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Are LDS open to Theistic Evolutionary Theory?

Are LDS open to the idea of Theistic Evolutionary Theory?  

14 members have voted

  1. 1. Are Latter day Saints open to some variation of Theistic Evolutionary Theory?

    • No
      4
    • Yes
      5
    • Perhaps... but that will depend on the wording for the explanation.
      5


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42 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

Your assumptions on population growth are not accurate. I’d even go far as to say that of all the statements that have been made in this thread, the belief that humans have been on earth for 100k-200k years is the easiest one to dispel. My contention is not so much that an ancient tribe would go extinct (although that is a very real possibility if it takes you 6-9 millennia to double in size), but rather that the human population would be MUCH, MUCH greater than it is today if we’ve been inhabiting the planet for some 200,000 years.

I believe you misunderstand population dynamics. You are suffering from a form of presentism, where you assume that the way things are today (steady population growth even with very low fertility in western countries) is how things have always been. On the contrary, that is a feature of the last 1200 or so years, accelerating greatly just within the last century or two. It's a very atypical time to live when compared with anything else in human history.

Things were certainly not as they are now. Nothing could be further from the truth. In millennia past, the average birth rate has been only very slightly higher than the average death rate. There have been devastating plagues, droughts, and wars that have depopulated entire regions or even continents. Look no further back than the early middle (the so-called "dark") ages, when the population of Europe crashed because of war and famine. It began rebounding after a few centuries, only to suffer a couple more calamitous drops due to plagues. And that was in modern times, in an iron age culture, where people have had sophisticated technologies such as farming with draft animals to provide food and other life necessities.

In contrast, the overwhelming majority of human history has been spent in what we call the "Stone Age", so called because tools were made primarily from stone. (Apparently, no one ever considered that more easily worked substances like wood might have been used but just decayed away. Okay, just kidding. People have considered that, and that's obviously what happened, but it's still called the Stone Age because almost the only surviving relics are stone.) Stone Age peoples lived (and live; there are tribes that survive today with nothing more than Stone Age technology) much shorter lifespans on average than we do. Their lives were hard, their food was unprocessed, and death was a common companion. The early Stone Age, or paleolithic, predated almost all of what we would consider modern technology, including such staple activities as widespread farming and domesticated animals. And the paleolithic was the state of technology for almost the entirety of human history, up until about 10,000 BC, about three thousand years after the end of the last ice age.

We are living in the late metal age, often called the "iron age", though many people prefer to use such terms as "iron age" in a strictly premodern way. The "domestication", as it were, of metals for tool-making, starting with copper and various bronzes, marks the beginning of modern ways of approaching problems and ultimately of structuring societies. To assume the way we think about and do things today is just like how our ancient, Stone-Age ancestors thought about and did things is mistaken. It is, as I have written, a form of presentism.

Today, the average life expectancy for someone born in a western democracy is something over 70 years. While the maximum human lifespan seems not to have changed throughout recorded history, I can find no evidence that any other older culture, including earlier forms of our own, has ever had anything like that kind of life expectancy. Our death rate is so low and our life expectancy so great that even societies that have worked to destroy their own fertility rates still see net increases in population.

Again, this is not normal, not for the vast majority of the history of mankind. I doubt this is sustainable; I expect life expectancy to return to the bad old days within the next century or so. Hopefully I'm wrong, but in any case you need to adjust your understanding of population dynamics. Your contention that human beings could not possibly have been around for 200,000 years without having a far greater population than we see today is naive.

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1 hour ago, ldsguy422 said:

... And mentioning DNA doesn't really help your organic evolution argument. The genetic code for DNA is amazingly complex. The human genome contains some 3 billion DNA base pairs. Bill Gates has said, “The code in the chromosomes is more complex and holds more information than all the computer programs ever written by man combined.” So, the notion that DNA could evolve, or self-assemble on the primitive sea floor of the earth, with the enormous tides, with huge currents, and with boiling hot seas, defies logic and comprehension.

1. Nothing you have written above argues against organic evolution.

2. Bill Gates? How does Bill Gates have anything to do with our discussion?

3. Again, you are confusing organic evolution with various speculations about biogenesis.

4. The evolution of DNA is neither incomprehensible nor illogical. You keep saying that this or that "defies logic", leading me to suspect that you don't know what actually constitutes logic.

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1 hour ago, ldsguy422 said:

Science is an atheistic enterprise. I get it.

No, you do not. That many scientists proclaim themselves atheist doesn't mean science is atheistic. To use your words, that "defies logic" (but in this case, it really does).

Science does not deny God. Rather, science seeks mechanisms and models for observed phenomena. To say, "Thus-and-such phenomenon is like that because that's how God made it" might be true, but it's a useless statement. It adds exactly nothing to our understanding of the mechanics of the phenomenon or the predictive models we should use. Saying "that's how God made it" is ultimately a philosophical, not a mechanistic, argument. Of course science doesn't accept "because God made it that way" as a valid hypothesis! It's unfalsifiable and useless for anything but a philosophical argument.

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To at least some degree.....

the story of the fallen sons of God, The Watchers, and the daughters of men having children who became giants may fit with this

statement in the quite ancient Book of Jasher.

What I mean by this is that some of the unusual fossils that to Atheistic Evolutionists seem to them to indicate evolution of species.....

could actually turn out to be evidence that people more gifted than Dr. Einstein may have lived to be six, seven, eight or even nine centuries 

before the flood and technology.... may have gone well past even what we have now in 2020?

 

The Book of Jasher, chapter four and verse eighteen seems to indicate CLONING.

https://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/apo/jasher/4.htm

Quote

18 "And their judges and rulers went to the daughters of men and took their wives by force from their husbands according to their choice, and the sons of men in those days took from the cattle of the earth, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other, in order therewith to provoke the Lord; and God saw the whole earth and it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon earth, all men and all animals."

 

My apologies if this is technically off topic but.....  I think that this does relate to the over all topic.  

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

I believe you misunderstand population dynamics. You are suffering from a form of presentism, where you assume that the way things are today (steady population growth even with very low fertility in western countries) is how things have always been. On the contrary, that is a feature of the last 1200 or so years, accelerating greatly just within the last century or two. It's a very atypical time to live when compared with anything else in human history.

Things were certainly not as they are now. Nothing could be further from the truth. In millennia past, the average birth rate has been only very slightly higher than the average death rate. There have been devastating plagues, droughts, and wars that have depopulated entire regions or even continents. Look no further back than the early middle (the so-called "dark") ages, when the population of Europe crashed because of war and famine. It began rebounding after a few centuries, only to suffer a couple more calamitous drops due to plagues. And that was in modern times, in an iron age culture, where people have had sophisticated technologies such as farming with draft animals to provide food and other life necessities.

No, I don't assume that at all. I never once said that there was a steady population growth. You're missing the point. The AVERAGE TIME it took for the world's population to double, if humans have existed for 200,000 years, would be 6,250 years. AVERAGE. I clearly did not say the population was doubling every 75 years. If the population was even doubling at a much more conservative number, say every 800 years, the global population would be 8.5 x 10 to the 37th power. So obviously not even close to be in the same ballpark. If the population doubled every 2,000 years, the worldwide count would be 2.5 x 10 to the 30th power. Still, much too large. 

If we go back to original number of the earth doubling every 6,250 years, we'll have a grand total of 16 people by year 18,750 (181,250 BC). That, of course, is silly. And you're going to maintain that RATE for the next 181,250 years? Let's forego an Adam and Eve example, and say that there was an initial tribe of 1,000 people. To get to 8 billion by the year 2025, you'll need to double 23 times. Over the course of 200k years, the population is doubling, ON AVERAGE, every 9,090 years.... significantly longer than the time from Adam to now. That is silly. The number is fixed. It doesn't matter if there are hundreds and millions of wars. The end number doesn't changed. It's fixed. We're talking about the AVERAGE. All of the catastrophes have already been accounted for in this calculation. Heck, the science records estimate that the population doubled in 4,000 to 3,000 BC, from 7 million to 14 million people. Those were primitive times. And for whatever reason, 7 million people can double its size much faster than a small tribe? I reject the idea that little to no human progression was made over the course of 195,000 years - and that it takes 6 to 9,000 years for primitive cultures to double in size. Not buying it.

1 hour ago, Vort said:

No, you do not. That many scientists proclaim themselves atheist doesn't mean science is atheistic. To use your words, that "defies logic" (but in this case, it really does).

Science does not deny God. Rather, science seeks mechanisms and models for observed phenomena. To say, "Thus-and-such phenomenon is like that because that's how God made it" might be true, but it's a useless statement. It adds exactly nothing to our understanding of the mechanics of the phenomenon or the predictive models we should use. Saying "that's how God made it" is ultimately a philosophical, not a mechanistic, argument. Of course science doesn't accept "because God made it that way" as a valid hypothesis! It's unfalsifiable and useless for anything but a philosophical argument.

Lawrence Krauss is the one who expressed that idea, actually. And obviously what he meant is that you can't put God into the equation. He doesn't help us understand how the universe and the laws and natural processes work. And I don't believe science and God are mutually exclusive. But, the scientific community can't really account for him, because they don't know the laws by which he operates. Hence, the process for discovery becomes atheistic. T

1 hour ago, Vort said:

1. Nothing you have written above argues against organic evolution.

2. Bill Gates? How does Bill Gates have anything to do with our discussion?

3. Again, you are confusing organic evolution with various speculations about biogenesis.

4. The evolution of DNA is neither incomprehensible nor illogical. You keep saying that this or that "defies logic", leading me to suspect that you don't know what actually constitutes logic.

I have a hard time distinguishing your beliefs from mainstream evolution. So tell me how your views differentiate from the common beliefs of evolution. And feel free to discuss how DNA came to be. 

I don't know what logic is?  What I said was a colloquial way of saying, "That's hard to believe." But feel free to question my intelligence. 

Edited by ldsguy422

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33 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

No, I don't assume that at all. I never once said that there was a steady population growth. You're missing the point. The AVERAGE TIME it took for the world's population to double, if humans have existed for 200,000 years, would be 6,250 years. AVERAGE.

You're not seeing that this is utterly irrelevant.

Consider this idea. For 150,000 years, the human population did not significantly change. It remained pretty much the same. Like the American bison, the human population hit its capacity and remained there. It did not increase until it filled the entire planet. It stayed more or less the same for a long, long, long, long, long time.

This is not a difficult concept, but it is one you appear either to have ignored or rejected. I don't understand why.

35 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

And obviously what he meant is that you can't put God into the equation. He doesn't help us understand how the universe and the laws and natural processes work. And I don't believe science and God are mutually exclusive. But, the scientific community can't really account for him, because they don't know the laws by which he operates. Hence, the process for discovery becomes atheistic.

That is not a logical conclusion. It is non sequitur, unless by "atheistic" you do not mean disbelief in God, but only not using God as part of your model. If that is what you mean, then I agree. But in that case, there is not wrong with such an "atheism" that does not deny God, but merely says that we're not looking for God as the immediate causative agent.

37 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

I have a hard time distinguishing your beliefs from mainstream evolution. So tell me how your views differentiate from the common beliefs of evolution. And feel free to discuss how DNA came to be. 

I don't know how my views are different from the mainstream. I don't particularly care; as I noted explicitly yesterday, I am not deeply trained in molecular biology and don't pretend to have great new insights into evolutionary theory.

By "how DNA came to be", I assume you mean the biogenerative process leading to its existence. I don't know that. Neither do you. Neither do the scientists who speculate about warm, shallow, amino acid-laden pools three billion years ago.

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8 hours ago, Scott said:

Dinosaurs are relatively recent in the geologic timeline.

Show us any animal even as complex as a dinosaur in the Cambrian or Pre cambrian.

Also, from our previous conversations, it seems that you don't understand things like viruses, DNA, etc.

Dinosaurs are relatively recent in the geologic timeline.

For sure, 66 million years ago is relatively recent. OK. Crocodiles said to have lived and survive 200 million years ago. Fairly recent? OK.

Show us any animal even as complex as a dinosaur in the Cambrian or Pre cambrian.

Moot. Again, not evidence for macro-evolution without conjecture. I assume you seem to forget the common phrase "Absence of evidence is not evidence for absence," which is what your argument is specifying here (and an animal as complex as a dinosaur is irrelevant, it just needs to be more complex). Then you must be assuming that we have found all the fossils we will and no other fossils will be found or discovered. I will wait.

Also, from our previous conversations, it seems that you don't understand things like viruses, DNA, etc.

So nice, the insults from Scott begin, as a result of your inability to prove your point you decide to make a jab. Great tactic Scott. I don't think you understand viruses, DNA, etc... either. You are welcome to believe as you would like, and you can make insults to make yourself feel better. Ah, the feckless nature of humans, when they didn't prove their point they have to make jab in hopes to feel better about themselves.

Seeing you are unable to engage without jabs and insults, I see no further need to have any more responses.

Edited by Anddenex

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Guest Scott
1 hour ago, Anddenex said:

So nice, the insults from Scott begin, as a result of your inability to prove your point you decide to make a jab.

That wasn't meant to be an insult. This was an observation and an invitation to learn more, not an insult.

I was talking about our previous virus discussion concerning diseases on a different thread.  You were asking me a lot of basic questions concerning DNA and viruses, which leads me to believe that it isn't something you were well versed with, but that you are interested in and I did my best to answer your questions.  

.You also gave the impression from our previous questions that it is something you might even be very interested in and might want to learn about.  So why not discuss it?  Why just dodge the question?  There is no shame in admitting that you don't know every single subject out there.

When you asked me questions about DNA and viruses, I was kind and answered your questions to the best of my ability.

Why not answer one of mine?  I thought it was a good question and it gives you (or me or anyone else) something to think about.



Quote

don't think you understand viruses, DNA, etc... either.

What is you think I should do better on?   I used to work in pharmaceutical research.  I find genetics and viruses to be quite interesting.  I'd be happy to learn more about them.

Edited by Scott

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9 hours ago, ldsguy422 said:

Look at the time period between 1000 AD and 1800 AD. The population boomed from about 300 million to roughly 1 billion. So, it more than tripled in less than eight centuries. And this in an era that was dealing with the bubonic plague, which wiped out 75-200 million people, or 20-40% of the world. On top of that, wars, genocides, colonization, famine, and many other variables would have made population growth difficult. It’s hard to believe that the world could endure so much calamity in a short period, and triple in size. And yet, a small tribe of 100 or 200 individuals would take 6, 7, or 10,000 years to double? Please.

The Book of Mormon when they first landed appears to back this up. Just look at how quickly the Book of Mormon numbers increased. It is said that the American Indians were anywhere from 8 to 112 million population size (they were hunters, gatherers, and traders). We know of two people (family groups) who were on the American continent. We know the Nephites spread north and south.

Although, to be fair, there could have been populations that didn't increase very quickly, but you are talking about 6K to 7K years. Not just a hundred years. So, population increase isn't just something that happened within 1200 years ago. Jaredites were 3000 years ago or more and there numbers doubled. They would have been hunters, gatherers, and probably traders.

The American Indians, have been around a long time (assuming we are considering the American Indians as those who traveled to America around 10,000 BC). Their population (added to by Jaredites, Mulekites, and Nephites) is estimated to have been anywhere from 8 million to 112 million (and I would assume the population didn't begin in the millions when they traveled here). It doesn't appear you are suffering from presentism as others have suggested. This appears to be steady population growth long before 1200 years ago. The interesting thing also, depending on which population growth one accepts (8 million or 112 million) that was also after all the wars and death (up to Columbus).

Mayans themselves were around 4000 years ago with a steady population growth that was first estimated at 5 million (from whatever number they started with) with new discovery of potentially 10-15 million. That appears to be steady population growth (not presentism).

Edited by Anddenex

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6 hours ago, Vort said:

You're not seeing that this is utterly irrelevant.

Consider this idea. For 150,000 years, the human population did not significantly change. It remained pretty much the same. Like the American bison, the human population hit its capacity and remained there. It did not increase until it filled the entire planet. It stayed more or less the same for a long, long, long, long, long time.

This is not a difficult concept, but it is one you appear either to have ignored or rejected. I don't understand why.

That is not a logical conclusion. It is non sequitur, unless by "atheistic" you do not mean disbelief in God, but only not using God as part of your model. If that is what you mean, then I agree. But in that case, there is not wrong with such an "atheism" that does not deny God, but merely says that we're not looking for God as the immediate causative agent.

I don't know how my views are different from the mainstream. I don't particularly care; as I noted explicitly yesterday, I am not deeply trained in molecular biology and don't pretend to have great new insights into evolutionary theory.

By "how DNA came to be", I assume you mean the biogenerative process leading to its existence. I don't know that. Neither do you. Neither do the scientists who speculate about warm, shallow, amino acid-laden pools three billion years ago.

There would be almost 10,000 acres per person available for a population of 4 million. That's the estimated population for 10,000 B.C. Is that the lack of a carrying capacity you’re talking about?  It blows my mind that anyone could think it would take 9,000 years for a population to double. We lost 75-200 million from the black plague (20-40% of the world population), and the population still doubled in 350 years. Hard to imagine that in a time where women were almost exclusively confined to the home life, bearing and raising children, and where no birth control was present, that it would take nine millennia for a tribe to double.  

And I find it strange that you completely dismiss the numers from Lesotho. That nation is expected to double in size every 60.7 years. I’m not saying primitive cultures are expected to be anywhere near that, but Lesotho, a country with a per capita GDP of $1,300, isn’t exactly living a charmed life. Access to modern medicine and adequate health facilities is limited. Birth control is limited. Scarcity of food is high. Disease is high. Death rates are high.  It’s interesting that you don’t think an African country, living in destitution, having a population growth 150 times higher than the all of the world for 190,000 years isn’t a big deal. That’s very hard to reconcile. Imagining that the world for 190,000 years was essentially 150 times worse than Lesotho. And they never progressed. They never ventured out. They never discovered. Dozens and dozens of impressive ruins were erected in between 3,000 and 4,000 BC. But, not a whole lot of progress before then. That doesn’t add up. Why were there no human advances for such an incredibly length period of time?

And how do you reconcile modern humans being around that long when The Church clearly states that Adam was the first man?

As far as DNA, no, I don’t know how it all came together. But, I’m 99.99% it didn’t randomly self-assemble in perfect sequence. Seems much,  much more likely that God played a part in it.

59 minutes ago, Anddenex said:

The Book of Mormon when they first landed appears to back this up. Just look at how quickly the Book of Mormon numbers increased. It is said that the American Indians were anywhere from 8 to 112 million population size (they were hunters, gatherers, and traders). We know of two people (family groups) who were on the American continent. We know the Nephites spread north and south.

Although, to be fair, there could have been populations that didn't increase very quickly, but you are talking about 6K to 7K years. Not just a hundred years. So, population increase isn't just something that happened within 1200 years ago. Jaredites were 3000 years ago or more and there numbers doubled. They would have been hunters, gatherers, and probably traders.

The American Indians, have been around a long time (assuming we are considering the American Indians as those who traveled to America around 10,000 BC). Their population (added to by Jaredites, Mulekites, and Nephites) is estimated to have been anywhere from 8 million to 112 million (and I would assume the population didn't begin in the millions when they traveled here). It doesn't appear you are suffering from presentism as others have suggested. This appears to be steady population growth long before 1200 years ago. The interesting thing also, depending on which population growth one accepts (8 million or 112 million) that was also after all the wars and death.

Mayans themselves were around 4000 years ago with a steady population growth that was first estimated at 5 million (from whatever number they started with) with new discovery of potentially 10-15 million. That appears to be steady population growth (not presentism).

Agreed. And Ether 15 even mentions that two million Jaredites were slain in battle. That is significant. Perhaps that's an estimate and not an actual count. Could easily be calculated, though, seeing how the battle came down to two individuals. Just needed a census of some sort. But still, I don't know what's harder for me to believe - that for 190,000 years, the population doubled, on average, every 9000 years ... or the belief that there were practically no human advances. AT ALL. FOR 190K YEARS. How? Both assumptions are incredibly hard to reconcile. 

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5 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

And how do you reconcile modern humans being around that long when The Church clearly states that Adam was the first man?

And there it is. You disbelieve evolution not for any scientific or pseudoscientific reason, as you suppose, but simply because you think it doesn't square with your religious beliefs.

I have no response to that. I am not going to try to convert you to the gospel of evolution. But by the same token, I reject your arguments against organic evolution as utterly specious. I do not perceive the religious conflicts that you do, so I'm perfectly at ease accepting the principles of molecular organic evolution, including speciation and all the rest.

You are welcome to disagree. As I wrote before, I don't believe Peter guards the Pearly Gates with a molecular biology exam. You are welcome to claim that organic evolution violates the tenets of our religion, though I am equally welcome to claim the opposite. You are welcome to deny the central tenets of evolution, though you may not simultaneously deny them and also claim truthfully that you have any real comprehension of them on anything but a strictly surface level.

You are also free to teach your children about the evils of evolution. But when your children enter high school and college (including BYU), begin thinking for themselves, and perhaps accept the overwhelming evidence for evolution, you had best hope and pray that they do not take your religious objections to evolution at face value, or at least you had better hope and pray that they have developed a reasonably mature testimony of God in their lives. Otherwise, you might find your children taking your anti-evolutionary stance in a way diametrically opposed to that which you had hoped. I've seen it happen before.

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9 minutes ago, Vort said:

And there it is. You disbelieve evolution not for any scientific or pseudoscientific reason, as you suppose, but simply because you think it doesn't square with your religious beliefs.

I have no response to that. I am not going to try to convert you to the gospel of evolution. But by the same token, I reject your arguments against organic evolution as utterly specious. I do not perceive the religious conflicts that you do, so I'm perfectly at ease accepting the principles of molecular organic evolution, including speciation and all the rest.

 You are welcome to disagree. As I wrote before, I don't believe Peter guards the Pearly Gates with a molecular biology exam. You are welcome to claim that organic evolution violates the tenets of our religion, though I am equally welcome to claim the opposite. You are welcome to deny the central tenets of evolution, though you may not simultaneously deny them and also claim truthfully that you have any real comprehension of them on anything but a strictly surface level.

You are also free to teach your children about the evils of evolution. But when your children enter high school and college (including BYU), begin thinking for themselves, and perhaps accept the overwhelming evidence for evolution, you had best hope and pray that they do not take your religious objections to evolution at face value, or at least you had better hope and pray that they have developed a reasonably mature testimony of God in their lives. Otherwise, you might find your children taking your anti-evolutionary stance in a way diametrically opposed to that which you had hoped. I've seen it happen before.

And there it is? It was a question of curiosity more than anything. I've seen you post on here before. I'm more of a lurker than anything else. And you're quite knowledgeable. So, I was mostly curious as to how you see stone-age man of 100k-200k years ago fitting in with Adam and Eve? I mean, I don't talk about evolution with people at church - at all. Topic doesn't really come up. Obviously others share that belief, as we've seen many people side with your position. I've just never met anyone in church that held the belief that modern humans existed before Adam. So yes, curiosity. 

My biggest objection to the population paradox, as previously stated, is that those assumptions indicate there there was little to no progress in all of mankind for 190,000 years... and a population doubling every 9,000 years does not seem the least bit reasonable. Even if you take the doubling average from 10,000 B.C. to present day, you're left with an AVERAGE of almost 1,100 years before the population doubles. Still, a little high, IMO. I could accept that number if it was for a small slice of time for a paleolithic tribe. But, not the AVERAGE time it takes to double for all of modern history. 

And honestly, it's fine if you want to believe in evolution. I have nothing against people believing in it. The variations of different kinds is a fact. Just have issues with the evidence on the macroevolution side of things, which proves nothing and is spoken of dogmatically. There are plenty of educated people who don't believe in macroevolution. It's fun to talk about. Not a big deal, really. If it were a big deal, The Church would have taken an official position on it already. 

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57 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

So, I was mostly curious as to how you see stone-age man of 100k-200k years ago fitting in with Adam and Eve?

I don't know. That's really the sum of the whole argument. I have had various theories through the years, and have largely abandoned them all as insufficient. For the moment, I assume that Adam lived 6000—10000 or so years ago, a real man, in fact the first man as far as we are concerned. I think the garden of Eden story is a true history, though I don't know if it took place in an actual garden or if the garden setting is a representation of something else. I think the fall of Adam is absolutely real, and that the story of Adam's and Eve's parts in that fall are true, though again, I am not sure if those histories are to be taken exactly at face value or if they represent an underlying truth.

I also believe that God does not play games with us, or that Satan plants fake fossils around to destroy our faith in God. The fossil evidence pretty clearly indicates that anatomically modern humans have been around for at least a score thousand years and probably more like 150,000-200,000. I see no reason to doubt that. It appears that we are the latest in a very, very, very long line of anthropoid creatures. Homo erectus, of whom homo sapiens might be considered the most recent and up-to-date version, looks to have been walking the earth for the last two million years. The morphological record preserved in fossils traces human origins back past homo erectus to what were apparently much more ape-like creatures that originated in Africa. Again, I see no reason, logically, rationally, or religiously, to reject this.

In fact, I personally find this extremely consonant with the teachings of the gospel. The natural man is an enemy to God. But what is the natural man? It is man as an animal, nothing more than the brute body, created (through evolution) from the dust of the earth. What separates man from animal? Nothing. Nothing, that is, until you introduce the gospel, the good news of salvation from our fallen, mortal, corrupt state. Because however much of a miracle human life and human evolution are, the experience of living as a human animal is pathetic, not even a faint echo of our destiny, if we will but seize it. God himself took upon him the animal form of human life, became homo erectus in the flesh, so he could dwell among us and teach us a better path. His mortal life was not our first taste of heaven; indeed, that was Adam's and Eve's roles. God has been with mankind ever since Adam, ever since there was an actual man dwelling on the earth—not just a human-shaped and intelligent homo erectus, but a spirit son or daughter of the Father.

So what place did early humans (if we may call them that) hold in God's plan of salvation? Were they truly nothing more than human-shaped animals, no more children of the Father than are dogs and porpoises? I don't know. Those are questions that, as the saying goes, are far above my pay grade. I hold no firm opinions on such matters, indeed no real opinions at all past mere speculation. But I do know the natural man, from my own experience. I have experienced the brutish and ugly in man, the objectification, seeing women as sex toys and men as pawns to be manipulated or sacrificed as convenient. I have also personally experienced, in my own heart, the feelings of brotherhood and belonging, the seeing beyond mortal sight as I perceive my fellow beings to be something potentially far greater than what we see before us. I have felt the hope that arises in the heart as I experience kindness and even love from other human beings. Many of our emotions appear to be based in the primate structure of our brains, or at least the mammalian structure; I have seen dogs and horses demonstrate fondness, affection, bravery, cowardice, and courage in the face of evil. But I have felt things that i believe no mere animal can experience, feelings that I think are outside the ken of the natural man, precisely because the natural man is an animal.

I cannot harmonize the so-called scientific view of the descent of man with the religious view of man's divine origin. But that's okay. I can't harmonize the various gospel accounts of Jesus' life, either, or the accounts of Paul's (or Alma's) angelic experiences. That doesn't mean those accounts are false. I'm sure such things can and will all be explained to perfection when the time is right. For now, we are to overcome the natural man and seek the face of God.

57 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

My biggest objection to the population paradox, as previously stated, is that those assumptions indicate there there was little to no progress in all of mankind for 190,000 years... and a population doubling every 9,000 years does not seem the least bit reasonable. Even if you take the doubling average from 10,000 B.C. to present day, you're left with an AVERAGE of almost 1,100 years before the population doubles. Still, a little high, IMO. I could accept that number if it was for a small slice of time for a paleolithic tribe. But, not the AVERAGE time it takes to double for all of modern history.

I suggest again that what you're battling is the idea of a stable population. You seem convinced that any human population that does not die out must of necessity grow and increase in numbers over a period of, say, fifty generations. But pretty simple math will demonstrate that, given constraints of food, shelter, and other necessities, it is not only reasonable but inevitable that a stable population will be achieved and likely maintained for a long period of time, even thousands (or tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands) of years.

Edited by Vort

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I don't know that I have anything new to add to this conversation. I don't have any answers as what how anything pre-Adamic came to be (meaning humanoid in form) but I do think it's pretty clear that whatever they were they are not the sons and daughters of God. I also think that no matter what words may have been used the intent of what past Church leaders have said is that Adam and Eve, both physically and intelligence, did not descend from these creatures. Beyond that I don't know that the rest really matters.

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3 hours ago, ldsguy422 said:

How about the foundation for schools, universities, and hospitals?

And obviously the separation of church and state has made it very difficult for religion to get its foot in the door. Evolution is tax supported.  Science is an atheistic enterprise. I get it. Lawrence Krauss mentioned that all scientists should be militant atheists. And it makes sense why. They're wired and trained to question everything; they're trying to understand the workings of the universe and of nature. And you can’t simplify any explanation or theory with simply, “God made it that way.”  Appeal to authority is anathema in the scientific community. Just seems strange that many believers of science tend to form their own canonized dogma. 

Before I begin I will apologize to you and the forum for being so critical of the religious community.  There are a lot of individuals within the religious community that are both good and good students of science.  For most of human history it has been the deeply religious that have advanced science.

Something changed and came to a head with Galileo.  Rather than seek truth the world had plunged into apostasy.  One of the engines of the global apostasy was religious aristocracy that whenever challenged and there was no understanding - hid behind a G-d of mystery with the refrain that G-d made things and hid the understanding of why from mankind and that to inquire into divine mystery is a form of blasphemy.   So when Galileo wrote a book detailing how to calculate the tides he was denounced as a heretic - because if overturned a false religious. 

The pattern of denouncing science by religion was changed with the advent of Joseph Smith.  Long before Einstein's theory of relativity W. W. Phelps wrote the hymn "If you could hie to Kolob" that dealt with the time and space distortions of relativity.   I was lucky to grow up knowing Hugh Nibley and Tracy Hall personally.   Such pillars of science and thought left me with the notion that G-d wants his children invested in truth.  That G-d wants us to understand him and his works - which testifies of Christ and eternal justice.  I grew up believing G-d to be the universe's greatest and most brilliant scientist.  And that G-d grants wisdom and understanding to those that seek, knock and ask.

For some reason, that no one has ever been able to explain - many Latter-day Saints like so many of other religions have come to fear science.  Joseph first learned that when we lack wisdom that we should ask G-d.  Later Joseph was taught that before we ask G-d that we should study and conclude with logic and reason - and that G-d will let us know if we are right.  The point of all this is that with G-d man is invested in truth as an agent - thus we have Agency.  Like G-d we are not slaves to truth but agents of truth - This is the foundation of learning (education) - not just to be introduced to truth as our master - but to become the masters of truth through understanding and knowledge.  The greatest engines of the truths of science ought to be the Saints of G-d - certainly not atheists and agnostics.   Those armed with truth and knowledge will triumph.  The only way to become armed with knowledge and truth - is to knock, seek and ask.

 

The Traveler

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1 hour ago, laronius said:

I don't know that I have anything new to add to this conversation. I don't have any answers as what how anything pre-Adamic came to be (meaning humanoid in form) but I do think it's pretty clear that whatever they were they are not the sons and daughters of God. I also think that no matter what words may have been used the intent of what past Church leaders have said is that Adam and Eve, both physically and intelligence, did not descend from these creatures. Beyond that I don't know that the rest really matters.

We know from scripture that Adam was the "first" man.  Most try to understand first only chronologically.  But in scripture first means the best or most noble.  So the first born and the heir was the most noble not the oldest.  It is interesting that whenever in scripture that two brothers competed as the heir - it was always the younger that succeeded. 

In scripture we are told that man was created from "dust".  We are also told that G-d could raise up seed to Abraham from stones.  Obviously this is metaphoric.  Whatever it took to create human life from dust and stone - it would undoubtedly be simpler to accomplish the task from stuff already living.  We can determine that all life is carbon based on this planet and in essence made up of the same elements and from the same methodology of DNA.  And this includes all the life forms that have ever occupied this planet.  

I cannot say I know and can explain how it is that there is so much evidence that Neanderthals were here before modern man or why there is that some humans today have Neanderthal DNA.  I have not been able to reconcile how it seems that the earth was full of life that was experiencing death prior to when Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden.  But I have learned that in both science and religion that truth matters.  I have never understood why anyone would purport ignorance and justify it by saying that the truth does not really matter.  Jesus prophesied that his disciples would know the truth - he did not stipulate only the truth that mattered.

 

The Traveler

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10 hours ago, Vort said:

I suggest again that what you're battling is the idea of a stable population. You seem convinced that any human population that does not die out must of necessity grow and increase in numbers over a period of, say, fifty generations. But pretty simple math will demonstrate that, given constraints of food, shelter, and other necessities, it is not only reasonable but inevitable that a stable population will be achieved and likely maintained for a long period of time, even thousands (or tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands) of years.

Okay, let's look at the simple math for a tribe of 100, with an annual birth rate of 10, that doubles every 8,950 years.

Original Population: 100

Annual Birth Rate: 10

Time Elapsed: 8,950 Years

Births: 89,950

Deaths: 89,750

Net Gain: 100

New Population: 200

Almost 9,000 Years later? In 6,000 years we've gone from a few individuals to almost 8 billion. Yet, a stone-age tribe needs 9,000 years to increase from 100 to 200? 

The duration of this alleged stable population lasts from 200,000 BC to 10,000 BC; we're talking about 190,000 years. It's hard to believe that some 8,000 Generations did practically nothing except hunt for food an die. 8,000 generations did that? Is that the simple math you're talking about? From Adam to present day we're looking at maybe 200-300 generations. Yet, 8,000 generations couldn't figure anything out? Really? That's the simple math? And these tribes would have had miles and miles and miles of free land to roam and gather food, shelter, and supplies.

Every civilization in the history of ever has dealt with war, disease, and famine. That is nothing new. Yet, every documented civilization has grown in spite of all the extenuating circumstances. I mention the bubonic plague because the world quickly recovered. The population doubled within 350 years. And on top of that, the world was dealing with the Crusades, the Ottoman Wars, Byzantine Wars, Ming Dynasty Wars, and dozens of other wars and disasters. 

The Jaredites went from a small group, who traveled in 16 barges, into a nation of two million. And they did that within 1,600 years. Not 190,000 years. The Jaredites existed from 2200 BC to 600 BC. That's 1,600 years. Even if the numbers are horribly, horribly wrong, it still wouldn't take ANYWHERE near 9,000 years to double in size. Let's say there were 100 people on those 16 barges. And in 1,600 years they grew to only 800. That population is doubling every 533 years. Your math doesn't pass the sniff test. 

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14 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

Okay, let's look at the simple math for a tribe of 100, with an annual birth rate of 10, that doubles every 8,950 years.

Here's a much better idea. Let's look at a population of 10,000 with an annual birth rate of 10% that doubles every ∞ years.

Original Population: 10,000

Annual Birth Rate: 10% (1000/year to start with)

Time Elapsed: 8,950 Years

Births: 8,995,000

Deaths: 8,995,000

Net Gain: 0

New Population: 10,000

See how neatly that works?

As I thought, you have no real grasp of what it means to have a stable population. You are inferring present conditions as existing throughout history.

Edited by Vort

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16 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

Every civilization in the history of ever has dealt with war, disease, and famine. That is nothing new. Yet, every documented civilization has grown in spite of all the extenuating circumstances.

Except for those that didn't.

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6 minutes ago, Vort said:

Here's a much better idea. Let's look at a population of 10,000 with an annual birth rate of 10% that doubles every ∞ years.

Original Population: 10,000

Annual Birth Rate: 10% (1000/year to start with)

Time Elapsed: 8,950 Years

Births: 8,995,000

Deaths: 8,995,000

Net Gain: 0

New Population: 10,000

See how neatly that works?

As I thought, you have no real grasp of what it means to have a stable population. You are inferring present conditions as existing throughout history.

Great. But again, we're talking about 190,000 years of nothing. Little to no progression of any kind. Can that happen for a small tribe over a period of time? Sure. But, this is for 8,000 generations. Not 50.

And how did they get to the population of 10,000? I have a hard time believing the capacity to expand came to a screeching halt. People divide into other groups all the time. People travel. People discover. They explore. They don't do the same thing for 190,000 years. Your math takes on a lot of assumptions. And again, every group that has every lived has dealt with terrible tragedies, and they've all grown in spite of them. 

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8 minutes ago, ldsguy422 said:

And again, every group that has every lived has dealt with terrible tragedies, and they've all grown in spite of them. 

Except for those that have not.

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27 minutes ago, Vort said:

Original Population: 10,000

Annual Birth Rate: 10% (1000/year to start with)

Time Elapsed: 8,950 Years

Births: 8,995,000

Deaths: 8,995,000

Net Gain: 0

New Population: 10,000

I'm no population expert, but just from the math it seems you didn't subtract the death rate or compound the growth rate.  Is your assumption that the birth and death rate is equal? If, for example, the death rate is 9% then couldn't we can effectively compound the 1% net gain over the time period?  If so, then the population would double roughly every 70 years.  That said, both of those would fluctuate, plus mass extinction vs death events, etc.  Even so, with a .1% net compound birth rate, the population would double every 700 years.  After 8,950 years that would be a total population of ~1.5 Million.

Edited by person0

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5 minutes ago, Vort said:

Except for those that have not.

Great. So there must have been wide-scale genocide for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. Yes, tribes and nations can struggle to grow for a period of time. But, not for 9 millenia. What evidence is there for this? Has a nation or tribe ever struggled to grow for such a long period of time? A few generations. Sure. Okay. But it sure as heck didn't last for 9,000 years.

And you've yet to touch on how there was little to no progression for 190,000 years. 

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24 minutes ago, person0 said:

I'm no population expert, but just from the math it seems you didn't subtract the death rate or compound the growth rate.  Is your assumption that the birth and death rate is equal? If, for example, the death rate is 9% then couldn't we can effectively compound the 1% net gain over the time period?  If so, then the population would double roughly every 70 years.

The population he provided is going extinct. Just a matter of time. 

Edited by ldsguy422

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