Genesis I. and Modern Science

Genesis I. and Modern Science

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From the PREFATORY. With most scientists it is no longer good form to regard the first chapter of Genesis as any thing more than a poem, the work of a wise but uninspired man. High authority advises the "students of science no longer to trouble themselves with these theologies, for their statements are false and their order is wrong." On this I join issue, and propose, as Professor Huxley says, "to test this view in the light of facts." As the questions which arise are questions in astronomy, geology, and other departments of natural science, nothing better can be desired than that they should be decided by a jury of experts in these studies. In trials involving commercial law it is desirable to get a .jury familiar with its principles. In questions of maritime law experts in that department are sought. In questions of mechanics or engineering men who are to decide them ought to have a knowledge of their principles. With equal justice it is claimed that men acquainted with science are best qualified-I should say ought to be best qualified-to judge of the character of a document purporting to state facts in the antehuman history of our world. The desirableness of such a jury needs, however, a twofold qualification. First, that the "science" which they hold is itself true. The world has seen an amazing amount of "science" which, it is now told, is rubbish; and it very strongly inclines to the belief that much which is held in biology, atomics, and other metaphysico-physics will eventually prove to belong to the same class. And, secondly, they must be so clear-sighted as not to mistake their own ignorance for negative evidence, since there are many matters of which science as yet knows nothing. They must also be so honest as to be willing to give a verdict in accordance with the evidence, even though it overturn some favorite theory or tend to establish the reality of that "impossible" thing, a revelation. One, for example, who advocates the nebular hypothesis and scouts theologians for not accepting it, but declares Moses contradicts science when he says that the earth was once without form and void; or one who, admitting it to be true elsewhere, that darkness preceded motion and that motion preceded light, denies it in the story of creation, is too much under the influence of prejudice to serve on such a jury. I would set him aside. It would only he following the example of every court of justice to require the jury to answer simply guilty, or not guilty, or the Scotch verdict of not proven, to each count. Did the judge permit each juror to make a speech instead of uttering a simple yes or no, the matter in dispute would become so involved in a cloud of words that no conclusion would be reached. A very serious embarrassment meets us at the start. There is no authoritative statement in which are gathered the facts which will be needed. This is greatly to be regretted. Feeling this keenly, I availed myself, a few years ago, of the announcement in the papers that so high an authority, and one so free from suspicion of theological bias as Professor Huxley, was about to deliver a course of lectures in New York on matters pertaining to the early earth-history, and wrote a letter to the New York Tribune, from which the following is an extract: "I am sure that all will join in the wish that Professor Huxley would give an outline of what is known of the antehuman history of the globe. In the nature of the case it should set forth only the most salient points, and should treat solely of those matters as to which there is no longer any doubt. In other words, it should avoid theories and state facts. It would not be too much to ask the distinguished Professor to clothe his account in simple language, that those not versed in science may understand...".show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 246 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 13mm | 336g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508659141
  • 9781508659143