The Genetics Of Sin: A Dialog With Ritchie, Pt. II

Posted in Religion, Responses, Science, Skepticism on  | 10 minutes | 3 Comments →

The Bible claims that Adam and Eve's "original sin" in the Garden of Eden resulted in an extensive punishment that affects all of humanity. Last month, we had quite an interesting discussion revolving around a comment of Ritchie's, originally left for me at Daylight Atheism:

..why should the sin of Adam and Eve pass on to their children, and by extension, to us? Why can't each person be born with a blank slate? God, apparently did not arrange things this way. Instead, He Himself introduced the taint of sin and then blames us for possessing that flaw.

[At this point I responded by saying I rejected Ritchie's claim that God introduced sin into the human race, and Ritchie responded with,]

Who made the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden (knowing in advance that Adam and Eve would eat from it)? Who gave instructions to Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit despite the fact that they had no concept of good or evil and were therefore unable to make moral decisions on their own? Who created the serpent (or Satan, whichever you prefer), knowing in advance the role he would play in man's downfall? Scripture says God, God, God. Whichever way you turn it, the entire episode in Eden is an almighty cock-up and it's all God's fault…

[Earlier in that thread, I had sad, "It's a reasonable argument that sin adversely effects the human apparatus; perhaps the original sin set something in motion genetically," to which Ritchie replied,]

You think sin gets passed on through your genes? Why? How could eating a piece of fruit affect Adam and Eve's DNA? Do other sins affect our DNA too? When we arrest people, should we take a blood sample and examine that for traces of 'guilt' or 'sin' to determine whether they are guilty? Should criminals be denied the right to have children, since their children will be born more genetically 'corrupted' by sin than the children of parents who have committed no crime?

Now, I thought for certain he was roasting me with his last two questions, but Ritchie assured me they were in fact sincere, so I promised him I would address them. We discussed some of these questions in rather excruciating detail in Pt. I, but I'd like to cover the rest of them, as well as add a thing or two to some of those we've already discussed.

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On Homology

Posted in Biology, Evolution, Science on  | 4 minutes | 2 Comments →

The phenomenon of homology refers to things that are corresponding or similar in position, value, structure and purpose. For example, many mammals share a common limb design that is versatile and lends well to a number of different functions. In Origin, Darwin notes in great detail the similar expressions of pentadactyl limb design as utilized by man for grasping, moles for digging, horses for movement and bats for flying. Further considering monkey and man, coyote and wolf, or fir and pine, the fact that different types and kinds of organisms share similarities in physical structure, biochemistry and embryonic patterns of development is argued as evidence that life must have descended from a common ancestor. Darwin cited the phenomenon of homology as the strongest evidence for his general theory of evolution. In the same vein, Miller and Levine also feel that homologous resemblance amongst organisms is compelling evidence: “The structural and biochemical similarities among living organisms are best explained by Darwin’s conclusion: living organisms evolved through gradual modification of earlier forms – descent from a common ancestor.”

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