Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jordan Peterson on Redemption and Psychology in Christianity

This is a good lecture on the metaphorical meaning of the narrative structure of the Bible. Specifically, how it can be related to the rise and fall of the state (and further, how the state can refer to a nation or a state of being). Of course there is more than one metaphorical meaning of the Bible because metaphorical meaning arises from our contemplation of the text.

At the beginning Peterson discusses a metaphorical connection between the snake in the Garden of Eden and our evolutionary past. This sort of metaphor, where events in the Bible are understood as corresponding to scientific theories are very useful, as long as they are understood as reader generated metaphors. In this case, the original authors of the snake story would not have been able to connect snakes to the evolution of our vision system. However, the metaphor is still valid and useful. In fact, I would say that reader generated metaphors are as valid and useful as metaphors intended by the authors. Metaphor is most powerful during the act of discovery.

With metaphors to science, and particularly Evolutionary and Psychological theories, it is important to keep in mind that some theories have strong support and some only weak. For explaining the fact that humans have extraordinarily good vision I don't buy the argument that it was due to the need to spot snakes because it doesn't explain why our vision is so much better than other animals that also need to spot snakes. Instead I believe that the development of our vision was connected to the development of our intelligence and the ability to work with and manipulate objects. However, it is difficult to evaluate these types of evolutionary theories

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