Another quote from Gould’s book, The Panda’s Thumb (pg. 243).
Talking about the rapid changes in scientific belief and overcoming past findings which are shown to be ridiculous–
“Our century is no standard for all ages; science is always an interaction of prevailing culture, individual eccentricity, and empirical constraint.”
Again, wow, thanks for the encouragment! What a basis for belief!
What he’s saying is that scientific findings, no matter how stated–as law or theory–are relative to current cultural beliefs, the weirdness of scientific discoverers and whether or not other people can catch your errors! And this is written from one of the strongest proponents of science and evolution!What a basis for truth! It’s no wonder our world is so messed up!
In case you’re wondering, I’m almost done with the book so I’ll stop talking about evolution soon.
The most recent Anti-Itch Meditation talks about agnosticism. The guy who invented the word “agnostic” was Thomas Huxley, good friend and fellow scientist with Charles Darwin. Here is a quote I am taking from The Panda’s Thumb by Stephen Jay Gould:
“My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations… Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.”
He observed nature scientifically and concluded that we just can’t know what we can’t see, experiment with and analyze. Therefore, there’s no spiritual aspect to life. When his young son died, someone consoled him that his son’s soul would live on. Huxley thanked him but rejected the sentiments because there was no evidence for it!
The hopelessness of evolution is enough for me to give up on it. The uncertainty of it all is boggling. Perhaps they view my belief in God as just as boggling. I see it a different way–at least my view brings hope!
I am currently reading The Panda’s Thumb by Stephen Jay Gould who is a humanist, evolutionist scientist/writer. Interesting stuff.
What is amusing about it is that most of the chapters are looks back into the past of scientific discovery. He has to revise most of the findings of scientists who came before him.
Many of the scientists of the 1800’s had racist and sexist views of things and came up with scientific proof of their views. Gould, writing in the age of political correctness, has to revise most of what they said, and most for good reason.
But even in areas where there is little controversy Gould revises things. He even admitted that when he begins teaching a new class on fossils he has to throw out his old notes and start over because things have changed so much.
At the same time, being a scientist, he can’t help himself but use really big words to discuss all these things. He tries to make it understandable but he’s still a scientist in a scientist’s world. It’s a common ploy to defeat critics of sceintific findings for scientists to say, “You just don’t understand” and intimidate you with their big words.
All of this reminds me of the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians–the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God–it has to be revised because it was wrong–God’s word has never been revised. People use words of human wisdom to impress you and intimidate you into believing what they say because they sound so smart.
The danger of theology is that we can do these same things. If we make the study of God into another scientific endeavor, we run into danger. We make really big words and make it inaccessible to most believers. We can also get so far away from the Bible and so far into our views that we have to revise what we said before making it seem as if God and the Bible are as capricious as anything else in the world.
Stick with Paul–“I came to you preaching nothing but Christ and him crucified” that’s understandable to anyone and has not been revised for nearly 2,000 years.
While half the country is bemoaning the fact that Germany has not joined our coalition in Iraq, Germans are busy eating each other. A man was convicted for killing and eating another man. They arranged the deal on the internet. Perhaps he could have agreed to go to Iraq and he could have put this weirdness to good use!
People are sick, you know that, they are sick. Not only that, but he only got 8 1/2 years for it because it was a consentual killing. That’s sick too. But, the physician does not come to save those who are healthy, but those who are sick. There’s work to be done.
There is a proposal in Georgia to stop teaching “evolution” in schools. Many Bible-believing folks did not want evolution taught to their kids so they pressured curriculum designers to eliminate evolution.
I suppose there may be some Bible-believing folks who would be happy about this and think this is a giant leap forward for the Bible. I would disagree.
A typical response to something you don’t understand, or have a hard time dealing with, is to eliminate it–guaranteeing that no one learns. When Paul spoke on Mar’s Hill in Acts to the philosophers about all of their gods, he did not forbid their gods, he presented his God.
If Chrsitians ever hope to be taken seriously, we need to overcome our emotional response to anything that disagrees with us. If we hope to win the world to our view, we need to be ready always to answer any question of our faith; not eliminate questions.
I just came across this quote which is not attributed to anyone, “It’s not the 100 million who can’t read who bother me — it’s the 150 million who can’t write!” Amen!
I just began reading a book on the history of the Weather Channel. No really, I did. I’m 60 pages into it and about ready to not only stop reading the book, but also stop watching the Weather Channel and maybe even stop participating in weather altogether.
If you’ve got something to say, say it the best you can otherwise, shut up! There’s so much junk out there for us to read. It’s easy to find time to read the junk anyway. The Bible turns into a giant dust collector. Dust it off, open it up, read it, love it, live it, write to someone about it! And, yes, I know, my writing is nothing to brag about.
Feel free to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologeticsindex.org. Here is an interesting site I came across looking up information on a church group. It specializes in cults and various heretical doctrinal beliefs. An interesting resource.