Re: Something must change

Glenn R. Morton (
Wed, 19 Aug 1998 20:23:12 -0500

At 09:35 AM 8/18/98 -0500, Tom Pearson wrote:

> This, I'm afraid, may be precisely the problem. From what is known
>of pre-modern cultures, and their attitudes toward oral and textual
>literature, it appears that there just is an unavoidable double standard at
>work. By and large, when someone asks me today whether a particular
>statement is *true*, I'm guessing that they are asking whether that
>statement corresponds (now, or in the past) to some identifiable object,
>event, or state of affairs in the physical world. But as far as can be
>known, it seems that pre-modern folks did not share that standard (a
>correspondence standard) in order for a statement to possess legitimate
>truth value. So when these ancient narratives recounted past events, there
>was no presumption that the incidents of the narrative corresponded to
>specific, verifiable incidents in the physical world. That's a standard
>that emerges in the modern period, and is fully normative for us in the late
>twentieth century. But the pre-moderns give no indication they shared that
>norm. There is a double standard at work.

I would be willing to bet that you can't really find evidence for the above
assertions. Can you cite an ancient Talmudic source that claims that the
Flood didn't happen and was merely a parable? I would contend that they all
thought the flood was a reality, not a parable. I actually think you are
attributing to them a view of their history that they didn't have. And if
you can't cite evidence, from ancient Talmudic writings, then your view
above becomes an unsupported opinion.


> As for the Book of Mormon, I suppose we'd need to determine if the
>text was actually written by an ancient native American people many
>centuries ago, or was authored by a nineteenth century religious fanatic.
>If it's the former, then I don't see any need to examine it for "historical
>accuracy" in the modern sense. If it's the latter, then fire away.

Why shouldn't we fire away anyhow? We fire at scientific and historical
theories when they don't fit the facts. I think I agree with the Mad
Hatter when he wrote:

"Of course, the real reason modern theologians want to keep science
divorced from religion is to retain some intellectual territory forever
protected from the advance of science. This can only be done if the
possibility of scientific investigation of the subject matter is ruled out
a priori. Theologians were badly burned in the Copernican and Darwinian
revolutions. Such a strategy seriously underestimates the power of
science, which is continually solving problems philosophers and theologians
have decreed forever beyond the ability of science to solve." ~ Frank J.
Tipler, The Physics of Immortality, (New York: Doubleday, 1994), p. 7

(The Mad Hatter was a moniker I gave Tipler when someone criticized a
citation of his book and told me that Tipler had gone off the deep end.)

I frankly have come to believe that Tipler is correct. Theologians don't
want verification. YECs through out science, liberals through out the
Bible as being historical. Both positions create as situation where it is
impossible to verify anything in the Bible. Thus we are left with theology
protected from all contradiction. Like ostriches with our heads in the
sand, we think that as long as we don't look at the problems, no one else
will see them either.

Adam, Apes and Anthropology
Foundation, Fall and Flood
& lots of creation/evolution information