05/4/21

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

0079 Jeff Harden follows his appeal with summaries of faithful Christian approaches to human origins.  These approaches include models of existential recapitulation, of protohistory, of representative ancient ancestors, of recently, elected representatives and of genealogies, as opposed to genetics.

None of these are adequate.

0080 Why?

They do not fit the fairy tales about Adam and Eve.

0076 In this look at Hardin’s article, another option appears.  It appears as a mirror image of his opening question.  It asks, “Why doesn’t evolutionary science recognize a twist in human evolution?”

The answer wonders, “Why is our current Lebenswelt not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in?

The hypothesis of the first singularity is a scientific mechanism that works as an adjunct to theological formulations.

Indeed, we come to a new age of understanding, which the late John Deely, calls “The Age of Triadic Relations”.

0077 Here is a picture of three masterworks and their corresponding periods in human evolution.

0078 My thanks to Jeff Hardin, Chair, Biologos Board of Directors, for his mind-opening essay.

05/3/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 14 of 15)

0074 Jeff Hardin calls for theological interpretation of the Bible and scientific inquiry into human evolution to move in tandem.

In doing so, he unknowingly struggles with the Positivist judgment and offers us a post-Positivist alternative.

Here is a picture.

0075 If Hardin’s appeal prevails, then the metaphysics of the Bible offers a noumenon that supports phenomena studied in the human sciences.

Clearly, phenomena alone are insufficient to reveal our particular noumenon.  How can changes in settlement patterns, innovation, and all the other little clues to the potentiation of unconstrained social complexity, produce a revelation that humanity is a recent creation by the divine?

Once the thing itself is intimated by the written origin stories of the ancient Near East, particularly the Biblical stories in Genesis, the human imagination may find a path to the hypothesis of the first singularity.

The noumenonthe thing itself, is necessary in order for there to be phenomena, observable and measurable facets.  Yet, the noumenon cannot be objectified by its phenomena.

For centuries, empirical scientists ignore the noumenon and treat it as an impediment to their struggle for scientific results.  That attitude continues to pervade the modern disciplines of anthropology, psychology and sociology.  But, it cannot hold.

0076 Why?

Humans innately recognize noumena as sources of signification.

Our lineage adapts into the niche of triadic relations, which includes signs, mediations, judgments and category-based nested forms.

0077 Then, our Lebenswelt changes.  We forget who we were.  We fashion fairy tales of who we are.  These fairy tales include public mythologies of the ancient Near East, written in cuneiform on clay tablets that are preserved in burnt ruins of long forgotten capitals.  These public mythologies agree with the stories of Adam and Eve in the Bible.  Humans are recently manufactured by the spiritual realm.

Here is a noumenon that cannot be objectified by its phenomena.

Yet, phenomena exist only because of their noumenon.

The noumenon and its phenomena both point to a recent prehistoric change from the Lebenswelt that we evolved in to our current Lebenswelt.

0078 The rule of the positivist intellect cannot contain the human sciences.

Theology and the human sciences must move in tandem.

04/29/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 12 of 15)

0063 What about the disciplines of modern psychology and sociology?

Do they labor as word-smiths, hammering out the spoken words that will address the tsunami of concupiscence-related disorders that currently plague modern society, or do they construct spoken words that thwart an evangelical’s desire to hear a sermon on Original Sin?

After all, lectures on concupiscence are not justified in a Zeitgeist where concupiscence is labeled “natural”.

0064 Surely, secular experts justify various features of our current Zeitgeist… er… regime, just like they previously (and maybe still do) labored to account for various flavors of mercantilism, various strains of fascism, and various manifestations of communism.

These ideologies all build on foundations of spoken wordsspecialized disciplinary languages fashioned by academically certified agents.

0065 Spoken words can (somehow) create the artifacts that validate spoken words.

The best way to make that happen is with sovereign power.

Spoken words can generate the righteousness underlying an organizational objective that will allow me (and my fellow travelers) to demand sovereign action.  Then, the state implements my organizational objective, thereby validating the righteousness that my spoken words advocated.

Try to get around that.

0066 An example?

May I call the current regime: “big government (il)liberalism”?

Some would call it, “the administrative state”.

Big government (il)liberalism is the latest sovereign solution to the nasty consequences of an enlightened disposition, declaring, “Concupiscence is okay, because it is natural.”

“Tolerance” is key.

Big government experts must be tolerant in order to better manage the citizen’s natural proclivities.

0067 So, the word, “liberal” has been perverted from a focus on freedom and responsibility to a fixation on nonjudgment.

The prefix, (il), celebrates this inversion, because managing citizens is the negation of serving them.

0068 Isn’t that what the word, “government”, ought to mean?

If the citizens are going to do what’s natural, then someone must clean up the mess.  What does that mean?  Someone must control the citizens, in order to ameliorate the mess that they would produce, if left to their own natures.

Er… not someone, something.  Something big.

0069 In a world where government is omnipresent, the message comes across loud and clear.

Look at your television and listen to the talking heads.

We are here to justify your concupiscence.

We are here to manage the consequences.

Please comply with current directives.

04/28/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 11 of 15)

0059 Our current world is fallen, yet civilization constantly rises from the ashes of prior self-destructions.

The Bible depicts a cycle of formation, deformation, and reformation.

A new approach to the psychological and the social sciences ought to move in tandem with Biblical interpretation.

0060 Some evolutionary psychologists already stumble in this direction.

For example, today, people are fat, lazy and addicted to sugar.

Is the problem that our ancestors adapt to a world filled with fat-burning, strenuous and sugar-demanding activities?

No, with the benefits of civilization, the pressure is off.  We can afford to slow down, take rests and eat desserts.  The problem is our current Lebenswelt.

0061 When anyone asks me what I’m doing, I say, “I’m working.”

But, I’m really eating candy.

Yes, I project meaning, presence and message into the word, “work”.

And, my projection is paying off.

My own spoken words create an artifact that justifies my sloth, plus a little extra.

Fat, that is.

0062 Spoken words stimulate the production of artifacts that appear to validate the meaning, presence and message of spoken words.

Doesn’t that sound scientific?

The motif is so versatile.

Augustine proposes that the disorder caused by Adam’s rebellion resides in our privy parts.

Surely, he is on track.

What better incentive to manipulate meaning, presence and message, than to generate artifacts in the service of one’s privy parts?

The current Zeitgeist says, “It’s only natural.”

Augustine’s concept of concupiscence sounds like an orientation that postmoderns want to speak about… er… manage.

04/27/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 10 of 15)

0054 So far, The Human Niche covers the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

An Archaeology of the Fall covers the first singularity.

In both these exercises, theological and biological anthropology move together, without violating the Positivist’s construction of what is.

What about our current Lebenswelt?

The first singularity initiates our current Lebenswelt.

Speech-alone talk spreads, through mimesis, to adjacent hand-speech talking cultures, on the basis of marginal differences of wealth and power.

0055 Why is the Ubaid wealthier and more powerful than surrounding hand-speech talking cultures?

Speech-alone talk works on symbols, while hand-speech relies on icons and indexes (even though language itself consists in two related systems of differences, that is, symbolic orders).  Speech-alone talk can name parts, irrespective of wholes.  In hand-speech talk, a part may name the whole.  Consequently, speech-alone talk facilitates specialized languages, which supports labor and social specialization.

The Ubaid has more wealth and power because it is further along a path of labor and social specialization.

0056 But, isn’t there a problem with speech-alone words that is not present in hand-speech talk?

Yes, in hand-speech talk, the gesture-word pictures or points to its referent.  So, of course, the word and referent go together.

In speech-alone talk, we innately anticipate that a spoken word pictures or points to its referent.  But, a speech act does not picture or point to anything.

What happens next?

We project meaning, presence and message into a spoken word.  Then, we construct an artifact that serves as a referent and validates the projected meaning, presence and message.  As long as the projection-validation works, the artifact is salient, and serves as a referent.

0057 Perhaps, the reader sees a problem with this arrangement.

Indeed, Augustine’s depiction of original sin only scratches the surface of the fallen character of our current Lebenswelt.  Some Reformed traditions have a more precise term: total depravity.

If a person is able to construct an artifact that validates the meaning, presence and message that “he” projects onto a spoken word, then what is to stop “him” from um… creating and taking advantage of a situation?

Welcome to our current Lebenswelt, where our own spoken words allow us to name our own “realities”.

0058 Here is another pairing of Biblical interpretations and a new approach to the human sciences.

04/26/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 9 of 15)

0048 What about the transition to our current Lebenswelt?

Is there a way that theological anthropology and the anthropology of civilized folk move together?

0049 Here is an interpretation of the Bible.

The fact that all written origin stories of the ancient Near East point to a recent creation of humans implies that the scribes and storytellers cannot see beyond a certain point in time, say 7821 years ago.  Adam and Eve are fairy tale figures standing at the portal of our current Lebenswelt.

0050 Here is a corresponding novel approach to evolutionary science.

Our current Lebenswelt is not the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  The transition is called the first singularity.  The first singularity begins with the appearance of the first speech-alone talking culture, the Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia.  At this time, all other cultures practice hand-speech talk.

Hand-speech talk?

Speech is added to hand talk at the start of our own species, Homo sapiens.

By the time the first singularity initiates, hand-speech talk has been practiced for 200,000 years.

The transition from hand-speech talk to speech-alone talk is simple.  Drop the hand-component.  But no-one ever thinks of doing so, since hand talk grounds words in the natural sign qualities of icons and indexes.  Plus, humans have been enjoying hand-speech talk for countless generations.

0051 So how does the Ubaid culture do it?

By accident.  At the start of our current interglacial, the Persian Gulf is dry land, settled by two two unrelated hand-speech talking cultures, one land-loving Neolithic and one coast and river-loving Mesolithic. A significant and rapid rise of the sea marks the start of our current interglacial.  The Persian Gulf fills with water, pushing the two cultures together.

The cultures join into one.  They develop a pidgin from the two very different languages.  After a few generations, the pidgin turns into a fully linguistic creole.  The hand-component of hand-speech talk is lost.  Sumerian is the first speech-alone language.

Sumerian is a linguistic isolate.  It is unrelated to any family of spoken languages.

0052 The semiotic qualities of speech-alone talk are very different from hand-speech talk.  Hand-speech talk facilitates constrained social complexity.  Speech-alone talk fosters unconstrained complexity.

That is the science in a nutshell.

0053 Three series are devoted to the first singularity at the smashwords website.

The most direct is Crystallizations of the Fall, containing two articles: The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace, plus Comments on Original Death and Original Sin: Romans 5:12-19.  Skeptical science types should start here.

The most accessible is A Course on An Archaeology of the Fall, containing the namesake masterwork and an instructor’s guide.  Accompanying literature includes the early chapters of Genesis, chapter 5 of Paul’s letter to the Romans and Sura 5.  This is the best path for students and teachers.  This course is designed as a seminar.  Read and discuss.

Implications and further commentaries are located in the series Reverberations of the Fall.  Theologians should consider this series first.  Original sin is relevant, again.  But, here, I am getting ahead of myself.

04/23/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 8 of 15)

0042 Jeff Hardin suggests that Biblical interpretation and scientific interpretation should move in tandem.

There are three postmodern lines that bind them.

They appear in the following diagram.

0043 The three strands are the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, our current Lebenswelt, and the transition between the two.

Amazingly, this binding is already on display in three masterworks by Razie Mah… er… this commentator.

How so?

I start with the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

0044 Here is an interpretation of the Bible.

The Creation Story is a sign of the evolutionary record.  Just as various Genesis days unfold and build on one another, the evolution of our planet evolves through ages.  The construction of the tent of the heavens and the earth is like a stained glass window looking out onto the evolution of our world.

What does the Creation Story tell me about what it is to be human?

Only with the appearance of the intention of man does the spirit find a home in the material world.  The human soul informs the human body.  The human body substantiates the human soul.  Our lineage comes into existence as images of God.

0045 This describes a noumenon.  What about its phenomena?

This noumenon calls for a new approach to evolutionary science.

The fish have an ultimate niche: the potential of water.  The birds have an ultimate niche: the potential of air.  Water and air are material actualities independent of the adapting species.

0046 What about our ancestors?

Hominins have an ultimate niche: the potential of triadic relations.  Triadic relations are real, yet immaterial.  They are independent of the adapting species.  Triadic relations cannot be reduced to material and instrumental causalities.  Yet, they entangle them.

Humans adapt into the niche of triadic relations.

0047 This claim stands at the center of A Course on the Human Niche, which is available at smashwords.

The course begins with A Primer on Natural Signs, proceeds to four commentaries on recent publications on human evolution, then concludes with the masterwork, The Human Niche.

This course is a comprehensive alternative to current Positivist constructions of the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Theological anthropology [cannot be objectified as] biological anthropology, but the two can move together.

04/22/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 7 of 15)

0036 Human evolution comes with a twist?

What insights do we have from the Bible?

0037 First, there are two origins depicted in Genesis.  The Creation Story covers Genesis 1:1-2.3.  The stories of Adam and Eve start at Genesis 2.4.

Both comport with the style and content of ancient Near East texts.

0038 Second, those in Abraham’s tradition treat both origin stories as real.

The Creation Story justifies the Sabbath as a day of rest, as codified by Moses.  

The stories of Adam and Eve, in contrast, suddenly come into the limelight when St. Paul connects the Jewish revelation, fulfilled in Christ, to all humanity, all the way back to Adam.  Adam is where Jews and Gentiles converge.

0039 What does this imply?

The Bible conveys the noumenon of a recent prehistoric change, the first singularity, that alters the course of human evolution.

0040 There are two origin stories in the Bible.

Perhaps, to evolutionary scientists, the leisurely day-to-day development in Genesis One is a better analogy to the origin of our world and ourselves, than the bizarre abrupt manufacturing scenes in the stories of Adam and Eve.

At the same time, the surprising fairy-tale construction of Adam and Eve testifies that the evolutionary scientists miss a crucial turn of events.  All the written origin myths of the ancient Near East concur with the stories of Adam and Eve.  Humans are recent creations by the divine.

0041 Does Jeff Hardin call for new models of human evolution in light of both science and the Bible?

I suspect he does.

He does not go so far as to call for a new empirio-schematic judgment.

But, he is certainly not shutting the door.

04/21/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 6 of 15)

0032 Here is a mirror picture of Hardin’s argument.

0033 Ah, the current narrative of human evolution cannot account for a twist. All written origin stories of the ancient Near East depict a recent creation of humanity.

What does that imply?

Our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Surely, the phenomena of the Developed Neolithic tell us as much.  Once the towns of the Uruk period arise in the Tigris and Euphrates River delta, there is no looking back.  Civilization begins.

0034 So, we can pose a question to the origin stories of the Ancient Near East.

What makes civilization possible?

They tell us that humans are recent creations by the gods.

0035 What does this imply?

The manufacture of humans by newly differentiated gods indicates that the ancient scribes and storytellers could not see beyond a certain point in the past.  They could not see into the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  I call this time horizon: the first singularity.

The evolutionary sciences do not see what is right in front of them.

Human evolution comes with a twist.

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.