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Author Topic:   Contradictions: Hint that Genesis 1 and 2 are Allegorical
lpetrich
Inactive Member


Message 16 of 100 (38916)
05-04-2003 9:34 AM


Peter's hypothesis is better-known as the JEPD hypothesis, in which the first 5 books of the Bible (Torah, Pentateuch) are a mixture of documents from 4 sources:

J: Yahwist (starts with J in German)
E: Elohist
P: Priestly
D: Deuteronomist

J:
- southern kingdom of dual monarchy
- God is YHWH, is anthropomorphic, walks and talks with us (Genesis 2)
- most of Genesis
E:
- northern kindom of dual monarchy
- God is Elohim until Exodus 3, speaks in dreams
- some of Genesis and much of Exodus and Numbers
(J and E merged after fall of northern kingdom in 722 BCE)
P:
- much of it likely post-exilic (539 BCE)
- God is Elohim until Exodus 3, distant and commanding, demands precise worship
- Genesis 1, Leviticus, lots of genealogies and stuff on priests and worship
D:
- Jerusalem-centered; resembles the "book of the Law" found in the Temple in 622 BCE (2 Kings 22)
- God is YHWH, Jerusalem his preferred place of worship
- Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings

There are also various stylistic differences that are more apparent in the original Hebrew than in translation.

For more details, see:
this nice introduction
another article
this lengthier article


Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Celsus, posted 05-04-2003 10:22 AM lpetrich has not yet responded
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Celsus
Inactive Member


Message 17 of 100 (38921)
05-04-2003 10:22 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by lpetrich
05-04-2003 9:34 AM


Hi lpetrich,

It gets much more interesting than that. The latest trends in higher criticism tend to reject much of the early dating and even whether J and E can be identified. When Christians say that scholars no longer take the Documentary Hypothesis seriously, they quote-mine Biblical scholarship much in the same way that Creationists quote-mine biology publications.

The more recent trends are to assign all the strands to later dating (the link between J and the Southern Kingdom; and E with the Northern Kingdom has always been tenuous). The earlier attempts to understand JEDP as an evolution of religious belief are somewhat faulty, particularly the importance of oral history (oral transmission for 6-8 centuries? I think not). Even D reflects much about the post-Exilic experience, although it may fall within a similar tradition to that of the Deuteronomistic school.

Just one brief example: outside of the Pentateuch, in pre-exilic prophetic work, there is no mention of Abraham, scarce mention of Isaac (Amos 7:9 and passim), Joseph (Amos 5:5 and passim) and the only frequent occurrence is to Jacob. Only in exilic work do we hear about Abraham (Isaiah 29:22, 41:8, etc. Micah 7:20, Jeremiah 33:26), Sarah and so on. In the Deuteronomic history, they are mentioned, but only as far back as Jacob and the 70 for the most part. In the post-Exilic redaction, we do find their mention--but it does not salvage J and E (if they can be positively identified) from being post-exilic narratives. It is just one of many clues that point to a exilic or post-exilic composition/compilation of the Pentateuch and its sources.

Joel

[This message has been edited by Celsus, 05-04-2003]

[This message has been edited by Celsus, 05-04-2003]


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manwhonu2little
Inactive Member


Message 18 of 100 (39433)
05-08-2003 5:16 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by lpetrich
05-04-2003 9:34 AM


Genesis & Time
Have you read Genesis and the Big Bang by Dr. Gerald Schroeder? He proposes a method whereby scientific estimates of a 20 Billion year old universe, and the 6-day (24 hours, that is, "days" as men think of them) can BOTH be correct measurements of the TIME required for Creation. Thus, Genesis 1 & 2 are reconciled by considering Genesis 1 to be more general (universal focus) and Genesis 2 to be a more specific (global viewpoint -- i.e. closer to man).

I'm not saying I agree with the 20 Billion years, because I think that age requires too many unproven assumptions (pertaining to "red shift" and other cosmological hypotheses), but I do agree with the reasoning that flows from the ideas of Einstein and Hawking.


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Karl
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 19 of 100 (39494)
05-09-2003 5:44 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by manwhonu2little
05-08-2003 5:16 PM


Re: Genesis & Time
Yes, but it's an awful lot of twisting to go to when it's easier to say:

(a) two accounts from different sources;
(b) mythological rather than historical in character;

which is the obvious conclusion.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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manwhonu2little
Inactive Member


Message 20 of 100 (39513)
05-09-2003 10:24 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by Karl
05-09-2003 5:44 AM


Re: Genesis & Time
Actually, it didn't feel like twisting at all to me. What seemed like twisting has been to take away authorship of the entirety of Genesis from Moses with extremely little to no proof that such was the case.

Even if it can be demonstrated that Moses did not author all of Genesis, how is it proven he did not have complete editorial control over all of the material presented? Why would he allow "conflicting" accounts to be recorded for all future generations?

So far as "adding" material at some later date: were not our ancestors deeply religious, attributing great mystical significance to holy scriptures? If anyone dared add anything, would they not have feared eternal retribution from the Being honored in those writings? And if not eternal, what about societal injunctions of death to any who would act in such a blasphemous manner? And should someone who had no fear of that Being succeed in temporarily tampering with any of the words, would not others decry the "new" version, and "restore" the writings to their original meanings?

So I have trouble accepting scholarship which ignores the influence of a society's culture (its beliefs and practices) and the underlying ego of human authorship (which would preclude any single author from setting forth contradictory information).

I must admit that I have not properly considered the effects of an entire group of intellectual elite in a society coming along and "re-writing" (or perhaps "re-interpreting" is a more accurate term) portions of historical writings. But as they say, history is written by the victor in any conflict.

Similarly, I must admit that translations suffer. One language simply cannot perfectly capture the nuances of another language, and I doubt any of us knows the nuances of Anciet Hebrew, Chaldean or even Greek.

In summary, I've never felt comfortable with the idea that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 could be explained by different authorship. And for the reasons I discussed above, I've not embraced the idea that either account is mythical or allegorical.

What I find truly astounding is the notion that after several thousand years, the words contained in Genesis 1 can still provoke intelligent -scientific- debate. This flies in the face of everything I consider reasonable, since science has only made major strides since the Renaissance. The accounts of creation given by other major world religions have been completely debunked by science. Only Judasim, Christianity and Islam remain, by virtue of the robust (if not detailed) account given in Genesis.

Question: Does the twisting you experience when reading Schroeder's ideas extend so far as to critique him/them? Or do you accept that what he proposes -might- be valid?


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Replies to this message:
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Karl
Inactive Member


Message 21 of 100 (39517)
05-09-2003 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by manwhonu2little
05-09-2003 10:24 AM


Re: Genesis & Time
The twisting to which I refer is recourse to questionable relatavisitc effects in order to harmonise two accounts written long before relativity was formulated. I cannot help think that a composite account that can only be true if you understand a hypothetical physical scenario that may or may not be scientifically possible has got to be bad hermeneutics. A to my mind more sensible hermeneutic leads inevitably to a conclusion of contradiction, which in turn leads to a resolution of non-literality.

As has been hinted elsewhere, the JEPD hypothesis is a simplification. I doubt strongly whether these four documents ever existed. I think they represent oral traditions that were gradually brought together over the oral transmission period.

It's all very well to say that the non-Mosaic authorship of Genesis has not been proven, but it has not been demonstrated that such authorship should be the null hypothesis here. There is no reason to suppose Moses was the author, save a long standing tradition. Christian doctrine stands upon scripture, tradition and reason, and I think that reason and scripture stand against Mosaic authorship - the former for the reasons discussed here and elsewhere, and scripture because the subject is not mentioned, and the books are not written in a manner that implies Moses was the author - Moses is always referred to in the third person, for exampe, as opposed to the way Ezekiel or Jeremiah refer to themselves in the books that bear their names.

With only tradition out of the three supporting it, I am not inclined towards defending a Mosaic authorship of the books of the Pentateuch.


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lpetrich
Inactive Member


Message 22 of 100 (39631)
05-10-2003 3:47 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by manwhonu2little
05-09-2003 10:24 AM


Re: Genesis & Time
manwhonu2little
Actually, it didn't feel like twisting at all to me. What seemed like twisting has been to take away authorship of the entirety of Genesis from Moses with extremely little to no proof that such was the case.

That book has no claimed author, and it contains anachronisms, like the patriarchs' camels. Finkelstein and Silberman's The Bible Unearthed discusses that question in detail.

Even if it can be demonstrated that Moses did not author all of Genesis, how is it proven he did not have complete editorial control over all of the material presented? Why would he allow "conflicting" accounts to be recorded for all future generations?

Except that it was assembled long after a historical Moses would have lived, and that Moses himself was at least partially mythical.

The accounts were likely assembled by some Babylonian-Exile-era priests who were reluctant to snip out any "recognized traditions", no matter how incoherent they may be.

So far as "adding" material at some later date: were not our ancestors deeply religious, attributing great mystical significance to holy scriptures? ...

Except that that has never stopped pious fraudulence. Consider the enormous quantity of medieval relics -- the Shroud of Turin was one of many such relics. Some big bulk of wood from the True Cross, several colors of the Virgin Mary's hair, Jesus Christ's foreskin, ...

So I have trouble accepting scholarship which ignores the influence of a society's culture (its beliefs and practices)

Except that that has never precluded pious fraudulence.

and the underlying ego of human authorship (which would preclude any single author from setting forth contradictory information).

Except that that has never stopped people from contradicting themselves. "There is nothing on which Lenin does not contradict himself several times", some Marxists have noted.

Similarly, I must admit that translations suffer. One language simply cannot perfectly capture the nuances of another language, and I doubt any of us knows the nuances of Anciet Hebrew, Chaldean or even Greek.

Which suggests that the Bible is purely a human invention -- where is its translation guide?


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lpetrich
Inactive Member


Message 23 of 100 (39635)
05-10-2003 4:08 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by manwhonu2little
05-09-2003 10:24 AM


Re: Genesis & Time
What I find truly astounding is the notion that after several thousand years, the words contained in Genesis 1 can still provoke intelligent -scientific- debate.

That "debate" is only among Biblical literalists; the mainstream of the scientific community totally ignores Genesis 1 in their work.

The accounts of creation given by other major world religions have been completely debunked by science.

Whatever those debunkings are supposed to be.

But one can make cases for how creation stories of other religions have been confirmed by modern science.

The Old Norse creation story states that the familiar Universe had been created from the pieces of the dismembered giant Ymir. Which seems much like the Big Bang.

And here is Hesiod's creation story, the Theogony:

In the beginning, there was the void, Chaos. And from that void emerged Gaia. She had some children in parthenogenetic fashion, including her partner Ouranos. This couple had several more children, including Kronos and his fellow Titans. But Kronos rebelled against Ouranos, castrating him. And Kronos and his partner Rhea had kids of their own. But Kronos was afraid that they would do to him what he had done to Ouranos, so he swallowed them as they were born. Rhea got tired of having kids for nothing, so when she had Zeus, she had him sent away and she fed a bundled stone to Kronos. Zeus eventually grew up and forced Kronos to vomit up his brothers and sisters. And Zeus and his Olympian friends overthrew Kronos, becoming the new rulers of the Universe.

That is an anticipation of the Big Bang, since according to some quantum-cosmological speculations, the Universe originated from a quantum fluctuation in a void. And as it expanded, it went through several generations of structure. The earlier generations are still murky, but the later ones are well-understood: a quark-soup phase, then a hadron-soup phase, then a lepton-soup phase, and then a photon-soup phase, which we are still in. In that phase, there were first electrons, protons, and neutrons, then electrons and light nuclei, and then light atoms -- mostly hydrogen and helium.

When stars formed, they went through some generations. The first one, "Population III", was mostly massive, short-lived stars, but it produced enough heavier elements ("metals") to allow lower-mass stars to form. These were the "Population II" stars, which we can still see in the Galactic center, the Galactic halo, and the globular clusters. This was succeeded by a more recent generation, "Population I", in the Galactic disk; the Sun belongs to that generation.

Likewise, life on Earth has had numerous generations. This is a very complicated subject; I'll give an overall view and then some subviews. The first generation of life on Earth was various chemosynthesizers (they live off of chemical reactions) and anaerobic photosynthesizers (they do not release oxygen). At about 2.3 billion years ago, this was followed by a generation of cyanobacteria (blue-green "algae") and oxygen-utilizing bacteria. This was followed at about 1.5 billion years ago by the first protists, some of which became inhabited by their favorite food -- various bacteria. And about 600 million years ago was the beginning of the multicelled-animal generation. However, these generations have largely been cumulative; earlier ones coexist with later ones.

The earliest generation likely has subgenerations of prebiotic chemistry, the RNA world, the first RNA-protein systems, the first RNA-genome cells, and the first DNA-genome cells. And of later generations, I'll confine myself to land plants. The first of these, starting perhaps a billion years ago or more, were soil algae. These were followed about 450 million years ago by the generation of the mosses and liverworts and other such primitive land plants. Which, in turn, were followed by a generation of early vascular plants, like ferns, horsetails, and club mosses. Which were followed about 350 million years ago by early seed plants (gymnosperms). Which were followed about 150 million years ago by the generation of flowering plants (angiosperms). These have been somewhat cumulative; there are stragglers from the earlier generations still alive today.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by manwhonu2little, posted 05-09-2003 10:24 AM manwhonu2little has not yet responded

  
manwhonu2little
Inactive Member


Message 24 of 100 (39637)
05-10-2003 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Karl
05-09-2003 11:16 AM


Re: Genesis & Time
Karl, I like your answer, although Ipetrich's provided some fun reading.

Thanks for your thoughts.


This message is a reply to:
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peanutbean6111
Inactive Member


Message 25 of 100 (39823)
05-12-2003 5:31 PM


GENISIS 1 AND 2 ARE NOT CONTRADICTORY: HERE IS WHY
Why are so many people saying that Genesis 1 and 2 are contradictory? The answer: They only read selected passages instead of reading the entire passage in context.

Genesis 1 explains:
1st day: God created light
2nd day: God created sky and water
3rd day: God created sea and land
4th day: God created sun, moon, and stars
5th day: God created fish and birds
6th day: God created animals and man and woman
7th day: God rested and was pleased

Many people think that in Genesis 2, when you read Genesis 2:7 and they skip to Genesis 2:9, that these two are sequencial. Well, they are, but "planting" is not "creating" trees. If you read the entire passage, you will see that God planted a Garden in Eden (Genesis 2:8), so to do this, he would of had to created plants before this. Also, people think that Genesis 2:7 and 2:19 are sequencial. They are also, but "forming" and "creating" are not the same in this context. If you read Genesis 2:19 it states, "So the Lord God formed from the soil every kind of animal and bird. He brought them to Adam to see what he would call them, and Adam chose a name for each one." This only shows that in the Garden of Eden, God formed animals that he had already created, so that they could be there with Adam, so that Adam would be able to name them. This has nothing to do with Adam being created before the animals or the plants.

In conclusion, Genesis 1 is the account of creation, while Genesis 2 is simply clarification of the first and more detailed. Many people get these two confused because they do not study in depth or read the whole passage. Some even read the verses people point out and say "Look! These are contradictory" , when in truth, if the context is read, it is clear they are not.

Thank you for your time, and if you would like to ask me any further questions, email me.

Christ lives in me and God loves you,
Brianna


  
peanutbean6111
Inactive Member


Message 26 of 100 (39824)
05-12-2003 5:32 PM


GENISIS 1 AND 2 ARE NOT CONTRADICTORY: HERE IS WHY
Why are so many people saying that Genesis 1 and 2 are contradictory? The answer: They only read selected passages instead of reading the entire passage in context.

Genesis 1 explains:
1st day: God created light
2nd day: God created sky and water
3rd day: God created sea and land
4th day: God created sun, moon, and stars
5th day: God created fish and birds
6th day: God created animals and man and woman
7th day: God rested and was pleased

Many people think that in Genesis 2, when you read Genesis 2:7 and they skip to Genesis 2:9, that these two are sequencial. Well, they are, but "planting" is not "creating" trees. If you read the entire passage, you will see that God planted a Garden in Eden (Genesis 2:8), so to do this, he would of had to created plants before this. Also, people think that Genesis 2:7 and 2:19 are sequencial. They are also, but "forming" and "creating" are not the same in this context. If you read Genesis 2:19 it states, "So the Lord God formed from the soil every kind of animal and bird. He brought them to Adam to see what he would call them, and Adam chose a name for each one." This only shows that in the Garden of Eden, God formed animals that he had already created, so that they could be there with Adam, so that Adam would be able to name them. This has nothing to do with Adam being created before the animals or the plants.

In conclusion, Genesis 1 is the account of creation, while Genesis 2 is simply clarification of the first and more detailed. Many people get these two confused because they do not study in depth or read the whole passage. Some even read the verses people point out and say "Look! These are contradictory" , when in truth, if the context is read, it is clear they are not.

Thank you for your time, and if you would like to ask me any further questions, email me.

Christ lives in me and God loves you,
Brianna


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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5292
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 27 of 100 (39833)
05-12-2003 6:37 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by peanutbean6111
05-12-2003 5:32 PM


Re: GENISIS 1 AND 2 ARE NOT CONTRADICTORY: HERE IS WHY
while Genesis 2 is simply clarification of the first and more detailed.

"Clarification" is a mighty odd thing to call something like that.
This message is a reply to:
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lpetrich
Inactive Member


Message 28 of 100 (39898)
05-13-2003 4:01 AM


peanutbean6111's "reconciliation" of G1 and G2 is nothing more than a lot of contrived hairsplitting. The inventors of such argumentation would have splendid careers as lawyers.
  
Karl
Inactive Member


Message 29 of 100 (39905)
05-13-2003 4:19 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by peanutbean6111
05-12-2003 5:32 PM


Re: GENISIS 1 AND 2 ARE NOT CONTRADICTORY: HERE IS WHY
Nice try.

Now lets do a really in depth study of Genesis 2 shall we?

Verse 7 - God creates the man.
Verse 18 - God decides the man needs a helper, and He will make one.
Verse 19 - God makes the beasts and birds. Why? Because He's decided, after making the man (Verse 18) that the man needs a companion.
Verse 20 - None of these non-human creations are up to snuff.
Verse 22 - God makes a woman.
Verse 23 - 'Yes! This is what I wanted!' says the Man.

The whole structure of this is different to the first creation story. The first paints God as the supreme architect, who knows exactly what He is doing. For three days He prepares the universe - 1. light, 2. the sky and the waters, 3. the earth. For another three He fills and organises it - 1(4). sun, moon and stars, 2(5). birds and sea creatures, 3(6). land animals and man. It's all right first time. So on the seventh day God can sit back and rest on His laurels.

In the second story it is not so. God makes it up as He goes along. First a garden, then a man. Then God thinks "Hmmm - how about some companions" so he makes the animals. This doesn't work, so He makes a woman. In each of these second creative acts, the motivation is His, or the Man's, appraisal of the situation thus far.

Any attempt to call this a focussing in on Day 6 is totally missing the very different ideas about God that are behind the two stories.

As a final point, note clearly the word used for God consistently throughout the first accound, and the word used for God throughout the second. They are different. These stories are from two originally independent religious traditions.


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PaulGL
Member (Idle past 945 days)
Posts: 92
Joined: 04-06-2012


Message 30 of 100 (737707)
09-28-2014 5:38 PM


Genesis 6-day account is allegorical, no conflict evolution
The Specific Cause of the "Evolution vs. 'Creationism'" Controversy, and of the apparent discrepancy between science and the Bible

1. Human beings cannot understand abstract, invisible realities without first learning visible, concrete references. Radio waves are a good example: you cannot detect them directly with the 5 physical senses- yet they are nonetheless real. Spiritual matters are likewise not amenable to direct mental comprehension.

2. It is impossible to understand the Bible merely with the finite human mind alone, regardless of how much time and theology you employ to do so. The truths contained in the Bible must be REVEALED spiritually in order to be correctly understood mentally.

3. The best means to convey this is the illustration of learning a language. You cannot directly learn a language, the components of the language must first be directly correlated to visible concrete objects. A human being (a child, for instance) is first shown a visible picture of a physical object and then the audible or written symbolic language component is linked to it to give comprehension.

4. Likewise, the spiritual reality to come forth in the New Testament would be totally incomprehensible without firstly having the detailed typology of the Old Testament.

This is the crux of the reason why the mind alone is incapable of understanding the Bible: some of the accounts are literal, and some are allegorical. Without revelation, you confuse the two and fall into systematized error.

5. For example: "Behold the Lamb of God". Certainly allegorical- Christ is not being described as the 4-legged offspring of a sheep here. 'The New Jerusalem, the bride of the lamb'. Is the lamb marrying a physical city? No! Again, obviously allegorical. If the Bible is the Word of God, then scientific, empirical knowledge cannot help but verify it. Any apparent discrepancy is due to one of three things: A. Unjustified, inductive extrapolations of scientific findings. B. Incorrect, dogmatic (present on both sides of the E. vs. C. issue) interpretations of either secular or scriptural evidence. C. Lack of evidence in critical, specific areas for the purpose of preserving free will. Example: IF science ascertained factually that there was no fossil record prior to 6,000 years ago (i. e.: Adam and Eve, the human race magically and instantaneously appeared) don't you realize that this would be such prima facie evidence of direct Divine intervention that it would interfere with free will?

Now, to apply these parameters to the crux of the matter.

Life, like radio waves, is abstract and mysterious: it cannot be analyzed and comprehended directly. So any depiction of the process of life must be communicated allegorically.

6. The Bible is a book of LIFE, NOT a book of knowledge. Genesis Chapter One is an account of the propagation of life, NOT creation per se. It is an allegorical depiction of the relationship of the Spirit, the Word, light, and life. It is NOT a scientific chronology of creation. If a person interprets it literally instead of allegorically, then they are doomed to try to fit the square peg of the fossil record into the round hole of their mistaken (and incorrect scripturally) dogmatic, religious fallacy.

To my dear brothers and sisters: When did 'Creationism, et. al.' become an article of the faith? Why is it virtually considered heresy to believe that God may have used evolution to create man?

To those who are not yet my brothers and sisters: The world is headed inexorably in one direction, and no one can prevent it. Christ will return and, by all indications, sooner not later. THIS FACT, and not any amount of accumulation of the details of the physical universe, needs to be your primary consideration. The outward picture of the Flood and the Ark is a type foretelling a spiritual reality to come. It would be 'wise and prudent' for you to expend a modicum of time and effort to ascertain what the 'ark' symbolizes, and how you can enter into Him before the flood comes.

amessageforthehumanrace.org

I. The Bible is unique

There is no comparison with any other works of mankind. No other books had anywhere near the number of contributors (39+), nor have any been written over such a long span of time (1,600 years). Yet it is profoundly cohesive in all of its contents.

II. The Bible is God's word

In addition to the infinite profundity of the whole, it contains prophecies of many events that are still future in terms of time. These are given with adequate and specific details to be able to unmistakably predict in advance the events recorded.

It is not possible that it is merely human in origin because many of its ramifications are beyond human capabilities.

III. Creationism aka 'Intelligent Design' are not scientific disciplines and therefore should not be taught as such in schools.

"The scientific view of the Universe is such as to admit only those phenomena that can, in one way or another, be observed in a fashion accessible to all, and to admit those generalizations (which we call laws of nature) that can be induced from those observations."

Any explanation of observed phenomena, that invokes to any extent supernatural influence such as divine motivation, is thus inherently self-disqualified from being a scientific discipline.

IV. Evolution is valid

Evolution, however, is the only valid scientific theory which adequately explains the known data. And it has been verified by the correlation of the relevant data corresponding to its testable conclusions.

Dear reader: please lay aside any and all traditional, biased schools of thought within the realm of prideful, puffed-up knowledge. Objectively consider that God may have used evolution to create man. Do not disregard so doing due to bias, dogmatism, or love of argumentation.

amessageforethehuman.org

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Add a bunch of blank lines.


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