[percy-l] Language is an airplane [correction]

robert.g.eckert at us.army.mil robert.g.eckert at us.army.mil
Tue May 15 19:11:44 EDT 2007

Should read: Natural selection is a scientific hypothesis and being such is not a claim to certain knowledge. An analytic statement like 2+2=4 is a claim to certain knowledge. The first statement is a synthetic statement about which we can never achieve a finality of certainty.

I need to be more careful before I hit send.

Spc Robert Eckert
172 Chemical Corp
Ft. Riley, KS 66442

----- Original Message -----
From: robert.g.eckert at us.army.mil
Date: Monday, May 14, 2007 20:11
Subject: Re: [percy-l] Language is an airplane
To: "Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion" 

> Natural selection is a scientific hypothesis and being such it is 
> not a claim to creation knowledge, as analytic statement 2+2=4, 
> but is rather a synthetic statement. A scientific hypothesis is 
> subject to an endless process of verification by a community of 
> knowers. Therefor, there is no finality to scientific knowing as 
> is with knowing through faith.
> Faith is yet another form of knowledge. Faith and reason are two 
> distinct ways of knowing. This distinction is discussed on JPII's 
> "Fides et ratio" and Kierkegaard's "The Difference Between a 
> Genius and an Apostle." 
> Ken s correct when he distinguishes between forms of creating. 
> God's is "creatio ex nihilo." Human creations are the result of 
> imposing arbitrary form upon creation. We create in our 
> conception, then impose our mental creations on the physical 
> environment by rearranging nature.
> Domesticated species and recombinant DNA creations are "cultural" 
> in the anthropological sense. The anthropological definition of 
> culture is the imposition of arbitrary form upon the environment. 
> The archaeological evidence of this imposition of arbitrary form --
> symbols, clothing, ect. is evidence of our having crossed the 
> triadic threshold.
> Language is the most pervasive symbol system. Other symbol 
> systems, mathematics, alphabets, have given us even greater power 
> to rearrange nature to our will. 
> Spc Robert Eckert
> 172 Chemical Corp
> Ft. Riley, K 66442 
> BTW -- Spc is E-4, Sgt is E-5 (Soon, but not yet.)
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Michael Larson 
> Date: Thursday, May 10, 2007 21:52
> Subject: [percy-l] Language is an airplane
> To: percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org
> > Robert Eckert states:
> > 
> > "The process of natural selection which allows a creation to 
> > continue is the mechanism the Creator uses to create creature 
> > speciation.
> > [...]
> > 
> > We cannot finally know how we were created."
> > 
> > 
> > These two statements seem to be in conflict. If we cannot know 
> how 
> > we were created, then we can claim neither evolution in general 
> > nor natural selection in particular as the method by which God 
> > created us. Science, by its own admission and method, must 
> derive 
> > its explanations of the universe by observable phenomena. This 
> is 
> > good as far as it goes (as Percy often said), but it only goes 
> so 
> > far. If we look to science for an explanation of origins, well, 
> > then evolution, with its subset of various processes (some of 
> > which are even readily observable) is an admirable theory, a 
> > valiant attempt to make sense of it all given the self-imposed 
> > handicap of allowing only material evidence. But along comes 
> man, 
> > the symbol-mongerer, and a wrench is thrown into the 
> evolutionary 
> > machine. And this was Percy's point: language is one of those 
> > things man does (not the only one) that cannot be explained in 
> > random-evolutionary or materialist terms. At the very least, we 
> > must acknowledge a mystery here (as I think Robert does as well).
> > 
> > If we expand our considerations in our search for truth to 
> include 
> > such non-material proofs as philosophy and alleged divine 
> > revelation, then we have much more to work with, and we have 
> > righted the modern inversion; spirit once again takes its place 
> > above and over matter. From the Roman Catechism (Article I), 
> > "Christian philosophy, on the contrary, so quickens the human 
> mind 
> > that without difficulty it pierces the heavens, and, illumined 
> > with divine light, contemplates first, the eternal source of 
> > light, and in its radiance all created things." Before we are 
> too 
> > quick to cast aside such a claim, let us remember that Percy 
> > counted himself among the recipients of Catholic Faith. And this 
> > is not something to easily dismiss. Consider his essay, "The 
> > Message in the Bottle," which centers on the idea that it is not 
> > so much the news as the news bearer that carries persuasive 
> > weight. And this merely echoes Aristotle, who claims that ethos, 
> > among the three rhetorical proofs (the other two being logos and 
> > pathos), is in fact the most influential on the rhetorical 
> > situation. In other words, we often learn what is true by our 
> > trust in who it is that tells us so. 
> > 
> > 
> > Robert goes on to state:
> > 
> > "Man does become a unique being at the crossing of the triadic 
> > threshold. 
> > 
> > The reason we become god like is, to me, because only God and 
> man 
> > can synthesize triadic relations.That is, God speaks the 
> universre 
> > into being, we speak our mental, cultural world into being.
> > 
> > The act of creation by man is indeed not the process of natural 
> > selection. God and man are creators now. Witness domesticated 
> > species and recombinant DNA creations. 
> > 
> > We indeed have dominion."
> > 
> > 
> > It is true that we are unique among material creatures by way of 
> > language, but the function of language is strained, I think, by 
> > suggesting that it makes us co-creators. A novelist, for 
> instance, 
> > can do no more than signify the objective creation; he cannot 
> > actually call it into being. Even Tolkien, who invented in 
> detail 
> > the idea of Middle Earth, does not cause it to actually exist. 
> > 
> > So language is a portal through which we may leap into the non-
> > material realm, but it is not synonymous, in and of itself, with 
> > that realm. Imagine a man, a complete amnesiac, who wakes to 
> find 
> > himself on a deserted island, nothing but the clothes on his 
> back 
> > and, farther down the beach, a weird metal object with wings. 
> Day 
> > after day, he examines the object, certain that it is a clue, a 
> > key to how he got here and possibly to how he might return 
> > (whatever that might mean). Then one day, he starts it up by 
> > accident, and something clicks: he remembers that he is a pilot, 
> > and he starts making forays to neighboring islands--for 
> communion 
> > with others (and for fuel!). He makes longer and longer flights. 
> > One day, he knows, he will have to make the longest flight of 
> all 
> > in a calculated gamble to find his homeland.
> > 
> > As a pilot, Percy never mistook his airplane for where he meant 
> to 
> > go with it.
> > 
> > Best regards,
> > Michael Larson
> > 
> --
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