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Old 07-13-2007, 07:33 PM   #271
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Originally posted by AEON
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I though Natural Selection requires variation along with the ability to produce offspring. Without the ability to create offspring, the variation cannot benefit the survival of the species.
This model works with Mendellian genetics, because it presumes that an undesirable trait will be weeded out and removed from the genetic family tree.

The key here, however, is that an "undesirable trait" is defined as anything that prevents reproduction completely. Looking at the Kinsey model of sexuality, which defines sexuality as a series of gradients between "100% heterosexuality" and "100% homosexuality," with a wide range of bisexuality in between, there's ample opportunity for these traits to spread through hypothetical "carriers"--assuming that sexuality conforms to Mendellian genetics.

However, if it ends up being the result of "genetic mutation," then "natural selection" is completely out of the picture. Lest you forget, all fetuses in the first trimester of development, regardless of whether they have XX or XY sex chromosomes, have both male and female reproductive organs. Yes, AEON, you too once had a uterus and ovaries. By the end of the third month, sexual differentiation occurs and all those hermaphroditic fetuses, in theory, should become strictly "male" or strictly "female," based on the presence or absence of a Y chromosome.

The key phrase, however, is "in theory." To achieve this, a series of genes between the mother and child must coordinate a series of hormones produced by the mother and child in a narrow timespan. If a gene is absent in the mother or the child, the "ideal" collapses. If a hormone from the mother or the child is released after that narrow timespan has passed, it is effectively worthless and does nothing to the child. The child, itself, might be missing a gene, so even if the correct hormones are present, the missing gene means that there's no receptor and, again, the hormone is effectively worthless. As a result, there are those who are born with immature male and female sex organs (the intersexed, due to the hormones triggering destruction of the other set of sex organs failing). There are those born with no sex organs (the hormones triggering the destruction of sex organs works, but the hormones to trigger the maturity of them do not). There are those who are genetically male (XY), but are physically female (the presence of the Y chromosome is supposed to trigger "masculinization"; the absence automatically leads to "feminization" if the hormone to detect the Y chromosome fails or the gene to receive the hormone is absent).

We have heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, and asexuals, which effectively cover the entirety of the sexual spectrum, and fully represents what a scientist would expect to see in nature: every possible variation.

Your view of "natural selection" and genetics, as a whole, is far too basic and limited, compared to the scientific reality.
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Old 07-13-2007, 07:36 PM   #272
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Yes, AEON, you too once had a uterus and ovaries.
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Old 07-13-2007, 07:43 PM   #273
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This is a bit unfair as you don't know what risks I have taken on other issues. For instance, I have been "shunned" to various degrees for my more "liberal" stances on women holding leadership positions and my acceptance of theistic evolution (and the fact the universe is billions of years old). I am more than willing to challenge the status quo when I am convinced that I am correct.


and, hopefully, i can convince you that i am correct on this one, and you'll stand up for what's right on this issue as well.
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Old 07-13-2007, 07:46 PM   #274
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and, hopefully, i can convince you that i am correct on this one, and you'll stand up for what's right on this issue as well.
There's always a chance. Although you would certainly have a better chance from the Biblical scholarship angle.
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Old 07-13-2007, 07:46 PM   #275
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Originally posted by deep
I kind of feel like this is a discussion that might have taken place a couple of hundred years ago in Europe.

and Aeon is the gentle inquisidor speaking cordially to the heathen Jew, Irvine.

Irvine, just come over and be saved, all you have to do is publicly renounce and stop all those Jewish behaviors, and never speak Hebrew or read Torah again.

Or keep choosing sin and suffer the consequences.
Actually, the reality is that this was never sufficient. After the end of the Spanish Reconquista in 1492, all Jews and Muslims were forced to convert to Christianity or be forcibly expelled out of Spain. Most Muslims and Jews chose expulsion, and the newly flourishing Ottoman Empire (having fully vanquished the Byzantine Empire and seized the cultural and historical crown jewel of Constantinople only a few decades prior) took advantage of this by encouraging these exiles--many of which were the the brightest minds of their day--to live in their new Empire.

However, many chose to stay in Spain, and, as such, converted to Christianity. Nonetheless, Spain and the "Old Christians" never once trusted these "New Christians," and marginalized them by constant accusations that they were secretly practicing their old religions in secret. The Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition, as such, was fueled by their hatred and suspicion of these "New Christians." Institutionalized marginalization of the "New Christians" ended in 1772 in Portugal (their ruler was influenced by the big bad Enlightenment) with Spain's laws fading away not long after that.
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Old 07-13-2007, 07:47 PM   #276
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Originally posted by AEON


This is a bit unfair as you don't know what risks I have taken on other issues. For instance, I have been "shunned" to various degrees for my more "liberal" stances on women holding leadership positions and my acceptance of theistic evolution (and the fact the universe is billions of years old). I am more than willing to challenge the status quo when I am convinced that I am correct.
Well your stance on women and evolution isn't very "liberal" in most denominations so it's probably a much easier challenge to the status quo. Now the evolution one may not be as easy as the female one, but it's still very common enough that you really aren't sticking your neck out too much.
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Old 07-13-2007, 07:48 PM   #277
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If you are this genuinely surprised by that, then I strongly suggest you study this aspect of fetal development. I think you might find the idea of homosexuality to be a part of nature much more plausible.

It is a pity that most people are not aware of this indisputable fact.
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Old 07-13-2007, 07:58 PM   #278
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


Well your stance on women and evolution isn't very "liberal" in most denominations so it's probably a much easier challenge to the status quo. Now the evolution one may not be as easy as the female one, but it's still very common enough that you really aren't sticking your neck out too much.
Sort of like being a pro-lifer at a women's rights march? The concept of sticking your neck out is very relative to group, denomination, church, region...etc.

My point was that it is not fear of being shunned that keeps from accepting Melon's interpretation of the Bible concerning homosexual issues. Scriptural interpretation is a combination of study and Holy Spirit illumination. Thus far, I have not reached the same conclusions as Melon. If I do, well, then I'll stick my neck out as I would for anything else I believe to be true.
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Old 07-13-2007, 08:12 PM   #279
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There's always a chance. Although you would certainly have a better chance from the Biblical scholarship angle.


may i direct you to any dozen Melon/Ormus posts?
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Old 07-13-2007, 08:42 PM   #280
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Don't you have to choose to sin?
This idea came out of the vibrant intellectual environment of the 12th century. Spain had been conquered by the Islamic Moors for the past 400 years, and while they were most officially hated by Christian Europe, they were more than happy to draw upon their intellectual environment.

Islamic conquest and expansion had flourished under the Mu'tazili school, which, although Islam was considered the final answer to all questions, they happily collected the knowledge of all the cultures that they neighbored and conquered, from Indian knowledge to Mesopotamian knowledge to Persian knowledge to Greek philosophy. Islamic intellectualism thrived in Moorish Spain, and, thanks to their relative acceptance of Jews, Jewish intellectuals thrived in Spain. Jewish scholars, having access to a wide range of Islamic and Greek philosophy, translated them from Arabic into Hebrew, which then found their way into Christian intellectual communities. It was this environment that St. Thomas Aquinas encountered Greek philosophy, most particularly Greek stoicism.

Aquinas and his contemporaries treated Greek knowledge paradoxically. They admired the Greeks as a great civilization, filled with great knowledge. They simultaneously hated them, because they had to: they were pagans, and Christians, by default, were automatically superior. As such, Aquinas set out to do his Christian duty by taking the "great knowledge" of ancient Greece and "Christianizing" it. Thus, Christians could then claim to be greater than the ancient Greece.

Greek stoicism is summed up as this:

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Stoicism teaches that self-control, fortitude and detachment from distracting emotions, sometimes interpreted as an indifference to pleasure or pain, allows one to become a clear thinker, level-headed and unbiased. A primary aspect of Stoicism would be described as improving the individual’s spiritual well-being.

Virtue, reason, and natural law are prime directives. By mastering passions and emotions, Stoics believe it is possible to overcome the discord of the outside world and find peace within oneself. Stoicism holds that passion distorts truth, and that the pursuit of truth is virtuous.
Aquinas latched onto this fiercely, and thus declared that all emotions--pleasure and pain alike--were the creation of Satan. As I've stated before, this is the origin of modern Christian hatred of homosexuals, not the Bible, as Aquinas' "Christian stoicism" has pervaded the Christian consciousness ever since.

I've gone on a pretty long tangent, so let's get back to your original question:

"Don't you have to choose to sin?"

As a consequence of this newfound fascination with Greek stoicism, Aquinas then set out to define "natural law." The specifics are unimportant, mainly because his methodology, while acceptable in the blissful ignorance of the Middle Ages, is horrendously flawed and discredited in light of the modern scientific method (in fact, by the time European scientists were emerging 300 years later, they had to fight against all the "Thomists" who vigorously thought of their work as "heretical"). But the main summary became:

"What is natural is moral, and what is moral is created by God."

This, indirectly, established the principle that sin was not inherent, and, as such, any sin must be a conscious choice. This idea was mainly expounded by Jewish theologians, particularly Moses Maimonides, back in Moorish Spain (just as classical and Islamic knowledge found its way north, notable Christian scholarship trickled down south, as well), who then declared that those born with traits contrary to "the Law" (which, in this case, referred to the various idiosyncrasies that make up Mosaic Law) were not violating it. Between this precedent and probably the shared experience of centuries of persecution, this is likely why Jews have been far quicker to embrace the modern understanding of homosexuality than Christianity (the Jews that are most hostile are Orthodox Jews and similar sects, which reject the Talmud and other medieval scriptures, and, as such, they wouldn't be exposed to this kind of philosophy).

Yolland, of course, is free to correct me if I've misrepresented Judaism at all. This is what I've surmised through my own reading.

Back to the Moors and medieval Islamic scholarship for a moment, their advanced civilization started its collapse when the traditionalist Ash'ari school of Islam overtook the Mu'tazili, and rejected non-Islamic knowledge. With the arrival of these conservative Muslim sects, tolerance of the "dhimmi" became less reliable and Muslim power and civilization soon became marginalized. With the end of Moorish Spain in 1492, Western Europe no longer needed them, and it led to the Renaissance and our intellectual and cultural domination that we enjoy today.

Yet, as I see it in America today, we have our own "Ash'ari" present in born-again, fundamentalist Protestantism. We have large amounts of these Christians who reject the knowledge and contributions of anyone they perceive to be "non-Christian," whether that be foreigners, "secular progressives," or scientists. And they are using their increasing numbers to assault reason, knowledge, and science in American society. This pervasive anti-intellectualism was destructive back then, and it is certainly destructive now. While it won't happen overnight, there is already a growing economic and cultural "Renaissance" in the Far East, and I won't be surprised if nations like China, India, Japan, and South Korea become the dominant economies of the 22nd century and beyond. And, like the faded glories of the Middle East, with nations dominated by autocrats who exist mainly to suppress the violent tendencies of their religious fanatics, I can certainly see America becoming a bitter former world power populated by religious extremists, if they continue to ignore reality.
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:39 PM   #281
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Sort of like being a pro-lifer at a women's rights march? The concept of sticking your neck out is very relative to group, denomination, church, region...etc.

My point was that it is not fear of being shunned that keeps from accepting Melon's interpretation of the Bible concerning homosexual issues. Scriptural interpretation is a combination of study and Holy Spirit illumination. Thus far, I have not reached the same conclusions as Melon. If I do, well, then I'll stick my neck out as I would for anything else I believe to be true.
Well not exactly, that analogy would work if there were several different women's marches at the same time and all had slight variations in ideaology.

But I get your point. And I think that is probably part of the issue. You and I have talked before, and your conservative background makes my conservative background look somewhat liberal. You still reside somewhat in that background, whereas I broke away from it taking the things I thought were important. So for you to ever reach the same conclusions as Melon, myself, and the many scholars such as the link I gave before will be a much much longer journey.

So I understand where you come from, I'll never agree, but I understand.
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:51 PM   #282
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Originally posted by Irvine511




may i direct you to any dozen Melon/Ormus posts?
Read them and many like them. I would suggest you perform your own scholarship.
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:53 PM   #283
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The thing that I have always struggled to understand about statements like the above is this: If homosexuality is just one of many ways of missing the target, why then is it such a huge battlefield for conservative Christians? I see more fire and venom from Christians over this subject than adultery, for example, and I'm pretty sure the bible devotes more time to the subject of fidelity and trust than it does to the "immorality" of homosexuality.

When someone "in the flock" is found to have committed adultery, everyone is quick to excuse, deflect or qualify, and quick to forgive, and yet homosexuality remains wrong at every level, regardless of how faithful the homosexual is, regardless of how kind and giving that individual may be, regardless of how more Christ-like that person may live his life than the Christians judging him.

If homosexuality really is just one other sin, then what possible justification is there for the amount of importance, the weight of its immorality, that it has been given?

This is what I've been wanting to say to all the other Believers I know, who treat homosexuals like they're subhuman. You put this way better than I could. Thank you!
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Old 07-13-2007, 11:45 PM   #284
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Read them and many like them. I would suggest you perform your own scholarship.
Why? Do you find Melon/Ormus's posts flawed?
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Old 07-14-2007, 12:17 AM   #285
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Why? Do you find Melon/Ormus's posts flawed?
It was covered several months ago and I honestly do not have the time and energy to revisit the whole discussion.

Let's just say we reach different conclusions. I have a ton of respect for Melon's intelligence and knowledge. He makes a good argument. But we simply disagree on what Scripture says about homosexuality.

Please feel free to do a search, I'm sure you'll find my responses. And I am sure you will disagree with them.

Additionally, isn't it always more fun to perform your own research?
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