Legends of the Fall, Part 4: Scientific Prolegomena

OK–we’ve looked at the orthodox, Gnostic, and Evagrian views of the Creation and Fall, and at what science can tell us about the beginning and development of the universe.  As I said, whatever religious, philosophical, or metaphysical system we ultimately decide to adopt, it can’t contradict scientific fact as we know it.  For example, if a system depends on the Earth being flat, well, no matter how nice it is in other aspects, it will either have to be trashed or allegorized (if that’s possible in the particular case).  Thus, let’s look at the scientific account and enumerate things that must be true of any system we may find interesting and of possible use.

1.  The universe is about 13 billion years old, and the Earth about 4 billion.  Any system that posits the literal age of the cosmos as a few thousand years is a non-starter; or the stories that posit such a young age must be regarded as allegory, myth, or metaphor.

2.  Nasty things–evils–existed long before humans came on the scene.  Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, predators, disease, pestilence, cancer, and so on have been around for eons.  Thus, any system that posits their existence as coming after the Fall of Man is not going to work.  There are a few subtleties here that I will save for a later post, but right now let’s just say that evils or Evil can’t be blamed on Eve’s apple.

3.  Humans, beyond any shadow of a reasonable doubt, evolved from other hominids; any other account must be considered metaphorical, whether it be the molding of man from the soil in Genesis or the creation of man by a committee of demons in The Secret Book of John.

On most of the other issues–angels, demons, Aeons, Archons, God Himself, etc. science (contrary to extremists in both the camps of the believers and of the atheists) has nothing to say.  “Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent,” as Wittgenstein said in a different context.

Therefore in the upcoming discussions, all these points must be borne in mind, and we must not allow any interpretations either explicitly or implicitly to contradict them or to be construed in such a way as to contradict them.

Part of the series Legends of the Fall.

Posted on 17/05/2012, in Bible, Christianity, philosophy, religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. #3 can be jettisoned, I think. It’s a cool theory but hasn’t been proven. I don’t think it can be proved. Nor can God creating humans and everything else be scientifically proved either. The most that can be legitimately concluded is that the fossil record suggests…. it’s unscientific to say that evolution is a fact, I think.

    Which isn’t to say that I don’t think it should be taught in science class. But it should keep to its “theory” status.

    The rest is great! But I thought that the accepted age of the earth was 10,000,000 years?

    • I think the issue is what one means by “theory” and “proof”. I was going to respond at greater length, but I think that’s worthy of a post by itself.

  1. Pingback: Excursus: Hypotheses, Theories, and Squirrels « The Chequer-board of Nights and Days

  2. Pingback: Excursus: Evil, Part 1 « The Chequer-board of Nights and Days

  3. Pingback: Legends of the Fall: Index « The Chequer-board of Nights and Days

  4. Pingback: Some Postulates « The Chequer-board of Nights and Days

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