Traveler

Faith, understanding and truth.

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Perhaps I may be wrong but it often seems to me that in general everybody has faith and trust in empirical evidence that they will amend their understanding of something when there is empirical evidence.  That is with two possible exceptions – religion and politics.  But I would address what often seem to me to be to be a great paradox or enigma of faith within the religious community.

That many believe it to be a tenet of religious faith – that is to hold to a doctrine despite a preponderance of empirical evidence that what is understood of the doctrine is either not accurate or completely false.  Many a religious person has expressed to me that they believe G-d is testing them.  Is this possible – that G-d would deceive us as a means of testing us?  Do we really believe a G-d of “TRUTH” does or would do such a thing?

For the record – I believe G-d to be good and truthful – IN ALL THINGS!!!  I do not believe that G-d will or can lie and remain G-d.  I also believe G-d to be the creator and architect of all things empirical.  Since all empirical things are under his control – I believe that if empirical evidence contradicts doctrine.  That either the doctrine is false – or we do not understand the doctrine correctly.  There is one other possibility and that is that we are not observing correctly.  But then there is another problem.  That if we are not observing empirical things correctly why do we believe we understand spiritual things better?

I do not believe that the truth of science and the truth of religion has ever – in the entire history of the universe – contradicted or conflicted with each other.  I do not believe a G-d of truth has ever created anything with the intent to deceive or even confuse us.

 

The Traveler

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49 minutes ago, Traveler said:

 

Perhaps I may be wrong but it often seems to me that in general everybody has faith and trust in empirical evidence that they will amend their understanding of something when there is empirical evidence.  That is with two possible exceptions – religion and politics.  But I would address what often seem to me to be to be a great paradox or enigma of faith within the religious community.

That many believe it to be a tenet of religious faith – that is to hold to a doctrine despite a preponderance of empirical evidence that what is understood of the doctrine is either not accurate or completely false.  Many a religious person has expressed to me that they believe G-d is testing them.  Is this possible – that G-d would deceive us as a means of testing us?  Do we really believe a G-d of “TRUTH” does or would do such a thing?

For the record – I believe G-d to be good and truthful – IN ALL THINGS!!!  I do not believe that G-d will or can lie and remain G-d.  I also believe G-d to be the creator and architect of all things empirical.  Since all empirical things are under his control – I believe that if empirical evidence contradicts doctrine.  That either the doctrine is false – or we do not understand the doctrine correctly.  There is one other possibility and that is that we are not observing correctly.  But then there is another problem.  That if we are not observing empirical things correctly why do we believe we understand spiritual things better?

I do not believe that the truth of science and the truth of religion has ever – in the entire history of the universe – contradicted or conflicted with each other.  I do not believe a G-d of truth has ever created anything with the intent to deceive or even confuse us.

 

The Traveler

I agree that God does not lie or seek to deceive us. As for empirical evidence goes, its a subjective term that can at times mean just an idea or theory with no real proof. For instance- empirical proof that humans evolved from a lower order of species is in fact a deceitful statement. Empirical truth means that it has been proven by testing and observation. The theory of human evolution fails such criteria to be defined as "empirical" as it has never been observed and tested to show a human transforming from a lower species into a higher species.

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An interesting question, Traveler. I don't think I know the answer. I am reminded of a discussion I started years ago on 1 Kings chapter 13

In short, God commanded one prophet not to eat while in a foreign country, then, according to the JST, God commanded a second prophet to tempt/test the first one to break the first commandment. When the first prophet broke the first commanded, he was reprimanded and killed. Did God really command the temptation/testing in this manner, or is the JST incorrect in this case? The other thread (and other apologetics sites I have seen on the question of God tempting man) suggests a difference between "test" and "tempt", though I am not sure I am sold on the semantic difference. Does God put information/situations/etc. in front of us that He knows will challenge us or tempt us or test us?

For my part, I don't really know. It seems to me that God might put misinformation in front of us (or allow misinformation to be put in front of us) as a test to see if we will remain faithful.

How this applies to questions of science and creation and evolution and cosomology and empiricism and such, I really don't know.

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I believe this is a concept that @wenglund was sharing regarding perceptions and his thoughts pertaining to "firm" faith that inhibits growth, or causes a loss of faith (he can correct me if I understood him incorrectly). Empirical evidence, at least for me, needs to be "common" and cannot stray into the realm of "philosophy" for the given evidence to have any change in my current belief system. Empirical evidence that is common is evidence that everyone can easily identify and accept. Example, everyone (even a child) can drop a ball and see that the ball falls, thus something is acting upon the ball. This is common.

Promulgated empirical evidence will cause me to rethink my current belief systems as long as the information is "common." Example, global warming, is not common and strays into the realm of "philosophy," and yet, it is being driven so hard by certain proponents with pseudo evidence (having the appearance of but is not sufficient for everyone to say, yep global warming is a concern).

God is a God of truth and cannot lie, thus we agree, in all things God is a God of truth (otherwise there would be a shadow of changing and he would cease to be God). I do love the notion given, "all empirical things are under his control," and that the given options definitely are reasons for individuals to reject empirical evidence:

1) We have not understood true doctrine (looking beyond the mark is one way that doctrine is not understood)
2) Doctrine accepted is false
3) Our understanding of the empirical evidence is incorrect (similar to #1 with doctrine as we do not have the whole picture)
4) Empirical evidence is false (based on faulty suppositions)

The last paragraph I agree 100% with.

 

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3 hours ago, Traveler said:

Perhaps I may be wrong but it often seems to me that in general everybody has faith and trust in empirical evidence that they will amend their understanding of something when there is empirical evidence.  That is with two possible exceptions – religion and politics. 

I would agree if you had said "some" or even "many" will amend their understanding when there is empirical evidence, but many others will hold to their beliefs and opinions without regard to evidence even unto death, and it doesn't have to be just religion and politics. 

Quote

But I would address what often seem to me to be to be a great paradox or enigma of faith within the religious community.

That many believe it to be a tenet of religious faith – that is to hold to a doctrine despite a preponderance of empirical evidence that what is understood of the doctrine is either not accurate or completely false.  Many a religious person has expressed to me that they believe G-d is testing them.  Is this possible – that G-d would deceive us as a means of testing us?  Do we really believe a G-d of “TRUTH” does or would do such a thing?

I am interested in talking more with you about why you find it mysterious that some people would behave as you describe. After all, my friend, religion is not empirical. By it's nature it is a matter of raising one's beliefs to the same level as evidence, or at least calling them evidence. Religion on this particular planet has pretty much been about believing because someone in a position of authority said to believe. History is replete with examples. 

Quote

Many a religious person has expressed to me that they believe G-d is testing them.  Is this possible – that G-d would deceive us as a means of testing us?  Do we really believe a G-d of “TRUTH” does or would do such a thing?

For the record – I believe G-d to be good and truthful – IN ALL THINGS!!!  I do not believe that G-d will or can lie and remain G-d.  I also believe G-d to be the creator and architect of all things empirical.  Since all empirical things are under his control – I believe that if empirical evidence contradicts doctrine.  That either the doctrine is false – or we do not understand the doctrine correctly.  There is one other possibility and that is that we are not observing correctly.  But then there is another problem.  That if we are not observing empirical things correctly why do we believe we understand spiritual things better?

I do not believe that the truth of science and the truth of religion has ever – in the entire history of the universe – contradicted or conflicted with each other.  I do not believe a G-d of truth has ever created anything with the intent to deceive or even confuse us.

Let's stipulate that (just about anyone's) God is by definition higher than me in every respect. While it is reasonable for people to try to understand God, Is it unreasonable for most to ascribe motives like testing? (The scriptures don't seem to indicate that it is unreasonable).  Moreover I would answer your question regarding observation and understanding by referring to scientific endeavors themselves throughout history. It is a hallmark of science that conclusions be drawn from observations (and experimentation of course) and later on revised because further observation reveals that the hypotheses didn't take everything in to account for the evidence. In short, we will always see through a glass darkly as far as science is concerned--in that manner it is not completely dissimilar to religion. And God (with religion) doesn't appear to be obligated to reveal everything we'd like when we would like it. Let's talk more. 

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2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

 ... Empirical evidence, at least for me, needs to be "common" and cannot stray into the realm of "philosophy" for the given evidence to have any change in my current belief system. Empirical evidence that is common is evidence that everyone can easily identify and accept. Example, everyone (even a child) can drop a ball and see that the ball falls, thus something is acting upon the ball. This is common.

Promulgated empirical evidence will cause me to rethink my current belief systems as long as the information is "common." Example, global warming, is not common and strays into the realm of "philosophy," and yet, it is being driven so hard by certain proponents with pseudo evidence (having the appearance of but is not sufficient for everyone to say, yep global warming is a concern).

I hope you won't judge me as being impertinent, but only interested in discussion and striving to examine every part of the elephant so to speak. In that spirit I feel almost compelled to stand for a minute or two next to some of my flat-Earth friends (with whom I do *not* agree by the way but do empathize). Some people who preach from the pulpit of Science will claim common empirical evidence that they have never experienced for themselves and in reality are utterly incapable of experiencing or replicating--although they won't always confess that reality. Some of these same people will fight to the death denying that they accept the scientific explanations on anything like faith. 

Edited by Mike

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22 minutes ago, Mike said:

I hope you won't judge me as being impertinent, but only interested in discussion and striving to examine every part of the elephant so to speak. In that spirit I feel almost compelled to stand for a minute or two next to some of my flat-Earth friends (with whom I do *not* agree by the way but do empathize). Some people who preach from the pulpit of Science will claim common empirical evidence that they have never experienced for themselves and in reality are utterly incapable of experiencing or replicating--although they won't always confess that reality. Some of these same people will fight to the death denying that they accept the scientific explanations on anything like faith. 

Nothing impertinent. If flat-Earth friends are unwilling to accept pictures (viewing pictures within the realm of philosophy) of a spherical earth, then this is what they believe. What part of the elephant are you seeking to examine?

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14 minutes ago, Anddenex said:

Nothing impertinent. If flat-Earth friends are unwilling to accept pictures (viewing pictures within the realm of philosophy) of a spherical earth, then this is what they believe. What part of the elephant are you seeking to examine?

That's part of my point. They are *not* willing to accept pictures. You and I can say that's unreasonable of them, because you and I do accept the pictures. But they have their reasons--which to them are valid reasons. Oh, and the elephant? Well, you see I'm blind (so to speak) so I want to touch every last part, especially the parts the other blind guys have been touching and describing--if you get my drift. :)

Just to elaborate a bit. We, as Americans, are secure in our convictions that the U.S.S.R. employed elaborate (although at times clumsy) techniques to falsify photographs to convince the masses of this or that claim. That being the case, and we having access to far more effective techniques today, oh and of course knowing that we "can't trust the Feds", it's shouldn't be difficult to understand my flat-Earth friends' rejection of pictures of a circle with clouds painted on it as evidence we live on a sphere. I (and probably you, too) don't have access to what I need to replicate (all of) the astronauts' experiments and thereby validate their claims of what Earth really looks like from the Moon, etc, for the sake of gathering common empirical evidence. So, I freely confess that I'm not as empirical as I'd like to believe--I take an awful lot on faith and appeal to authority.

 

Edited by Mike

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There may be a misunderstand with what I mean by empirical evidence.  I will reference the following definition: 

em·pir·i·cal

əmˈpirik(ə)l/

adjective

adjective: empirical

1.    based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

"they provided considerable empirical evidence to support their argument"

 

I admit that mostly we think of the physical in terms of empirical.  But what it means is that there is a measurable way to determine or observe what is happening.  Empirical evidence can be either direct or indirect as the path of an electron in a “cloud” chamber.  Another example could be subtle clues measured by various “lie” detectors.   The point being that the process is repeatable and observable or measurable. 

Certain wave lengths of light would not be empirical evidence anciently but would be with the inclusion of modern ways of measuring and detecting various wave lengths of light.   I speculate that all things are empirical (including spiritual things) if we knew how to observe and measure such things.

Please let me introduce some other thought concerning empirical evidence.  Things empirical are also consistent.  What is observed at one time concerning empirical will be consistent whenever the same is observed.   In the religious community we claim that G-d is consistent but what is consistent is not well defined.  This cause a lot of discussion in the religious community about such ideas as “bad” things happening to “good” people.  

I am sometimes confused by claims of consistency (empirical) in the religious community that are inconsistent.  Often the responding argument is made that G-d thinks (or sees things) differently than we do.  I often interpret such arguments as that the person trying to respond with such argument - really does not understand G-d nor what is going on.

On this thread, some have referenced the theory of evolution – as though such theory has unmeasurables and inconsistencies.   I am inclined to believe that those that argue against the theory of evolution do not understand the theory very well (have not studied the theory in much depth) and that their responses lack measurables and consistencies.   Rather the inconsistencies are more imagined and misplaced than real.  For those that are sure that evolution does not play a part in creation – I would be most interested in what you are measuring and what you consider inconsistence.   I would also like to know what you think about the observable problem of pre-historic Neanderthal DNA appearing in certain human populations?

Anyway, some thoughts

 

The Traveler

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@Traveler Isn't it true that for a given (thing) to be observable you and I must be able to observe it with use of the same senses either simultaneously or under identical conditions? You are not entitled to claim (to me) that you empirically observed "X" if I don't obtain the same results according to the conditions you say existed and with the same senses you say you utilized, are you?

Edited by Mike

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6 hours ago, Traveler said:

adjective: empirical

1.    based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

"they provided considerable empirical evidence to support their argument"

If the scientific realm held to this definition, a lot of what is considered "fact", would not be considered fact. In my youth, our texts book proclaimed that different species could not mate with each other. If you argued otherwise, you were wrong. These text books were written by informed, knowledgeable, people in their field. As further knowledge was given, well, different species are able to mate and have offspring (or at least what modern scientist define as different species).

I was hoping to find the youtube video regarding a theory that lasted 100 years until one researcher asked the "right" question, and 100 years of belief was changed. Anyone who argued against all the studies, what many people promulgate as "empirical" evidence, were considered uninformed (people who truly didn't study the topic). What I found interesting in college is how easily research studies, published research studies, could be used to give evidence for two different -- competing -- theories. Our teacher presented one argument, which we would be in favor of, and the given evidence -- empirical -- and then had us read the same article but from the perspective of one who was a proponent of its competing theory.

The claim of God seeing our whole experience differently than we do is found in this scripture: Isaiah 55:8-9. The Lord instructs us that his ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts higher than our thoughts. This implies that God is able to see more clearly things we have not, or he sees things differently than we do. As a father, my knowledge is greater than my children and I am able to see clearly aspects they are still blind to.

Revealed doctrine is a greater than any "empirical" knowledge a human scientist can provide, especially if the "empirical" evidence is subject to a theory. Example, what does popular science determine the geography of land of Egypt before it was settled by the Egyptians? What does the Pearl of Great Price suggest the geography was in relation to it being settled by the Egyptians? Unless, similar to mating different species, there has been a change we will see conflict between revealed truth and scientific theory. We agree previously that science and religion do not contradict, and yet we have a contradiction.

Evolution from a sea creature to land creature has never been observed, nor can it be verified or replicated. Thus, the given definition of empirical cannot apply to "evolution" as a whole as it can not be observed and thus far has never been observed regarding the full change of one species into a completely different offspring (fish creatures to an amphibian type creature). It is solely based on theory according to what now exists. Evidence they give, or could be like, is the mud skipper. A creature that exists, and has not changed and continues to produce mud skippers, at least to me, isn't good empirical evidence to support evolution, but many prominent scientist will use the mud skipper as an example - a possibility (key word possibility)  Now, I agree with evolution within kinds, example, trout have many different species which probably stemmed from the same species. The kicker, they are still trout -- fish. Rainbow fish which you can't keep because they have red slashes like the cut throat. This is observable. We can see a change in alleles from parent and offspring. My son does not look like me and is not a clone of me.

 

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On 2/20/2017 at 11:56 AM, Traveler said:

I do not believe that the truth of science and the truth of religion has ever – in the entire history of the universe – contradicted or conflicted with each other.  I do not believe a G-d of truth has ever created anything with the intent to deceive or even confuse us.

What is science?  The physical sciences only or are there other things you would consider "science.?"

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There are many things to consider about observation.  Recently I was at an intersection waiting for a light to change.  As the light changed an accident occurred in the intersection.  There were 3 additional individuals sitting with me in the car and as each expressed what was their observation, there was wild variations from when the light changed to even the initial directions the cars involved in the accident were traveling.  

I tended to believe my own observations were the most accurate because I was driving and thus paying more attention.  In addition, I recalculated in my mind the forces involved to validate where the cars ended up.  I was surprised that as I explained my validations that some in my car still held to their version of things – even though their opinions contradicted the positions of the cars at the end of the accident.  One individual held to their opinion despite the “fact” that there was no damage to either car where they thought they initially collided.

I believe rivals sitting at sporting events will “observe” differently.  Bias plays an important role.  Often the expression – keeping an open mind is very important.  I believe this notion is even mentioned in scripture and is considered as being teachable.  The question is – How teachable are we?

The theory of evolution is the theory of change and is the principle of documentation of observable changes and then an attempt to explain the causes of the changes.  But if readers would allow (have an open mind) may I propose a thought about evolution and the theory of evolution?

In essence, the theory of evolution claims that all the changes in creatures of this planet can be explained by principles and laws of known and observable things that take place around us day by day.  Some in the scientific community have suggested that we do not need a supernatural G-d creating the universe and life.  All the things we observe happening can be explained by natural things that go on around us every moment of every day.  Nothing extraordinary or “unnatural” needs to occur to explain creation and life.  Can someone explain why this should upset anyone that believes in G-d?  Why would G-d change his methods and ways of creating us (current man) from the ways and methods he used to create Adam and Eve?  Where is there even a hint of such radical changes in G-d’s methods in any revelations – ancient or modern?  Does something have to be unexplainable and fantastic (supernatural) to be miraculous and from G-d?  I submit that even if there is what some think is an example – that it is not an actual doctrine every taught by G-d.

The author of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, Arthur C. Clarke once said that any sufficiently advanced technology will appear or seem supernatural. 

Two principles I believe to be true:

#1.  The more truth we learn the better we will understand G-d.

#2.  There is no truth nor pursuit of truth that any believer in G-d need fear or think contradicts G-d, his purposes, intents or accomplishments.

 

The Traveler

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On 2/22/2017 at 10:17 AM, Traveler said:

Two principles I believe to be true:

#1.  The more truth we learn the better we will understand G-d.

#2.  There is no truth nor pursuit of truth that any believer in G-d need fear or think contradicts G-d, his purposes, intents or accomplishments.

We completely agree with the following principles. God is truth. We draw closer to God by accepting revealed truth, temporal and spiritual.

On 2/22/2017 at 10:17 AM, Traveler said:

In essence, the theory of evolution claims that all the changes in creatures of this planet can be explained by principles and laws of known and observable things that take place around us day by day.  Some in the scientific community have suggested that we do not need a supernatural G-d creating the universe and life.  All the things we observe happening can be explained by natural things that go on around us every moment of every day.  Nothing extraordinary or “unnatural” needs to occur to explain creation and life.  Can someone explain why this should upset anyone that believes in G-d?  Why would G-d change his methods and ways of creating us (current man) from the ways and methods he used to create Adam and Eve?  Where is there even a hint of such radical changes in G-d’s methods in any revelations – ancient or modern?  Does something have to be unexplainable and fantastic (supernatural) to be miraculous and from G-d?  I submit that even if there is what some think is an example – that it is not an actual doctrine every taught by G-d.

Can someone explain why this should upset anyone that believes in G-d? The notion of God working through natural laws shouldn't upset anyone that believes in God. I have heard it often said that what we call miracles are celestial laws we are at this moment unaware of. I find these statements to be true. We call them miracles because we are not yet able to explain their natural course; however, there appear to be outlying principles/laws that require the command of a God (e.g. Lazarus who was dead for four days and then risen, not resurrected). The upsetting factor, at least to my knowledge, is individuals who will specify "Due to natural observations their is no God" and use natural laws to persuade God fearing people that they are wrong. Evolution is a theory that some proponents use to bash theists, so naturally, there is going to be back lash.

Why would G-d change his methods and ways of creating us (current man) from the ways and methods he used to create Adam and Eve? This is double-edged question. Is God able to create Adam & Eve without evolution. The answer is yes. This doesn't change the method of how God created Adam & Eve and how we were born. Adam & Eve were in an immortal state. Current humans are not. Is God able to organize matter to create an immortal body, yes. Now, if Adam & Eve were immortal (but are products of evolution) how then were their parents -- immortal (as some suggest Adam & Eve were offspring of evolution)? This question then creates a conundrum, a quandary, of sorts.

Where is there even a hint of such radical changes in G-d’s methods in any revelations – ancient or modern? Ancient and modern revelation confirms that God created Adam & Eve as first man, first woman. They were in a state of immortality. The record currently dictates that there was no death (a conundrum according to science observations and records). Now, here is where we entertain the doctrine and principle taught in Doctrine and Covenants 1: 37-38 where we are given a definition of scripture, or God's words. In 1909 and published again for modern readers, we are given a proclamation from those with priesthood keys, authority, and stewardship regarding the origin of Adam and Eve. In this case, ancient and modern revelation continue to promulgate that Adam & Eve were created by God. They were in a state of immortality when created. The concept of them not evolving from a lower order of species has also been declared. Truth though is most important, and when revealed if we want to draw closer to God (principle #1) then we will accept truth. As for me, the theory of evolution doesn't change my belief in God.

Does something have to be unexplainable and fantastic (supernatural) to be miraculous and from G-d? No, not at all.

 

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Despite more than two centuries of philosophic inquiry, I don't believe the questions raised by David Hume about causality, the nature of evidence, and the reliability of conclusions that are drawn from observation, have been adequately answered. 

I think that until these questions have been adequately answered, we cannot rely 100% on evidence based conclusions - maybe 99% if one is extremely optimistic and somewhat irrational, but certainly not 100%. Anybody who does place a high reliance on physical evidence is demonstrating a high degree of faith in an imperfect and inadequately explained system of empiricism and scientific method. When once places a complete trust, rather than a limited trust in science, I am reminded of 2 Kings 18:21 Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt (science) on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: 

From wikipedia under the entry on David Hume

In what is sometimes referred to as Hume's problem of induction, he argued that inductive reasoning, and belief in causality, cannot, ultimately, be justified rationally; our trust in causality and induction instead results from custom and mental habit, and are attributable to only the experience of "constant conjunction" rather than logic: for we can never, in experience, perceive that one event causes another, but only that the two are always conjoined, and to draw any inductive causal inferences from past experience first requires the presupposition that the future will be like the past, a presupposition which cannot be grounded in prior experience without already being presupposed.[5] 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hume

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22 hours ago, Anddenex said:

Why would G-d change his methods and ways of creating us (current man) from the ways and methods he used to create Adam and Eve? This is double-edged question. Is God able to create Adam & Eve without evolution. The answer is yes. This doesn't change the method of how God created Adam & Eve and how we were born. Adam & Eve were in an immortal state. Current humans are not. Is God able to organize matter to create an immortal body, yes. Now, if Adam & Eve were immortal (but are products of evolution) how then were their parents -- immortal (as some suggest Adam & Eve were offspring of evolution)? This question then creates a conundrum, a quandary, of sorts.

Where is there even a hint of such radical changes in G-d’s methods in any revelations – ancient or modern? Ancient and modern revelation confirms that God created Adam & Eve as first man, first woman. They were in a state of immortality. The record currently dictates that there was no death (a conundrum according to science observations and records). Now, here is where we entertain the doctrine and principle taught in Doctrine and Covenants 1: 37-38 where we are given a definition of scripture, or God's words. In 1909 and published again for modern readers, we are given a proclamation from those with priesthood keys, authority, and stewardship regarding the origin of Adam and Eve. In this case, ancient and modern revelation continue to promulgate that Adam & Eve were created by God. They were in a state of immortality when created. The concept of them not evolving from a lower order of species has also been declared. Truth though is most important, and when revealed if we want to draw closer to God (principle #1) then we will accept truth. As for me, the theory of evolution doesn't change my belief in God.

 

A thought – the scriptures tell us that G-d created man.  The note that I would emphasize is that the scriptures refer to the creation of “Man” and not just Adam and Eve.  We learn from the Pearl of Great Price that all things were created “spiritually” before they were created naturally.  The notion of spiritual creation is very interesting.  All of the spiritual creation was created perfect and immortal.  I would point out that there are some small human populations, alive today, that have lower Neanderthal species DNA.

Was Adam the “first” man.  I would point out that the Hebrew word for first is not of necessity chronological.  Its primary meaning was most noble or highest class.  For example, the first born of Egypt were not the oldest individuals in a family but the most noble class – those that were considered the “rulers” of Egypt.  I suggest that with this interpretation it is possible that Adam was the first man even though there were older humans “types” or what science would classify as modern man.

Again. I am not in authority to say this or that is the answer – but in my personal efforts (study, meditation and prayer) I see possibility that things may not be exactly as some think it to so be.

 

The Traveler

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On 2/25/2017 at 10:07 PM, askandanswer said:

I thought that the topic of evolution has been almost done to death on this forum. Do we need to discuss it some more?

Nah.  You know where it's gonna lead.  But you know what's fun to talk about?  Do you know that we are only taking it by faith that Mozart, in fact, composed the Magic Flute, and that we actually have no idea how it actually sounded when Mozart played it?

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10 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Nah.  You know where it's gonna lead.  But you know what's fun to talk about?  Do you know that we are only taking it by faith that Mozart, in fact, composed the Magic Flute, and that we actually have no idea how it actually sounded when Mozart played it?

I haven't had a close look at the question of whether Wolfgang Mozart composed the Magic Flute, but I would suspect there's a fair bit of evidence around to support the idea that he was in fact the composer. Who knows, there might even be somewhere the document that commissioned Mozart to write it. As to how it sounded, I'm guessing it was...... magical.

I don't know for sure but I think its reasonably likely that the Academy of Ancient Music has probably performed the Magic Flute, using either original instruments of Mozart's time or replicas, and if the Academy followed its usual practice, they would have done a lot of research to ensure that the score they played was either an original of a very close copy

http://www.aam.co.uk/

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9 hours ago, askandanswer said:

I haven't had a close look at the question of whether Wolfgang Mozart composed the Magic Flute, but I would suspect there's a fair bit of evidence around to support the idea that he was in fact the composer. Who knows, there might even be somewhere the document that commissioned Mozart to write it. As to how it sounded, I'm guessing it was...... magical.

I don't know for sure but I think its reasonably likely that the Academy of Ancient Music has probably performed the Magic Flute, using either original instruments of Mozart's time or replicas, and if the Academy followed its usual practice, they would have done a lot of research to ensure that the score they played was either an original of a very close copy

http://www.aam.co.uk/

Right... but nobody we know ever heard Mozart play and there's no evidence of Mozart playing... so, do we really know?  For all we know, it's just some folks who want to adhere to the philosophy that Mozart composed the Magic Flute and it sounds like however they want you to believe it sounds like...

 

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On 2/20/2017 at 11:56 AM, Traveler said:

 

Perhaps I may be wrong but it often seems to me that in general everybody has faith and trust in empirical evidence that they will amend their understanding of something when there is empirical evidence.  That is with two possible exceptions – religion and politics.  But I would address what often seem to me to be to be a great paradox or enigma of faith within the religious community.

That many believe it to be a tenet of religious faith – that is to hold to a doctrine despite a preponderance of empirical evidence that what is understood of the doctrine is either not accurate or completely false.  Many a religious person has expressed to me that they believe G-d is testing them.  Is this possible – that G-d would deceive us as a means of testing us?  Do we really believe a G-d of “TRUTH” does or would do such a thing?

For the record – I believe G-d to be good and truthful – IN ALL THINGS!!!  I do not believe that G-d will or can lie and remain G-d.  I also believe G-d to be the creator and architect of all things empirical.  Since all empirical things are under his control – I believe that if empirical evidence contradicts doctrine.  That either the doctrine is false – or we do not understand the doctrine correctly.  There is one other possibility and that is that we are not observing correctly.  But then there is another problem.  That if we are not observing empirical things correctly why do we believe we understand spiritual things better?

I do not believe that the truth of science and the truth of religion has ever – in the entire history of the universe – contradicted or conflicted with each other.  I do not believe a G-d of truth has ever created anything with the intent to deceive or even confuse us.

 

The Traveler

The one "wrench in the works" is the fact that what is observed empirically are observations of a corrupt fallen world. In fact, even our minds are corrupt, so what we take in as empirical can easily be corrupted interpretations or observations.  Elder Bednar said, " But we presently live in a fallen world. The very elements out of which our bodies were created are by nature fallen and ever subject to the pull of sin, corruption, and death. Consequently, the Fall of Adam and its spiritual and temporal consequences affect us most directly through our physical bodies. "

God allowed for opposition which is what is meant by "in the flesh". Do you not believe that this world is created by the Fall? The "architect" of this current world, for a short time, is the Fall of Adam which was brought about by a lie and the father of all lies. The contradictions and conflictions are to create opposition.  2 Nephi 2  18  Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.  ...  27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. ...  29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

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On 2/22/2017 at 10:17 AM, Traveler said:

 

There are many things to consider about observation.  Recently I was at an intersection waiting for a light to change.  As the light changed an accident occurred in the intersection.  There were 3 additional individuals sitting with me in the car and as each expressed what was their observation, there was wild variations from when the light changed to even the initial directions the cars involved in the accident were traveling.  

I tended to believe my own observations were the most accurate because I was driving and thus paying more attention.  In addition, I recalculated in my mind the forces involved to validate where the cars ended up.  I was surprised that as I explained my validations that some in my car still held to their version of things – even though their opinions contradicted the positions of the cars at the end of the accident.  One individual held to their opinion despite the “fact” that there was no damage to either car where they thought they initially collided.

I believe rivals sitting at sporting events will “observe” differently.  Bias plays an important role.  Often the expression – keeping an open mind is very important.  I believe this notion is even mentioned in scripture and is considered as being teachable.  The question is – How teachable are we?

The theory of evolution is the theory of change and is the principle of documentation of observable changes and then an attempt to explain the causes of the changes.  But if readers would allow (have an open mind) may I propose a thought about evolution and the theory of evolution?

In essence, the theory of evolution claims that all the changes in creatures of this planet can be explained by principles and laws of known and observable things that take place around us day by day.  Some in the scientific community have suggested that we do not need a supernatural G-d creating the universe and life.  All the things we observe happening can be explained by natural things that go on around us every moment of every day.  Nothing extraordinary or “unnatural” needs to occur to explain creation and life.  Can someone explain why this should upset anyone that believes in G-d?  Why would G-d change his methods and ways of creating us (current man) from the ways and methods he used to create Adam and Eve?  Where is there even a hint of such radical changes in G-d’s methods in any revelations – ancient or modern?  Does something have to be unexplainable and fantastic (supernatural) to be miraculous and from G-d?  I submit that even if there is what some think is an example – that it is not an actual doctrine every taught by G-d.

The author of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, Arthur C. Clarke once said that any sufficiently advanced technology will appear or seem supernatural. 

Two principles I believe to be true:

#1.  The more truth we learn the better we will understand G-d.

#2.  There is no truth nor pursuit of truth that any believer in G-d need fear or think contradicts G-d, his purposes, intents or accomplishments.

 

The Traveler

There are truths that operate in the setting of a corrupted world and then there are truths that are not observable in a corrupted world.  To say that the "truths" of this fallen state could allow us to better understand God is like saying if I had a microscope on a freckle on your skin then I can tell what you look like.  ...unless you think we didn't fall that far or that the veil isn't hiding much of anything.  We are told that we could not comprehend the whole of God's works and when Moses was able to have a glimpse of God's realm and knowledge he stated that he never supposed that man was nothing.  ... that is how we should approach the "truths" of this world. 

Through Christ we can have access to more than what we see here, through faith in Him and His word. Otherwise we are limited to the speck of knowledge we have available here that doesn't even begin to compare to God's truths.

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8 minutes ago, Eydis said:

\Through Christ we can have access to more than what we see here, through faith in Him and His word. Otherwise we are limited to the speck of knowledge we have available here that doesn't even begin to compare to God's truths.

So true! 

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16 hours ago, Eydis said:

There are truths that operate in the setting of a corrupted world and then there are truths that are not observable in a corrupted world.  To say that the "truths" of this fallen state could allow us to better understand God is like saying if I had a microscope on a freckle on your skin then I can tell what you look like.  ...unless you think we didn't fall that far or that the veil isn't hiding much of anything.  We are told that we could not comprehend the whole of God's works and when Moses was able to have a glimpse of God's realm and knowledge he stated that he never supposed that man was nothing.  ... that is how we should approach the "truths" of this world. 

Through Christ we can have access to more than what we see here, through faith in Him and His word. Otherwise we are limited to the speck of knowledge we have available here that doesn't even begin to compare to God's truths.

 

I am not sure that we disagree but rather that we may be seeing the same things through different perspectives.  I believe that the observation of all things (including empirica thingsl) testify of G-d and things that are true.   Of course, there are caveats – The main caveat is that things observed in part can be misunderstood and turned into a lie.  There is a saying that Satan deals with “half” truths or for the purpose of this discussion – partial observations.

I believe that spiritual things (including the influence and gift of the Holy Ghost) help us in seeing and comprehending a more complete picture.  Not that empirical evidences changes but that we understand better what we observe and how all things are related.  It has been my experience that all thing do indeed testify that there is a G-d – I believe this to be true and have yet to discover an exception.  I have also found that without the power of the Holy Ghost it is impossible to know (observe) the truth of anything.

I will give one possible example.  When I was young I was taught and believed that 2 + 2 = 4.  I thought that to always be true.  As I became older and studied number theory (binary operation of addition) in deeper context (deeper context also meant to seek truth through faith and empirical study) I began to better understand number theory as a model for “reality” and realized that the more complete expression was:  2 =< 2 + 2 >= 4     I also was able to understand how such understanding relates to divine creation of things spiritual to adaptation of things physical as expressed in the 3rd chapter of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price.   I have found my training in the empirical model of mathematics to be a very powerful witness that give evidence and understanding that there is a G-d and "all things" give insite to his attributes.

 

 The Traveler

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On 2/20/2017 at 11:56 AM, Traveler said:

 

Perhaps I may be wrong but it often seems to me that in general everybody has faith and trust in empirical evidence that they will amend their understanding of something when there is empirical evidence.  That is with two possible exceptions – religion and politics.  But I would address what often seem to me to be to be a great paradox or enigma of faith within the religious community.

That many believe it to be a tenet of religious faith – that is to hold to a doctrine despite a preponderance of empirical evidence that what is understood of the doctrine is either not accurate or completely false.  Many a religious person has expressed to me that they believe G-d is testing them.  Is this possible – that G-d would deceive us as a means of testing us?  Do we really believe a G-d of “TRUTH” does or would do such a thing?

For the record – I believe G-d to be good and truthful – IN ALL THINGS!!!  I do not believe that G-d will or can lie and remain G-d.  I also believe G-d to be the creator and architect of all things empirical.  Since all empirical things are under his control – I believe that if empirical evidence contradicts doctrine.  That either the doctrine is false – or we do not understand the doctrine correctly.  There is one other possibility and that is that we are not observing correctly.  But then there is another problem.  That if we are not observing empirical things correctly why do we believe we understand spiritual things better?

I do not believe that the truth of science and the truth of religion has ever – in the entire history of the universe – contradicted or conflicted with each other.  I do not believe a G-d of truth has ever created anything with the intent to deceive or even confuse us.

 

The Traveler

Does the veil qualify as a form of deception under your definition?  The veil keeps us from having the truth - IN ALL THINGS. 

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