Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

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Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by tuttle » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:56 am

G_A brought this up last month in the dinosaur/feathers thread and it never got much attention, but it's a subject that I think is worthy of its own thread. (placed in theology room for the overlap of creation/evolution)
gaining_age wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:32 pm
Then came out this nugget:
https://phys.org/news/2018-05-gene-surv ... ution.html
"The simplest interpretation is that life is always evolving," said Stoeckle.

"It is more likely that—at all times in evolution—the animals alive at that point arose relatively recently."

In this view, a species only lasts a certain amount of time before it either evolves into something new or goes extinct.

And yet—another unexpected finding from the study—species have very clear genetic boundaries, and there's nothing much in between.

"If individuals are stars, then species are galaxies," said Thaler. "They are compact clusters in the vastness of empty sequence space."

The absence of "in-between" species is something that also perplexed Darwin, he said.
Another article is here: Massive Genetic Study Reveals 90 Percent Of Earth’s Animals Appeared At The Same Time

The original study is found here: https://phe.rockefeller.edu/news/wp-con ... educed.pdf

phys.org wrote:It is textbook biology, for example, that species with large, far-flung populations—think ants, rats, humans—will become more genetically diverse over time.

But is that true?

"The answer is no," said Stoeckle, lead author of the study, published in the journal Human Evolution.

For the planet's 7.6 billion people, 500 million house sparrows, or 100,000 sandpipers, genetic diversity "is about the same," he told AFP.

The study's most startling result, perhaps, is that nine out of 10 species on Earth today, including humans, came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.

"This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could," Thaler told AFP.

That reaction is understandable: How does one explain the fact that 90 percent of animal life, genetically speaking, is roughly the same age?

Sudden and simultaneous arrival of species that are genetically distinct? Seems like a quandary for evolutionists to fit this into their narrative. At the same time it seems like a natural fit for the creationist viewpoint.

I'm curious how evolutionists will interpret this and if this study will gain any traction.
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by Thoth » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:52 am

Without doing too much research in it sounds like this give credence to the "Punctuated Equilibrium" theory of evolution, put forward by Stephen Jay Gould.
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by durangopipe » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:40 pm

tuttle wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:56 am
I'm curious how evolutionists will interpret this and if this study will gain any traction.
Ah, Toth.
I was writing as you were posting!

My post concurred with yours:

Two words - punctuated equilibria.

My comments in this thread are few and far between, but often repeat the same points.

1) Creation science and young earth advocates seems to spend a great deal of time focusing on concerns about the contradictory or incomplete elements in Darwin or other early evolutionary biology and paleontology.

The understanding of the relatively sudden emergence of large numbers of new species at the same (relatively speaking) time has been greatly refined since the dawn of evolutionary theory and paleontology, the quoted article notwithstanding. The issue has been well addressed and the new understandings broadly publicized by writers like Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould. That work has been pushed even farther since the 1970s. But the matter has ceased to be a “glaring inadequacy” in evolutionary theory (if not in Darwin’s original formulation) for some 50 years.

Arguing about Darwin’s inability to reconcile the notion of gradual evolution with the sudden emergence of large numbers of species is like arguing that Newtonian physics fails to account for observed phenomena at extremely high relative rates of speed or on an extremely small scale.

Physics research did not stop with Newton, neither did evolutionary biology become cast in concrete with Darwin.

2) I and others have suggested more then once that contemporary biological science does not necessitate an abandonment of Christian faith. Some of the strongest arguments for the pursuit of knowledge in science, and the reconciliation of canon with the ongoing search for scientific understanding were made by Christian scholars as early in the development of the scientific method and as strong in their faith as Aquinas.

So too, the repudiation of any science that momentarily seems to contradict a particular understanding of canon - the embracing of hermeneutically isolated (in terms of the broader community of Christian biblical scholarship) biblical literalism for example - has long existed in Church and Christian history and has periodically risen and fallen in prominence within various Christian communities since the advent of the scientific method.

Of the two, I would maintain, the former is the Christian tradition most consistent with unshakable faith and the best in historical Christian and biblical scholarship.

American fundamentalism - a fairly recent example of the latter, a tradition that posits an unavoidable crisis of faith if evolutionary biology, consensus geology or paleontology we’re to be accepted as reasonable approaches and understandings of physical realty - would seem to be more a temporal anomaly than representative of the best Christian scholarship and theology can offer.

I’m with Aquinas on this one, and with history of scientific knowledge and progress very often driven forward by men and women of faith.
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by tuttle » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:08 pm

Thanks guys!

I guess I'd be interested in 1) if Punctuated Equilibrium has been considered a valid theory for 50 years, why the reaction by Thaler "This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could" ? Is this study saying something punctuated equilibrium hasn't already said?

and 2) is it safe to assume that Punctuated Equilibrium is a minority position within the scientific community (as opposed to the 'textbook' position of the long slow genetically various evolution of species)? And if so, would something like this study that seems to lend credence to the theory be something that would thrust the theory into more mainstream thinking?
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by durangopipe » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:44 pm

It’s my understanding is that the “slow, gradual” process of continuous and evenly progressing evolution has not been biological consensus for quite some time. There is far too much research and evidence contradicting it.

What Thaler and Stoekle we’re doing (as reported in various popular media in very condensed and simplified reports) was attempting to establish the reliability of using mitochondrial DNA as a means of identifying species, not as the entire picture of genetic evidence of the origins or mechanisms of speciation.

The correlation between their studied, selected and isolated elements of mitochondrial DNA (the so-called “bar code”) and speciation as previously established turned out to be very high, and this technique is very useful for identifying species.

That most of the species currently existing emerged at about the same time is consistent with the theory of punctuated equilibria.

The editorial comments in the article you referenced suggesting cataclysmic events like major asteroid impacts and subsequent mass extinctions are necessary for this to occur was not accurate. Again, reading Gould and/or Eldridge will prove very helpful in understanding this elaboration of evolutionary theory.

But it is important to remember a few things:

The primary aim of this work by Thaler and Stoekle was to establish the degree of reliability of using isolated parts of mitochondrial DNA in order to identify species.

Other things learned include the discovery of information in this limited set of DNA relating to the age of individual species and the fact that at any given time a majority of species in existence appear to have originated during the same epoch.

This is consistent with both the paleontological record and and geological data, and this is why paleontologist are able to identify such epochs in the first place.

At one time, before evolutionary biology caught up with geoscience, this discrete rather than continuos nature of the fossil record was considered an argument against evolutionary theory. Before Eldridge and Gould and their colleagues, Darwin’s worry and the now rendered moot searches for the “missing links” were of great concern to evolutionary biologists and evolution questioning theologians alike.

Another article about this research briefly addresses at least part of your question, Tuttle:
“Ross Pomeroy in Real Clear Science” wrote:Stoeckle and Thaler also found that older species tended to have a greater average difference in mitochondrial DNA. This makes sense, as genetic adaptations tend to accumulate over time, which can lead groups of individuals within a species to diverge into entirely new species. When they do, their mitochondrial DNA is noticeably different.
It would be a mistake to infer from the very condensed article you posted (an inference easy to draw given its greatly condensed form) that once a species becomes differentiated its mitochondrial DNA shows no further changes.

It is also important to remember that isolated elements of mitochondrial DNA chosen and studied for their ability to accurately identify species (and to tell us a few more things about speciation) do not tell us everything about speciation and genetic coding or species history. That would be very much like looking at the mechanical parts of the boiler of a locomotive and asking it to fully explain the invention of locomotives.

The study of historical speciation with information contained in the whole of cellular DNA is only just beginning.
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by Goose55 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:41 pm

I happened upon this old NY Times article, which discusses what is termed the Cambrian Explosion. Quite thought provoking....

excerpt from the article:

"Scientists are not sure what touched off this riotous proliferation of more advanced life forms after three billion years in which life never rose above the rudimentary level of bacteria."

https://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/23/scie ... ation.html
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by tuttle » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:50 am

durangopipe wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:44 pm
It’s my understanding is that the “slow, gradual” process of continuous and evenly progressing evolution has not been biological consensus for quite some time. There is far too much research and evidence contradicting it.

What Thaler and Stoekle we’re doing (as reported in various popular media in very condensed and simplified reports) was attempting to establish the reliability of using mitochondrial DNA as a means of identifying species, not as the entire picture of genetic evidence of the origins or mechanisms of speciation.

The correlation between their studied, selected and isolated elements of mitochondrial DNA (the so-called “bar code”) and speciation as previously established turned out to be very high, and this technique is very useful for identifying species.

That most of the species currently existing emerged at about the same time is consistent with the theory of punctuated equilibria.

The editorial comments in the article you referenced suggesting cataclysmic events like major asteroid impacts and subsequent mass extinctions are necessary for this to occur was not accurate. Again, reading Gould and/or Eldridge will prove very helpful in understanding this elaboration of evolutionary theory.

But it is important to remember a few things:

The primary aim of this work by Thaler and Stoekle was to establish the degree of reliability of using isolated parts of mitochondrial DNA in order to identify species.

Other things learned include the discovery of information in this limited set of DNA relating to the age of individual species and the fact that at any given time a majority of species in existence appear to have originated during the same epoch.

This is consistent with both the paleontological record and and geological data, and this is why paleontologist are able to identify such epochs in the first place.

At one time, before evolutionary biology caught up with geoscience, this discrete rather than continuos nature of the fossil record was considered an argument against evolutionary theory. Before Eldridge and Gould and their colleagues, Darwin’s worry and the now rendered moot searches for the “missing links” were of great concern to evolutionary biologists and evolution questioning theologians alike.

Another article about this research briefly addresses at least part of your question, Tuttle:
“Ross Pomeroy in Real Clear Science” wrote:Stoeckle and Thaler also found that older species tended to have a greater average difference in mitochondrial DNA. This makes sense, as genetic adaptations tend to accumulate over time, which can lead groups of individuals within a species to diverge into entirely new species. When they do, their mitochondrial DNA is noticeably different.
It would be a mistake to infer from the very condensed article you posted (an inference easy to draw given its greatly condensed form) that once a species becomes differentiated its mitochondrial DNA shows no further changes.

It is also important to remember that isolated elements of mitochondrial DNA chosen and studied for their ability to accurately identify species (and to tell us a few more things about speciation) do not tell us everything about speciation and genetic coding or species history. That would be very much like looking at the mechanical parts of the boiler of a locomotive and asking it to fully explain the invention of locomotives.

The study of historical speciation with information contained in the whole of cellular DNA is only just beginning.
Thanks for taking the time. I think reading over what you have to say cleared up more of what I was trying to get at in the OP, in that, it seems like a quandary for evolutionists to fit into their narrative. What you say, though perhaps because of how clear of a thinker/writer you are and how much I like you, seems like a perfectly reasonable approach, and one that I can in no real way confirm is the case among actual biologists but I will take your word for it.

But I still think it rocks what I call the 'narrative' or as C.S. Lewis might say, the "Myth" of evolution and progress. That's not to say I think the biologists are fully correct (I would hope no biologist would assume they are fully correct) as I think they still interpret evidence according to their theory (nothing wrong with that...it's science), but it's no secret that the narrative has to constantly flex and purge in order to continue to be valid.

If what you say, that "the “slow, gradual” process of continuous and evenly progressing evolution has not been biological consensus for quite some time. There is far too much research and evidence contradicting it" is the case among biologists is true, then it's not reached the masses yet. It has not yet penetrated the Myth of the folk. And maybe for that matter, many militant apologists on the front line. That is to say the "slow, gradual" progress is still the instinct. You'll find that thinking even among these boards from just the last few months.

That's more of where I was aiming with this thread (not to say that I had a better understanding of the actual science in view, which you've remedied with much thanks), that it seems to challenge, let's say the conventional wisdom and yet at the same time seemed to say nothing surprising to adherents of creationism.
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by FredS » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:01 am

What you've written, Tuttle, says more about those entrenched (on either "side") that it does about current evolutionary understanding. Those dead set on Darwin's conclusions and those dead set against them are the ones doing gymnastics to make every new discovery fit their theory. Those with a mind more open to new discoveries can fit (most of) this new information in to their worldview without jettisoning their core beliefs.

If you believe there is a Creator, then why not believe He's created us with minds that can work slowly, very slowly, towards a better understanding of the creation? Surely He's not 'worried' about us learning too much. What we know about the theory of everything is like a grain of sand on the beach. The more we know, the more we realize we don't know.
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by tuttle » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:20 am

FredS wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:01 am
What you've written, Tuttle, says more about those entrenched (on either "side") that it does about current evolutionary understanding.
Yes. That's what, in part, durango helped me see and helped me focus my comments toward.
FredS wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:01 am
Those dead set on Darwin's conclusions and those dead set against them are the ones doing gymnastics to make every new discovery fit their theory. Those with a mind more open to new discoveries can fit (most of) this new information in to their worldview without jettisoning their core beliefs.

If you believe there is a Creator, then why not believe He's created us with minds that can work slowly, very slowly, towards a better understanding of the creation? Surely He's not 'worried' about us learning too much. What we know about the theory of everything is like a grain of sand on the beach. The more we know, the more we realize we don't know.
I'm not very troubled if people believe God created via evolution, as it naturally explodes from the outset the narrative/myth I've been known to jibe at a time or two. I certainly don't think that core beliefs have to be jettisoned, though, like anything else, my concern (not an obsessive concern) is that continual adherence to a scientific theory over truth already received can be hazardous.

And I already think God has used nature and religion throughout history to slowly sharpen the focus of our Creator, so I can roll with the idea that our understanding of the creation will come along with the ride. I'm sure that even the most truly wise and knowledgeable people will be amazed at how much they never knew or how wrong they were on certain dearly held subjects.
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by durangopipe » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:36 am

FredS wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:01 am
The more we know, the more we realize we don't know.
Amen, Fred.

Tuttle, forgive me if you are already familiar with the name of this physicist, historian and philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn. But on the off chance that you haven’t been exposed to his work, I feel that mentioning him here is appropriate. Your posts suggest that you have read him, or if not, you’ve been able to create for yourself, through your own understanding, the core of what many consider to be the most important content of his very significant work.

In a book that was very controversial at the time of its release in 1962, Kuhn argued what you repeatedly assert: that a scientist’s training creates a kind of bias that makes it very difficult for him or her to dispassionately examine data. The book was titled, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Subsequently, no conversation about the nature of scientific inquiry can take place without consideration of this work.

Kuhn is responsible for the entering into common conversation about bias and blinders in all human thought the terms “paradigm” and “paradigm shift.”

As an historian as well as a scientist (he began his career as a physicist, but his inclinations and interests quickly led him into the work for which he became famous in the philosophy of science), he wrote a compelling argument for the fact that for scientists as well as others, believers as well as non-believers, “ . . . now we see through a glass, darkly.”

He very carefully takes us on a tour of the history of science, of scientific “certainties” from phlogiston to the ether, and demonstrates the way theory acts as a blinder and also how new theories emerge.

A very constant subtext in the book is the suggestion that, if history is witness, in no time and with no theory should any scientist ever believe that they have arrived at anything resembling absolute certainty or truth.

If you haven’t read the book, I think you would enjoy it immensely - not necessarily because it will expose you to anything you have not already intuited; rather, because I suspect you will find much comfort and scholarly corroboration of what your inquiry has led you to understand about the nature of science in particular and the function of theory in general.

In the end, one word sums up the appropriate stance of all scientists and scholars in the face of all there is to know: humility.

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble, no less for the scientist than for anyone else.
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by tuttle » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:54 am

durangopipe wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:36 am
Tuttle, forgive me if you are already familiar with the name of this physicist, historian and philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn. But on the off chance that you haven’t been exposed to his work, I feel that mentioning him here is appropriate. Your posts suggest that you have read him, or if not, you’ve been able to create for yourself, through your own understanding, the core of what many consider to be the most important content of his very significant work.

In a book that was very controversial at the time of its release in 1962, Kuhn argued what you repeatedly assert: that a scientist’s training creates a kind of bias that makes it very difficult for him or her to dispassionately examine data. The book was titled, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Subsequently, no conversation about the nature of scientific inquiry can take place without consideration of this work.

Kuhn is responsible for the entering into common conversation about bias and blinders in all human thought the terms “paradigm” and “paradigm shift.”

As an historian as well as a scientist (he began his career as a physicist, but his inclinations and interests quickly led him into the work for which he became famous in the philosophy of science), he wrote a compelling argument for the fact that for scientists as well as others, believers as well as non-believers, “ . . . now we see through a glass, darkly.”

He very carefully takes us on a tour of the history of science, of scientific “certainties” from phlogiston to the ether, and demonstrates the way theory acts as a blinder and also how new theories emerge.

A very constant subtext in the book is the suggestion that, if history is witness, in no time and with no theory should any scientist ever believe that they have arrived at anything resembling absolute certainty or truth.

If you haven’t read the book, I think you would enjoy it immensely - not necessarily because it will expose you to anything you have not already intuited; rather, because I suspect you will find much comfort and scholarly corroboration of what your inquiry has led you to understand about the nature of science in particular and the function of theory in general.

In the end, one word sums up the appropriate stance of all scientists and scholars in the face of all there is to know: humility.

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble, no less for the scientist than for anyone else.
I am familiar with the name, but that's it. :wink: I've never read a word he's written, but after your summation it really does sound like a fascinating read.

My guess is that I've developed (discovered, imbibed, maybe?) this type of thinking by way of C.S. Lewis. I don't consciously recall ever picking it up anywhere but, based on what you've said about Kuhn, perhaps I absorbed some of his arguments somewhere? Who knows? I'm bad at this kind of introspection and it makes me sound conceited :lol:

Thanks again for the recommendation!
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by Nature of a Man » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:35 pm

I recall hearing from a philosopher that once animals or living things reach a certain "degree" of evolution, new forms "creatively emerge" - essentially, once forms emerge, the superior ones tend to live, while the inferior ones tend to go extinct, however the whys and hows of the new forms which emerge to begin with are not completely explainable.

I'm not an expert on any of the theories of evolution or creationism discussed above - but I believe this was an attempt to synthesize theories of creationism and evolution.

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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by Goose55 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:40 am

FredS wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:01 am
The more we know, the more we realize we don't know.
I'm with you on that. This feels like the best place to be, intellectually and spiritually.
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by FredS » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:11 am

Goose55 wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:40 am
FredS wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:01 am
The more we know, the more we realize we don't know.
I'm with you on that. This feels like the best place to be, intellectually and spiritually.
Once again, the Desert Fathers speak to us about this.

Once some brothers came to visit [Abba] Antony, and Joseph was with them. Antony, wanting to test them, began to speak about holy Scripture. He asked the younger monks first the meaning of text after text, and each of them answered as well as he could. To each he said, ‘You have not yet found the right answer.’ Then he said to Joseph, ‘What do you think is the meaning of this word?’ He replied, ‘I don’t know.’ Antony said, ‘Indeed Joseph alone has found the true way, for he said he did not know.’
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by FredS » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:45 am

^I don't think the Abba was trying to say there is no truth. Just that it's more complex than we might understand. Even the scripture that many of my fellow Protestants believe is - on it's own - enough to 'live by', is complex. So complex that we're certainly getting some of it wrong.
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by Goose55 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:36 pm

FredS wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:11 am
Goose55 wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:40 am
FredS wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:01 am
The more we know, the more we realize we don't know.
I'm with you on that. This feels like the best place to be, intellectually and spiritually.
Once again, the Desert Fathers speak to us about this.

Once some brothers came to visit [Abba] Antony, and Joseph was with them. Antony, wanting to test them, began to speak about holy Scripture. He asked the younger monks first the meaning of text after text, and each of them answered as well as he could. To each he said, ‘You have not yet found the right answer.’ Then he said to Joseph, ‘What do you think is the meaning of this word?’ He replied, ‘I don’t know.’ Antony said, ‘Indeed Joseph alone has found the true way, for he said he did not know.’
Very much as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said: "The farther I go, the less I know."
"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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FredS
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by FredS » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:57 pm

The late twentieth century American philosopher, Donald Rumsfeld said: “Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know."
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hugodrax
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Re: Sudden/Simultaneous Arrival of 90% of Animal Life

Post by hugodrax » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:58 pm

Goose55 wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:36 pm
FredS wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:11 am
Goose55 wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:40 am
FredS wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:01 am
The more we know, the more we realize we don't know.
I'm with you on that. This feels like the best place to be, intellectually and spiritually.
Once again, the Desert Fathers speak to us about this.

Once some brothers came to visit [Abba] Antony, and Joseph was with them. Antony, wanting to test them, began to speak about holy Scripture. He asked the younger monks first the meaning of text after text, and each of them answered as well as he could. To each he said, ‘You have not yet found the right answer.’ Then he said to Joseph, ‘What do you think is the meaning of this word?’ He replied, ‘I don’t know.’ Antony said, ‘Indeed Joseph alone has found the true way, for he said he did not know.’
Very much as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said: "The farther I go, the less I know."
You could have had some fun there, brother. Looks very much like they're arguing from silence.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

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