The Early Days of a Better Nation

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cognitive dissonance

Pic: Traces of primitive man in South Queensferry

Yesterday I came across this fascinating documentation of the heresy trial of Dr. Terry M. Gray, all the way from the initial offence to the recantation.

What I found most interesting was this elaboration of the charges (Dr Gray himself firmly denies that he holds the view attributed here):
Dr. Gray repeatedly speaks as though we ought to interpret Scripture subject to the findings of science. He seeks to conform the teaching of Scripture to a current evolutionary view.[..] His hermeneutical method is more dangerous even than his specific view of human origin. Clearly, the application of this hermeneutical method cannot be limited just to the teaching of Scripture regarding the origin of Adam's body. It may be that Dr. Gray is content not to extend the application of his hermeneutic to other areas, but the method itself consistently applied undermines the authority of Scripture in any area of scientific inquiry.
The following, from Dr Gray's recantation, is also remarkable:
The study of evidence in God's creation using scientific methods in keeping with a Biblical worldview leads to the apparent conclusion that the human body originated via evolutionary mechanisms from animal ancestors. While there are some who deny that this is a valid inference from the data, I am unable to find fault with this conclusion held by the majority of the scientific community.

6. The simplest reading of Genesis 2 makes no suggestion that Adam's body had animal ancestors. [...]

7. Thus, my response is simply that I do not know how bring these two ideas together and that I am willing to remain in a state of agnosticism and cognitive dissonance on this issue. Perhaps future findings of science or future refinements of our understanding of the Genesis text will allow for resolution.
What can you say?


I am afraid of falling foul of Poe's Law, here...

Not too sure what to say either.
For a different take on religion and Evolution, check

Even some Orthodox Jews can accept it --from a certain point of view. However, see also the reference to Natan Slifkin.
Had to look up Poe's Law. I'll certainly remember it, having seen examples among the evangelicals here in Colorado Springs. I don't know how anyone can take them seriously.

This wouldn't happen to have anything to do with your forthcoming book would it?

In a way, yes it does have some connection to The Night Sessions - I've been paying a bit more attention than usual to religious issues over the past year or so, and the novel features creationist mental contortions even stranger than that.

That pic; is that from the cover of Sugar Cubes first album, Life's Too Good?

On a lighter note; after all those poor women, kids and even animals they burned, having heresy trials nowadays means you're complicit in those murders.

Eddie, the pic is one I took myself, of a scrawled-on boulder down by the shore.

As for the heresy trials ... the churches are voluntary organizations, and freedom of association includes exclusion and expulsion, etc. It might be interesting to know just which killings the Presbyterian tradition has on its hands and would still defend, but I don't think heresy trials imply complicity in every heresy hunt and witch-hunt of the past.

Mind you, in Scotland the Presbyterians burned their last atheist in about 1700 and their last witch in 1722.

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