Re: The Tower of Babel - Less Confusing

From: PASAlist@aol.com
Date: Tue May 27 2003 - 23:53:12 EDT

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    JIM: [Major Premise]:A work credited to an omnipotent being of truth doesn't
    misrepresent reality

    PAUL: If you have no objective basis for your major premise, you have no
    objective basis for your conclusion that Genesis was not inspired by God,
    and hence you have no objective basis for your decision to turn to atheism.

    JIM: Paul, I just don't know how much more objective it gets than this.

    This premise ignores the purpose of the communication and insists that it be
    inerrant in science even though teaching science is not part of its purpose.
    This is not objective at all. It is an arbitrary rationalistic assumption. You
    may have heard it so many times or have become so attached to it that you do
    not realize it is purely subjective.

    Let me give you an historical parallel. Between the time that planets were
    discovered to orbit the sun and when Kepler figured out Mars had an elliptical
    orbit, it was assumed by Christians (influenced by Aristotle) that the circle
    was the perfect shape because every point is equally distant from the center.
    So, it was assumed that the planets would travel in a circular pattern around
    the sun, because God is perfect and hence would use a perfect shape for the
    orbits of the planets. Their assumption could have been stated, "A planet
    credited to an omnipotent perfect creator doesn't show up in an elliptical orbit."

    An atheist could then argue, "The planets are in an elliptical orbit;
    therefore they were not created by an omnipotent perfect creator." It is a logical
    conclusion, but it is based on a purely rationalistic subjective assumption.
    Your reasoning is exactly the same. Your major premise is equally arbitrary. You
    need to move from rationalism to reality.

    I told the story of the missionary's translation as an example of the fact
    that in the _real_ world ideas are best communicated by employing the standard
    ideas of a culture. One is asking for misunderstanding and disbelief if truths
    contrary to the beliefs of a primitive culture are presented as if mere
    intelligence was all that is necessary for people to understand them. I will give
    you an example:
    Anna Leonowens, an English lady, was hired by the King of Siam (Thailand) in
    the 19th century to educate his many children. In the course of her teaching
    she happened to mention that in her country when it is cold sometimes water
    comes down from the sky as white very cold flakes. The children, never having
    seen or heard of such a thing, thought she was telling them a big lie and did not
    believe her. In fact, here Siamese teacher's aid told her that if she
    continued to tell the children such tall tales they would not believe anything she
    said. This incident caused so much negative reaction that her teaching could not
    continue until the king, who was educated in England, came in and verified
    her story. This is history. This is the real world.

    So, when I say that in Scripture God accommodated his revelation to the
    science of the times, this is indeed a "stretch" from the standpoint of your
    rationalistic assumption, but it is not a stretch from the standpoint of reality.
    YECism, concordism, and now your atheism all rest upon the same rationalistic
    assumption, and that assumption is divorced from the real world. You can do
    better.

    Paul



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