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Carol Clouser

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(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

Parse,

Glad to find someone here rational enough to see the obvious merit in what I wrote.

And I acutally agree with your observation that frequently progress in science is based on modification instead of the overturning of previously held views. But often that is not the case. There has been a lot of "overturning" going on in science. In the very example you cite, the laws of motion, there are elements of overturning. For example, prior to Einstein motion was viewed as an absolute quantity, today it is a relative quantity. The entire edifice of deterministic physics was overturned into probabilistic laws by quantum mechanics. These are just the tip of the iceberg.


Moses,

For your information, although it is none of your business and has nothing to do with my post above, I have in the course of my life spent much time probing into the origins of the religion I was born into and have carefully and even agonizingly considered the views of all the pontificators on the matter. My current views on those origins are the result of my considered analysis of those views and the status of the pertinent evidence.

Glen Davidson

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote> For example, prior to Einstein motion was viewed as an absolute quantity, today it is a relative quantity. </quote>

Really Carol?  Try to explain Newton's laws of motion as "absolute".  Actually, try to explain anything in science in an intelligible manner, and if you do it I'll be surprised.

Now see, if you knew anything about science you'd know that there are significant and highly important continuities between Newton's work and Einstein's.  In fact, Einstein is considered to be the last true heir of Newton.

The truth is that very much in science hasn't changed at all, not functionally, from momentum to gravity.  The explanations for "laws" and the like have changed, but not the equations.  You learn that when you get a good education.

<quote>The entire edifice of deterministic physics was overturned into probabilistic laws by quantum mechanics. </quote>

Not in the classical realm.  We could hardly do what we do if physics didn't average out to being nearly deterministic (and don't cavil that it isn't absolutely deterministic--everyone knowledgeable knows that already) in the macro realm.  Just once I'd like you to say something noticeably correct, Carol.  I don't know who you get your nonsense from, yet it is clear that you get your information from people who know little more than do you.

<quote>For your information, although it is none of your business and has nothing to do with my post above, I have in the course of my life spent much time probing into the origins of the religion I was born into and have carefully and even agonizingly considered the views of all the pontificators on the matter. My current views on those origins are the result of my considered analysis of those views and the status of the pertinent evidence.</quote>

Yes, Carol.  You called Afdave's "answer" to who Adam's children married "speculation", and your answer was equally speculative--based on nothing other than unsubstantiated myth.  There is no indication that you have studied anything well.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Spike

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

This is why I love religionists. No matter what they say, you can respond with the mirror image of it and it's just as true!

This is also why I don't disagree with believers who say that evolution is not incompatible with their religion. Since their religion is wholly invented in the first place, then compatibility with reality is like turning on and off a light - purely a matter of choice.

Coin

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote author="Carol Clouser, internet street preacher">Glad to see that all is well at PT and that all the old hands are still ready as ever to emerge from the woodwork at the mere sighting of someone like myself.</quote>

"Someone like yourself"? You mean, a spammer?

<quote>“Preaching” and “proslytizong” imply a one-sided presentation, whereas “persuading” and “convincing” are normally a consequence of a genuine give-and-take interaction between consenting adults.</quote>

Between this and your "I am not party to that religion that proslytizes" comment in the previous post (which, though vague, hardly seems as if could be reasonably taken as anything other than a reference to Christianity), it really sounds a lot like you are suggesting by implication that "geniuine give-and-take interaction between consenting adults" is something which you believe people of your religion do-- and Christians <b>don't</b>.

I find the apparent presence of this implication extremely interesting.

Parse

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

Carol,
Thanks for the complement; simply because I disagree with some of what you say, doesn't mean that I should discard everything that you say.
I must warn you, though, I chose an example from the field of physics rather than biology because physics is closer to my "home turf" - my field of knowledge.  With that in mind, I'm afraid I have to disagree about the degree of importance you place on the examples you used.  
Your first example, in terms of motion being absolute versus relative, is relatively minor.  Physics is notorious for using different frames of reference; mainly this is done to make the calculating numbers easier.  As an example, take playing pool on a moving train.  When you line up a shot, you don't factor in the train's speed to that of the balls.  When Newton calculated paths for objects (at least, objects on Earth), he did not factor in the motion of the Earth, though he knew the planet it was on is moving through space.
If, instead of that definition of relative, you mean dealing with relativistic speeds, the formulas used for calculating such speeds are not greatly different from those of non-relativistic speeds.  In fact, when the velocity is not a considerable fraction of the speed of light, the portions of the formula which depend upon relativistic speeds become essentially zero, and you are left with the original Newtonian formulas for velocity.

In terms of quantum mechanics, though, you're opening a different can of worms.  I can go into a whole long explanation of it, but in essence it 'replaced' Newtonian physics only on the atomic and subatomic levels.  This is not because Newtonian physics no longer worked on this scale, but rather that scientists recognized that with the tools they have, trying to measure stats such as position or velocity on such a small scale would affect what was being studied.  (This can be compared to taking the temperature of a thimbleful of water with a thermometer the size of a bottle of water - you can get a temperature, but the water's temperature will be affected by the thermometer itself.)  For more information, on this, I would recommend reading the <url href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics#History">Wikipedia</url> article, or I can attempt to answer your questions via email.

The main thing these changes in physics have in common are that facts existed that caused the existing system to not work properly.  In this aspect, it's significantly different from biology, in that physics it's a lot easier to find and test formulas, whereas in biology, life is a lot more unpredictable.  The problem I have with Intelligent Design in this context is that ID is used as a starting point of a problem with macroevolution, rather than problem cases are found within evolution, and ID is proposed as a solution.  

While major theory overthrows can happen in science, they occur to either fix an existing problem in most or all cases (such as the elimination of <url href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminiferous_aether">luminiferous aether</url>, or to provide a simpler explanation which is supported by all of the facts.  As far as I have seen, Intelligent Design does neither.

ben

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(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

How does claiming membership in a religion that supposedly does not proselytize immunize one from being accused of it?  If you're doing it, you're doing it, whatever club you might belong to.  And constantly trying to refer everyone you talk to to your supposedly holy book and convince them of the absolute truth of it is proselytizing if it's anything.  You desperately want us to believe as you do, you actively try to make it so, you're proselytizing.  Drop the charade.

Carol Clouser

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

Ben,

My point was that I am here to engage in conversation with people who are willing to reciprocate. That is not preaching. But when Lenny repeats his mantras over and over again knowing full well that they will not be answered, that IS preaching.


Parse,

You seem to be going back and forth between agreeing and disagreeing with what I wrote. Nevertheless, a few comments are in order.

Quantum Mechanics overturned and contradicts classical physics in may ways with MACROSCOPIC consequences. Classically an electron in an atom can have any amount of energy, quantum mechanically it is restricted to certain values. The macroscopic consequences of that, such as the spectra of the atoms, are obvious. Classically an electron in an atom must radiate its energy away, thereby collapsing the atom, quantum mechanically that is not so. Classically you cannot get to a point on the other side of a potential energy barrier if it is too high, quantum mechanically you can "tunnel through" and find yourself on the other side. The probability of this happenning might be very small, depending on conditions, but it is not impossible.

Newton's laws were predicated on their being applicable to all inertial frames of reference. As such they DO NOT work on earth, as is obvious by looking at the stars from earth and applying those laws. But to determine whether a frame is inertial we had to see if the laws worked. This circular reasoning worked so long as only acceleration showed up in the laws. When Maxwell's equations included velocity (such as the term V X B) the whole scheme collapsed and an absolute velocity was postulated based on the aether. Einstein disposed of this. These are all macroscopic issues of fundamental importance as is evidenced from the Michaelson Interferometer experiments.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>I have in the course of my life spent much time probing into the origins of the religion I was born into and have carefully and even agonizingly considered the views of all the pontificators on the matter. My current views on those origins are the result of my considered analysis of those views and the status of the pertinent evidence.</quote>

That's nice.

And why, again, should anyone else give a flying fig about your opinions on the matter?

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>when Lenny repeats his mantras over and over again knowing full well that they will not be answered, that IS preaching.</quote>


Yep.  It's preaching "Carol's religious opinions aren't any better than anyone else's."  Sorry if you don't like that.  (shrug)

You could, of course, demonstrate that to be wrong simply by, uh, ANSWERING them.  


Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . . .

Glen Davidson

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>Newton’s laws were predicated on their being applicable to all inertial frames of reference. As such they DO NOT work on earth, as is obvious by looking at the stars from earth and applying those laws. But to determine whether a frame is inertial we had to see if the laws worked. This circular reasoning worked so long as only acceleration showed up in the laws. When Maxwell’s equations included velocity (such as the term V X B) the whole scheme collapsed and an absolute velocity was postulated based on the aether. Einstein disposed of this. These are all macroscopic issues of fundamental importance as is evidenced from the Michaelson Interferometer experiments.</quote>

Yes, Carol, in that sense you're correct.  But when you're discussing the equations and conception of motion, little has changed.  The idea of ether was merely a stop-gap on the larger scale, and perhaps more importantly, no one knew the "absolute" reference given by the ether.  Attempts to discover it were unsuccessful.

My point is that there is a considerable continuity between Galilean and Einsteinian relativity.  You're trying to make the different conceptualizations and models of the relativistic treatments of motion that has always existed in modern physics as if they are sharp breaks in the "axioms" of science, as written here:

<quote>“Some scientists tend to forget that science proves very little, that it is in the business of formulating working hypotheses that can and repreatedly have been overturned by the next discovery, and that it is based on unprovable axioms just as is almost any other human endeavor.</quote>

The fact is that much in physics has not been overturned, including Newtonian laws of (relative--though an absolute frame of reference could be added in) motion.  The hypothesized ether was not an "axiom".  Closer to an "axiom" would be Newton's laws, and many of these remain unchanged, even by QM.  We do not need relativists claiming that science does not stand up well--it stands far better than anything else.

But of course we don't really have axioms in science, apart from the axioms of mathematics.  And more importantly, we can indeed "prove" our basic "assumptions" through "inter-subjective" means.  Relativists and fundamentalists (who indeed are almost always relativists by seeking to make words into absolutes) try to deny the solidity of science, of perception, of relational agreement.  They thereby falsify the world and everything in it, including their sacred texts.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Torbjörn Larsson

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

Carol,
Glen and Parse have already given nice answers, but I want to give my perspective as well.

Classic mechanics corresponds to relativity at low velocities, relativity didn't overturn the old theory. That the magnetic field is a low velocity relativity effect in Maxwell's equations were only realised after relativity come, and that didn't overturn the old theory.

Classic mechanics corresponds to quantum mechanics at large masses or dimensions, quantum mechanics didn't overturn the old theory. A quantum systems wavefunction develops causally and deterministically until decoherence, the statistical nature didn't overturn the old theory.

As a matter of fact, since classical systems diverge exponentially and quantum systems linearly, it is *harder* to get a quantum system to exhibit the chaos and entropy of a coarsegrained classical system. The coarsegrained probabilistic nature of classical systems are naturally mixed with the finegrained probabilistic nature of quantum systems, quantum mechanics probabilistics didn't overturn classical probabilistics.

So who am I to overturn your old thinking systems. ;-)

Moses

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>I have in the course of my life spent much time probing into the origins of the religion I was born into and have carefully and even agonizingly considered the views of all the pontificators on the matter. My current views on those origins are the result of my considered analysis of those views and the status of the pertinent evidence.</quote>

I really doubt it.  Oh, sure, no doubt you've agonized over which confirmation bias to select.  But to honestly pursue anything that might cause you to accept that the Jewish religion is nothing more than a derivative religion of a prior Canaanite/Phoenician religion that existed prior to the Jews becoming a distinct cultural group from their Arab cousins?  Make me laugh.

It's obviously a re-written religion that begged, borrowed & stole from other religions to flesh itself out.  One of the most commonly referred to sources of origin include the <i><b>Epic of Gilgamesh</b></i> from which is derived:

1.  Creation of man in a wonderful garden.
2.  Introduction of evil into the world.
3.  The great flood story.

The events in Exodus is completely made up.  The Jews did not escape, though their progenitors (whom the Egyptians called the Hyskos) were thrown out over 300 years PRIOR to the supposed events of Exodus.

However, the whole "let my enslaved people go, 40-years in the desert" are just garbage and smells like propaganda to cover the embarrassment of being kicked out of Egypt (because they were assholes) for good 300 years prior.  The entire Sinai peninsula is dotted with old Egyptian forts that were constructed within one day's walk of each other and Egyptians, having had so many problems with their north-eastern neighbors, patrolled these areas.  No way you hide a crowd of 600,000 refugees in an area so heavily fortified and patrolled.  

Add in there is no archaeological evidence of this great trek, despite the Sinai should be awash with artifacts - graves, debris, bones of quail, tons of night soil in makeshift latrines...  And it's not like nobody looks.  Oh, quite the contrary.  They look like crazy.  Christian archaeologists, seeking to prove the Bible, pour over that part of the world.  Nada.

Some other "Old Testament" problem details:

And the 10 plagues?  Except for the brutal murdering of the Egyptian children, for which there's no record or proof, they're all otherwise normal Nile events.  Jericho?  Abandoned at least over a century before the Jews got there because of a water problem.  Exodus does a good job of describing some of it's ruins, which remain, but there's no sign of battle and many other very important details about the ruins (and story) are fatally wrong.  And what about the camels?  The camel wasn't domesticated during the age of patriarchs and weren't used as a riding beast until about 1000 BC.  Yet, there they are.  Being ridden around and delivering cargo.  It's as bad as the Book of Mormon and it's "iron sword" over a 1000 years before man learned to use iron, as well as it's missing livestock (cattle, horses, sheep, etc...) and it's mythical civilization's complete absence from the archaeological record.

Anyway, had you looked, all these issues, and many, many more would have presented themselves.  And you'd be forced to make a choice.  Continue to believe in lies and propaganda or believe the solid archaeological evidence.

So, I don't care what you believe.  I don't, in real life, listen to your childish pontifications about religion that expose you for an apologist hack living in denial.  And if you choose to waste your life that way, it's fine by me.  However, the bible has nothing of merit to say of the origins of life or the diversification of species.  And even it's moral lessons are, at best, ambiguous and dysfunctional.  So, just keep it out of my face and out of my children's schools.  We're not interested in your outdated Bronze Age mentality.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>even it’s moral lessons are, at best, ambiguous</quote>

Actually, ALL moral lessons are, of necessity, ambiguous. They *have* to be.  After all, there is NO rule or principle that is universally applicable.  Even within such secular "moral lessons" as Grimm's Fairy Tales or Aesop's Fables, we find ambiguity.  We find "Look before you leap", but we also find "He who hesitates is lost".  We find "Haste makes waste", but we also find "A stitch in time saves nine."  Contradictory?  Not really --- they simply reflect the fact that situations differ, and no hard and fast rule can be apllied to all.  Like the Bible, these moral lessons depend on *us* to pick the one that is most applicable.  When fundies say they are "following the Bible", they are quite wrong --- they are simply choosing the parts of this ambiguity that they have already decided upon.  The Bible doesn't tell them what to do --- it simply allows them to justify what they have already decided to do.  Just like Aesop's fables.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>Except for the brutal murdering of the Egyptian children</quote>


This myth motif was also used in the story of Moses's birth (the pharoah had decreed that Israeli children be killed, which is how Moses came to be placed on the Nile and found by Pharoah's daughter), and was also used in the description of Christ's birth (the Slaughter of the Innocents by Herod).  

In both of these cases, of course, there likewise isn't a shred of evidence that it actually happened.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>The Jews did not escape, though their progenitors (whom the Egyptians called the Hyskos) </quote>


I am not aware of any archeological evidence that the "Hyksos" were the Jews.

Since Carol is the linguistic expert, though, I assume she is aware that the Jews were not "slaves" in Egypt, but were "servants".  Specifically, they were military adjuncts, sort of like mercenaries, who placed themselves under the command of the Egyptian Pharoah and were assigned to live in Goshen and protect the vulnerable Nile delta from invasion.

The Bible describes the Jews as carrying their swords and weapons when they left.  Slaves, of course, do not have swords and weapons.  Military units do.

steve s

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>It’s obviously a re-written religion that begged, borrowed & stole from other religions to flesh itself out. One of the most commonly referred to sources of origin include the Epic of Gilgamesh from which is derived:

1. Creation of man in a wonderful garden.
2. Introduction of evil into the world.
3. The great flood story.</quote>Don't forget the sinister snake.

Moses

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>I am not aware of any archeological evidence that the “Hyksos” were the Jews.</quote>

Because they weren't yet a culturally distinct Canaanite group and you couldn't classify them in that manner.  Rather they were part of the Canaanites who, during times of famine, would migrate to Egypt and, eventually, put down roots only, because of the way they behaved, were eventually booted out of Egypt.

The short version is the Hyskos took control of Egypt around 1670BC and were kicked out around 1570BC.  And it wasn't just a narrow thing.  The Egyptians drove, with quite a bit of violence, them all the way to Syria, looting and burning  the Canaanite settlements along the way.  This is well supported from Egyptian writings of the period and the archaeological record.

Unlike the events in Exodus which are not.  Some other suspect claims includes a few historians (some of them ancient) claim these Hyskos settled in Jerusalem and built a Jewish temple at that time.  

By 1200BC the Jews had finally turned into a culturally distinct population separate from their Canaanite cousins.  In the 300+ years covering many, many generations, substantial revisionist myth-making seems to have turned into Exodus.

And, for people who find this myth-making difficult to believe, our American history of the Revolutionary War is a classic case of myth-making.  The gross-simplifications and out-right fabrications of what happened are routinely taught in our elementary and secondary schools.  You don't even come close to the truth until college.  And those clay-footed truths are frequently rejected for the happy/peppy myth of our youth.

Corkscrew

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

Moses: I'm interested. Any recommended sources?

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

Thanks, Moses.  What about the "Sea People"?  Any research on who they were?

David B. Benson

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

I just happen to have on my desk

Amelie Kuhrt
The Ancient Near East, c. 3000--330 BC
Routledge, 1995,
in two volumes totaling about 800 pages.

Quoting p. 173:
... and the larger part of Egypt was dominated by foreign rulers, the so-called 'Hyksos' [from c. 1650 to c. 1550]

Quoting p. 179:
A variety of archaeological material suggests that interaction between Egypt and Palestine was very intensive in this period, but this does not, by itself, help with defining the origins of the Hyksos... The Hyksos royal names have also resisted satisfactory philological analysis, so this avenue of research has rather run into the sand. ... points to a perception of the Hyksos as linked with the Levant, but is otherwise unspecific. ... Tell ed-Dab'a shows a growing presence, within a basically Egyptian town, of a non-Egyptian population group, with strong Levantine links ... Still more Minoan-style paintings were discovered in 1992--3. The interpretation of their significance is uncertain at present ... Was the tradition of such wall-paintings and motifs perhaps more widespread in the eastern Mediterranean than had been suspected?

Quoting p. 386:
Most prominent among the explanations offered for the political collapse of Anatolia and the Levant c. 1200 is the idea that the 'sea-peoples' were responsible. The term 'sea-peoples' embraces several movements by various peoples just before and just after 1200. ... One point, which cannot be emphasized enough, is that the ONLY sources for the role of the 'sea-peoples' in the crisis are the accounts of two Egyptian campaigns.

David B. Benson

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

Ok, now I have time to go on about 'sea-peoples' from Amelie Kuhrt's book. It is too extensive to quote fully, so I'll restrict to quotations which seem relevant to what I think prompted the question.

Quoting from p. 390:
What seems to have happened is that, as Egyptian imperial power in the [Levant/Palestine/Syria/Jordan] region crumbled, the solders manning the fortresses were thrown on their own resources, reorganized themselves as independent cities, and so emerged as the Philistines of the Old Testament. It is possible that the name 'Philistine' was applied loosely to several different, though related, groups. It has even been suggested ... that the Israelite tribe of Dan, which had the peculiar characteristic of being associated with ships in the Old Testament, was originally part of one of the Egyptian garrisons settled by the Dnn [Denyen/Danuna]...

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

Interesting.

Carol Clouser

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

Folks,

You need to face up to the reality of the fact that historians just have no reliable information/data to go by prior to three thousand years ago. These so called "scholars" with careers to justify, find some decaying document or crumbling tablet that they don't even know which way to hold to read correctly, nor do they know a thing about the motivations and agends of the writers of these artifacts nor about all the documents that were destroyed by rulers with their own interests to protect, then proceed to conjure up pie-in-the-sky theories about what they think might have occured. And this drivel appeals to you so long as it discredits the Bible which you think is your great Satan in the religion-science wars. Would you consider such evidence in scientific issues?

Aureola Nominee, FCD

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

Talk about projection, eh, Ms. Clouser?

Corkscrew

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote author="Carol Clouser">And this drivel appeals to you so long as it discredits the Bible which you think is your great Satan in the religion-science wars.</quote>

Well, as far as I'm concerned the Bible is fairly good at discrediting itself (OT characters behave in a way that I wouldn't consider moral. Game over.) However, it's an extremely influential work. As such, it's good to find out more about it - its history, its context, etc.

For example, the bit about Elijah and the priests of Baal apparently relates to the fact that, if you hit two pressure points on a snake's neck, it'll stiffen up and look like a stick. Elijah's triumph wasn't that he could turn a stick into a snake; it was that he was willing to risk playing with a bigger and nastier snake than the Baalites. (Note: I'm not sure about the accuracy of this - can anyone confirm?)

Carol, I'm surprised that you're so reluctant to consider the historical context of your own Holy Book.

<quote>Would you consider such evidence in scientific issues?</quote>

Are we talking about the Bible or the archaeological evidence that purports to contradict it? As far as I'm concerned, neither are remotely relevant to any scientific issue. However, as far as specific historical events that fall into the Bible timeline are concerned, they're both extremely relevant.

I'd note that your other accusations could be turned around:

"These so called “Jews” with beliefs to justify, find some decaying Holy Book that they don’t know a thing about the motivations and agendas of the writers nor about all the documents that were destroyed by rulers with their own interests to protect, then proceed to conjure up pie-in-the-sky theories about what they think might have occured."

As far as pie-in-the-sky theories go, I think the "plagues of Egypt" probably extracts the most urine. I'd have gone for Genesis, but I still have trouble believing that that was meant to be taken literally.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>You need to face up to the reality of the fact that historians just have no reliable information/data to go by prior to three thousand years ago.</quote>

Except Judah Landa, right?

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>For example, the bit about Elijah and the priests of Baal apparently relates to the fact that, if you hit two pressure points on a snake’s neck, it’ll stiffen up and look like a stick. Elijah’s triumph wasn’t that he could turn a stick into a snake; it was that he was willing to risk playing with a bigger and nastier snake than the Baalites. (Note: I’m not sure about the accuracy of this - can anyone confirm?)</quote>


Snakes don't stiffen when handled, but have long been depicted, symbolically, as staffs, arrows or spears -- long thin objects capable of causing death.

Snakes were (as are most dangerous animals) potent symbols in the ancient world, and are used as such throughout the Bible.  "My snake is bigger than your snake, and I can control it safely" is indeed a powerful religious, political and social statement.  Snake-handlers of many countries have, of course, been taking advantage of this for several thousand years.

Take the story of Moses and Pharoah.  Pharoah's priests cast down a stick, which turns into a snake.  Moses' priest casts down a stick, which not only turns into a bigger snake, but that snake then eats Pharoah's snake.  The symbolism is potent.  The Egyptian cobra was the royal symbol of Egypt (the crown worn by Pharoah incorporated an image of a rearing cobra).  So the symbolism of this story is crushingly obvious ---- the Jews would beat Egypt.

Most commonly in the Bible, the snake was used as a symbol for heresy or unbelief.  Adam and Eve lost their faith in Eden because of a snake.  During the Exodus, the people of Moses suffered from many snakebites, and were "cured" by the symbol of a brass serpent carried by Moses.  When Paul was preaching to the Melitans, he was bitten by a snake, and shook it off unharmed.  

Such stories, although intended as symbolism and not actual descriptions of actual events, do demonstrate a knowledge of snake habits and biology.  Cobras do indeed make a habit of eating other snakes, including other cobras.  As for all the "miraculously-cured" snakebites, it is a little-known fact that, about half the time, venomous snakes which strike in self-defense will not actually inject any venom, a phenomenon known as a "dry bite".  Snakes, particularly desert snakes, may encounter prey only once a month, and their life depends on having sufficient venom resources to obtain it.  They therefore are extremely reluctant to use venom for self-defense purposes.  

And even if a snake gives a defensive bite with a full load of venom, the death rate for untreated snakebites is no more than 50%, depending on the species.  Hence, if you are bitten by a cobra or viper and do nothing at all whatsoever to treat it, you'll still recover about half the time.  That is why, throughout history, people have invented all sorts of silly "snakebite cures", none of which work any better than doing nothing at all, but all of which will still "work" about half the time.

Carol Clouser

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

Lenny,


That was a great lesson in snakes and bites. Very interesting. But you don't have the story right. Aaron's stick-turned-snake became a stick again, as did the Egyptians' snakes, and only then did Aaron's stick swallow (not "eat") the Egyptians' sticks.


Corkscrew,

Your ignorance of the Bible is even greater than Lenny's. There is no story in the Bible involving Elijah and snakes vs. the prophets of Baal.

And if you cannot see the difference between the silly "evidence" for some of the claims cited above and the virtual identical testimony (as much as over 90 percent), both oral and written, of millions of people who have been taking this testimony super seriously, a people whose contribution to the world's reservior of knowledge, including science, has far exceeeded their numbers by a factor of many thousand, and who by all rational calculations should long ago have been eliminated multiple times with all those other ancient civilizations for which you have "evidence" who no longer exist, but miraculously have survived to continue their testimony, then I cannot halp you.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>the virtual identical testimony (as much as over 90 percent), both oral and written, of millions of people who have been taking this testimony super seriously, a people whose contribution to the world’s reservior of knowledge, including science, has far exceeeded their numbers by a factor of many thousand, and who by all rational calculations should long ago have been eliminated multiple times with all those other ancient civilizations for which you have “evidence” who no longer exist, but miraculously have survived to continue their testimony,</quote>


The same, of course, could be said about the Hindus, or the Chinese.  (shrug)


<quote> then I cannot halp you.</quote>

So, um, why do you keep trying, then, Carol?

If you're not here to preach, then, uh, why ARE you here?  Book sales down again?

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank

Unregistered



(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2006,17:21   

<quote>That was a great lesson in snakes and bites. Very interesting. But you don’t have the story right.
</quote>

I forgot that Carol doesn't understand what a "symbolic" story is.  

Of course, she doesn't understand what a "literal" story is, either.  (shrug)


<quote>Aaron’s stick-turned-snake became a stick again, as did the Egyptians’ snakes, and only then did Aaron’s stick swallow (not “eat”) the Egyptians’ sticks.</quote>


Where does it say that, Carol?

And what, exactly, is the meaningful difference between "eat" and "swallow"?

Or are you just being a dessicated old pedant again, just to dazzle us with your brilliant holy knowledge of the Hebrew Bible?

Sounds pretty prideful to me, Carol. Isn't that a sin?

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