June 13, 2012

Quote of the Day: Augustine on Bad Science and Bad Biblical Interpretation

In fact, it often happens that even a non-Christian has views based on very conclusive reasons or observations about the earth, heaven, the other elements of this world, the motion and revolutions or the size and distance of the stars, the eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of years and epochs, the nature of animals, of plants, of rocks, and similar things. Now, it is very scandalous, as well as harmful and to be avoided at all costs, that any infidel should hear a Christian speak about these things as if he were doing so in accordance with the Christian Scriptures and should see him err so deliriously as to be forced into laughter. The distressing thing is not so much that an erring man should be laughed at, but that our authors should be thought by outsiders to believe such things, and should be criticized and rejected as ignorant, to the great detriment of those whose salvation we care about. For how can they believe our books in regard to the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they catch a Christian committing an error about something they know very well, when they declare false his opinion taken from those books, and when they find these full of fallacies in regard to things they have already been able to observe or to establish by unquestionable argument?

- Augustine, On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis, 1.19, as quoted in Galileo, Letter to Grand Duchess Christina (1615), tr. Finocchiarro

Compare my favorite Leibniz quote. Posted by Kenny at June 13, 2012 10:26 AM
Trackbacks
TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blog.kennypearce.net/admin/mt-tb.cgi/684

Post a comment





Return to blog.kennypearce.net