Literal Interpretations and the Genealogical Adam

@swamidass ,

I cannot, in good conscience, choose that route. Because soon I would be required to drop the Resurrection next.

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I’m not saying you personally should drop it. I"m just saying to pick an achievable goal in dialogue. He may not agree with you in everything. Maybe he could agree with you on something.


I don’t see the point of that at all.

Then focus on common descent. You both agree, and he wants to make his case there. You care about that, right?


I guess I don’t share your interest in convincing Atheists or Deists of anything. I see the value of your scenarios to unify Creationist Christians and Evolutionist Christians.

If they are not Christians, i dont see a good fit.

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Then lets work together on convincing the creationists like @greg that there is sensibility to these scenarios. He certainly does not like me. Maybe he will like you.

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You persist in being an example of the insulated ingroup/outgroup, us vs. them dichotomy, which apparently you are quite proud of. Given that, I agree that it’s useless for us to have any sort of discussion, and you shouldn’t have started one.

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The purpose of dialogue is mutual discovery, and it is not impossible for it to open up new vistas. The problem is, that one can’t learn what they’re unwilling to even conceive of. I have the feeling that @John_Harshman is not as clueless about what I’ve offered as he protests, but is unwilling to engage with the points it makes. Archaeology, for example, is offered in the section as a way to independently verify some aspects of ancient stories, but he pretends not to notice the cogency of that. Instead, he chooses to pretend that ancient history is “silly” and obviously wrong. That’s sad.

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I assure you that I am fully as clueless as I claim, and you have just accused me of lying, which is insulting.

I definitely don’t notice the cogency of archaeology unless you are going to advance some archaeological evidence for anything up to and including the Flood. This is not a discussion about the historicity (or lack thereof) of the patriarchs, the Exodus, the kingdom of David, or anything else except the early chapters of Genesis. That the Hittites were found to be a real thing does not seem relevant to me, but you may explain the relevance if you will.


Okay, so I’ll repeat a question, so that you can protest its irrelevance, or possibly engage it this time.
Did the ancients, for example, already consider themselves ancient, with the kind of penchant for knowing their own history that such implies?

That’s not a very clear question. Which ancients? And the word “penchant” is itself ambiguous, as it can imply either an interest or an ability or both. I suppose that most peoples at most times have declared themselves to have a long history, embodied in all manner of myths, and have been interested in knowing and telling those myths. And I suppose that “most people at most times” would include anyone you are thinking of. So I would finally suppose that my answer to your question is “yes”.

Now, I do protest the irrelevance of the question. What does this have to do with the matter under discussion? The proper way to deal with my protest is to explain the relevance.

So, is there any value in knowing the stories of ancient cultures, and by extension, even people in their more modern iterations, and how that affects how they conceive of themselves in the vast scheme of things? Or, is it all irrelevant hogwash, somehow? Do you dare rely uncritically on your own personal and modern cultural arrogance about such matters? We all carry worldviews, and ought to be able to constructively dialogue about them. Protesting irrelevance does not make it so. Apparently, @Patrick and @swamidass are following this too; how about your feedback?
(BTW, in case you didn’t notice, I just explained why it’s not irrelevant).

Sure, but is that relevant to the questions under discussion here, which are, to my mind, about the historical truth of the first few chapters of Genesis? I don’t think so. If you think it is, tell me why.

I don’t think I do. If I’m wrong about something, tell me what I’m wrong about and give me reason to change my view.

No problem. What do you want to say?

Agreed. But could you please explain the relevance?

I’m sorry, but I didn’t notice, and I don’t see what your explanation is despite your having drawn my attention to it. Could you be more direct?

Could you be more obtuse?
How do you know that Genesis 1, for example, is nonsense? Do you know that even secular historians of science credit the worldview which emerges from it as being reason why science has succeeded so well, in the west, particularly? Did you know that the scientific method itself emerged out of, specifically, Judaeo-Christian scholarship? I think instead you may need to read G.K. Chesterson’s “The Everlasting Man” in order to hear a different voice on the issues you seem so unwilling to consider. The relevance has everything to do with an awakening needed in your historical sense of identity and imagination. It’s not uncommon for those from the sciences to sorely neglect this area of study, so it is not meant as an insult.

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Could you be less civil? Is this the famous “Christian charity”?

Never said it was. We’ve never discussed Genesis 1 so far. If we had, my claim would have been that it’s not historically true; nothing it talks about happened, either in the order or in the manner described. You might disagree, but you would be disagreeing with the entire corpus of scientific knowledge.

No, I don’t. There have been a few such claims about Judeo-Christian ideas in general, and about protestantism in particular, but I don’t think they’re very well supported. But even so, that has nothing to do with whether or not the story is true.

No, I don’t, and I don’t believe it’s true. Even if it were true, it would be irrelevant to whether or not the story is true.

What are these issues I’m unwilling to consider? Could you summarize Chesterson’s point?

What do my historical sense of identity and imagination have to do with whether the early chapters of Genesis are true?

How does the commonness of an insult imply that it isn’t meant as an insult? How does the fact (if true) that it wasn’t intended as an insult make it any less an insult?

Ahhh… the short memory problem. When you say “We’ve never discussed Genesis 1 so far,” do you not remember saying: " But if you want to claim it records actual events, then it’s a reasonable response to say that the stories are silly, meaning absurd and implausible."
Now that you know that this entire forum is about dealing with the (at least potential) historicity and meaning of the events described in Genesis 1, 2, and beyond, do you still maintain that the stories are silly, absurd and implausible? If so, why are you bothering to even comment on the subject?
Have you ever examined the meaning of those stories in the original context or languages? Or, is your exposure limited to a cursory driveby based on an English translation? Is “Caesar’s Gallic Wars,” another book from history, silly, absurd and implausible? What tests or standards of historicity do you employ to make such decisions?

Wasn’t I talking about Genesis 2? Genesis 1 isn’t silly, though it’s certainly implausible, so if I did say that I retract it. Nor does “silly” mean the same thing as “nonsense”.

Is it? I had thought it was more than that, and less. Has Genesis 1 been discussed? And isn’t claiming that there is no historicity in a story one way of dealing with its (at least potential) historicity?

Mostly because I’m interested in any serious responses. If you would make one, we could consider the matter.

Not as much as some, more than others. I don’t think we can really know the original context. But how would that be relevant to judging their truth? What am I missing by not reading Hebrew that’s relevant to that question?

There are a few things that are implausible because self-serving, but on the whole it’s reasonable and is backed up by all manner of other sources. Also, that I recall, it contains nothing that contradicts our scientific knowledge. In contrast, Genesis 1 is just wrong, Noah’s flood is wrong, Genesis 2, in a straightforward reading, is demonstrably wrong. The latter is also silly from a theological standpoint, again in a straightforward reading.

Once more, I must ask what portion of the early chapters of Genesis you want to contest my interpretation of and/or defend the historical truth of. Will we ever get to the point of discussing anything, or is this just abuse?

The anthropology of ancient cultures is fascinating to me. I am enjoying Alice’s site immensely. I especially am intrigued by how DNA studies of ancient genomes combined with the anthropological artifacts is confirming and changing what we thought was knew about biblical stories, dates, locations, culture, and people.


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