The Ivory Tower of Babel: Why the Social Sciences Are Failing to Live Up to Their Promises

The Ivory Tower of Babel: Why the Social Sciences Are Failing to Live Up to Their Promises

The Ivory Tower of Babel: Why the Social Sciences Are Failing to Live Up to Their Promises

The Ivory Tower of Babel: Why the Social Sciences Are Failing to Live Up to Their Promises

Excerpt

According to Biblical legend, several millennia ago — sometime after the Great Flood — the Babylonians, who were descendants of Noah, settled in Shinar, a fertile plain between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers that is now part of Iraq. Using bricks instead of stone, they began building a mighty city and a ziggurat, which was a stepped pyramid that could reach heights of 30 stories.

The Babylonians, who spoke one language, believed the ziggurat could channel the power of heaven to the earth. The Book of Genesis quotes them as saying: “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.”

But Yahweh, the God of Israel, was angered by this insolent attempt to circumvent “his” authority. “Then the Lord said: ‘If now, while they are one people, all speaking the same language, they have started to do this, nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do. Let us then go down and there confuse their language, so that one will not understand what another says.’ Thus the Lord scattered them from there all over the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the speech of all the world.”

Genesis 11: 4, Saint Joseph Edition of the New American Bible (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1992).

Genesis 11: 6-9.

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