"John W. Redelfs" wrote:

> At 01:56 PM, Friday, 11/1/02, Marc A. Schindler wrote:
>
> >You're asking a question Diamond doesn't attempt to answer, and there's no
> >easy way
> >to answer this.
>
> I don't believe I suggested that Diamond was supposed to answer my
> question.  I asked my question of the members of this list.  If Diamond is
> right about the domestication of grain and sheep, and the origins of
> language, isn't there something wrong with our Book of Genesis?
>

Only if you believe Genesis was intended to be an anthropology text.

>
> You are forever trying to reconcile science with religion by suggesting
> that they don't ever tread on each other's toes.  I am not convinced.  The
> scriptures say that Cain raised grain, and Abel raised sheep.  And Adam was
> literate and kept a book of remembrance.  Diamond says that forty thousand
> years ago, primitive hunter-gatherers domesticated grain by cultivating
> local grasses, and that writing originated by some form of intellectual
> evolution.  In was a remarkable invention.  You can philosophize and
> theorize all you want, that sound like a contradiction to me.
>

I can only repeat what I've said before. You are using words that mean different
things in cross-wise ways. I can only show you how I've come to grips with it, I
can't force you to. Each person needs to approach reconciliation on their own,
ultimately.

>
> >We've been told by prophets from Brigham Young to John Widtsoe to Spencer
> >W. Kimball that Genesis is symbolic.
>
> Have they ever said which parts of Genesis are symbolic, or that all of it
> is symbolic?  It seems to me that they teach that Adam and Eve were actual
> people, the parents of our race.  Or is that symbolism too?
>

Separating the two isn't just my idea, it's doctrine. Here, once again, is the
latest official declaration on the subject, separating science from religion (1931
letter from the 1P to all GAs):

Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to
bear the message of the restored gospel to the world. Leave geology,  biology,
archaeology, and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the
souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our  calling in the
realm of the ChurchÖ.

 Upon one thing we should all be able to agree, namely, that Presidents Joseph F.
Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund were right when they said:  "Adam is the
primal parent of our race" [First Presidency Minutes, Apr. 7, 1931].

The EoM entry on evolution, which bears the name of the author William Evenson,
but which was heavily edited (that is, edited a number of times) by GBH, also
says, "The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how, though
the Lord has promised that he will tell that when he comes again (D&C 101:32-33)."

Why try to trouble your mind when it's simply not necessary? If we followed the
brethren's commandment, we wouldn't confuse the two.  As far as *me* convincing
you, have you ever read my essay on the difference between science and religion?

>
> I have always supposed that the story of the serpent, tree of life, tree of
> knowledge, Adam's rib and the flaming sword that kept the couple from
> returning to Eden were symbols.  But was it mere symbolism when Adam was
> visited by angels who inquired as to why he was offering burnt
> sacrifice?  Genesis tell us that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire
> from heaven.  Was that merely a figure of speech?  We learn that Jacob had
> twelve sons who fathered twelve tribes.  Did that really happen, or is it
> just symbolism, something like a Hebrew Zodiac?  In my view, if a person
> wants to dismiss Genesis as being mere symbolism, he needs to be a little
> more specific.  He needs to either state that all of it is symbolism, or he
> needs to tell us which parts are symbolism and which parts are to be taken
> literally.
>
> >A scientist isn't after ultimate truth in the religious sense, he's after
> >the best explanation that can be used in a predictive model, or which
> >describes physical evidence. You have to read his book differently than
> >you read Genesis, imo.
>
> First of all, I never said anything about ultimate truth.  I just said that
> Diamond's scenario seems to diverge considerably from the ancient record as
> contained in Genesis and the Book of Moses.  And he didn't provide much
> "physical evidence" to buttress his claims.  He didn't footnote.

??? Are we talking about the same book? He provides no less than 29 pages of
further readings, broken down chapter by chapter. It's not a textbook or scholarly
tome -- as he explains in his preface, it's intended for a sweep is general and
not intended for scholars: "This book attempts to provide a short history of
everybody for the last 13,000 years." In 480 pages (incl. the index, etc.)! If you
have a specific question, then you go to the further readings section for more
information.

> And there
> isn't even a proper bibliography, just some suggested "additional reading."
>

Define "proper bibliography." John, if you don't like the book, don't finish it.
But spare us your suffering.

>
> >You go too far, imo, when you suggest, even rhetorically, that the
> >scriptures are
> >just an ancient collection of Hebrew folk tales. That may be their format,
> >but it's
> >a kind of mythology known as mythopoeia, which means that the narrative
> >isn't the
> >point -- the symbolism is, and also the way something is written conveys the
> >message. I believe this is how the temple works, and there's a good
> >explanation
> >(imo) by Northrop Frye about this that's on my website:
> >http://www.members.shaw.ca/kschindler/frye_1.htm
>
> Some people miss the marc (pun intended) by oversimplifying things, and
> others miss the mark by assuming things to be far more complicated than
> they are.  I probably oversimplify things.  And in my opinion you have a
> tendency in the other direction.  Fundamental principles are rarely
> complex.  Cause and effect can often be very complex because virtually
> nothing ever happens that is not influenced by a multitude of factors.
>
> BTW, the reason I tend to simplify things is because I'm just not smart
> enough to understand things that are highly complex.  Simple minded as I
> am, I am constantly trying to find the essence of a thing.  And by
> definition, an essence is simple.
>

And some people can explain complex issues simply. I'm not one of those, I'm
afraid. I don't have the patience or the training for it.

> <dfelete>

> I think it is a neat trick you do by compartmentalizing science and
> religion.  I have never been able to do it.

Then perhaps you should follow the counsel of the brethren and learn how: I quote
again, "Leave geology,  biology, archaeology, and anthropology, no one of which
has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research".

Nowhere does it say they're wrong, it says to leave them to the experts.

--
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

Guns donít kill people; people with guns kill people

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the authorís employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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