objectivity is not dead

Paul Arveson (arveson@oasys.dt.navy.mil)
Thu, 3 Jul 1997 09:13:49 -0500

Bob deHaan wrote (re. Glenn Morton):
>>Let me add to these comments a ton of thanks for the service you have done
>>for us all with your research on how human the fossil humans really were. It
>>has been like attending an ongoing seminar on the humanity of early humans.
>> There is no way I could have mustered all the references that you have given
>>us. Thanks much.
>My pleasure. Whatever position someone takes, I simply want the
>observational data to be correct. While we all have our biases, and
>preferred positions, we still must live in the world as it exists,
>not as we wish it to exist.
>Foundation, Fall and Flood

I would like to add my thanks also to Glenn for his efforts. Glenn has
raised the concordist approach to Genesis to a new high level, and his
refreshing scientific attitude is exemplified by the brief comment above,
which affirms (in my words) that objectivity is not dead. Personally, I am
convinced that a concordist approach is completely satisfactory with
respect to Genesis 1 (which deals with everything, not just
paleoanthropology), but my criterion for truth is the same as Glenn's.
It is an indictment of the condition of the American evangelical mind that
his work is not more widely known or accepted for publication.

We may be as orthodox and zealous as we wish, but Christ never expected us
to turn our faith into a blind dogma or ideology. "Why do you not
judge for yourselves what is right?"

In this vein I would like to reiterate an excerpt from Augustine's 'The
Literal Meaning of Genesis', Book I, Ch. 19 [tr. J. H. Taylor, S.J., Newman
Press, NY]
(written c. 390 AD):

"Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the
heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit
of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the
predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the
seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this
knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it
is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian,
presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these
topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing
situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh
it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is
derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our
sacred writers held such opinions, and to the great loss of those for whose
salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected
as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they
themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about
our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning
the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kindgdom of
heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which
they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?
Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble
and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their
mischevious false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound
by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly
foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy
Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they
think support their position, although they 'understand neither what they
say nor the things about which they make assertion'.

Paul Arveson, Code 724, Signatures Directorate, NSWC
arveson@oasys.dt.navy.mil bridges@his.com
(301) 227-3831 (301) 227-4511 (FAX)