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The Untenability of the Theory of Chalmers and Buckland: A Competent Witness's Perspective

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  • Hugh Miller provides strong geological evidence debunking the theory proposed by Chalmers and Buckland.
  • Despite having his own theory, Miller was compelled to abandon it due to overwhelming evidence against it.
  • Miller's testimony highlights the significance of robust evidence in scientific discourse.

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  • Nakay702
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回答No.1

以下のとおりお答えします。 地質学の土俵上だけですが、シャルマースとバックランドの理論は擁護できないとすることに対応できる有能な証人として、ヒュー・ミラーが多勢に受け入れられることでしょう。彼は、確かに、提案すべき彼自身の自前の理論を持っていました。私たちは今それを取り上げて考えてみたいと思います。その際彼はある視点を放棄することになりましたが、もしそれに固執していたら無限の時間と労働を節約できていたことでしょう。しかし、彼がそうすることになったのには、不可抗力とも見える強制がなくはなかったから、という彼の言葉を信じてもよいでしょう。 以上、ご回答まで。

mangifera
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お礼

ありがとうございます。

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  • 和訳お願い致します。

    It should be borne in mind,' says Dr. Buckland, that the object of the account was, not to state in what manner, but by whom the world was made.' Every one must see that this is an unfounded assertion, inasmuch as the greater part of the narrative consists in a minute and orderly description of the manner in which things were made. We can know nothing as to the object of the account, except from the account itself. What the writer meant to state is just that which he has stated, for all that we can know to the contrary. Or can we seriously beleive that if appealed to by one of his Hebrew hearers or readers as to his intention, he would have replied, My only object in what I have written is to inform you that God made the world; as to the manner of His doing it, of which I have given so exact an account, I have no intention that my words should be taken in their literal meaning? We come then to this, that if we sift the Mosaic narrative of all definite meaning, and only allow it to be the expression of the most vague generalities, if we avow that it admits of no certain interpretation, of none that may not be shifted and altered as often as we see fit, and as the exigencies of geology may require, then may we reconcile it with what science teaches. This mode of dealing with the subject has been broadly advocated by a recent writer of mathematical eminence, who adopts the Bucklandian hypothesis, a passage from whose work we shall quote.

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    The early speculator was harassed by no such scruples, and asserted as facts what he knew in reality only as probabilities. But we are not on that account to doubt his perfect good faith, nor need we attribute to him wilful misrepresentation, or consciousness of asserting that which he knew not to be true. He had seized one great truth, in which, indeed, he anticipated the highest revelation of modern enquiry -- namely, the unity of the design of the world, and its subordination to one sole Maker and Lawgiver. With regard to details, observation failed him. He knew little of the earth's surface, or of its shape and place in the universe; the infinite varieties of organized existences which people it, the distinct floras and faunas of its different continents, were unknown to him. But he saw that all which lay within his observation bad been formed for the benefit and service of man, and the goodness of the Creator to his creatures was the thought predominant in his mind. Man's closer relations to his Maker is indicated by the representation that he was formed last of all creatures, and in the visible likeness of God. For ages, this simple view of creation satisfied the wants of man, and formed a sufficient basis of theological teaching, and if modern research now shows it to be physically untenable, our respect for the narrative which has played so important a part in the culture of our race need be in nowise diminished. No one contends that it can be used as a basis of astronomical or geological teaching, and those who profess to see in it an accordance with facts, only do this sub modo, and by processes which despoil it of its consistency and grandeur, both which may be preserved if we recognise in it, not an authentic utterance of Divine knowledge, but a human utterance, which it has pleased Providence to use Providence a special way for the education of mankind.

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    The Hebrew race, their works, and their books, are great facts in the history of man; the influence of the mind of this people upon the rest of mankind has been immense and peculiar, and there can be no difficulty in recognising therein the hand of a directing Providence. But we may not make ourselves wiser than God, nor attribute to Him methods of procedure which are not His. If, then, it is plain that He has not thought it needful to communicate to the writer of the Cosmogony that knowledge which modern researches have revealed, why do we not acknowledge this, except that it conflicts with a human theory which presumes to point out how God ought to have instructed man? The treatment to which the Mosaic narrative is subjected by the theological geologists is anything but respectful. The writers of this school, as we have seen, agree in representing it as a series of elaborate equivocations -- a story which palters with us in a double sense.' But if we regard it as the speculation of some Hebrew Descartes or Newton, promulgated in all good faith as the best and most probable account that could be then given of God's universe, it resumes the dignity and value of which the writers in question have done their utmost to deprive it. It has been sometimes felt as a difficulty to taking this view of the case, that the writer asserts so solemnly and unhesitatingly that for which he must have known that he had no authority. But this arises only from our modern habits of thought, and from the modesty of assertion which the spirit of true science has taught us. Mankind has learnt caution through repeated slips in the process of tracing out the truth.

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    The task which sundry modern writers have imposed upon themselves is to prove, that the Mosaic narrative, however apparently at variance with our knowledge, is essentially, and in fact true, although never understood properly until modern science supplied the necessary commentary and explanation. Two modes of conciliation have been propounded which have enjoyed considerable popularity, and to these two we shall confine our attention. The first is that originally brought into vogue by Chalmers and adopted by the late Dr. Buckland in his Bridgewater Treatise, and which is probably still received by many as a sufficient solution of all difficulties. Dr. Buckland's treatment of the case may be taken as a fair specimen of the line of argument adopted, and it shall be given in his own words.

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    We venture to think that the world at large will continue to consider the account in the first chapter of Genesis to be a cosmogony. But as it is here admitted that it does not describe physical realities, but only outward appearances, that is, gives a description false in fact, and one which can teach us no scientific truth whatever, it seems to matter little what we call it. If its description of the events of the six days which it comprises be merely one of appearances and not of realities, it can teach us nothing regarding them. Dissatisfied with the scheme of conciliation which has been discussed, other geologists have proposed to give an entirely mythical or enigmatical sense to the Mosaic narrative, and to consider the creative days described as vast periods of time. This plan was long ago suggested, but it has of late enjoyed a high degree of popularity, through the advocacy of the Scotch geologist Hugh Miller, an extract from whose work has been already quoted. Dr. Buckland gives the following account of the first form in which this theory was propounded, and of the grounds upon which he rejected it in favour of that of Chalmers:

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    But whether contemplated from a geological point of view, or whether from a philological one, that is, with reference to the value of words, the use of language, and the ordinary rules which govern writers whose object it is to make themselves understood by those to whom their works are immediately addressed, the interpretation proposed by Buckland to be given to the Mosaic description will not bear a moment's serious discussion. It is plain, from the whole tenor of the narrative, that the writer contemplated no such representation as that suggested, nor could any such idea have entered into the minds of those to whom the account was first given. Dr. Buckland endeavours to make out that we have here simply a case of leaving out facts which did not particularly concern the writer's purpose, so that he gave an account true so far as it went, though imperfect.

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    The question of the meaning of the word bara,'create,'has been previously touched upon;it has been acknowledged by good critics that it doesn't of itself necessarily imply 'to make out of nothing upon the simple ground that it is found [to be]uesd in cases where such a meaning would be inapplicable . But the difficultly of giving to it the interpretation contended for by Dr Buckland and of uniting with this the assumption of a six days' creation, such as that described in Genesis, at a comparatively recent period, lies in this,that the heaven itself is distinctly said to have been formed by the division of the waters on the second day. Consequently , until. The first Mosaic day of creation, there was no sky, no local habitation for the sun,moon and stars, even supposing those bodies to have been included in the original material. Dr Buckland doesn't touch this obvious difficulty, without which his argument that the sun and moon might have been contemplated as pre-existing , although they aren't stated to have been set in the heaven until the forth day, is of no value at all.

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    After all,' says Buckland, it should be recollected that the question is not respecting the correctness of the Mosaic narrative, but of our interpretation of it,' proposition which can hardly be sufficiently reprobated. Such a doctrine, carried out unreservedly, strikes at the root of critical morality. It may, indeed, be sometimes possible to give two or three different interpretations to one and the same passage, even in a modern and familiar tongue, in which case this may arise from the unskilfulness of the writer or speaker who has failed clearly to express his thought. In a dead or foreign language the difficulty may arise from our own want of familiarity with its forms of speech, or in an ancient book we may be puzzled by allusions and modes of thought the key to which has been lost. But it is no part of the commentator's or interpreter's business to introduce obscurity or find difficulties where none exist, and it cannot be pretended that, taking it as a question of the use of words to express thoughts, there are any peculiar difficulties about understanding the first chapter of Genesis, whether in its original Hebrew or in our common translation, which represents the original with all necessary exactness. The difficulties arise for the first time, when we seek to import a meaning into the language which it certainly never could have conveyed to those to whom it was originally addressed. Unless we go the whole length of supposing the simple account of the Hebrew cosmogonist to be a series of awkward equivocations, in which he attempted to give a representation widely different from the facts, yet, without trespassing against literal truth, we can find no difficulty in interpreting his words. Although language may be, and often has been, used for the purpose, not of expressing, but concealing thought, no such charge can fairly be laid against the Hebrew writer.

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    It is evident that, in entering upon this wider field, I shall frequently have to quit the narrower limits of direct obser vation within which my former work was confined ; and it is chiefly because I think it desirable clearly to distinguish between the objects of Comparative Psychology as a science, and any inferences or doctrines which may be connected with its study, that I have made so complete a-partition of the facts of animal intelligence from the theories which I believe these facts to justify. So much, then, for the reasons which have led to the form of these essays, and the relations which I intend the one to bear to the other. I may now say a few words to indicate the structure and scope of the present essay. Every discussion must rest on some basis of assumption ; every thesis must have some hypothesis. The hypothesis v which I shall take is that of the truth of the general theory of Evolution : I shall assume the truth of this theory so far as I feel that all competent persona of the present day will be prepared to allow me. I must therefore first define what degree of latitude I suppose to be thus conceded.

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    The foregoing explanation many have now adopted. It is sufficient for my purpose, if it be a possible explanation, and if it meet the difficulties of the case. That it is possible in itself, is plain from the fact above established, that the Scriptures wisely speak on natural things according to their appearances rather than their physical realities. It meets the difficulties of the case, because all the difficulties hitherto started against this chapter on scientific grounds proceeded on the principle that it is a cosmogony; which this explanation repudiates, and thus disposes of the difficulties. It is therefore an explanation satisfactory to my own mind. I may be tempted to regret that I eau gain no certain scientific information from Genesis regarding the process of the original creation; but I resist the temptation, remembering the great object for which the Scripture was given -- to tell man of his origin and fall, and to draw his mind to his Creator and Redeemer. Scripture was not designed to teach us natural philosophy, and it is vain to attempt to make a cosmogony out of its statements. The Almighty declares himself the originator of all things, but he condescends not to describe the process or the laws by which he worked. All this he leaves for reason to decipher from the phenomena which his world displays. This exploration, however, I do not wish to impose on Scripture; and am fully prepared to surrender it, should further scientific discovery suggest another better fitted to meet all the requirements of the case.'

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