The Phrase That Pays

3 08 2007

I came across this passage in Andrew White’s A History of the Warfare of Science With Theology in Christendom and thought it too good to keep to myself. It should certainly resonate with anyone familiar with evolution, at least;

“Nothing is to be accepted save on the authority of Scripture, since greater is that authority than all the powers of the human mind.” [St. Augustine] No treatise was safe thereafter which did not breathe the spirit and conform to the letter of this maxim. Unfortunately, what was generally understood by the “authority of Scripture” was the tyranny of sacred books imperfectly transcribed, viewed through distorting superstitions, and frequently interpreted by party spirit.

I’m now nearly halfway through the book (or, technically, nearly finished with Volume I), although I would have been further along if I didn’t take the past two nights to exclusively sit down with my other laptop and read scientific papers, taking notes on data/findings I’ll want to incorporate into the book I’m working on (and giving rise to the recent posts about sclerotic rings, ancient atmosphere, spinosaurs, etc.). Hopefully this weekend I’ll be able to knock out the rest of the papers or the rest of White’s tome, although I’ll probably have to pick one or the other as either way I’ll have about 400 pages to read (maybe even more in terms of the stack of papers).

As for White’s book itself, it is certainly good and well-worth the time spent, even though the book falters a bit in its discussion of Egypt and anthropology (although the subjects White covers in these sections are relatively new and don’t seem to have as much history to them as others). I also added a bunch of new books, yet again, to my wish list, ranging from mutations in humans to the role oxygen has played in the history of life on earth, and it seems that the more I learn the more 1) questions I have, 2) realize my knowledge is inadequate, and inevitably 3) the more books I add to the ever-growing stack that I hope to read.

And, of course, The Boneyard #2 is coming up tomorrow, so if you haven’t already submitted something, get it in to me before 4 PM eastern standard time tomorrow (if it’s a little late I’ll add it later on, but sooner is better). Thanks to all those who’ve contributed so far (especially those who’ve submitted more than one post), and I hope this one will be even better than the last.




2 responses

4 08 2007

Will it ever be hosted at other places?

4 08 2007

Yes, Nitron. The Boneyard will be hosted by the Hairy Museum of Natural History and The Ethical Paleontologist in September. I just have kept it here for the first few entries so that the carnival can get on its feet a bit before starting to make the rounds. If you’d like to host (or know someone who would), please let me know.

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