Re: Believe it even if it isn't true theology

From: <glennmorton@entouch.net>
Date: Mon Feb 20 2006 - 16:54:24 EST

For David Opderbeck and Michael Roberts

David wrote:

>>To say an individual can't come up with an interpretation is just plain silly.

>That's not what I said.  Individuals come up with interpretations in the context of a historical community.  Really, Glenn, >you don't think your interpretation is so novel that it bears no connection at all to anything that's gone before, do you?  >You may have come up with a novel insight here or there, but the context, framework, methods, and supporting >interpretations you employ arise out of a tradition. 
 
Wait a minute. You were the one who said a sluggist could only be allowed to use the accommodationalist approach if there was a tradition. It seems that everything has a tradition, so why not give a straight answer rather than a lawyerly answer?

Ok, Mormons have a tradition of interpretation, so lets remove this issue once and for all. Thus, as I read you, it would be perfectly ok for them to use accommodation/metaphor/allegory to absolve their scripture of egregious errors of archaeological fact, thereby making the theology contained in the Book of Mormon true.  

>Again, that's not what I said.  I was very clear that as I see it there are two questions at play here:  (1) is the >interpretation coherent within its tradition; and then (2) how does the tradition compare to other traditions as an >explanation of Reality.  
 

>If the Mormons have an interpretive tradition that permits accomodation to modern findings of archeology (I don't think >they do, BTW), then it would be "perfectly ok" 
 
What you are proposing is a system which can not change. If it doesn't have a tradition no one can think outside of the box. If it does have a tradition of it, then it is ok to use accommodation.  That, is just not how the world works. 

 
>>I am merely seeking evidence like one would of a scientific theory. If such and such happened, then here are >>the consequences.
 
>Ok, but I think that's part of the problem.  I don't think you can test worldviews like scientific theories. 
 
Of course you can if the world view has implications to observational data.  You have a strange view of how evidence works. If you have a world view that there are tiny invisible leprechauns which move all the particles and you say they walk bare foot, well then, I could go look for tiny footprints.
 
> Whether one is YEC, Progressive Creationist, or TE, I think we often give away the store by
>accepting the premise of logical positivism that the only valid truth claims are those that can be shown to be valid
>using the scientific method. 
 
THen one throws all constraint to the wind.  The YECs do beleive this and they can't agree on a single thing.
 
>The fundamental question you have to ask yourself, I think, is do I accept that logical positivist claim? 
 
This is not a logical positivist claim.  This is the logical positivist claim:
 

"A simple way to formulate it would be to say that a sentence
had literal meaning if and only if the proposition it expressed
was either analytic or empirically verifiable.  To this,
however, it might be objected that unless a sentence was
literally meaningful it would not express a proposition; for it
is commonly assumed that every proposition is either true or
false, and to say that a sentence expressed what was either true
or false would entail saying that it was literally meaningful."
Alfred Jules Ayer, 1946 'Introduction" Language, Truth and
Logic, (New York: Dover Publications, 1952), p. 5
 
I am  claiming merely that the truth or falsity of a statement which has implications to the observable world can be determined by seeing if those implications are real. That is all I am claiming, so please drop the positivist nonsense.
 
> If you examine that claim carefully, I think you'll see that it collapses under its own weight, since it is not itself an >empirical claim that can be tested by the scientific method.  It is itself an unprovable faith claim.
 
Having done graduate work in philosophy, my friend, I am fully aware of why logical positivism collapsed. My claim is much weaker than that. Not every statement is capable of having its truth determined (Godel)  but those which are capable of verification should be verified.  Whether God created the trees before the sun is something that at least in principle, is verifiable (the mere demand for verification doesn't mean one holds to the entire program of logical positivism. You are making a gross generalization here)
 
****
 
Michael Roberts wrote:
 
>The Mormon example is a straight historical question open to DNA. As is the historicity of Jesus, David and Moses.
 
Gee, you tell me I can check things out and David tells me not to.   And Michael, while I agree with you that there are several lines of evidence which result in the story of the Book of Mormon being falsified, there are also several lines of evidence which falsify the YEC reading of Scripture.  Yet, you don't seem to deny that the YEC reading of Genesis is what was meant, you say God accommodated his story to a false science.  Why couldn't the mormon say the same thing?  Others here answer the questions you seem to think are nonsense. Doesn't that have the slightest impact on your assessment of these questions?
 
Doesn't it strike you that your approach is a wee bit ad hoc?  (others haven't  answered this question of  the ad hoc'ness of the accommodationalist approach)
 
>Early Genesis gives so few hard details that we cannot draw much info out them, beyond saying some kind of aqueous
>event occurred. Even Gen 4 fits best about 10000years ago but we can say no more.. Gen 1-11 simply is not written in a
>way that we can check it historically. At best we may find maybes but that is not much help, and we are best not forcing
>the text only to be refuted later.
 
Ah, then you are a concordist after all???? I thought you were an accommodationalist as you stated on theologyweb?  Why beat me up for being what you already are? 
 
>I focus most on the historicity of the NT and the OT after Abraham, where the evidence is sparse before David.
 
Well, when you do speak to Genesis you seem to not have thought through the consequenses of your statements. 

Received on Mon Feb 20 16:56:57 2006

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Feb 20 2006 - 16:56:57 EST