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Creationism And Platonic Idealism


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#1 Modulous

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 02:29 AM

Platonic Idealism

There are plenty of sites out there about it, but I will point to a few before attempting to sum up my understanding of this interesting idea. First off, here is a google search, followed by a useful summary.

First off, I'm sure most of you agree with what materialism is. It's the philosophy that only the material world has any reality. Idealism is basically a contrast to this idea. The useful summary does a wonderful job of explaining this, I will now summarize the summary.

Two very different things can be said to have a property. For example, a woman or a statue can be said to possess the property of beauty. Before we can make such a statement we need to be understand what beauty actually is. Plato (amongst others) argued that there must be something which is "beauty itself", in other words an 'ideal beauty'. This beauty itself is what we say our above entities possess.

Of course, one can never find beauty itself. It is not a material concept, but an idea (hence idealism). These aren't ideas that we think of ourselves, anymore than we construct colours ourselves. They are a mental perception of a reality that exists independantly of us. Our perceptions are not perfect, so we all see these ideas slightly differently.

This could apply to physical objects too. There are many different things which would be described as being a table, but there is some 'ideal table' which all other tables share properties with.

Where creationism fits in

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. Genesis 1:24

Creationists see this statement and they take it to mean that "cats have always been cats, dogs have always been dogs". That is to say they believe that the first cat kind that was created was some kind of ideal form of cat and that every cat after that has degraded (entropy analogies abound). They take the concept that some things have ideal forms, but instead of saying that they are a mental perception of some seperate reality, they specify and say that these forms are from a divine reality.

I don't think creationists take this idea to its full extent. I don't think they believe in a divine ideal table. Tables aren't a baramin (kind).

When is a door not a door?

When its ajar! HaHa. But seriously, the notion that there are ideal forms of something, or 'kinds' leads us to some problems. At which point, during very subtle changes, does a table become a desk? When does a desk become a work surface, when does a work surface become an Ottoman? And when does an Ottoman become a sofa? What single small quantum of information is changed that changes one thing into another thing? Are these transitions still the original 'kind', the new 'kind', or a whole new 'kind' of their own?

Christian Evolution

It is not in question that some Christians believe that evolution happened. YECs are usually quite scornful of this, and dispute that these are Christians at all since they are denying the Creation and by extension, God. Let's look at the genesis quote again. "Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind". What if 'kind' was an ever changing thing, rather than harking to an ideal form? With that shift in viewpoint, Christian Evolution becomes a little more understandable. The Hebrew word used here is Baramin - 'Created Kind'. The obvious counter argument is that 'created' refers to the original creation, but what if it refers to each creation event that is manifest in conception? Evolution is quite happy with the idea that each creature that is brought forth is after its parents kind.

Well, the last two points are not really the central themes, just some intellectual ruminations, tangents if you will. The more central idea is regarding idealism. Do you agree with my assessment that Creationists have taken the idea of ideal forms on board in their model? If this central facet of creationism is based on Plato, does that raise any problems? I can't think of the exact nature of any problems, before you ask, but it does seem a little strange. I thought the subject would either make for interesting discussion, or end up with no discussion whatsoever. Make of the thread what you will :)

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 05:03 AM

Its an interesting thought.

First off, I'm sure most of you agree with what materialism is. It's the philosophy that only the material world has any reality. Idealism is basically a contrast to this idea. The useful summary does a wonderful job of explaining this, I will now summarize the summary.


I see materialism as a way of thinking to exclude God from public discussion.

The concept of information clearly demonstrates that materislism is not sufficient to explain reality. Those who hold onto pure materialism are just restrcting their thinking to a subset of reality.


It is not in question that some Christians believe that evolution happened. YECs are usually quite scornful of this, and dispute that these are Christians at all since they are denying the Creation and by extension, God.


I would venture to say that most YECs understand that a person is saved by faith in Christ, and that has nothing to do with their attitude about evolution. The human race is divided into two classes, those who accept Christ, and those who don't.

JOH 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Terry

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 06:21 AM

I would venture to say that most YECs understand that a person is saved by faith in Christ, and that has nothing to do with their attitude about evolution.  The human race is divided into two classes, those who accept Christ, and those who don't.

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But would you not agree that the very thing that distinguishes a Young Earth Creationist from the others (actually, the majority) who call themselves Christians is precisely the fact that they do not take this position? Does not the YEC reject as a bona fide member of the first class any person who does not accept the Genesis account as literal truth?

#4 Modulous

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 06:51 AM

Its an interesting thought.
I see materialism as a way of thinking to exclude God from public discussion.

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Whilst that is possibly true, I think that naturalism fulfills that role perfectly and materialism runs alongside or perhaps is synonymous with naturalism. Although naturalism doesn't necessarily support some of materialisms ideas (I think).


The concept of information clearly demonstrates that materislism is not sufficient to explain reality.  Those who hold onto pure materialism are just restrcting their thinking to a subset of reality.


I believe there are two materialism schools that this touches on - Nonreductive and reductive. I'm not terribly cognizant on the subject so I'll leave it mostly for now. However, I think that a materialist would take the stance that information can only exist as a result of a physicality. Without a material medium there is no information. Don't quote me on that though - I may enjoy Descartes' writing style but I often get terribly confused by the concepts of extended and unextended spatial forms.

I would venture to say that most YECs understand that a person is saved by faith in Christ, and that has nothing to do with their attitude about evolution.  The human race is divided into two classes, those who accept Christ, and those who don't.

JOH 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."


A particularly enlightened view (In that I interpret things the same way :) ), though the tone I have picked up from debates seems to indicate that many feel that evolution implicitly denies God, and if you cannot trust that He created the world as per YEC then you cannot trust Him with salvation...or some such argument.

All rather interesting anyway.

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 03:46 PM

But would you not agree that the very thing that distinguishes a Young Earth Creationist from the others (actually, the majority) who call themselves Christians is precisely the fact that they do not take this position?


This depends on the definition of what a Christian is. A Christian is anyone who believes the truth of the Gosple:

1) Jesus is God's Son
2) Jesus paid the price for his/her sins on the cross.
3) Jesus rose from the grave, is alive in heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.
4) They ask/trust God to forgive them of their sins based on their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal savior.

Christian's can disagree about many things, but the essential Gosple is generally agreed upon by most bible beliving Christians.

I think what you will typically find is that those, as you say, "who call themselves christians" and do not believe in something that is very close to a litteral account of Genesis, generally don't believe in the Gosple either, and are only christian by human standards and not God's standard.

I'm not a strict young earth creationist, but I share more or less the same views as YECs do on most things. I just don't agree with the interpretation of YECs about Genesis1:1~2. Either way, the earth may only be 7k years old, or it could be older.

My guess is that those who consider themsleves YECs understand the Gosple, and would never say that any opinion about evolution has anything to do with being a Christian as far as having eternal life is concerned, and that is the most important thing to any Christian, not whether the world is fooled by man made fantasies about the past, or not(actually this is kind of expected from a biblical perspective).

Terry

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 03:54 PM

though the tone I have picked up from debates seems to indicate that many feel that evolution implicitly denies God, and if you cannot trust that He created the world as per YEC then you cannot trust Him with salvation...or some such argument.


I wouldn't go that far, but Jesus quoted Genesis, and if Genesis is in error, then so was Jesus. If Jesus was in error, then he's not who he claimes to be. If he's not who he claimes to be, then he's not much of a savior or God.

Now of course a person can be confused about allot of things and still come to a saving faith in Christ, and that's what really matters.

JOH 3:16 ¶ "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life".

Terry

#7 Modulous

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 06:06 AM

I wouldn't go that far, but Jesus quoted Genesis, and if Genesis is in error, then so was Jesus.  If Jesus was in error, then he's not who he claimes to be.  If he's not who he claimes to be, then he's not much of a savior or God.

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Well, I don't know if this is the right thread to be discussing it, but it could be that Genesis is not in error and nor was Jesus. Instead what could be in error is the YECers treating it as a literal factual account. After all Jesus did use parables to illustrate points, is it the case that Jesus used factual events, or were they just fables with a moral lesson?

#8 chance

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 01:55 PM

Platonic Idealism

Two very different things can be said to have a property. For example, a woman or a statue can be said to possess the property of beauty. Before we can make such a statement we need to be understand what beauty actually is. Plato (amongst others) argued that there must be something which is "beauty itself", in other words an 'ideal beauty'. This beauty itself is what we say our above entities possess.

Of course, one can never find beauty itself. It is not a material concept, but an idea (hence idealism).

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I’m not sure that this is now considered factual, there has been considerable ‘research’ into defining what human beauty is, especially with the face (do gooogle on “the golden ratio, be warned however what was once website promoted in the documentary ‘The Human Face’, has exploded into many jumping on the band wagon). Basically however the conclusion is that beauty is firmly embedded in materialism, IMO.

#9 Modulous

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 02:59 PM

I’m not sure that this is now considered factual

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I wasn't portraying idealism as a philosophy I agree with, or consider 'factual'. I personally believe that beauty is a subjective selection measure. Good looking people are generally healthy, generally symmetrical and generally 'good' for production and survival.

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 01:23 AM

Modolous said:

Christian Evolution

It is not in question that some Christians believe that evolution happened. YECs are usually quite scornful of this, and dispute that these are Christians at all since they are denying the Creation and by extension, God. Let's look at the genesis quote again. "Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind". What if 'kind' was an ever changing thing, rather than harking to an ideal form? With that shift in viewpoint, Christian Evolution becomes a little more understandable. The Hebrew word used here is Baramin - 'Created Kind'. The obvious counter argument is that 'created' refers to the original creation, but what if it refers to each creation event that is manifest in conception? Evolution is quite happy with the idea that each creature that is brought forth is after its parents kind.

Well, the last two points are not really the central themes, just some intellectual ruminations, tangents if you will. The more central idea is regarding idealism. Do you agree with my assessment that Creationists have taken the idea of ideal forms on board in their model? If this central facet of creationism is based on Plato, does that raise any problems? I can't think of the exact nature of any problems, before you ask, but it does seem a little strange. I thought the subject would either make for interesting discussion, or end up with no discussion whatsoever. Make of the thread what you will


If you want to turn science into religion, then so be it. Though you would say you have a problem with this, but say it's ok for a religious person to believe as you do. Actually, this is where YEC is your friend. Why? We don't like science becoming a religion, and know where the line should be drawn. Because we can see that it is. For when you mix what is, and what is not religion. For one to become part of the other, they both have to retain some of what the other is.

Like in chemistry. You can mix two substances together and come up with a total different chemical, or substance. But the thing is, each thing had to become part of the other to accomplish this. And when you mix evolution with creation, then it get's taught behind the pulpit as a replacement for creation. What has it just become? More of science? Or more of religion? So is mixing ok?

#11 Modulous

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 01:49 AM

If you want to turn science into religion, then so be it. Though you would say you have a problem with this, but say it's ok for a religious person to believe as you do. Actually, this is where YEC is your friend. Why? We don't like science becoming a religion, and know where the line should be drawn. Because we can see that it is. For when you mix what is, and what is not religion. For one to become part of the other, they both have to retain some of what the other is.

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I'm confused as to what you're saying. I was just saying that religious people can accept scientific findings and keep their faith. Not that science and relgion should 'mix'

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 02:03 AM

I'm confused as to what you're saying. I was just saying that religious people can accept scientific findings and keep their faith. Not that science and relgion should 'mix'

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There's a fine line where science is now crossing over to becoming a religion. When people say: It ok to replace creation with evolution as the way God created. Then you are inserting science into religion. And it's already being preached by OEC believing pastors.

#13 Modulous

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 03:00 AM

There's a fine line where science is now crossing over to becoming a religion. When people say: It ok to replace creation with evolution as the way God created. Then you are inserting science into religion. And it's already being preached by OEC believing pastors.

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I don't think science is crossing over to become a religion. I just think religious people are looking to reconcile the evidence and conclusions of science with the doctrine of their religion. They come to the conclusion that Holy Bible isn't a "How God did it", just a "God did it" in terms of creation. Naturally, you have a problem with that, most people don't. Science just makes the conclusions and presents the evidence. If the religious adopt it, it doesn't make science a religion.

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 03:21 AM

I don't think science is crossing over to become a religion. I just think religious people are looking to reconcile the evidence and conclusions of science with the doctrine of their religion. They come to the conclusion that Holy Bible isn't a "How God did it", just a "God did it"  in terms of creation.  Naturally, you have a problem with that, most people don't. Science just makes the conclusions and presents the evidence. If the religious adopt it, it doesn't make science a religion.

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If this forum starting dabbling into satanism, would you still call it a Godly christian forum? So, what is the difference when science dabbles into replacing God's creation to be preached in churches?

Also, it will be soon regulated what can be said behind the pulpit of churches. If our government condones evolution in a religious estblishment, then it officially becomes a religion that is reconized by the state. And one religion is already preaching science as there main theme. Universialism. If you don't believe me, I can show you a clip from one of there websites showing science as there main objective to preach.

#15 Modulous

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 04:28 AM

If this forum starting dabbling into satanism, would you still call it a Godly christian forum? So, what is the difference when science dabbles into replacing God's creation to be preached in churches?

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Science isn't dabbling into replacing God's creation. Science uses a methodology, arriving at conclusions, and most Christians have come to accept those conclusions and the methodology used to reach them. All of those Christians still accept Christ as their saviour.


Also, it will be soon regulated what can be said behind the pulpit of churches.


It already is, by the head of the church for each denomination. In your country congress can make no law respecting religion.


If our government condones evolution in a religious estblishment, then it officially becomes a religion that is reconized by the state.


Maybe so, but what is 'condone'? It certainly won't insist on it, and it certainly won't stop it.


And one religion is already preaching science as there main theme. Universialism. If you don't believe me, I can show you a clip from one of there websites showing science as there main objective to preach.


I don't need to disbelieve you. I don't see the problem with one religion endorsing science entirely. I have no problems with anyones beliefs...it is their actions that are important.




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