Reader's Ink discussion

8 views
Remarkable Creatures > Question 4. Safety of Ignorance

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 384 comments Mod
THERE SEEMS TO BE A PREFERENCE FOR THE SAFETY OF IGNORANCE AMONG THE MAJORITY OF "REGULAR PEOPLE" (WHETHER FROM LYME OR LONDON). WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THE CHAOS OF KNOWLEDGE OR NEW IDEAS? DO THESE IDEAS REALLY CLASH WITH BIBLICAL TEACHINGS, OR ARE ELIZABETH'S THOUGHTS ABOUT "READING THE BIBLE FIGURATIVELY RATHER THAN LITERALLY" (257) THE ANSWER FOR THAT CLASH OF THOUGHTS?


message 2: by Carol (new)

Carol (cajonesdoa) | 640 comments Mod
I don't know where to put this comment, so I'll pick here as there are none yet, and I don't feel very inspired on this idea...still working on it, just hasn't hit yet.

What I wanted to say is that all of the characters large or small in the book are real people. Some are highlighted at the back of the book, and I looked up some of the others as well. I thought that was kind of interesting that she used real folks as real folks in her book.


message 3: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 251 comments I've been mulling over this question for the better part of the day, and I keep circling back around to a musing of my own: how much of the safety of ignorance (as portrayed in the book) was informed by modern understandings of evolution versus religion and the like? I haven't had the time to poke back through my notes on other books (and an exhibition at the Huntington Library this summer), but wasn't a lot of the divide between science and religion a mid- to late-19th century event?


message 4: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 384 comments Mod
Lauren, yes, Darwin (in the late-ish 1800s) kicked the science/religion conflict into high gear with his theory of evolution. But considering nobody had really considered extinction of species, discovery of such big and undeniable fossils must have shaken folks. I actually liked how Chevalier didn’t have the whole book revolve around science vs. religion—that conflict was really dealt with in small doses, which kept the story far more entertaining.

Now, as for the “safety of ignorance”? People get unnerved by things they don’t understand, especially if something as objective as science is perceived to undermine something as precious as faith. I mean, no wonder we have all-out war as to what to teach kids in science classrooms. I mean, we all hide in ignorance at times, right? Me, I hate to hear about tragedy after tragedy, so I turn off the nightly news. St. Jude’s Caner Research Hospital commercials? With all those bald-headed kids? I dissolve into a blubbering mess when I see them and usually have to change the channel. I literally want to be ignorant of sick kids. The cliché “ignorance is bliss” is a cliché for a reason—it’s true!

So, Miss Philpot’s solution for reading the Bible figuratively rather than literally is her solution for reconciling new knowledge with religion, and a pretty darn decent one at that.


back to top