE ARE SEPARATED FROM ANIMALS.” – 1. Man is an animal. 2. We are separated from animals. Therefore, ———-? Not logical.

    “I”m not sure what separates us from animals, ….” – Is it “logically” possible that we are NOT animals?

    If Natural Selection is not the product of reason or logic, then how does one determine that logic is logical?

    In reference to your final comment on the term “soul”, I wish to share with you, although not solicited, that according to God’s Word, both man and animals have a soul, defined Scripturally as the “breath of life”. I believe this to be the key to biological life. One of many differences between man and animals is that man has an “eternal” spirit, i.e. Man is an eternal being. He is created in the image of God (multi-faceted) for purpose, and possesses an inherent moral code, an inherent awareness that there is something or someone greater than himself, the desire to express himself in various art forms, the ability to reason and function contrary to his emotions, the ability to “feel” the beauty of a sunset, a child’s laughter, and to stand in awe of the Universe that attests to the awesomeness of the Almighty Creator.

    Since I will be without internet for the next two or so weeks and am at the age where time is so short, I will go on. If one believes that man is the result of time and chance mutations, and that all of this is just happenstance, then there is NO purpose to all of this. I believe this to be completely illogical in light of the awesome complexity of all that we see around us and feel within us. If one believes that when one dies there is nothing, then why existence at all? One does not even have the memory of their own existence, and when those that knew them die, the memory of them that knew them dies. How sad.

    If one believes that there is God and He brought all of this about through the mechanism of evolution and left man with no way to determine “absolutes”, knowing that man is finite in knowledge, then just what IS all of this about? How sad.

    If in fact there is Almighty God and He DID leave man with a means of determining what this is all about, then this all makes sense. I propose that man without a source from absolute knowledge can only deal in absolutes by definition, e.g. all bachelors are not married. I often ask the question, “How many of you believe that God is omniscient?” In churches most all raise their hands. Then a different question is asked, “How many of you know as a result of cognitive analytical assessment that God knows everything?” I cannot answer this question yes, as I do not know everything. Therefore I understand that my affirmative answer to the former question is a statement of belief. I believe that ALL HUMAN BEINGS walk by faith, as humans are not omniscient being (which I realize is an absolute, but it’s from what I believe to be an omniscient source) This is a lot of information for discussion, but as mentioned, I most likely will not have internet for a couple of weeks.

    Thank you for your input, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

  11. Andrew Ables Says:

    Alright. This is becoming more and more of a philosophical debate. I am not here to nit pick philosophy and the origin of man and animal and debate on how they are different or the same or with or without “souls” because as far as humankind knows, the amount of souls in the world is unmeasurable. Scientists do not measure the unmeasurable, philosophers, theists talk and discuss such things. Simply put we are all organic and inorganic molecules strung together in complex formations. However humans are far more intelligent and self aware than any other creature in the world. This I believe separates us.

    I think we are getting a bit off topic. Much to far into the religious spectrum. I am not discussing religion (I have far different opinions), I am trying to convey the idea that Natural Selection and Evolution are not so abstract. Not monkey into man, not this hyped up bull crap that people hear in churches or on the news. But the actual meaning of evolution and how it applies to life. ALL the time, not just over millions and millions of years, but in an hour, a day. It happens, we can WATCH it happen. Therefor it is undeniable. Evolution exists. Perhaps I simply do not have the education to convey this idea in a proper way so that people without a biological background can understand the conceptual ideas and mechanism that control Evolution (e.g. Natural Selection). I would try to get my professor on this site, but I can almost guarantee he will not partake for he separates science and beliefs. He stated that “A person can understand and believe, at times these over lap but at times they are separate. For this class, we will be going over concepts which you will learn to understand” Much like a Venn Diagram, is science and religion. If I have given the impression that I am an atheist well I am not. I do believe in God and I believe He created all that we see today, however I am rather anti-theist in the point where, I believe in many cases religion has run its course, and is just as screwy as the rest of the world if not more so (especially since many theist hold themselves up to such high accord). I believe it was C.S Lewis who stated that there are atheists simply because there are Christians. I don’t know the quote exact, but I am sure you know what I mean. Besides the point. There was a biologist by the name of Theodosius Dobzhansky (a russian orthodox christian) who stated “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”. You should consider finding this man’s readings.

  12. Dr. John R. Nay Says:

    Andrew, nice to have you back. When you say that, “This is becoming more and more of a philosophical debate.”, you are absolutely on-target. Philosophy is defined as, “… a pursuit of wisdom … a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means ….” (New Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam) Please especially note, “… chiefly speculative rather than observational means..” When it comes to the origin of the Universe and life, we are in philosophical discussion, because both are not within the Scientific Method. The Scientific Method is defined as, “Principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary). A phenomenon must be “observed”, then an hypothesis formed so that the Scientific Method might be applied. Since the origin of the Universe and life was not observed, they are not within the Scientific Method, but within the area of philosophical discussion. Both the Evolution Model and the Creation Model are philosophies relative to the origin of the Universe and Life.

    “Scientists do not measure the unmeasurable.” It makes no difference as to whether one is talking about “Scientists” or not, if something is unmeasurable it is unmeasurable by definition. Do you remember my saying that man (who is not an omniscient being) can only deal in absolutes by definition, or through faith in an omniscient source? This is an example of an absolute by definition.

    Hipparchus taught that that there were less than 3,000 stars (150 B.C.). Three-hundred years later Ptolemy counted 1056 stars and claimed the actual number would not exceed 3,000. In 1608 A.D. Galileo used a telescope (the first year of its’ invention) and announced that the number of stars was innumerable. This has not stopped astrophysicists and astronomers (scientists) from attempting to count the stars. Not only so, but what might be unmeasurable today, might be measurable tomorrow, as a result of greater technology, e.g. telescope, electron microscope, etc.

    “… the religious spectrum.” – Religion is defined as, “… a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary). If one holds the postulates of evolution as true with ardor and faith, this philosophy as become their religion. The same hold true for the Creation Viewpoint. The Bible has within its’ pages a philosophy of life. It tells us where we came from, what is right/wrong, what is good, what is better, what is best, what this life is all about, what happens when we die, etc. If one holds the philosophy found within the Bible to be true with ardor and faith and attempts to live in accordance with it, then this has become their religion. I’m back to one of our earlier discussions where my contention was that all humans walk by faith simply because they are humans that are not omniscient beings. I.e., All humans walk by “faith”. The big question is, “Where does one place their faith?” Syllogism – 1. God created the Universe and Life. 2. God left man without any moral compass. Therefore, …. – NOT reasonable or logical (a somewhat redundant statement).

  13. Andrew Ables Says:

    Why is it not reasonable or logical that God would leave us without a moral compass? I think inertly we know exactly what is right and what is wrong, and then finer details are taught to us by our elders. You know some of the most morally obligated people I have ever met in my entire life are in fact atheists? Then to put salt on the wound many of some of the most cruel, twisted, conniving people I have met call themselves Christians and go to church every Sunday and participate within many groups. They aren’t openly this way, but that just adds to the deceit. People should be good because it’s right, not because they are afraid of eternal damnation. Part of me even wonders if for the majority of people if going to church on a regular basis is only setting themselves up for disaster. Always thinking about not doing the wrong things, keeps the wrong things in your head.
    Personal faith aside. I agree with your statement about learning the unmeasurable. However, the people who typically invent those things are highly intelligent, and I am not even an evolutionary biologist. I am an education/biology undergrad. There are far better people to talk to than me about evolution and why it exists. Hopefully some people besides you and I actually read this exchange of information and can gain something from it. For we should all be in the pursuit for knowledge. Regardless if we agree and/or disagree. I appreciate your feedback and also applaud you for not turning this into an argument but keeping it as an exchange of Ideas. I do not find too many Christians open-minded enough to do so.

  14. Dr. John R. Nay Says:

    Moral Compass – This is what I consider to be deductive logic, emphasis on “I consider”. If God (Bible definition) is the uncaused First Cause of the Universe and all that it contains in its’ complexity, and a moral code does exists, then to leave man (finite in knowledge) in a position of not being able to determine absolutes is illogical. Relative to man’s knowing “inertly” (inherently?) what is right and what is wrong, how does one determine which is correct when there are two diametrically opposed views? I DO agree with you that man inherently has a basic code of right and wrong, but the mores of a culture can most certainly desensitize the code within. E.g. One believes that cutting the head off your enemy and shrinking it down to gain more power from the spirit world is right and another believes (inherently) that it is wrong. Who and what determines which is right and which is wrong?

    Relative to “… some of the most morally obligated people I have ever met … are in fact atheists?” Who or what determines that what they do is in fact moral?

    Thank you for saying, “… call themselves Christians….” I can “call” myself a brain surgeon, but that doesn’t make me to be one. The Crusades were conducted in the “name” of Christianity, but that didsn’t make them to be Christian. (Personally, I believe they were demonic, and the same holds true for the Catholic Inquisition.)

    In reference to the motive for an action (afraid of damnation), I believe that all motivations may be placed within three categories: Fear, Reward, and Love. Often these overlap. I also believe that one cannot know another’s source of motivation; often one does not really know their own source of motivation. If one does not kill another out of fear of going to prison, I believe that is a good thing. If one does not kill another out of love for his fellow human, I believe that is a better thing, although (I believe) they both have a good result.

    Scripturally (Biblically), the source of all motivation for the professing Christian, idealistically, should be love. The “love” I’m referring to is an unconditional action in favor of the other person, without expectation of something (reward) in return, regardless of how one “feels”. Idealistically, all actions on the part of a Christian are to be from this source of motivation.

    “Personal faith aside.” – Faith is the foundation of our discussion in that we, as humans, are finite in knowledge.
    As an education/biology undergrad, your challenge is to determine where you are going to place your faith. I believe you are on the right track, i.e. “Any story sounds true, until one hears the other side” (Proverb 18:17, Living) cf. “What a shame, yes how sad, to decide before knowing the facts.” (Proverbs, 18:13, Living)

    People all over the world are reading our discussion. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man another.” (Proverbs 27:17, Living)

  15. Andrew Ables Says:

    I am more than game to continue.

    Alright some of the atheists whom I have met that have been “morally obligated” as I said. Well when I consider my example, what comes to mind are some of the asian (chinese) students that have transfered to the US for an education. They are irreligious. But to be kind, friendly, giving, and to cherish life and the lives of others in a free and for the greater well being of man, is an obvious track of mind. It makes no sense to not be this way, it was simply how they were raised. There is no fear of damnation. Back to your example of not killing a man for fear of jail. Is a person really just, or “good” because they fear the consequences of the actions that they otherwise would perform? I really don’t think so. Isn’t there somewhere in the bible that states the thought of performing an action is just as bad as doing so?
    I think my faith can be set aside. There are the things I have come to know. Then there are the things I like to think I know. I chose to treat people based on what I know when it comes to society. Not because I think God would approve. Because in all entirety I think God put us on this earth with a developed brain and logic above all other beings to be able to decipher such things. Earth to me is a test of will and of ones self. And with tests there are no aides from the teacher, it would just be unfair. It may be a group test, and our parents or brethren can help us choose our paths but ultimately we are mono y mono with Life Us vs The World. I believe it is a Jewish belief that we as people should be good people because we want to be, not because we fear eternal damnation.

  16. Dr. John R. Nay Says:

    “irreligious….” – Do a quick Google or Yahoo search on Asian religions and you’ll most likely be overwhelmed by the results.

    “kind” – There needs to be a standard (canon) in order to determine what is or is not kind. E.g., to one it might be kind to abort a child in the womb that would appear to have physical challenges. To another it might be anything but kind; some would even call it premeditated murder. One might think they’re kind with their comments to one of the opposite sex. Another might view it as unkind and perhaps even sexual harassment.

    Please note that I did not say, “Is a person really just, or ‘good’ because they fear the consequences of the actions….” I said, “I believe that is a good thing.” I did not say that the individual was “good”, but that the “action” was good. Scripturally there is a big difference. “There is none good, no not one.” (Romans 3:10, my paraphrase). Like “kind”, “good” must have a standard to determine whether it is good or not good. Good in the context of the standard of the Bible and the standard of the immediate context of the verse I’m referring to is relative to one without sin. Scripturally, one can only be “good” or justified through Christ, i.e., just- as if-I’d-never-sinned. Justified. This is not in reference to a child that has not come to a point of accountability (as determined by God), or a person that God does not hold to be accountable for actions because of being severally handicapped mentally.

    “Isn’t there somewhere in the Bible that states the thought of performing an action is just as bad as doing so?” – You may be thinking of Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (NIV) The context of this passage is not speaking of a glance, it is speaking of going through the adultery process in one’s mind, i.e. not taking one’s thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. Fortunately, 1 John 1:9 reads, “If we (Christian in context) confess our sins He’s both faithful and righteous to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (my paraphrase). Scripturally (standard), temptation is not a sin. “Jesus was tempted in like manner (all basic sins), and yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, paraphrase) The important thing is what one does with the temptation, i.e. yield (sin) or not.

    “… in all entirety I think God put us on this earth with a developed brain and logic above all other beings….” – I’m beginning to pick up that man is NOT just another animal.

    “I chose to treat people based on what I know when it comes to society.” – It appears that your standard (canon) for kind or unkind is the society. My question is, “Which society?” And, which part or portion of that society? In the society of the United States there are diametrically opposed views relative to what is kind or unkind (previous examples). There must be a standard and, if possible, from an omniscient source.

    “Earth to me is a test ….” – In all my years of teaching at a college I never gave a test or examination. I gave “Proficiency Opportunities” : ) But even with my proficiency opportunities I needed to have a standard to determine whether the answers were correct or not. My students needed to pass their finals in order to graduate and move on. A little ironically (1,000’s of colleges), the college where I taught had a co-op program with the college you are now attending. Well, without a “test key”, how does one determine how they did with their test?

    I suggest that many in our culture are good (relative to laws of the land), not because they have a strong moral obligation to be good, but because they have a fear of the consequences of their actions.

    Please take a cursory look at my previous post relative to fear of damnation.

  17. Andrew Ables Says:

    I understand there are many religions in asia. Just that the group of students that I have met roughly 10 whom I asked if they had a faith, chose atheism as their answer. They also happened to be from China/Taiwan.

    You are totally right, what is kind, (back to our what is right or wrong). Just depends on the person and where they live and the sociology of the aspect. Simple. Even if God gave a standard to the human race. Many lived without it, many chose not to follow it, many chose to follow for different reasons. As far as society goes, just take sociology, customs are different from everyone. From immediate family, to extended, to work, to with friends, to church, we all act different depending on who we are with.

    Man is still an animal… Yes we have developed minds and therefor ability to reason, but we then lack what other animals are born with. We have a far more developed brain but most animals have far developed muscles and all sorts of fierce or specialized tools that allow them to survive.

    We don’t get the key till after we take the test.. Maybe a study guide would be a better analogy but, even then a test is all-inclusive. I don’t know. To be quiet honest. I am driven by logic here. The universe without a God is just depressing, but God having a son? And the metaphoric induced jargon littered through out the bible just feels like an incredible jumble of fairy tales used to keep people in line. Looking back on the history of the Catholic church, and the way it wanted to control the people, I am sure you are far more educated in this subject, but how can something as good and pure and genuine come out of a church like that? Why would God need a Jesus to accomplish such feats? There are too many questions with far too little appropriate answers. Answers ultimately answered with faith. Faith. Faith. Even if Jesus was in fact a man. Who knows who is right? The Jews? The Mormans? Catholics, Lutherens, Baptist….etc etc. Too many people separating themselves from each other, arguing endlessly. Too much focus on what is different, instead of what is the same. But overall I just don’t know. Very agnostic of myself. (even though I don’t like such labels). Too much to think about.

    It wasn’t irony that brought me to this site, it was one of your students who happens to be a good friend of mine. Gabe B.

  18. Dr. John R. Nay Says:

    First, I propose that atheism IS a faith. A faith or belief that there is no God does not make there to be no God, if in fact there is God. It’s a statement of “faith”. Going back to our initial discussion: since man is not an omniscient being, whatever he (man) believes about anything is just exactly that, a belief, i.e. faith.

    Just depends on the person and where they live and the sociology of the aspect. Simple.” – Sooooooo, if a person lives in a culture where taking to head of what is viewed as as enemy is right and a person that lives in a culture where it is deemed to be wrong, are both equally right? Just to add a little. The person in the culture that teaches taking the head of another human is wrong is the one targeted by the society that teaches it is right. Again, are both right? Are both wrong? Is one right and the other wrong? We continually end up back at the point that man (a non-omniscient being) need some standard to determine whether a behavior is moral, immoral, or amoral.

    “Man is still an animal.” – Past discussion on this topic.

    “We don’t get the key till after we take the test.” – There must be a “key”. This is the point. There must be a key, i.e. a standard to determine whether something is right or wrong.

    “…a study guide would be a better analogy….” – I like this analogy better. I personally believe that such a study guide is in existence, i.e. the Bible (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth – BIBLE)

    “…incredible jumble of fairy tales….” – At one time, B.C. (Before I became a Christian) the Bible met nothing to me. I still remember a young man leaving my home each week with pages of my question, e.g. The Bible speaks of a global flood, is there anything in the sciences to support the factuality of such an event? If there is a god, where did he come from? Jonah and the great fish sounds a little fishy to me, is there any event or events in recorded history to support the possibility that this could actually happen? Etceteras. Etceteras.

    “Catholic church” – I not saying that all Catholics are not Christians, but I am saying (at the risk of being overly redundant) going to church no more makes one to be a Christian that going to McDonald’s makes one to be a Chicken McNugget.

    “Jesus to accomplish such feats?” – The miracles of Jesus gave credibility to His claims to be the Son of God. When Nicodemus (John, Ch. 3) came to Jesus by night, he said, “We know you’ve come from God, for no one can do these signs (miracles) unless God is with him.” (my paraphrase).

    “Too many people separating themselves from each other, arguing endlessly. Too much focus on what is different, instead of what is the same.” – I agree.

    Please tell Gabe “Hi” for me. I very much enjoyed having him in class. He has a good mind and is a lot of fun (encouraging) to be around. I miss the college very much, especially the discussions of the classroom. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man another.” (Proverbs 27:17) : )

  19. Andrew Ables Says:

    Well, I have done some reading (a lot a lot), and I am augmented by different philosophers and those concerned with ethics. Since this topic has moved from Natural Selection and the Theory (not hypothesis) into something of virtues. I think the topic is an endless one. Resolved only by death. I still firmly believe that we are animals, we are molecules strung together much in the same way, our genes are processed in much of the same way, our physiology isn’t even that different when comparing embryos. One could say well Intelligent Design is obviously the answer. When no, it really isn’t obvious. But neither is evolution. Both can be vague, and ambiguity is not forthcoming when making such decisions on what we believe and what we understand.
    Making right decisions? Well I come to find out that many people have theories on this. One of them is Kant, he developed a theory (Kantian Theory) that we as humans all have an underlying morality, that when we make decisions we should make them on the majority of just decisions that anyone else would make. Regardless of the consequences, the theory is deontological. Quite apposing to utiliarianism. However, a common question arises. Who decides what is Good and what is Bad? Well Kant as far as I know assures us that as long as the intention to be good is pure, then we have done a good thing. If you mess it up, no worries you can’t be blamed. But only if your intentions were of good nature. Otherwise, do not fret with what your emotions can do with your logical reasoning. Logically always make the good, honest gesture, and your feelings will follow suit. This could very well be the reasoning of why animals and humans are separated (mentally, not physically), they are the purest of examples when Kantian Theory is being to play. Animals always have the purest intentions when they do something. Animals don’t see right and wrong, they see cause and effect.
    Religion is to me some form of fallacy. Don’t take my words into contempt, while I have come to know some of the most influential people in my life to be Christians. Also keep in mind that influence works both ways, and on that scale it is pretty close to balanced. There is an interesting excerpt from a book titled “Twilight of the Idols” that explains at least to some detail what I am trying to express, the expert written by Friedrich Nietzsche is titled “The Anti-Christ”. Now I may not express my feelings towards religion (in this point particularly Christianity) in such a way as hostility. I am sure religion is beneficial to many people, personally I like the way Emile Durkheim explains religion and it’s importance to society. Also a more commonly heard belief is that of Ramakrishna and his “Many Paths to the Same Summit” idea. What if we all are really subject to the same Creator? And really all we have are different interpretations? Based on such stories, such exaggerations, dreams and other untangible ideals. What if petitionary prayer was the same of the meditative sort? What if truly we should simply be advocates for our own beliefs but in return give respect to others, for the derived is the same?
    Another interesting thought, you seem to be pushing our conversation on what is right and wrong towards God and His control over it. Does God enforce what is right because it is right? or rather because He says it is right? If the first is true, is God then also subject to what is right? And if the later is true, how benevolent really is God?
    (Paraphrased from Keiji Nishitani’s “What is Religion” )Religion for most is really just the starting point of the question “For what purpose do I exist”. That of which we only become aware of when everything else in life loses it’s necessity and its utility.– This Japanese philosopher appears to me as a firm supporter in religion. Also the paraphrasing makes me hear my own father’s voice “there is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole”. I find myself in some sort of limbo, Yes I firmly believe there is a God, no I do not believe we must ordinate ourselves to a ritual as to practice our “virtues” (<–loaded word). To make things personal, I can honestly say that my attempts at being part of a religion were depressing, worrisome, anxious, and just filled with stress everywhere I went. For the longest time I assumed my faith was being "tested", that the "Christians" around me, who subjected themselves to a "higher standard of living" only acted the way they did towards me and upon others or their selfs because that is what God wanted me to see. I tried to help, I tried to be a good Christian. I fought many of my own natural instincts which I assumed was demon whispers. And also lost so much sense of myself, I became an empty shell. It wasn't until college, and one dedicated Christian family, that changed my outlook forever. They used the bible, they went to church, and had bible study at their house, on the outside they were God fearing people. But, when you date someone's daughter you tend to see a different side. They were quick to judge, without trial or jury, they were manipulators of their own kind, using phrases like "it's God's will", they were masters of guilt, and the actions that their children partook in is living proof that obviously something was wrong. The girl that I dated, that I felt as though I loved full-heartedly, the girl that always reminded me of what Jesus would want us to do, was unfaithful. I was the one always getting the lectures, and yet she is the one who made such simple rules to abide by so difficult. She was a great liar. She had no rhyme or reason or rather empathy for that matter of how her actions would affect me or even others around. She was always the one ready to have a Jesus talk with someone, to spread her faith. To tell people to let God do the work. Much like in much of Greek mythology, the worst things in the world are hidden by a beautiful face or enticing endeavor. I felt as finally for once in my life, I could see. It all began to play back in my mind, from the day I considered myself a follower, to the day I turned my back on what people like to call faith. No.. I believe in faith, I even have it written (in Greek) across my shoulder, to remind myself and even to spread my belief that faith isn't necessarily some supernatural feeling, but also a reminder of yourself, and what you are capable of. I have faith in many things, God included, but also people, and myself, and accosting situations. I know that I as a person am a durable one. I KNOW that I am becoming a good, respectable man. I do the right things for people not because I am afraid of damnation, not because some God governs me to do so, but because within me, some unexplainable feeling compels me to. I despise dishonesty, I fall to my knees in the adversity of hate, I even cry when love has been scorned. These are the traits of me. Someone who believes Jesus might of been a man and nothing more, someone who turns his back on many of those who may call themselves holy or determine it so. I am a human being, we are all human beings, we rise and succumb to the same things. And I refuse to believe that we should be separated based on our beliefs. That we all have the ability to be good people regardless of our deity. And that even if someone is Hindu, or Catholic, or Jewish, or anything else for the matter, as long as they have faith and as long as they are strong in their faith with good intentions for the rest of us. Then they are much further along than people might give them credit for.

    I apologize for lack of clarity, I didn't speak from a perspective based on lots of reason or logic (to do so in entirety would make me a nihilist) but with mostly emotional cues from my life and my faith. Mostly there is no argument, nor is there really any concerns for changing my mind. These are views based on years of living, years of experience, granted some things may change as I am still young, however, as true Christians divulge themselves within their faith, I do as well in mine. I am right, for if I even considered fault, I would lack faith. I am full of empathy to other views, and accept much from others as I would wish them to accept from me. I am capable of approaching most topics with an open mind, and metaphorically even a an open heart. However also within my experience there has been an underlying agreement between all of the beliefs I have encountered. I wish I had the vocabulary to put it into words if those words even exist.. but alas, I do not, and am unaware. Thank you, for helping me do this. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man another". (a useful book)

  20. Dr. John R. Nay Says:

    Andrew, I do not understand what you mean by, “… I am augmented by different philosophers …”

    “virtues” – Need a standard to determine what is virtuous and what is not.

    “we are animals” – “…, he (Kant) developed a theory that we as humans …” I’m taking it that you do not agree with Kant that we are humans, as opposed to animals.

    “Making right decisions?” – Once again, there needs to be a standard to determine what is a right decision as opposed to a wrong decision.

    “Who decides what is Good and what is Bad?” – Excellent question! Whether a “who” or a “what”, there needs to be a standard!

    “as long as the intention to be good is pure, then we have done a good thing.” I disagree. I can intend to help someone that is about to jump from a tenth story building ledge, and in so doing nock them off of the ledge. My intention might be good, but that doesn’t mean I’ve done a good thing. Once again, there needs to be a standard to determine what is/is not good.

    “This could very well be the reasoning of why animals and humans are separated …..” – As mentioned in the second sentence of your comment, “we are animals”. Also, as mentioned in previous discussions relative to man being an animal. We need to be consistent.

    “Animals always have the purest intentions when they do something.” – How can man know the “intentions” of an animal which we are not able to converse (conversation) with, when we can’t know (as an absolute) the intentions of a human with whom we can converse? In reference to my last sentence: I propose that a human can not know as an absolute the motivation from which they take an action. I might tell myself that I’m doing whatever for a good reason, and be the recipient of my own self delusionment.

    “Religion is to me some form of fallacy” – As in my previous comments, I propose that all humans walk by faith and that the philosophy in which they have placed their faith is in fact, their religion.

    “Does God enforce what is right because it is right? or rather because He says it is right?” – In order to address these questions we need some standard to determine which of these two questions is correct.

    “Yes I firmly believe there is a God.” – Why?

    “I believe in faith,” – I propose they’re the same, i.e. belief & faith.

    “…, some unexplainable feeling compels me to.” – I believe you’re created in the “image of God” (Gen 1:26ff.). This is very multi-faceted, one facet being an inherent moral code of wrongs & rights.

    “… we all have the ability to be good people regardless of our deity.” – As Socrates once said, “What is good?” There MUST be a standard to determine what is good/bad, right/wrong, moral/immoral/amoral, etceteras.

    Unfortunately, it sounds to me as though you’ve been hurt deeply. First: One calling themselves a Christian does not make them to be a Christian, if in fact they are not a Christian. One that calls themselves a Christian that IS a Christian, is simply a saved sinner. On this side of Jesus Christians sin (1 John 1:8-10). On God’s side of Jesus, a Christian is without sin (Ephesians, 1:3-9)

    Again Andrew, I apologize for taking so long to respond. I do appreciate your honesty.

  21. Andrew Ables Says:

    Augmented by philosophers — just supported within my own beliefs.

    I can’t tell you what is essentially right or wrong or virtuous. To each their own. I also do not believe there NEEDS to be consistency. Because there never has been, nor will there ever will be.

    Like all squares are rectangles, all humans are animals. This part of our discussion is quickly getting us no where.

    I don’t think belief and faith are entirely the same. To me belief is 100% confident. Faith leaves space for uncertainty. This may not very well be the same definitions that all people use. But it is my own personal thought.

    I believe in God, because it is logical. Those who don’t tend to put their faith in an exploding rock that has always existed within nothing.
    It is kind of hard to discuss with an infant, yet would anyone question their intentions not pure?

  22. Dr. John R. Nay Says:

    “To each their own.” – So, if the majority (or those in power) consider it to be “right” to eliminate the Jews, it’s o.k.?
    “do not believe there NEEDS to be consistency.” Last year those in power said it is right to eliminate the Jews. This year those in power say that it is not right to eliminate the Jews. Those in power have decided that next year it will once again be right to eliminate the Jews. I think this is pretty inconsistent.
    “Like all squares are rectangles, ….” – Most words have multiple definitions and mean what they are used to mean within the context of usage. In geometry, squares and rectangles are not the same, thus the two different names.
    “To me belief is 100% confident.” – I can’t argue with this statement, because you qualified the statement with “To me….”. In debate, this is the way to maintain one’s ground. I’ve learned this over the years through conducting seminars. To me, there are various levels of belief. I might believe that you would catch me if I stood stiff-legged and fell backward. Do I believe this 100%? No. Perhaps I believe it enough to put my believe to the test by doing this. Do keep in mind that we are not omniscient beings, e.g. I may fall backward and just prior to the time you’re to catch me, you have a heart attack and I do the tush smash.
    “I believe in God, because it is logical.” – Me too! “The fool has said in their heart, ‘There is no God'”. (Psalm 14:1)

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