Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?

From: Denis O. Lamoureux <dlamoure@ualberta.ca>
Date: Fri Apr 11 2008 - 22:33:20 EDT

Yep.
Like a true lawyer, David has selectively proof texted my
message, completely failing to deal with his insulting
nonsensical argument:

      (1) So you admit your anachronism, but then argue
           that my anachronism is worst than yours.

         Goodness gracious! I suppose I should walk over
         to the law school to learn about this special way
         of arguing.

Of course, David's only response is to whine about ad hom
arguments and play his usual word games.

And I haven't confused you with Phil Johnson. There you go
again jumping to an injudicious conclusion. You're half a notch
below Phil. He never padded his e-mails with all sorts of books
he didn't understand (don't pedantic undergrads do that in their
papers)?

As Howard Van Till said to Phil a number of years ago: sophomoric arrogance.

Counselor, don't give up your day job.

Regards,
Denis

----- Original Message -----
  From: David Opderbeck
  To: Denis O. Lamoureux
  Cc: Jack ; Dehler, Bernie ; asa@lists.calvin.edu
  Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 7:23 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?

  Denis said:
  You have misread and misrepresented Walton's book.
  But I guess misspeaking is standard and perfectly
  acceptable for lawyers . .

  I respond: Really, Denis, is this kind of garbage ad hominem argument necessary? I don't think I've "misread" Walton's book at all, though that certainly is possible. The claim that I've "misrepresented" it, however, is just offensive, because that implies malicious intent. I've been around here for a while, and if you understood that you'd know that I'm probably more on your "side" than not. But don't try to bully me and don't confuse me with Phil Johnson.

  I've also corresponded several times with Walton about his book in the past -- not in connection with this conversation -- and he made clear to me that we can't consider the ANE people to have been doing "literal" cosmology in the way that we would use the term "literal" because they were more interested in "functions" than "causes." In fact, this distinction between "functions" and "causes" is one of his main points about the ANE mindset, and if you've read his IVP commentary on Genesis you'll see that this is why he considers the "days" of Genesis 1 not to be "literal" days -- i.e., God's statements about the sun and moon don't cause the sun and moon to come into existence, they assign functions to the sun and moon of marking seasons and days and years. How is Walton your "colleague," BTW? Are you at Wheaton now?

  So, if Walton is using the shorthand "Old World Science," fine -- but I think he'd also agree that this does NOT imply "science" in the sense we use that term today, meaning explanations of natural causes.

  Anyway, let me ask you this:

  -- do you agree that "science" as we define it today is limited to natural explanations? Or do you contend that "science" as we define it today can admit the immediate presence and activity of gods?

  -- do you agree that ANE cosmology is contingent on the immediate presence and activity of gods? Or do you contend that the Enuma Elish is a purely naturalistic explanation of how the universe came to be?

  On Fri, Apr 11, 2008 at 8:55 PM, Denis O. Lamoureux <dlamoure@ualberta.ca> wrote:

    Hello David,
    I'm the "Someone said" individual. Two points:

    (1) So you admit your anachronism, but then argue
    that my anachronism is worst than yours.

    Goodness gracious! I suppose I should walk over
    to the law school to learn about this special way
    of arguing.

    (2) Just contacted my colleague John Walton whose
    book you've appealed to in your posts. Regarding
    the notion of ancient science or science of the day,
    he writes:
         I often use "Old World Science" as a way
        of categorizing Israel's cosmic geography if
        that clarifies anything.

    You have misread and misrepresented Walton's book.
    But I guess misspeaking is standard and perfectly
    acceptable for lawyers . . .

    Regards,
    Denis

    Denis O. Lamoureux DDS PhD PhD
    Assistant Professor of Science & Religion
    St. Joseph's College, University of Alberta
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada T6G 2J5
    Tel: 780 492 7681 ext.246
    Fax: 780 492 8145
    E-mail: dlamoure@ualberta.ca
    Website: www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: David Opderbeck
      To: Denis O. Lamoureux
      Cc: Jack ; Dehler, Bernie ; asa@lists.calvin.edu
      Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 7:36 AM
      Subject: Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?

      Someone said: Now this is delicious. I'm accused of being "anachronistic," and two sentences later David refers to "cosmogenic myths." Does anyone think that J, P or R were constructing "cosmogenic myths"? [I'm saying "someone said" b/c the string got long and I can't figure out who's saying what!]

      I respond: Yes, I do think the author[s] of Gen. 1-4 was[were] constructing / assembling / editing / redacting cosmogenic myths, just like I think the authors and editors of the Enuma Elish were constructing / assembling / editing / redacting cosmogenic myths. Obviously, they wouldn't have used this term, so yeah, that's a little anachronistic too. But I don't think its anachronistic as a category in the way "science of the day" is anachronistic as a category. "Science" by definition means natural explanations for natural phenomena, doesn't it? If one thing is certain, it's that "methodological naturalism" would have been utterly, incomprehensibly foreign to the ANE peoples.

      An acquaintance of mine who is an ANE scholar recommended to me Thorkild Jacobsen's "The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion." A really captivating book. Reading the actual texts and poems of the culture, and understanding the rituals associated with those texts, its clear that they had no notion of transcendence of the gods. The numinous was ever present for them. The earth and sky really were, in some sense, Tiamat's body, the gods were really present in the people enacting their parts in fertility rituals -- it reminds me a bit of the Roman notion of the real presence of Christ in the host. Their marriage and love poems are poignant too.

      If you want to call the numinous presence of Tiamat in the earth and firmament "the science of the day," it seems to me you have to qualify the word "science" so much that what it really means is "cosmogenic myths."

  --
  David W. Opderbeck
  Associate Professor of Law
  Seton Hall University Law School
  Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

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Received on Fri Apr 11 22:37:40 2008

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