Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Strutting and Fretting an Hour Upon the Stage

PZ Megahertz has already deconstructed Andrew Parker's silly attempt at The Washington Post to match up the Genesis account of creation with present-day scientific knowledge. To me, such attempts don't reveal anything about the "almost scary" correlation between Bronze Age texts and what science has revealed; they are more on the order of the supposedly amazing similarities between the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy. They are artifacts of the evolved trait of human beings for pattern recognition. Even when no real pattern exists, we will move heaven, Earth and our imaginations to find them.

Here's a more sophisticated (but no more necessarily correct) approach to reconciling revelation and science, also at The Washington Post, by theologian John F. Haught, one of the witnesses for the good guys in the Kitzmiller case:

The most important issue in the current debate about evolution and faith is not whether design points to deity but whether the drama of life is the carrier of a meaning. According to rigid design standards, evolution appears to have staggered drunkenly down multiple pathways, leading nowhere. But viewed dramatically, the apparent absence of perfect order at any present moment is an opening to the future, a signal that the story of life is not yet over.

To make sense of the drama of life, therefore, we shall have to wait -- a disposition essential to any mature religious faith. For if evolution has an eternally sanctioned "point," we should expect that it would presently be hidden in the narrative depths of life rather than manifested in the always imperfect instances of design that float along on life's surface. Dramatic stories, unlike complex living systems or elaborately structured molecular states, have the potential to carry a truly deep significance. But it is the nature of stories that they have comic twists and tragic turns, and that they take time to unfold. ...

According to a biblically inspired theology of nature, beneath life's diversity, descent, and flawed design, stirs an evolutionary drama that has been aroused, though not coercively driven, by a God of infinite love. The cosmos is called continually into being by a Creator who wills, but does not force, truly interesting outcomes to emerge in surprising new ways. God, as scripture suggests, is the one who "makes all things new." The drama of life and its evolution is a response to this invitation.

In other words, we cannot expect to understand a transcendent God or His/Her/Its plan but the Bible tells us that God intends us to work it out as if we are players on a stage without a script.

Couldn't we at least have a reasonably competent stage manager though?

Having earned my living in years gone by as a stage manager I can assure you that stage managers are always competent. It's the authors, actors and directors who fuck up!
What I got from that is that it ain't over, and that the divinely sanctioned goal of evolution is still about four speciation events downstream. IOW, H. saps is merely a stepping stone in the river, an evanescent transitional form, and once we're extinct we're forked. It's those big-headed prosthesis-ridden virtual-reality-inhabiting descendants of ours who are going to get Raptured.
It's the authors, actors and directors who fuck up!

Naw, stage managers fuck up too. It's lighting directors that are perfect.

(Did I mention I did lighting in college theater?)

It's those big-headed prosthesis-ridden virtual-reality-inhabiting descendants of ours who are going to get Raptured.

Assuming it isn't big headed descendants of cockroaches.
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