Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Family Research Council Endorses Dishonesty or Stupidity
In a post entitled "President Endorses Intelligent Design!" he "quotes" Thomas Jefferson to the effect:
…the Theist, pointing to the heavens above, and to the earth beneath, and to the waters under the earth, asked if these did not proclaim a first cause, possessing intelligence and power; power in the production, and intelligence in the design, and constant preservation of the system; urged the palpable existence of final causes, that the eye was made to see, and the ear to hear, and not that we see because we have eyes, and hear because we have ears…... and claims:
In this letter, the former president, Thomas Jefferson, one of the leading scientific minds of his day, rejects the atheism of some of the French philosophes with whom he shared so many ideas. He ascribes to the Creator "power in the production, intelligence in the design, and constant preservation of the system…" [Emphasis in original]Really?
Here's the original, To John Adams, April 8, 1816, in which Jefferson is writing to John Adams about a certain Baron Grimm:
Did I know Baron Grimm while at Paris? Yes, most intimately. He was the pleasantest and most conversable member of the diplomatic corps while I was there; a man of good fancy, acuteness, irony, cunning and egoism. No heart, not much of any science, yet enough of every one to speak its language; his forte was belles-lettres, painting and sculpture. ...Clearly (to anyone with at least as much honesty as intelligence), Jefferson is not "endorsing" ID, he is comparing two schools of thought, atheist and theist. His sympathy for "traditional" theism can be seen in his description of "fabricated Christianity" in the thrall of pagan priests.
Although I never heard Grimm express the opinion directly, yet I always supposed him to be of the school of Diderot, D'Alembert, D'Holbach; the first of whom committed his system of atheism to writing in ''Le bon sens,'' and the last in his "Systeme de la Nature.'' It was a numerous school in the Catholic countries, while the infidelity of the Protestant took generally the form of theism. The former always insisted that it was a mere question of definition between them, the hypostasis [underlying state or substance; fundamental reality] of which, on both sides, was ''Nature,'' or ''the Universe;'' that both agreed in the order of the existing system, but the one supposed it from eternity, the other as having begun in time. And when the atheist descanted on the unceasing motion and circulation of matter through the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, never resting, never annihilated, always changing form, and under all forms gifted with the power of reproduction; the theist pointing "to the heavens above, and to the earth beneath, and to the waters under the earth," asked, if these did not proclaim a first cause, possessing intelligence and power ; power in the production, and intelligence in the design and constant preservation of the system ; urged the palpable existence of final causes; that the eye was made to see, and the ear to hear, and not that we see because we have eyes, and hear because we have ears; an answer obvious to the senses, as that of walking across the room, was to the philosopher demonstrating the non-existence of motion.
I have lately been amusing myself with Levi's book ... His style is inelegant and incorrect, harsh and petulant to his adversary, and his reasoning flimsy enough. Some of his doctrines were new to me, particularly that of his two resurrections; the first, a particular one of all the dead, in body as well as soul, who are to live over again, the Jews in a state of perfect obedience to God, the other nations in a state of corporeal punishment for the sufferings they have inflicted on the Jews. ... He alleges that the Jews alone preserve the doctrine of the unity of God. Yet their God would be deemed a very indifferent man with us; and it was to correct their anamorphosis [a deformed image] of the Deity, that Jesus preached, as well as to establish the doctrine of a future state. However, Levi insists, that that was taught in the Old Testament, and even by Moses himself and the prophets. He agrees that an anointed prince was prophesied and promised; but denies that the character and history of Jesus had any analogy with that of the person promised. He must be fearfully embarrassing to the Hierophants [chief priests] of fabricated Christianity ; because it is their own armor in which he clothes himself for the attack. For example, he takes passages of Scripture from their context, (which would give them a very different meaning,) strings them together, and makes them point towards what object he pleases; he interprets them figuratively, typically, analogically, hyperbolically ; he calls in the aid of emendation, transposition, ellipse, metonymy, and every other figure of rhetoric; the name of one man is taken for another, one place for another, days and weeks for months and years; and finally, he avails himself all his advantage over his adversaries by his superior knowledge of the Hebrew, speaking in the very language of the divine communication, while they can only fumble on with conflicting and disputed translations. Such is this war of giants. And how can such pigmies as you and I decide between them? For myself, I confess that my head is not formed tantas componere lites [to settle such great disputes].
And if you can't see the mockery in "one of the leading scientific minds of his day" declaring himself (and John Adams) to be "pigmies" incapable of addressing such issues, you are so tone deaf that wearing 200 pounds of woofers and tweeters strapped to your head isn't going to help.
Moronic or mendacious ... does it matter?
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