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Here is a rather generous essay by Stephen Jay Gould that gives credit where credit is due to Bishop James Ussher and his stab at dating the age of the universe.
Enormously refreshing – thank you, Mark. It’s just what I needed after hearing a classmate describe Aquinas as ‘cliche’. Sigh.
(I wonder if preachers laugh when they see the term [primate] in a zoological book and think of a baboon running about in a neck ruff.)
While not a preacher, I know I will from now on. 🙂
Some moderns are convinced that people in centuries past, having possessed less knowledge, were also less intelligent. This itself is an excellent example adducing less intelligence of some moderns, despite (potentially) possessing more knowledge.
Yep. CS Lewis calls it “chronological snobbery.” Internet apologist JP Holding calls it “Ancient People Are Stupid (APAS).”
I normally don’t like Stephen- he is an atheist after all- but this makes me wonder if he’d agree with the concept that Catholicism is a rational religion (even corrupted forms of Catholicism like the Anglo-Irish Church).
I’m not so sure about the fundies who, based on the Gideons propagating Abp Ussher’s work, simply accepted it uncritically.
Having said that- I find it interesting if you re-read Genesis not as the creation of the world, but the creation of the Agricultural World. There is good archeological evidence to suspect that Agriculture was invented in the Middle East 6000-10000 BCE; and it would make sense that (in needing to keep track of natural cycles) written history would arise at about the same time.
I never thought of that last paragraph that way. makes sense. Something new to reflect on. Thanks!