* For The Dead *
Hello everyone. I’m “Dr. X,” and you’re reading the third installment of a serial biography I’m writing about my good friend and dialogue partner “Dr. Why,” who has some very interesting things to say about science, religion, and their relations—among other things. Why surprised us with a visit last time, and I’m pleased to report that he’s returned once again to continue our conversation.
We were discussing the importance of founding hypotheses when we concluded our last installment. Why had illustrated his belief that the historical sciences reason in circles against interventionist theism by pointing out that uniformitarian geological methods assume rather than prove that no God has intervened in Earth history.
Welcome back, Dr. Why. Is that a fair synopsis?
Y: Glad to be back, Dr. X. Fair enough, except what I last remember is discovering the gender-bending implications of your suggestion that creationists can’t think male nipples were useless back in Eden. I’ve since been wondering how the antediluvian division of labor would have been influenced by functional male breasts, and—
X: Hold right there, Why! I know you like to follow out the implications of an idea no matter where it’s from or where it’s going, but we have limited space here. Besides, we both know the sciences have proven that Adam never existed.
Y: Proven is a very strong word, X. I’m with you in finding young-Earth creationism unbelievable; but I must nevertheless stress that science builds on founding hypotheses that may be doubted, and that replacing them might yield surprising new interpretations.
X: But you can’t seriously imagine that the existence of Adam and Eve could ever be rendered even remotely plausible, Why!
Y: “Remotely plausible”? That’s not a high standard, X.
X: I challenge you to meet it!
Y: We’ve only seven-hundred words left.
X: I wouldn’t listen any longer than that anyway!
Y: Seven-hundred words versus a foregone conclusion? I accept.
X: God help us!
Y: Now, where to begin? I suppose I should point out that there are already many creationists who believe in Adam and Eve and appeal to fascinating arguments to justify their belief. And some creationists are very well qualified to give an opinion: well educated, well informed, and highly intelligent.
X: True, but—
Y: But since we nevertheless find their conclusions poorly motivated—
X: Wildly implausible, yes.
Y: —we’ll start from scratch, at the beginning. You don’t have any objection to assuming the existence of a God who could create a perfect world? For sake of argument?
X: Not if you can accommodate the historical sciences.
Y: Then let’s begin with Man and Woman—
X: Adam and Eve?
Y: Yes, but Adam is simply Hebrew for Man, and Eve isn’t named until Genesis 3:20. Before that she’s “Woman.” So as I was saying, we begin with Man and Woman, in Eden. Now, it seems according to the Genesis account that Man must have left Woman alone, unattended in Eden—
Y: Will you please just let me do this, X?
X: Sorry, Why. Go ahead.
Y: Yes, unattended. Because Eden was a vast Garden, yet Woman somehow ended up at the Tree in the middle of it. You know the one. Here’s this beautiful Woman, with a body to die for, born yesterday, just married, and her Man is already neglecting her—letting her wander into danger alone! She’s bored, her feelings are hurt, and up walks the only living being in the place that looks like it might want to listen. So Woman starts talking to this snake—which is understandable, since snakes hadn’t gotten their bad reputation yet—and she says, “Oh Hello, Subtil Snake! Woulds’t thou join me for a drink?” And she greets it with a kiss and strokes it, and presses a pretend cup against its front feet. But the snake says—pretend-says, of course, because snakes don’t really talk—“Thank you, beautiful, hirsute Woman; but I’d prefer something to eat.” And Woman says, “Perhaps some fresh fruit?” because that’s all there was to eat in Eden. So she looks around for a fruit to feed her snake, and her eyes fall on a pretty one there on the ground that looks yummy with its long stem and bright cap—
Y: —and she finds herself reaching out for it, drooling. And then—a clear sign that she was on some level aware of her true situation—Woman’s snake pretend-asks, “Hath God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree’?” “Oh no,” Woman answers; “but of the one in the midst of the garden God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it lest ye die.’” So she didn’t even know where she was! Woman was lost in the middle of Eden while Man was off on gardening business or whatever! Anyway, before she realizes where she’s sitting, the cap is in her mouth. And suddenly her eyes are opened, and she realizes to her horror that she’s just eaten of the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—more commonly known as “shrooms”!
X: Brilliant, Why! And the exaggerated sexism is hilarious!
Y: So then Man finally shows up. And Woman’s like, “Heeey, Maaan! Check this ouuut, Maaan! This snake can really taaalk, Maaan!” And Man sees what’s happened and he’s like, “Woman, what the Hell hast thou done?!” because at first he’s very upset! Then he thinks, “But Lo! She’s to die for…”.
X: And he eats some too!
Y: So anyway, I hate to tell you this, X, but the short of it is that you’re really Woman tripping in her own nearly dead head—everything you know is. And all that science you’re worried about is just part of the trip!
X: What a long, strange trip it’s been! Congratulations, Why! You’ve met my challenge with style. And that’s all for today, because we’re out of space. Please join us next time to continue this amusing exchange!