Friday, October 21, 2005


A couple of days ago, the Republican-dominated American congress again voted down any increase of the minimum wage. Always with their eyes on the interests of business, those "compassionate" ha ha conservatives just don't get it. I'm taking a class in algebra down at a local two year college, and I watch many young people trying to make ends meet, working two jobs, and trying to go to college at the same time. It ain't always a pretty sight on the grade cards.


Here's some more of Gary Greenberg's work in 101 MYTHS OF THE BIBLE: HOW ANCIENT SCRIBES INVENTED BIBLICAL HISTORY, pp. 7-8:

"Genesis begins with two separate and contradictory stories about Creation. The first, in Genesis 1-2:3 and attributed to the priestly source P [one of several sources used by Hebrew scribes to create their creation myth], presents the familiar account of the seven days of Creation, in which the process unfolds in an orderly and structured sequence of events from the formation of heaven and earth to the production of vegetation, animal life, and humanity. Contrary to popular belief, the first Creation story makes no mention of Adam and Eve being created in the image of God. The only reference to humanity is to an entity created on the sixth day that is described as both male and female, and it is this collective entity, male and female, that is created in God's image.

"The second account, in Genesis 2 and attributed to the Yahwist source J, serves as an introduction to the story of Adam and Eve and their children. This version of Creation is less complete than the priestly version.

"The two stories differ in many details. Each provides a different order of Creation and different explanations as to how things came about. Perhaps the most significant difference deals with the question of morality. The first Creation features no talk about moral principles. The second, which serves as an introduction to the stories of Adam and Eve and their children Cain and Abel, deals primarily with issues of moral concern. In it, we have commandments by God about proper behavior, tales of sin, murder, and punishment, and something known as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The second Creation story introduces some of the central moral principles of Western Civilization, such as original sin, moral accountability for one's actions, being our brother's keeper, and the role of marriage.

"In addition, the two versions present different images of the deity. The P source portrays an all-powerful disembodied spirit who can summon forth elements of the universe with a word, wink, or snap of the fingers. The deity in J has corporal form, likes to putter around in the garden, bake animal crackers, sculpt little figurines, go for strolls, and oversee the help as they take care of the house, like a dilettante managing the country estate.

"Theologians concerned with moral teachings and the need for biblical consistency simply ignore the differences and treat the two stories as part of the same cycle, the earlier story presenting the cosmic picture and the later one presenting the human dimension. Scholars, on the other hand, willing to acknowledge contradictions simply accept that the two stories have different origins and that subsequent editors attempted to integrate the two separate accounts into a single narrative. Overlooked is that both sources originate from separate Egyptian traditions."


Probably everyone knows now that science can analyze the chemistry of objects so far distant that men may never get near them. It's simple, we say, almost humdrum in this modern age that we ought to stop and reconsider it. Imagine the world two-thousand years ago and what men and women knew then. "Feel" how far we've come. What we can do now is almost magic, just as Carl Sagan says.

"... a spectrum can be used to determine the chemistry of distant objects. Different molecules and chemical elements absorb different frequencies or colors of light, sometimes in the visible and sometimes elsewhere in the spectrum. In the spectrum of a planetary atmosphere, a single dark line represents an image of the slit in which light is missing, the absorption of sunlight during its brief passage through the air of another world. Each such line is made by a particular kind of molecule or atom. Every substance has its characteristic spectral signature. The gases on Venus can be identified from the Earth, 60 million kilometers away. We can divine the composition of the Sun (in which helium, named after the Greek sun god Helios, was first found); of magnetic A stars rich in europium; of distant galaxies analyzed through the collective light of a hundred billion constituent stars. Astronomical spectroscopy is an almost magical technique." (Sagan's COSMOS, p. 93)

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