The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bioethics Part 3: Sibby might be onto something...

1579 drawing of the great chain of being from Didacus Valades, Rhetorica Christiana (click pix to enlarge)

Spend as much time with Steve Sibson on these blogs as I have and you'll start to see a sort of pattern emerge. It's a notion of how the universe (or should I say "existence") is organized. A hierarchy of "being" if you will.

The old illustration here is a classic depiction of it.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't think Sibby is alone in holding this worldview. Not by a long shot. So let's take a little time here to study the idea and discuss the pros and cons of it in some detail.

Here's a link to a quick overview on Wikipedia. I'm sure there are plenty of other variations out there. So if you want us to consider them in this conversation, folks, now's the time.

The scala naturae (literally "natural ladder", but translated often as the great chain of being), is a classical and Western medieval concept of God's strict and natural hierarchical structure of the universe...

...God, and beneath him, the angels, both existing wholly in spirit form, sit at the top of the chain. Earthly flesh is fallible and ever-changing: mutable. Spirit, however, is unchanging and permanent. This sense of permanence is crucial to understanding this conception of reality. It is generally impossible to change the position of an object in the hierarchy...

...The chain starts from God and progresses downward to angels, stars, moon, king, prince, noble, men, lion, other animals, oak, gold, and other minerals...

...Each link in the chain might be divided further into its component parts. In medieval secular society, for example, the king is at the top, succeeded by the aristocratic lords, and then the peasants below them. Solidifying the king's position at the top of humanity's social order is the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings. In the family, the father is head of the household; below him, his wife; below her, their children. The children might be subdivided so that the males are one link above the females...

...The central concept of the chain of being is that everything imaginable fits into it somewhere, giving order and meaning to the universe."


Steve Sibson said...

"Devine Right of Kings"


Google that + lex rex, and you will see just how much you misrepresent my ideological worldview. You really need to get out more often and look at things outside of Wikipedia.

If you really want the truth, check out teh "Truth Project". Bob Ellis should be able to help you find a group studying that in RC.

Bill Fleming said...

First, Steve it's "divine", not "devine."

Beyond that, why should we have to Google something to find our what your worldview is?

Can't you just tell us?

For example, how accurate is the picture I posted to your belief system?

If there are errors there, please, by all means, point them out to us.

That's the whole reason I put it up here.

Thanks, Sibby.

denature said...

I find the truth project's tendency to lie about verifiable facts both unscientific and unchristian.

Or since BF is of a philosophical bent, see logophobia--a skeptical doctrine about rationality where rationality cannot be an objective constraint on us but is just whatever we make it, and what we make it depends on what we value.

Introduced in jest by Nicholas Shackel in a a paper titled 'The Vacuity of Postmodernist Methodology'--maybe a paper whose conclusions both Sibby and I could agree on.

Bill Fleming said...

Denature. Pretty funny.

And here I thought "logophobia" was that peculiar fear that a some advertisers have that their logos are too small in their ads.

Bill Fleming said...

p.s. denature, did you know I made a logo for Sibby once? I don't think he liked it very much, actually. I never see him using it.