Daily Archives: July 27, 2011

Betrayed by Presupposition

Presuppositions can work against our understanding in ways that aren’t usually apparent.  Let’s look at one such case.

The presupposition: Uniformitarianism.  This is the thought that everything as we observe it now is exactly how it worked in the past.  The sedimentary layers in rock are read this way, assuming they were uniformly laid down at regular intervals.  So upper layers are new, lower layers are old (sometimes much older).  All due to processes that have never changed since eons past, operating in the same way in the same amounts of time.

This is a contention of naturalism, and is not strictly held by theists.  There are a few exceptions.  Anything existing by necessity, such as God himself or mathematical constructs, won’t change (even after the Fall).  The quantity of “two” is always “two” no matter what numbering system you use to designate it on paper, and equations will always retain certain patterns and properties.  Though a hexadecimal system will differ slightly from a decimal system, and a binary system from the other two, evident patterns will still emerge in all of them (following from the base number of the system).  The Lord doesn’t change, either; he isn’t blown about by the wind.

The second exception would be universal laws.  These are built into the fabric of reality and thus remain unchanged through time.  This includes moral laws–if it’s wrong to sacrifice a child now, it’s always been wrong to sacrifice a child.  Since some cultures practiced that, it means that moral epistemology sometimes must catch up to moral ontology.

According to the Bible, there are differences between things at the outset of creation verses and things as they stand now, due in a large part to the Fall of Man.  After the Fall, some rules changed (as punishment) and creation took on new ways of functioning. Read the rest of this entry