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.


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?


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).


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)?


Catholics Defend Adam Against Darwin: A Pitch

To date, it seems that Catholics have flown a white flag to scientism, especially when it comes to human evolution.  Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., strikes back, in a 2018 article appearing in the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.  This well-trained biologist delivers a blistering attack on the anti-essentialism of science.

Strangely, he locates an essence for the human in a 2016 book by two modern academics.  Why Only Us? is authored by two Harvard professors, Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky.  The first works on computer models for language.  The second is a famously political linguist.

Comments are in order.  However, in a blink of an eye for the world of academics, Marie George flexes her erudition by taking Austriaco to task on his interpretations of Thomas Aquinas.  She hands the Dominican a tar baby of scholastic qualifications.

Academic quarrels do not get better than this. Instead of one commentary, three are necessary, one for Marie George, one for Nicanor Austriaco OP, plus one for Berwick and Chomsky.  The category-based nested form and the first singularity offer insights not available to any of these authors.

Christians need not defend Adam against Darwinism.  Rather, Christians have an option that reveals Adam within an evolutionary framework.  This is the drama of An Archaeology of the Fall.  This is the hypothesis of the first singularity. Our current Lebenswelt is not the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

The following are available at www.smashwords.com.

Comments on Nicanor Austriaco’s Essay (2018) “Adam After Darwin”

Comments on Marie George’s Essay (2020) “Aquinas’s Teachings on Concepts and Words”

Comments on Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky’s Book (2016) “Why Only Us?”