Re: Mu (Was Re: CT article: Darwinists, not Christians, stonewalling the facts)

From: George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
Date: Mon Apr 04 2005 - 20:00:26 EDT

Message----- Original Message -----
  From: Glenn Morton
  To: 'George Murphy' ; 'asa'
  Sent: Sunday, April 03, 2005 11:52 PM
  Subject: RE: Mu (Was Re: CT article: Darwinists, not Christians, stonewalling the facts)

    -----Original Message-----
    From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of George Murphy
    Sent: Sunday, April 03, 2005 6:52 PM
    To: Glenn Morton; 'asa'
    Subject: Re: Mu (Was Re: CT article: Darwinists, not Christians, stonewalling the facts)

    1st, your view of Genesis goes precisely 0% of the way toward "allay[ing] Pauls concern about if CHrist be not risen, then we are most to be pitied." If that's the concern you have to look at the evidence relating to a putative event of ~ A.D. 30. Whether or not early Genesis is historical is only marginally related to such an investigation.

    2d, your argument would be much more compelling if you actually demonstrated the historical character of early Genesis &/or its accuracy relative to modern science.
    [Glenn Morton]

    grm:Oh come on George. Even you have said that my interpretation of Genesis 1:11 as teaching evolution is a possibile interpretation. That is part of showing Genesis does match some of modern science. Maybe if you paid attention from debate to debate.

    I may have said something like this in an unguarded moment in debate with someone who claimed that Gen.1 ruled out evolution but usually I'm more careful. What 1:11 talks about is mediated creation of life - i.e., that God created living things by means of the matter and its capabilities he has brought into being. That's important & I've written about it over 20+ years since it's significance was pointed out to me by Messenger & my theology prof Duane Priebe. It opens up the possibility of talking theologically about evolution but this verse doesn't "teach evolution."

    I think it's likely that the biblical writer was picturing what happened on the 3d day as essentially a speeded up version of a phenomenon that of course he was familiar with, plants growing out of the ground. That's the way St. Ephrem seems to have understood this. So if you want to count "plants grow out of the ground" as a scientific observation, I'll grant this, & it's relevant to a theological discussion of evolution. But
    it's not an elementary description of biological evolution in anything like the modern sense.

    But you do neither. Your historical arguments are all "might have been" ones that require pushing the supposed historical events millions of years into the past so that the chances of actually verifying that the text is "real history" is essentially zero. & your attempts to get an elementary version of a modern scientific description of origins from Genesis requires that you first put that description in. Genesis 1 doesn't have an elementary version of big bang cosmology. Sure, you can read it now as if it did but that's quite different from doing it before Friedmann & Hubble.
    [Glenn Morton]

     Well when I first came up with my concept of the Mediterranean flood (which is by the way a verified historical event) I didn't have any anthropological knowledge. As Bill Hamilton said in his review of Adam Apes and Anthropology, I proposed a solution, went out to see if the evidence would support a humanity much older than widely beleived, and it does. So don't tell me that nothing I have done is verifiable. Much is. For years I spoke of small brained people having intelligence equivalent to us. Last Fall with H. floresiensis, a small brained hominid (chimp-sized brain) managed fire, managed to make stone tools and hunt pygmy elephants as well as likely had a language. And they were descended from H. erectus. That IS verification of my views. I proposed that humanity goes way back. In H. Floresiensis, we have proof that a lineage directly descended from H. erectus had human traits, meaning that the common ancestor had those same traits. Humanity is now proven to be at least 2 million years old. That IS verification of my views. And given that the brain size of H. floresiensis is smaller than the Australopithecines, it is not out of the realm of possibility now that Adam was a Pith! Please Pay attention.

    I've paid attention, while you're confusing 2 different things. OTOH you've proposed a scenario for human evolution in which you argue that the events of early Genesis could have taken place. I'm not debating that version of human evolution, though it conflicts in significant ways with what most paleoanthropologists say & I think the data on H. floresiensis is recent enough that some caution is needed in drawing large-scale conclusions about them. But I won't argue that & grant that you've constructed a testable scientific scenario.

    But to say that the historicity of early Genesis has been verified - or even that there's any real likelihood of it being verified in your scenario -is quite another matter. E.g., as a critical part of your approach on p.185 of your AAA you suggest that 5.5 x 10^6 yr ago an ape-like creature with 48 chromosomes gave birth to a stillborn child with 46 chromosomes. God breathed life into the corpse and "This was Adam."

    This is not something that has been verified by historical investigation, paleontology or any other science. Given the slight possibility of there being any fossil evidence from such an isolated event at that distance in the past, what likelihood is there that it ever will be verfified by such means?

    & we should also note that this isn't the way the origin of Adam is described in Gen.2:7 unless you're willing to read that verse rather figuratively - even allegorically.

    Please understand that I am not saying that your suggestion is stupid & unworthy of consideration. Given your presuppositions, it's an ingenious & well-informed idea. Even without your presuppositions I can imagine trying to develop a story sermon from this idea as a kind of parabolic expression of the Genesis story. It fits nicely with Paul's Adam-Christ typology. But it's not in any realistic sense verifiable (let alone verified) history & it doesn't show that the writer of Genesis knew even the most elementary thing about human evolution.

    In other words, your claim that Genesis shows that the God of the Bible has communicated at some level how he created the universe simply isn't true.
    [Glenn Morton]

    I actually haven't spoken about the universe. I have said that God needs to say something real about the universe in the creation story (or inspire the writer to say it.) Let the EARTH bring forth grass, is a true statement about how grass got here. The earth (ultimately) evolved grass. So your claim above is false. Q.E.D.

    As I said above, this is a true statement that grass grows out of the ground. You say that the earth "evolved"grass only because of your scientific knowledge ~3000 years later. The fact that you put "ultimately" in parentheses is a tribute to your honesty but the addition calls attention to the fact that there's nothing about long-term evolution in the text.

      Genesis doesn't tell us about the big bang, MWB, condensation of the solar system from interstellar material, or biological evolution. (It does speak about mediated creation of life, thus opening up onessibility for us to think theologically about evolution, but that's another matter.) So even if it were necessary to have the kind of proof you want about the how of these matters, Genesis doesn't give it to you.
    [Glenn Morton]

    As I have said many times and you continually ignore, you don't have to have it say everything. Why is it that we have to cover this same issue every time we debate? Why, George? It isn't all that hard to know that God doesn't have to vomit every detail about the universe to show that He is God. But one or two facts would kinda be nice you know.

    I didn't say that it has to have all the things I listed. As you say, 1 or 2 would be nice. But they're not there.

     But Genesis must say something real. It doesn't have to talk about molecular forces (I have said this till I am blue in the face and have to write in blue ink!) Otherwise in what way is it better than the Bhagadvagitas? Don't tell me as you have before, that it is because its theology is better. That is a totally subjective statement based upon your whimsey of what theology you think is better. It isn't better if Hinduism is correct and the Bible pure farce!

    (& even if it did, this would provide no way of distinguishing between Christianity, Judaism & Islam.)
    [Glenn Morton]
    So? I didn't say it would. Can you tell me where I said this? But it would narrow the range, now wouldn't it? Falsifying this creation account would rule out three religions as well, wouldn't that means we could go look for the truth elsewhere?

    Sheesh, I didn't say that you made that claim! I was just pointing out the limits of the argument en passant.

    3d, while I don't think this is very important in the present context, I think you've been rather uncritical in accepting the claims of your source about Mithraism. That's a religion that I happen to know something about & while there are indeed significant similarities, the list you give overstates them.
    [Glenn Morton]

    Fine, correct the errors. But the plain fact is that you can't be logical and say CHRISTIANITY IS CORRECT, when you never allow for the possibility that it might be wrong. That is my main point. If the only religion you allow to be true becomes the only religion with the 'correct' theology, then you have a perfectly circular epistemology. It is true and thus it has the correct theology. It has the correct theology thus it is true. Something must break out of this circle because one can make the same statement about any religion you chose.

    Animism is true and thus it has the correct theology. Animism has the correct theology thus it is true. Tell me why I should not be an animist? It is the same circularity for each and every religion. You escape that ciruclarity only by assuming there is zero possibility for any of the others to be true and so, you ignore their existence in your apologetic which you try to rest in Christ alone, while ignoring the fact that there is a larger world of choices out there. It is a great apologetic for an entirely Christian audience. But then, if you substitute Hinduism in the above, it quickly becomes a great apologetic for an entirely Hindu audience. Wow, what erudition and clarity.

      & there are also significant differences - the most important for our present purpose being that few scholars today would deny that Jesus ever lived while even fewer would claim that Mithra - or for that matter Attis or Horus - did live.
    [Glenn Morton]

    I happen to know a few people who do deny Jesus lived. And even if he did live it doesn't automatically follow that he is the Son of God. Lots of people lived so that is hardly a sufficient qualification for status as the Son of God!Few people doubt that Zoroaster lived. and few doubt Caligula lived. But they are not the Son of God.

    Your ascription to me of the "It's true because it's true" argument is unjustified, as I've pointed out before. Take a look again at my PSCF article at http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2000/PSCF9-00Murphy.html . I know you don't agree with it but that's another matter. As you say above, "Please pay attention."

    4th, I could paraphrase your statement "If a god is clueless about how the world is created, then he isn't THE God" with "If a god is clueless about the ultimate structure of matter [or whatever scientific issue you wish], then he isn't THE God." Then I could start doing my own eisegesis by trying to find the electron in Heb.11:3 (Rimmer) or the strong nuclear interaction in Col.1:17 - & you would justifiably ridicule me.
    [Glenn Morton] [Glenn Morton]

    Why do you make such a silly argument. Who has said that God must reveal the GUT in order to prove he is God? I certainly haven't. As I said, God doesn't have to reveal every detail (or rather vomit out every detail), but he must reveal enough to know that he is the true God. Otherwise, we have fideism, pure and simple. You have not denied that charge. Do you accept that epistemologically that is where you are when one broadens the view to include more religions than Christianity?

    It may be a silly argument but no sillier than your sentence that I quoted. There's just as much justification for insisting that a god has to reveal a couple of details about the structure of matter as about cosmology or evolution. As to your last question, of course not. See the article I referred to above.

    Shalom
    George
    http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
Received on Mon Apr 4 20:01:48 2005

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