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Thread: Divine Engineering Flaw?

  1. #1 Divine Engineering Flaw? 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    I recently touched upon this subject in the History section of the forum. The possibility that we carry a gene that makes us all prone to violence has some religious implications I would think, especially for creationists. If God created us then he definitely genetically engineered us. If we do possess a violence gene then I have to ask why in the name of God did He include it as a part of our make up. Apparently this gene, MAOA for short, has a higher propensity for becoming active in abused children but that is secondary. Primarily, the fact that a violence gene even remotely exists has to make one wonder just why it's there in the first place.

    Thou shalt not kill, nice words, nice rule, but how can humans honestly be expected to adhere to it if were all endowed with the mechanism that may cause us to become killers. I can only think that if there is a creator then the gene was intentionally inserted. God, if He exists, has thrown the proverbial monkey wrench into the human genome. Once the gene is triggered do we have control, are we still responsible?

    How does one choose not to kill when killing & violence are genetically implanted within our very being? How do we change the program God wanted? Some will say we still have to choose our actions but I how difficult is it if we have violence wired into our hard drive?

    Does God expect us to overcome His design peculiarities? If the violence gene is real, or if there are more, will it be more of direct evidence of God or of evolution?


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    creationists will say god put it there to test us all, like they do with disease and everything else that flaws their beliefs


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by captaincaveman
    creationists will say god put it there to test us all, like they do with disease and everything else that flaws their beliefs
    I think the argument would be more along the lines of the mind, how we use it or how do we decide. We've talked about choices before and undoubtedly whatever we choose reflects our personalities.Or is there something more to it?

    What may really be happening is that science is once again infringing upon faith. It's poking its nose into areas unthought of in previous times and delving into the mind of God. Regardless, we appear to be equipped with the mechanism for violence. It appears so for now, but I think this will eventually be proven to be true. If there is an aging gene or one for anything else then why not a violence gene? Is violence or the ability to commit heinous acts in the very blueprint of God's design for mankind? If so, why?
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    I dunno. It just seems strange to me that you would blame a God you don't believe in for designing a flaw that you don't seem to think really exists.

    If evolution is one of the methods used by God in the process of populating the earth, one of the most basic instincts of all animals is the instinct for self preservation. Quite possibly this instinct could motivate untoward behavior.

    In the alternative, I think most religious people of a Christian nature would suggest that God's original creation was perfect but that it has become perverted.
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    Daytonturner wrote
    In the alternative, I think most religious people of a Christian nature would suggest that God's original creation was perfect but that it has become perverted.
    Please explain more about the characteristic of Perfect Creation. Does it eat, shit, copulate, perspire etc.? And with makes it become perverted?
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    I think they would blame devolution.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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  8. #7  
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    Lions have genes to kill anything that moves, if they attack the wrong prey they can modify their behaviour to be wary in future, if we have a gene to kill why is it so surprising? we can control it and use it only when appropriate.
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    Violence does not equal to killing, and in fact, is there is a gene is for "aggression", not violence. Agression serve a purpose of keep the specie and also help in fligh or fight situations. That's totally different for a "killer gene".
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  10. #9 Re: Divine Engineering Flaw? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I recently touched upon this subject in the History section of the forum. The possibility that we carry a gene that makes us all prone to violence has some religious implications I would think, especially for creationists. If God created us then he definitely genetically engineered us. If we do possess a violence gene then I have to ask why in the name of God did He include it as a part of our make up. Apparently this gene, MAOA for short, has a higher propensity for becoming active in abused children but that is secondary. Primarily, the fact that a violence gene even remotely exists has to make one wonder just why it's there in the first place.

    Thou shalt not kill, nice words, nice rule, but how can humans honestly be expected to adhere to it if were all endowed with the mechanism that may cause us to become killers. I can only think that if there is a creator then the gene was intentionally inserted. God, if He exists, has thrown the proverbial monkey wrench into the human genome. Once the gene is triggered do we have control, are we still responsible?

    How does one choose not to kill when killing & violence are genetically implanted within our very being? How do we change the program God wanted? Some will say we still have to choose our actions but I how difficult is it if we have violence wired into our hard drive?

    Does God expect us to overcome His design peculiarities? If the violence gene is real, or if there are more, will it be more of direct evidence of God or of evolution?
    Are you asking whether or not we have this gene, or are you saying we have this gene and God is the bad guy?
    Please make yourself clear.

    Jan.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I dunno. It just seems strange to me that you would blame a God you don't believe in for designing a flaw that you don't seem to think really exists.
    Is not the religion section the place to explore the logical inconsistencies in the religious point of view? In any case, it hardly seems strange to me that an atheist would indulge in another thread to poke fun at religion, when that seems to seems to be a dominant theme of many threads in this section.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    In the alternative, I think most religious people of a Christian nature would suggest that God's original creation was perfect but that it has become perverted.
    Well I am at least one religious person "of a Christian nature" who would not suggest any such thing. The problem with the idea of "perfect creation" is that this implies design. But the only design that I believe in regards to God's creation of living things can only be found in the creation of the nature of life itself. Furthermore, it must be understood that perfection relates to a specific purpose, and what some people may interpret as a bug could easily be a feature according to the creator.

    God designed this universe to make it possible for a process we call life to occur. This life process is a perfect creation of God only because it perfectly fulfills God's purpose in creating it. It does, however, have what look like some serious flaws in its nature, namely the possibilities for disobedience and evil. But these are features neccessary to God's purpose.

    Man, however, as living being is not the product of design, but a product of this process of life, in which God could only act as a participant, and which science describes as evolution. However, by whatever the process may have been, all Christians do believe that God looked upon the result and gave His approval by saying "it was very good". Therefore, Christianity most certainly affirms that man represents an accomplishment of God's objective in the creation of the world and is therefore "perfect" in regards to that purpose. But I believe that it would be a mistake to extend this idea of "perfection" to ideas connected with design.

    Man is capable of many things and violence is only a possibility which is a natural result of our free potential. Clearly our violence is not as "hardwired" into us as much as it is for the lions, for even if our violence has biological components, we are primarily (or at least potentially) mental beings, controlled primarily by our choices and mental contructs like beliefs and habits. However, Christianity also recognizes that there is some fragility in the higher potentialities of mankind, which some habits are very capable of destroying and imposing limits on. The mental life and awareness of mankind is not uniform but depend greatly upon the habits of our individual lives.
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    Mitchell: I really thought my tongue was sticking so far out of my cheek on that first comment that it would be obvious. But thanks for your clarification. The strangeness to me is that atheists continue to use this laughable, irrational, silly tactic to poke fun at religion.

    As to the other, my starting point Mitchell is that neither of us is ever going to be convicted of being main-stream strict conservative fundamentalist Christians although I may run a little closer to that than you.

    That does not, however, mean that we do not understand the basic conservative fundamentalist line.

    The Biblical creation story involving the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve and the original sin are, at the very least, significant of something in human development and learning.

    What we find there at the start is that the Garden was, apparently, free of disease and conflict. Now whether that is a picture of the entire Earth at that time is not clear. Or it could have been a small place on Earth where God carefully guarded the environment.

    Then we have the story of the eating of the forbidden fruit of which Adam and Eve had been told that in the day they ate thereof, they would surely die.

    Fundamentalist Christian seem to think this means Adam and Eve were created as eternal beings who screwed up and became mortal and, as a result, we all die.

    That, to me, is not what the story is about at all. I think it represents a transition of early humanity from simplistic animals who, like almost all other animals today, were unaware of their mortality transitioning into animals who recognized that they were mortal. I also suggest that this story (after which they donned fig leaves) represents an emerging development of a moral code which we find becoming evident. As the story rolls on, we find that murder of another human is not a productive behavior, certainly a basic moral premise of almost all societies.

    I do not find this at all in conflict with what you commented. While I do believe in a God with whom it is possible to have a personal one-on-one relationship, I also believe much of what happens on earth is the result of "controlled randomness." By that I suggest that randomness can occur only within certain predefined perameters.

    What I would say as to the original question is that if mankind is embued with a gene which permits us to exercise violent behavior (Able and Cain), it was present from the beginning and must have had a purpose and was not a "design flaw."

    Throughout nature we find most animals capable of violence although we seldom see other animals exercising this capacity in random, useless endeavors. However, try to explain that to the impala that some lion just killed and ate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Mitchell: I really thought my tongue was sticking so far out of my cheek on that first comment that it would be obvious. But thanks for your clarification. The strangeness to me is that atheists continue to use this laughable, irrational, silly tactic to poke fun at religion.
    Well I do believe that all human beings are creatures of habit, and that it is a rare event (even to being called a miracle) when we break from those habits.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    As to the other, my starting point Mitchell is that neither of us is ever going to be convicted of being main-stream strict conservative fundamentalist Christians although I may run a little closer to that than you.
    Ah well yes, I must certainly confess to that. For while I have some appreciation for fundamentalist Christianity as an important part of the body of Christ, I do realize that I most certainly fail to qualify as being a part of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    That does not, however, mean that we do not understand the basic conservative fundamentalist line.
    Yeah.. I cannot fault your explication of this aspect of Christianity, and I find your personal take on things interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    That, to me, is not what the story is about at all. I think it represents a transition of early humanity from simplistic animals who, like almost all other animals today, were unaware of their mortality transitioning into animals who recognized that they were mortal. I also suggest that this story (after which they donned fig leaves) represents an emerging development of a moral code which we find becoming evident. As the story rolls on, we find that murder of another human is not a productive behavior, certainly a basic moral premise of almost all societies.
    Well I see the story more in terms of a spiritual purpose than just and objective description like this. Furthermore I do not think that the fall of man is responsible for their human awareness. I attribute that to the relationship which they shared with God before the fall. The serpent's lies were a distortion of the truth and the awareness gained by disobedience was one full of all the delusions and self-justifications which have plagued mankind ever since, manifesting mankind's "utter depravity" as the Calvinists call it. I do not ascribe to the doctrine that the fall of man was a necessary part of human development. The awareness of death that this disobedience brought was poisoned by a fear of death which was not neccessary.

    Therefore, I see the more important meaning of the death, brought by the disobedience (and refusal to responsible for that disobedience) of Adam and Eve, to be the loss of eternal spiritual life, for that is what our Lord Jesus restored in His atonement for the sin of Adam.
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    Since the original question seemed to be oriented toward the literal and physical aspects of creation, I did not delve into the the spiritual aspects which Mitchell has brought forth. But I, too, see considerable spirtitual significance in the parts of this story which deal with the relationship between man and God.

    It does not seem likely that atheists are going to see, accept, or pay any attention to the spiritual applications of the Biblical account. What these stories may represent as a pure picture of human development may be, however, remotely palatable.

    I am still, however, left to wonder about the physical death of Adam and Eve (or what they may represent). Had they not eaten of the forbidden fruit, would they have experienced an eternal physical existence? And would all subsequent humans share in that eternal physical life? And what are the implications of eternal physical existence?

    If they were, from the start, doomed to the same physical death that we all eventually experience, the the story's significance is predominantly
    spiritual along the line Mitchell has expressed.

    A lot depends on whether you view Adam and Eve literally as represented in the Genesis or if you view them as a stage in the process of early humans becoming modern humans.

    Of course, it is always easier to just call it a myth and not consider any of its implications.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Of course, it is always easier to just call it a myth and not consider any of its implications.
    I do call it a myth, but a myth is often based on historical truth and the question in this case is not whether the first chapters of Genesis is a myth but how much truth and what kind of truth there is in it. I call it a myth because it seems clear me and to any student of literature that the writing and story has all the elements and character of a myth. Most Christians, no matter how much historical accuracy they see in the story do not believe that Adam and Eve were deceived by a talking snake like the one in Walt Disney's animation of Robin Hood. They believe that this ancient serpent is the devil and Satan, and most believe that he was once the angel Lucifer who was thrown down from heaven.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I am still, however, left to wonder about the physical death of Adam and Eve (or what they may represent). Had they not eaten of the forbidden fruit, would they have experienced an eternal physical existence? And would all subsequent humans share in that eternal physical life? And what are the implications of eternal physical existence?

    If they were, from the start, doomed to the same physical death that we all eventually experience, the the story's significance is predominantly
    spiritual along the line Mitchell has expressed.
    If we are to take science seriously and not imagine some conspiracy on the part of man or God to manifacture false evidence, then the archeological record makes it clear than the human race is a part of a continuous process of the development of life on this planet where each generation gives birth to a new generation and passes away.

    If the story in Genesis suggests that death is the result of the disobedience of man it also suggests that rather than being a transformation of Adam and Eve from immortal to mortal, eternal life was only a possibility that was withdrawn as a consequence. Genesis 3:22-24, "And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever, ... He drove out the man and He placed a cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every which way to guard the way to the tree of life." In other words, mythic elements aside, this indicates that Adam and Eve were created mortal, but that God originally allowed them the possibility of imortality. Now I personally don't think that this was a physical immortality, but there is room for disagreement on this within Christianity.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    A lot depends on whether you view Adam and Eve literally as represented in the Genesis or if you view them as a stage in the process of early humans becoming modern humans.
    Well there is a substantial division on this among theistic evolutionists or evolutionary creationsts or whatever you want to call them. However, I think it gives science too much credit and puts too little faith in scripture to give such an interpretation as you suggest. Science and scripture have two very different purposes and ways of accessing the truth. Science cannot reconstruct the lives of every individual who lived six thousand (or more) years ago, and the first chapters of Genesis is clearly not a scientific description of the begining of the world. Science can only speak about events six thousand years or more ago in terms of vast generalities. Sure, I think we can conclude that Adam and Eve were not the only members of their biological species on the planet, but I see no reason at all to replace the first chapters in Genesis with chapters from a science text book. There is simply nothing in science that can contradict this story of two specific individuals adopted and raised by God as His children. Furthermore the story as it is plays an essential theological role in explaining the origin of the evil and sin, and therefore why man is in need of salvation.
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  16. #15 Re: Divine Engineering Flaw? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by jan ardena
    Are you asking whether or not we have this gene, or are you saying we have this gene and God is the bad guy?
    Please make yourself clear.

    Jan.
    There are those who claim we all carry a violence gene. 100% proven? Not yet but evidence is pointing that way. All I'm saying is if such a gene exists then God put it there. It's not that God is a bad guy but it might be that his believers are not prone to giving Him credit for some of our bad traits. Traits that are a part of the human genome. Violence may be a built in feature for every model of human.

    A perfect God should be producing perfect creations. We are a creation last time I checked. So what if we are programmed to kill when required, God must have planned it that way. I don't see how we can be anything but perfect if we are a creation of the Almighty. In fact, why should anything be imperfect?

    He must have built us with a least a potential to kill built in. Science will probably prove the existence of a violence gene in the future. I don't think a believer should get upset about it if they do. Instead, ask why is it there?

    I started a thread a way back asking if there was anything God can't do. I am not convinced God could ever become human and now I'm pretty sure He can't create the perfect human. I think the evidence is pretty clear because He's had a couple of whacks at it but nothing ever changes. Either we are perfect or God can't make us perfect. Either way we are totally blameless and any god worth His salt cannot hold any of us accountable for our actions. He made us this way, his recipe, his blueprint.......is it his success or his failure?
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  17. #16 Re: Divine Engineering Flaw? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I recently touched upon this subject in the History section of the forum. The possibility that we carry a gene that makes us all prone to violence has some religious implications I would think, especially for creationists. If God created us then he definitely genetically engineered us. If we do possess a violence gene then I have to ask why in the name of God did He include it as a part of our make up. Apparently this gene, MAOA for short, has a higher propensity for becoming active in abused children but that is secondary. Primarily, the fact that a violence gene even remotely exists has to make one wonder just why it's there in the first place.

    Thou shalt not kill, nice words, nice rule, but how can humans honestly be expected to adhere to it if were all endowed with the mechanism that may cause us to become killers. I can only think that if there is a creator then the gene was intentionally inserted. God, if He exists, has thrown the proverbial monkey wrench into the human genome. Once the gene is triggered do we have control, are we still responsible?

    How does one choose not to kill when killing & violence are genetically implanted within our very being? How do we change the program God wanted? Some will say we still have to choose our actions but I how difficult is it if we have violence wired into our hard drive?

    Does God expect us to overcome His design peculiarities? If the violence gene is real, or if there are more, will it be more of direct evidence of God or of evolution?
    Im not a religious man, but i do believe i have some credibility on the subject.

    If god created us, i dont believe that there would be any flaw. our lack of ability to understand why a god/creator would place a "violence gene" in us does not make it a flaw. Who knows, it could be a test, you know, overcome the natural human instincts, the same old stint you see in just about every religion.

    With the assumption that there is a god, everything that the god would do and did would be absolute and correct. a god cannot commit an infalliable act as the god defines what is infalliable. im not sure infalliable is the word im looking for. is that even a word?
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    I think the one thing that you are overlooking is that if there is a violence gene in us was it divinely placed or humanly imposed? it has been proven that mankind has risen to high technology before and destroyed it all and started anew. What if what you are seeing is a direct result of our predecessors tampering with our genetic code from another apex technological time. What if its the reason we keep repeating a cycle? rise prosper decline violent overthrow restart. I think you weed out mans own hand in his genetic evolution too easily. Thinking is what made us different surely in 2 million years time we were smart enough to figure out how to do this, figure out how to blow it all to pieces and then figure out how to reach this point again. If you discount the human factor than how can you even begin to contemplate us being perfect creations? We were created to think about this.
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    The literature that I have seen suggested that violence is learned, and that people are not naturally violent.

    In fact, armies have had to work to teach people to kill as many people will not kill even when the other side is shooting at them.

    My recollection is that this is discussed in: "Why they Kill . . ." by Richard Rhodes, and "The Psychology of War" by LeShan.

    Even if there are genes that predispose some people to violence, genetic factors can be over come.

    It may be that if a person chooses to engage in regular religious practice or altruism, violent tendencies could be suppressed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    In fact, armies have had to work to teach people to kill as many people will not kill even when the other side is shooting at them.
    There was a series of studies headed by SL Marshall during WWII that reveals most fighting positions that had been overrun during the battle of the bulge had most of their ammunition left and were at better than 80% fighting strength. One of the major obstacles was a combination of paralyzing fear and complete unwillingness to shoot at another man. As a result of the study the US Army (and marines) changed many of their training programs. Recruits fired at actual silhouettes instead of target bullseye, they bayoneted wood and rubber figures of man instead of plywood rectangles etc. All this was to overcome our society's aversion to killing. The best book about the subject is "Men Against Fire," by Marshall.

    As it turns out many of have altruistic genes as well, something that probably helped us be successful social animals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    In fact, armies have had to work to teach people to kill as many people will not kill even when the other side is shooting at them.
    There was a series of studies headed by SL Marshall during WWII that reveals most fighting positions that had been overrun during the battle of the bulge had most of their ammunition left and were at better than 80% fighting strength. One of the major obstacles was a combination of paralyzing fear and complete unwillingness to shoot at another man. As a result of the study the US Army (and marines) changed many of their training programs. Recruits fired at actual silhouettes instead of target bullseye, they bayoneted wood and rubber figures of man instead of plywood rectangles etc. All this was to overcome our society's aversion to killing. The best book about the subject is "Men Against Fire," by Marshall.

    As it turns out many of have altruistic genes as well, something that probably helped us be successful social animals.
    That is interesting Lynx. I wonder how Patton was able to make his forces so effective. It seems that violence is mostly something that is learned through either a deliberate method, such as military training, or from self perpetuating social norms. Staub thought that corporal punishment as a child may make people more likely to follow a violent leader. I wonder if it is possible to decrease the predisposition of a society to engage in war or group violence by targeting some of these social norms. Or it may be possible to counter them by promoting some "collective altruism" that could crowd out negative norms the way healthy grass crowds out weeds in a lawn.
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    If God has genetically predisposed us to overcome the aversion of killing another human being then why did He incorporate it into the design? There can be only one answer.... God knows we have to kill each other at some point. This flies in the face of the do not kill commandment. It's divine doublespeak at its best. It may be argued that opponents of God are able to redesign us at their whim and make it so we do kill. If so then it isn't our fault either way. If so then God's design obviously permits altering by outside agencies which makes things what...less than perfect?
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    There can be only one answer....
    It is very rare that there is "only one answer" to anything. God gave people free will. If we choose violence, then violence comes back to us, usually at a later date that cannot be predicted.

    However, until the day comes that we do destroy each other, we have the opportunity to change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    There can be only one answer....
    It is very rare that there is "only one answer" to anything. God gave people free will. If we choose violence, then violence comes back to us, usually at a later date that cannot be predicted.
    If we choose violence and like a machine, we have not been hard wired for it, then how do we even know to choose it?

    However, until the day comes that we do destroy each other, we have the opportunity to change.
    Does not compute. What are we going to do, kill each other with love?
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    But I think the preponderance of the evidence is that we are not hard wired for violence. Violence is learned.

    Lets say that war is the result of some "unknown process" that builds up over time to some sort of critical mass. At some point, the stress is released and a war results that can be large or small.

    Now if we knew what the process was, then we might be able to inhibit it a couple different ways.

    First, if specific behaviors or social norms contributed to the process then those behaviors could be exposed and discouraged.

    Second, you might be able to inhibit the process by encouraging a "counter variable". For example, war casualties vs. war frequency follows a distribution called a power law.

    Another power law system is the "forest fire model". In this model, fuel builds up in the forest until a lightning strike starts a fire. You can inhibit fires by:

    1. Preventing lightning strikes. However, this will result in a much bigger fire down the road.
    2. Reduce the rate of fuel accumulation.
    3. Increase moisture.

    So you might be able to inhibit war by reducing the fuel, (specific violent acts thought to contribute to a predisposition to war if such acts could be isolated.)
    Or you might be able to inhibit war by increasing moisture, or encouraging some sort of collective altruism. The second choice might have a double effect because people who are engaging in altruism might have less time to be violent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    But I think the preponderance of the evidence is that we are not hard wired for violence. Violence is learned.
    My apologies...actually I should have said genetically inclined. This is what the thread's about.

    The violent gene is a big IF for me but it appears there is a chance one may exist in all of us. Now if the gene exists and we are created by God then built-in violence is integral to the perfection of the divinely manufactured human being. Why would a person who believes God cannot create anything imperfect argue against that? I agree God should not be capable of a mistake.

    The lioness brings her cubs a live gazelle to practice killing. She has to teach them the art. This you believe is synonymous to human behavior? The lion was created around the same time as man according to some religions. How did the first lion learn to kill?
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    O.K.

    I reread the original question. Of course I don't know the answer and can only speculate. I think the weight of evidence is that for most people, violence is learned. However, I will accept your premise that for some people, there may be a genetic predisposition to become violent after abuse. So the question is: "How can God judge people who are predisposed to sin because of their genetic makeup?"

    I would submit that God takes all of this into account. His judgment involves mercy that is probably way beyond our understanding. For example, Christians believe that Jesus can help free people from attachment to sin. Although this is not a simple black and white thing, my own experience is that time spent with God (Jesus) through prayer and reading the Bible directly effects ability to resist temptation. It definitely works. So if God gives us the means to overcome even genetic predisposition.

    Also, there are many mysteries of creation that we will not fully understand. There is nothing wrong with trying to figure them out. Once I had a real problem with an aspect of theology regarding God's ability to "see the future" and how this could coexist with "free will". To me, the two concepts seemed mutually exclusive. This bothered me a lot and I was wondering if we were all following some sort of preordained script. Two things happened to me "coincidentally" about this time. The first was just a thought that basically said: "Would you create a society like that (following a script)?" Second, I was in a religious bookstore and I just happened to pick up a work of religious fiction that dealt with this exact problem and explained a possible solution.

    So, I will say that in general, if a person seeks God, and has a problem with some aspect of theology, then the person should not be surprised if the answer just coincidentally appears just when they need it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    O.K.
    So the question is: "How can God judge people who are predisposed to sin because of their genetic makeup?"

    I would submit that God takes all of this into account. His judgment involves mercy that is probably way beyond our understanding.
    There can be no judgment if God takes all this into account. If God genetically engineered a violent person then God can only judge Himself. Humans are blameless, just as a car is blameless when it runs over someone.

    I suppose you believe you do not carry such a gene. If so then you can only be a victim of violence. You will not defend your life or those whom you love dearly? Why would God predispose only some to violence? Even Christ lashed out at the bad guys in the market.

    I'd still like to know how the first predators ever created by God learned violence. You know the answer but can't say it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    O.K.
    So the question is: "How can God judge people who are predisposed to sin because of their genetic makeup?"

    I would submit that God takes all of this into account. His judgment involves mercy that is probably way beyond our understanding.
    There can be no judgment if God takes all this into account. If God genetically engineered a violent person then God can only judge Himself. Humans are blameless, just as a car is blameless when it runs over someone.

    I suppose you believe you do not carry such a gene. If so then you can only be a victim of violence. You will not defend your life or those whom you love dearly? Why would God predispose only some to violence? Even Christ lashed out at the bad guys in the market.

    I'd still like to know how the first predators ever created by God learned violence. You know the answer but can't say it?
    I don't know the answer. However, your post makes me wonder if there is a "violent gene" that is gradually fading away because of evolution. Maybe such a gene was helpful in the cave man days.

    I have no way of knowing if I have such a gene or not. I think that I would defend myself or another if forced to. If anything, I fear using inappropriate or excessive force in such a situation more than not responding at all. That is not a hard thing to do without proper training. That is why I don't carry weapons even though it is legal to do so in my state.

    I disagree with your reducing God's judgment to an "either / or" scenario. For me, I just accept that there are some things that I just don't understand. There can be alternatives that I just don't see.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    For me, I just accept that there are some things that I just don't understand. There can be alternatives that I just don't see.
    When your beliefs are contradicted or if it appears that something is wrong with the belief then it is customary to claim a lack of understanding, especially when God is involved. That's basically the difference between theist-atheist. Wouldn't it be much easier to just believe and not claim to really know anything about that which you believe in?
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    For me, I just accept that there are some things that I just don't understand. There can be alternatives that I just don't see.
    When your beliefs are contradicted or if it appears that something is wrong with the belief then it is customary to claim a lack of understanding, especially when God is involved. That's basically the difference between theist-atheist. Wouldn't it be much easier to just believe and not claim to really know anything about that which you believe in?
    I don't see where you have contradicted any of my beliefs. I just don't see a problem with the idea that you could have a particular gene and that there could be some judgment by God.

    Do you believe that there should be no judgment anywhere because a gene might effect the behavior of someone in some undefined way. Then we would have no standards at work, in public places, etc. There would be no laws. I just don't see the conflict.

    A simple explanation is that if a person accepts God, then the presence of God in a person's life can help overcome even genetic tendencies. My experience with religious practice confirms this, at least for me.

    I think the main difference between theists and atheists seems to be one of "perception". The theists see God in a myriad of areas while the atheists do not see God in similar circumstances. Are the theists imagining something, or do the theists see something that the atheists cannot see. That is the question.

    From my own experience, and what I have heard from others, a dramatic "change in perception" can occur very quickly from one of two methods:
    1. A change in perception can come if a person seeks God.
    2. A change in perception can come from the intercession (prayers) of another person.

    I included the second method after I heard a story about this French physician who was an atheist activist who amazingly was married to a devout Catholic lady. The lady prayed throughout her marriage for the conversion of her husband. On her death bed, she related to her husband that not only would he be converted, he would enter a religious profession ( I think she saw that he would become some sort of priest or Benedictine monk). The prediction came true. Unfortunately, I don't have the reference handy. It was on a religious CD. If I can find it, I will add it.
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    I don't see where you have contradicted any of my beliefs.
    Never said I did.

    Let's try and figure out just how the first predators of their kind learned to kill. Obviously, since they were created, there were no parents to learn from. One of two things had to have happened. Either the creator taught them or pre-programmed them to kill. Clear to me that God fully intended for violence to occur. So I don't think having a violence gene would be all too surprising. Logically speaking, a God who apparently prefers non violent behavior wouldn't go around creating violent creatures......agreed?
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I don't see where you have contradicted any of my beliefs.
    Never said I did.

    Let's try and figure out just how the first predators of their kind learned to kill. Obviously, since they were created, there were no parents to learn from. One of two things had to have happened. Either the creator taught them or pre-programmed them to kill. Clear to me that God fully intended for violence to occur. So I don't think having a violence gene would be all too surprising. Logically speaking, a God who apparently prefers non violent behavior wouldn't go around creating violent creatures......agreed?
    I don't think you can go that far. It may be that to create an ecosystem that works you need to have predators and prey. So I don't think you can say that if God wants people not to kill each other then He also would not want animals to be carnivores. People and animals are different.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    I don't think you can go that far. It may be that to create an ecosystem that works you need to have predators and prey. So I don't think you can say that if God wants people not to kill each other then He also would not want animals to be carnivores. People and animals are different.
    I have argued in the past with creationist who claim that violence never existed until the original sin was committed. It's some of the same people who claim dinosaurs frolicked with humans and that those big meat eating thunder lizards, the one's with rows of 9" serrated incisors, supposedly munched on vegetation prior to original sin. You say animals and humans are different suggesting to me at least that you may believe we humans affect the flora and fauna of the world simply by disobeying God. Do you adhere to this philosophy and distorted paleontology?
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    I don't think you can go that far. It may be that to create an ecosystem that works you need to have predators and prey. So I don't think you can say that if God wants people not to kill each other then He also would not want animals to be carnivores. People and animals are different.
    I have argued in the past with creationist who claim that violence never existed until the original sin was committed. It's some of the same people who claim dinosaurs frolicked with humans and that those big meat eating thunder lizards, the one's with rows of 9" serrated incisors, supposedly munched on vegetation prior to original sin. You say animals and humans are different suggesting to me at least that you may believe we humans affect the flora and fauna of the world simply by disobeying God. Do you adhere to this philosophy and distorted paleontology?
    I would say that the claims of these creationists has no basis in theology, or science, that I am aware of. Of course we affect the flora and fauna whether we obey God or not. I do not agree with people who say we frolicked with dinosaurs, unless that happens in a theme park.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Of course we affect the flora and fauna whether we obey God or not.
    Just like to make sure you what you mean by that. Is it God does not let our behavior towards Him influence His ability to change the landscape? or does it mean that our disobedience will cause a divinely inspired environmental change?
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; October 30th, 2011 at 10:55 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Of course we affect the flora and fauna whether we obey God or not.
    Just like to make sure you what you mean by that. Is it God does not let our behavior towards Him influence His ability to change the landscape? or does it mean that our disobedience will cause a divinely inspired environmental change?
    I don't know the answer as to whether certain environmental changes occur because of "disobedience". However, in general I would say probably not. I think for the most part, when bad things happen, including untoward changes in the environment (global warming etc.) it is because of man's action, not God's action. Of course this is my opinion and maybe a theology scholar like Mitchell would know more. If anything, I would say the most likely explanation is that God provided numerous warnings about avoiding a calamity, and we refused to listen because we refused God. This applies to environmental issues and personal issues in the life of the individual.
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    [QUOTE=dedo;290593]
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I don't know the answer as to whether certain environmental changes occur because of "disobedience".
    What about Noah & flooding?

    Anyway, we're drifting off topic. God can be quite a violent guy so it wouldn't be surprising for Him to incorporate that same characteristic into His creations. I haven't seen you blame Satan for man's violent side, why is that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post

    What about Noah & flooding?

    Anyway, we're drifting off topic. God can be quite a violent guy so it wouldn't be surprising for Him to incorporate that same characteristic into His creations. I haven't seen you blame Satan for man's violent side, why is that?
    In general, I don't see the point in trying to blame God for untoward weather. I don't see the point in trying to blame Satan for violence. To me, that seems like a way to avoid responsibility for our own actions. If there are nonviolent individuals and peaceful societies in the world that are war resistant, then we know it is possible for the rest of us to be nonviolent.

    Blaming Satan seems like away to dodge responsibility and stop looking for the answer.
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    If God has all the credit then He has all the blame. If God has engineered us with a violent gene then He is responsible for all the violence ever committed by man. How simple could it have been for God to make us the most peaceful creatures in the universe?

    Do you consider hunting and killing for food as violent behavior?
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    If God has all the credit then He has all the blame. If God has engineered us with a violent gene then He is responsible for all the violence ever committed by man. How simple could it have been for God to make us the most peaceful creatures in the universe?

    Do you consider hunting and killing for food as violent behavior?
    The weight of the evidence is that violence is a learned behavior, not a genetic trait. If there is some effect among a small number of people, that does not mean that the "violent gene" is a controlling factor. Modern legal systems do not create exemptions for genes. I don't understand why you would say that the presence of a gene completely mitigates all responsibility.

    Of course hunting is violent. I think you mean: "Is hunting evil?" I don't know the answer to that. I am not a vegetarian, so it would be pretty hippocritical for me to say all hunting is evil. However, I don't hunt. In general, I think all forms of animal cruelty are evil and potentially destabilizing to the planet. I don't know where to draw the line but we need to draw a line somewhere. I think whaling and murder of dolphins is evil. Skinning of dogs alive without anesthesia is pure evil.
    There is a vegetarian activist named Tuttle that is pushing the argument that animal cruelty can transfer over to cruelty against people and be causally related to group violence and war. It is an interesting argument.

    Creating a world of "peaceful creatures" may not be possible in the presence of free will. There is a movie about time travel where this guy travels into the future and helps people who are being eaten by monsters that live underground. The people had evolved completely away from violence to the point that they could not even defend themselves. It would not be wise to be so helpless if we live in a universe that is based on free will where some beings can choose to be evil and violent.

    From my experience, God's "judgement" is full of mercy, not condemnation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Creating a world of "peaceful creatures" may not be possible in the presence of free will
    Is that what we are? Peaceful creatures without the free will. Interesting......The violence gene could just as easily be called the free will gene.
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  43. #42 Same song, six zillion and fifty-second verse. 
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    The simplest answer is God designed man correctly and with great generosity. Man has the ability to make decisions based on intellect and not just basic appetite or shallow desire.

    Of course, one of the earliest decisions man made was to reject God's authority and make decisions more or less like lower animals, based on basic appetite or shallow desire.

    zinjanthropos, you echo the oldest and lamest excuse for bad behavior in the history of the Earth - possibly the Universe: "It's God's fault! He made me this way!"

    Nope. God made mankind perfect and mankind decided not to be perfect. You have only yourself and your genetic forebears to blame. You might be able to blame your forebears for a tendency to gain weight or bad vision, but any disastrous choices are yours and yours alone.

    Yes. Hunting and killing for food are violent. They too are results of man's choice to ignore God.
    The universe is a real place. However, you can't see it, you have to imagine it. Like it or not, God designed, built and sustains the Universe. Deal with it.
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