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It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by... Options
Daemon
Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by providence as an evil to mankind.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
stefanomarcelli
Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012 9:18:52 AM

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Hi.

As in modern Italian the word "providence" is strictly used as synonym of God, to what of the following four entries did Swift refer in his wonderful acute sentence?

www.thefreedictionary.com
1. Care or preparation in advance; foresight.
2. Prudent management; economy.
3. The care, guardianship, and control exercised by a deity; divine direction: "Some sought the key to history in the working of divine providence" (William Ebenstein).
4. Providence God.

Thanks in advance,

Stefano Marcelli
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012 9:26:24 AM
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'Providence' in this sentence is another term/word for 'God'. I think all the definitions are applicable to the the sentence.
Epiphileon
Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012 9:36:07 AM

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Without death being a natural result of birth, it is entirely likely human kind would never have come to be in the first place. Death is an evolutionarily stable strategy, but I'd still like to live an even century or so.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
MTC
Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012 10:28:18 AM
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The quotation is from Writings on Religion and the Church, Vol. I, Ch. 15, "Thoughts on Religion:"

"It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind.

Although reason were intended by Providence to govern our passions, yet it seems that, in two points of the greatest moment to the being and continuance of the world, God hath intended our passions to prevail over reason. The first is, the propagation of our species, since no wise man ever married from the dictates of reason. The other is, the love of life, which, from the dictates of reason, every man would despise, and wish it at an end, or that it never had a beginning."

Give credit to http://www.online-literature.com for making this passage from Swift's works available online.

Though it is not very clear, I think Swift is arguing that our passion for life ("love of life") stems from our fear of death. According to Swift, if men relied on reason alone they would wish life "at an end." Therefore, ironically Death contributes to Life.
stefanomarcelli
Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012 10:39:05 AM

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So, I could argue that Swift has been an evolutionist ante litteram, and also a cospirationist. He does not believe Providence (now with le 1th letter capitalized, I understand God :-) so cruel to consider evil a so common and natural accident.
FounDit
Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012 10:50:53 AM

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Daemon wrote:
It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by providence as an evil to mankind.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)



It would have to be so since, by definition, evil is the breaking of a law or rule or command by a god. Where there is no law or rule to be broken, evil can not exist.

As no thing is capable of such an action, it follows that no thing can be evil; only humans can be evil as they are the only creatures that can comprehend and willfully disobey.

Death, not being a person, can not disobey any rule either, therefore it can not be evil. The same applies to what is called sin.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
KAMRAMNA
Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012 11:40:39 AM
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Mr Swift was correct, death is not an evil. So who was being addressed? Who would consider death an evil? Perhaps those afraid or simply not ready to go. We should not fear, seek or bring death ... it should be accepted as part of this life. The real evil lays with those trying to extend our natural lifespan through "science". BIG MISTAKE!!!
jcbarros
Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012 6:57:12 PM

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I´m not afraid of death. I just don´t want to be there when it happens. (Woody Allen dixit.)
stefanomarcelli
Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 2:44:53 AM

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jcbarros wrote:
I´m not afraid of death. I just don´t want to be there when it happens. (Woody Allen dixit.)


Julius Caesar said: "Which death is preferably to every other? The unexpected", the death that happens when Woody Allen is not there. :-)
Anyway, birth is not different from death, they are a couple of opposites, in birth the circle simply opens, while in death simply closes. We know that someone will be born at least nine months before the delivery. If there were not a visible preparation, also birth will be seen as an evil event, probably more evil than death. Imagine, you are in your house with your relatives, tranquil, pacific and concentrate in your affairs and suddenly a new human appears on the table... :-)
percivalpecksniff
Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 9:16:01 AM

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You do like to have your cake and eat it don’t you Epi. On the one hand you attribute life to a mindless process that sprang from nothing and that was subject to mutations and chance over billions of years, and on the other you cite death as a strategy of evolution.

Now as I understand the meaning of the word one would need directed intelligence to form, or even propose a strategy. One would need thought and foresight. One would need expectation and a future solution in mind.

Then you state that life ( in this case you posit in in the form of humans) could not have sprung from nothing unless death was in view… but before life surely nothing was in view.

You need to think things through before you make such definite unquestionable statements. You deny the existence of a higher intelligence in the form of a designer and creator and yet you persistently use such words as strategy and design, etc., in explaining the so-called evoultion of life forms.


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle
JamesIsobel
Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 12:02:29 PM

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Death is the only thing that can be guaranteed by every living thing on this planet, that includes trees, fish, mountains and to be absolutely positive, even the planet itself.

On the other hand there are those who cannot accept this natural thing, they will always believe that they will be reincarnated again?

The only thing that people should be thinking about is that they live a good life, equanimity with every other living thing and also the planet itself, do that and you will die a happy person. The contrary is that if your behaviour is self centered you will just die.
Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 1:28:05 PM

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percivalpecksniff wrote:
You do like to have your cake and eat it don’t you Epi. On the one hand you attribute life to a mindless process that sprang from nothing and that was subject to mutations and chance over billions of years, and on the other you cite death as a strategy of evolution.

Now as I understand the meaning of the word one would need directed intelligence to form, or even propose a strategy. One would need thought and foresight. One would need expectation and a future solution in mind.

Then you state that life ( in this case you posit in in the form of humans) could not have sprung from nothing unless death was in view… but before life surely nothing was in view.

You need to think things through before you make such definite unquestionable statements. You deny the existence of a higher intelligence in the form of a designer and creator and yet you persistently use such words as strategy and design, etc., in explaining the so-called evoultion of life forms.


And you say you are current in evolutionary theory, what year do you think it is?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
percivalpecksniff
Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 3:14:48 PM

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That’s it, use sarcasm to avoid addressing the point I made. As to being current with evolutionary theory, then are you aware… you must be… that there are many such, and not one? Hardly a week goes by without some change of opinion or other. The fact is there is no universal evolutionary theory that all evolutionists accept… you should know that.

Why, our celebrated evolutionist David Attenborough thinks human came from an aquatic water ape… now there’s a thought. He even wondered if the ape stood upright to get a better view… now that is funny.

Dawkins still believes in the old Darwinian theories.

It is a case of ‘you pays your money and you takes your choice.’

You cut out intelligent direction, or as I believe absolute creation, and yet you attempt in your reasoning to give some kind of intelligence driven formulae to life’s development. On the one hand you assign chance to life, and not just one chance, but millions and millions, no billions, of random chances and then talk of design and strategy… what is that.

It is not that you believe in evolution that bothers me… I think you hold that view honestly. No, it is the hubris you display. You state things as if they are beyond question and have little regard for those who think otherwise. Rarely do you use terms such… as in my view … or I think… etc.

It is the same attitude that ardent religious fanatics display... an intolerance of views not in accord with their own. Rather like the folk who hold to the view of creation being accomplished in six twenty four hour days... any discussion that challenges that conception is rudely swept aside.


The chances of having an intelligent discussion on the subject of how life got here is almost nil since there is such intransigence from both sides. At least I have studied both sides of rhe coin before reaching a conclusion.


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle
Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 4:16:42 PM

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My objection to your understanding of evolutionary theory Peter was your apparent ignorance of the use of the term
Quote:
"evolutionarily stable strategy",
strategy [′strad·ə·jē]
(ecology)
A group of related traits that evolved under the influence of natural selection and solve particular problems encountered by organisms.

Apparently your study of the field is still a bit lacking, since your understanding of the word did not include this definition, it is a common term across most variants of accepted evolutionary theory. So there you have it, once again your argument is proven to be a matter of purely self conviction.
Be that as it may, in general I apologize to the other members of the board for taking your bait again, I have, to this point completely ignored your posts, as it is fruitless to argue with one of your convictions. Your post to me in this thread somewhat took me by surprise, and I foolishly replied. I do consider the post of yours to be snidely insulting and in the future rather than engage, I will merely report it. One of these days hopefully admin will figure out you are really the former banned member, Peter Hewitt, and rectify the issue of your current deception.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
will
Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 5:55:51 PM
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Peter, only you would attempt to construct a strawman out of such a petty pedantic point of grammar, and still get it so demonstrably wrong. Classic; you really are the Bach flower remedy of reasoned debate d'oh!

Even had your puerile attempt not smacked you in the face like a rake handle, semantics would have been dodgy ground. You have been repeatedly told that phrases like “sprang from nothing” and “chance” show your ignorance of evolutionary synthesis.

Intelligent design (and it's failed predecessor creationism) has repeatedly failed in the laboratory and in the courts; far from being 'cut out' of debate, I can think of no other completely baseless assertion that has been so thoroughly tested, to appease a fanatical minority.

How many chances do you expect?

How many chances is this site going to give you?
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 9:52:41 PM
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To Epiphileon: In responce to your post:"Without death being a natural result of birth, it is entirely likely human kind would never have come to be the first place. Death is an evolutionarily stable strategy, but I'd still like to live an even century or so."

I'm not sure what you mean by 'stable strategy', but if you mean that in order for evolution to be possible, death must exist as part of the 'plan'...Otherwise, nothing would evolve. Life would be static. What ever came into being--however it came to be--is what always would exist...Nothing else could be possible. Without death, creation could only have come from God.

*I am not advocating this idea, it is just a thought.

I don't think anyone really knows how the world began. We only have our theories and our beliefs.

I think we are all in hell, only no one realizes it. And everyone tries to stay here, hanging on to 'life' as long as possible.

percivalpecksniff
Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 3:52:05 AM

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You said Epi: "evolutionarily stable strategy",
strategy [′strad·ə·jē]
(ecology)
A group of related traits that evolved under the influence of natural selection and solve particular problems encountered by organisms.unquote.



That definition is evolutionary gobblegedook to overcome difficulties in the theory. It is not a true meaning of the word. Strategy by its

very nature requires the application of intelligence and directed effort. No amount of coming up with obscure definitions can alter that

fact.

Here you go again. Using language that cannot apply to chance. You deny intelligence behind life yet you cannot escape applying it to the

evolutionary theories. You would claim that n iMac, for example needs applied intelligence to come into existence yet say the human brain

arrived by chance... really?

A fly's brain has more functions than a computer. Quote: “The performance of even the most advanced of the neural-network computers,” says Dr. Richard M. Restak, “has about one ten-thousandth the. . . capacity of a housefly.” Unquote

The brain of a human is much superior to that of a housefly. It comes programmed to learn languages. It repairs itself, rewrites programs, and improves its capacity.


Natural selection? What about all the so called higher forms of life in between man and the ape... where are they... were they not supposed

to be superior to the ape a progression 'naturally selected' by a so called 'stratagem' for their superiority? And mutation natural? That

is an oxymoron. Virtually all mutations are harmful and they only come from existing gene pools and do not bring new life.... they spring

from that which is residual and not new.

As to my not being up to date, well... who is. The theories change like teenagers change fashion.

You cannot use language that speaks of intelligence when you apply it to the many theories of evolution.... it is a chance game is it not.

It beggars belief that an organism can survive incomplete when it encounters a problem that takes millions of chances to correct over

millions of years. It is like the evloutionary theory that giraffes grew long necks to reach food that they needed. Some of the things that

evolutionists come out with really make me laugh.

You should take up a study of interdependency and irreducibilty... it may change your mind or at least moderate your stance.

What prompted the heart to develop? Did it have foreknowledge that there would be a circularity system in place when it was fully

develeoped... and what purpose did it serve while in the undeveloped stage? How did it know there would be blood to pump and organs to feed

and oxygen etc to transport.... a brain to feed?

Sometimes evolutionists remind me of an ant standing on a rail track commanding the approaching speeding express train to stop... they are

that confident of their pronouncments in the face of very little knowledge.

Take the 'primordal soup' that is supposed to have given rise to life... where did that come from? Did it conveniently exist so that the

evolutionists could have a material start.. a start they could then take an amazing leap of faith from and say life 'just

happened.' Man amounts to little more than a puff of wind, and yet he thinks he has the meaning of life.Yet he cannot even solve his own

problems and keeps of repeating his mistakes.


Many or most who believe in religion or evolution have not studied it carefully or thought it out. The majority are genuine in their belief,

on both sides. We will all have to wait and see methinks... in the meantime let's be wary of outright, antlike declarations.


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle
will
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 6:20:19 AM
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percivalpecksniff wrote:
You would claim that n iMac, for example needs applied intelligence to come into existence yet say the human brain arrived by chance... really?

Peter, personal incredulity is not a compelling argument. I'll explain the 'chance' thing to you again later.

The watchmaker argument has been done to death; it didn't stand when it was first raised and it certainly doesn't today with our increased scientific understanding. A few of the problems you'd need to address (if you have any integrity) would include:

1. If complexity must equal design, then you need to explain the paradox of 'who designed the designer?' and so on ad infinitum. To arbitrarily end the design argument on step beyond what is actually observed falls foul of Occam's razor and explains less than we already know.
2. Even if complexity did equal design it would not automatically establish any other specific (theistic) model. To observe apparent design and conclude the veracity of Genesis (for example) is a non sequitur.
3. Complexity does not necessitate an intelligent designer. There are numerous examples of complexity arising from simple systems, such as fractals and chaotic systems – indeed every aspect of evolutionarily synthesis describes, perfectly well, biological complexity without design.
4. A further paradox (dependant on how rigorously 'god of the gaps' is applied) is that if RNA, for example, is 'intelligently' designed, then it follows that any retrovirus is likewise 'intelligently' designed – in a theistic sense: the problem of evil.
5. On closer inspection design in general, and intelligent design certainly, is not evident. From the appendix to earthquakes, it is hard to justify any theistic argument from design.

percivalpecksniff wrote:
Quote: A fly's brain has more functions than a computer.“The performance of even the most advanced of the neural-network computers,” says Dr. Richard M. Restak, “has about one ten-thousandth the. . . capacity of a housefly.” The brain of a human is far superior to that of a housefly. It comes programmed to learn languages. It repairs itself, rewrites programs, and improves its capacity. No doubt you would agree that even a powerful supercomputer with only “one ten-thousandth the. . . capacity of a housefly” has an intelligent designer. What about the human brain? Unquote

Who or what are you quoting here? The way you have written it implies someone quoting your opinion and the actual speech of Dr Restak; it makes no sense... and you had the temerity to question the meaning of a phrase you clearly didn't understand. It seems you've interspersed your opinions in with some partial quotes of Dr Restak; are you claiming Dr Restak's understanding of the human brain leads him to believe in an intelligent designer? Or is this another fallacious appeal to authority?.. followed by another non sequitur.

percivalpecksniff wrote:
Natural selection? Mutation natural? That is an oxymoron. Virtually all mutations are harmful and they only cone from existing gene pools and do not bring new life.... they spring from that which is residual and not new.

This is factually incorrect – as has been pointed out to you (though admittedly under different personas) on numerous occasions.

Mutations – good or bad – are random or chance, if you like. Natural selection is, as the name suggests, anything but chance. Beneficial variants give greater reproductive success and are naturally retained over generations. Benign variants that add complexity without necessarily serving immediate purpose are also retained. Deleterious variants die out, with the most 'harmful' being selected out the soonest. Reproduction and death is a highly discriminatory filter, and in no way random or chance.

This is very, very, basic stuff, Peter. If you insist on claiming you understand evolutionarily theory then you need to address this issue, rather than constantly ignore and repeat.

percivalpecksniff wrote:
As to my not being up to date, well... who is. The theories change like teenagers change fashion.

Acquiring and improving knowledge is not something to be eschewed, feared or ridiculed (at least not outside creationism). Are you suggesting it is better to dogmatically stick with a flawed belief because to change is a sign of weakness? That certainly would explain a great deal. Think

Incidentally, although paradigm shifts do occur in science, the road to modern evolutionary synthesis has been fairly straightforward. Origin of the Species is as relevant today as it ever was, and has been comprehensively supported and built upon by the scientific method and developments in any field you care to mention.

percivalpecksniff wrote:
It beggars belief that an organism can survive incomplete when it encounters a problem that takes millions of chances to correct over millions of years. It is like the evloutionary theory that giraffes grew long necks to reach food that they needed. Some of the things that evolutionists come out with really make me laugh.

Again it's clear you don't have the first idea what you are talking about. Organisms don't (as a rule) survive 'incomplete'. Where – from your extensive research – did you glean that misapprehension from?

As you mention it, let's use the giraffe to compare the banality of your approach compared to the scientific method. On the one hand the scientific approach takes an observation and constructs one or more hypothesis to explain the observation. The scientific method filters out any 'wrong' hypothesis. Any well sustained explanation becomes a theory. Theories are constantly subject to falsifiability – look it up before you get all excited and shoot yourself in the foot again. If evidence ever contradicts a theory, the theory is discarded or revised. By this method simple intuitive observations about, for example, giraffes become thoroughly researched knowledge. Because this knowledge is constantly open to scrutiny, it is always tested against the most advanced disciplines and techniques. The evolution of the giraffe has now been tested in a plethora of fields, from ethology to geology, from fossil records to the most cutting edge genetics.

On the other hand, your approach is to observe two apparently conflicting theories, current 150 years ago, and conclude science is laughable... therefore creation as described in Genesis is the only explanation. Q.E.D

percivalpecksniff wrote:
You should take up a study of interdependency and irreducibilty... it may change your mind or at least moderate your stance.

Could you recommend – from your extensive research – a few good sources to study?

percivalpecksniff wrote:
Sometimes evolutionists remind me of an ant standing on a rail track commanding the approaching express train to stop... they are that confident of their pronouncments in the face of very little knowledge.

Ever taken an antibiotic, Peter?

percivalpecksniff wrote:
Take the 'primordal soup' that is supposed to have given rise to life... where did that come from? Did it conveniently exist so that the evolutionists could have a material start.. a start they could then take an amazing leap of faith from and say life 'just happened.'


I'll happily examine abiogenesis with you, Peter, perhaps in a separate thread. But not based on your repeated refusal to address this very dated strawman. The question is: can you show enough honesty and integrity?
will
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 6:20:46 AM
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@ Epiphileon. I understand the 'don't feed the troll' approach, but I'm not sure trolling is Peter's primary goal. One shouldn't underestimate the insidious nature of internet proselytising... throw enough shit around and some of it will stick. Creationism has a disproportionate presence on the net (but thankfully little or no practical influence); in my opinion it is worth attempting to redress the balance, not least because it it easy.
pedro
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 6:44:03 AM

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Thank you Will for some distinctly non-antlike declarations.

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
percivalpecksniff
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:32:57 AM

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I stand by what I have said Will, and when will you understand that I do not read your posts... ever. I have not read the latest... it is a policy of mine, for reasons explained previously. I have no intention of getting into a fruitless debate with you.... but I wish you no ill. You are free to express to your opinions, whatever they may be.

Be happy.


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle
will
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 8:40:37 AM
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That is no doubt the reason you keep embarrassing yourself with the same mistakes, Peter.
dingdong
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:13:48 AM
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Good debate. I go with creationism because evolutionists get personal.
will
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 10:01:06 AM
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It's okay, he doesn't read, so anything personal is moot. Not that I'm admitting to the the charge, though I may be guilty of the occasional mere typo. Whistle
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