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Genesis


I.  Some basic versions of the Bible.

Genesis 1:1 in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, & KJV English

Lecture 1.B.i. -- Bible versions

II.  Science done badly

Lecture 1.B.ii. -- Science Done Badly

Read Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow, Joseph Campbell, and Kimura Kyūho on basic approaches to myth.  There are two basic approaches they discuss.

  1. Hawking & Mlodinow place mythology into an evolutionary framework of epistemology (theory of knowledge):
    1. "Ignorance of nature's ways led people in ancient times to postulate many myths in an effort to make sense of their world."  Hawking and Mlodinow are mainly focusing on etiology myths. What is an etiology myth? 
    2. "But eventually, people turned to philosophy, that is, to the use of reason—with a good dose of intuition—to decipher their universe.
    3. "Today we use reason, mathematics and experimental test—in other words, modern science."  People who try to use outdated mythology to guide their science are guilty of science done badly.  To this I would add that they are also doing mythology badly.  In the old story of "It's turtles all the way down," the very act of asking an Enlightenment question changes the nature of the myth in the mind of the believer.  Most of us have very sophisticated ideas about myth except concerning our own.  We don't feel the need to find the sun tunnel under the earth Gilgamesh travelled through; however, we are tempted to go to great extremes in such a project where the Bible is concerned.
  2. Campbell deals with myth as an entirely different project from science.  Science can deliever facts; mythology points us toward the Truth. All symbols point to something beyond themselves; mythology is such a system of communication rooted in our Jungian collective unconscious. 
  3. In his 1969 book In Praise of Play, Robert E. Neale the stages people go through in relation to their sacred beliefs:
    1. Believe.  In this phase, we simply accept the stories at face  value.  Santa is real.
    2. Disbelieve.  We start to doubt that the stories are literally true, and lose faith in them.  Santa is not real.
    3. Make believe.  We re-enter into our myths, rituals, and traditions as make believe, a way of putting on another version ourselves, a path to finding that way to transcendence.

Which brings us back to Stephen Hawking.  As one of the smartest people in history, does his belief that mythology is, in my words, science done badly make him immune to the allure of a good myth?  Watch this clip of Holograms Playing Poker.



 Who is playing Stephen Hawking in this clip?  Why?  Let's discuss this on Moodle.

III. In the beginning

Comparison chart of Genesis 1 & Genesis 2 and Lecture 1.B.iii.

IV.  42

The book of Genesis is written to answer Man’s Oldest Question.   We all sense that, but usually when we read Genesis, we don’t truly understand that answer.  Why?  I call it the Hitchhiker’s Conundrum:

“‘The Answer to the Great Question... Of Life, the Universe and Everything... Is... Forty-two,’ said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.” -- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.


So the Hitchhiker’s Conundrum is that we know the answer to man's oldest question; we just don’t know the question.  Before we proceed, go to Moodle and give your best guess for that question.  [Hint: it's NOT "What is 6 x 7?"] 



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