Sunday, 16 March 2014

Are Trads and Evolutionists the Same Confession?

Dr John Dickson* quoted C. S. Lewis:

Despite the seriousness of my criticisms, in closing I want to stress that Evangelical Six-Day-Creationists and Evangelical Non-Six-Day-Creationists must not demonize each other. Firm debate is healthy; ghettoization and grandstanding, from either side, are not. I love what C. S. Lewis wrote about Christian disagreement in his masterpiece Mere Christianity. Comparing true Christendom to a great house with many rooms, he pleads:

When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.

Dr John Dickson is Founding Director of the Centre for Public Christianity ( He is a Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, and a lecturer in the Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney.

Now, one thing is that although I admire C. S. Lewis, I do not always agree with what he wrote while alive. One can piously hope that Belloc is right and he found some Catholic soul spending his purgatory catechising non-Catholics who were somehow paradoxically saved before they get to Heaven.

But there is more here.

It is not just that C. S. Lewis is here voicing a "branch theory" which Pope Pius XI (whom CSL nevertheless thought not a bad guy, as can be seen from his hope he would influence Franco for the better) had condemned in Mortalium Animos.*

It is that in doing so he is decribing precisely what he considerd "branches of the Christian Church" (Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Calvinist-Presbyterian-Reformed ...) as the "rooms" that Dickson is using to illustrate his point.

And Dickson is using this same parallel for the relationship between "Evangelical Six-Day-Creationists and Evangelical Non-Six-Day-Creationists". Or in other words, for people otherwise sharing same confession but differring on whether Genesis is real History or Evolution Theory with connected Cosmology real Science. People who will cite St Thomas Aquinas* for saying the obvious sense of the Bible must not be doubted, in any passage, since if it is not de fide "ex parte revelati" it is so "ex parte revelantis". And on the other hand people who will cite as if most appropriate to precisely this debate St Augustine's famous words:*

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics ...

I have indeed cited them myself, but only to imply they are being cited out of St Augustine's proper meaning, since believing Heliocentrism and Big Bang and Abiogenesis and Evolution "from microbes to microbiologists" and both language and morality arising by Evolution in senses specific to man, believing these and similar things are very much NOT to be knowing something about the universe.

If I had been saying "π is exactly 3 because scripture says so", I would indeed have been open to St Augustine's criticism. And Scripture doesn't.

As an aside, I may indeed have been counted as saying that, but by people hardly eager to understand either the person of a Geocentric Young Earth Creationist correctly, nor to do so with what he is (or to be precise, what I am) saying about classifying pi as an "irrational number". I have stated before, a number cannot be irrational, you cannot have π apples or square root of two oranges, and π and square root of two are not the kind of quantity we daily call number as in "how many", but they are rather ratios, "irrational" such, and not ratios dealing with how many but rather within realms dealt with by "how long, how wide, how far, how much, how strongly" and other continuous quantities.

This distinction already the ancients knew already by the time of Aristotle, and remaking terminology to make it appear as if it was recently discovered "that there are irrational numbers" (the fact being that π is still irrational as previously known** and the novelty being in calling it at all "a number") is one of the more disgraceful excuses for calling our own times more enlightened than Antiquity.

You can see here what kind of things that happens to me when speaking of π:

Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Honesty of Numberphile / Cambridge University, Mathematics

And you can see - to get back to the main issue - you can see here what kind of uncharitable patronising I have suffered by a fellow Catholic (if one likes) who is also a Darwinist, but even a Darwin:

DarwinCatholic : Did Augustine and Aquinas Believe In A Literal Interpretation of Genesis

I do not feel at home with the bishops and priests responsible for his accessing to the Sacraments while entertaining such an aloof attitude towards fellow (?) Catholics who disagree with his reading of St Augustine or his application with that reading, and who insist that Evolution is not science, while Genesis is history.

How one relates to Jews today is, at least among Catholics about as divisive:

DarwinCatholic : History's Expiration Date

Among Protestants, many Old Earth Compromisers seem to be on good terms with Jews. Two in fact. Dickson cited above as "a lecturer in the Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney." And Rowland S. Ward:

Correspondence of Hans-Georg Lundahl : With Ward, on Flood, Rabbis, Joshua's Long Day

Among Evangelical Young Earth Creationists, one is at least aware that Jewish Rabbis traditionally speaking already lack the Faith in Christ and in His instructing Saint Paul, and that Modern Rabbis are often compromisers in many ways often reminiscent of Dickson and Ward, who are their friends.

It seems to me that it is becoming easier for Catholics and Protestants to get along, certainly on the Modernist side, somewhat on the Traditional side, than for Modernists and Traditionals within each confession to get along with each other.

Of course, Pope Pius XII tried to spare Catholics this gulf by recommending a discussion limited to experts ... but instead his words were twisted into an excuse for a revolution among the faithful. People who had been using In Praeclara Summorum or Providentissimus Deus to revolutionise attitudes about Geocentrism as, if no longer compulsory, at least still preferrable, had helped prepare that other abuse of Encyclical Texts.


The misreading of Humani Generis which Hutchison got from his Catholic teachers was more or less also the one communicated to JRRT from the pulpit, when in a Letter he discussed how Protestants lack guidance on this issue. Here is my discussion of Hutchison's error:

MSN Group Antimodernism in memoriam : One group member promoted Hutchison

I am getting impatient. If someone will say my take is a normal Catholic take, I may take that. If someone will condemn my take as un-Catholic, publically, I can at least say that he has shown he flaunts Tradition, if that is the case. But if people go on and excuse me of being a heretic by saying I am ill, or arrested in development to acquiring an adult mind, or by flattering me and claiming my take is a more than normal take from a Catholic, one that can only be expected from a Saint (in other words other Catholics are not encouraged to read me but to observe whether I am a Saint or not), I take such duplicity and falseness as a sign of a very bad conscience.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
II Sunday of Lent

* References to Dickson/CSL, to Mortalium Animos, to St Thomas Aquinas and to St Augustine:

CMI : Genesis 1 and theories of origin
Published: 16 February 2012 (GMT+10)
Dickson in his own words
A response to Benno Zuiddam


Great Bishop of Geneva! : Congratulating Lita Cosner on agreeing basically with St Thomas Aquinas

Triviū, Quadriviū, 7 cætera : Distant Starlight Problem - Answered by Geocentrism

** Ancient terminology for things like relationship between diametre and circumference of perfect circle or between diagonal and side of square was "irrational ratio". Ratio because it was a relationship of size to size, and irrational because it was not a "number to number ratio" like 3:2. I have proposed this could be amended to "non-numeric ratio", since the sizes involved in such ratios are not numbers. In the same vein e is not a number, but some kind of ratio and if anyone takes (1 - 0.1)10 as a basis for anything, including calculation of logarithm tables, one may add that 1 - 0.1 is really a fancy way of writing 1:1 - 1:10. Which are ratios, not numbers.

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