Re: Evolution: A few questions

From: bivalve <>
Date: Wed Jun 23 2004 - 20:08:23 EDT

> Our problem is that there are myriads of theological maps to choose from today. Not all of them can be correct. What Hawthorne was pointing out was the hubris of people who construct these maps and at the same time claim that THEY have finally got it right!<

The variety of options raises the question of whether we can determine if some are better than others. Is there actual progress, or is it just personal taste? Are YHWH, Molech, Zeus, Ungabunga, and Xipe Totec equal options, or not? Why?

On the other hand, a very strong match for personal taste might raise suspicions. Reality is not as simple or easy as we might like. Just as the anti-quantum, YEC "common sense" physics seems to have little connection with reality, theology that depends principally on "does it suit my views" is likely to meet with skeptical reception. Process theology seems rather vulnerable on this ground; a god that does not require anything of us nor do anything we might not like seems too convenient to be realistic.

Of course any human effort, whether science, theology, or something else is limited by human capacities, both individual and collective. However, this does not mean that everyone's ideas are equal. Some people, whether by careful effort or by being in the right place at the right time, have exceptional knowledge and experience. I'm not impressed when the Weekly World News claims that a Brazilian farmer saw a UFO defy the laws of physics; even if the report were genuine, the average Brazilian farmer does not know enough about the laws of physics to accurately tell if a UFO is defying them and even a retired physicist turned farmer would be unlikely to have suitable measuring devices on hand to determine obedience to known laws. Likewise, I find NASA reports on moon dust more credible than claims about moon dust originating with someone who looked at a newspaper photo. The astronauts might not have been any more knowledgeable about regoliths than the YEC propagandist, but!
former actually measured dust thickness; the latter made up a claim based on the assumption that anyone stepping on dust sinks to solid rock.

Thus, although science is equally accessible to anyone who does the work, not everyone's claims or experiences are of equal merit. Likewise, different theological experiences may not be of equal merit.

I'm not entirely sure why a process view would rule out special revelation. It does not seem necessarily coercive for a deity to pick someone and say in some fashion "Here's something you might like to know." Most actual examples of claimed special revelation also portray greater causal involvement than is allowed in a process view, but this does not rule it out in principle.

    Dr. David Campbell
    Old Seashells
    University of Alabama
    Biodiversity & Systematics
    Dept. Biological Sciences
    Box 870345
    Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0345 USA

That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at Droitgate Spa
Received on Wed Jun 23 20:29:46 2004

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