Sunday, November 12, 2006

Meaningless Babel

For religious skeptics, the Bible is full of stories that make it absolutely impossible to accept the Bible as literal truth. For me, one of the stories that tops the list is the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9.

As the tale relates, all of humanity spoke a common language and settled in a single place called the plain of Shinar. These industrious people resolved to build a tower of bricks that would reach to the heavens.

God is described in the story as coming "down to see the city and the tower that the men were building." Now whomever wrote this story reveals some interesting things. First off, the author (or plagiarist, more on that in a moment) of this tale had some idea that God dwelled somewhere up, up, up in the skies. Secondly, by describing God as coming down to see the tower, the author is clearly implying that God occupies a physical space and must actually come down to the Earth in order to see what humanity was building. After all, if God is all knowing, all seeing, and everywhere at once, he would not come down to the Earth. Now one might make the argument that the author of the story was describing God based upon his own limited understanding. But Bible believers constantly remind us that the Bible was revealed by God himself, and many believe that it was Moses himself who wrote down what God told him. Thus, God is describing himself as having to "come down" to the city.

Now where the story gets really interesting is where God decides that he must stop the people from building the tower, because "nothing they do will be impossible for them", which clearly suggests that God was afraid that the humans would actually succeed in building their tower high enough to reach heaven. Again, the teller of the tale is revealing his ignorance. He is obviously unaware of the fact that the Earth is surrounded by an atmosphere, and that at some point, if one goes high enough, there is simply no air to breath. Assuming the technology was even known to build the tower as high as the tallest mountain, the workers at the top would begin passing out from altitude sickness. Work would have to cease because it would simply not be possible to advance any further. But of course the technology did not exist back then to build a tower as high as Mount Everest. In fact, the Great Pyramid of Khufu (aka Cheops) in Egypt remained the tallest man made structure on the Earth until the advent of the skyscrapers in the first half of the 20th century. So God did not have to worry.

But God clearly was worried, so he decides to divide humanity by confusing their language so that they would not understand each other, and from there, God "scattered them over the face of the whole Earth." Now, what the Bible means by scattered is unclear. Did different groups of people migrate to different parts of the planet, or did God teleport them to sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Siberia, China, Australia, and the Americas?

Now what really makes a literal belief in the story of the Tower of Babel ridiculous to me, in short, is that humanity has long surpassed in achievement and ability the things that God feared humanity was capable of thousands of years ago. Not only do we have skyscrapers that are higher than any structure that ever existed before, but we have sent men to the moon and landed space probes as far away as Saturn's moon Titan, not to mention the Voyager probes that have travelled to the outermost edges of our solar system. Furthermore, in spite of the multitude of languages that are spoken by different ethnicities and nationalities, we all have the ability to communicate with one another. The English language is the language of global commerce and educated people from all over the world speak it. It is possible, with sufficient exposure and study, to learn to speak and understand the languages of others. We have the capability to pool the knowledge and resources of all humanity to accomplish almost anything we set our minds to.

This begs the question, if God stopped humanity from building the Tower of Babel some 4,000 years ago, then why hasn't God stopped us from landing on the Moon and landing probes as far as Titan? The Russians had the MIR space station orbiting the Earth for over a decade, and currently the International Space Station circles the planet. In a few decades, it is not inconceivable that we will have opened up space to commerce. Hotels and convention centers will offer visitors the ultimate panoramic view. Intrepid miners will venture to near Earth asteroids to mine for metals and minerals. There may even be budding colonies on the Moon.

But back to the plagiarism issue I hinted at earlier. When one reads chapters 10 and 11 of Genesis, the Tower of Babel story does not make any sense, and in fact, it looks like it was conspicuously inserted between Genesis 10:32 and Genesis 11:10. Genesis 10 covers the three sons of Noah and their descendants in the aftermath of the Flood. The descendants of the three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, are said to have occupied specific territories and having their own languages The last section of Genesis 10, from verses 21 through 32, cover the descendants of Shem.

Now, just to reiterate, Genesis 10 clearly tells us that the descendants of each of Noah's three sons occupied specific geographic areas and had their own languages. And then we go write into Genesis 11:1, in which "the whole world had one language and one common speech" and that they all moved "eastward", though from where we are not told, to the plain of Shinar. And then in Genesis 11:10, the story picks up again with Shem two years after the flood. The Tower of Babel totally interrupts the flow of the story. This clearly shows that what we know as the Book of Genesis is not a single book, but in fact a collection of stories cut and pasted together from various sources. I get the impression that some Hebrew priest overseeing the assembling of their holy texts came across the Tower of Babel story from some Mesopotamian sources and thought "I better put that in here to explain why different nations speak different languages." The Tower of Babel story is a cut and paste job, and a poor one at that.

43 comments:

Sable Chicken said...

I think that you are missing the point Tommy.

Genesis 10:32 These are the clans of Noah's sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.

(quick story about how and why they spread out)

Genesis 11:1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

You have to understand that this was man's plan not God's. God's plan was to have man fill the earth

Genesis 1: 28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

The thing is they were building this tower NOT to please and honor God, but to please and honor themselves. Make a name for themselves and be like God, up in heaven.
God was never worried that they could some how reach Him "up in the sky." We couldn't do that then and we can't do it now. God has a plan. The Earth as a begining and it will have an end. This is on God's time table not ours.
You would like to believe that great worldly acheivements, like great, structures and wealth and earthly kingdoms is what should please God, but it doesn't. It's hard to make sence of that because those are the things we want more than a relationship with our creator.

That's the way I see it.

Tommy said...

Hi Sable. Thank you for your comments. I am at work right now on my lunch break, so I don't have a Bible in front of me to refer to, but I will do the best that I can.

You state that God was upset with the builders of the tower because they built it to please themselves, not God. Well, to that I would say that most structures on the face of the Earth were not built to honor God, or at least the God of the Bible. The pyramids of the Aztecs and the Mayans, the Great Wall of China, the great pyramids of Egypt come to mind.

When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in July of 1969, he did not say "I hereby set foot on the moon for the greater glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." No, as we all know, he said "One small step for man, one giant step for mankind."

The MIR space station, put into the orbit by the then officially atheist Soviet Union, certainly did not build the space station to honor God.

So my point remains, we have far surpassed any tower that could have been built by Bronze Age peoples in terms of tall structures and have reached up into what ancient man saw as the heavens, all without consciously dedicating such efforts to God. Therefore, if God saw fit to punish Bronze Age humanity for trying to build a brick tower to the heavens for their own glory, which as I explained in my post was not an achievable goal anyway, then why does God not punish us today for the achievements we have made that were done for the sake of man and not God?

I will deal with the Biblical argument in part for now from memory and supplement it later tonight when I get home.

Now when you read Genesis 10 and Genesis 11 after the Tower of Babel story, the story is very specific in terms of names and dates. But with the Tower of Babel story, humanity is only spoken of in general terms. If the story were organic to Genesis, then it should have read "Now the sons of Noah and their kin moved eastward..." Furthermore, no indication is given as to how long after the end of the flood that the Tower of Babel story takes place.

When the story of Shem picks up after the end of the Tower of Babel tale, we are given a specific time of two years after the flood, and the descendants of Shem are listed. There is no mention of Shem or any of his descendants being affected by God confounding man's language and scattering people across the Earth.

Do me a favor Sable, if you have a Bible handy. Read Genesis 10, cover up the Tower of Babel story with a postcard or something and go right to the story of Shem. Doesn't it have a more natural flow to it?

Now here is my explanation as to why I believe that the Tower of Babel story was inserted into the book of Genesis. What we know as the book of Genesis was put together by Hebrew priests some point during or after the Babylonian Captivity in order to construct a past for the Israelite people. I believe that it is likely that the tale of Noah, his sons, and Abraham, existed in their oral literature before the Babylonian Captivity, and at the time when the tales were committed to writing, the Hebrew priests had to deal with the fact that they had become aware of a wider world than they had previously known. In Mesopotamia during the time of Babylon, they must have encountered people whom they could not explain by relying solely on the lineage of the sons of Noah. Therefore, either they made up the Tower of Babel story or they got it from a previously existing legend from the myths of the Mesopotamian civilizations. Now, whomever put the Tower of Babel story in the book of Genesis, I would reiterate, did a very bad cut and paste job. He does not provide with information as to when this episode is said to have occurred, which of the scattered peoples were the descendants of which of Noah's sons, or how they got to where they were now. Again, did they wander across the Earth on foot, or did God teleport them to far away places?

In writing my post on the Tower of Babel story, I got ideas for new posts about the conduct of Noah immediately after the flood, and the tale of Abraham, which I hope to have up soon.

Thanks again for your comments and look forward to many more. Though I can't make you an atheist anymore than you can make me a Christian again, the exchange of views helps us to reexamine our beliefs and either affirm them or reject them.

Kind regards,

Tom

Sable Chicken said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sable Chicken said...

"Doesn't it have a more natural flow to it? (without the tower of Babel)"
If the Bible had a more natural flow considering how it was put together and that is a record of people rather than a good read. I think it would sound more like a fake if it was a well written, good story.
~~~~
Genesis 10:25
Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.

The tower of Babel incident probably took place during the days of Peleg when "the earth was divided"

Useing a longevity chart from Adam to Joseph. That makes the work on the tower of Babel ending some where between 1790 and 1990 years after God created Adam. because Peleg lived 239 years. ( the flood was 1656 years after God created Adam.

"So my point remains, we have far surpassed any tower that could have been built by Bronze Age peoples in terms of tall structures and have reached up into what ancient man saw as the heavens, all without consciously dedicating such efforts to God. Therefore, if God saw fit to punish Bronze Age humanity for trying to build a brick tower to the heavens for their own glory, which as I explained in my post was not an achievable goal anyway, then why does God not punish us today for the achievements we have made that were done for the sake of man and not God?"

My answer is the same, God was not punishing man for building the tower, (although I don't think that it was pleaseing to God because their hearts were not in the right place) God wanted us to fill the earth, they were not doing that by working together and staying in one place. In the Bible there is talk about a one world system, we are working on that now, 4000 years later. The world is filled now, God is going to let this happen and it will be are undoing.

Tommy said...

Okay Sable, let's have another go at it! :-)

You theorize that the Tower of Babel incident happened during the days of Peleg, because "in his time the earth was divided." In fact, according to the footnotes in my NIV edition of the Bible, the name Peleg itself means "division".

However, the descendants of Noah's other sons would also presumably be alive and living with Peleg at the time, as well as Peleg's brother Joktan. There is nothing indicated as to why Peleg should be so special that something should be referred to as happening in his time, when it was also Joktan's time. There is also no clarification as to exactly what is meant by "the earth was divided."

Interestingly, Genesis 9:28 tells us that Noah lived 350 years after the flood. Thus, by your reckoning, Noah was still alive and kicking during the time of the Tower of Babel. It is rather strange though that he virtually disappears from the narrative after Genesis 9. Since Noah was still alive, why wasn't the division of the Earth described as happening in Noah's time?

In the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, Cush is named as the eldest son of Ham, and then in 10:8, Cush is called "the father of Nimrod", though strangely Nimrod's name does not appear in the list of Cush's sons in 10:7.

Anyway, Nimrod is described as establishing a kingdom containing cities such as Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh. Now if we are going to interpret Genesis literally, at the time of Nimrod, there could not have been more than a couple of hundred people at most alive on the face of the Earth. So how is it that Nimrod built all of these cities when there was not even a sufficient population density for one city? At best, we are talking about a very large extended family.

By my calculations based on what appears in the account of Shem, Peleg is said to have been born 101 years after the flood. By your reckoning, the Tower of Babel episode takes place 134 years after the flood (If I am in error, please let me know). Again, how many people could there have possibly been at the time, and with such a small population, just how spread out should the human race have been?

Again, the Tower of Babel story only makes sense as a later insertion into the text. I have to wrap this up for now as it is getting past my bedtime. Bon soir.

Sable Chicken said...

Well Tommy this theory explains how the aborigines could have walked over to Australia. It also gives you an explanation of the ice age. This is all on video six. I just watched this one tonight with my daughter. After watching it she said that it was much easier for her to understand how the earth moves in earthquakes, Kent does a better job than her teacher at school apparently. I personally always thought that the "pangea" was silly. I don't know how to spell it, but it is the theory that all the continents all touched each other and than slowly moved a way.

As far as how many people were around one hunderd years after the flood? I don't know but I don't think they had birth control. How many kids could you have if you lived to 400 years? And it looks like they all started having kids of their own around age 30. I assume that not everyone is listed in the genealogy, because we are missing a lot of girls. People lived longer and most likely grew bigger before the flood. Noah was a pretty handy guy and I'm sure that his offspring were good at building things.
There is just so much to say about this, I am learning a lot as we are comunicating about this. I feel like I am letting you down, because there is only so much I am able to get across. I am really enjoying this though. I am a believer and so it is really easy for me to take this in. For the last couple of years I was going on faith about just how the world could be made by God in 6 days. And just feeling like the theory of evolution was not even giving me any information that made sense. Kent Hovind has filled in alot more gaps than evolution EVER has. It makes sense to me, at the core of my being.
~~~

Peleg and Joktan

Alright the next thing to keep in mind. The pre Flood world, the world before the Flood, was very different to the world we have today. The Bible says it was protected by a canopy of water overhead and also there was water under the crust of the Earth. Actually had the crust of the Earth with water and an atmosphere and then water above the canopy and water under the crust. Now there is still water in the crust of the Earth you can drill down and get water almost anywhere. But there apparently was a lot more water under the crust of the Earth before the Flood came and that's the water that came steaming out when the fountains of the deep broke open.


Last thing to keep in mind. Who was Peleg? ..... [Genesis 10:25] and its says "... unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided ....". Why would it say that? What do you mean the Earth was divided? And then it says "... his brother's name was Joktan". The the word Joktan is a Hebrew word that means shortening. Peleg means divided, Joktan means shortening. So what happened in the days of Peleg anyway. Well we are going to talk about that. Peleg was born about 100 years after the Flood and he was the first guy recorded in the Bible to live less than 400 years..... See, before the Flood they lived 900 years, after the Flood it dropped off to 400, then in the days of Peleg is dropped off again, a lot, from 400 to 230. So what happened in the days of Peleg and what was shortened? Why did they name Joktan, "shortening"?

Summary of the Hovind Theory

So with all that said let me give you the Hovind Theory of what I think happened and I've studied this quite a while. I'm going to give you the order of events that I think happened then go back and kinda review each of them in just a little bit to try and put it into perspective of what happened to cause the Flood.

Noah and the animals went safely onto the Ark. God shut the door. Sealed 'em in.
I think a 300 degrees below zero Fahrenheit ice meteor, came flying through the solar system and began to break apart. Fragments of this meteor hit the planets, caused the craters on the moon and other planets and a bunch of it came a made the rings around the other planets. Saturn, Uranus and Neptune all have ice rings around them.
And some of the fragments of this meteor hit the Earth, landing on most of the North and South Pole, freezing the mammoths standing up.
As it approached the Earth though it scattered it out in space because the Inverse Square Law makes things go faster as they get closer. Gravity actually gets stronger and so they would pick up speed. And it would reach the terminal velocity and would blow apart like a snowball being thrown to fast.
And these chunks of ice and snow would be sucked in and dumped around the North and South Pole because of the Earths magnetic field.
The sudden dump of ice on the North Pole and South Pole caused several things would happen. It caused the crust of the Earth to crack. The fountains of the deep were released and the water came shooting up out from under the crust of the Earth.
The rapidly spreading ice from being dumped on the Poles pushed out towards the Equator, caused the Ice Age. Carved out the great lakes. Scratched the rock all over Northern Canada and Kelly's Island, Ohio. Scratched all the rock, buried the mammoths, froze them standing up.
For the next few thousand years the Earth wobbled because of this iced dumped on the North and South Pole and it slowly stabilized to what we have today.
During the first few months of the Flood, the dead animals settled out. Some were floating around, swirling around floating on top. Those that go buried deep got buried down under the mud and there we great piles of fossil animals found. Whole herds of animals buried in this massive world wide flood that later became the fossils we have today. The dead plants that were buried were turned into coal. The animals were turned into oil or natural gas. And make these giant fossil grave yards over the next few hundred years.
During the last few months of the Flood, the unstable plates of the Earth because it was all cracked up, the plates of the Earth shifted and tilted. Some places went down forming oceans. Other places lifted up forming mountains. And the water rushed off, carving Grand Canyon in a couple hours through soft sediments.
Over the next few hundred years these massive ice caps, from Kansas City all the way up to the North Pole, they slowly melted back which would raise the ocean levels and make the oceans colder and deeper and wider separating the continents by the time of Peleg about 100 years later.

http://www.kent-hovind.com/theory.htm#peleg

Theerasak Photha said...

Kent Hovind...ah, Kent Hovind: a man who makes Kevin Federline look like a decent human being rather than a soggy sack of dicks.

Oh, but I forget myself! How rude of me: I forgot he was a DOCTOR Kent Hovind. This is a picture of the unaccredited university where he got his doctor's degree. I was under the impression until recently that a university consists of multiple colleges housed in multiple buildings. Does the tool shed out back count for anything?

There are many other such instances of this baffling dishonesty. Kent Hovind is a LIAR.

BTW, sable chicken, what makes you think that the theory of Pangaea is ridiculous beyond vague personal bias?

Theerasak Photha said...

Ah, and BTW---http://www.kent-hovind.com was set up in order to tear its namesake a new asshole.

I recommend reading 'Quacky Quotes- Contradictions'. He has no idea what the hell he's talking about, thus explaining his inability to form a consistent scientific viewpoint.

Critical thinking MY ASS.

Sable Chicken said...

"Ah, and BTW---http://www.kent-hovind.com was set up in order to tear its namesake a new asshole".

I know that...DAAA
Kent Hovind can't type more than 12 words a minute and he would have 19 misspellings in that. What I quoted is what I heard him say on video. OK. I don't need to reinvent the wheel, I type as fast as Kent does. Most of the time I get the whole "STRAWMAN" alarms going off when I quote sites that are for my side, not against it. I guess I can't win for losing.

" Kent Hovind is a LIAR."
Do you call him a liar, just because that is what Richard Dawkins has trained you to call anyone that believes in God? I think so.

The 'Quacky Quotes- Contradictions'...come on the guy is entertaining, he is a good teacher, and he is going to keep you awake. 18 hours of lectures, he better be.

Pangaea the theory of the continants floating around, make it sound like the oceans have no floor. Yet there are hot water vents under the oceans now, which means that there is still water under the water of the oceans. Kents Theory makes more sence.

Tommy said...

Sable, you seem to be a little confused about thermal vents. Here is how they form:

Vents form where the planet's crustal plates are slowly spreading apart and magma is welling up from below to form mountain ranges known as mid-ocean ridges. As cracks form at these spreading centers, seawater seeps a mile or two down into the hot rock. Enriched with minerals leached from the rock, the water heats and rises to the ocean floor to form a vent.

In other words, the water does not originate from beneath the ocean floor, it seeps through fissures in the crist and gets show back out through the vents.

But back to the Tower of Babel now.

You do not seem to understand the concept of symbolism in names. As you point out, Peleg means "to divide" and Joktan "to shorten". Isn't it kind of odd that Eber would give names to his sons to represent events that had not happened yet? It would be as if when my son was born on May 30, 2001 (his actual birthdate btw), I named him Twin Towers Collapses. Years later in the book about the War on Terror, the author writes "and Tommy had a son named "Twin Towers Collapses" because in his time the Twin Towers collapsed."

It is quite common in literature for the author or story teller to give names to characters to symbolize events or themes. It is not as though there was an actual man named Eber who happened to name his sons "to divide" and "to shorten" and then lo and behold the continents are separated and the lifespan of men is shortened in the lifetimes of these two people.

Now on to plate tectonics. Please allow me to quote from one of your favorite people in the world, Richard Dawkins. (I can almost hear you sighing already!)

"The evidence for plate tectonics is elegantly compelling and the theory is now proved beyond reasonable doubt. If you measure the age of the rocks on either side of a ridge such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, you notice a truly remarkable thing. The rocks that are closest to the ridge are the youngest. The further you travel, sideways from the ridge, the older are the rocks. The result is that if you plot 'isochrons' (that is, contour lines of age) they run parallel to the ridge itself, snaking with it down the North Atlantic and then the South Atlantic. This is true on both sides of the ridge. The isochrons on one side of the ridge are almost perfectly mirrored on the other side."

With respect to the so-called canopy of water supposedly circling the Earth during antedeluvian times, if the water was clear, then it would have acted as a magnifying glass intensifying the light of the sun making life on the planet unbearable. If it was opaque or cloudy, then it would have blocked sunlight and the Earth would have been colder and unable to support life. With all due respect, the idea is totally ridiculous. To embrace a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis is to willfully embrace ignorance. For goodness sakes, I implore you to think about this. This is an example of what I am talking about when I call on you to get your head out of the mental prison of the Bible. If you want to be a Christian, then fine with me if it gives your life a sense of meaning and purpose. But don't let ancient mythology distort your understanding of the world.

To buy into what people like Hovind are saying, you have to believe that thousands upon thousands of experts in the fields of biology, geology, astronomy, physics and other fields have either been engaging in a conspiracy for over a hundred years to deceive everyone or they have no idea what they are talking about. Do you really believe that Sable? Come on, I know that you are better than that!

Sable Chicken said...

The isochron technique of radiometric dating is often presented as overcoming problems with earlier methods. However, it is easy to imagine scenarios that could cause isochrons to yield false dates, and geologists recognize that isochrons can yield bad dates.
The idea of isochrons is this: Suppose X is a parent element that decays in to Y and Z is another isotope of Y not produced by radioactive decay. Let x, y, and z refer to their concentrations. Since Y and Z are isotopes, we would assume they have similar chemical properties. Let's assume that initially, the ratio of y and z is constant, and then X begins decaying to Y. We have two sources of Y, so y = c1 * x + c2 * z at the end of some time period. It follows that the ratios x/z and y/z have a linear relationship whose slope yields the age of the sample. If these ratios are observed to obey such a linear relationship in a series of rocks, then an age can be computed from them.

However, we can imagine situations in which such a linear relationship could be produced without indicating a true age. Let A and B be two rocks containing only X and Y and no Z. Suppose A is very old (or appears very old) and B is very young. Suppose A and B become thoroughly mixed. Their perceived radiometric age would then be between that of A and B. Now, suppose a mixture of Y and Z penetrates this mixture of A and B, in some places more than in others, but with a constant ratio of Y and Z. This will then yield a beautiful isochron, but the age given will be meaningless. This can also happen if water removes a constant fraction of X but no Y from A, making A appear older, and then the mixture of Y and Z enters. Another possibility is for A to have a constant concentration of X and Y at the beginning, and for more Y to enter, making A appear older. Then if a mixture of Y and Z enters, a nice isochron yielding a false age will be produced. A final possibility is for A to have a constant ratio of X and Y at the beginning. Then a lot more Y enters by diffusion. Then the rock is heated and mixed so the ratio of X and Y is everywhere the same. This makes the rock look much older. Finally, a mixture of Y and Z enters, different amounts at different places. This will also produce a false, and much too old, isochron. I would say that these scenarios are not at all implausible, especially when one considers that the daughter element Y is often argon, a gas that is relatively mobile in rock.

http://www.cs.unc.edu/~plaisted/ce/isochron.html

That's a bunch of fancy talk for the isochrons and a variety of possible problems with them. It kinda makes my head hurt, the same way that the name Richard Dawkins makes my ears start bleeding.

~~~

But back to the Tower of Babel now.

"It is quite common in literature for the author or story teller to give names to characters to symbolize events or themes."

Even though many different people wrote the books of the Bible, but God is the the really auther. There is a lot of people in the Bible that have a name because God told their parents to name them that. There are other people that had one name, and later God decided to change their name. God is the creator of the Earth and He is timeless. He knows everything.

Methuselah's name apparently means "when he dies it shell come." Could it be that God told Enoch to name him that? The flood started when his son would die. maybe Enoch stayed so close to the Lord that God just took him in heaven without dying?

Do you believe Jesus never really lived?

Tommy said...

Apparently God doesn't know everything Sable. The Bible describes God as coming down to the city to see what was going on. And if he was all knowing, he would have confounded their speech before they started building the tower, because he would have known before the fact what the people were going to do. But I have a couple of ideas for new posts, and can pick this discussion up there.

As for whether I believe that Jesus really lived, that's an open question for me. I'm inclined to believe that the Gospels are based at least in part on a real person. But to me it does not matter if he was real or not. Even if he did live, he was not born from a virgin, did not perform miracles, and he did not rise from the dead. But that will be a topic for another post as well.

Theerasak Photha said...

"Do you call him a liar, just because that is what Richard Dawkins has trained you to call anyone that believes in God? I think so."

Until recently, I didn't even really know who the FUCK Richard Dawkins is. Now cut the shit and get back to the heart of the matter: do you disagree with my assertion that 'Doctor' Kent Hovind is really just a Diploma Mill U alumnus, and therefore a liar, or not?

A simple YES or NO will do...

Stardust said...

Great post, tommy
Yep, this god is a real game player. All-knowing, and all-powerful and I will add...sadistic as many of the gods of mythologies are. I am looking forward to reading your future posts.

But to me it does not matter if he was real or not. Even if he did live, he was not born from a virgin, did not perform miracles, and he did not rise from the dead.

tommy - it doesn't matter to me, either if Jesus was real or not and I am in agreement with you that he was not born from a virgin, nor did he perform miracles, and he did not rise from the dead like a zombie.

" . . . the story of Jesus is a story that was just too familiar by the time that it started being told and applied to this man Jesus of Nazareth. Long before Jesus of Nazareth allegedly lived, virgin-born, miracle-working, crucified, resurrected, savior-gods were a dime a dozen. They flourished in most of the pagan religions that were believed by people who lived centuries, centuries, and centuries before Jesus allegedly lived. I could, if time permitted, and I think that perhaps that's one reason why he did not want more speaking time; he did not want to have to deal with issues like these. I could take saviors like Krishna, saviors like Osiris, saviors like Dionysus, saviors like Tammuz, who presumably lived centuries and centuries before Jesus of Nazareth allegedly lived, and they were born of virgins, they worked miracles, they died, most of them through crucifixion, and they were resurrected from the dead, and their followers were zealous for them. " [Geisler-Till debate, 1994]

Theerasak Photha said...

And you know what else? King Her...I mean, King KAMSA tried to kill Krishna as an infant because of a prophecy about him. Jesu...ah...Krishna also multiplied a single grain of rice into meals for a hundred men.

RIP-OFF!!!

Tommy said...

Oh, one other thing Sable, in response to the following you wrote above:

"Noah and the animals went safely onto the Ark. God shut the door. Sealed 'em in."

Have you ever been to an animal farm Sable? Do you know how much smell can be generated by the shit from even a few animals? Now, if you expect us to believe that Noah's Ark had rhinos, elephants, hippos, camels, bears, horses, llamas, pigs, and for you Young Earth Creationists, dinosaurs, you are really talking massive quantities of shit. And if Noah, his family, and all of these animals were sealed in, they would have all passed out from the smell. Even if they did have windows, those poor eight people would have spent their entire days shovelling shit and feeding violent carnivorous animals. Yep, that sounds real plausible to me.

Sable Chicken said...

Tommy,
Can you imagine yourself hearing your boys making a mess out of something in the other room. Knowing full well what kind of mess you are going to see, you come in the room and ask, "What have you done?"

God knows everything, nothing is hiden from Him. When God asked Adam, "Where are you?" He knew just where Adam was and why he was hiding. The thing is who is really playing games here, God or man? Adam just messed up for the first time and he can't even give God a straight answer,and passes the buck on to Eve. She says it's not her fault the serpent decieved her. We are lucky that God condescends to our level at all. It must be because He loves us.

Theerasak Photha said...

Shorter Sable Chicken: "I can't argue with the points and issues you raised, so I'll just spout some mealy-mouthed bullshit that has little, if any relation to the topic at hand whatever."

Is God really omniscient? Then why didn't he teach his Son that the mustard seed is not the smallest seed?

Theerasak Photha said...

ipython sez that isinstance(whale, Fish) just evaluated to False. Further examination revealed that whales are members of the Mammal class.

Way to go, God.

Sable Chicken said...

Tommy,

Well, I have my own little petting zoo at home, and one time I walked into the bathroom after my husband had just used the toilet, and it was so bad... it made me gag! How did Noah do it? Believe me, the thought has crossed my mind. The best idea that I have heard was a hole with walls might have been built into the center through the bottom. Water could rise and fall like a piston, bring fresh air into the ark. This also would be a good way for them to get water for the animals. Maybe they even had two of these piston well holes and dumped all the poop down the other. When it comes to feeding and careing for all these animals, you have to remember Gods hand is involved here. Noah didn't have to run around trying to catch the right animals. God sent the ones He wanted to the ark. God could have put them ALL in to a state of hibernation if need be. An animal that is sitting all day in an ark does not need to eat as much as one that is running around all day trying to find a meal. Kent Hovind thinks that most of the animals might have been very young and smaller or babies. I think God would have put animals on the ark that would be having babies right after they got off of the ark, so I believe they were young adult animals, not baby ones. But maybe baby dinosaurs, if their were like aligators, they might not need as much care from their parents like many mammals do.

It's really not that hard to believe this in comparison to, believing we all came from nothing and evolved into chemicals that over millions became a soup...blah blah blah and with enough time we can believe anything can happen.

Sable Chicken said...

Theerasak Photha,
What university taught you that the use of the word "fuck" will make people take you seriously?

"ipython sez that isinstance(whale, Fish) just evaluated to False. Further examination revealed that whales are members of the Mammal class."

I'm not sure what you are trying to say to me?
Are you saying that God should have put a couple of whales on the ark, because you just figured out that they are mammals? Or you didn't understand that God gave the job of naming all the animals to people, and you thought that was God's job?

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Key word here is "Parable". Do you really think that Jesus is telling us that mustard seeds are the smallest seeds in the world, or is this a figure of speech. Because we all know that the orchid has a much smaller seed....but the orchid is not grown in a field or a garden nor does it grow to become so large like a mustard plant. Lets look at the verse your talking about, because I don't think you thought that question through...but just plucked it off an atheists question stumper site.

He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."

Again he said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."
With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

Theerasak Photha said...

Believing that we came from a chemical soup might hurt your feelings, make you feel insignificant. I don't care. It makes me hurt, too, but you don't see me complaining about it. I am insignificant in the scheme of things, and so are you. Regardless, appeals to pathos cannot prevail over logic and reason, because NOBODY GIVES A SHIT.

The dimensions of the ark are said to be: 135m long, 22.5m wide, and 13.5m high. So that's 41,006.25m according to GNU bc. Scientists have catalogued at least 1,500,000 species of Kingdom Animalia alone. (Most fish after even slight upsets in the salt concentration, so he'd just have to bring them as well.)

Now, let's assume, for the sake of argument, that two of every 'kind' were brought on board and ignore the obvious complications of incest both among Noah's family and all the organisms he brought with him, and the fact that seven of every unclean kind were brought on board as well; what are the criteria, I wonder?

This leaves a conservative estimate of a measly .03 cubic meters for each animal on the ark. Even if I cut the number of species ('kinds') in half, the average volume for each creature is about the size of a styrofoam-fucking-cup.

DO YOU REALIZE YOU ARE TALKING OUT OF YOUR ASS?!? WAKE THE FUCK UP!!

Theerasak Photha said...

Theerasak Photha,
What university taught you that the use of the word "fuck" will make people take you seriously?


Use of a peculiar Scots Gaelic word for intercourse detracts IN NO WAY from what I said. Tell me exactly WHAT is so horrible about that word and I'll stop using it.

"ipython sez that isinstance(whale, Fish) just evaluated to False. Further examination revealed that whales are members of the Mammal class."

I'm not sure what you are trying to say to me?
Are you saying that God should have put a couple of whales on the ark, because you just figured out that they are mammals? Or you didn't understand that God gave the job of naming all the animals to people, and you thought that was God's job?


What I said had nothing to do with the ark, and everything to do with this:

Jonah 1:17: "Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah."

Matthew 12:40: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly."

Which was it?

Because we all know that the orchid has a much smaller seed....but the orchid is not grown in a field or a garden nor does it grow to become so large like a mustard plant.

Oh, really? OH, REALLY?

Mustard shrubs aren't 'trees', BTW.

With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

Sez who?

Theerasak Photha said...

(Most fish after even slight upsets in the salt concentration, so he'd just have to bring them as well.)

The word, you may have already inferred, was 'die'. Buy a tetra or some other popular freshwater fish and see for yourself. Most fish are extremely fragile creatures.

Theerasak Photha said...

And just think of the logistics: food, water, refuse management, und so weiter.

Theerasak Photha said...

An animal that is sitting all day in an ark does not need to eat as much as one that is running around all day trying to find a meal. Kent Hovind thinks that most of the animals might have been very young and smaller or babies.

Mammalian babies or small adults, regardless of the (total lack of) evidence for either claim, have ridiculously high base metabolic rates, when compared to some of their peers. Are you seriously suggesting there was enough room for them and all the foodstuffs to furnish this insatiable hunger?

Honestly---where are you getting this shit from? It boggles the mind.

Theerasak Photha said...

Consider also that slave ships, which created conditions that would be practically necessary on a hypothetical ark, had mortality rates up to and including 50%.

Theerasak Photha said...

Have I ripped up the bullshit ark story enough yet, or should I keep going?

Sable Chicken said...

Theerasak Photha said...
"Believing that we came from a chemical soup might hurt your feelings, make you feel insignificant. I don't care. It makes me hurt, too, but you don't see me complaining about it. I am insignificant in the scheme of things, and so are you. Regardless, appeals to pathos cannot prevail over logic and reason, because NOBODY GIVES A SHIT."

I happen to care, I don't reject the theory of Evolution because it makes me feel insignificant, I reject it because it doesn't appeal to logic or reason. It leaves me completely unsatisfied as a good explaination for life.

You act like you really understand the Theory that Kent Hovind is talking about so that you can prove him wrong, than you show your true colors with the word "species" ...come on now, I can't spoon feed you everything Theerasak Photha.

"The word, you may have already inferred, was 'die'. Buy a tetra or some other popular freshwater fish and see for yourself. Most fish are extremely fragile creatures."
Why don't you try explaining to me how these fragile creatures, evolved if they can't handle a little more water?

"Mustard shrubs aren't 'trees', BTW."
Really? That's most likely why Jesus said, " Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade." (what trees are you talking about?)

Matthew 12:40 (NIV)
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (what whale are you talking about?)


With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

Sez who?....Hello....sez his disciples, that would be someone that loves the Lord and wanted to understand.


"DO YOU REALIZE YOU ARE TALKING OUT OF YOUR ASS?!? WAKE THE FUCK UP!!

ok, lets use your "drunken" logic on this one. People can't talk with their ass, so why do you think I can? "WAKE THE F#@K UP" I am awake that is why I am typing this, because if I was a sleep...well I would be doing some thing more useful with my time.

As far as the word "fuck", I don't think you even know where it comes from or what it means. Or it's effect it has when it's used or how it makes you sound.

For
Unlawful
Carnal
Knowledge

At one time people were put in stockades and they put those words on a sign next to these people as punishment and put them out in front of the whole town. The sign painters had to make so many of these signs, saying "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" that they just decided to shortin it to "F.U.C.K."

Have a nice day.
;)

Theerasak Photha said...

I happen to care, I don't reject the theory of Evolution because it makes me feel insignificant, I reject it because it doesn't appeal to logic or reason. It leaves me completely unsatisfied as a good explaination for life.

Good, because science is not there to explain your life for you. The endless catalogue of bestial atrocities, often committed for religion, that I see parade through the newspaper on a daily basis, make me believe there is no purpose to life.

You act like you really understand the Theory that Kent Hovind is talking about so that you can prove him wrong, than you show your true colors with the word "species" ...come on now, I can't spoon feed you everything Theerasak Photha.

'Species' is a well-defined word whereas 'kind' is not. One of us has got it ass-backwards and it isn't me. Yeah, well, shame on me for using clear terminology based on factual data. I guess I can't spoon feed you basic, fundamental science either, and it shows.

The cretinists say evolution is just a theory. Well that's true; the BEST you can do in Western science IS a theory, demonstrating their total lack of understanding. 'Proof' is only for alcohol and mathematics. Kent Hovind's unfounded rubbish isn't even a theory. It's just baseless bullshit built on speculation, estimates, and sheer dogmata.

So let's give you the benefit of the doubt again and say the number of kinds is only 150,000---no, better, yet, we'll use KENT HOVIND'S OWN FIGURE:

"Americas leading systematic taxonomists list the number of species to be 3,500 mammals, 8,600 birds, 5,500 reptiles and amphibians, and 25,500 worms"

(Insects anyone? WTF?)

A total of 43,100. This itself is an outrageous lie, but since you take stock in outrageous lies, I'll go with it JUST for the sake of argument. This leaves a volume of a little over a cubic meter for each animal, cheek to jowl, not even taking into account the tremendous amounts of food, freshwater, saltwater (remember: fish would need to come on board, too), the ship infrastructure itself, and the massive amounts of shit that would quickly fill up and sink the boat. All I'm saying is maybe you'd better revise that young adult 'theory'.

And even then, that little cubic meter is still not enough. Animals and peoples die massively in such conditions; just Google the term "slave ship".

Why don't you try explaining to me how these fragile creatures, evolved if they can't handle a little more water?

GRADUAL change over a long time. IIRC, some fish, during their lives, can actually be adapted to changes in salt concentration, but ONLY if it is done in small increments. A man can develop tolerance to arsenic in the same way. NOTHING like the sudden deluge cretinists talk about.

Matthew 12:40 (NIV)
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (what whale are you talking about?)


My translation, KJV, disagrees. Could it be that the Bible has errors and inaccuracies?

"Mustard shrubs aren't 'trees', BTW."
Really? That's most likely why Jesus said, " Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade." (what trees are you talking about?)


The verse implies that mustard is a tree and many Christians have believed so since then. In any case, orchids plants can grow larger than mustard, and grow in gardens as well. Didn't you look at those links I posted? Shot yourself in the foot.

Sez who?....Hello....sez his disciples, that would be someone that loves the Lord and wanted to understand.

Who died and made them King?

ok, lets use your "drunken" logic on this one. People can't talk with their ass, so why do you think I can? "WAKE THE F#@K UP" I am awake that is why I am typing this, because if I was a sleep...well I would be doing some thing more useful with my time.

It's a figure of speech. Just like Jesus' mustard shrub bullshit.

You're straining at gnats.

As far as the word "fuck", I don't think you even know where it comes from or what it means. Or it's effect it has when it's used or how it makes you sound.

Yes I do; it comes the Scots Gaelic word 'fukkit'. Sample use:

"His bony beird was kemmit and croppit,
Bot all with cale it was bedroppit,
And he wes townysche, peirt, and gukit;
He clappit fast, he kist and chukkit,
As with the glaikis he wer ouirgane;
Yit he his feirris he wald have fukkit..."

The various F.U.C.K. acronyms (like Fornication Under Consent of King) are all a bunch of cock and bull stories, which perfectly explains your affinity towards them.

Just face it: you don't know your shit. YOU JUST DON'T KNOW YOUR SHIT. Stop embarrassing yourself and troll somewhere else.

Tommy said...

Wow, I go to be and when I check here again in the morning a flame war has broken out.

I only have a minute before I get back to work but feel I need to lay down some ground rules here.

Please refrain from unnecessary profanity. All are welcome to post here as long as they are civil towards everyone else. I understand the passion that arguments like this can generate, but keep in mind that we are more than the sum of our opinions about politics and religion.

So, by all means, fire away at each other, but please keep it clean. Play nicely in my playground.

Thank you. Oh, and congratulations are in order. My first post to generate 30 comments. Ooh rah!

Sable Chicken said...

Thank you Tommy for laying down the law....we need it.

Sable Chicken said...

Tommy,
Hank Hanegraaff has an interview with Jay W. Richards. He is the author of

"The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe"

11/14/2006 - Tuesday

I hope that you are able to hear this one, I have the DVD and I am thinking about getting another one, because I am always lending it out. This is about how our planet is in the perfect placement in the universe for life. The video has very little "God talk" in it. And it is nicely made, what an education just watching it. I even got my atheist husband to watch it. He had this nutty idea that we might have come from alians. It took him 2 weeks (because he's really stubborn) But he has to admit now, that we have the only planet with life on it. It is hard to deny it once you have learned about what is now known about our universe.
I hope you can hear the interview.

http://www.oneplace.com/Ministries/bible_answer_man/Archives.asp

Tommy said...

You're husband's an atheist Sable? For real? And none of his good sense has rubbed off on you yet? ;-)

When I was in my preteens I believed in extraterrestrials, especially after seeing 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' when I was 8 or 9. I used to look at the sky at night to see if I could see UFO's, and sometimes I swear I saw some.

Nowadays though I am as much a skeptic about extraterrestrials as I am about the Bible. I do believe that in this vast universe there is life on other planets, running the gamut from microbes to beings possibly more advanced than us. Likr Jofie Foster's character said in 'Contact', "If it's just us, then it seems like an awful waste of space." But I do not believe that any beings from outer space have visited the Earth. If they had the technology to do that, they would have conquered us by now. It would probably be something similar to when Cortez met the Aztecs.

And even if they were not inclined to conquer us (being on a higher moral plane than we are) I doubt they would travel all this way here just to make crop circles, slaughter cattle, and anally probe humans.

Look at it this way Sable. If you lived in the 15th century and someone told you that there were still vast continents of land filled with millions of people, you would probably scoff at the idea. But unknown to the people of Europe at the time, the continents of North and South America were unknown and were inhabitated by tens of millions of people. The universe is so incredibly vast that it is highly unlikely that our planet is the only planet that contains life.

Even in our own solar system, Jupiter's moon Europa, which is encased in ice but which appears to have liquid water below the ice, is considered to be the nearest body to us that could potentially have life. The discovery of organisms living around the thermal vents at the bottom of our oceans suggests the possibility of life that might be on Europa. But it could be another century before we can send probes to penetrate Europa's ice cover and plumb the depths of its oceans.

Sable Chicken said...

For real. I think his grandma dropping him off at a Catholic Sunday school ruined him for being open to any discussion about God.
;(

"The universe is so incredibly vast that it is highly unlikely that our planet is the only planet that contains life."
One would think that considering all the stars out there. But it's not like winning the lottery. It's like winning the lottery a million times in a row. Kind of makes one stop and think....how did we get so lucky?

Theerasak Photha said...

I see that my ark calculations remain unchallenged.

Theerasak Photha said...

One would think that considering all the stars out there. But it's not like winning the lottery. It's like winning the lottery a million times in a row. Kind of makes one stop and think....how did we get so lucky?

It could be that the Solar System is a cesspool of inexpressible misfortune.

Tommy said...

Ugh, I meant like Jodie Foster's character said in 'Contact', "If it's just us, then it seems like an awful waste of space."

Theerasak Photha said...

Yes, but so is Earth.

Theerasak Photha said...

I do believe that in this vast universe there is life on other planets, running the gamut from microbes to beings possibly more advanced than us. Like Jodie Foster's character said in 'Contact', "If it's just us, then it seems like an awful waste of space." But I do not believe that any beings from outer space have visited the Earth.

Consider another possibility:

They may have visited, but promptly ran away in shock and horror, shielding the visual organs of their children as they fled back into the safe stainless steel confines of their ship.

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