04/20/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 5 of 15)

0026 The unsettling end to the prior blog shows where Jeff Hardin’s discussion can go.

Hardin poses one question.  A second question mirrors the first.  The transit from one question to the other turns everything backwards.  One question reflects phenomena onto their noumenon.  The other reflects a noumenon onto its phenomena.

Scientists study phenomena.  Their data makes sleepiness great.

Humans pay attention to noumena.  Our attentiveness is likely innate.

0027 We want to hear a narrative about the thing itself.  Forget about the empirio-schematic judgments about its phenomena.

Evolution, as a forensic science, offers a data-driven narrative.  But, it’s really a projection of models onto the thing itself.  So, the story from phenomena inherently violates the dyad of what is in the Positivist’s judgment.

So, it will never satisfy.  It will never offer me a way to appreciate who I am.

0028 I am a tarnished image of God.

The Bible offers a narrative, which many call “special revelation”.  Special revelation captures our attention.  Reading the words bring us into awareness of the thing itself.

0029 Hardin offers the following picture.

Hardin argues that the narratives of the evolutionary sciences provide constraints on interpretations of what it is to be human from Genesis.

0030 The following is a particularly important application.

0031 In the next blog, I will look at the same argument in the mirror within the heart of Hardin’s essay.

04/19/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 4 of 15)

0017 The distinction between a noumenon and its phenomena is valuable because it allows scientists to study phenomena, while ignoring the metaphysics associated with their noumenon.

So, while many inquirers ask noumenal questions, “Where did we humans come from?  What went wrong? What is the cure?”, the scientific answers are based on clues concerning what would be the observable and measurable facets of hominin evolution as witnessed by a disinterested observer

0018 Here is an association between modern versions of theological & biological anthropology and what is for the Positivist’s judgment.

0019 What do scientists look for?

Evolutionary scientists look for clues.  Then, they analyze those clues with specific models built by empirical scientists and geneticists.  The clues turn into observable and measurable features of the evolutionary record that may be then analyzed according to models proposed by biologists and natural historians.  The result is a narrative of hominin evolution.

The evolutionary record is a product of scientific inquiry.  It is expressed as a narrative.

0020 This conclusion is implicit in Hardin’s treatment of human natural history.  He presents a narrative.

What does this imply?

Human evolutionary sciences are forensic sciences.  They rely on theories by the empirical and natural sciences.  They are devoted to producing a narrative describing what happened, in accordance with the positivist rule.

0021 The empirical sciences have it easy.  They assume that the subject of inquiry is real, because they encounter the things themselves.

Empiricists know that the thing itself cannot be reduced to its observable and measurable facets.

0022 The forensic scientists have a more difficult time.  They assume that the subject of inquiry ought to be real, but the thing itself is no longer present.  They must construct a narrative about what the subject of inquiry must have been, as if it could be observed by a disinterested observer.  Clues are studied in order to ascertain the phenomena that would have been observed.  Then, these forensic-built phenomena are subject to an empirio-schematic judgment.

Hardin addresses this construction in a section on science and human origins.

0023 The rational mind must wonder, “Is human evolution nothing more than a narrative that scientists build from phenomena rigorously constructed from various clues?”

If that is true, then the noumenon of human evolution can be objectified by its phenomena, violating the structure of the Positivist’s what is.

0024 Is this rather disorienting?

Obviously, we cannot appreciate human evolution as a noumenon, because the thing itself is no longer present for direct examination.

So, the evolutionary sciences formulate what the phenomena of human evolution must be.

They end up providing a narrative.

Yet, this scientific narrative cannot give us an appreciation of what it is to be an evolved human, even though our sense of what is it to be human evolved.

0025 Even worse, what if humans evolved to pay attention to noumena?

Such a proposal explains why classicists and believers come up with hylomorphic descriptions of things and people in the first place.

Such a proposal accounts for why a narrative is relevant.

Narratives are stories about thing themselves.

04/16/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 3 of 15)

0012 Centuries ago, the scholastic hylomorphe, matter [substantiates] form, occupies the slot of what is for a rational intellect.  

The positivist rule dissolves this hylomorphe and precipitates another dyad, a noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena.

The noumenon is the thing itself.

Phenomena are observable and measurable facets of the noumenon.

The original hylomorphe gets shuffled into the noumenon.

Why?

The positivist intellect has a rule.

0013 Here is a picture.

0014 I ask, “What is it to be a human being?”

Obviously, the relevant answer points to the noumenon.

So, I should look to metaphysics.

0015 But, the positivist intellect says, “No metaphysics is allowed.”

Scientists are only interested in the observable and measurable facets of matter [substantiates] form, as well as of body [substantiates] soul.  They are not concerned about the noumenon.  Their observations may be mechanically modeled.  Their measurements may be mathematically construed.  Their models rely on the lingo of specialized disciplines.

Scientists engage in empirio-schematic judgments, the what ought to be of the Positivist’s judgment.

0016 Okay, if this makes sense, then the dyad, expressing what is for the Positivist judgment, provides a way to appreciate the mirroring of the question raised by Jeff Hardin.

04/15/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 2 of 15)

0008 In order to appreciate how science and metaphysics mirror one another, I turn to Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy (available at the smashwords website under the Empirio-schematic series).

Science is successfully born at the start of the modern age, with the formulation of the Positivist’s judgment.

What is a judgment?

A judgment is a relation between ‘what is’ and ‘what ought to be’.  When the elements are assigned to Peirce’s categories, the judgment becomes actionable.  Actionable judgments unfold into category-based nested forms.

0009 Here is a diagram of the Positivist’s judgment.

0010 The positivist intellect, the relation, insists on a rule: No metaphysics.  Surely, this is one reason why scientific inquiry into human evolution grates against theological anthropology.  

What ought to be is an empirio-schematic judgment.

Disciplinary language (relation) brings observations and measurements (what is) into relation with mathematical and mechanical models (what ought to be).

0011 What is what is?

What is has the structure of Peirce’s secondness.  The category of secondness is the realm of actuality.  Secondness consists of two contiguous real elements.

Here, the two real elements, a noumenon and its phenomena, belong to firstness, the realm of potential.  The noumenonthe thing itself, has the potential of capturing the attention of the positivist intellect.  Its phenomena, observable and measurable facets of the thing, have the potential of activating an empirio-schematic judgment.

The contiguity is most curious.  I place the contiguity in brackets.  A noumenon [cannot be objectified as] its phenomena.

04/14/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 1 of 15)

0001 Is the current scientific consensus on human origins at odds with core theological doctrines at the heart of the evangelical faith?

You bet it is.

0002 Well, is this a blessing in disguise?

It may well be.

How so?

0003 When science clashes with key theological doctrines, such as Augustine’s doctrine of original sin, Christians may need to strive fore better theological essentials.

0004 Does the same apply to science?

Can I say, “When the theological doctrine of original sin pushes back against our current consensus on the evolutionary sciences, researchers may need to search for better scientific essentials.”?

0005 On December 11, 2019, Jeff Hardin, member of the Department of Integrative Biology at UW-Madison, publishes his essay, Biology and Theological Anthropology: Friend or Foe?, on the Biologos website.

In the introduction, he joins British neuroscientist, Donald McKay, in asking (more or less), “Does God give us Darwin, Mendel and Rawlinson in order to achieve a less improper interpretation of His Word?”

0006 At the same time, one cannot ignore a reflection.

Does God give us the Bible in order to achieve a less improper interpretation of human natural history, genetics and Near Eastern Literature?

0007 Jeff Hardin, unlike most writers on this confounding topic, does not hide the question in the mirror.

Weirdly, he invites it.

01/27/21

Evolution and the Fall (Part 4)

0021 The Genesis stories of Adam and Eve point to a real recent, prehistoric transition.

The first singularity (B1) initiates cycles of formation, deformation and reformation (or annihilation) (B2).  

0022 The contributors to the book, Evolution and the Fall, edited by William T. Cavanaugh and James K. A. Smith (2017, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, ISBN: 9780802873798), are not aware of the masterworks, The Human NicheAn Archaeology of the Fall and How To Define the Word “Religion”.

As such, they try to adapt traditional Christian theology to an insufficient scientific paradigm.

0023 As noted in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy, modern science does not permit metaphysics.  Consequently, human evolution must be accounted for by material and instrumental causations, whether in natural history (adaptation) or genetics (phenotype).  These are not sufficient, because the human niche is the potential of triadic relations.  Triadic relations are real, yet immaterial.  They entangle the material, but cannot be explained by it.

0024 Also, the modern paradigm for human evolution does not envision the fact that our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  The transition from hand-speech talk to speech-alone talk leaves only one type of archaeological trace, the appearance of trends towards unconstrained social complexity.  Why?  A change of the semiotic qualities of talk is not a material cause, it is an immaterial cause.  Speech-alone talk potentiates unconstrained social complexity.

0025 Finally, some scholars, such as Rene Girard, capture essential features of our current Lebenswelt, and so are ignored by modern gatekeepers.  The writers of the past few centuries are often not aware of the materialistic Zeitgeist in which they operate. They wear blinders.  They do not see the object that brings all into relation.  After all, there is no material or instrumental power greater than sovereign power.  Is there?

0026 The three masterworks mentioned above offer novel scientific paradigms that (1) are consistent with current empirical knowledge and (2) transcend the proscription of metaphysics, by considering semiotics to be real.  Semiotics entangles the material, but the material cannot explain triadic relations.

0027 The three masterworks offer a new, truly postmodern answer to the questions: Where do we humans come from?  What went wrong?  What is the cure?

Good places to start include Comments on Daniel Houck’s Book (2020) Aquinas, Original Sin and The Challenge of Evolution, as well as Comments on Five Views in the Book (2020) Original Sin and the Fall.

01/26/21

Evolution and the Fall (Part 3)

0013 What does the strange, historic reversal of the term, “religion” imply?

0014 The term is formed, deformed, and now, reformed.

0015 At first, the term is validated by the presence of Christian factions, vying for sovereign power.

Then, the term is exploited by “not religious” individuals, institutions and mass movements.  By identifying as “not religious”, theoreticians, organizations and broadcasters find that they can attain sovereign power in order to implement their own organizational objectives.  After all, they technically fulfill the Enlightenment mandate that sovereign states should not be in the business of establishing “religions” (Christian factions).

As a bonus, their competitors, Christian factions, cannot compete.

0016 Exploitation deforms the word “religion”, because “not religious” individuals, institutions and movements operate in precisely the same way as Christian factions during and after the Reformation, only with better technology. 

0017 The masterwork, How To Define the Word “Religion”, serves as a corrective to this deformation.  The current use of the word, “not religious”, is radically deceptive (B2), accounting for the application of the word, “secretive”, as an adjective, to secular individuals, societies and even, mass movements.

Do they know what they are doing?

Most “not religious” participants in mass movements think that their opponents are “religious”.  They are.  Yet, these same participants cannot recognize that their own stance is deeply religious, as defined by the masterwork.  The “not religious” are religious, too.  They revel in their own righteousness.

Hence, blatant hypocrisy defines our current times.

0018 In the ancient world, this type of impasse seizes a city or a region and brings it into memetic crisis (see Rene Girard in this regard).  The Bible describes the historical arc of Israel in roughly these terms.  The question revolves around the nature of God’s covenant with Israel.  God’s covenant is formed, deformed then reformed.

Plus, the path is not smooth.  God is at work throughout the Bible.  So are we.

0019 For two thousand years, Christians contemplate how Adam’s rebellion influences us (B2).  The doctrine of Original Sin characterizes a foundational feature of our current Lebenswelt.  We are fallen, then we figure out a truth, then we exploit that truth with a deceptive turn, and we fall again.  Sometimes, with God’s assistance, we figure out our mistake and reform.

Concupiscence is more than our desire to bathe our own corporeal dispositions with the waters of righteousness.  It is also our desire to inflame our spiritual dispositions with the fire of righteousness.  The Reformation term, “total depravity”, captures the way that we claim to define what righteousness is, rather than God.

0020 Isn’t that what Eve does, just before she plucks the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?

01/25/21

Evolution and the Fall (Part 2)

0007 Ours is a world where we project meanings, presences and messages into our spoken words, then construct artifacts to validate them (B2).  The artifact validates our projection, even in the face of unintended consequences.  One result is that spoken words, which are at first not deceptive, become deceptive, then wreak havoc until they are reformed.

Does that sound vaguely Biblical?

0008 An example is offered in the masterwork, How to Define the Word “Religion”.

0009 During and after the Reformation, the word, “religion”, labels Christian factions, vying for sovereign power in order to implement their organizational objectives.  The factions stand as artifacts that validate the term.  The terminology has consequences.  Enlightenment constitutions, especially the American, explicitly forbid the federal government from establishing a religion.

0010 The problem?

During the Enlightenment of the 18th century, and during the subsequent two centuries, new social noumena appear, claiming to be “not religious”.  The word, “secular”, is coined in the mid-1800s as a label.

What does it mean to identify oneself or one’s institution as “not religious”?

Well, it must mean that the entity does not belong to a Christian faction.

0011 The problem?

These “not religious” individuals (thinkers, leaders and supporters), societies (institutions) and movements (widespread affiliations) behave precisely in the same way that Christian factions do after the Reformation. They engage in social construction (meaning). They seek sovereign power in order to implement their organizational objectives (presence). Their righteousness contains inherent contradictions that cannot be resolved (message).

Indeed, modern “secular” individuals, institutions and movements meet the criteria that defines the term, “religion”, according to the above masterwork.

0012 The problem?

The US federal government has established a religion, contrary to the first amendment of its constitution.

It so happens, that the religion is not a “religion” (a Christian faction).

01/23/21

Evolution and the Fall (Part 1)

0001 In the December 2018 issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Amos Yong reviews the compilation, Evolution and the Fall, edited by William T. Cavanaugh and James K. A. Smith (2017, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, ISBN: 9780802873798).

0002 The book is the product of a three year initiative asking the following if-then question:

(A) If humanity emerges from nonhuman primates, as suggested by genetic, natural historical and archaeological evidence…

(B) …then what are the implications for Christian theology’s traditional account of origins, especially the origin of humanity (B1) and of sin (B2)?

0003 To this question, I attend.

0004 First, the masterwork, The Human Niche, proposes that the ultimate human niche is the potential of triadic relations (B1).  Triadic relations are independent of genes and the environment of evolutionary adaptation.  Even though these play roles in the actualization of triadic relations, they do not alter the nature of the relations (A).

Triadic relations explain why archaeological evidence exists in the first place (B1, A).  Physical evidences are signs of human evolution, to the beholders, that is, ourselves.  Obviously, we are adapted to look for and to participate in sign-processes.  Signs are one type of triadic relation.

0005 Second, the masterwork, An Archaeology of the Fall, dramatizes the coming to awareness of a recent twist in human evolution (B1 and B2).  Our current Lebenswelt is not the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  I call the transition: the first singularity.  The first singularity begins around 7821 years ago.  It leaves a fairy tale trace.

0006 The hypothesis of the first singularity (B1 and B2) raises novel questions concerning our current living world (B2).  What is this the nature of our current Lebenswelt (B2)?

01/20/21

Comments on Philip Marey’s Post (2021) “Insurrection” (Part 3)

0013 Here is the complete Marey square, once again.

Figure 4

0014 Do I see a problem?

Modern economists advocate for federal policies to reduce income inequality (A2) as a way to keep the peace (A1).  In other words, inequality (A2) feeds into economic causation (A1).

Does the same pattern apply to the contrasting elements (B1 and B2)?

Should modern economists also address the contribution of identity?

Or does that responsibility rest with a different suite of experts?

You know, the one’s who argue that “identity” is fully malleable, yet behave as if it is fixed.

0015 Does the proposed solution of reducing economic inequality (A2) create an unintended consequence of forcing equality (B2) onto identity (B1)?

Is there a word that describes forcing equality (B2) onto identity (B1)?

How about the term, “conformity”.

If, identity cannot be fashioned out of the creative expression of experts, then identity is not something that readily changes.  Identity is not so easily altered.

0016 What happens to the proposed solution?

Reducing economic inequality entails conformity, which explains government and private-public sector behaviors subsequent to the incident in Washington DC on January 6, 2021, the so-called “insurrection”.

The US Congress passes legislation to crack down on “domestic terrorists”, that is, people who do not conform.  They also impeach, for a second time, a figurehead that serves as the “other”, the one who does not conform.  Onto this other, they project their own crimes.

Private-public sector companies purge their platforms of people who do not conform with their corporatist stance, where the federal government handles the problem of economic inequality.  In doing so, they promote equality of identity for those remaining on their platforms.  Those who remain are complicit in purging those who do not have identities worthy of equality.  Of course, those who are unworthy of equality do not believe the experts.

0017 Marey’s square identifies two experts.  One drives the broadcast conversation, attributing social unrest (insurrection) to economic causes, particularly inequality.  The other drives a hidden conversation, where favored identities conform to the narrative.  In the latter case, experts are cultivated in order to chastise those who do not conform and to justify exclusion from public-private platforms.

0018 In short, Marey’s brief article hones in on a serious entanglement, which cannot be discussed, binding a BG(il)L public narrative (A1) with a hidden agenda concerning  identity (B1).  Forced conformity (B1, B2) is as disturbing as economic inequality (A1, A2).