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6524Re: Evolution

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  • incognito_lightbringer
    Sep 3, 2002
      <<"Gnostics, when they stand up to identify themselves, would
      have to agree to the majority of these tenets, but whether the
      interpretation of them would be literal, psychological,
      philosophical, or other must be left to the individual." (p. 190) >>>

      Gnosticism can be interpreted on all the above levels. I know
      involving science in the mix has been labeled "new age" by more than
      a few people. Also, science is a function of material universe, and
      thus any conclusions drawn could be said to lead to nothing more than
      the demiurge. But, quite obviously, we live in this world and are
      under it's physical laws, and the experience of it is highly
      unpleasant (that whole death and suffering and eating business),
      which prompts us to search for answers to our questions. The ancients
      were not above using science as allegory.

      I suppose if you want, the demiurge starts with the formation
      space/time/matter; the big bang. (Although the big bang as just a
      theory is constantly refined and altered as new phenomena are
      discovered). No one will argue that DNA is a code, highly complex and
      specific. That this code could have developed randomly *seems*
      impossible, and that's the major argument used in the creationism.
      The problem with creationism is that it's not just about proposing a
      theory that incorporates seeding or some kind of intelligence. The
      theory also has to adhere to whatever scriptural dogma, and with any
      contradiction real science is dismissed while pseudo science and
      charlatanism takes its place.

      One theory I've heard is that all possible universes exist
      simultaneously, thus all possible combinations of things, and we just
      happen to be in the one that supports life and thus it *appears* to
      us to be ordered by intelligence whereas it might not necessarily be
      so. At least it's a valid counter argument.

      The gnostic texts I've encountered have at least two instance
      of "matter flung apart". One is in Origin of the World. Astronomy was
      fairly advanced in ancient times. Archeologists have even found what
      looks like glass lenses for telescopes.

      The 15 point argument had one interesting idea:


      <<As an analogy, consider the 13-letter sequence "TOBEORNOTTOBE."
      Those hypothetical million monkeys, each pecking out one phrase a
      second, could take as long as 78,800 years to find it among the 2613
      sequences of that length. But in the 1980s Richard Hardison of
      Glendale College wrote a computer program that generated phrases
      randomly while preserving the positions of individual letters that
      happened to be correctly placed (in effect, selecting for phrases
      more like Hamlet's). On average, the program re-created the phrase in
      just 336 iterations, less than 90 seconds. Even more amazing, it
      could reconstruct Shakespeare's entire play in just four and a half
      days. >>

      I wasn't exactly clear on this, so I went searching on the web and
      found a slightly better explanation.

      (copying someone elses post on here)
      <<Molecular Biologists think that what made the close quarters
      exchange of chemicals so feasible would be the beginnings of an oily
      protective layer surrounding the outside, not necessarily a full
      fledged membrane but a makeshift sort. With the chemicals (yea, im
      too tired to fricken list 'em) this provides the medium for
      combination to occur. In 1980's a Richard Hardison of Glendale
      College wrote a computer program which resembled the very primitive
      cells. 'as an analogy, consider the 13-letter
      sequence 'TOBEORNOTTOBE.' Those hypothetical million monkeys, each
      pecking out one phrase a second, could take as long as 78,800 years
      to find among 26 to the 13th sequences of that length.' Theres a
      creationist sort of argument... Now to the program. 'Now with the
      sequence 'TOBEORNOTTOBE' the computer would randomly put down letters
      and the program would preserve the letters that fit the right spots.
      Recreating the phrase took 90 seconds... Now, reciting the entire
      Hamlet play it took the program only 4 and a half days to recreate
      it.' And for all you creationist swines that some how think thats
      stupid I have only profane things to call you. But this represents a
      primitive cell perfectly due to the closeness of all the chemicals
      that sparked the first RNA strand, but thats another chapter.>>

      The problem with this argument is how are "the right spots"
      determined? It is predicated upon the idea that *something* knows and
      preserves the phrases that are correct, in the failed attempts, till
      the "correct" mode is achieved, which is the final work. In this
      case, the computer program compares and preserves the failed attempts
      to some standard (the complete play), until the correct result is
      achieved. And that the entire work is known beforehand so that such
      preservation can be made. I can't see this as an evolutionary model
      simply because if several of the "right spots" aren't filled (as in a
      DNA sequence) than you get a failed life form which doesn't survive
      in order to be built upon. Why would evolution build on the failed
      life forms, which presumably wouldn't survive to be built upon, in
      order to create the "right" ones? It sounds like building a house of
      cards. This model is more of a hindsight is 20/20 attempt. Evolution
      in the real world occurs in dramatic spurts, while other times it
      lags for aeons. Also, the concept of "right spots" is nonsense,
      because all life is connected to and influenced by all other life and
      environment and in constant flux. The pattern spots on a butterfly
      are a reaction to it's environment, the environment is also a
      function of the life forms in it, etc.. There's nothing "right"
      or "wrong" about it, it just is as it is at any particular time in
      reaction to everything else. But why any living system takes on it's
      particular form as compared to all others which could conceivably
      successfully exist is the real mystery. For example, dinosaurs
      existed for what? 100 million years? They never evolved to higher
      life forms. Why not? There was certainly enough time.

      Another thing the article didn't address is the problem that Darwin
      is no longer accepted as is. Not that evolution in whole is wrong,
      but that Darwin's theory of how it proceeds is inaccurate. It was a
      good theory, but it doesn't mirror what's now known about our real
      world. Evolution in Darwin was a **slow** process of aeons of change
      and elimination building upon each other to achieve a final result.
      It was based on a stable model. Evolution in the real world is
      bizarre and the environment is chaotic. There are random almost
      spontaneous leaps from lower to higher levels of life (and much
      higher at that). The earth has also encountered several world wide
      extinction events. It's not stable and constantly undergoes dramatic
      changes of topography and weather. That life not only evolved, but
      apparently evolved several times, is amazing. That it evolved to
      higher levels at all is truly amazing. There are, also on the other
      hand, life forms on this planet that have remained basically the same
      for tens of millions of years. So, I have no answers and neither does
      anyone else as to where science fits and what the correct theory is.
      Every theory so far is mixed with bunk and speculation. Human
      history itself is a huge mystery. There's archaelogical evidence that
      human beings may have been around for far far longer than generally
      acknowledged. The history of just this continent alone is nothing
      like that taught in schools. But because the evidence is anomalous
      it's dismissed as a potential forgery or hidden away in embarrassment.

      <<"Thus, science welcomes the possibility of evolution
      resulting from forces beyond natural selection. ..>>

      What I don't like about this is the word "natural". Natural is more a
      term used to define not what *is* but rather *what we know so far*.
      It's bogus, IMHO.

      <<So, keeping Hoeller's words in mind, where does the mythological
      demiurge fit in evolutionary "life's history"? And the pneuma,
      trapped in the "physical and mental containers"?>>

      In the theory of tripartation, the body/hylic is easily understood.
      More difficult is psychic versus pneumatic, or mind versus spirit.
      What exactly is the difference?

      I've interpreted the psychic as the individual personality. So it
      would be shaped by several factors; inherited traits, environment,
      experiences. All are derivative to the material universe. (The soul
      gnosticism is still a material structure.) We're also as a human race
      on whole preprogrammed to specific drives and behaviors. We're
      mammals for example, and not insects or plants.
      If you want to look at the psychic scientifically then it's perhaps
      the brain? The brain which we scientifically use to explain thought,
      although no one is quite sure how it works exactly.

      Allegorically, could drives and personality traits be interpreted as
      the archons? (The Buddhists see ego as a jailer.) In gnosticism the
      body and soul was created by either the demiurge or the devil, and is
      still a function of matter. The spirit given by the Father animates

      Spirit as consciousness itself? Consciousness is a tricky concept.
      Buddhists separate the notions of ego and consciousness, they are
      *not the same thing*. One Nag Hammadi text implies similar.
      Paraphrase of Shem there are three roots. This is a quote from the
      introduction in Nag Hammadi to the text, not the entire thing. This
      text has alway fascinated me because it implies any number of things
      not found in mainstream gnosticism.

      "The cosmogenic myth reported here is related to those systems which
      consider the universe as rooted in three principles. It opens with
      the description of the three great powers or roots: at the top reigns
      Light Infinite, called "Majesty", which is thought filled with
      hearing and word; located at the bottom is darkness, a male principle
      which is "wind in the water" and possesses the Mind (nous) wrapped
      with the restless fire. Between these two powers is Spirit, a quiet
      and humble light. The harmony which prevails at the beginning derives
      from the fact that each of those roots reigns in itself mixing with
      the other two. It is important to note that the text makes no
      allusions to any previous actions taken by Darkness to seize the
      Mind, nor does it mention a fall of the Mind. However, the events are
      essentially triggered by the will of the Majesty in an effort to save
      the Mind.
      Suddenly Darkness stirs and the Spirit discovers the existence of the
      bad root. By the will of the Great Light the waters separate and
      darkness comes up with the eye, the Mind. The Spirit reveals himself
      to Darkness and by doing so loses a part of his light to the benefit
      of the Mind.
      The exalted light then reveals himself through his son, Derdekeas. He
      appears as the likeness of Spirit, thus initiating the salvation of
      the Mind and the ascent of the Spirit's light in order to deceive
      Darkness, the Savior provokes the creation of the universe from
      water, part of which transforms into a giant Womb (also
      called "Nature"). The restless fire goes into the Womb. Fooled by the
      fire, Darkness, on seeing the Womb, becomes unchaste, has intercourse
      with the Womb and ejaculates Mind."

      There's more, such as the savior engaging in all sorts of trickery,
      such as putting on several "garments" such as one of universal light,
      one that is "trimorphic", one of fire where he "prostitutes himself
      with nature", and in very un-gnostic fashion "Derdekeas puts on the
      garment of the Beast and prompts the womb to produce heaven and earth
      and all kinds of seed. He also makes her give birth to female
      entities, the winds, and to male entities, the demons. The latter
      mate with the winds and thereby cast off the power they have, which
      is Mind.....At the end of time, Mind will take his repose with Faith
      in the cloud of Hymen."

      There's more, but this is certainly a new twist on the story!!
      All this is to save Mind from the Dark crooked root, and presumably
      do away with the Dark root altogether.
      (Interestingly the Paraphrase text is not given on gnosis.org)
      "The middle" or middle place is an idea found in other texts. In some
      cases it's the abode of the demiurge. One text I remember seeing had
      is as a place of evil that you don't want to get caught up in, Gospel
      of Philip "And so he dwells either in this world or in the
      resurrection or in the middle place. God forbid "the middle". It is
      death." Sounds like here.
      Run a search on "middle" and read.

      --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > I really should give this thread a subject name. :-)
      > --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > > In his new book, _Gnosticism, New Light on the Ancient Tradition
      > > Inner Knowing_, Stephan Hoeller says, "Gnosticism holds that
      > > beings are essentially not the product of the material world.
      > > important term in this statement is _essentially_, for Gnosticism
      > > focuses on the essence rather than the physical and mental
      > containers
      > > that envelop this essence. Though the theory of biological
      > evolution
      > > did not exist at the time of the ancient Gnostics, one might
      > > that unlike their mainstream Christian brethren, they would not
      > have
      > > objected to it. For they believed that the human body originates
      > on
      > > earth but the human spirit has come from afar, from the realm of
      > the
      > > Fullness, where the true Godhead dwells. A human being consists
      > > physical and psychic components, which are perishable, as well as
      > > spiritual component, which is a fragment of the divine essence,
      > > sometimes called the divine spark." (pages 17-18)
      > >
      > > I quote this because recently the July, 2002 issue of _Scientific
      > > American_ had an article, "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense."
      > >
      > > (Sometimes Yahoo has the tendency to mess up the links. If this
      > > happens, please just copy and paste onto your browser or type it
      > in.)
      > >
      > > http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D4FEC-7D5B-1D07-
      > > 8E49809EC588EEDF
      > >
      > > The author, John Rennie, gives well-informed rebuttals to the
      > fifteen
      > > most common arguments raised against evolution. In this article,
      > > Rennie admits, "The origin of life remains very much a mystery,
      > > biochemists have learned about how primitive nucleic acids, amino
      > > acids and other building blocks of life could have formed and
      > > organized themselves into self-replicating, self-sustaining
      > > laying the foundation for cellular biochemistry." Later he
      > > states, "Thus, science welcomes the possibility of evolution
      > > resulting from forces beyond natural selection. Yet those forces
      > must
      > > be natural; they cannot be attributed to the actions of
      > > creative intelligences whose existence, in scientific terms, is
      > > unproved."
      > >
      > > Rennie also says, "Intelligent design offers few answers. For
      > > instance, when and how did a designing intelligence intervene in
      > > life's history? By creating the first DNA? The first cell? The
      > first
      > > human? Was every species designed, or just a few early ones?
      > > Proponents of intelligent-design theory frequently decline to be
      > > pinned down on these points."
      > >
      > > So, keeping Hoeller's words in mind, where does the mythological
      > > demiurge fit in evolutionary "life's history"? And the pneuma,
      > > trapped in the "physical and mental containers"? IOW, later in
      > > book, Dr. Hoeller says (regarding points he offers describing a
      > > Gnostic), "Gnostics, when they stand up to identify themselves,
      > would
      > > have to agree to the majority of these tenets, but whether the
      > > interpretation of them would be literal, psychological,
      > > philosophical, or other must be left to the individual." (p.
      > > His second tenet reads, "The manifest universe of matter and mind
      > was
      > > created not by the original spiritual unity but by spiritual
      > > possessing inferior powers." (p.188) So, Hoeller's opinion is
      > > mythology could be interpreted in a "literal, psychological,
      > > philosophical, or other" sense. I wonder how many
      > countless "Gnostic"
      > > variations we might encounter explaining our existence regarding
      > > the "first DNA" or "first cell" or "first human." Or does that
      > > even "matter"?
      > >
      > > Just thought I'd throw this out for discussion to the forum.
      > >
      > > Cari
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