Please stop looking for the ‘original sin’ gene

Think Christian has been running a mini-forum on the question of a “historical Adam.”

Dennis Venema’s contribution was quite helpful for squarely stating that science finds the idea of a single “Adam and Eve” couple as the ancestors of all of humanity to be extremely, and increasingly, unlikely.

I liked Venema’s piece a lot, particularly this bit:

Some Christian groups are beginning to require denying these findings as part of their theology. In particular, there is a concern that moving away from the view that the entire human race descends from one ancestral couple threatens the doctrine of original sin. … These sorts of moves put scientifically knowledgeable believers in such groups in a difficult position – do they deny the science to remain theologically “on side,” or do they risk membership in their faith communities by accepting the science?

As the information coming out of the various genome-sequencing projects trickles down to the pew level, these difficulties are only going to increase.

That’s wise and true. But I’d go further to argue that those insisting on a “historical Adam” are not “on side” theologically, either.

Show me someone who thinks Genesis teaches a “historical Adam” and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t understand Genesis — the genre of it, the title of it, or anything else about it.

Once upon a time a man named mankind was the father of the human race even though he only had three sons despite living to be 930 years old.

If I seriously have to explain to you that this does not constitute a historical claim, then sit down, because we’re apparently also going to have to talk about how Frodo, Miss Marple, Ulysses, Cuchulain, and Amelia Bedelia are not historical figures either.

But what baffles me completely is this bit from Deborah Haarsma’s concluding post in the Think Christian series:

This scientific picture of a group of early humans raises many questions, including particularly difficult ones related to the Fall. Plantinga and pastor Daniel Harrell both suggest a possible solution: perhaps Adam and Eve were two individuals within the group of early humans. This would preserve Adam as a real historical figure and the Fall as a real historical event. However, the spread of sin to the rest of the group is problematic, since it would take many generations to spread genetically through a population of thousands.

Wait, sorry … for a second there I thought she said that sin spreads “genetically.” (Rubs eyes.) Let me read that again:

However, the spread of sin to the rest of the group is problematic, since it would take many generations to spread genetically through a population of thousands.

OK, yeah, she really said that.

You’ve got to hand it to Augustine. Anybody can be a little wrong once in a while, but to be so spectacularly wrong that 1,500 years later people are still saying stuff like this … well, that’s impressive.

I appreciate the concern and the intent of stuff like this, but I think it’s possible to make sense of the book of Romans without resorting to hallucinogenic science and delirious theology that ponders the “genetic” spread of sin.

We can only make sense out of the idea that sin is “genetic” if we’re also willing to make nonsense out of the ideas of justice, mercy, redemption, atonement, and forgiveness. And I’m rather fond of those. So please, let’s stop looking for an “original sin” gene, thanks.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Miranda, and the cannibals are the Reavers. (O_O) aaagh nightmare fuel.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     It does bring up the question of if all the animals (and humans) had the reproductive equipment before the Fall, or if it spontaneously manifested when JHVH hit the Kill Switch, just like meat-eating supposedly did.  :-P

  • mountainguy

    If sin has been spread genetically, how are particular sins inherited? Is rage dominant, while sloth is recessive?

  • Newbiedoobiedoo

    Once upon a time a man named mankind was the father of the human race even though he only had three sons despite living to be 930 years old.

    Point of order:  not true.

    Gen 5: 4. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.
     
    <Gen. 5:5. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.

    Judaism differs on how many “other sons and daughters” that was, but they tend to agree it was over 55-60 kids.

    Which was where Cain got his wife (a sister). No one talks about that because, while they’re quick to believe Cain is capable of anything, accepting this would mean that Seth did it too. And sin is for other people!

    I like Fred, but incest will screw up both reading comprehension  and DNA.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I’m a lifelong Star Wars fan*, and I’m fine with midi-chlorians.

    In Episode IV, Obi-Wan Kenobi says “The Force is an energy field generated by all living things.” That’s pretty much techno-babble, part of how Star Wars combines science fiction and fantasy tropes. Why some people had the potential to sense and control this energy field wasn’t explained, but Obi-Wan and Yoda didn’t really have time to give Luke a crash course in History of Force-Using Traditions. Partly because the movies are space operas about adventure, not world-building essays.

    Establishing that midi-chlorians are what enable sentients to sense and control the Force doesn’t remove all the mysticism from the Force for me. It tells us what determines a person’s Force potential, yes. But where midi-chlorians come from, how they can be found in almost all sentient species across the galaxy, and how people are born with high concentrations of midi-chlorians despite parents with no Force potential – none of that is addressed in the short description Qui-Gonn gives. It’s been quite an exposition dump already.

    As for the possibilities involved with manipulating midi-chlorians, we do get a little indication of that. Qui-Gon theorizes that Anakin may have been conceived by the midi-chlorians. Palpatine hints to Anakin that Darth Plagueis could use the Force to create life, which can be inferred to be Anakin. So there’s the possibility that you manipulate midi-chlorians to make someone very powerful in the Force – but it’s not something you can do with a petri dish and a syringe. A very skilled Sith Lord may have done it. (I think there’s a novel about Darth Plagueis, but most of the EU stuff I read is comics.)

    But again, this is world-building backstory in a genre that focuses on adventure. One of the flaws of the prequels is that they spend a little TOO much time on exposition – I expect this is due to Lucas’ greater control, as there was a lot of exposition cut from Episode IV.

    As for Han’s attitude in Episode IV, it’s not that big a stretch. The prequels established that there were never more than a few thousand Jedi, so most people probably spent their entire lives without seeing one – including people of interplanetary influence like Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray prior to Episode I. Several characters in the prequels express the view that the Jedi are mostly show – “simple tricks and nonsense” that could easily be done with technology dressed up in mysticism.

    Then there’s the simple fact of 20 years of the Imperial Propaganda Machine. And people are quite willing to believe things that contradict their own experiences. Fred has addressed that a lot here, such as the lie that Evangelicals have always opposed legalized abortion.

    * While I am a fan of Star Wars, consume lots of Star Wars media, collect much Star Wars merchandise, and have played in a lot of Star Wars RPG campaigns, I am not a True Fan. I say this because nothing about Star Wars sends me into a frothing rage, for the mark of a True Fan is how much they seem to hate what they claim to love. However, I AM a True Fan of Marvel and DC Comics, Warhammer 40,000, and Legend of the Five Rings.

  • arcseconds

     I think it’s a bit of a blunder, actually.  The only thing stopping it being a major blunder is that it’s not very important (which makes its status as a blunder all the more obvious — there’s no need for it).   and you’ve touched on why yourself.

    Let us take the failings in severity order.

    The first is that it introduces needless problems for the viewer.  The fact that many viewers don’t like it is proof of this, and it would have been avoided either consciously or intuitively by a better writer.   Many people said “say… wha?” at the midicholorians, and that in itself is a problem.  You don’t want your viewers doing this, not in this kind of movie, and not for this reason.

    It’s also a kind of genre fail, which I’m going to say is the second failing, but is closely tied to the first.  Lucas shows at this point a deafness for genre, which is uncharacteristic at least of 70s-Lucas.

    here’s why:

    The Star Wars movies aren’t the kind of science fiction that is sometimes called ‘SF’: they’re not about exploring the implications of technology.  They’re in the pulp fiction/ space opera / adventure movies (as you say) camp.    They take the props for granted — they’re just part of the setting.  So we can easily buy into the rayguns and the hyperdrive and the robots — they’re part of the genre we’re used to.

    We can also easily buy the Jedi.  They’re something like a monastic or military order, with mental powers and Eastern mysticism.  We’re familiar with those things, too, from kung fu movies and comic books, and to some extent from Western fantasy.  How many pulp fiction characters had mysterious powers they learnt in the East?   Lots, perhaps the most famous being The Shadow.    They happen to be in a setting that also has spaceships, so that’s new, but it’s not hard to adjust.  One thing that helps bind them together is the psychic powers, which are common in science fiction, but usually seem more mystical than scientific (often they’re portrayed as coming about as an inevitable product of greater intelligence — yogis, gnostics or maybe neoplatonists?)

    So after having established that his world has significant fantasy tropes for over 20 years, he suddenly rams the mystical, fantastic stuff into science fiction — and not even the science fiction of Star Wars, either, we’ve suddenly collided with Gattaca.  SF, not space opera, all of a sudden.  It was inevitable that it would rub some people up the wrong way.

    The third problem is, introducing the new element doesn’t achieve anything useful that couldn’t have been achieved another way.  As far as I can see, the only advancement to the plot we get for this is proof that Anakin is ‘psychically well-endowed’.  But we don’t need to introduce a new element to do this!  it’s already been well established that Jedi can detect that ‘the force is strong with this one’.  If you need to tighten it up a bit, just establish at the beginning of the movie that Qui-Gon is especially good at this, and he can see Anakin is off the scale.

    (Incidentally, this is another symptom of the narrative tension that’s introduced by midichlorians.  The Jedi are normally portrayed as not really liking technology all that much.   Blasters are random and clumsy; real Jedi don’t use targeting computers; Empire officials put too much faith in their technological marvels.  But here we see them dependent on technology for what should be core Force business.  Use the Force, Lucas!)

     The other things we get here is an explanation for the Force, or at least, something which might seem to some as an explanation, plus something to hang an explanation for Anakin’s appearance.  As for the first, it’s not a very good explanation, as you point out, and the Force is really better off without an explanation, especially in this kind of genre (I kind of wonder whether this was actually Lucas’s aim, though, to provide an explanation).  As for the second, well, again assuming you need to say anything about it at all, you could just have the characters speculate that the Force itself made Anakin.

    The fourth problem is that it’s boring expository dialogue. I have mixed feelings about expository dialogue at the best of times.   You’ve already covered this one, but i think it needs a bit more reemphasis:

    Pointless boring expository dialogue in an action movie!

    (do I need to protect myself from being thought to be a True Star Wars fan? I must protect my place on the geek hierarchy! I’m not a fanboy; I just overanalyse things)

     

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Too much expositionary dialogue has always been one of Lucas’ flaws at writing adventures. The original trilogy and the prequels basically show what happened when he got Protection From Editors (warning: tvtropes link).

    I certainly agree that way midi-chlorians were introduced was a storytelling blunder. As you said, it added complications and exposition where the established “Jedi can sense someone’s Force potential” would have served much better.

    For Expanded Universe world-building, I can certainly see Republic worlds using technology to test midi-chlorian count being an effective way for the Jedi Order to learn about potential recruits. Even prior to the Clone Wars, the Jedi just didn’t have the numbers to do themselves. But that’s something you put in a novel, not an adventure movie.

    (One of the reasons I don’t read many SW novels is they tend to be more science fiction, less space adventure.)

    I disagree about midi-chlorians making the Force too sci-fi, though. It was already pretty sci-fi. Doc Smith and Alfred Bester were influential science fiction writers that made heavy use of psychic powers. Scifi shows like the original Star Trek had people with weird powers all over the place without them needing to be mystical.

    The other things we get here is an explanation for the Force, or at least, something which might seem to some as an explanation, plus something to hang an explanation for Anakin’s appearance.  As for the first, it’s not a very good explanation, as you point out, and the Force is really better off without an explanation, especially in this kind of genre (I kind of wonder whether this was actually Lucas’s aim, though, to provide an explanation).

    An explanation for the Force was given in the first act of the first Star Wars movie, by Obi-Wan Kenobi. “The Force is an energy field generated by all living things.” So we have always known where it comes from, and that was really all the explanation we needed in one line.

    We did not have an explanation for why some people were Force-sensitives and others weren’t, or what determined a person’s Force potential, beyond it apparently running strong in families. But a space opera adventure doesn’t really need to explain things like that – of course the Hero has special potential, he’s the Hero.

    So really, while I feel midi-chlorians should probably have been left out of the films (like you said, “pointless boring expository dialogue in an action movie”), they’re fine as part of the setting.

    Just like how all we needed to know about hyperspace travel was “Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy! Without
    precise calculations we could fly right through a star, or bounce too
    close to a supernova and that’d end your trip real quick, wouldn’t it?” But the fact that there is a lot more detail worked out isn’t a problem, and is part of makes for interesting world-building.

  • arcseconds

    As I already indicated, psychic phenomena are always mystical.  The fact they appear in science fiction settings doesn’t stop this.   Unless you’re very good, attempts to explain them in scientific terms are always going to seem clumsy at best, and most writers know better than to attempt this.

    It’s true that they’ve long been a staple of science fiction, and this might seem a bit odd if we think of science fiction as being essentially about science and technology.  But science fiction has never been solely about that, and in most cases it’s not even mainly about that.

    Science fiction grew up in the late 19th and early 20th century, and reflects many of the preoccupations of western society of the time.  A great enthusiasm for scientific and technological progress (tempered sometimes with doubt), some interest in social change, but also a big interest in the occult and spiritualism.  It’s the occult and spiritualism side that gives us the psychic powers.  While it’s true that many thought (and continue to think) that psychic powers and occult phenomena are quite real, and in some sense a natural part of the world, and amenable to scientific investigation, they usually also think that these are a challenge to the recieved view in science — they want, and expect, science to reject reductive materialism and embrace holism, life-energy, and a spiritual realm.  It’s quite frequently connected with a belief in the mysteries of the East — an understanding that Eastern cultures have retained or acquired an advanced knowledge of these things which Western culture is normally blind to.

    There’s another aspect to this which kind of bridges the gap between mysticism and modern science, and that’s progressivism.  It was widely believed, even by scientists, in the late 19th century that there was some kind of progressive force propelling evolution forward to new heights. This notion is still very much with us today — you still hear ‘it’s undergoing the next step in evolution’ in science fiction films. But it’s been completely expunged from modern evolutionary biology, so we can now say that people who think evolution works like this misunderstand evolution (well, they might be deliberately proposing an alternative… but usually it’s just plain misunderstanding).

    And of course, this wasn’t just in biology.  Everything was supposed to be progressing to greater and greater heights of everything.

    (This is perhaps the last vestige of the cosmic order in science. )

    Anyway, we can see that science fiction authors themselves usually understand psychic powers as not being amenable to reductive, materialistic, efficient-causal explanations from the fact that when they do give explanations, they’re generally given in holistic, dualistic, and final-causal terms.  Psychic powers are extremely commonly portrayed as the next step in evolution, so we’ve got progressivism and teleology right there.  They’re also often protrayed as an inevitable consequence of greater intelligence (which of course is also the next step in evolution…) — with greater intelligence comes greater insight and greater awareness, and with those things comes the power to not just percieve the universe, but alter it.  If that’s not gnostic-yogic mysticism, I don’t know what is.

    The psychic is also frequently portrayed as experiencing a greater unity with both the universe and other individuals.  The more powerful the psychic becomes, the less they are dependent on physical bodies.  Eventually they become an angelic being of pure energy, or often even a godlike being.  Which of course is the ultimate stage of evolution.  This isn’t particle physics, and an explanation in terms of particle physics seems out of place.

     The explanations are almost always the kinds of explanations that a Victorian occultist would provide (but often they explanations are simply absent). Often other, higher planes of reality will be invoked, and very often mysterious energy fields.  These energy fields are really kin of Kirlian photography, morphic resonance and qi, not of magnetism and gravity.

    (There are, no doubt, examples of explanations given in terms that sound more like modern science.  I’ve probably even read some.  But i can’t remember any.  some of them might even do a good job of it, but it’d be hard work.)

    It’s also worth noting (once again) that the usual portrayal of psychic powers in science fiction is pretty close to the portrayal of psychic powers in occult fiction, which has no reason to give psychic powers scientific explanations. If anything, science fiction is more all-in with extravagant psychic phenomena and godlike beings and oneness with the universe! it’s occult fiction that portrays a more down-to-earth, limited variety of psychicness.

    That’s what our culture is like and that’s what the genre is like. And the original star wars trilogy does nothing to repudiate that inheritance.  In fact, it enthusiastically embraces it by having the foremost practicioners belong to a monastic/military order sporting marked Japanese styles, who scoff at technology and frequently speak in gnomic utterances like pulp-fiction zen monks (when they’re not sounding like a ‘power of positive thinking’ self-help book). Both Jedi and Sith regularly remind people that the Force is more powerful than technological marvels.  Their guru is literally a gnome, who explains the Force in expressly mystical terms. Jedi survive death as incorporeal spirits.  The Force has a dark side (manicheanism!) and the moral attitude and state of mind with which you wield it determines which side of it you align to.

    This is not an exploration of possible science.  In fact, I’m beginning to wonder whether mysticism is correct any more, too.

     It’s sounding more like ‘religion’ is the appropriate term.

  • arcseconds

     I suppose you’re probably thinking ‘OK, well, even given what you say, really what’s the problem here? The explanation doesn’t actually contradict anything, and genre’s not God.  I (or Lucas) am author here, and I can do what I like, can’t I? I get all this cool world-building stuff!’

    The problem is a genre-smash, as I said.  Lucas has taken the most mystical of science-fiction tropes, driven it out further into the mystical desert, then rammed it at top-speed into a hard SF laboratory.

    It seems that you think the Force can still be as mystical as you like, but the problem isn’t what explanations remain logically possible given what’s been established in the film, but rather the flavour and direction are all wrong. He’s gone and put tobasco sauce on the icecream — which might work in an avant garde haute cuisine place, but this is the local pub and we’d just ordered the sunday roast!

    It’s not that you couldn’t do this successfully, but you have to be aware (intuitively aware, maybe) of when established genre and the wider culture are going to help you, and when they’re going to work against you.  In this case they’re going to work against you.  We’re used to just accepting psychic powers without explanation, and if we do get explanations, we’re expecting broadly mystical ones. So to start down a modern scientificy path is going to require some work.  I think you probably need to flag right from the start either that you’re not going down the usual path, or at least that you’re going to play with genre, so the audience is primed for it and doesn’t rebel.  If you are going to play it straight for half the narrative, you either need to keep playing it straight, or go all in and really pull the rug out from under the audience, maybe on several fronts at once.   Not 99% keeping in with the genre plus this one bit where you suddenly decide to deviate with this essential part of the setting that you’ve already established.

    You would also, I think, need to go right down the path of scientificy materialisticy Force explanations, not just dip your toe in.  Haul the audience’s expectations from qi and mental advancement right through to magnetism and e. coli.

    There’s probably no good way of introducing it into the Star Wars universe after Empire Strike Back — it’s too late for it, my son.  If I had found this in a spin-off novel, I would have said “well, OK, this is a lame fan-fiction reimagining. The Force is clearly mystical and they’re attempting this half-hearted modern biology crap.” and at that point, probably shut the book.  

    The only way of doing it at all well is probably what you suggested earlier ­— Yoda and Ben have gone a little funny in their old age.  But while that might be an interesting book, it’s pretty clearly deviating from the movies quite substantially — we’re obviously supposed to admire the Jedi, and take them seriously, not see them as quacks. The complete deviation is what would make it work, but you’re not going to be able to bring everyone with you.

  • arcseconds

     Incidentally, what would you think if someone gave an explanation operating in the other direction? Explaining something we expect to be explained (if explained at all) in terms of science and technology with minds and mysticism.

    Let’s say instead of midichlorians, it’s revealed in the prequels that hyperdrives work on the basis of the power of positive thinking (“Flying is easy. Just think happy thoughts!“).  It’s not that there’s no machine involved, you understand, but it uses the vibes from the crew to go faster than light.

    That contradicts nothing stated in the original trilogy. In fact, it helps to explain how a crappy third-hand freighter is the fastest ship in the fleet — it’s powered by Han’s chutzpah! It also helps to explain how the were unable to use the hyperdrive after Hoth — they were all a bit shagged out and defeated.  It’s also a cosmos where the mind is well established as being able to affect matter, so it’s not like we could object to this on metaphysical grounds.

    I’d be completely horrified by this, because of the massive and unexpected undermining of staples of the genre it seemed to embrace for an entire series of movies. Hyperdrives work by advanced physics, not naff optimism from children’s books.  But maybe you think it’s just an opportunity for interesting world-building?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    It’s sounding more like ‘religion’ is the appropriate term.

    Tarkin, Motti, and Han all Vader and Obi-Wan’s “religion” in Episode IV, so it is an appropriate term.

    Given that Tarkin and Motti had both personally witnessed Vader’s powers, I expect what they referred to was Vader’s belief in the Force as something mystical with a will of its own, rather than just a source of energy for psychic powers.  Han pretty clearly bought the Imperial line that the Force was just Jedi propaganda.

    I do take issue with the “Jedi scoff at technologyy” view, though. Obi-Wan has a dim view of blasters, but that is in comparison to the “elegant” lightsaber, which is also a high-tech weapon. He trains Luke with a droid.

    Yoda doesn’t have any tech because he’s been living out in a swamp for decades and doesn’t really need it there anyway. He doesn’t say anything negative about Luke’s starfighter or R2-D2.

    The Sith, Palpatine especially, are very big fans of technology. Emperor Palpatine clearly thought the Death Star was a great idea. Vader had a custom starfighter built for him. His objection was to Motti calling the Death Star “the ultimate power in the universe.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    I think you probably need to flag right from the start either that you’re not going down the usual path

    Again, I just don’t see the Force as having been purely mystical in the original trilogy, or even the original film.

    Obi-Wan describes it in a combination of sci-fi and mystical terms – there’s this energy field created by living things that gives Jedi their power. The Jedi and the Sith have mystical beliefs about the will of the Force and the Dark Side of the Force.

    The Force was introduced as a combination of standard
    sci-fi and science-fantasy elements, and as being biological in origin.
    Midi-chlorians expand on the already-established biology.

  • arcseconds

    OK, so I was being a little hyperbolic with my ‘scoff at technology’ remark, but the original trilogy is full of ‘technology may be great, but the Force is greater’ stuff.    The prime example for me is Luke being instructed to turn off his targeting computer.   Don’t rely on technology.  Trust the force.

    I see this very much as tapping into the popular idea that the human mind has mysterious, intuitive capabilities (not necessarily full-blown psychic powers, mind) that our mechanistic society routinely ignores or possibly outright inhibits.

    While it’s not terribly important for this discussion, I’d always assumed Motti hadn’t seen any examples of Vader’s powers until he gets throttled by them, after he makes snide remarks about ”sorcerous ways” and “sad devotion to that ancient Jedi religion”.   It makes it a bit more powerful if you read it that way…

  • arcseconds

     I know that’s your view.  I have already addressed all of these points.

    You haven’t engaged with my argument, so obviously you haven’t accepted it.  I’m hoping you at least read it and understood it?

    Naturally, restating your view without addressing my points isn’t going to induce me to rethink my position — I don’t agree with anything you’ve said here, and I’ve already explained in great detail why.

    The only think I want to emphasize is that your own personal interpretation kind of doesn’t matter.   There’s no reason why you can’t take the interpretation that you do on the basis of what is presented in these films, but it’s not how psychic powers are normally presented in the genre, and it’s not how our culture normally thinks of psychic powers.   Lucas does nothing to challenge those presumptions until a prequel released nearly three decades after the first movie.  A good science fiction writer would take this into account, and either leave it alone, or introduce it nice and early.

    I’m not going to repeat myself further, so unless you have any further questions or remarks, I suppose this discussion is at an end.

    Thanks for an interesting discussion.  It hadn’t even occurred to me that anyone would take the Force’s description as an energy field as being something you might find in a physics primer, rather than in a New Age text.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    You haven’t engaged with my argument, so obviously you haven’t accepted it.  I’m hoping you at least read it and understood it?

    Yes, we’re coming at it from such different angles. Your argument, as I understand it, is that the way the Force was presented in the original film and trilogy falls into the “weird powers as mystical secrets from the East” trope. (The Jedi Mind Trick resembles the Shadow clouding men’s minds, “trust your feelings,” etc.) And I haven’t engaged that because it certainly does fall into that trope.

    My issue that I read the descriptions of the Force as also falling within the “weird powers as sci-fi phlebotinum” trope as seen in series like Star Trek, X-Men, and Lensmen. The movies are full of that kind of space opera, where wondrous things are given the briefest pseudo-scientific handwaves.

    Thanks for an interesting discussion.  It hadn’t even occurred to me
    that anyone would take the Force’s description as an energy field as
    being something you might find in a physics primer, rather than in a New
    Age text.

    Thank you as well. It may be that I also grew up reading superhero comics, and The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe can go a long way towards bending a kid’s thinking to “Oh, so Jedi draw from the Force like the various mutants draw from extra-dimensional power sources.”

  • amanda

    wow. youre all pretty clueless. the whole truth behind original sin is free will. infused into the (yes) Biblical Adam. after God created the world. the Spirit IS what separates humans from animals. otherwise monkeys & gorillas would be our hairy peers posting funny FB comments in the next cubicle. do you think they havent had a chance to evolve? the monkeys you suggest we came from? one really smart monkey evolved and millions of years later no other monkey has come to even be a peer rival of the human monkey? we are unique and wonderful & made that way, & science proves that millions of years later not even our evolutionary cousins can comprehensibly communicate with us, other than through experiments or as pets. i admit Nordic history is mistold by the Christian crusaders of the day. its therefore rational to say that through Greek & Roman translations amid politics may have misconstrued some historical content…but to dismiss human history entirely with innacurate theories is pretty juvenile. sure aliens are real, but youd believe that before your own human history which involves actually being responsible for what you do.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Which in itself is an allegory: If you are successful in breeding the aggression out of people, you won’t get a Society of Perfect Harmony. At least until the first aggressive predator arises or is introduced; at which point your Society of Perfect Harmony becomes a prey-rich environment for the predator(s). Because your docile sheeple have become incapable of defending themselves as part of the domestication process.
    I think there was also an SF movie starring Sly Stallone that used a similar concept — a Perfectly-Harmonious Society without crime where a Predator was introduced from a cold-sleep prison.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    And that midichlorians are handwaved as some sort of genetic marker of Jedihood, giving The Force a genetic basis. Would have worked better if Midichlorians were just some sort of measurement of Force-use ability. “Midichlorians off the scale” would just mean “This is the most powerful potential Force-user.”

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Actually, I think Immaculate Conception was an inevitable corollary from the idea of Original Sin; if Sin is passed down genetically, Mary must have been shielded from it in some way so Christ could be conceived sinless.
    And since until Mendel there was a common idea that everything was passed down from the male (with the female acting only as an incubator), a Virgin Birth would also be a necessary requirement. (Though this shows signs of starting from the Gospels’initial foundation of a virgin birth, then trying to reverse-engineer a rationale from there.)

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    If you assume the ancient idea of “seed and incubator”, all the genetics (and Original Sin) pass down entirely through the male line. So the female line is less important.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I’ll stick with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfic.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Matter = evil sounds more like Manicheanism or Gnosticism to me than neoplatonism.

    Monica’s son Auggie had lots of firsthand experience with Manicheanism. I’d be surprised if he DIDN’T write primarly to rebut it.
    This also leads into Auggie’s baggage regarding sex. Before his conversion, he was apparently a real horndog; afterwards, he was celibate. In neither stage of his life could he have interacted with women as people — before they were sex objects and afterwards they were forbidden fruit. As people tend to go crazy in general when the subject is sex, he probably brought a load of sexual baggage into his writings.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Demolition Man. :)

  • The_L1985

    Er, the virgin birth wasn’t the original foundation of the gospels. Mark, the oldest gospel, and John, the most recent, don’t mention the birth of Jesus at all. The virgin birth may have come from other Mediterranean myths of the time, like the Greek myth of Danae, a virgin who became pregnant when Zeus came to her in the form of golden rain.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    It has also been suggested that the whole concept came from translating Isaiah from Hebrew into Greek, changing almah (“young woman”) to parthenos (“virgin”).


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X