Monday, August 30, 2021

Adam and Eve and Ted and Alice

 A discussion meandered past TOF's optics the other day and put him in mind of a post of his from way back in 2011. This proved at the time to be a favorite among TOFian followers and racked up large numbers of eyeballs. So, TOF bethought himself to tweak the writing a bit and repost it. 

John Farrel has written a column at his Forbes site entitled "Can Theology Evolve," quoting from an epistle of Jerry Coyne:
Adam and Eve discover
they are naked. 
Human race follows.
"I’ve always maintained that this piece of the Old Testament, which is easily falsified by modern genetics (modern humans descended from a group of no fewer than 10,000 individuals), shows more than anything else the incompatibility between science and faith. For if you reject the Adam and Eve tale as literal truth, you reject two central tenets of Christianity: the Fall of Man and human specialness." 

Now, by "literal truth" Coyne undoubtedly intended "literal fact," since a thing may be true without being fact, and a fact has no truth value in itself.  I do not know Dr. Coyne's bona fides for drawing doctrinal conclusions or for interpreting scriptures, although he seems to lean toward the fundamentalist persuasion of naive Biblical literakism.  Nor am I sure how Dr. Coyne's assertion necessarily entails a falsification of human specialness (whatever he means by that).  I never heard of such a doctrine in my Storied Youth(^1) though it is pretty obvious from a scientific-empirical point of view.  You are not reading this on an Internet produced by kangaroos or in a language devised by petunias, so there just might be something a weensie-bit special about humans. 

It is not even clear what his claim means regarding the Fall.  Neither the Eastern Orthodox nor the Roman Catholic churches ever insisted on a naive-literal reading of their scriptures, and yet both asserted as dogma the Fall of Man.(^2

Now modern genetics does not falsify the Adam and Eve tale for the excellent reason that it does not address the same matter as the Adam and Eve tale.  One is about the origin of species; the other is about the origin of sin.  One may as well say that a painting of a meal falsifies haute cuisine.

Still, there are some interesting points about the myth of Adam and Eve and the Fall.  Not least is the common Late Modern usage of "myth" to mean "something false" rather than "an organizing story by which a culture explains itself to itself."  Consider, for example, the "myth of progress" that was so important during the Modern Ages.  Or the equally famous "myth of Galileo" which was a sort of Genesis myth for the Modern Ages.  With the fading of the Modern Ages, these myths have lost their power and have been exploded by post-modernism or by historians of science.  Before we consider the Fall, let us consider the Summer.  No.  Wait.  I mean the Summary. 
___________________________
(^1) storied youth.  Literally.  My brother and I wrote stories when we were kids. 
(^2) Makes you wonder what their actual reasoning was, if it was not some backwoods 19th century American reading an archaic English translation of some Greek texts.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Help!

 I used to receive notification by e-mail whenever someone posted a comment here.

Quoth the raven, Nevermore.

I used to be able to delete spammish comments, but this button has disappeared.

Quoth the raven, Nevermore. 

Consequently, some recent posts have gotten swarmed by spam comments. This can't be good for Blogger;s marketability,

Does anyone know how to restore these abilities?

Some Favorite Ditties

 I was mulling over some favorite tunes, and decided to make me a list. It soon grew faster than a politician's spending. Herewith, said list, If anyone can find the commonality around which these songs cluster, they are welcome to try. I tried to keep it down to one tune per songwriter, but all you have to do is say "Dylan," and you see how impossible that is.

 In no particular order. (The tunes constitute an unorderable set,)

Are you going away with no word of farewell?
Will there be not a trace left behind?

the heart which has truly loved never forgets
But as truly loves on to the close

  • Billy Joel. Just the Way You Are, which is Joel's take on the same sentiments just expressed by Moore, Technically, this was the Incomparable Marge's favorite song, but how could I leave it off?
  • Simon & Garfunkle. Sounds of Silence. Paul Simon is another one of those who could have had multiple entries up here. "The Boxer," "Goin Home," "I Am a Rock," etc. But I am weary of looking up links.
  • Preservation Hall. O Maryland, My Maryland. But I could have put "Gettysburg March" here instead.
  • Wolfe Tones. We can't have a list like this without a few rebel songs. The Boys of the Old Brigade or The Broad Black Brimmer.  Not that I'm partial to the IRA in either it s Marxist (official) or its nationalist (provo) forms.
  • Finbar Furey. Madame Bonaparte. The Irish Pipes have three sets of pipes. The chanter, the regulators (which play chords with the wrist) and the drones. Listen closely to this set dance and you can hear how Furey brings each one in in sequential stanzas.
  • Turlough O Carolan. As long as we're talking about real Irish music, try Carolan's Concerto or Fanny Power. by the last of the great blind Irish harpers.
  • Theodore Bikel. Katyushka or At Volgi na Dona. for nyemnogo Russiya music.
     
    Bruce Daigrepont. Laisses Faire or La Valse de la Riviere Rouge. because why leave out the French?
  • East Side Dave. My Pennsylvania Home. 
  • Michael Cooney. John Henry played on a twelve string guitar.
  • Tommy Makem/Liam Clancy. The Rambles of Spring.

Here's a health to one and all
To the big and to the small
To the rich and poor alike, and foe and friends
I left off longer pieces, like Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and the Act I Finale to Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan, which at one point has seven distinct voices doing their own thing, yet blending into a great whole. I also left off hymns and anthems like Alleluia, Alleluia, Let the Holy Anthem Rise. or Columbia, Gem of the Ocean,  with its great line:
Thy banners make tyranny tremble.
If only, right?

Shunwords

 Recently, TOF happened upon the following list of words to avoid in one's scrivening and thought to share it with his Faithful Reader. ...