Sound Deism Versus The Theory of Evolution

Evolutionism is now in its death-throes.  The primary or central feature of its theory-complex concerns an unfalsifiable dogma known as “the survival of the fittest.”

  1.  Survival of the Fittest

This moldy potato flops on several counts.

A.    its lack any formal, objective definition or standard.  What counts as “most fit” in one environment may either contribute nothing in another, or else even prove counterproductive.  The dynamic nature of varying environs show that different stressors acting on any given environment require different “advantaging features.”

B.     Counter-challenge: survival of the luckiest only, not the fittest.  Without any objective standard, the evolutionist cannot refute my countervailing (rival) proposition.

C.     Survival of the Fittest Seems False.  The weakest members of any society at any given time are its young.  It is impossible to explain the survival of the young without refuting the survival of the fittest, since the young are not such members and yet they survive.  Then there are hospitals, which prove that the fittest, or least fit, can change as when one heals.

D.     The Random factor versus survival of the fittest.   The more time that passes gives more time for natural disasters to destroy all life (the “Velikovskian Problem”) refuting the doctrine of survival of fittest — since comets do not care how fast one can run or what they are immune to — neither do tsunamis or earthquakes. The more time given, the more likely some seismic event or natural calamity could wipe out all life.  The geologists assure us that plenty of such episodic events dot the landscape of the geological past.

E.  Genetic Interdependence versus Survial of the Fittest.    Both “pleiotropy” and “pleiogeny” (two kinds of genetic interdependence) show that saving any “outward trait” (phenotype) will not necessarily preserve any particular gene sequence (genotype).  The one-to-one correspondence naively assumed by evolutionists — between genotype and phenotype — in the doctrine under consideration has long ago been rebutted by molecular biology.

F.   The Unscientific Character of the doctrine of the Survival of the Fittest.   The doctrine of “survival of the fittest” is not observable, (empirically) testable, (empirically) falsifiable, repeatable, measurable, quantifiable, nor is it subject to any other standard criterion for what usually counts as “science.”  It is a dogma and nothing more, showing the religious (unscientific but dogmatic) nature of evolutionary thought.

It was only the preaching of a lawyer (Thomas Henry Huxley) that rescued evolutionary thought from oblivion in the 19th century, after Richard Owen and the other scientists on his team refuted it systematically from the scientific evidence available at the time.

2.  Abiogenesis

A.  It is a form of a theory already discredited as bad science.    The Evolutionary trajectory cannot even get started. It has to make an appeal to spontaneous generation, a discredited view of (unscientific) beginnings.

B.   Abiogenesis versus Scientific Criteria.      Abiogenesis suffers from the same lack of criterological affirmation as the doctrine of the survival of the fittest — it meets no standard criterion for what usually counts as science among philosophers of science (e.g. observable, testable, falsifiable, etc).  This shows the religious (unscientific, but dogmatic) character of this feeble doctrine.

C.   Nothing in the Fossil Record either Suggests or Confirms this doctrine.  The Cambrian Explosion of life shows the entry point for fossils as one that are quite mature (advanced in structural and functional complexity, not primitive with transitional forms leading up to them).

D.  It is probable that this doctrine easily amounts to a miracle, given the unique character of this supposed event, and its complete lack of scientific criteriology.  It amounts to an impersonal (inanimate) miracle — miraculous event with a super-historical cause unknown to science.  This is just their complaint with an appeal to the Creatoras first Cause, which they do not mind here.

3.  Natural Selection

According to evolutionary thinking, nature selects the best specimens over time by applying pressures to different members, sorting out the best ones from the lesser specimens.  But all of this depends upon a mechanism that can PRESERVE and pass on what is selected (survival of the fittest), which is falsified above, rendering natural selection irrelevant, even if true.

Even if both doctrines were true, they would still face a real problem:  Time does not work in favor of the evolutionary hypothesis, but against it, since only one global catastrophe (or many small ones) could erase a billion years of evolutionary work in ten years or fewer.    Darwin has to be right every time.  Immanuel Velikovsky only has to be right once to win.

This is the problem of the open system, where the system is open to, let us say, volcanoes, earthquakes floods and space-junk from hell — volkswagon buses or very large rocks from outer space.   So adding more time to the evolutionary scale does not help.  It just gives Velikovsky more volkswagons to launch at Darwin.  Conversely, the fact that we actually ARE STILL HERE implies that Velikovsky has not had many opportunities to cancel the evolutionary labors; that is, the earth is more likely to be younger, rather than older, given our present existence (on the evolutionary “open system” scheme).

4.  The Fossil Record Actually Works Against Evolutionary Doctrine, Or else Nothing Could.

A.     “Cambrian Explosion of Life” Is Still An Insurmountable Problem for Evolutionists

But someone will say, an entry point in the fossil record is mandatory at some point, and this will seem to be an “explosion of life.”

B.  Protesting Too Much Shows the Religious Character of Evolutionary Doctrine

Rejoinder: If the Cambrian explosion of life does not count against evolutionism, and the lack of millions upon millions of transitional fossil forms (Darwin’s own falsification standard for his theory) does not count against it, and (as punctuationists point out) the fossil record contains systemic gaps all through the fossil record, and yet this does not count against evolutionism, how is it not protected from all possible counter-instances (held immune from revision just the way a fundamentalist denies all challenges to his Bible)???

C.  This Shows that Evolutionary Doctrine Lacks A Critical Virtue — Explanatory Power.   The reply of the evolutionist does nothing to explain WHY the Cambrian explosion shows up EXACTLY WHERE it does, and why it does not begin somewhere else.  It is the job of science to explain empricial circumstances, and of apologetics to “explain away” — which one is this?  Remember, the creationist outlook EXPECTS the Cambrian Explosion of Life — showing predictive power.

5.  Abiogenesis is not a scientific claim at all, but a dogma and system demand of evolutionary mythology.  Since it is not measurable, testable, repeatable, quantifiable, observable, verifiable or falsifiable (meets no standard criterion for what ordinarily counts as science), and since evolutionists exclude Creationism from the classroom on exactly this basis, it would also eliminate abiogenesis, and the doctrine of the survival of the fittest from the science classroom.

Since all forms of evolutionism depend upon these mythological dogmata, evolutionism should be regarded as of like kind.

Any attempt to obviate creationism in this manner does so also to the doctrine of abiogenesis; and any attempt to rescue abiogenesis “re-includes” creationism on the same grounds.

6. “Science” does not allow Creationism, since that is religion.”   This claim is actually false in many instances.  Aristotle and the 18th century deists were both creationists, but Aristotle is not taught as religion (but philosophy) despite his commitment to creationism.  The deists were more “Irreligious” (e.g. Voltaire) than religious — in many instances.

Moreover, since it is either the case that humans arrived on the historical scene by some form of design (creationism) or else it is not the case that we got here by design (some form of evolution obtains).  Since this is a legitimate disjunction, it follows that the elimination of the Creation theory on the ground that it represents religion (or any other philosophy reason so eliminating it as an option), leaves only one possibility — evolution would have to be considered true NECESSARILY in the science classroom — even before all evidentiary considerations.

Here, evolutionism is to be considered true with no evidence.   That cannot be science (since empirical evidence has no material bearing on the conclusion), and yet this view (according to the Overton decision) defines science.  It both defines and defies science.  Empirical considerations
are ordinarily thought in philosophy to render a claim true (when they do this) in a manner said to be “contingent,” (dependent upon circumstances that could have been other than what they are) not “necessary.”  The elimination of one of the terms of a disjunctive syllogism’s major premiss requires the other to follow from the force of logical necessity, apart from contingencies like the facts of the fossil record. Either A or else B.  NOT B, therefore necessarily A.  Either Evolutionism describes the truth or else Creationism does.  It is not the case that Creationism does, therefore, some form of evolutionary theory necessarily represents the truth.  

This shows that the removal of Creationism from the classroom on the grounds that it “necessarily” represents religion (which is false), leaves evolutionary views in precisely the same position as the one just excluded — namely, it is thought to be true APART from empirical considerations.

7.   Darwin wrote that he would regard his own theory as having been shown false if the fossil record did not yield “millions upon millions” of transitional fossil forms.  It never did, and this falsifies Darwin’s views.  Darwin was dead wrong and yet continues to be upheld as a hero in many (if not most textbooks), unlike Lamarck and Lysenko.

But one could wonder why the Neo-Darwinians and Punctuationists both reject this criterion for their own theories. Surely, if there had been such fossil finds, it would have proved Darwin correct — the power of predictive power, yes?  Scientists have not replaced Darwin’s falsification criterion with one of their own.

This renders both Neo-Darwinism and Punctuationism unfalsifiable, and therefore (Popper, 1961) non-scientific (Which brings us back to the Overton challenge to creationism as “nonscience” in reverse, and aimed at Darwin’s legacy instead.  What empirical situation or countervailing instance could refute gradualism or punctuationism?  Given their dogmatic and hasty rejection of creationism per se (probably from a somewhat warranted fear of biblicists on the rampage), if evolutionism failed, they would be left with nihilism, or nothing to say on the topic, amounting to a crass and wholesale agnosticism.

This is, I believe, just the problem arising from a knee-jerk reaction against creationism.  While philosophical deism led the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution (not hallowed atheism)] Jehovah’s Witnesses gave us the end of the world and moderately wacky apocalyptic movements.  The Overton view does not seem to distinguish between these widely variant forms of creationism, each having material consequences quite at odds one with another.  Namely, the one is culturally engaged and transformative (very optimistic and, as it were, “pro-science”), while the other seeks a kind of gnostic escape from the world.

8.  Evolutionists Misapply the 2d Law of Thermodynamics to Both Open and Closed Systems

The “Scientific Creationists” have challenged, leaning to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, that what we observe (entropic increase over time = stuff breaks down and SH&T falls apart)  universally seems to contradict the upward swing in “Complexification” (Chardin’s phrase) required by evolutionary theory over time.  Evolutionists rejoin that the rule cited applies to “real, closed systems,” not necessarily open ones.

But then the heat death stipulated by evolutionists, scheduled for millions of years down the road, however, cleverly repents and recants just in time to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, applying (as did the Scientific Creationist moments earlier) entropic diffusion to the whole cosmos.  Who — should we say — got crucified now?  Ouch.

9.  Evolutionary theory absolutely fails the test of explanatory power when it comes to the origin of the first human language.  Noam Chomsky first pointed out that an empirically adductive approach to the development of the first language was simply not possible.  Languages are complex systems, with interdependent parts and prior rules of syntax, grammar and morphology to which one cannot point and offer a name for each while seated about a campfire with the other tribal elders.

Here, one simply cannot index his way to systemic victory — pointing into the air and mumbling “principle of linguistic substitution,”  with the other grey-heads nodding and repeating the phrase in unison.  Evolutionism does nothing to account for the rise of the first language.

10.  The Observability Criterion Constantly Works Against Evolutionary Theory

a.  Evolutionists seem not to notice that at every point where one might invoke observation as a criterion for judging the question of soundness of their pet theory, they have to dodge its conlcusions, or explain them away.

The process of evolution is said to transpire so slowly that it cannot be observed.  But this claim would have a ready explanation if creationism were true — evolution transpires so slowly that its rate is best described as absolute zer0  (It is even slower than the evolutionist thinks).  Survival of the Fittest describes a doctrine whose truth cannot be observed.  Abiogenesis cannot be observed, and have left no visible trace in the fossil record.  At every point, we are asked to believe by faith, without sight — just as with religious claims (though for various reasons).  We are even told to go against excellent observable evidence sometimes.

The 2d Law of Thermodynamics does in fact seem to show UNIVERSAL visible evidence against the idea of an increase in structural, functional complexity by natural processes.  Here, we are told we MUST IGNORE ALL OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE and GO AGAINST IT, since it only applies to closed systems.  But the point remains, we are to IGNORE ALL OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE!!!

11.  Mutations Seem a Dismal Choice for the Mechanism to Cause the Improvement of a Species Over Time

A.  This has less hope than challenge that the recycling efforts of severe car accidents have in fact created the auto industry.

B. Somewhere someone has estimated that about only 1 in 10 thousand mutations turn out to be beneficial.  But this fact is blunted by several other considerations —

  1. Beneficial in one environment is not necessarily beneficial in another.  Environments can change over time, rendering what was earlier helpful now counterproductive.
  2. Genetic Drift.   A mutation gained in one generation can be lost in the next, since no mechanism exists to preserve the beneficial mutation.
  3. Complex Stressors Can Defeat “Good Mutations.”   If a deer is both immune to some disease, and is the fastest member of its group, but cannot outrun a predator that happens upon it just when it has to fight off a disease (rendering it sluggish and less mobile than usual), then it would be doomed even if it has both good traits, since it cannot manage both stressors simultaneously, but could manage each one independently of the other.   Naive evolutionary theory does not take into account the complex nature of real-life situations.  The textbook cases of “beneficial mutations” only tackle stressors one at a time.

In summary then, the doctrines of the evolutionists:

  1. Often Contradict Themselves
  2. Turn out to be Unscientific and Quite Religious
  3. Go Directly Against Good Evidence — like the Cambrian Explosion or the Universal Character of the Influence of the 2d Law of Thermodynamics
  4. Are based on No Evidence  (Abiogenesis; Survival of the Fittest)
  5. Have Significant Conceptual Problems  (What is “the Fittest”??)
  6. Seem Discredited  (Abiogenesis looks just like Spontaneous Geneneration by another Name)
  7. Do not admit defeat even when other evolutionists point it out  (Stephen J. Gould and other have repeatedly pointed out that the Fossil record is utterly incapable of sustaining any form of gradualistic evolutionary theory.  This would include the dominant paradigm dubbed “Neo-darwinism.  Gould is simply correct, but N-d’s will not concede the point.).

Either some form of creationism is true (We are here by design), or else some form of evolutionism is true (it is not the case that we are here by design);  it is not the case that some form of evolutionism is true; therefore some form of Creationism must be true.

I regard it such that I have already proven that it is not the biblical kind of Creationism.

Notes on Egypt, the Hebrew Scriptures and the Patriarchs

From my earlier posts, it would not be difficult to guess my doubt regarding the historicity of the patriarchs named in the biblical record Noah (there was no worldwide flood, but rather as the geologists are wont to tell us the mountains once sat beneath the oceans and emerged therefrom by tectonic activity to form the mountain ranges), Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses.

But to help grasp the way that I view the actual development of how the Hebrew Scriptures (and eventually their Christian counterpart) came to be, I would like to take a moment to back up into Egyptian history of their glyphic language.  The glyphs that form the earlier Egyptian language are pictograms, where each glyph conveys an idea (ideograms) rather than sounds or “phonemes.”

When I realized that there was indeed an Egyptian glyph existing prior to the Hebrew Scriptures for “the Word of God,” and that many of the ideograms (glyphs) of the Egyptians showed up in the biblical record translated into specialized phrases each with its own meaning (Like the Hebrew idioms of the Proverbs), it began to dawn on me that the Egyptian gallery of glyphs actually engineered the Old Testament.

This makes sense if the Hebrews actually did spend some time in Egypt (a claim for which there is currently no real evidence), but not as foreigners kidnapped and enslaved by some Pharaonic mischief, but rather as native Egyptians (the poor class) put to excessive labors who rebelled and then left Egypt, forming their own new identity as former Egyptians turned desert nomads at the first and then Hebrews after adopting new cultural features along the way over the next two centuries or so.

This would also serve to explain why the scriptural memory has Solomon clinging to all things Egyptian, including the proverbs themselves, which tradition seems to have begun with an Egyptian named Im-Hotep, at least in the Mediterranean region.  Thus, the patriarchal narratives were later constructed as a prefix to the “Miraculous Exodus” account and tradition, which after they left, came to explain the Hebrew identity (retrofitted as leaving Egypt by a series of divine miracles).  But these were originally constructed in the manner of thinking (glyphic-arranged narrative, translated later into idioms (specialized phrases of unique meaning, e.g. the “open hand” means charity or generosity to the poor) of the Hebrew tongue, since the 2d commandment forbids these images.

This glyphic backdrop permeates the thought-forms of both Testaments, and it became a kind of hallmark of Semitic writing.  It seems to create the false impression of real or historical description because of its orderliness,  simplicity (Ockham’s razor friendly) and empirical-access language (many concrete references to the physical world, easily grasped by the five senses).   This would make the narrative very persuasive of its truthfulness even when it represents mythology and legend only.

This is how I believe the “meta-mythology” called the Bible came to be so popular and generally accepted as accurate, even where no evidence supports its spurious claims, such as with the generally-assumed (probable) historical existence of the patriarchs (Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses), which I hold to be nothing other than pious fiction.

In any case, if the reader bears in mind this theory of the Egyptian-glyphic construction of the biblical record, it becomes far easier to orient the readers’ outlook to understand this blog’s skepticism toward all things biblical.

Challenging the Historicity of Solomon (and David)

If you wanted to make an excellent case that the solomonic narratives of 1 Chronicles 1 -11, and 2 kings 1 – 10 amounted to nothing more than legend and myth, what would it look like?  I would suggest noting the following points for an auspicious beginning:

  1. The Torah requires that the king of Israel read out of the law daily in order to ensure his just judgement over the kingdom and to keep him from wandering into other (forbidden) religions.
  2. Neither Solomon, nor any other king in the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles and 1 and 2 Kings ever does this.  Not one king is said to have read out of the law daily, or is pictured doing this.  There are references throughout Psalm 119 to the Psalmist “meditating on God’s law,” but the narratives do not ever recount this happening — of any king in Israel, EVER.
  3.  Instead of treating the Torah (first 5 books of the OT Bible) as his wisdom (as Deuteronomy 5.4-8 requires), Solomon created some 3000 proverbs to replace this wisdom with something better.  The problem is that the something better treats all nations equally.  For instance, “When the sin of the land is great, its princes are many,” or “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin disgraces any people.”  Here, there is no holy land (Israel), that singles out one nation as chosen or covenantally different, but all nations incur just the same standard, since “differing weights, and differing measures, both alike are an abomination to the Lord.”

Problem: The point of Solomon’s temple-building and praying is that Israel is where God dwells, making this land special and chosen — according to the “wisdom of the Torah,” which is denied by the “wisdom of the (above) Proverbs.”

The plot thickeneth brethren.  According to 2 Chr. 1-3, David’s last advice to Solomon was to lean to the wisdom that God gave him.  But we do not know whether this refers to that of the Torah (which Solomon does not read), that of the Proverbs, or that which is from neither, but is displayed in the wisdom of deciding whose son a child should be when the two mothers (harlots) dispute the point — a verdict that made Solomon famous in Israel and showed that the Lord was with him — but this wisdom was neither from the Proverbs nor the Torah.  Perhaps this is the heavenly wisdom to which King David appealed, received by Solomon from on high by a dream and a petition for wisdom.

The point bogs down even further. We are told that Solomon “turned not away from the ways of his father David, neither to the right nor to the left.”  This is in fact later how the good kings of Israel are measured, and they are said in the kings-chronicles narratives to “have walked after the ways of their father, David,” if good kings, but after the way of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, if an evil king by way of summarizing their kingship at the end of each.

Thus far, then, we have 5 different standards of wisdom suggested in the confused narratives —

  1. Torah
  2. Proverbs
  3. Solomon’s heavenly wisdom
  4. King David’s life as model
  5. Do what the prophets command

King David told Solomon to follow #3 above, but not #’s 4, 2, or 1.  #5 is implied by Torah — follow what the prophets (or God or angels) tell you to do in the name of YHWH.  A man of God failed to do this in the book called “Judges,” and unfortunately was torn to pieces by a lion in the streets.

Each of these can be shown to be incompatible with the others, since each seems to render the others unnecessary, redundant and trivial.

Point #2 against the historicity of Solomon.  Given the biblical narrative, Solomon was not at all like David, and did not walk in his ways, except in a few matters like singing Psalms.  Here is a brief list of differences:

a.  Solomon loved all things Egypt — he married his first wife, the Pharaoh’s daughter, not a Jewish woman, a Gentile.  The proverbs first appear in the ancient world by an Egyptian named “Im-Hotep,” so even the Proverbs are Egyptian in format.  He bought Egyptian horses and chariots (wholesale), and manufactured goods, and sold them locally at a good mark-up (buy low, sell high).

It is fair to say, that under Solomon’s rule, the good land (or holy land) was Egypt, not Israel. This contradicts his building of the Temple (God’s house) in Israel since God dwelling in Israel (according to the Torah) makes it holy.  But this would make the Jewish woman holy for marriage, while Solomon chose an Egyptian. And Israel was no “good land,” but was poverty-stricken with no gold; so Solomon had to leave it for Ophir to mine huge amounts of gold and import it to Israel — since it was flat broke without the import.  Solomon also imported all the cedar from Lebanon for his palace, temple and other buildings.  Israel could supply almost none of the required construction materials.

b. Saul had slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands. And the Psalms say (presumably by david) “You train my hands for war.”   Solomon was no warrior at all, but a sage-king.  David seems to have been prevented from building the Temple because of this training, making him “a man of much blood,” where Solomon was not.

David built no Temple, while Solomon built his palace, the temple complex (dedicated the Temple) and built up much in Israel, according to the k-c narratives.

David had a few wives, and Solomon was slain by a thousand.  David was a national patriot and Solomon an international phenomenon.  David did no mining, or importing of fine manufactured goods from Egypt or anywhere else. David acquired wisdom by trial and tribulation; Solomon did so by prayer and dreams. David was persecuted relentlessly; Solomon was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

David slew the seven nations around him; Solomon enslaved them and put them to the tribute (and then did so to the 12 tribes, each working for 1 month a year to pay for the needs of the Palace and Temple. This hardly seems wise in either case.

Historicity challenge #3 — The Temple Dedication is attended by “Firefall” at the sacrifice of Solomon in 1 Chronicles, but not in the “synoptic”  (to be read alongside of) kings narrative. This confuses the genre of kings for that of the prophets.  Elijah the prophet becomes famous in Israel when two times fire falls from the sky on a military contingent sent from Jezebel to arrest and kill the prophet — and he threatens the firefall again, only to have the commander capitulate to his will (No one wants to be barbecued).

The firefall phenomenon is extremely rare even for prophets, and never happens for any king, ever — making this one exception novel, showing a misplaced theme.  This is why the synoptic-narrative counterpart does not have this feature of the temple dedication.  Nothing like this was ever said to have attended king David.

David was born a shepherd from a poor family; Solomon was raised as a prince.  David consults the priestly “lot;” Solomon never did.  He did not need the lot since he had “Wisdom” — again,  see the conflict in the norms shown above.  David played music on stringed instruments, especially the harp. Solomon never did.  Solomon instead had an entourage of musicians (a fairly extensive rock band like Nebuchadrezzar’s in the Book of Daniel), with their names listed in the Chronicles narrative.

David kept “the Big 3” strictures for kings — do not multiply riches to yourself, wives or horses and chariots (war machines).  Solomon violated all three according to the narratives. Neither one built anything like a school system or college or way of teaching wisdom to all Israel.  They were left uneducated by both.

In many other ways, it would prove easy enough to show that it would have been a better claim to say that Solomon followed his heavenly wisdom and did not imitate David than that he walked in the ways of his father David in everything, not turning to the right or to the left.  This would be obviously not true even IF the narrative were historical.

#4 — neither David nor Solomon proved particularly wise.

Solomon was said to have slaughtered over 22,000 animals at the temple dedication, while the proverbs say that “a righteous man cares for the needs of his animal,” and the Torah bids “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain” (i.e. do not abuse animals).  Solomon wrote that “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown.”  Note that one crown only fits on the head; here, it is “a wife,” not a thousand of them. “Wisdom is found in the counsel of the multitude,” and yet neither David nor Solomon built anything like a library (see Alexandria’s library in the ancient world), nor a hall of records like that of the Medo -Persians (See Esther 10), nor any kind of proto-university.  They left Israel uneducated.

By the end of his ministry, Solomon had run out of funds — he neither retained nor caused the growth of the gold and other wealth he imported, but lost all of it, since he had to put the 12 tribes of Israel to tribute to pay for the upkeep of the Palace and Temple, with each tribe serving to provide them for 1 month each year for each of the 12 tribes.  This shows that for all his strip-mining efforts, Solomon had no idea how to manage money well.  “The wealth of the wise is their crown,” and Solomon had no wealth at the end.  Then his kingdom split in half and never recovered.

Neither David nor Solomon seemed to know anything about investing over the long term. How wise could they be?  I would argue that they had very little wisdom compared to Wall Street (or the Journal).

Was Solomon historical? Most probably not.  The contradictions in the narratives, the lack of practical wisdom we see in the ministry of Solomon — both political (doomed kingdom) and economic (ends in poverty and provides no education for his kingdom) show that his real (and somewhat severe) cognitive limits would have been about the same as those of the ancient world of the rabbinical tradition that constructed those narratives.

This is what we would expect if the narratives were from the ancient imagination.

With the exception of a few historical actors (like Hezekiah in the account of Sennacherib found on the clay prism that bears his name), very few characters of the OT actually have any real claim to existence. If Abram existed, he was not a wandering Aramaean from Ur of the Chaldeans, but rather a wandering Sumerian, from Ur of Sumeria, home of the poet-priestess Enheduanna who lived in a culture with Proverbs (used to teach children, “my son”) and Psalms (well, “Hymns to Inanna” with the same range of emotive expression as the Psalms, sometimes called “Hymns” in their superscriptions).

The OT looks to be about 95%+ fiction, somewhere near that of the NT.  My favorite NT claim is the repeated “eyewitness testimony” claim that Evangelicals harp on, that could never have happened according to Luke, since by him we learn that from noon (6th hour) to the (9th hour) 3 pm — “darkness fell over the land.”  This miracle, not noticed by Matthew and Mark, would have prevented the possibility of any eyewitnesses.  Matthew and Mark assume their eyewitness testimony is valid just BECAUSE they do not include the “darkness at high noon” story.

Here is what Luke 23 actually says:

 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e] When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened (seeing in the dark is a Roman custom), praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight SAW (for these were Good Romans) what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things (in the dark of high noon, for the Jewish began to be seduced by Roman customs).  Ahem. Something wrong with this picture?

Another Christian Fiction: Ignatius of Antioch, Syrian Bishop Who Knew No Aramaic

Ignatius of Antioch names a putative bishop of Syria who was supposedly martyred by Rome, and famously left a dramatic series of 7 letters detailing his thoughts and hopes (and Christology) along the way, sending each to a different party — 6 to churches and one to a disciple named Polycarp.  Supposedly these letters date from about 110 and lend credibility to the rise of early Christianity and its developments (e.g. the rise of the monarchic episcopacy). But all this assumes that this bishop actually existed when there is good evidence for doubting this.

That is, just as there are such reasons for doubting the historical existence of Jesus and the apostles, so there are in fact good reasons to doubt the existence of Ignatius.  Let us review a few of these. First, as wikipedia notes, the scholar most reknowned for the study of the 7 ignatian letters considered every one of them spurious (that is, fictitious, and from the third century, not from 110).  Wiki notes:

“Writing in 1886, Dr. William P. Killen regarded all the Ignatian epistles, beginning with that to the Romans, as having been pseudepigraphically composed in the early 3rd century. His reasons included their episcopal emphasis, which is otherwise unknown before the reign of Callistus, the Bishop of Rome around 220.”

Other good reasons to doubt the existence of Ignatius include the fact that he has precisely 7, not 4 or 9 letters sent, just as detailed by the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation — itself produced nascently around the year 110, the supposed (spurious) time frame for the Ignatian letters.  There was in fact no real persecution of the Christians during this time, and the later Carthaginian attorney and advocate for the christians against Roman persecution in 210  (Q.S.F. Tertullianus) can name two slave girls as important martyrs for the Christian faith, but he has never heard of either Ignatius of Justin “Martyr.”

If the well-educated Tertullian had not heard of the great martyr Ignatius in 210 (The year of his Apology, there probably was no such great martyr, nor any Justin by that surname either (supposedly around 145). Tertullian makes fun of a verdict regarding Christians allegedly issued by the Roman emperor Trajan in a letter received by one Pliny the Elder often dated around 110.

Tertullian knows of the verdict, which he dubs “O confused sentence, O sleepy postal service …,” but he knows nothing of any persecution of Christians from this time.  Obviously, if the imperial policy regarding Christians had been set in 110, then no martyrdom of Christians could have taken place based upon it until much later, and thus later letters of Christians unanimously omit any reference to a martyrdom from this time, to that of Ignatius or any others.

The first real persecution of note — Rome vs the Christians — took place under Commodus (or else Caracalla) after 180.  Ignatius’ supposed martyrdom, and those of Justin and Polycarp simply come way too early, and show the work of later revisionism that lacks any good historical sensibilities about the earlier empire and its actual attitude and policies aimed at the Christian people.

Did Ignatius write the seven letters? Evidence suggests that he did not.  This bishop would have been well familiar with a form of Aramaic from the east, named in fact after Syria, simply called “Syriac.” His primary missionary audience would have been diaspora Jews, or Jewish people who worshipped in synagogues and lived outside of Israel.  These made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Temple at least 3 times each year for what they would have called the Holidays.  According to Luke in Acts 1.18-19, the primary tongue spoken in Jerusalem was at the time “Aramaic,” the language from which the “Field of Blood” was named “Akel Dama.”

Here is the problem — Ignatius’s seven letters do not display either any form of thought-construction we could call “Semitic” or “Aramaic,” and in fact they read like the work of someone familiar with Roman language conventions, not Semitic idioms and thought-arrangements (like the Bible’s peculiar way of speaking or reading).  In other words, Ignatian Greek is Roman Greek, not Jewish Greek.  This would not have been the case if an actual Syrian Bishop who lived and preached among diaspora (Syriac familiar) Jews had written these letters.  “Evangela” names a dialect of Syriac commonly in use still by the year 140.  There is simply no way to place the Ignatian letters earlier than 150 if their provenance of origin must be Syria.  It was doubtless Rome, not Syria, and probably not before Tertuallian’s apology.

This makes the work a dramatic work of fiction, espousing the glory of martyrdom (at about the time of Caracalla or later) retrofitted to a much earlier time — just like the Gospels and Acts themselves.

One of the more amazing of the features of the early Patristic literature is just how many of the later authors seem unaware of the earlier ones.  For instance, none of the epistles in the NT refers to the universal epistle (supposedly) sent out from the first Church Council at Jerusalem to all the Christian Churches in Acts 15.  In fact, not only has no one ever found this letter, but the later patristic authors never mention it, and seem never to have heard of it.

 

The Literary Fictions of the Older Testament in NT Perspective

The NT heroes can fairly well be shown to be grand fictions.  Yet one can easily draw great and many similarities between these and their Older Testamental counterparts.  Many NT bible commentaries do exactly that.  So much so is this the case that it should serve to cast grave doubts upon the alleged historicity of the villains and the valiant persons of the OT legends as well, at least for those of us satisfied of the fictitious character of the New Testament.

Moreover, we should always be mindful of the incredible evidentiary gaps in our actual knowledge about ancient Israel.  Almost no real evidence (hard facts) exists prior to the 8th century before Pontius Pilate for anything regarding the biblical record, including any supposed existence of any prophet, priest or king.  Evidence of this kind outside the biblical culture is also extremely scant.

What this means — and never forget this — is that at this juncture in the history of archaeology, any claim about any supposed event complex, person or groups of persons from the 9th century or earlier leave the biblical record 100% in the driver’s seat.  This assumes way too much for my part, given the great resemblance between the NT record and its Older Testamental counterpart.  This suggests that they are (as it were) equally legendary, and the principle of skepticism should therefore have the right-of- way.  And the scholarly disposition toward the Older Testamental record should remain so until real evidence intervenes to the contrary.

I shall attempt to expand upon this thema more at a later time.

Sophic Deism and the New (Far Easier To Learn Than Ever) Ancient Greek Language

Long Live the memory of F.C. Conybeare, or at the least, of Cambridge University.   What portendeth this strange greeting?   Well, we could start the introduction with the very important question, “What if you could invent just that language newest to the world that hugs the light of nature’s requirements more closely than any other tongue ever has, so that those who engage its use become highly successful and profitable in all that they do?”  Well, now you can.  Let me explain.

From the study of the ancient world, I observed that the most fruitful culture was the Hellenistic; and, of course, given my particular social theory (here oversimplified but accurate), that you can know a lingsuistic (or language-constructed) tree by its cultural fruit, we should comprise a language that combines the best elements of Alexandrian and Attic Greek of the scientists, inventors, historians, mathematicians and other scholars — to work with as the template for the new, powerfully wise Greek I here propose as “meta-Greek.”  These were Alexandrian Heros of old, men of Attic (even Polybian) reknown.

First let us consider the principle of economy.  How many letters do we need in our alphabet?  24 like the ancient Greeks?  26 as with English?  Nope.  Consider that the machine language that underlies everything computers do (like yield this blog post) only employs two symbols — just two.  If we consider that these are about the same as “letters” in an alphabet (we actually count zeros and ones as numbers, but its close enough for gubmint work).

Now, please note my second point that the divine language we call “DNA,” the one that our blessed Creator used to create humans as (minimally) extremely complex “systems of systems,” employs only 4 proteins that correspond in English to the four letters “G,C,T, A.”    Just 4 letters in your alphabet and you can create the animal kingdom and the world of machines and computers.  So how many do I propose? Exactly 10 letters — because the light of nature tells us to do everything in tens to do it most efficiently when it comes to our task of environmental management (not the one God was tackling when He created us).

These are the letters so far that I have eliminated from the Greek alphabet — omicron (‘o’) does the same thing as the “a,” so we do not need both — bye bye to “omicron.” I shortened the alphabet, whittling as I went, until I arrived at these letters — in their English counterpart:

A, D, E, K, L, M, N, P, S, W (w is a long O in Greek “omega”); If the council proposes a better set, I shall be happy enough to go with that, but this one is fairly close to a good template.   Other characteristics of this language include:

  1. Each letter has a numerical value and can be used for math — the values run 1 – 9, + 0.  Their math is base-sixty math, meaning that as you count up to 60, when you reach 59, the next number you encounter reads “100” and what would have been 61 in base ten math is in this math “101.”  And so 600 years (in today’s typical base 10) reads instead in this math as “1000.”
  2.  Neo-Greek does not have or use the passive voice, but only the active and middles voices.
  3. It has ONLY (limited by Ockham’s razor) about 60 thousand words (not more) — carefully controlled by an authorized dictionary held under the control of the world peace council elders — France does this sort of thing too, to maintain the higher quality of the language over time, which is a wise practice.
  4. It has only one aorist tense (past tense forms are two in the older Greek) — 2d aorist.
  5. It uses the same vocabulary as the best of the language use of the ancient Hellenistic Greeks, and its compound forms needed to keep pace with the best works in the world produced since (e.g. Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason or Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions) by way of what is called a “reversion text.”  This means you revert the present language back into its “Neo-Greek counterpart” by dynamic equivalence, and harvest for the new Greek dictionary those new technical words so required (by reversion) by the architects of literary excellence.
  6. The New tongue will employ no verbs of being (as shaved off by Ockham), since we can easily replace these with much more active and graphemic (picturesque to the mind’s eye) verbs in every instance, enchancing the tactile quality of the speech or text.
  7. The new tongue ablates the passive voice in favor of the active or middle voices only, for reasons just like those mentioned immediately above.
  8. As many verbs as possible will “regularize,” eliminating in ancient Greek for instance the “-MI” verbs in favor of their refashioning after the kind of their more regular counterparts. ” -mi” verbs in Greek are like the plural for cactus in English, requiring the oddball plural ending of “-ii,” as with the word “radius.”
  9. Next, we come to the problem of negation. Using the words of negation — no, not, never (i.e. “not ever” contracted), none, no longer (one word in Greek) performs tasks that seem in every case better managed by positive (sometimes inverse) affirmation.  Many words in English, just as in Greek, seem to render these unnecessary and therefore also Ockham-omitted.  It may end up that only most or half of the negating words prove redundant. All is well. We will still need to omit the unnecessary among them.  Let us call this linguistic trimming “limited negative removal.”   Please note that it remains quite plausible that excessive use of, and options for (synonymy of) negative terms may in fact provide us with the culprit that engineered the use of “zeros” and negative numbers (nonpositive integers) in early math by offering the literary counterpart to these numerals — by which these evil integers have crept in unawares among the flock.

This task of omitting (modestly) those forms of negation we simply do not need will require us to classify all those uses of negation we do and do not need. Sometimes we use them to exclude (negation of exclusion, e.g. “This set has no members” = “excludes all members”), and still other times to deny (negation of affirmation, e.g “we do not believe”), or to indicate what one does not have (negation of possession, e.g. “I have no pears, only apples”)10.  Neo-greek should be used for creating the rehearsed speech index cards for memorization.  This is in fact and excellent way to learn the new Greek once you have a few cards written in that language.

  • We will avoid in the new Greek — all “Bible” language (“fiction speak”) — preferring instead the synonyms for these as much as proves possible, using a good ancient Greek Thesauros, taking our words fr0m the same tongue or a very similar non-biblical dialect (Attic, Ionian, Boeotion, Corinthian, blah blah blah. Long live Macedonian and “Big Phil” [lip II, father of Alexander of Macedon]).  Most of our words should be chosen from the most fruitful or successful Greek of yore and its compounds – we can match these roots and prefixes and suffixes and affixes with much stealthiness aforethought, fixing nearly everything that needeth a-fixin.
  • I hold that these best sources from the world of ancient history should include Herodotos, Xenophon, Polybios and Jospehos; and from the world of science, those extant 13 of Hero of Alexandria — with help in math also from the earlier mathematicians (inclusively, not as a limit).

10.  We should use this new Greek for all our (Sophic Deists’) learning materials and documents, yeah as our primary and most profitable tongue for rehearsed speech, to the glory of God and profit of all. And then we should create an F.C. Conybeare-like Grammar for the new Greek, which when completed correctly should prove inestimably EASIER TO LEARN ANCIENT AND EXCELLENT GREEK FOR NEW STUDENTS.

HALL – E – LOO – YUH!!   Easy-to-learn Greek!!  Autos Ergos dunameos estin!!!  Doxa en tois ouraniois!!

I shall try to continue on this topic at greater length later.

The New Sophic Deism: Where to Go From Here?

In order to continue my Wisdom quest, I have found it necessary to begin identifying the principles of the light of nature that we should be using in our studies and investigations. Here is a rough draft of the principles I propose as those of the light of nature (for now, expect revisions):

[I shall go about exploring these rules a bit more later on, if God wills it ….]

  1. Necessity or Economy  (Sometimes they call this “Ockham’s Razor”)
  2. Uniformity (Nature is said to be “uniform” by scientists and philosophers)
  3.  Profitability
  4. Clarity
  5. Correspondence  (“Veridical correspondence” means that true claims must “match” the real world)
  6. Rationality  (They call this rule “Coherence” in philosophical circles).
  7. Versatility  (Adaptability)
  8. Extensibility  (Capable of beneficial and rational growth)
  9. Symmetry  (Reflexivity; equity)
  10. Diversity
  11. Continuity
  12. Balance (Harmony)

In times past, I have had much to say about the core intellectual capital upon which different cosmologies and worldviews have employed to build social orders or civilizations.  Here, with Sophic Deism, we must likewise recall the Kuhnian point that “you cannot beat something with nothing.”  No tradition or paradigm replaces another unless it offers against its dominant rival theory or paradigm, an alternative that is at the least equally explicative (has the power to explain why things seems as they do), detailed and comprehensive.

Here are some of the innovations I believe that the Sophic Deist community must comprise to offer superior intellectual capital in order to promote the kind of civilization we would all like to see gain the upper hand:

  1.  The Book of Blessings and Prayers
  2.  Jesus and the Apostolic Fiction: The Myths of Christianity
  3.  Ancient Fictions and Myths: Hebrew Narrative as Mythology
  4.  Sophic Deism and the Glory of Free Market Capitalism
  5. Veganism and Animal Rights: What the World Needs to Know
  6.  A Work on the Promotion of Written Constitutions
  7.  A Work on World Peace Councils and Initiatives
  8.  A Grammar of The Meta-Greek Language  (Used by Sophic Deists)
  9.  An English Dictionary featuring only the Greek Words in the English Tongue (about 200,000)
  10.  A Systematic and Topical Exposition of Sophic Deist Beliefs and Practices
  11. A book Promoting the Wisdom of Rehearsed Speech and a Set of Index Cards to Get Started
  12. A Book Promoting Research-Based Education of the Mini-versities and Universities
  13. The Encyclopedia of Success   (historical profiles of highly successful people and inventions)
  14. The Shorthand Manual of Success  (A Listing with commentary of the most successful ideas, formulas, ratios, metrics, patterns, (tips, tricks, and tactics), rules and principles, lessons, floorplans and proofs).

The Proverbs Refuted: The Murmurings Of A Half-Baked Fortune Cookie

My studies have, as of late, taken many unexpected turns.  One of these, about which I am elated, concerns my total rejection of what some call the Christian canon, or canonical literature.  I now have no room in the inn for any of that literature, and I would like to share (in brief) some of the reasons and conclusions that led me to what I now call “Sophic Deism” (Wisdom-tradition, and light of nature based Deism, but not Solomonic Deism).

  1. First, I have come to believe that neither Solomon (nor David), nor any other OT hero or villain, represents anything but legend (as with “Jesus and the Apostles”) similar to Achilles and Hector being born of Homeric tradition.  This includes Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, etc.
  2. Next, chapter 24 suggests that the “wisdom” maxims originate from observation and induction.  I no longer believe this either.  Most are simply rabbinical tradition “hand-me-downs” from previous generations, a fact suggested by the arbitrariness of their arrangement (no topical order, or any other order seems to attended their “groupings”).

Also note that many of them overlap redundantly, either repeating or else reiterating in part, or else occasionally in whole — see “There is a way that seems right to a man, but there end thereof is death.” This happens 3 times, word for word, in the proverbs.

3.    Many of the categorical designations of the Proverbs (wicked, righteous, etc) are treated as unchanging, monolithic and uniform realities.  This is simply not true to the complexities of life.  These qualities in people actually wax and wane, present themselves unevenly and flourish lopsidedly, so that a man may be wise in many ways, but foolish in others.

4.  The ten commandments seems to be at odds with the Proverbs in several ways.  First of all, the most desperate concerns of the decalogue — to avoid worshipping false gods or making idols — have almost nothing to do with the priority scheme of the Proverbs, which do not mention the first four commandments or refer to them hardly at all.   Rest, in the proverbs, brings poverty and scarcity in like an armed bandit. Here, spending an entire day resting (Sabbath) would be folly in the extreme.

5.  In fact, not only do the proverbs not have a Sabbath, they do not mention the priesthood, high priest(s), Temple, Passover, holidays, the six days of creation, offerings and sacrifices for atonement, circumcision, no dietary or “kosher” law about clean or unclean foods, no mention of the (nation of Israel as) holy land or the seven nations to be ruined under Joshua to preserve its “sanctity.”

Not only do the proverbs fail to presents anything a useful guide for wise or skillful living in the modern world (as I will show momentarily), but they would not have been in the least useful for skillful and wise living in ancient Israel, as shown above because of the prolific omissions to the entire liturgical life of Israel. It even forbids prophecy in the OT in these words, “Do not boast about tomorrow; for you do not know what a day might bring forth.”  So much for the prophets.

This means that, according to the Proverbs, neither the ten commandments nor the Torah can count as wisdom, since these flourish with just the liturgical and priestly considerations carefully omitted by the Proverbs.

6.  The Proverbs make no mention of anything like, or analogous to, the major institutions, agents and cultural developments and features of the modern world.   This makes them today irrelevant.  Here are cultural features very important to us about which the Proverbs have nothing whatever to say:

Stocks, futures, investing, proper or improper taxation, today’s law codes, constitutions, architecture, music and the literary arts, cinematography, sports and leisure (football, soccer, etc), highways, satellites, the power grid, skyscrapers, aircraft, spacecraft, restaurants, amusement parks, voting, nutrition, laser dentistry, and the internet and connectivity.   Here, the Proverbs are worthless.

Conclusion: the proverbs run close to frighteningly irrelevant and woefully deficient as a guide that is supposed to teach us to live wisely and skillfully in the modern world.  This shows that they bear no marks of transcendence as the supposed “Word of God,” but rather display all the silliness and weaknesses of ordinary human construction.

It is instead, the word of tribal, and agrarian nomads.  The “Word of God” itself another nomadic fantasy actually originates in the library of glyphs used by the Egyptians, and was borrowed by the Hebrews and stamped upon its developing written records of self-memory to ensure the perpetuity and stability of an apodosis (sacred or received tradition) designed to retain the status quo in the holy land and maintain its national integrity and reputation.

The Book of Proverbs does not enable where it must, in so many places, to fulfill even in part its intended purpose(s).  If for no other reason, time itself severely limits the usefulness and relevance of the book.  The minor scope and lack of cultural diversity shown by the Proverbs testifies to Sophic Deism as the better way to approach the questions generated by the wisdom quest I have undertaken as a lifelong endeavor.

The above calls for a complete divorce from the Jewish and Christian literature for Deists who would be wise.  We must find divine wisdom in the light of nature by careful analysis of the world around us, employing all the rational and empirical devices of excellent studies, and of innovation even coming up with new studies of our own — i.e. patent studies, stochastic geometry (I’m still working on it), etc.

I shall be treating the topic at some length later, but I now work with the hypothesis of the ahistorical character of the heroes and villains of the OT, as well as those of the NT.  More about this later.