Monday, February 04, 2013

This is the forest primeval

This is the forest primeval.  The murmuring pines
and hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct
in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic.

The immediate inspiration for this post is a post over at Randal Rauser’s blog. Would God be a trickster if the world is younger than scientific dating techniques posit?

I’ve discussed this issue before, but now I wish to approach it from a different angle. There are people who love the past. Some of them devour read history books. Some of them are nostalgic about their long-lost youth. Some of them love old buildings. They found historical preservation societies to preserve and restore old buildings. They lament the fact that some great old buildings were torn down, to make way for parking lots and shopping malls.

Likewise, there are people who love nature. They love old-growth forests. They found conservation societies to preserve the dwindling remnants of the past. They lobby for state and national parks to preserve scenic sites. They lament the loss of extinct animals like the Irish Elk.

Some people love to restore classic cars to vintage condition. Sometimes these are the cars of their youth. Muscle cars from high school. Cars they used when they were dating. Or sometimes they’re just great looking cars of a bygone era.

We also have movies that painstakingly reconstruct the past. Period architecture. Period attire. CGI is used to recreate ancient Rome or Babylon.

If these people could wave a magic wand, they’d replicate their parts of the past. Replicate particular centuries. Replicate period architecture. Replicate old-growth forest. Replicate the neighborhood where they grew up. Or mix and match their favorite parts of the past.

Suppose they could actually do this. Suppose you had a Dark City scenario in which it was possible to recreate a city in whatever style you wanted. Instant Venice. Or maybe your old neighborhood.

Suppose somebody else comes along and makes the “shocking” discovery that your past surroundings aren’t the real past. By dating trees and building materials, they produce evidence that the old-grown forest is fake. The period architecture is fake. It looks older than it really is. It appears to 1963 redux, but it’s really 2013! They accuse you of fraud.

Suppose I respond to you by saying, “It’s none of your business. I didn’t do it to please you. I didn’t do it this way for your benefit. I did it for me, not for you. I don’t like the present. I like the past better than the present. I’d rather drive a 1964 Mustang convertible.”

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