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View Diary: Atheist Digest '10: Debunking Dogmas, Part I: Creationism (211 comments)

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  •  I was speaking about the "Old Testament" (2+ / 0-)
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    SciMathGuy, Joieau

    which is more than just the Torah.

    "That way lies disaster"--Baba Derenek

    by commonmass on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 09:58:39 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Of course. But the subject (3+ / 0-)

      was Genesis, not Isaiah.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 10:10:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I apologize for getting (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SciMathGuy, Joieau

        off-topic. Sorry.

        "That way lies disaster"--Baba Derenek

        by commonmass on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 10:12:26 AM PDT

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        •  My fault for getting (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SciMathGuy, commonmass

          too general at the last of that post. Took us both off-topic!

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 10:17:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  By the way, since we're being (2+ / 0-)
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          SciMathGuy, commonmass

          off-topic, I followed some papyrologists engaged in the Dead Sea Scrolls effort a few years ago, and was treated to some amazing archeological and paleographic findings that influence the directions of modern thought on all this.

          It's written that after Moses was ejected from Egypt - where he was as a prince no doubt highly educated and knew very well how to write in both current vernacular script and formal ritual script - he married the daughter of the high priest of Midian. Midian was the copper and turquoise mining region from which a lot of Egypt's wealth of metals and stones came from. The mines excavated date back to early in the first dynasties. More interesting, examples of a script developed by the peoples in that region who supplied the miners have been found - and are the most ancient extant examples of both writing itself (anywhere) and ancient Hebrew script (Sinaitic). Legend even has it that the Egyptian's Thoth - god of writing - carved a legend on an 'emerald' (more likely turquoise) from that region, suggesting a direct link between the development of writing in Sinai and its adoption and modifications in Egypt.

          So when Moses got the Hebrews from Egypt to his wife's territory in Sinai, there was already a Herbrew language (he no doubt by then spoke fluently) and script by which he could set about recording the Torah. No doubt he trained a guild of scribes to help in that endeavor, but it's kind of nifty to me that if the story is true - and I see no overwhelming reason for it not to be, at least in gist and in general - Moses really might have written the Torah. Start to finish.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 10:31:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, it is fairly conventional archeological (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            toilpress, Joieau

            consensus these days that the whole Exodus story is mythological.

            Jews were not in Egypt at the time of the Pharoahs and did not build the pyramids (which, in fact, weren't built by slaves at all). They did not travel through the desert for 4, 40 or 400 years.

            Judaism did not even exist until considerably later, and it evolved natively in Canaan from Canaanite sects.

            Nor was Jerusalem some mighty, noble city presiding over a powerful Judean empire. The whole David and Solomon bits are myth as well. Jerusalem was little more than a hovel at the time, utterly overshadowed by the (non-Judaic) kingdom of Israel to the North. Judea invented both the noble kings and the whole conquest of Canaan story in order to compete in an historical context and appear to be more than they were. The anachronistic references in the Exodus story alone are a tip-off.

            As the official state of Israel archeology website noted in 2003, the alleged "3,000th" anniversary of the founding of Judaism,

            There are still many differing opinions regarding the origin of the Bible, when it was written, and under what conditions; but it is fair to say that, outside fundamentalist circles, modern consensus suggests that the assembling and editing of the documents that were to constitute the Bible began in the seventh century BCE, some three centuries after David's time. (The earliest actual material in our possession, part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, dates to the second century BCE at the earliest).

            In particular, the account of Joshua's conquest of Canaan is inconsistent with the archaeological evidence. Cities supposedly conquered by Joshua in the 14th century bce were destroyed long before he came on the scene. Some, such as Ai and Arad, had been ruins for a 1000 years
            Around 1200 bce, semi-nomads from the desert fringes to the east and the south, possibly including Egypt, began to settle in the hill country of Canaan. A large proportion - probably a majority of this population - were refugees from the Canaanite city states, destroyed by the Egyptians in one of their periodic invasions. The conclusion is somewhat startling to Bible readers who know the Canaanites portrayed in the Bible as immoral idolaters: most of the Israelites were in fact formerly Canaanites. The story of Abraham's journey from Ur of the Chaldees, the Patriarchs, the Exodus, Sinai, and the conquest of Canaan, all these were apparently based on legends that the various elements brought with them from their countries of origin. The consolidation of the Israelites into a nation was not the result of wanderings in the desert and divine revelation, but came from the need to defend themselves against the Philistines, who settled in the Canaanite coastal plain more or less at the same time the Israelites were establishing themselves in the hills.

            Back in 1999, Ze'ev Herzog, a prominent archeologist from Tel Aviv University, wrote a cover story for the weekend magazine of the Ha-aretz daily newspaper, explaining the findings of Israel Finkelstein, chairman of the Archaeology Department at Tel Aviv University who, along with archaeology historian Neil Asher Silberman, later in 2001, published a book called The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Text.

            From Herzog's article:

            "The Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land [of Canaan] in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the twelve tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united kingdom of David and Solomon, described in the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom."

            Salon senior writer Laura Rosen noted in a review of the book that, according to the archologists,

            Jerusalem was essentially a cow town, not the glorious capital of an empire. These findings have been accepted by the majority of biblical scholars and archaeologists for years and even decades.

            The tales of the patriarchs -- Abraham, Isaac and Joseph among others -- were the first to go when biblical scholars found those passages rife with anachronisms and other inconsistencies. The story of Exodus, one of the most powerful epics of enslavement, courage and liberation in human history, also slipped from history to legend when archaeologists could no longer ignore the lack of corroborating contemporary Egyptian accounts and the absence of evidence of large encampments in the Sinai Peninsula ("the wilderness" where Moses brought the Israelites after leading them through the parted Red Sea).

            One of the best summaries of archeological findings debunking the stories of the Old Testament was published in Harper's Magazine in March 2002, written by Daniel Lazarre, titled:
            False Testament: Archaeology Refutes the Bible's Claim to History

            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 05:01:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There still exists dispute (0+ / 0-)

              based on some evidence that the Exodus occurred at the beginning of the transition from Middle to Late Kingdoms. I'm sure everybody's got their favorites, I'm emotionally invested in none of them.

              All I have said is that if such humans existed (no matter how glorified in mythologies) in such times as science once upon a time declared impossible (but now known to occasionally occur), the archetype of Moses could definitely have had the skill to effect all of that which came later. Just by codifying the annals and receiving 'The Law', because he could so such a thing when no one else could (or would, if they could).

              It's rather a heroic tale, moreso than a romance. We are never likely to discover enough 'proof' to satisfy everyone, and that's okay. Looks to me to be more like a game plan.

              I guess I'd primarily like to get across the fact that often atheistic stereotypes of their 'enemies' are applicable to a mere subset. The generalization is erroneous. That's okay too, because humans are prone to error.

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 05:57:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "atheistic stereotypes"? "enemies"? (1+ / 0-)
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                Talk about generalizations and prior assumptions.

                First of all, let's review factual data.

                Rieux was kind enough to link to a post of mine from 2009 that cranked the numbers and showed that

                over 82% of religious Americans believe in a personal god, including 9 out of 10 Christians.

                Second, can you please be specific in your stereotypes regarding alleged "atheistic stereotypes" about our alleged "enemies"?

                I am often accused here of attacking perceived enemies. And yet, I repeatedly post evidence of historic cooperation between theists and atheists in all major civil rights movements.

                For one recent example of many:


                That comment, which I recommend you read, as it provides an education not provided in our schools or history textbooks, concludes,

                It takes all of us to achieve change. Atheists are not the enemies of change.

                And that comment is just about US atheists.

                You might want to read up on Gora (Goparaju Ramachandra Rao), Gandhi's closest advisor, for one of thousands of examples of atheists in other nations who played critical roles in human political progress, increasing understanding, tolerance and coexistence.

                There are, in fact, over one billion atheists in the world, and we are one of the fastest growing categories around. And I know of no example of an atheist army currently waging war on a religious "enemy", nor atheist terrorists blowing theists up as a protest against religion, nor atheists seeking to pass laws limiting the freedoms of theists anywhere.

                A few of us occasionally write a book about our beliefs, among dozens of books we write about other things. A few of us might politely engage in a civil debate in a college forum, or post a YouTube video, or give a talk.

                In contrast, open atheism is literally a death sentence in many countries, and, here in the US, it is a guaranteed bar to elected office.

                Wow. We are on a rampage against "enemies" we've concocted from our "atheistic stereotypes", have we?

                Show me the evidence.

                Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 07:53:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You have clearly (0+ / 0-)

                  assigned me to a stereotype that exists in your own head and has nothing to do with me or anything I've said in this discussion. And because you have stereotyped me, you are apparently compelled to reinforce it with blatant rudeness that also has nothing to do with me or anything I've said in this discussion.

                  I am not at all sure exactly what your stereotype demands of me, but there is no question that you demand something. Care to spell that out so we can all understand what you're hoping to accomplish with all this bombastic gibberish?

                  Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                  by Joieau on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 08:57:50 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I responded to your comment (0+ / 0-)

                    I guess I'd primarily like to get across the fact that often atheistic stereotypes of their 'enemies' are applicable to a mere subset.

                    I responded directly to your reference to "atheistic stereotypes of their 'enemies'".

                    Are you unaware that you wrote that sentence?

                    I challenged you to be specific in that assertion, and I presented copious evidence suggesting that it may be an empty and gratuitous manifestation of your own prejudice. A straw man, in other words.

                    You apparently did not review the evidence, choosing instead to post more and more personally insulting comments devoid of substance.

                    because you have stereotyped me, you are apparently compelled to reinforce it with blatant rudeness that also has nothing to do with me or anything I've said in this discussion.

                    You posted the words I quoted above, did you not? I responded directly to the bit about "atheistic stereotypes of their 'enemies'". My response was no rude in the least. On the contrary, I patiently presented evidence to challenge your assertion.

                    You respond with vehemence, devoid of substance. That suggests that my challenge was actually well understood by you, and that you choose not to, or are unable, to respond substantively.

                    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 11:25:52 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Why am I not surprised? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Thank you Random for this invaluable piece of information. It even further reinforces the myth of Jesus, that it was fabricated /fashioned on the myth of Horus, to compete with existing pagan religions at the time.
              These were the same imaginative Jews who concocted the whole story of the embodied Messiah, just as they concocted the stories of the Exodus, Sinai, the Red Sea parting, etc.
              Logic wins each and every time.

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