Search This Blog

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Macaroni Of Certain Christian Fundamentalist Belief Systems

Macaroni Hall Of Fame 

In the neighborhood of the Old Eighteenth - or the 18th century to you blokes -the term "macaroni" in England  was applied to dandies who affected mannerisms and customs of a Continental European - and, hence, outlandish - nature.
It also came to mean a muddle or mosh-mish of such affected poses and voguing.
(It also means  "composed of or characterized by Latin words mixed with vernacular words or non-Latin words given Latin endings" , which is why I know the word so well, because my favorite Christmas song is In Dulce Jubilo... nun singet und seid froh !  a mixture of Latin and German.)

There is a new edition of the TV show Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and it happens that its scientific description of comets disrupts the macaronic belief systems of Christian fundamentalists of the present day USA.

Yes, "Cosmos" Fans, Creationists Also Deny the Science of Comets
Last night on "Cosmos," Neil deGrasse Tyson explained how comets work, and why they're not bad omens. They are for creationists, though.

—By Chris Mooney
| Mon Mar. 24, 2014 11:04 AM PDT
...if you visit the website of creationist Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis and search for "Oort Cloud," you will find multiple articles providing a creationist take on the origins and nature of comets. In one of them you will find the assertion that there is "zero observational evidence that the Oort cloud exists," followed later by this observation: "but if the solar system is only thousands of years old, as God's Word clearly teaches, there is no problem." In another article, you get this:
Actually the Oort cloud, like Peter Pan's Neverland, has never been observed. The Oort cloud was imagined to provide a birthplace for new comets, since comets like ISON could not exist in a billions-of-years-old universe without some renewable source. The Oort cloud is thus a convenient fiction, but a fiction nonetheless.
Is the fault in me, or is it in these creationists?
I mean, their meanings elude me. They do not task me, rather it is their ungraspable, greased-pig slipperiness that befuddles me.

Why say "convenient fiction"?
When you are speaking of things that truly interest me, two large ones of which are Science and Religion, why would you speak unclearly to me?

"Fiction" seems to be intended to mean "something which bears no basis in reality", such as Thomas the Tank Engine, and "convenient" seems to be intended to mean "easily available". Thus, the Ooort Cloud is an easily available set of statements with no basis in reality.

In the good old days, people would just say "a lie", or "an untruth", but that has fallen out of fashion, since that intemperate and ignorant attitude betrays too readily the intemperance and ignorance of the speaker.

"Fiction" comes from Latin. The verb is "facere", meaning to make or to fashion.
The passive tense of "facere" is "fieri", meaning to be made or to be fashioned, and its third person singular subjunctive is "fiat", which verb Jerome uses in the Vulgate Bible for "Fiat lux," or "let there be light" as it is usually translated, although "let light be fashioned," might be just as good, if not better.

"Convenient" comes from "convenire", meaning "to come together".
Its early meanings were "fitting", "appropriate", and "internally consistent".
Thus, we see a statement explaining a phenomenon may indeed be convenient in the sense that all its parts are internally consistent, and this is a rather big plus, and not a subtraction, as the anti-Oort cloud activists would have us believe.

This is why I find such quotes as that above so difficult to come to grips with; the people who say or write such things cannot be as dumb as they make themselves out to be.
Indeed, if my grandchildren see a news program and are upset by the chaos in the world, is it not a "convenient fiction" for me to say to the children of the world that God's in His heaven, and all is right in the world, when I know full well that the children of Syria are starving and contracting polio? When the children of the Congo are soldiering? When the children of many places in the USA are hungry and malnourished?
But the convenient fiction is a mask we wear to allay their fears.

How can the science of the Oort Cloud be in the same category of statements as a tale told to calm the fears of children?
To maintain they are is bold and brazen stupidity, therefore, the people who said the quote above cannot be saying what I think they are saying. So what, what, what are they saying? I just do not know.

But I know this: their belief system is a Macaroni of snips and scraps of holy books and attitudes and sermons all scrapbooked together in a appalling collage.

If holy books are inspired, you must accept them in their entirety. If the creation in Genesis is part of your belief system, so also must be the dietary laws that follow in Deuteronomy and Leviticus.

You cannot just stick a feather of creationism in your hat and call it Macaroni !


No comments: