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You’re on a roll lately, Michael.

I just wanted to add that WIE had an entire issue dedicated to all things evolutionary in the issue 35, which is available at their website. The articles 'The Real Evolutionary Debate' and 'A Brief History of Evolutionary Spirituality' are very thought provoking, and there’s also a discussion between Wilbur and Cohen that’s worth a look. The following excerpt from the evolutionary spirituality article regarding Friedrich Schelling insights intrigued me, personally:

“Expanding on a century’s worth of evolutionary thinking and the idealist philosophy of J.G. Fichte (who’d been a student of Immanuel Kant), Schelling proposed an alternative to the encroaching materialism so dreaded by his Romantic friends: an evolutionary idealism. As the opposite of materialism, the philosophy of idealism held that consciousness, not matter, was the ultimate basis of reality. And once combined with a scientific understanding of evolution, Schelling realized, idealism would represent a force with which all serious thinkers of the Enlightenment would have to contend.

“Envisioning an epic process of cosmic evolution in which an unmanifest realm of pure consciousness, or absolute spirit, is actively manifesting itself as the world of time and space through a series of increasingly complex and conscious forms—from matter to life to mind and beyond—Schelling wrote:

“It is the universal spirit of nature that gradually structures raw matter. From bits of moss, in which hardly any trace of organization is visible, to the most noble form, which seems to have broken the chains of matter, one and the same drive governs. This drive operates according to one and the same ideal of purposiveness and presses forward into infinity to express one and the same archetype, namely, the pure form of our consciousness.

“Thus, more than sixty years before Darwin brought the scientific world to its knees with his theory of biological evolution by means of natural selection and “random variation,” Friedrich Schelling and some of his closest friends (including his newfound mentor Goethe and his former schoolmate, philosopher Georg Hegel) were already claiming that reality as a whole was going somewhere.”

The entire issue may be accessed at the following link:

Mohrhoff’s piece 'Sewell on Darwinism and the Second Law’ at Antimatters Vol. 1, No. 2 would probably not be received well by the Neo-Darwinists either:

I’ve nothing to add personally, except that I’m infuriated when I hear this discussion reduced to an either/or proposition by both the Darwinists and the Creationists.

Future generations will look back at our 20th century beliefs and smile as we now smile how our ancestors believed that the earth was the center of universe, that the earth was flat, or that the earth was held up by an infinite supply of large turtles.

What amazes me is how we can see the ignorance of our ancestor’s beliefs but somehow feel we are immune from such ignorance. But then without ignorance there is no world. Expression of unique identities demands unawareness as much as variations of human consciousness demand ignorance.

We know so little but pretend to know so much. And Dawkins has been put in charge of teaching “truths” at a very prestigious university in England. Scary, very scary.

Where are all the adult giraffe bones from a short neck to a 17-foot neck?

Polemicists? Had to look that one up.

Intelligent design? Would pure infinite awareness have to design anything? Maybe creatures are just realized thoughts. Newton’s book life between lives suggests that advanced spirits design our living creatures.

Who knows, not I. From my point of view at this time nature exists for more than our interaction, but a huge soul making process.

I am constantly bothered with the knuckleheadedness of the mainstream debate. It seems like you either support the "God created absolutely everything" or "Everything that is spawned from the primordial ooze" and then went on to become what we have today." Yet, we have things like viruses which defy explanation, and a lot of problems in many aspects of evolutionary theory. Also, we have the problem of consciousness. Consciousness and awareness is so advanced, even at the lowest level. The idea of one species being purely reflexive and unconscious and then the next step in evolution somehow obtained consciousness is bamboozling to say the least.

Evolution, I suspect, is on the right track, but it's not even remotely close to a full theory at this point.

" . . . the earth was held up by an infinite supply of large turtles."

I like this theory. It makes me smile.

Michael H: If we survive death and we can make our own realities in spirit, I am definitely going to create a surreal world. The thought makes me smile.

The problem is evolutionists are stretching evolution way to far biology like trying to make it fit in with the many world's interpretation and many other things. Also we have the problem of consciousness, overwhelming evidence for survival of bodily death of humans, pets etc.], strong evidence for psi, evidence from neuroscience that does not fit into the production theory also an alternative to mind-brain relationship the transmission theory, plus we no darwinian world that evolutionists believed we would have. We have also medical miracles that happened a lot in hospitals that define evolution

I recommend you the scientific papers of spanish biologist Maximo Sandin. He's have been documenting the flaws, from a scientific point of view, of synthetic theory of evultion since some years:

Those with a particular interest in the evolution of life forms always seem to begin from one massive and (arguably) unsupportable assumption: that matter preceded consciousness. John von Neumann's interpretation of quantum theory, the most strict interpretation, makes clear the necessity of an observing consciousness in order to make this physicality manifest.As Michael H.'s contribution above attests, this puts quantum theory (lauded by the "scientific community" as the "most successful" and predictive to date) directly in alignment with Idealism. And John rightly points out that, just as in the puerile thrashings which substitute for political discourse, the reduction of a deeply complex set of concepts into a tiny dichotomy (Evolution or Creation) does an utter injustice to the search for knowledge and anything remotely conforming to "Truth". If consciousness did not evolve from matter ("emergent properties" substitute for "miracles"), Artificial Intelligence is doomed to fail in its ultimate goal (while still producing useful [and dangerous] instrumentalities), Ray Kurzweil's Singularity will come and go without the "emergent miracle", and the simplistic Creation/Evolution debate will grind on. Both sides may well end up disappointed. Creationists may find (as some NDEers already have) that their specific religious beliefs are simply human inventions. And Evolutionists could discover that there is indeed a kind of "intelligent design", but that their reductive empiricism is not a useful tool in the attempt to understand the intelligence behind it. They needn't tremble in fear of the implied Dualism which so terrifies them, as it is representative of none of the anthropocentric religions which humanity has devised. Logic and Rationality are useless when trying to comprehend anything Metalogical or Metarational.

Hi Michael what do you think of this article
I think he is wrong first dualism does not contradict the laws of physics because they do not cover all of reality


thanks for posting your take on Wilber and evolution. i had a lively discussion about this same topic on my blog a couple of months back. feel free to check it out.

in addition the topic of "hopeful monster" and punctuated equilibria is still a touchy subject within the science circle. check this out too :)

keep it flowing.



The Law of Conservation of Energy can be violated. I quote: "To sum it up, yes, conservation of energy can be violated, but nature makes sure it is always within the limits of uncertainty. In other words, the energy must be returned, and the books set straight pretty quickly. But, the fact that it can be violated is important, and although it can never be observed directly, it does have important consequences"

Materialists and pseudo-skeptics confound our limited (and progressive) knowledge of nature with the laws of nature. They confound the knowledge of reality with the reality itself, the "map" with the territory.

The crux of Humes argument is this but Sir Eccles has brought up that the upper area of the brain interacts with the signal of consciousness so this case of a rod going through this head damaging the front of the brain would make this lose the signal? a lot of people think this case named Phineas Gage points towards the production theory

By stimulating parts of the brain, we can trigger subjective experiences in people. We can get people to hear half-remembered song, or smell the sent of burned toast. We even have the ability to trigger “religious experiences” in people (Persinger). We can give people Prozac, which actually changes their emotional state. How would any of this be possible if consciousness wasn’t at the very least, extremely dependant on the brain? Emotion and personality seem to be part of the very foundation of consciousness. Our personality is, in essence, who we are. This is the very thing the study of consciousness is attempting to understand. Likewise, the subjective experience of emotion seems like it is not reducible to the physical world. However, the famous case of Phineas Gage shows how these things, which seem rooted in the mental realm, are dependant and possibly reducible to the brain. “Scientist have long known that the frontal lobes [of the brain], and the prefrontal cortex in particular, must have something to do with personality. The first clue appeared in 1848, when a bizarre accident drove an inch-thick iron rod, over three and a half feet long, clear through the head of a young railroad worker named Phineas Gage. The rod entered beneath the left eye and exited through the top of the head, destroying much of the front of the brain. Miraculously, Gage survived this extraordinary trauma. What’s more, he retained the ability to speak, think, and remember. But his friends complained that he was “no longer Gage”: He had changed from a friendly, efficient, well-respected worker into a foul-mouthed, ill-tempered, undependable lout who could not hold a steady job or stick to a plan.” (Wade & Tavris, p.139) Lastly, we know that by removing parts of the brain, we can actually remove or destroy consciousness. We see this with victims of extreme brain damage who are still physically alive, but who are no longer conscious. It seems that the brain is important, not just to our understanding of consciousness, but to consciousness itself.

“Why is it that if species have descended from other species through minute gradations, we do not see innumerable transition forms everywhere? Why is not all Nature in confusion, instead of species being as we see them, well defined?*

Anyone want to guess who made this above statement.

Below are some quotes from the article that Kevin posted.

1. Stasis: most species show no directional change whatsoever during their time on earth. They appear in the fossil record with a very similar aspect to that of their disappearance. Morphological change is generally limited and non-directional.
2. Sudden appearance: in any local area, a species does not arise gradually through constant transformation of its ancestors, but emerges at once and fully formed

The result of these macromutations, named “monsters without hope” by these colleagues, would not find a partner for reproduction, so that there would be no place for them in the evolutionary process.

The fact is that the fundamental problems still unanswered by modern synthetic theory are exactly the same that Darwin posed from the beginning: the stability of living species, and sudden changes in the fossil record.

Leo, how does Phineas Gage pertain to a discussion of evolution?

The consciousness issue has been hammered to death on this blog, most recently on the Stimulating Thoughts thread. The essence of the consciousness debate is that it's a highly contentious debate. No one has a clue.

As it pertains to evolution, the suggestion of idealism, the idea that consciousness is the core stuff of the universe, can be interpreted to dovetail with quantum theory as Kevin pointed out above, and may also suggest an answer to the apparently dramatic leaps in the fossil record that MP explores in the main post.

What idealism also suggests though, is that proof of its veracity will always remain an individual realization. Exploring external theories will never lead to realization of the truth of idealism, only individual exploration of our own consciousness can provide that for us.

If the primal consciousness indeed gives birth to everything, we need to uncover the primal consciousness within ourselves to know it. No one can do it for you; you have to look within yourself, yourself.

I know that case does not pertain to evolution I just keep hearing it from other people from the net that it's a strong case against the tranmission theory

As from as evolution Professor jeffery Schwartz his theory is that a mutation in the broadist sense arises usually in the unexpressed or resitated state in biological sense we would call it inactive spread silently through the population and you have individuals with copies for novelty and then they produce offsprings that have both copiesi that evolution can only explain how novelty evolved not where it originated from the same applies to entire species. As Jeffery also points out a feature can only have selection act on it once it appears. Jeffery Schwartz theory rips at the heart of evolutionists who use darwin's theory to explain everything very simply as a gradual procession with a purpose.

"As from as evolution Professor jeffery Schwartz his theory"

At least this professor calls his ideas a theory whereas the Darwinists teach their brand of evolution a fact and is taught in our schools as fact.

I suspect that consciousness evolution is a reality but not so sure about creature evolution.

William wrote:
Newton’s book life between lives suggests that advanced spirits design our living creatures.


That is how I see the creation narrative... and hence ID makes compelte sense to me...

We all will create at some point once we get to the advanced spirit level...

my only question is do we only create fresh or do we make copies of existing creatures and then enable it to rapidly "evolve" or do both...

As much as I hate to agree with religious people - ever (I am in the odd, though not totally unheard of, position that I consider myself mostly atheist but still believe in the possibility of an afterlife) - I have to admit that some of the problems that they have brought up make sense. One of the main problems that I can see is that evolution is so open-ended (for lack of my mind being able to think up a better term). All that scientists have to do is show that it was possible that an organism could have reached its present state by evolution, and then they can say that we should all assume that that is how it happened in the real world. It's like the story of Maria and the shoe that Michael talked about on this blog a while ago. The skeptics kept saying that there were a million other possibilities that could have accounted for Maria getting information other than her leaving her body, but they failed to show how any of these other possibilities would be more likely than the idea that she did actually leave her body. I certainly don't believe in intelligent design (at least not when it implies some all-powerful entity that can't even be bothered to give us a phone call every now and then just to let us know that he's still out there), but I also think that evolution proponents should be forced to show, not just that it is possible for an organism to have come about through evolution, but also that evolution is the most likely of all possibilities with respect to an organism reaching its current state.

Satya: the human mind appears to have evolved to higher levels of thinking. Many scientists think a lot of our higher levels of thinking are that thin layer of “skin” on our brain.

There are too many gaps for Darwinist’s evolution to be a reality. Consciousness appears to be evolving to more complex levels of understanding of reality.

One has to wonder how much intelligence controls those UFO's that people see from time to time. They appear to know better than to tamper with our conscious evolutionary process. Or they could be tampering and we don’t have a clue.

We may merely be a master’s thesis for some advanced intelligence that lives on another planet. They seed a planet a watch it evolve in consciousness. Probably this is more entertaining to them than our reality TV shows.

"I certainly don't believe in intelligent design (at least not when it implies some all-powerful entity that can't even be bothered to give us a phone call every now and then just to let us know that he's still out there)," - Mark

I highly suspicion it's that way on purpose. If we knew absolutely 100% for certain there was life after death, death would cease to be the powerful lesson in separation that it is for our loved ones who are left behind after we die. If the whole purpose is for the soul to experience separation, and the more emotional the experience the more powerful and long lasting the memory it creates, "knowing" would negate or at the very least reduce the effectiveness of that lesson. If the feelings of oneness and connectedness are so overwhelming and powerful on the other side, due to it's holographic nature, it may be impossible to develop a sense of self, or individuality in the Spiritual Universe. A large part of "why we are here" is most likely to teach the soul what it means and how it feels to be separate. I don't think we lose our identity or individuality after we cross back over into the Spiritual Universe by the way.

Yeah, it's a possibility, Art, but I can't say that I think that what you're saying is very likely; at least not in its entirety. It may have been snarky comment on my part, but without getting too far into why I don't believe in an all-powerful god (unless you want me to), it just strikes me that he would give us such knowledge and lessons by putting them directly into our minds rather than making us actually go through a lesson and suffer in this universe. I mean, if this god is imperfect, and can't give us the knowledge directly, then maybe what your saying would be more likely. I'm more open to the possibility of an imperfect god who is either really stupid or just not powerful enough to stop our suffering, but I have serious problems with the all-powerful god.

"it just strikes me that he would give us such knowledge and lessons by putting them directly into our minds rather than making us actually go through a lesson and suffer in this universe."

But what would we truly learn that way?

"But what would we truly learn that way?"

This almost seems like a qualia-like argument.


I think Ken Wilber is very problematic. Look this:

I think this is your worst post, Michael.

I don't understand why people get hung up on suffering and evil as a proof that God does/does not exist.

I am sort of agnostic in that I don't know what lies beyond this life, but if there IS an afterlife, and our souls ARE eternal. Then the 70 odd years we spend here is nothing in the grand scheme of things. All the tragedys of this world will be as significant as a sneeze.

I think that this world may be here for learning, or maybe even just a roleplaying experience (kind of like we humans have created things like 'Second Life', maybe the advanced being(s) have created this Universe as a way to pass eternity).

When bad stuff happens to people in Second Life, nobody starts questioning the existance of Linden Research...

"I think Ken Wilber is very problematic."

I guess I didn’t read MP’s post as necessarily supportive of Wilber, just suggestive that the evolution debate isn’t as neat and tidy as the mainstream chooses to present it.

By the way Mark, I share your concerns about religions. Idealism and ID shouldn’t be conflated. ID implies a deity external to creation, while idealism holds that creation is the manifestation of a transcendent consciousness. They’re very different concepts – ID supports dualism, relegating the ‘creator’ to some other realm, while idealism suggests monism, the idea that all is a unified whole, the ‘whole’ being pure consciousness. Idealism carried to its logical conclusion means that all we can ever encounter is ultimately a manifestation of the divine, from Blake’s grain of sand, to every plant, animal and human that crosses our path, to the immensity of the observable universe itself, and finally, to our very selves.

When I consider that idealism is advocated in one form or another by individuals of the magnitude of Sri Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardin, Schelling and Hegel, that it’s consistent with the apparently sentient behavior of electrons and DNA molecules, is supported by the testimony of the great mystics of all religious faiths, appears to be referenced in much NDE testimony and dovetails with the most profound of my personal life experiences, well . . . let’s just say that I’m okay with idealism.

As far as what idealism implies regarding evolution, who knows? I think evolution’s just another blind alley, another path to wander along that keeps us thinking we’re all separate beings living in linear time. I think that idealism tells us that creation is actually happening now, moment-to-moment, and to paraphrase Wittgenstein, in an eternity not of infinite temporal duration, but of timelessness.

>I think Ken Wilber is very problematic. Look at this...

I looked at it. I'm not sure what point you're making, since the blogger mainly criticizes Wilber's example of the "half-wing." If you reread my post, you'll see that I criticized this example also.

Later on, the blogger says that virtually all biologists accept neo-Darwinism. If he means they accept it as part of the explanation for evolution, he's right (and Wilber agrees with this). If he means they accept it as the complete explanation for evolution, he's wrong. If neo-Darwinism were universally accepted as the last word, why would alternate theories like punctuated equilibria have been proposed?

Then he makes reference to Michael Behe's book Darwin's Black Box, but admits he hasn't read it or apparently even heard of it until now. To debunk it, he relies on a hostile "reader review" from the Amazon sales page!

Pretty thin gruel, it seems to me ...

The reason people get hung up on suffering as proof that a perfect god doesn't exist is because a perfect god would be required to stop all suffering. If I had the ability to stop evil, and I didn't do it, I would be guilty of an immoral act. A perfect god can stop all evil, so if he does not do so, he is immoral, and therefore, not perfect. That's pretty much, in a nutshell why I don't believe in a perfect god. I've never heard a satisfactory reconciliation of this problem (the problem of evil). Oh, as far as what we would learn if this god put things into our minds - we would learn whatever was put into our minds.

> If neo-Darwinism were universally accepted as the last word, why would alternate theories like punctuated equilibria have been proposed?

The theory of punctuated equilibria was proposed by Stephen Jay Gould. In the perspective of Gould himself, this theory knocked down a principle of the neodarwinism (the gradualism of the evolutionary changes) - perspective not shared by big part of the community of the evolutionary biologists that consider it an important rectification, doubtless, but that did not put in cause what already were known and defended like correctly by the scientists up to the moment.

The reason people get hung up on suffering as proof that a perfect god doesn't exist is because a perfect god would be required to stop all suffering. - Mark

My thesis is that there is ALWAYS a deeper hidden spiritual reason why things happen that is not easily discernible but that can be explained in conjunction with the holographic nature of the Universe and near death experiences and death bed visions.

Duality (religion, politics, race, culture, language, education, I.Q., wealth, dialects, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) and separation (death, divorce, losing friends, etc.) imprint on the soul what it means and how it feels to be a separate, unique, individual, something that can't be accomplished in the Spiritual Universe due to those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness that so many near death experiencers comment on.

Physical suffering, scratching, itching, burning, paper cuts, stubbing your toe, brushing your hair, touch, mosquitoe bites, chiggers, touching your face, biting your nails, all imprint on the soul the physical parameters of the body, like computer code, or what it's like to be inside or inhabit a physical body, something that may be impossible in the Spiritual Universe due to time and space not existing there.

The Soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and we don't have to do jack squat to accomplish them. The soul learns holistically what it's supposed to learn whether we want it to or not. It's enough to just live in this Universe and because of the nature of this reality the soul will learn what it needs to learn.

The soul comes here to experience a 3 dimensional plus one time universe and the soul's lessons have more to do with quantum physics and the holographic nature of the Universe than it does with religion or "learning how to love" or "becoming one with God."

The more emotional the experience the more powerful and long lasting the memory it creates. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience.

Hi Mark, I understand your point about we would learn what was put in our minds, but that's like giving a student merely the answers to a test so he can get his qualification. The student is learning properly, he's regurgitating.

Also, the problem of evil. Well, if there is a God, and I believe there is, he has given us free will. Why simply come and rescue us from problems we face? Also, it could be argued that evil is merely the absence of God. That may be a religious expression, but I think there's a truth to it. How can God stop something that he is not involved in?

If we are here for a reason, it just defeats the purpose to give us everything we want. To help a child learn to walk, do you pick it up and push it along? No, you let it do itself.

Mark yes suffering is a problem. If on one hand we say god is perfect, then look around, and see all this suffering it is very confusing. Take a different approach and think that this perfect god is always in the act of becoming. God is expressing itself through us.

Now what would it take to eliminate all suffering? If we understand what the Buddha taught and the enlightened Hindus we see that all suffering has its home in some level or degree of ignorance, whose synonyms are unawareness and not knowing. This is very very difficult to see.

Most Buddhists monks do not even see this relationship. They state such things, as attachment and grasping are the origins of our suffering. These are symptoms of ignorance not root causes. My research on the Internet discovered that 2/3 of the Buddhist monks I contacted confused symptoms with root causes. I.e. sample size 30

Now suppose god created manifested or whatever perfect entities with perfect intelligence that would not be expression or that god could always be in the act of becoming but cloning or duplication. We must be ignorant of our true identity for god (oneness) to express itself as twoness and with that ignorance comes suffering.

Try this one on for size. All evil has its home in ignorance as does suffering. It is a paradox as god does not suffer but yet as we are that expression of god then god suffers.

Well, if there is a God, and I believe there is, he has given us free will. - The Major

Why? I am deeply suspicious of free will and lean heavily towards fate and predestination. I routinely have precognitive dreams which leads me to believe that life is planned out and we are simply actors playing roles which lend themselves to the soul experiencing and being imprinted with duality and separation, time and space, and forming memories engrams of what time and space look and feel like. A large portion of things in life can't be truly understood unless one participates in them, such as making love, eating or tasting food, riding a bike, etc. Reading a book about making love, or even watching a DVD about making love is nowhere near the same thing as actually doing it. We are spiritual beings here to learn what it's like to live in a 3 dimensional + one time universe.

The only difficulty in how evolution might produce "electrical" creatures is the first step -- everything else would be pretty inevitable given the right selective pressures and reasonable amounts of time. Even the first step is "difficult" only because it is not a priori obvious that the circumstances that make it a small simple step hold. Here is one possible line of development:

1) Development of a weak electrical sense to detect normal bioelectric signals close up. This would probably develop as a modulation of an existing sense (touch or pressure sense perhaps) as neural or other ion/membrane tissue is affected by EM fields. Perhaps an ability in murky water to be able to distinguish active animal tissue from plant and/or non-living tissue.
(One sense modulating another is not unusual, for example, part of bees' directional sense, as I remember, is based on detecting polarization of light from the sky).

2) Selection of mutations that confer improved sensitity, eventually leading to specialization of tissue for this purpose alone.

3) As sensitivity increases an "active" radar system starts to develop. The organisms own, natural electronic signal would be picked up, modulated by the surroundings, bringing useful information.

4) Selection for increased electrical output to make active radar more effective and longer range.

5) Selection for less amorphous electrical field output, encouraging specific conductive spots and overall reduced conductivity (solving the insulation "problem").

6) Increasing electrical field becomes confusing becomes strong enough to distract small species up close. Strong selective pressure at this point to increase this effect until an actual and potent weapon, completely stunning or even killing prey.

Was this the path followed? I don't know, but the fact is that there is a not terribly implausible path that evolution could take, and it is therefore not a problem until someone shows that this path or any of many similar paths are not plausible. You can't just argue that it is difficult to imagine (the "argument from lack of imagination") especially when it really isn't that hard to imagine (took me less than a minute of thought).

I also have a problem with the term free will as it is taught in our churches. I prefer choices within boundaries. As I look back over my life it appears that my fate was to go a certain direction in spite of my choices. Now my choices determined by destiny. I would say that most of us sub optimize our potential destiny.

Churches make a fortune over the concept of free will. It is their bread and butter so to speak. Tack on some guilt and shame and here come the money. But at this stage of our evolutionary process I suspect guilt and shame are needed to keep us from becoming immoral monsters. or not.

Topher Cooper,

Creation/evolution of a pink unicorn

Millions of yrs ago Female rhinos Union had a active strike going on...

Male Rhino choose to mate with other animals.. one of which would have been Horses...

Same Male Rhino has been eating pink flowers, so some gene's were mutating

Mare delivers a Pink Horse which becomes a Pink Unicorn as it grows..

Not a terribly implausible scenario... surely could have happenned lot more easily over the time period of evolution than the speculation you put out trivialising the whole process...


FYI... I have already read a couple of incidents off late of animals/fish like Panda & Sharks giving birth without having ever been exposed to a mate...

Satya, that scenario is not only completely implausible but also completely against scientific convention; namely that horses and rhinos are genetically incompatible, eating pink foods will not cause your genes to mutate to a pink colour, and rhinos do not strike. :)

I'm not entirely sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but really now.

My 2 eurocents on suffering:
It all depends how one looks at suffering.
I don't see suffering as a problem.
Eventually every experience is very neutral, if it is bad or good depends on our attitude towards it. For example take a spider, a lot of people have fear of spiders, they are really scared of them and think they are really nasty things, other people love spiders, they are their favorite pets. This means that spiders in themselves are not good or bad but are a very neutral experience.
Extrapolating from this, this means that in essence there is nothing either intrinsically good or bad. But our mind states make it as such.
Our conceptions of suffering and good and bad are the whole drama play we participate in.
In reality, the deeper levels, we can experience that there is no such thing as good or bad, only unity, non duality.
Herein lies the answer which solves all paradoxes.
God is then beyond perfect or not perfect, it is not about good or bad, it is unity, non-duality.
It is perfect and imperfect on the relative level, because there we experience the seemingly dualistical world where suffering is indeed important and concepts of good and bad are very important. Infinity has the potential to experience an infinite amount of finite things so dualism is included.
Then suffering for me is a way to learn, to grow. Why suffering? Just imagine how slow soul evolution would go if there would not be negative catalyst. It would be boring, all the time fluffy, there would be no drive to search the light, to gain experience. Growing to once again learn unity. As some people say here god experiencing itself through everything. Why would God want to experience itself in the first place? Damn, why not, if something is so full of potential so full of life and energy, maybe it got bored and just wanted to experience that which it is, its own potential, just imagine infinity all by itself, undifferentiated, then decides to experience itself, the first sound in creation ever, how utterly amazing must that have been!
How unspeakably beautifull and amazing is creation in this way, every thing which is experienced, every thing which is, unique and unbelievable.

Perfection would also imply that it is already finished and complete. Here is again the paradox why would it experience itself then cause this implies through logic that it is also imperfect. All this is solved in unity.
Our word concepts are unable to grasp this essence which solves the paradox. When we try to grasp it through words, we are bound to end in paradoxes, this happens when mind tries to contemplate the infinite. Words and thoughts which are dualistic can never understand non-duality because it's function is to divide, we know there is an orange because we know there is something which is not an orange.
But this doesn't mean it can't be experienced cause if there is god and unity this means that we are this god, that each one of us is totally connected and actually allways is, has been and will be god and was never seperated at all, this idea of seperation is the big illusion! Experiencing unity is the most clearest, deepest experience, which shows the truth.

So infinity(unity) -> manyness(experiencing duality) -> unity(with a lot of experience gained) all the time in truth, there is only this unity but we choose not to see it.

hasta la pasta,

what does Scientific convention say about plausibility of a lone female Panda in a Zoo in a fully enclosed setting getting pregnant with no male pandas anywhere around...

how about same case for Sharks in Aquarium with no male shark???

Would it have helped if I added to make it sound plausible if I had added words like "selection" "selective pressure" etc...

Filip Van Droogenbroeck,
that is how I see the world but struggle to convey it when I want to...

It looks like I brought about a tidal wave of comments just by making a comment about the perfect god giving us a phone call. Well, I'm not going to try to address all of them at once, but I want to hopefully diffuse some of these comments by repeating that I am a lot more open to the possibility that if there is a god or group of gods that he/she/it or they are not perfect. I see a lot of possibilities being given to me on these posts, and they are all certainly possible, and even the idea of a perfect god is possible. However, I don't think that it is very likely that god is perfect given the problem of evil, and I don't think that it is very likely that this god is "beyond perfect." We can't even say for sure that there is anything "beyond perfection." I do not believe even in an imperfect god, but once again I am much more open to the possibility of an imperfect god existing and still needing to learn (one of the possibilities that one of you guys pointed out) than I am open to the possibility of a perfect or "beyond perfect" god. I'm sorry I can't address all of your issues directly, but there are too many of them on this board.

Mark, Just a thought,... If there indeed is a GOD that is perfect or even imperfect,... who are you (or any of us for that matter) to demand a phone call? And on the evil question,.. The Bible says it's already taken care of, Fah-getaboutit. If there is a "sovereign" GOD then your opions of how it "should" be wouldn't amount to a hill of beans. And expanding on that note, if HE does exist you'd be a lot happier (in the end) being on HIS side instead of in HIS way. Right?? Actually the Bible does indeed address your concerns, all of your concerns IF... you approach it without closed minds and closed hearts (who knows, maybe there is more science in the Bible than you think). However I will say this, what if both parties are right? As Jesus says (I forget where- (read for yourself) that we (mankind) is "of"- the earth" what does that mean?? Wouldn't it be ironic though....

Its not so much that I am demanding a phone call as much as I am saying that if there was a perfect god, then he should want to call us just to keep us informed and prove to us that he exists. Yeah, you're definitely right that I could be wrong, and not understand perfection, but I have to do the best that I can given the best reasoning that I have available to me. I believe that that is a better course of action than believing something simply because it makes me feel better.

Some commentors have noted that they don't believe in the concept of free will, because of precognitive dreams etc. Well, with elements such as that, you're looking at a sense of time that breaks our understand of the barriers and we can only begin to comprehend. What is to say that we haven't already made our decision by free will, and therefore this is reflected in such a way?

Fate and destiny can be a bit of catch all. After all, who goes agains their 'fate'? No one, because it's impossible to falsify as everyone is where they are (if that makes sense). When someone decides to murder someone is that their 'destiny'?

I still think that life brings you challenges, and sometimes they seem unmountable but if we were given all the answers, we might as well pack up and go home now.

Also, Mark, sorry to thrust my opinion on you again, but you asked about a 'phone call' from God. What about those who report spontaneous personal experiences with God? What about NDE's?

I guess a way of looking at it is like this:

A town is flooding. They are evacuating all the citizens. One man says "I'm staying. I pray to God, he'll save me." As he can't be persuaded they leave him. The water gets up to his knees and a dinghy sails towards him to rescue him. He says "I'm fine. I pray. God will save me." Then, when the water is up to his roof, he's sitting on there and a helicopter flies near. He says "I'm okay. I pray, God will save me."

Finally he dies and goes to heaven. God sees him and says "What are you doing here?". He says "What do you mean? Why didn't you save me?". God says "But I sent you a boat and a helicopter."

My point is it depends how you define the phone call.

No problem, Major. I don't mind having opinions thrusted upon me, as long as others don't mind me thrusting back, and as long as others are willing to defend their opinions. I do think I understand what you are trying to say, although I think that your analogy is not a very good one, with all due respect. A life being saved is much different than proof that an omniscient god sent the boat and helicopter. Not to mention the fact that the guy in your example has a level of faith that would seem ridiculous even to a right-wing religious fundamentalist like James Dobson. A phone call or a demonstration from this god would be a lot more definitive than a simple miracle here or there. Miracles can just be coincidence. I understand that some people think that they have talked to god, but I can tell you that he never talked to me. I wonder why he is so selective? He certainly must know that simply calling me or demonstrating that he exists would convert me. It shouldn't be too difficult for the master of the universe. It does not seem very likely to me that this perfect god would try to use more subtle ways to convince me, especially since he knows that I am a blunt individual and not very good with symbolism. Once again I want to make sure that everyone understands that I the argument I am making is against an all-powerful god and I would not feel quite so comfortable arguing against an imperfect god.

Fair enough, Mark. I understand what you mean about some people never receiving that 'communication'. If you haven't you haven't, and there's nothing I can say back to that.

I sometimes feel the same myself. Then, I remember that there have been a couple of instances, which I will keep private as they are personal experiences, that should mean I have no doubt about God and life after death but human as I am, I still want more.

Topher Cooper makes an interesting point about the possible incremental evolution of electrical organs in fish. It certainly is possible to imagine such a thing. But reread the fourth paragraph quoted from Wesson's book, the one that begins "For electrolocation ...", and consider the sheer number of different changes that have to occur in concert in order for the system to work.

I don't necessarily doubt that these changes did occur incrementally. What I doubt is that they occurred because of purely random mutations that just happened to come along when they were needed.

And remember, the mutations are random, according to neo-Darwinism. Once the beneficial mutations have occurred, then nature will "select" them; but first they have to occur - by chance. This point is often fudged by neo-Darwinists, who say that the process is not really random because nature makes a selection. But according to the theory, nature can select only features that have already arisen as a result of random mutations. Thus the linchpin of the process is randomness.

If strictly random mutations are not the answer, then how do new features come into being? I suspect there is some driving force behind the series of changes, pushing evolution in the right direction by encouraging mutations - and/or expressions of previously unexpressed genes - when they are needed.

What this driving force is, I have no idea. It could be some kind of Lamarckism. It could be Sheldrake's morphic fields. It could be self-organizing systems. It could be changes in the cell's chemical environment that affect which genes are expressed. It could be Cosmic Consciousness, guiding and directing the process (teleology). It could be something utterly unlike anything I've imagined. But I doubt that randomness explains it.

The last comment was by me.

He certainly must know that simply calling me or demonstrating that he exists would convert me. - Mark

The Creator of the Universe could care less if we believe or not. The soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and the soul is imprinted holistically with what it needs to learn whether we want it to or not. God is so smart that He/She has created a Universe where the soul learns what it's supposed to learn regardless of who we are or what we believe. Belief is irrelevant, acceptance is irrelevant, agreement is irrelevant. Everyone experiences duality and separation, time and space, and imprints memories of what it feels like to be in a physical body. We don't don't have to do jack squat. I don't believe we are here to "learn how to love" or "become one with God." We are here to experience what it's like to live in a 3 dimensional + one time universe. Time and space and separation. Period.

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