[Marxism] Biblical "truth"

paul illich paul_illich at hotmail.com
Thu Oct 6 05:02:53 MDT 2005


Nor should it be forgotten that Teilhard de Chardin was not only a scientist
Jesuit who was closely involved with the Peking Man discoveries, but also
that he provided an RC vision of teleology, with the evolution of Man to a
Godhead, the Omega Point - all very Hegelian.

So the church has a long and recent, if ambiguous (after all, Chardin was 
not
exactly top of the food cahin), history of resolving the supposed conflict
between science and religion in a pseudo-scientific manner, just as the
not-so-'new' ID debate tries to do.

The latest special edition of Scientific American has a report on a conflab
in Cambridge, England, that has theist and non-theist scientists face to 
face,
and following excahnges occured:

"Take the exchange between biologists Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge and 
Richard Dawkins of the University of Oxford. Morris contended that 
intelligence is not a freak occurrence but a recurring theme in evolution, 
appearing in dolphins, parrots and crows as well as in primates. He 
speculated that any of these species might be capable of discovering God, 
but we had help--from Christ, whom God sent to Earth for our benefit. 
Dawkins, by far the most antireligious lecturer, praised Morris's 
evolutionary views but called his Christianity "gratuitous." Morris retorted 
that he found Dawkins's atheism "archaic" and asserted that the resurrection 
and other miracles attributed to Christ were "historically verifiable." 
After more give-and-take, Morris, crossing his arms tightly across his 
chest, grumbled, "I'm not sure this conversation can go any further.

"Dawkins also challenged the faith of physicist John Barrow, an Anglican. 
Like several other speakers, Barrow emphasized how extraordinarily 
"fine-tuned" the universe is for our existence. Why not just accept that 
fine-tuning as a fact of nature? Dawkins asked. Why do you want to explain 
it with God? "For the same reason you don't want to," Barrow responded 
drily. Everyone laughed except Dawkins, who protested, "That's not an 
answer!"

"Disagreement divided believers as well. Physicist John Polkinghorne, a 
winner of the $1.4-million Templeton Prize, given annually to those who 
"advance spiritual matters," contended that physicists' understanding of 
causality is "patchy" and hence allows for a God who answers prayers and 
carries out the occasional miracle, such as parting the Red Sea. Another 
physicist and Templeton Prize winner, Paul Davies, discerned tentative 
evidence of design in the laws of nature but added, "As a physicist, I feel 
very uncomfortable with a God who intervenes" in human affairs."

(http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000C055B-0CBB-1306-8A6883414B7F0000&sc=I100322)

Any discussion of biblical truth, literal interpretation and the ID or wider
evolution debate will inevitably hit these walls. Simon Conway Morris and
his bizarre asserrtion (from a so-called scientist) "that the resurrection 
and
other miracles attributed to Christ were 'historically verifiable' " seems 
to
me laughable, and would lead me to distrust his objectivity in science
reports.

The point is made that a 'scientist' is a person who has science as an
aspect of his life, and 'science' is a seperate abstract idea, so that
therefore a scientist is not by necessity required to be as a hard-headed
a rationalist as, say, Dawkins is, and other aspects of intelligence can
inform their work.

This becomes slightly nuts beyond a certain point (if 'science' is to have
any meaning), assuming you can even swallow the last paragraph at all.
Thus this passage from SA had me laughing even harder:

"Tension was evident not only between speakers but also within individual 
minds. Nancey Murphy, a philosopher at the Fuller Theological Seminary in 
Pasadena, Calif., described herself as a materialist who does not view the 
soul as a "spirit" separate from the body. Yet she believes in phenomena 
that many scientists might find hard to swallow, such as the resurrection of 
Christ and, at the end of time, of all humans. When a journalist pressed her 
to explain how resurrection might work, Murphy acknowledged that at times 
the discussion between science and religion "breaks down" because they 
involve "incommensurable schemes" for understanding reality."

In the end, my position is that the religious wouldn't know 'truth'
if they tripped over it, as they have precepts that are, frankly, weird
distortions of reality (at best) or just plain insane. How can their
conclusions be respected? That protestants believed in witches and
in the literal truth of the bible (including no doubt that famous injunction
against homosexuals, 'thou shalt not covet they neighbors ass') is true.
That a catholic willingness to bend the rules, rewrite the bible, bin bits
they don't like, invent polytheistic compromises for the locals (the 
trinity)
and other sundry opportunist pursuits should not be forgotten before
we extend the benfit of the doubt to them when they seem to embrace
science.

Chardin's philosophy interests me, but that too seems to be a fudge.

A Catholic Fundamentalist is not any worse, really, that an Catholic
opportunist hypocrite - better in away, as at least you know where
you stand with the former. If you can allow your personal awareness
of contradictions between a modern world view and the medievalist
worldview to change the nature of your faith, then why not change
to a church that actively believes what you believe, rather than one
that merely tolerates convenient compromise? Or leave the church
altogether?

Paul






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