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Source: (consider it) Thread: Genetic Engineering
Eirenist
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# 13343

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Researchers are reported have found a method that gives the prospect of potentially eliminating genetically-transmitted disease.
Suppose they discovered the Original Sin gene and could eliminate it: what, if any, would be the theological (and, for that matter, social) implications?
My apologies if this topic has been aired before.

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'I think I think, therefore I think I am'

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Brenda Clough
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It has, but in fiction. Science fiction. As I recall, it never works out well really.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Lamb Chopped
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I'm sure it's not carried on a gene. How much simpler our lives could become if it was! The whole thing would boil down, not to a moral problem, but to a mere error in the code.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Eirenist:
Suppose they discovered the Original Sin gene and could eliminate it: what, if any, would be the theological (and, for that matter, social) implications?

Setting aside the question of exactly what a scientific test for "sin" would be, one of the most troubling implications would be that "Original Sin" has adaptive value. Genes without adaptive value typically get destroyed through mutation.

A well-known example of this process is the way the gene for vitamin C synthesis has been degraded into non-functionality in most primates, including humans. Early primate ancestors seem to have consisted on a diet heavy in fruit, hence there was no adaptive value in being able to synthesize vitamin C internally since it was so plentiful from dietary sources. In fact, not synthesizing vitamin C metabolically might have had adaptive value for early primates, since those without this ability wouldn't have to waste metabolic energy synthesizing their own vitamin C.

At any rate, the idea that there is an Original Sin gene and that it's still functional would seem to imply that humans without that gene would be significantly disadvantaged (from a genetic adaptation perspective) relative to human having that gene.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Probably not quite complete Crœsos re vitamin C.

We have a simple mutation in a gene called GLO, and this gene appears to be relatively neutral, having been lost and regained in fish and other vertebrates, and had its location of creation in bodies vary from the liver to kidneys. Our loss is about 60 million years ago in ancestral lineages. Because of the length of time, it hasn't had any selection for or against since that time.

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TurquoiseTastic

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:

At any rate, the idea that there is an Original Sin gene and that it's still functional would seem to imply that humans without that gene would be significantly disadvantaged (from a genetic adaptation perspective) relative to human having that gene.

Well, I'm sure they would be!
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by TurquoiseTastic:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:

At any rate, the idea that there is an Original Sin gene and that it's still functional would seem to imply that humans without that gene would be significantly disadvantaged (from a genetic adaptation perspective) relative to human having that gene.

Well, I'm sure they would be!
I'll bite. How?

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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Without original sin, where would the Protestant work ethic come from? Come on, we need the whip of our own guilt.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Fictional handlings of this theme include:
SF classic A CASE OF CONSCIENCE by James Blish. This is actually the fourth book in a loose conglomeration of novels in which Blish explored this theme. This book is the easiest to find.

You will probably have read CS Lewis's space trilogy. The third volume, THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH digs deeply into whether you can just bob sin out.

There are a good many more; the question of free will and sin is endlessly fun for the fictioneer.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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stonespring
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If editing a gene got rid of Original Sin in a person, would it be like regenerational baptism in that salvation could be lost afterwards, or would it make a person guaranteed to go to heaven no matter what they believed or did afterwards?

And would editing this gene make a person a more ethical or righteous person, or would it make a person no less likely to sin than Adam or Eve?

If it makes you a more righteous person, would that mean that not only better health, but better morals would become restricted to the rich who are able to afford such treatment? Doesn't that turn Christianity on its head?

And might it not eventually result in arguments for a genocide of those still living in Original Sin?

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Alan Cresswell

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# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by TurquoiseTastic:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:

At any rate, the idea that there is an Original Sin gene and that it's still functional would seem to imply that humans without that gene would be significantly disadvantaged (from a genetic adaptation perspective) relative to human having that gene.

Well, I'm sure they would be!
I'll bite. How?
On the assumption that:
  1. Original Sin is an expression of the mutation of one or more genes, and
  2. Original Sin is part of the genetic makeup of all human beings
Then it must provide a significant reproductive advantage. The exact form of that advantage is a different question, but it must be there. And, it also follows that those individuals without the Original Sin mutation would be at a significant reproductive disadvantage otherwise the non-mutant gene(s) would persist in the population and b) could not be true.

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All I want for Christmas is EU

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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I should add that a hypothetical Original Sin mutation must have been advantageous in the past. It's possible that that advantage has disappeared in relatively recent times, but the genes haven't mutated again to reintroduce the pre-mutation function. An example - a genetic mutation that makes us significantly better hunters would become obsolete after we brought our game into the farmstead (you don't need to be good at hunting if you've got cows on the farm), assuming that mutation gave no other advantages.

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All I want for Christmas is EU

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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It would be interesting if the genetic modification expressed itself in some visible way. (I think it was Lewis who argued that an unfallen state in no way tied to personal appearance.)

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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lilBuddha
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Alan,

What I'm asking for is what that advantage might be.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mdijon
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Promiscuity, violent obliteration of one's enemies, hoarding of food and water... in fact the very reasons why sin is human nature is that they are so adaptive to reproduction and survival.

quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Genes without adaptive value typically get destroyed through mutation.

They may do given sufficient time and a bit of luck, but I'm not sure one could say typically. There are plenty of useless genes left in the human genome. And weird things happen - for instance Paris japonica has a genome 25 times the size of a human genome. Now it's got to be possible to more efficiently encode a stem, leaves and a flower. But somehow evolution has come up with something that appears very inefficient.

That said, I can't see that shagging everything in sight and killing everything one can't shag would be an evolutionary cost.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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HCH
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# 14313

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I think this thread badly needs an agreed-upon definition of Original Sin. The question of whether it is tied to one or more genes is not the most important part.

So: Do we say that Original Sin is the capacity to act contrary to God's wishes, that is, to disobey God? I suspect some would want to say "disobey God or any other authority". I doubt if I can myself come up with a definition everyone will like.

Even if we had modified people who could not disobey God, they (a) might be misled by others into wrong notions of God's orders, and (b) might be able to disobey the orders/laws/rules of human beings.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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I told you it would tie into Free Will.

Consider the keyboard before you -- I assume you are posting to SoF with some kind of keyboard. Does it have free will? No. It types what your fingers press on the keys. When your hands are not typing, no words are generated. All it is is an expression of your words, your mind, your will.

Wouldn't people who had no choice but to do God's will be essentially keyboards?

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Alan Cresswell

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# 31

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If we go with Paul, sin (original or otherwise) isn't free will, it's what holds us back from having free will. "although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am!" (Romans 7:21-24). It is sin that holds us prisoner, so that we don't have free will.

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All I want for Christmas is EU

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Martin60
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# 368

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Original sin is utter bollocks. Trying to remove it nonetheless would be trying to remove our humanity. You'd be left with a rag doll. Even evolution can't improve on us. Just more of the same. More useless intelligence, longevity. One of the cleverest most influential men in the world lives in Leicester. He's a conservative Muslim. I'm not holding my breath for him to be the next Mandela let alone the next Dr. King.

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Love wins

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Promiscuity, violent obliteration of one's enemies, hoarding of food and water... in fact the very reasons why sin is human nature is that they are so adaptive to reproduction and survival.

quote:

That said, I can't see that shagging everything in sight and killing everything one can't shag would be an evolutionary cost.

None of this explains why humans somehow managed to cooperate and build massive civilisations.
People do bad stuff. People do good stuff. People do indifferent stuff. Humans have evolved to propagate the species. This is more complicated than Fuck it, Eat it or Kill it.
Sin isn't a gene. A non-believers view is that sin is a way to reconcile a benevolent God with an obviously fucked up world.
A believer doesn't need a gene. God is supernatural already, therefore sin can exist outside of science as well.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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agingjb
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I suppose that, for those that believe in it, the Apostolic Succession has a mode of transmision that is not genetic, and is, I would say, not memetic in the usual sense.

I suppose Original Sin is, for those that beleve in it, another example of a distinct class of transmission of spiritual states, as yet undefined.

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Refraction Villanelles

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Eirenist
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Wiser people than I have no doubt defined Original Sin. If I had to define it myself, I would call it an inherent tendency to disregard of the promptings of God's Holy Spirit - what in the case of our occasionally disobedient dog we used to call 'selectve deafness'.

St Jerome (miserable old man) held that this tendency was transmitted at conception to every human being. If that is so (which I must admit I doubt) there would have to be an Original Sin gene, implanted in Adam (who should have kept his wife in better order) as a result of the Fall. Were our scientists to be able to remove it, would that by-pass the redemptive sacrifice of Christ? Dorothy L. Sayers touches on this aspect in a passage in 'The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club'.

As for the advantages of possessing an Original Sin gene, consider the following, by Ogden Nash, I think:

'The rain it raineth every day,
Both on the just and unjust fella;
But more upon the just, because
The unjust man has his umbrella.'

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'I think I think, therefore I think I am'

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Martin60
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# 368

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@agingb, meaningless bollocks we make up, yes.

[ 04. August 2017, 07:54: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Alan,

What I'm asking for is what that advantage might be.

Doesn't matter. It could be that the gene is required for another one to express that enables digestion of spinach. Or it could be that it blocks another gene from being expressed which would cause a horrible disease. The point is that if an advantage is conferred, then there's relatively higher reproductive success in individuals possessing it.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Alan,

What I'm asking for is what that advantage might be.

Doesn't matter. It could be that the gene is required for another one to express that enables digestion of spinach. Or it could be that it blocks another gene from being expressed which would cause a horrible disease. The point is that if an advantage is conferred, then there's relatively higher reproductive success in individuals possessing it.
Seriously, WTF? This is a discussion. If you are going to play the side of "it exists, therefore it is necessary" there is no discussion.
If we are going to entertain this inane premise, figuring out what benefit might cause an "original sin" gene(s) is part of the game.

ETA: OK, my bad. You appear to be saying that "original sin" might be a side-effect rather than a main cause.

[ 04. August 2017, 15:37: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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One problem with that is that "original sin" isn't prevalent across all cultures.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Marvin the Martian

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# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
If it makes you a more righteous person, would that mean that not only better health, but better morals would become restricted to the rich who are able to afford such treatment? Doesn't that turn Christianity on its head?

Except if they became without sin then surely their first act would be to devote their riches to the good of others?

quote:
And might it not eventually result in arguments for a genocide of those still living in Original Sin?
Such arguments could only come from those who are still in Original Sin (who are unlikely to call for their own extermination!), as a sinless person wouldn't call for a genocide in the first place.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Alan,

What I'm asking for is what that advantage might be.

I would assume that people without Original Sin would be meek and mild, always going the extra mile with an enemy soldier's pack, refusing to kill or even wound under any circumstances, and declining any opportunity to achieve status, power or wealth.

In evolutionary terms such people wouldn't have made it past the Stone Age.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Alan,

What I'm asking for is what that advantage might be.

I would assume that people without Original Sin would be meek and mild, always going the extra mile with an enemy soldier's pack, refusing to kill or even wound under any circumstances, and declining any opportunity to achieve status, power or wealth.

In evolutionary terms such people wouldn't have made it past the Stone Age.

That isn't original sin. That is a series of traits that are en extension of of survival traits in humans.
Original sin, if it is to mean anything in relation to it religious meaning, is an on/of switch for salvation.
All the traits that end up in nasty things, don't have to in every individual. One can argue that they seem inevitable in species, but not every member of it.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Alan,

What I'm asking for is what that advantage might be.

Doesn't matter. It could be that the gene is required for another one to express that enables digestion of spinach. Or it could be that it blocks another gene from being expressed which would cause a horrible disease. The point is that if an advantage is conferred, then there's relatively higher reproductive success in individuals possessing it.
Seriously, WTF? This is a discussion. If you are going to play the side of "it exists, therefore it is necessary" there is no discussion.
If we are going to entertain this inane premise, figuring out what benefit might cause an "original sin" gene(s) is part of the game.

The problem is that if there is an Original Sin gene then we don't have a lot of information to go on. What we do know is that if such a genetic mutation exists it must be evolutionary beneficial in some way. And, to be present in all human beings it must be a dominant gene, and on the off chance of someone not inheriting a functional copy of the gene that individual would fail to survive (or, at the very least have children). If we assume that it's a gene that only affects humans, then there shouldn't be a parallel gene in non-human species (there may be similar traits, but their genetic cause would be different). But, beyond that it's all speculation. That's even if we make the assumption there is such a gene.

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All I want for Christmas is EU

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Jamat
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# 11621

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
@agingb, meaningless bollocks we make up, yes.

Martin 60, There is plenty of evidence that humanity is terribly flawed you said it yourself. So if there is no original sin, what's the problem then?

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
@agingb, meaningless bollocks we make up, yes.

Martin 60, There is plenty of evidence that humanity is terribly flawed you said it yourself. So if there is no original sin, what's the problem then?
"We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" does not necessarily mean that we have all inherited sin by some method. Anymore than it necessarily means that we need a continuous chain of men laying hands on other men to ensure that our beliefs and practices are built on and consistent with apostolic tradition.

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All I want for Christmas is EU

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Clearly it is very difficult, if not impossible, to split out the results of being fallen from the results of life being life. Can we argue that if people are not fallen then life is just a big bowl of cherries, all ups and ups and no ups and downs as Lucy Van Pelt wanted? No.
Even if there are no bad things caused by the cussedness of human beings, there are still bad things happening -- hailstorms, excessively hot weather, for instance. These things cannot be influenced by our genetic makeup.
And I am sure we have all known people who were undeniably Godly, surely saints of God, who it would have been a punishment to live with. Just because you are unfallen does not mean you are any fun in daily life.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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agingjb
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I made a serious suggestion, based on hypotheticals which I would suppose that some here do hold to be true. I am disappointed that it appears that the Ship is happy to see it dismissed in a coarse manner.

[ 04. August 2017, 22:01: Message edited by: agingjb ]

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Refraction Villanelles

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
@agingb, meaningless bollocks we make up, yes.

Martin 60, There is plenty of evidence that humanity is terribly flawed you said it yourself. So if there is no original sin, what's the problem then?
If I did, not in any way you mean it. And I didn't. We're merely, barely conceived. Innocently weak and ignorant, helplessly frail worms. We cannot transcend, sublime that of ourselves. Glory be to God in Christ we know that we will in Him.

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Love wins

Posts: 17007 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by agingjb:
I made a serious suggestion, based on hypotheticals which I would suppose that some here do hold to be true. I am disappointed that it appears that the Ship is happy to see it dismissed in a coarse manner.

You can't be serious.

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Love wins

Posts: 17007 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Eirenist:
Suppose they discovered the Original Sin gene and could eliminate it: what, if any, would be the theological (and, for that matter, social) implications?

Setting aside the question of exactly what a scientific test for "sin" would be, one of the most troubling implications would be that "Original Sin" has adaptive value. Genes without adaptive value typically get destroyed through mutation.
Do they? A gene that is disadvantageous might get selected out. Genes that are neutral can just sit there forever. Mutations may strike them, but it's a long shot. We're told we don't really need our little toes, and probably haven't for eons, but the gene sequence that makes them is still intact.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

Posts: 63203 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged


 
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