Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Back To Square One (Point)

In a clever but pernicious falsehood, our homegrown gadfly Tlaloc (see comment #9 to Genesis Sui Generis) has quoted Genesis as saying that the animals were created "after Adam". Now this may seem like a minor error, but it really is very critical. The system of evolution depends heavily on the fact that Man evolved last, and it would be a good trick to pretend that this was an idea original to that theory.

You only need to master one chapter of Bible to know that the contrary is true. The idea of Man emerging last is one of many ideas in Darwin's system that are plagiarized from the Bible. Here is the relevant text (my translation): "And the Lord said, let the Earth give forth the spirit of living creatures in its kind, ruminants and crawlers and livelier animals of the Earth in their kind, and it was so. And the Lord made the livelier animal of the Earth in its kind and the ruminant in its kind and all the ground-crawlers in their kind, and the Lord saw that it was good. And the Lord said: 'Let us make Man in our form, like our image, and they will manage over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the ruminants and over all the Earth, and over all the crawlers that crawl upon the Earth.' And the Lord created the man in His image, in the image of the Lord He created Him, male and female He created them. And the Lord blessed them, and the Lord said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth, conquering it, and manage over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and all the life that crawls upon the Earth.' " (Genesis 1:24-28)

Later, in a verse that reviews the creation of Man, it adds as follows: "And God, the Lord, fashioned Man, dust from the Earth, and He blew into his nostrils a soul of life, and the Man became an ensouled life." (ibid 2:7)

Strip this of the religious language and note the following points. 1) Man is created last. 2) He/she is designed to be stronger and more capable than the rest, sufficient to exercise control. 3) The Earth is an active agent in the process of "giving forth" all animal and human life forms. 4) All animal and human bodies emerge in some way from the physical materials already present in the Earth.

Now project your mind back to prehistoric time and you will understand that none of this was "necessary" in order to invent an effective religion or mythos. This is simply an amazing window into the science of Nature, one into which Darwin just took a little peek (and still got plenty of detail wrong).

8 comments:

The Liberal Anonymous said...

I'm guessing he's referring to Genesis 2:7 and 2:19.

Hunter Baker said...

Jay, you just write fabulously well on this topic.

The Liberal Anonymous said...

The idea of Man emerging last is one of many ideas in Darwin's system that are plagiarized from the Bible.

Jay, the hubris of giving the Bible original credit for the story of man being created last aside, are you suggesting that biologists believe no new species have evolved since human beings? Give me a break.

Scott Carson said...

While I agree with you entirely about the nature of Tlaloc's error, I'm really quite bewildered by your claim that the whole system of evolution "depends upon" man evolving last. I don't see that the order of emergence matters in any way to the theory of evolution by natural selection. All that really matters is the idea of adaptedness. An organism, O1, is better adapted in environment E than another organism, O2, if on the whole O1 tends to have greater reproductive success in E than O2. Evolution occurs when the principle of adaptedness drives one set of alleles or another out of a population by means of differential reproductive success. There is nothing in any of this that either presupposes or relies upon any particular order of emergence of any particular trait, such as intelligence, use of symbolic language, or any of the other traits that are supposed to mark our species.

Perhaps I have misunderstood you, or have read more into your remark than you intended, but the phrase "depends upon" really struck me.

Tlaloc said...

I explicitly stated I was looking at genesis 2:19 which (again ) says:

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that [was] the name thereof.

It's not MY problem that YOUR dogma makes contradictory claims. This passage clearly says the animals were created after Adam. They were created and THEN brought to him.

As before I see no problem with genesis if it is taken as it was meant: as a parable. When taken literally it is so chock full of inconsistencies that it's no wonder christian literalists are so confused.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Tlaloc, with respect, I retranslated the entire rendering of Creation to demonstrate one simple point: ideology aside, I am a scholar of Hebrew language and usage.

I assure you that it is quite common usage, once the detailed staging of the process was laid out, to review the earlier event with the Hebrew letter "vav", and then proceed to the new point.

A more correct translation of the later verse, in the type of styling used in English writing, would be: "And God, the Lord, had also created from the ground all the livestock of the field and all the flying things of the heavens, so He brought them to Adam to see what he would call each one..."

To deny this, after seeing the context provided in the first chapter, would just be mulish. And to use a post-op precis as a basis for arguments against the Creation story is, as that atheist Nero Wolfe would say, flummery.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Thanks, Hunter.

And yes, Professor Carson, you're right, the evolution framework does not fully rely in any conceptual way on Man emerging last. It just emerges that way from all the geology, and with Man having the most advanced faculty of reason by a very long margin, it would be almost absurd to maintain that it/he evolved before the horned toad.

Tlaloc said...

"Tlaloc, with respect, I retranslated the entire rendering of Creation to demonstrate one simple point: ideology aside, I am a scholar of Hebrew language and usage."

Which I do honestly respect. However it's immaterial. The question isn't "should Genesis have been translated differently?" The question was "If we read genesis as written and interpret it literally do we end up with conflicting assertions and the statement that animals were created after man?" The answer to that question is "yes we do."

I completely understand that many christian misunderstandings are due to poor translations taken out of context, believe me I understand that. But the issue was Biblical literalists. Those people are reading the translations we have and believing them to be the literal truth of what happened, mistranslations and all.

Is that clear then why your superior understanding of the original material, while admirable, doesn't matter to a discussion of the beliefs of those using the later works?



"To deny this, after seeing the context provided in the first chapter, would just be mulish."

Taht I disagree with, the bible has no shortage of contradictions when read literally, this is just one more.



"And to use a post-op precis as a basis for arguments against the Creation story is, as that atheist Nero Wolfe would say, flummery."

I wasn't arguing against the creation story, as I said I see no problems with it when it's taken as a parable. I was arguing against those who take it literally and then make up creationism and intelligent design to give cover for the flaws in their beliefs.