vendredi 24 novembre 2017

And, Why Mark Shea Publically Ignores Me (also Probable Reason)


Mark Shea seems to have received mail (meaning, some people actually are not on the spam block list of his mail ...!):

Catholic and Enjoying it : A reader has a question about the Fall and its effects
November 22, 2017 by Mark Shea
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2017/11/reader-question-fall-effects.html


"What I cannot imagine is how creation itself was changed by the Fall, since every shred of evidence in the physical record indicates that those things we consider natural evils – earthquakes, volcanoes, cyclones, flood, drought, animal predation, etc. – all existed well before humans arrived on the scene."


Mark Shea Answers:

"As far as I know St. Thomas does not buy any of this “lions were not predators before the fall” rubbish."


I noted this back in 2013:

Church Fathers have differed on this one. St Augustine and Venerable Bede both held herbivores were actually getting fed to carnivores by sovereign decision of Adam.

I am sorry that I cannot consult the book in which I was reading it in George Pompidou and have not found the reference on my blog post here:

Creation vs. Evolution : Carnivores in Eden?
http://creavsevolu.blogspot.com/2013/08/carnivores-in-eden.html


Note well, I would not have written it if I had not had a reference ready at the time, or before. Hoping to update this with a quote some day ...

Actually, if you had given your reference instead of a bald statement, I would probably have found my quote at your reference.

Meanwhile, since St Thomas was depending on Sts Augustine and Bede, how about looking at the diversity of Church Fathers on the question in Benno Zuiddam:

Early Church Fathers on creation, death and eschatology
Benno A. Zuiddam, JOURNAL OF CREATION 28(1) 2014 || PAPERS
http://www.bennozuiddam.com/P_BZ-EarlyChurchFathersOnCreationDeathAndEschatology-v1.pdf


There is sufficient support among some Church Fathers for a Catholic not to call it nonsense, that all beasts were created carnivores.*

As far as I recall my St Augustine reference, and recalled it when writing this other essay, the exact reason why St Augustine concluded for lions having been real carnivores even before the fall is, he believed in fixity of species in an exaggerated way (not so those who maintained lions changed at Fall, obviously, so I am not going against all Church fathers in calling that exaggerated).

"To say the fall affected nature does not necessitate pretending the fossil record does not exist."


* S i g h * the weather is rainy today. The air is raining humidity, while internet in a dryer mood is raining s t r a w m e n.

The fossils found do not constitute a record. They constitute a trace. Turning the trace into a record requires interpretation. Denying the interpretation leaving dinos dead before Adam does not mean denying the traces we have of dinos.

"The fall, recall, includes the fall of angels and we simply do not know how they may have damaged creation."


C. S. Lewis' solution, as per The Problem of Pain. There is a problem with this solution, and it is, it is making Satan too much lord over not just humanity as sinning, but over creation even before Sin. Remember through one man sin entered the world and through sin death.

Not "through one angel". Earth and its centre Hell is Satan's exile, it doesn't become a domain to rule until he tricks Adam, through Eve.

"In addition, Paul tells us that creation has been subjected to frustration–evidently by God himself–for our good."


Indeed, and if it is for our good after Adam's sin, it came after Adam sinned. While God knew all the time Adam would sin, God did not punish him millions of years in advance with a frustration which for millions of years was not going to do Adam any good.

"All scripture is concerned with when it says that death entered the world through sin is human death, not oyster death."


Whether oysters count as alive in the Biblical sense is disputed, it seems only vertebrates have in the Hebrew sense Nephesh Chaya - or so I read on CMI, anyway.

Now, if the death of a pet rabbit (which has such) is affecting the pet owner, it might make sense, rabbits started dying when Adam sinned. And before you say that the dinos we find consumed - on your view millions of years before Adam - aren't as cute as rabbits, and their death would not affect man, well, you know as well as I do how fascinated boys are with dinos. Some unfallen young boy would have been bound to adopt a T Rex or a Bronto, and, if T Rex were dying ... sorry, a Mammoth, you believed Tyrannosauri and Brontosauri went extinct millions of years before any man or boy could adopt them for pets ... what's that? Mammoths too extinct before Adam?

You don't mean you say you are claiming there was a pre-Adamite humanity, do you? Isaac La Peyrère was risking a somewhat scorchy bonfire for saying that ...as well for being a Calvinist in the wrong territory. He renounced Preadamism along with Calvinism.

Btw, it seems I have wronged Jews by crediting them with his origin, there is no Jewish community in Amsterdam recognising him as theirs. Or, perhaps not, the Archbishop of Mechelen back then (assuredly more orthodox than the supposed successor named by the supposed "Pope Francis", since De Kesel is a Bultmann fan, therefore clearly worse off than CSL) described him as Calvinist and Jew. His pre-Adamism is also very Jewish, since he makes a gap between Genesis 1 and 2 and lets the creation of day six concern the Creation of Gentiles, always foreigners to Paradise.

But pre-Adamism as such is wrong. See my scenario impossible:

Creation vs. Evolution : Scenario impossible
http://creavsevolu.blogspot.com/2014/01/scenario-impossible.html


"But the odds are pretty good that geocentrists and people who say that God put dinosaur bones in the ground to test our faith in a 6000 thousand year old earth are never ever ever EVER going to get the agreement of Catholic theologians or the sciences."


Well, why put Geocentrics in the same category as ... as far as I can tell ... strawman kooks?

I am not a Geocentric becase I believe a Martian is communicating that to me, I am a Geocentric because the immediate evidence (our daily experience) favours it, the supposed evidence to the contrary allows it at least, and a Young Universe requires some solution being true to the "Distant Starlight Paradox", of which Geocentrism is a very economic one.

As to the solution "God put dinosaur bones into the ground to test our faith", I somehow only run across this as an Evolution supporter's account of what Creationists believe and never in conversation with actual other Creationists. Mostly overline, but with internet freedoms I can't see why Creationists in the countries where they enjoy normal freedoms should be hiding their real views.

"They will remain welcome at the altar but they will never be welcome at Symposia on Evolution in Rome."


OK, lets see. Ordinary Magisterium, Papal solitary magisterium, Ecumenical Councils. Infallible, and rules of the Church.

Symposia on Evolution, including in Rome, not infallible, not canonical rule of the Church. Could even be heretical.

Is Mark Shea by any happinstance function the "I have connections" or "I know my connections" basis rather than as a humble Catholic by the rules of ... the Church?

"The Church does not function by the rule “That which is not forbidden is compulsory”."


Indeed. Meaning, if by any chance Heliocentrism of the modern type in 1820 became not just licit to intellectually defend, but to connect to your faith, this has NOT made Heliocentrism compulsory. Dito for Evolutionism 1950.

"But neither does that fact that the Church permits an opinion mean anything like a claim that the Church thinks that opinion is not freaking nuts."


The Church as a Church thinks heresies and similar motives to damnation "freaking nuts". This means, if Geocentrism and Young Earth, Young Universe Creationism is NOT damnable, the Church as Church has absolutely no motive to think it nuts. Your pet bishop in his private capacity (even supposing Robert Barron were canonically licit bishop rather than Robber Baron of Theology) may think them nuts. But as a bishop, speaking for the Church, he has no business whatsoever to pronounce them nuts, unless he really thinks they lead to damnation.

But perhaps Mark Shea is not thinking in canonical terms, but is functioning by the "I have connections" or "I know my connections" basis?

In a sense, the Church is sociologically visible - and in that sense, if not the Church as a whole, at least its majority can be fallen away.

On Ireland, a Catholic did not own a horse, under the Penal Laws. Visit a Spaniard or a Frenchman who seems to know how to ride. Must the Irishman conclude he is a heretic? On sociological criteria like the ones given by Mark Shea here, I suppose yes.

Fortunately for the Irish Catholics under Penal Laws, their priests were Catholic, and did not allow this kind of purely sociological and unjuridic criterium to take over when it comes to interpreting what it means to be a Catholic.

Mark Shea, I'll try to reach them too, but how about your passing this on to some others I suspect of your attitude, like Armstrong, like Palm, like Keating, and why not the forementioned Robber Baron of Theology?

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St John of the Cross
24.XI.2017

* That all animals were created as vegetarians, I mean. Someone seems to have been tricking me into situations where I can occur excommunications, this is really a lower form than my usual./HGL

jeudi 23 novembre 2017

Why CMI in Public Ignores Me (One Probable Reason)


See this essay by Oard:

Can the relative timing of radioisotope dates be applied to biblical geology?
by Michael J. Oard
https://creation.com/can-the-relative-timing-of-radioisotope-dates-be-applied-to-biblical-geology


Summary : no it can't.

Argument : "However, a closer look reveals that the dates vary by around 200 Ma and include outliers that are billions of years too old! One example of an outlier is the 1.3 Ga Rb-Sr isochron age for lava that erupted after the Flood on the northwest rim of the Grand Canyon.10 It is obvious that the precision of relative dates is far from satisfactory to be used for absolute biblical dates."

Observation is valid for Ka-Ar, but not for C14.

Argument : "Baumgardner mentions how fission track dates agree with K-Ar radiometric ages on the Peach Spring Tuff and a tuff within the Jurassic Morrison Formation of southeast Utah.1 He argues that this a greement justifies relative dating. However, an examination of fission track data in the RATE book18 shows that indeed the dates for the Peach Spring Tuff are tightly constrained, and do agree reasonably closely with the radiometric dates. We wonder if circular reasoning wasn’t used to get the Peach Springs dates to agree. Circular reasoning is a common problem in uniformitarian earth science (see below)."

Observation is valid for fission track dates, but not for C14.

Solution proposed : "Baumgardner assumes the Flood began in the very late Precambrian.1 He sees that as an anchor point separating the antediluvian rock and the fossil record from the Flood. He also concludes that the post-Flood boundary is in the Pliocene, which is fairly close to my assessment of the situation."

Objection, this presupposes that "geological column" corresponds to different stages of the Flood.

In fact, it corresponds to zoo-geography in the immediate pre-Flood world, more usually.

Their proposal on what "relative timing" means : "The idea of using relative radiometric dating as a template for biblical earth history mostly sandwiches 4.567 billion years of uniformitarian history into 377 days of biblical earth history."

Objection, that would be the attempt to pull in ALL radiometric and uniformitarian dating under a single heading.

That is done by Setterfield and Habermehl.

I am singling out C14 for special treatment. Why? In C14, the thing to compare with present content of parent isotope is NOT present content of daughter isotope. It is atmospheric content.

And while atmospheric content has not been even roughly constant for 100 000 years, as Uniformitarians would like us to believe, it is also by the nature of the case, unlikely to change drastically from one day to the next.

The changes in atmospheric content would, mainly, have been upward. These upward changes would be complete by 500 BC, when Babylonian captivity destruction of Jerusalem is carbon dated to 2500 years ago (+83 or 86, I think). Since then, carbon dates are generally useful as given.

Now, the constant content would imply a balance between decay (the sample in the atmosphere is also a sample, and also decaying) and production of new carbon.

However, there are in fact - indirectly - limits on how quickly new carbon can form while life on earth survives, since too much cosmic rays would be lethal. We cannot have been having an incoming cosmic radiation so huge that radiation doses either at pole or equator would have equalled, for instance, those at Chernobyl 13 days after Wojtyla visited a Synagogue in Rome. Not the doses immediately close to the reactor.

This poses a limit of some kind on the speed of production of new carbon 14. And it seems the limit would depend on lots of parameters, and Ilya Usoskin has not been testing the ones I proposed around All Hallows. And this speed limit poses in its turn a limit on the disequilibrium between decay and new production, and therefore a speed limit on the rise of carbon in atmosphere and therefore ... can help with a relative chronology.

Note very well, C14 is not in any way shape or form concerned with "4.567 billion years". Anything dated in "millions" = Ka-Ar = virtually undated. Not carbon dated.

Note also, my carbon date ball park for Flood itself is fairly close to 40 000 BP, perhaps up to 5000 years younger. Anything carbon dated younger than that (including some of Armitage's dinosaurs and soft tissue) is post-Flood.

I suppose, after the Flood, the sediments were for a time still wet and soft, in order to speed drying up, God folded mountains, and while main effect was, water ran out quicker and they dried quicker, one side effect was a hazard of mudslides, providentially directed mostly to dinosaurs. Any men hit? Job perhaps asked once for mountains to cover him ... a Hadrosaur dated to 22 000 BP is from on my view, between Flood and Babel, and killed by a mudslide as described.

This is not in any way related to how the Hadrosaur is conventionally described as in Jurassic or Cretaceous or perhaps even Triassic, but only because of the carbon date; another Hadrosaur, dated to 40 000 BC, would be a pre-Flood one. This therefore means that Jurassic, and its "neighbours" Cretaceous and Triassic, are not informing us of the time scale, but of the usually pre-Flood, sometimes post-Flood biogeography.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Clement I, Pope and Martyr
23.XI.2017

mercredi 22 novembre 2017

Previous Continued (on Quora, btw)


Creationism and Linguistics · Previous Continued (on Quora, btw)

Daniel Ross
10m ago
“Name one good scientist it doesn’t describe, I’ll probably prove your assessment of him wrong.”

We must make certain working assumptions just in order to do research, but a good scientist really does do that. If they don’t, then to that degree, they are not a good scientist.

One example is me. I’m a skeptic, but tentatively accept the best explanations currently available, until there is a better one. (I’m not claiming to be unique.)

You are certainly correct that many scientists seem to believe in their own work. But that’s actually a mistake (an easy one to make). I didn’t say it’s easy to be a good scientist.

Another example just to give a famous name would be Richard Feynman. He has some great lectures recorded on youtube if you want to watch them. You’ll see him explain this perspective (and others). Being a scientist is not about being right. It’s about examining the evidence to observe what cannot be right.
(Falsification.)

“The Balkan languages of IE family share features according to your hypothesis of both types.”

The Balkan languages do have both, yes. That’s not uncommon.

“The different look could be from different duration of a feature spreading by contact.”

No. Let’s compare this to cooking: you can tell if you boil shrimp or if you deep fry shrimp. You could also do both, and it would still be clear that you did both. It would be hard to know exactly what effects on the cooked shrimp were from one cooking method or another, but whether both methods were used would be clear.

“Dito, you are using IE protolang as a stick to beat the Bible with, rather than looking for possibilities.”

No, that’s absurd. I am “using the IE protolang” to understand language history. I have no interest in the Bible until someone brings is up as if it answers questions better than science.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
"We must make certain working assumptions just in order to do research, but a good scientist really does do that. If they don’t, then to that degree, they are not a good scientist."

And as long as working assumptions continue to work with the data, the scientist is keeping them.

That is what I mean. Instead of complaining on my doing that, how about showing a fact (verifiable by present observation as opposed to only by reconstruction) where my Biblical and Catholic world view would no longer be working.

"One example is me. I’m a skeptic, but tentatively accept the best explanations currently available, until there is a better one. (I’m not claiming to be unique.)"

So far, you have been using the explanations that best fit the belief systems of the sect labelled sceptics.

"You are certainly correct that many scientists seem to believe in their own work. But that’s actually a mistake (an easy one to make). I didn’t say it’s easy to be a good scientist."

Ah, nice admission.

"Another example just to give a famous name would be Richard Feynman. He has some great lectures recorded on youtube if you want to watch them. You’ll see him explain this perspective (and others). Being a scientist is not about being right. It’s about examining the evidence to observe what cannot be right.
(Falsification.)"


For one thing, the Bible tells me certain things in your view (like 15 000 BC or BP, whichever) cannot be right. Now, to Feynmann.

He is a great teacher, which is how he came to spread this science ideology, which is from Popper. I have used his teaching methodology in order to bring home the concept of "carbon rise", so alien to evolition believers.

But what exact scientific discovery has he made? How is he a “great scientist”, note well, scientist, not science ideologer or teacher?

As to the rest:

  • You have not given any kind of evidence of how a cohabitation previous than the post-Antiquity on Balkan (and prior by thousands of years) would differ from a prior language unity (also prior by thousand years).
  • You have just admitted an Anti-Biblical bias. You don't go to the Bible to look for ANY kind of answers, apart from Hebrew linguistics, I suppose, not even as I would go to Greek or Hindu Epics. You get upset when someone believes "Bible over science". This clinches what I already said about you : you are a believer, as I am, and with beliefs opposed to mine.


Daniel Ross
34m ago
“And as long as working assumptions continue to work with the data, the scientist is keeping them.”

No. We temporarily make assumptions. One reason some scientists should not be classified as “good scientists” is because instead of keeping their options open, they settle on those temporary assumptions as beliefs. A good scientist, however, just uses those temporary assumptions to explore the data in order to limit the possible variables— we can’t consider all possibilities at one time.

There are of course some general trends that remain because they seem to work. But if you ask a scientist if they believe their theories, there are four possible reasons they might say yes:

  • 1) It’s the best known explanation, so they tentatively believe it until a better one is found.
  • 2) There seems to be a general consensus, beyond a reasonable doubt, that some understandings are reasonable. This belief is practical rather than fundamental, but it can come across that way if people keep insisting on non-scientific explanations for things (say, astrology instead of astronomy).
  • 3) They intend “believe” in the sense of “trust” or “choose”, see (1). This is generally in response to the non-technical sense of “believe” as in “Do you believe this medicine will work?”
  • 4) They are bad scientists who believe their theories. Honestly, some scientists do fit in that category because they’ve invested a lot in their theories, especially after long careers. Easy mistake.


Daniel Ross
23m ago
This clinches what I already said about you : you are a believer, as I am, and with beliefs opposed to mine.

I think belief should be personal, while science should be as objective as possible. I do disagree with you, but that shouldn’t have any bearing on this discussion, which I am trying but failing to keep objective. (Note: I edited to try to make it not confrontational about your beliefs.)

You do not have the book. You have a book. And having a book does not give you any credibility except to those who have already chosen that book.

I don’t have any problem with your book. But it is absurd to think it should be inherently privileged. Why is your book special? You think so. Why should I?

The default position for all religions is disbelief. You can in fact only be a true believer by not believing all of the others.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
Answering both omments at once:

"No. We temporarily make assumptions. One reason some scientists should not be classified as “good scientists” is because instead of keeping their options open, they settle on those temporary assumptions as beliefs. A good scientist, however, just uses those temporary assumptions to explore the data in order to limit the possible variables— we can’t consider all possibilities at one time."

We can.

It is done in the type of discourse known as philosophy. Leaving out any possibility from consideration is a major no no in philosophy. Until it is soundly refuted.

And ruling a thing out is more often done by its contradicting someone's belief than by its contradicting clearly in and of itself a certain experiment or ither indisputable raw datum.

Btw, if your assumptions are temporary, so far, why not take the time to explore beyond them, when I give the opportunity?

Could it be, your assumptions have settled to beliefs?

The problem on my view is not they were not taken as temporary, but that they were wrong.

"It’s the best known explanation, so they tentatively believe it until a better one is found."

Alias, it is the best according to their belief, not identified as such and they will believe it until a better one within their beliefs is found.

"They are bad scientists who believe their theories."

I was not speaking about theories to be tested, but about assumptions behhind them.

As to scientists believing their theories, I would put in this category:

  • Galileo (up to recanting),
  • Lyell,
  • Darwin,
  • Brothers Grimm,
  • Newton.


In other words, what you could qualify as social top layer of science. Not one single of them was a Popperite.

"There seems to be a general consensus, beyond a reasonable doubt, that some understandings are reasonable."

And the general consensus is one among the community dubbing itself as scientific, and the doubts of outsiders are claimed to be unreasonable, or more usually "unscientific" (i e discording with science as belief system)

"They intend “believe” in the sense of “trust” or “choose”, see (1). This is generally in response to the non-technical sense of “believe” as in “Do you believe this medicine will work?”"

How is this different from belief in general?

"You do not have the book. You have a book. And having a book does not give you any credibility except to those who have already chosen that book."

This is a faulty analysis of what my position is.

It is also getting outside objective argument about evidential value of Biblical history and into personal social innuendo about the one and the other.

I have NOT chosen Homer or Mahabharata as THE book. And even so, I would not even dream of ditching the history in it (as opposed to the theology) in terms similar to your dissing of the Bible.

"I don’t have any problem with your book. But it is absurd to think it should be inherently privileged. Why is your book special? You think so. Why should I?"

I was appealing to historic information in it. If you want to compare to historic information in other ancient legends, fine with me. I will "privilege" the Bible, if you like, you need not.

What I am "asking" is why you prefer an explanation at variance with it.

We could discuss that one linguistics, you have limited yourself to generalities, as if my belief disqualified me of discussing linguistics.

We could discuss it on general other terms, you have not given much.

You seem to prefer taking belief in the Bible as privileged proof one is wrong. That would in normal analysis amount to your actually having a problem with it.

"The default position for all religions is disbelief. You can in fact only be a true believer by not believing all of the others."

No, the default position is the belief you grew up with. You do not change it except by what you take as very good evidence. And evolutionism has been my belief system, up to nine.

Also, you are now discussing the Bible under the heading "religion", while I am discussing it under the heading "history". Just because its being inerrant history to me, according to my religion, does that mean it has to be non-history to you?

The default position for getting to the past is believing the narratives we have from it. Some exclude others.

But narrative, unless refuted, primes over reconstruction.

My claim in relation to your general claim, is simply, I am believing the narratives (including to much greater extent than you, non-Biblical and anti-Biblical ones, except where they are anti-Biblical) where you for some reason have ditched narrative and chosen reconstruction instead.

Bad methodology, even if you happened otherwise to be right.

Daniel Ross
Just now
“We can.”

No. Even philosophers write one argument at a time.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
They write one argument at a time, indeed, but one of the arguments they do write is an enumeration of all possibilities.

Then they cross one out at a time.

They do not for instance limit research to two possibilities united by one term, unless already having excluded opposite of that term.

Daniel Ross
1m ago
That’s simply not true. Philosophers write one sentence at a time, and there are only a certain number of sentences on each page, in each paper, in each book. They cannot possibly consider all possibilities.

They are open to all possibilities, but so are scientists.

Operationalizing an experiment or making an argument in philosophy (for example, a hypothetical scenario like famous thought experiments) requires very precise limitations.

I’m not saying that scientists don’t think about all possibilities. I’m saying that we use experiments (or similar methods) to determine relationships one step at a time. You simply can’t vary everything all at once and make sense of it.

This is a basic and obvious fact. I’m not sure why we are discussing it.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
"Philosophers write one sentence at a time, and there are only a certain number of sentences on each page, in each paper, in each book. They cannot possibly consider all possibilities."

They can consider all possibilities on a certain limited topic.

You can never enumerate all possibilities on all topics in a page long sentence, but you can certainly enumerate all possibilities of any given topic.

As to excluding the possibilities one by one (if "in a group" is usually sub-possibilities of one possibility) that is done in subsequent sentences.

"Operationalizing an experiment or making an argument in philosophy (for example, a hypothetical scenario like famous thought experiments) requires very precise limitations."

Nice, but the thing is, each of the already enumerated possibilities can be regarded (in operational experimental ways or other) in very precise limitations of its being the possibility or possibilital parameter it is and not another one.

In turn.

"I’m not saying that scientists don’t think about all possibilities."

You just did, a few comments back.

"You simply can’t vary everything all at once and make sense of it."

I never said one could, you are strawmanning me.

For one thing, all the possibilities need not be decided by arranged experiment, some can be decided against by inherent contradiction in terms, detected, like you are trying to do with my proposal that you should be open to the creationist possibility by saying this cannot be operationally decided.

I did say one can :

  • step 1, enumerate all possibilities, not just the ones that suit your scope,
  • step 2, start eliminating possibilities one by one,
  • corollary, not dismiss a possibility before it is soundly refuted, which you are doing with Creationist view of linguistics, at least one of them.
  • step 3, at each well merited dismissal not present one single position as the scientific one, until it is really the only one left, but present which possibilities are in fact left.


"This is a basic and obvious fact. I’m not sure why we are discussing it."

Because you were missing out on what that basic and obvious fact means and doesn't necessarily mean.

Daniel Ross
37m ago
“They can consider all possibilities on a certain limited topic.”

“All possibilities” in a philosophical sense would mean infinitely many. That doesn’t make sense. For example, if you want to find out why cats purr, you might first consider that they are actually robots controlled by Martians. (I’m referring to a real philosophical paper, about the philosophy of language, although the discussion was not about cats purring. The point is that’s one additional possibility to consider…) Obviously we need to strategically pick things to concentrate on.

”You just did, a few comments back.”

No. I said we make tentative working assumptions in order to address specific points. That’s necessary. But scientists do choose those questions from all possible questions, and many of them spend a lot more time thinking than actually running experiments.

This is getting nonsensical as well as tedious. I’m just responding to this most incorrect things I see, and I’m not sure it’s clarifying anything.



Finally, if you insist on me considering the Bible to be a reasonable perspective on the origin of languages, I will agree with you on one condition: you edit your answer to say “Sorry, we have absolutely no idea about anything, because all perspectives are equally valid.” Then I’ll accept that the Bible is a relevant perspective to this discussion. The burden of proof, otherwise, is on you.

In the end, I think it’s time to end this discussion with an anecdote:

My first day as a grad student, in my historical linguistics class, the instructor casually mentioned something about the early history of human languages. Another student raised his hand and very sincerely, eagerly asked “Will we be learning about the language spoken by Adam and Eve?” The instructor was confused by the question and did not know how exactly to reply. On the one hand, the student’s beliefs were valid. On the other, that was simply outside the scope of what could be addressed by linguistics as a science. I think he said something like “That’s not covered by the syllabus” and moved on. By the way, interestingly, the student in question was not Christian. He was Muslim. (Not a coincidence, of course, since like Judaism the two religions have the same broad origin.)

Anyway, I don’t know how to answer that question either. Unless it’s in the Bible, I don’t think I will convince you. Especially if what I say conflicts with your interpretation of the Bible.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
"For example, if you want to find out why cats purr, you might first consider that they are actually robots controlled by Martians."

That would fall under the consideration of cats being robots, you need not consider cats being robots controlled by Martians separately from robots being controlled by Venusians from robots controlled by etc.

Then that consideration would include the presupposition of cats not being what they seem.

This is already excluded in a philosophy admitting of belief in normal observations, like those leading us to believe cats are not robots and, those leading us to believe historical narratives are more or less to be believed, and not just swept out of all considerations before starting the historical question over again with a reconstruction from scratch not taking any of them into account.

"(I’m referring to a real philosophical paper,"

I don't know what you mean by "real philosophical paper", do you mean it was really from faculty of Philosophy? That would make it a real paper within the Russellian type of philosophy.

"The point is that’s one additional possibility to consider…) Obviously we need to strategically pick things to concentrate on."

Not very much, since it is not on the topic of cats and purring per se, but on the topic of Matrix.

"No. I said we make tentative working assumptions in order to address specific points. That’s necessary."

What is necessary is actually to make each possibility in turn a very temporary working assumption while adressing it.

Philosophically, that is.

"But scientists do choose those questions from all possible questions, and many of them spend a lot more time thinking than actually running experiments."

The problem is they are not chosing all possible questions in turn, they are dissing certain of the questions.

"This is getting nonsensical as well as tedious. I’m just responding to this most incorrect things I see, and I’m not sure it’s clarifying anything."

You are clarifying that you are out of your depth with a discourse which is made by someone outside your scientific paradigm, and also that you are mistaking it for basic philosophical necessity when really it is not.

"Finally, if you insist on me considering the Bible to be a reasonable perspective on the origin of languages, I will agree with you on one condition: you edit your answer to say “Sorry, we have absolutely no idea about anything, because all perspectives are equally valid.” Then I’ll accept that the Bible is a relevant perspective to this discussion. The burden of proof, otherwise, is on you."

I was giving the Biblical perspective, and I think it is valid and can be shown valid:

  • as one possibility on Tower of Babel item,
  • as ONLY possibility, or one of two neither of which is evolutionist, on the item of God crating Adam with a language.


This does not in any way equate to all possibilities being equally valid. It does not in any way equate to nobody knowing anything about anything.

And your thinking it does, means you do have a real problem with the Bible. Perhaps because scepticism mean to you definite non-belief in Christianity, or perhap because your "temporary working hypothesis" is really no longer any such thing, but your belief system.

"In the end, I think it’s time to end this discussion with an anecdote:"

You are very free to make the comment your last. You are also very free to start the discussion again when you see I responded things you did not expect. Whichever you wish.

"On the one hand, the student’s beliefs were valid. On the other, that was simply outside the scope of what could be addressed by linguistics as a science."

While I agree linguistics cannot (but theology can) prove which language Adam and Eve spoke (and it was neither Arabic nor Sanskrit), I do not agree linguistics can prove a language was spoken 6000 or 15 000 years ago.

That is also outside linguistics where it is truly scientific.

If you really wish to state why the relation between Germanic and Hittite cannot be Sprachbund, say so. I'll be happy to discuss it, I would probably be a sore loser if a loser, but I don't expect to be. That would be a strictly speaking linguistic discussion, which you have given a bit little of.

You can also try to bone out how much of your scenario of 6000 years ago is due to the PIE and how much is due to the carbon date of Yamnaya.

That would not be a purely linguistic discussion, but it would involve material I could perhaps find useful, if I should lose on the linguistic discussion. Another thing you have not been doing.

If you are tired of discussing science ideology, fine.

"Unless it’s in the Bible, I don’t think I will convince you."

Totally false, my identification of Göbekli Tepe with Babel is not per se in the Bible. My recalibration of Göbekli Tepe from 9600 BC to 8600 BC on the one hand to 2551 BC to 2511 BC (sorry, mistook beginning year to end year of Babel a few comments ago) is also not in the Bible.

It is attempting to match both the Bible and ALL scientific actual evidence, if not main stream conclusions.

"Especially if what I say conflicts with your interpretation of the Bible."

Unless I come to think of another interpretation as equally valid in the literal sense.

Obviously, I have already said, the Bible is valid as history, even if it were not as theology (but it is), and barring the total inerrance of the actual word of God I believe, a real openminded philosopher would at least give it a huge favourable view as to history.

This means, an interpretation of the Bible as "religiously valid but historically invalid" is not the least interesting to me. It is also not very intuitive.

It is thousand times more intuitive to say, since there is one true religion, or one truth, that all accounts have some historic value (Bible, Homer, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Amerindian accounts on Sipapuni etc) while the exact amount of trust given one over other is a further theological question, perhaps aided by a historic investigation on well chosen points.

Creationism and Linguistics


Creationism and Linguistics · Previous Continued (on Quora, btw)

Q
Linguistically speaking, is there such thing as the "oldest language"?
https://www.quora.com/Linguistically-speaking-is-there-such-thing-as-the-oldest-language/answer/Hans-Georg-Lundahl


Hans-Georg Lundahl
I speak two langs, Latin and Germanic. In a few dialects.
Answered 49m ago
Historically speaking, there can certainly be an oldest language, it is the language which existed before any other did, as used among men.

Linguistically, that cannot be detected.

Theologically, I would identify Hebrew with that language, but on what level of exact grammar is another matter.

For instance, it seems Biblical Hebrew in the word “Shalom” features a language change, turning an A in second syllable to an O, when long (as it is here). Therefore, the oldest Hebrew, before its writing down in the Bible, would have had “Shalam”.

It is considered that Ugaritic is an older and close relative of Biblical Hebrew, and if so, Moses may theoretically have written in Ugaritic, or close enough, but copies continuously updated spelling and even wording to reflect language changes - if this was authorised by Moses.

It is also possible that the linguists are wrong, that even Adam would have pronounced the word “Shalom”. Now, while Germanic and Baltic, and after a later lengthening of certain Germanic originally short A, also Swedish, after a monophthongisation of originally ai to aa, also English and Bavarian turn a long A to O, there is at least one language group on record with opposite change, turning long O to A, namely Slavonic.

This means, the oldest form of the word for peace could actually be Shalom and instead of Arabic and Hebrew having changed each one feature, it could be Arabic which has changed two. This cannot linguistically be excluded.

So, for the question part “linguistically speaking”, there is no either proving or excluding Hebrew from being the first language.

One can definitely exclude French from being the first language even linguistically, since too many words are reduced forms of words in Latin for the changes to have gone the other way round : with a Latin word, you can know what it would be in French, exactly (when you are surprised, it is through dialectal forms, loans from Italian or Spanish, or derived forms, like soleil, not from solem, but from - presumably - its diminutive soliculum).

But with a French word, you can sometimes get a whole palette of possible origins in Latin. This means, we can linguistically know French is derived from Latin, not the other way round.

However, the phrase “linguistically speaking” is a bit ambiguous.

It can also mean “according to what linguists believe”.

The answere there is threefold:

  • some say the oldest language is completely lost (but has existed, one or more of them)
  • Merrit Ruhlen says we have 20 words as relicts from proto-world (which need not have been the actual oldest, only the oldest in our post-proto-world batch of languages), while another man considers Homo Erectus had a language consisting of 20 phonemes, each with a very broad range of meaning, very little precision, which he tries to reconstruct by comparing meanings of words with those phonemes (he considers, for instance, M and N, P and B as equivalent, and vowels as irrelevant or now untraceable
  • Christian linguists would argue the question is historical, not linguistic as such, and that theology has an overview of history. Which is, as you found, my position. I am content that linguistically one cannot exclude Hebrew from being the oldest language.


As to a more restricted scope, “the oldest indo-european language” - note, no linguist in his senses would imagine this to be, on purely linguistic grounds, simply the “oldest language” - there are two problems, one is, do all indo-european languages come from a single oldest language, or have language groups become indo-european in same way as Romanian and Bulgarian share features by having become Balkanic, the other is, supposing there was a unitary oldest language, was it at Volga delta or in Anatolia?

Either way, recently a Finn has made a reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European which is very close to Hittite (not Hattic, Hattili, but Hittite, Nesili). It is in fact so close, I suspect that it could be written down AS Hittite, with a spelling reducing some of the distinctions in pronunciation.

An older idea was it was very close to Sanskrit. Some esoterics and New Agers still cling to this, and obviously, the reason is not purely linguistic, but partly ideological - as is any answer to the question of an oldest language.

Daniel Ross
18m ago
Linguistically speaking, Hebrew is all but irrelevant to this question. Hebrew is related to Arabic, both being Semitic languages, so they go back to Proto-Semitic. But Semitic is just one branch of an even larger group, Afro-Asiatic, with its ancestor Proto-Afro-Asiatic, spoken around 15,000 years ago. Hebrew is no older than Arabic, nor other Semitic or Afro-Asiatic languages. And there is no reason to think that the Afro-Asiatic family is somehow older than others, even though indeed the linguistic evidence today is relatively clear in that case and allows us to look farther back than in most other cases: Daniel Ross' answer to How old is the Afro-Asiatic language family? But just because we cannot be certain about other hypotheses from modern linguistic evidence, that does not mean that other languages (like Proto-Indo-European) didn’t also have ancestors— in fact, we can be certain they did, even if we don’t know much about them.

Religiously speaking, there are various ways to try to explain the world. I’m not aware of any that consistently explain those linguistic facts, however. Unless you reject Linguistics along with Physics, Geology and Biology, the scientific explain should prevail here. The earth, and languages, are demonstrably older than 6,000 years (etc.).

Answered twice
divided therefore into A and B.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
A
Just now
"Hebrew is related to Arabic, both being Semitic languages, so they go back to Proto-Semitic. But Semitic is just one branch of an even larger group, Afro-Asiatic, with its ancestor Proto-Afro-Asiatic, spoken around 15,000 years ago."

This scenario, I am obviously disputing.

An Afro-Asiatic language group descending, as you suggest, from a proto-language, is no more linguistically proven than the Indo-European group all descending from PIE. In both cases, adstrate phenomena, Sprachbund phenomena can play a role.

"Hebrew is no older than Arabic, nor other Semitic or Afro-Asiatic languages."

That is like saying "Greek is no older than Slavonic" - if we deal with oldest written forms, it certainly is.

"But just because we cannot be certain about other hypotheses from modern linguistic evidence, that does not mean that other languages (like Proto-Indo-European) didn’t also have ancestors— in fact, we can be certain they did, even if we don’t know much about them."

A scenario of old earth, evolution, and natural linguistics only would give that result, but that is incompatible with Christianity.

Such a scenario is to certain linguists a "proven" not insofar as they are linguists, but insofar as they engage in a scenario defined by extra-linguistic and anti-Biblical criteria for their linguistics.

"I’m not aware of any that consistently explain those linguistic facts, however."

A Proto-Afro-Asiatic from 15 000 years ago is not a linguistic fact, but a linguistic hypothesis. Precisely as with a PIE spoken either 4000 BC at Yamnaya (Volga hypothesis) or 8000 BC in Anatolia (Anatolian farmer hypothesis).

In both cases, the language groups may involve either single Sprachbund or plural Sprachbünder (with a domino effect of bringing languages closer to each other before they are recorded than they were to start with).

Plus, some languages close to where Hebrews lived, may at Babel have been left with more similarities to it, like feminines in -t for Egyptian or lots of words for Akkadian, so as to give Hebrews a better chance of communicating with neighbours.

Plus, some languages close to where Hebrews lived may have resulted from neighbours after Babel adopting Hebrew with more or less intensity as auxiliary language.

I think all of these hypotheses are linguistically at least as defensible as your proposal of a PAA 15000 BP.

“ Unless you reject Linguistics along with Physics, Geology and Biology, the scientific explain should prevail here.”

I am rejecting none of these fields as such, but I am rejecting the scientist ideology of admitting “scientific explanations” (as in non-miraculous and non-catastrofic) only.

Daniel Ross
Just now
We clearly disagree fundamentally. I now acknowledge that. I cannot imagine a productive debate when basic science is considered optional. If you don’t believe science over religion, I can’t convince you.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
"basic science"

In my view, it is basic science that a long A sometimes becomes an O, it is also basic science that a long O sometimes becomes an A (except it involves a certain reliance on PIE hypothesis, as involving a comparison of Slavonic to PIE and Celtic to PIE).

That a PIE language existed, rather than several coalescing ones, that a Proto-Afro-Asiatic language existed, rather than several coalescing ones may or may not be science, but it is certainly not "basic" in any sense of the word.

"If you don’t believe science over religion, I can’t convince you."

You have just admitted that to you, science is not just a method, among others, but your religion.

You have also admitted that your arguments against me do not depend on linguistic science as such, on proofs I would admit as a fellow linguist (though undergraduate), but on this religion of scientism.

Thank you for being candid.

More
added somewhat later

Daniel Ross
23m ago
I believe in evidence and analysis over faith. So that is a belief, but only a very basic one, that I hope to find the best answer given all of the available information, rather than just believing. That’s what faith is. And I’m not telling you to change your perspective.

I had decided to edit my comment to respond to a couple points above to clarify some details, so I’ll just put those quick comments here:

“Greek is no older than Slavonic” — Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. It doesn’t matter which was written first. (That’s like telling me that because we observed Mars first, but observed Pluto only much later with powerful telescopes, that somehow Pluto is younger than Mars.)

“…no more linguistically proven than the Indo-European group all descending from PIE” — Yes. And evolution is no more a theory than gravity. I don’t reject either. Even if somehow you are right and for example the Celtic languages are not really related to the others, it would be absurd to think that there is no shared ancestor of at least Greek and Latin for example. The fact that we don’t know everything doesn’t mean that we don’t know anything.

“A scenario of old earth, evolution, and natural linguistics only would give that result, but that is incompatible with Christianity.” — Indeed.

What I find confusing about your answer is that you talk about sound change as evidence for your perspective, but then reject the conclusions of sound change as applied comparatively, but only to the extent that they conflict with your pre-determined religious perspective. In other words, you consider scientific methods appropriate and useful as long as but only to the extent that you do not conflict with your assumptions based on religion. I do not share such a ‘blind faith’ perspective.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
"I believe in evidence and analysis over faith."

I believe in evidence and analysis over BLIND faith (not a characteristic of fundamentalism, btw, and yes, you made the accusation lower down).

I also believe the best evidence can only be had BY faith.

You can gather physical evidence at Waterloo, but it is faith in a narrative which proves Napoleon lost that battle.

So, if you believe in modern analyses over ancient narrative, I disagree, it is not just a religious, but also simply a methodological disagreement.

"So that is a belief, but only a very basic one,"

Not really, it involves so many unstated premisses it is a very convoluted one, when analysed. And here I prefer my analysis over your narrative.

"that I hope to find the best answer given all of the available information, rather than just believing. That’s what faith is."

No. Faith means believing something because one expects the source to know better than oneself. Simple as that. When I learned Latin, I several times believed, because I expected my Latin professor to know Latin better than I.

THAT is all that faith is.

"“Greek is no older than Slavonic” — Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. It doesn’t matter which was written first."

On the view there is no linguistic difference between Latin and Italian, I presume. For the language learner and the philologist wanting to read a text, it is perhaps better to repeat "la rosa, della rosa, alla rosa, la rosa, le rose, delle rose, alle rose, le rose" than "rosa, rosae, rosae, rosam, rosa, rosa, rosae, rosarum, rosis, rosas, rosae, rosis" if you are heading for reading Dante's Divina Commedia or Vita Nuova. And inverse, if you want to read his De vulgari eloquentia and (which I don't recommend) De Monarchia.

"That’s like telling me that because we observed Mars first, but observed Pluto only much later with powerful telescopes, that somehow Pluto is younger than Mars."

Pluto and Mars are presumably not changing, like Latin to Italian.

"Yes. And evolution is no more a theory than gravity."

I am not sure Newtonian gravity is correct, though supported at least apparently by the moon landing (if genuine).

I am sure evolution of all life forms from a common ancestor is incorrect.

"Even if somehow you are right and for example the Celtic languages are not really related to the others, it would be absurd to think that there is no shared ancestor of at least Greek and Latin for example."

Greek and Latin are close enough in space during a crucial time to have lots of "Balkan features". In fact, Greek and Latin vocabulary are close partly due to loans, and very early ones, and linguists who do believe in the PIE hypothesis are actually considering Armenian, not Latin, as closest relative of Greek.

And Latin is far closer to Celtic than to Greek, except in the "Classical" vocabulary.

"The fact that we don’t know everything doesn’t mean that we don’t know anything."

What we DO know is that with naturalistic means, there are TWO options, proto-language, as for Romance, but further back, OR Sprachbund, like for Balkan group, also further back.

This could also involve several Sprachbünder.

[overlapping or successive]

"What I find confusing about your answer is that you talk about sound change as evidence for your perspective, but then reject the conclusions of sound change as applied comparatively, but only to the extent that they conflict with your pre-determined religious perspective."

Learn to read - i e other kinds or argumentational genres than your own.

I find a certain extent of sound change resulting in several mergers proof of one language being derived of another.

I am less into Afro-Asiatic linguistics, and to the best of my knowledge the extent of sound change attributed to Hebrew from Proto-Semitic (which on your view would possibly qualify as Hebrew, since you uphold identity on some level of Latin and Italian?) insufficient to prove Hebrew as being derived from an older language stage.

Note, several mergers are pretty clear indications of what direction a sound change has gone.

But in several other cases, it can be really "anyone's guess" vs "academic orthodoxy" which direction a sound change went. I concluded, tentatively, there could be insufficient evidence for Hebrew being derived.

“In other words, you consider scientific methods appropriate and useful as long as but only to the extent that you do not conflict with your assumptions based on religion.”

You presumably consider historic narrative as appropriate and useful as long as not contradicting your analyses …

“ I do not share such a ‘blind faith’ perspective.”

Dito.

Daniel Ross
1m ago
The problem re: “blind faith” is that your analysis is guided by your beliefs, rather than the other way around. The question goes like “How can evolution exist within the parameters established by the Bible?” rather than “Do Darwin’s observations and the centuries of research that follow lead us to conclude that the Bible was basically correct about how the world works?”

You are trying to find ways to poke holes in scientific analyses guided by your pre-existing objections. “Given religion, what else does science explain?” or “How can we change this scientific theory so that it does not conflict with my existing beliefs?” That’s what I meant.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
Which belief comes first is actually less important than which is better supported.

The formulation you propose is : “Do Darwin’s observations and the centuries of research that follow lead us to conclude that the Bible was basically correct about how the world works?”

This is as much suggesting that Bible is insecure as the other one is suggesting modern research as published and synthesised by evolutionists is insecure.

The real test is, who of us can take in most attested or otherwise indisputable facts and who is forced to explain away.

ANYONE will certainly change a theory that conflicts with what he believes in, like Evolutionist linguists are tampering with the not only theory but historical narrative of Babel.

The real question is, who is really most reasonable in doing so.

You seem to be taking the question away from a linguistic debate, to a meta debate which you think you know how it goes and think you have already won.

Is that because you really think on linguistics as such you have already lost?

Daniel Ross
13m ago
“Which belief comes first is actually less important than which is better supported.” No, that is incorrect. Finding the best way to support your beliefs is not the same as finding the best explanation in general.

That is a common statistical error, for example. If you have some data and run 100 statistical tests on it, then you find one to be “significant”, you cannot interpret it to show anything because you were just fishing for answers in the data and found one coincidence. Statistical tests must be determined before you collect the data to avoid that kind of bias.

In your case, the problem is that you have already decided on the answers (if not, please explain how you would become certain that God does not exist), and are trying to find ways to support your conclusion.

There is no point in doing science at all if you already ‘know’ (believe) the answers. There is a point if you want to discover the answers.

I’m sorry… I can’t keep going with this. I find your assumptions as evidence arguments to be too amusing to even really argue about them seriously.

I just keep reading some points you make as if they said “That’s like saying the earth is round!” but you want me to viscerally reject such a premise.

And now we’re down the rabbit hole of arguing about religion on the internet. Never a good idea, and I don’t think it’s ever convinced anyone of anything…
Oops.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
"Finding the best way to support your beliefs is not the same as finding the best explanation in general."

But I am not finding the best way to support them, I am just finding the best way to defend them. AND the rest of what is clearly fact and not disputable hypothesis.

You are still preferring the metadiscussion of scientific methodology and attributing to me beginners errors which are ridiculous.

I would report your comment if I were into the Bunny-Bear fanatics, and I thought the judges would be impartial.

"That is a common statistical error, for example."

Statistics is a completely other matter.

[Moreoever, looking for one stat test among several to best support one's thesis is another thing than what I mentioned, one thesis being supported by most and most relevant stats tests!]

"If you have some data and run 100 statistical tests on it, then you find one to be “significant”, you cannot interpret it to show anything because you were just fishing for answers in the data and found one coincidence. Statistical tests must be determined before you collect the data to avoid that kind of bias."

I totally agree. This is also how I do when I do statistics.

Here statistics is not very relevant for any question.

Statistics can prove there is a relationship between IE langs internally and a (usually) looser one between them and Fenno-Ugrian. They cannot determine which explanation of closeness is the better one.

Beyond a certain degree of closeness, common proto-lang is not guaranteed. See Balkan.

"In your case, the problem is that you have already decided on the answers (if not, please explain how you would become certain that God does not exist), and are trying to find ways to support your conclusion."

I am very much NOT engaging in any doubt of Christianity when I do linguistics any more than you are engaging in any doubt of your scepticism when you do it.

This illustrates, when a scientist or scholar, whatever type or degree searches for the "best explanations" his criterion of "best" is determined by criteria of his belief, outside the specific field of study.

If you want to play fair, how would YOU become certain the earth was young and there had been a carbon rise leading to older carbon dates being inflated?

"There is no point in doing science at all if you already ‘know’ (believe) the answers. There is a point if you want to discover the answers."

Oh, definitely. But the question on whether a date like 15000 years ago existed is NOT a linguistic answer. You are discovering linguistic answers compatible with your belief that date existed and man was already rather old back then, I am discovering linguistic answers compatible with Christianity.

But in linguistics and in carbon dating, from this belief guided search criterium, I am actually not knowing the answers in advance, I am actually discovering answers. Probably more then you, because you are no pioneer.

"I find your assumptions as evidence arguments to be too amusing to even really argue about them seriously."

You are treating your own assumption that IE depends on PIE proto-language as evidence of how long ago this non-attested language was spoken.

"I just keep reading some points you make as if they said “That’s like saying the earth is round!” but you want me to viscerally reject such a premise."

No, I want you NOT to viscerally affirm such a comparison.

Earth being round can be tested around it and in the present. It can be virtually tested by communicating with people in diverse time zones per internet.

Earth being 4.5 billion years old cannot be so tested. Its "test" depends on several unknowns where your set of scientists have been precisely taking their assumptions as evidence.

"And now we’re down the rabbit hole of arguing about religion on the internet. Never a good idea, and I don’t think it’s ever convinced anyone of anything…"

I am as fit for such rabbit holes as Tim in Famous Five!

I hope this debate can reach some hitherto undecided or who had decided for your point of view until they caught your arguing for it, and convince THEM if not you.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
B
Just now
“The earth, and languages, are demonstrably older than 6,000 years (etc.).”

Oh, by the way, holding with LXX chronology, I obviously am agreeing earth is about 1200 to 1500 years older than that.

But I sense that is not the exact time scope you meant …

Also, LXX chronology is relevant for diverse languages not so much at 5199 BC, creation, as 2551 BC, end of Babel.

[Considering St Jerome as LXX without second Cainan, posing on that ground birth of Peleg at 401 after Flood, and beginning and end of Babel event 5 and 45 years after birth of Peleg - though this is from a tradition which could be an error attached to the other post-Flood chronology.]

More
added somewhat later

Daniel Ross
17m ago
I simply do not see how those things can be relevant to a linguistic perspective on the age of languages. They would be relevant to an answer about what (some) Christians believe.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
Well, I don’t see how believing in 15 000 years ago as an existing date is relevant to a linguistic perspective on the age of languages. They would be relevant to an answer on what some Evolutionists believe.

However, in your case, you have Evolutionist ideology disguised as Linguistic “facts”.

Daniel Ross
2m ago
Let’s say I told you I have a book that says human languages were a gift from Martians. Let’s say I believed that book. Would that be a valid answer to this question?

The problem is that your book is not objectively different from such a book. It is just a book that says things. You believe it. Others don’t. I’m not saying your book is less important than the one I made up above. But it has no inherent, objective truth, except to those who already believe it. (Even if you’re right.)

As for the oldness of languages, how can the oldness of humans, the earth, etc., not be relevant to that question?

You can interpret the word “linguistically” in the question loosely (as in “related to languages”), but I’m suggesting it is as in “In the study of Linguistics”, where religion is not relevant.

Here are the basic facts:

We can easily find linguistic relationships that are 6,000 years old. We can also find some relationships that are at least a little older than that. It doesn’t need to be 15,000. Let’s say 8,000. Or just 6,001.

A scientist observes data and tries to find the best explanation.

A believer tries to line up data to meet those beliefs.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
“A scientist observes data and tries to find the best explanation.A believer tries to line up data to meet those beliefs.”

Every scientist is a believer, and considers certain explanations best in view of his beliefs.

"Let’s say I told you I have a book that says human languages were a gift from Martians. Let’s say I believed that book. Would that be a valid answer to this question?"

What book would you have it from? A sci fi novel?

"The problem is that your book is not objectively different from such a book."

Wrong, it is a narrative which has traditionally been taken as historic, which yours has not.

"You believe it. Others don’t."

Well, this precisely proves it has traditionally, by one of the traditions, been taken as historic. Since a sci fi novel is a novel, no one is believing it, or next to no one, and it is not a traditional narrative which could go back to the facts.

"But it has no inherent, objective truth, except to those who already believe it. (Even if you’re right.)"

False. Genesis is not a novel, even if most of it is a family saga.

This being so, if you suppose it originated as a novel, you have to account for it having somehow been mistaken for fact later on.

We are two thousand years after Lucan wrote "a true history" and I still don't see people taking that early sci fi novel for fact.

"As for the oldness of languages, how can the oldness of humans, the earth, etc., not be relevant to that question?"

The problem is not irrelevance. The problem is that the available answers depend on factors other than linguistics, so either answer depends on extra-linguistic factors.

"You can interpret the word “linguistically” in the question loosely (as in “related to languages”), but I’m suggesting it is as in “In the study of Linguistics”, where religion is not relevant."

That depends on what you term "study of linguistics". If anything before Bopp and Grimm and anything outside your circle shunning creationists is taken as "outside linguistics" you are obviously right by definition.

But if by study of linguistics you mean a rational study of languages, you are wrong.

"Here are the basic facts:"

No, far reaching conclusions, involving extra-linguistic factoids I reject on extra-linguistic grounds.

"We can easily find linguistic relationships that are 6,000 years old."

Meaning, no surprise here, relationship of IE language community.

How do you prove the relationship is 6000 years old? Do you have a corpus of text in strict PIE, continuously making equivalents of Anglo-Saxon chronicle from 6000 years ago to this day? No, you don't.

What you DO have is:

  • a real series of similarities between in each case several, usually not all languages belonging to the group
  • these similarities being both disguised and affirmed by sound correspondences with some but not total regularity

    And these two facts I do not dispute, note this well.

  • A hypothesis the reason for their similarity is in proto-language (like Latin for Romance) rather than in Sprachbund (like Balkan area for Balkanic languages).

    This hypothesis I do not share, and the founder of Balkan linguistics as cited by my Professor in Greek did also not share it.

  • A diversity of IE languages as far back as 2000 - 1500 BC (Hittite and Mycenean Greek)

    This, again, I do not dispute. I do however dispute exact dates, and think carbon dated 2000 BC is even younger than 1700 BC - based in identifying Joseph in Egypt with Imhotep and comparing Biblical date for Joseph with carbon date for Djoser, Imhotep's Pharao.

  • An analysis of this diversity according to the question how far back before Mycenan Greek and Hittite the hypothetic proto-language must have been (say, even without added archaeological evidence, at least 3000 BC, I suppose, from looking at language change in oberved and written languages, if the date for Hittite were correct).

    This, once again, I do dispute. It is rather a question of how far back Iavanites and Ludites were speaking very different things and how quickly they coalesced incompletely around common vocabulary and grammatic features.

    Greece has been either in or just outside Hittite Empire. Coalescing linguistic features by adstrate or superstrate not at all to be excluded.

    [It's not binary, parts of Greek could have been in, parts of Greece outside it.]

  • An analysis of common vocabulary in IE leading to hypothesis on where homeland would have been.

    A rather flimsy approach, I'd say. Lacks of certain vocabulary features could also be from lack of proto-language in the first place.

  • A carbon dating of the Kurgan culture.

    And I obviously think a 6000 BP carbon date is inflated, we are dealing with a post-Babel era in which carbon 14 level was lower.

  • An identification of Kurgan culture (and its wrong carbon date) with the culture speaking the vocabulary of hypothetic proto-language.

    Now we are way beyond "basic fact" and into the clearly tenuous.

    Others have, on the contrary, an even older date, based on identifying IE spread with spread of Anatolian farming. Apart from carbon date being even more wrong, I find this hypothesis better and also better fits my requirement of Sprachbund.

    And similar things could be said of Proto-Semitic.


"We can also find some relationships that are at least a little older than that."

Er, supposing you mean older than PIE, that would be sth like Nostratic, "common ancestor" also to Fenno-Ugrian.

The alternative, we are dealing with a dilution of the Balkan effect - takes less time, right? Just takes being a little more peripheral, right?

And I suppose you could say similar things on Afro-Asiatic.

Daniel Ross
13m ago
“Every scientist is a believer, and considers certain explanations best in view of his beliefs.” No. That does not describe a good scientist.

“The alternative, we are dealing with a dilution of the Balkan effect - takes less time, right? Just takes being a little more peripheral, right?” No. Contact and shared origins look different. It’s the job of a (historical) linguist to figure out which applies in a given scenario. It can sometimes be difficult, especially with an extreme time depth (well beyond 6,000 years ago). But it’s not just ‘six of one, half a dozen of the other’. The only reason you say that is because you think you already know the answer and are looking to linguistics as a way to verify your assumptions rather than explore the data for possibilities.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Just now
“That does not describe a good scientist”

Name one good scientist it doesn’t describe, I’ll probably prove your assessment of him wrong.

“No. Contact and shared origins look different.”

The Balkan languages of IE family share features according to your hypothesis of both types.

The different look could be from different duration of a feature spreading by contact.

“The only reason you say that is because you think you already know the answer and are looking to linguistics as a way to verify your assumptions rather than explore the data for possibilities.”

Dito, you are using IE protolang as a stick to beat the Bible with, rather than looking for possibilities.

mardi 21 novembre 2017

Shouldn't all ancient civilizations have had a concept of the Christian God and the garden of Eden story? (Quora)


Q
If Adam and Eve existed and we are all descendants of them, then shouldn't all ancient civilizations have had a concept of the Christian God and the garden of Eden story?
https://www.quora.com/If-Adam-and-Eve-existed-and-we-are-all-descendants-of-them-then-shouldnt-all-ancient-civilizations-have-had-a-concept-of-the-Christian-God-and-the-garden-of-Eden-story


ARq
Answer requested by Kelly Spears

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Self Employed at Writer and Composer
Answered 1h ago
Let us extend this a bit.

Here is the question as posed:

"If Adam and Eve existed and we are all descendants of them, then shouldn't all ancient civilizations have had a concept of the Christian God and the garden of Eden story?"

Now, it is not just Adam and Eve, but also Cain and Abel, Nephilim and Pre-Flood violence involving Giants, pre-Flood iniquity probably involving magic, Cainite line up to Tubal-Cain and Sethite line up to Noah and his wife and his three sons and his three daughters in law (many say that Ham married Noema, the sister of Tubal-Cain) and the Flood and the Ark and some "small wars" (?) that seemed great between Flood and Babel AND Babel which are all of them part in one way or another of everyone's cultural background.

Hebrews (descendants of Jacob Israel, namely Christians, Jews and Samarians, all Christians being Hebrews by adoption if not by blood heritage) are the ones which kept all of this together, and some of the other peoples kept some memories, some other of them others.

Most of the others went away from the one true God to serve many gods, and the most common distortion of above, what is known as Original Revelation, God's acts with mankind before the split between Hebrews and Pagans, is forgetting that God is one.

But with this in mind, I don't think you could find many cultures around the world which do not in some fashion recall one or other of above. The most common memory is probably the Flood.

This does not mean every culture of necessity remembers the Flood, since some deliberately tried to forget about it, for one reason or another.

Here is some reconstruction of my own, on identifying such traces:

I suppose for instance that Mahabharata took place in pre-Flood times, was a world war involving nukes (remember, Uranium is an element, not a synthetic compound, and needs a critical mass, that is about it) in a culture with a higher technology than the post-Flood one.

This was probably a war between the children of Jabal (named Pandavas, and the Pandavas going into the woods being a standin for shepherding and living in tents without agriculture, a lifestyle unknown to Indians composing the poem), supported by their uncle Jubal, presumably a bit swarthier in hue and dubbed "Kush" among friends, (it is Krishna in Sanskrit), against their cousins, the children of Tubal-Cain (named Kauravas in the poem).

Meanwhile, Neanderthals were using Europe and North West Asia as a backwood country and their lifestyle would have struck any Nodian as that of remaining Palaeolithic cultures strike us. The heritage we have of that people, biologically, is presumably because Japheth or perhaps Sem married a "halfe-caste" Neanderthal. The Nodian culture their contemporary has not yet been found by archaeology, unless deliberately hidden away.

After the Flood, Ham's children and grandchildren were presumably mostly fans of Nimrod, or the man known to us as Nimrod, especially those of Kush (the Biblical Kush), named after nickname of his half uncle Jubal. And presumably Kush's son Regmah or Ramah (Biblical) got some valuable help from him, notably in saving his wife from kidnappers, before settling where Flood layers had covered Nodian realms, in Hindukush.

This help is recorded in Ramayana, with Nimrod featuring presumably as Hanuman (or that monkey in Hanuman's army who was the architect of that bridge, Nimrod being a great architect).

Later, sending in men on occasion to the general HQ of mankind, in Göbekli Tepe, became a bit over the top in the taste of Regma's children, while initially accomplices of Nimrod, they took their distance.

It would have worked out like this:

  • 1) delete memory of Flood - Flood being cited by Nimrod as the main hasard in order to avoid which the Tower of Babel project (in my view a try to recover pre-Flood technology and launch a three step rocket to Heaven, but Nimrod would have tried it with Uranium, if getting the chance), this means that one takes a distance from Nimrod's ideology (they had already with him taken a distance from Noachic truth, that God was anyway never going to repeat the Flood)
  • 2) problem, Flood came between Mahabharata and Ramayana
  • 3) solution, insert lots of time between them and even invert them
  • 4) bonus, with Mahabharata matters supposedly later, one could paint one's own élite as directly coming from "Kush", sorry, Babel took an end yesterday, "Krishna" and his friend Arjunah (whatever that is in Hebrew original, as spoken in pre-Flood)


This meant also to insert pre-Flood history as history between Ramayana and Mahabharata, and so, other item on the "to-forget-list" the distinction between Sethites and Cainites was erased in favour of a single, basically mostly Nodian, golden age culture. This means the two Henoch, the city-founder (well, technically he only gave his name to a city his father founded) and the God pleasing prophet who was taken up, are recalled as one and same Bharat.

If you think a purely Pagan culture is not able to make a deliberate forgetfulness of an irksome fact, just recall there were 400 years between Trojan War and Homer, and back when it happened, there were Hittites, whose national and imperial identity is nowhere directly seen in any work of Homer. The one memory of them that is linguistically most direct is probably the word Hethos, back then, which, by "dissimilation of aspirates" became Ethos. I suppose that tax collecting and tax evasion was about equally irksome to them, and therefore:

  • Ethos remained as (originally) a condemnation of tax evasion,
  • Hittites as such (and their tax burden) were forgot,
  • the one memory of that tax burden being the shunning of Linear B, considered in a passage of Homer as "semata lugra" (baleful signs).


In Egyptian and Norse myth, there is a conflation of creation and Flood. In Egyptian and Sumerian myth, Adam and Eve are forgotten in favour of an ideology that mankind was created not as a couple and a family, but as a city, collectively, to work. You can imagine how such a mythological twist might be useful for Nimrodians.

And so on, for a lot of other cultures, and I am not saying I have all or even half of the solutions along above lines, but I am confident they would mainly exist.

Q
How does the Mormon Church explain the lack of archaeological evidence of a large, gentrified civilization in prehistoric North America?
https://www.quora.com/How-does-the-Mormon-Church-explain-the-lack-of-archaeological-evidence-of-a-large-gentrified-civilization-in-prehistoric-North-America/answer/Hans-Georg-Lundahl


ARq
Answer requested by Kelly Spears

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Self Employed at Writer and Composer
Answered 11m ago
Why don’t you ask a Mormon?


Update:

Q
If the Adam and Eve narrative is universal, why do we only find it in one source?
https://www.quora.com/If-the-Adam-and-Eve-narrative-is-universal-why-do-we-only-find-it-in-one-source


This question previously had details. They are now in a comment.

Wouldn't such event leave more traces? How would a sincere creationist answer such a question?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Studied religions as curious parallels and contrasts to Xtian faith since 9, 10?
Answered just now
We don’t actually.

Adam and Eve being first two humans is in Hebrew and Hebrew-dependent Arabic story, but also in Norse one.

Adam being first man is also found (in another way, prehuman) in Norse one, as well as in Hindoo one.

First humans being blissful and then losing the bliss due to transgression is also found more than once, both Hindoo and Greek.

A FULL preservation of ALL the story would have involved too obvious hints to some that their ideoloogies were Satanic (think, for instance, snake worshippers). Parts were deliberately forgotten.

EDIT, responding to details : “Wouldn't such event leave more traces? How would a sincere creationist answer such a question?”

Trojan War was while Hattusha still stood or within a decade or two after it fell. Priam and Agamemnon must have known about Hittites, Priam or both might have been Hittite vassals. B U T 400 years later, Homer did not know of the Hittites. Deliberate forgetfulness is my diagnosis.

mercredi 15 novembre 2017

How wrong was Aristotle?


Day before yesterday, I saw this on CMI:

In the 4th century BC, Aristotle described the water cycle more accurately, but like Thales, remained convinced that subterranean water was the main source of stream flow. He wrote that it was absurd “if one were to suppose that rivers drew all their water from the sources we see (for most rivers do flow from springs).”1

Referring to Thales, Plato, and Aristotle, Dooge writes, “A common error in all their thinking was the firm conviction that rainfall was not sufficient to provide the flow of springs and rivers.”2 This mistake was perpetuated well into the following centuries. Leonardo da Vinci (writing just after AD 1500) pondered on the underground mechanisms that would lift water into the mountains. And Galileo (around AD 1600) said that he was personally frustrated because he couldn’t understand the source of stream flow.

A correct understanding of the water cycle didn’t emerge until late in the 17th century. In 1674, Pierre Perrault published his research on the water cycle.3 “He presented a study of a substantial section of the Seine River, beginning at its source, northwest of the city of Dijon. Using numerical estimates, he demonstrated that the river runoff annually amounted to only one-sixth of the volume of water falling over the drainage basin as rain or snow in a year.”4

In determining this, a more complete understanding of the hydrologic cycle finally emerged.

From : CMI : The water cycle
by Ron Neller
https://creation.com/water-cycle


And footnote 1 is Aristotle, Meteorology, Book 1, Part 13, 350 BC, Tr. E.W. Webster.

Now, I think I owe some Aristotelians - including today's Saint, Albert the Great, teacher of St Thomas Aquinas, for very long accused of having written books of Magic (which are arguably not by him) and therefore canonised very recently, by Pius XI - to check out that section and find out precisely how wrong or nearly right Aristotle was.

Part 13

Let us explain the nature of winds, and all windy vapours, also of rivers and of the sea. But here, too, we must first discuss the difficulties involved: for, as in other matters, so in this no theory has been handed down to us that the most ordinary man could not have thought of.

Some say that what is called air, when it is in motion and flows, is wind, and that this same air when it condenses again becomes cloud and water, implying that the nature of wind and water is the same. So they define wind as a motion of the air. Hence some, wishing to say a clever thing, assert that all the winds are one wind, because the air that moves is in fact all of it one and the same; they maintain that the winds appear to differ owing to the region from which the air may happen to flow on each occasion, but really do not differ at all. This is just like thinking that all rivers are one and the same river, and the ordinary unscientific view is better than a scientific theory like this. If all rivers flow from one source, and the same is true in the case of the winds, there might be some truth in this theory; but if it is no more true in the one case than in the other, this ingenious idea is plainly false. What requires investigation is this: the nature of wind and how it originates, its efficient cause and whence they derive their source; whether one ought to think of the wind as issuing from a sort of vessel and flowing until the vessel is empty, as if let out of a wineskin, or, as painters represent the winds, as drawing their source from themselves.

We find analogous views about the origin of rivers. It is thought that the water is raised by the sun and descends in rain and gathers below the earth and so flows from a great reservoir, all the rivers from one, or each from a different one. No water at all is generated, but the volume of the rivers consists of the water that is gathered into such reservoirs in winter. Hence rivers are always fuller in winter than in summer, and some are perennial, others not. Rivers are perennial where the reservoir is large and so enough water has collected in it to last out and not be used up before the winter rain returns. Where the reservoirs are smaller there is less water in the rivers, and they are dried up and their vessel empty before the fresh rain comes on.

But if any one will picture to himself a reservoir adequate to the water that is continuously flowing day by day, and consider the amount of the water, it is obvious that a receptacle that is to contain all the water that flows in the year would be larger than the earth, or, at any rate, not much smaller.

Though it is evident that many reservoirs of this kind do exist in many parts of the earth, yet it is unreasonable for any one to refuse to admit that air becomes water in the earth for the same reason as it does above it. If the cold causes the vaporous air to condense into water above the earth we must suppose the cold in the earth to produce this same effect, and recognize that there not only exists in it and flows out of it actually formed water, but that water is continually forming in it too.

Again, even in the case of the water that is not being formed from day to day but exists as such, we must not suppose as some do that rivers have their source in definite subterranean lakes. On the contrary, just as above the earth small drops form and these join others, till finally the water descends in a body as rain, so too we must suppose that in the earth the water at first trickles together little by little, and that the sources of the rivers drip, as it were, out of the earth and then unite. This is proved by facts. When men construct an aqueduct they collect the water in pipes and trenches, as if the earth in the higher ground were sweating the water out. Hence, too, the head-waters of rivers are found to flow from mountains, and from the greatest mountains there flow the most numerous and greatest rivers. Again, most springs are in the neighbourhood of mountains and of high ground, whereas if we except rivers, water rarely appears in the plains. For mountains and high ground, suspended over the country like a saturated sponge, make the water ooze out and trickle together in minute quantities but in many places. They receive a great deal of water falling as rain (for it makes no difference whether a spongy receptacle is concave and turned up or convex and turned down: in either case it will contain the same volume of matter) and, they also cool the vapour that rises and condense it back into water.

Hence, as we said, we find that the greatest rivers flow from the greatest mountains. This can be seen by looking at itineraries: what is recorded in them consists either of things which the writer has seen himself or of such as he has compiled after inquiry from those who have seen them.

In Asia we find that the most numerous and greatest rivers flow from the mountain called Parnassus, admittedly the greatest of all mountains towards the south-east. When you have crossed it you see the outer ocean, the further limit of which is unknown to the dwellers in our world. Besides other rivers there flow from it the Bactrus, the Choaspes, the Araxes: from the last a branch separates off and flows into lake Maeotis as the Tanais. From it, too, flows the Indus, the volume of whose stream is greatest of all rivers. From the Caucasus flows the Phasis, and very many other great rivers besides. Now the Caucasus is the greatest of the mountains that lie to the northeast, both as regards its extent and its height. A proof of its height is the fact that it can be seen from the so-called 'deeps' and from the entrance to the lake. Again, the sun shines on its peaks for a third part of the night before sunrise and again after sunset. Its extent is proved by the fact that thought contains many inhabitable regions which are occupied by many nations and in which there are said to be great lakes, yet they say that all these regions are visible up to the last peak. From Pyrene (this is a mountain towards the west in Celtice) there flow the Istrus and the Tartessus. The latter flows outside the pillars, while the Istrus flows through all Europe into the Euxine. Most of the remaining rivers flow northwards from the Hercynian mountains, which are the greatest in height and extent about that region. In the extreme north, beyond furthest Scythia, are the mountains called Rhipae. The stories about their size are altogether too fabulous: however, they say that the most and (after the Istrus) the greatest rivers flow from them. So, too, in Libya there flow from the Aethiopian mountains the Aegon and the Nyses; and from the so-called Silver Mountain the two greatest of named rivers, the river called Chremetes that flows into the outer ocean, and the main source of the Nile. Of the rivers in the Greek world, the Achelous flows from Pindus, the Inachus from the same mountain; the Strymon, the Nestus, and the Hebrus all three from Scombrus; many rivers, too, flow from Rhodope.

All other rivers would be found to flow in the same way, but we have mentioned these as examples. Even where rivers flow from marshes, the marshes in almost every case are found to lie below mountains or gradually rising ground.

It is clear then that we must not suppose rivers to originate from definite reservoirs: for the whole earth, we might almost say, would not be sufficient (any more than the region of the clouds would be) if we were to suppose that they were fed by actually existing water only and it were not the case that as some water passed out of existence some more came into existence, but rivers always drew their stream from an existing store. Secondly, the fact that rivers rise at the foot of mountains proves that a place transmits the water it contains by gradual percolation of many drops, little by little, and that this is how the sources of rivers originate. However, there is nothing impossible about the existence of such places containing a quantity of water like lakes: only they cannot be big enough to produce the supposed effect. To think that they are is just as absurd as if one were to suppose that rivers drew all their water from the sources we see (for most rivers do flow from springs). So it is no more reasonable to suppose those lakes to contain the whole volume of water than these springs.

That there exist such chasms and cavities in the earth we are taught by the rivers that are swallowed up. They are found in many parts of the earth: in the Peloponnesus, for instance, there are many such rivers in Arcadia. The reason is that Arcadia is mountainous and there are no channels from its valleys to the sea. So these places get full of water, and this, having no outlet, under the pressure of the water that is added above, finds a way out for itself underground. In Greece this kind of thing happens on quite a small scale, but the lake at the foot of the Caucasus, which the inhabitants of these parts call a sea, is considerable. Many great rivers fall into it and it has no visible outlet but issues below the earth off the land of the Coraxi about the so-called 'deeps of Pontus'. This is a place of unfathomable depth in the sea: at any rate no one has yet been able to find bottom there by sounding. At this spot, about three hundred stadia from land, there comes up sweet water over a large area, not all of it together but in three places. And in Liguria a river equal in size to the Rhodanus is swallowed up and appears again elsewhere: the Rhodanus being a navigable river.

From Meteorology, Book I
Translated by E. W. Webster
http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/meteorology.1.i.html


Now, let us break this down a bit.

Let us explain the nature of winds, and all windy vapours, also of rivers and of the sea. But here, too, we must first discuss the difficulties involved: for, as in other matters, so in this no theory has been handed down to us that the most ordinary man could not have thought of.


OK, this means, in the status of a question, Aristotle is taking into account ALL theories traditional, including that of common men. Looks like sth scientists could learn from.

Some say that what is called air, when it is in motion and flows, is wind, and that this same air when it condenses again becomes cloud and water, implying that the nature of wind and water is the same. So they define wind as a motion of the air. Hence some, wishing to say a clever thing, assert that all the winds are one wind, because the air that moves is in fact all of it one and the same; they maintain that the winds appear to differ owing to the region from which the air may happen to flow on each occasion, but really do not differ at all. This is just like thinking that all rivers are one and the same river, and the ordinary unscientific view is better than a scientific theory like this. If all rivers flow from one source, and the same is true in the case of the winds, there might be some truth in this theory; but if it is no more true in the one case than in the other, this ingenious idea is plainly false. What requires investigation is this: the nature of wind and how it originates, its efficient cause and whence they derive their source; whether one ought to think of the wind as issuing from a sort of vessel and flowing until the vessel is empty, as if let out of a wineskin, or, as painters represent the winds, as drawing their source from themselves.


He gives us 5 things here:

  • 1) Some think wind and water are the same thing (he is not disagreeing with that), air turning into water by condensation (literally thickening)
  • 2) Some push this to all winds being one wind, and he disagrees with that : here a scientist or philosopher has tried to say a clever thing, but his view is less worthwhile than the ordinary one - this means, ordinary man is sometimes superior, if not to all specialists past or present, at least to some (and presumably it could in certain times be to all specialists then and there or here and now, on a certain matter, in case such a man trying to say a clever thing has swayed most specialist). The refutation of this view is very simple : "you could just as well say all rivers are the same river".
  • 3) He gives an alternative : if all rivers / winds flow from same source, the clever thing is true, otherwise it is false. It looks as if he has clinched the case, but wait ...
  • 4) We must check out where winds draw their air from. Presumably he has already mentioned the "all winds are one wind" theory, now he gives alternatives : do winds flow out of containers, like wineskins? do they draw the air from themselves?
  • 5) As you see with imagery, he has no problem with preferring vivid images (wineskins, like the painters paint them) over dry and firm terminology.


We find analogous views about the origin of rivers. It is thought that the water is raised by the sun and descends in rain and gathers below the earth and so flows from a great reservoir, all the rivers from one, or each from a different one. No water at all is generated, but the volume of the rivers consists of the water that is gathered into such reservoirs in winter. Hence rivers are always fuller in winter than in summer, and some are perennial, others not. Rivers are perennial where the reservoir is large and so enough water has collected in it to last out and not be used up before the winter rain returns. Where the reservoirs are smaller there is less water in the rivers, and they are dried up and their vessel empty before the fresh rain comes on.


Let me highlight:

"It is thought that the water is raised by the sun and descends in rain and gathers below the earth and so flows from a great reservoir, all the rivers from one, or each from a different one. No water at all is generated, but the volume of the rivers consists of the water that is gathered ..."

In other words, the water cycle as now believed and as correctly described in the Bible is a common view in Aristotle's day.

Aristotle thinks it is wrong - he thinks it is wrong on the precise point of denying that water is routinely "condensed from air" both on high and below, under influence of coolness, as we shall see.

But the fact that Aristotle saw this as a common view did not absolutely determine his rejecting it. He has other reasons, as we shall see.

But if any one will picture to himself a reservoir adequate to the water that is continuously flowing day by day, and consider the amount of the water, it is obvious that a receptacle that is to contain all the water that flows in the year would be larger than the earth, or, at any rate, not much smaller.


Here he has a problem. He has no apparatus for directly measuring either water flow in rivers or water flow by rainfall. He resorts to imagining as a "virtual" measuring.

The thing is, his conclusion is, if "all the water that flows" means in all rivers taken together over earth, nearly correct, as we now understand things. The receptacle is not some limited reservoir cut off from the rest of the land. It is, instead, all of the land within each river's area of contributaries, between the ...

"A drainage divide, water divide, divide, ridgeline,[1] watershed, water parting, is the line that separates neighbouring drainage basins."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drainage_divide
[Too many wikipedia articles cited to give a link to each subsequent to his one. It would look cluttered and take extra time.]

And obviously, since the actual land is corrugated, the "reservoir" is indeed bigger, if not than Earth's actual surface as such (it cannot be bigger than itself), at least than the area on a flat map or a round globe, which does not take this "corrugation" into account.

Hence, the fault in Aristotle's imagined comparison.

Though it is evident that many reservoirs of this kind do exist in many parts of the earth, yet it is unreasonable for any one to refuse to admit that air becomes water in the earth for the same reason as it does above it. If the cold causes the vaporous air to condense into water above the earth we must suppose the cold in the earth to produce this same effect, and recognize that there not only exists in it and flows out of it actually formed water, but that water is continually forming in it too.


Ah, in other words, he is not contradicting the water cycle's known parts, he is just saying they don't suffice. Water must be "forming from air". He attributes rainfall to this. He probably has demonstrated it to his satisfaction in previous 12 parts of book one, or in some book on physics. He believes in a cycle of elements.

Again, even in the case of the water that is not being formed from day to day but exists as such, we must not suppose as some do that rivers have their source in definite subterranean lakes. On the contrary, just as above the earth small drops form and these join others, till finally the water descends in a body as rain, so too we must suppose that in the earth the water at first trickles together little by little, and that the sources of the rivers drip, as it were, out of the earth and then unite. This is proved by facts. When men construct an aqueduct they collect the water in pipes and trenches, as if the earth in the higher ground were sweating the water out. Hence, too, the head-waters of rivers are found to flow from mountains, and from the greatest mountains there flow the most numerous and greatest rivers. Again, most springs are in the neighbourhood of mountains and of high ground, whereas if we except rivers, water rarely appears in the plains. For mountains and high ground, suspended over the country like a saturated sponge, make the water ooze out and trickle together in minute quantities but in many places. They receive a great deal of water falling as rain (for it makes no difference whether a spongy receptacle is concave and turned up or convex and turned down: in either case it will contain the same volume of matter) and, they also cool the vapour that rises and condense it back into water.


Here, no modern would contradict his observation. Except, of course on the two points that water usually originates from air, and that this process also takes place in subterranean manner : while air containing water vapour would probably condensate in caves, this would, on the modern view, be a minute part of the rain fall, evaporating and condensating again.

Construction of aquaeducts was disused at beginning of Middle Ages, but I did not know it has originated so long before the greatness of Rome.

The reason for their disuse was, they were manned by slaves, and in the day of Clovis and Belisarius these proved unreliable. As the Early Middle Ages came on as a time of more and more war, aquaeducts were therefore quickly seen as a security hazard, and probably disused rather quickly.

A medieval reading this just had to take Aristotle's word for what usually happened in constructions of aquaeducts.

Hence, as we said, we find that the greatest rivers flow from the greatest mountains. This can be seen by looking at itineraries: what is recorded in them consists either of things which the writer has seen himself or of such as he has compiled after inquiry from those who have seen them.


This is one point in Aristotle, where modern scholars would frown : he is content to compile from itineraries, knowing they are themselves compilations.

But while frowning, they often do so without telling us.

While J. P. Holding would tell me "wikipedia is for idiots", presumably some of the experts (on another matter, NT scholarship) he prefers to them will at one point or another have compiled rather than make own observations (as in reading relevant texts), whether wikipedia or other (some of which are less reliable, since liable to depend on some scholars abusing their position to "try to say a clever thing", while a wikipedian article can receive corrections from outside such charmed circles).

Aristotle relies on compilations, and he gives them due credit.

In Asia we find that the most numerous and greatest rivers flow from the mountain called Parnassus, admittedly the greatest of all mountains towards the south-east.


Checking English wiki:

"Parnassus is one of the largest mountainous regions of Mainland Greece and one of the highest Greek mountains. It spreads over three municipalities, namely of Boeotia, Phthiotis and Phocis, where its largest part lies."

Was Aristotle counting Balkan as Asia? Or is some word, like "West of..." missing?

Or did he mean another very great mountain in Asia, which a copyist exchanged for Parnassus as highest in Greece?

I don't know, I don't even find ... wait ...

When you have crossed it you see the outer ocean, the further limit of which is unknown to the dwellers in our world.


I get a hunch, Himalaya could have been called Parnassus, by the Greeks, unless it is Ural or Afghanistan, or something. Let's check following instances:

Besides other rivers there flow from it the Bactrus, the Choaspes, the Araxes: from the last a branch separates off and flows into lake Maeotis as the Tanais. From it, too, flows the Indus, the volume of whose stream is greatest of all rivers.


  • the Bactrus, [we don't know what river it is, whether it is one in Bactria [which includes Afghanistan] or one only named after same person as Bactria is named for - or if some uf us do, at least I don't] the Choaspes, we have two alternatives:

    • The Karkheh or Karkhen (perhaps the river known as the Gihon[citation needed]—one of the four rivers of Eden/Paradise to the Bible and as the Choaspes[1] in ancient times; also called Eulæus; Hebrew: אולי Ulai[2]) is a river in Khūzestān Province Andimeshk city, Iran (ancient Susiana) that rises in the Zagros Mountains, and passes west of Shush (ancient Susa), eventually falling in ancient times into the Tigris just below its confluence with the Euphrates very near to the Iran-Iraq border.
    • The Choaspes (also called Zuastus and Guræus) is a river that rises in the ancient Paropamise range (now the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan), eventually falling into the Indus river near its confluence with the Cophes river (which is usually identified with the Kabul river). Strabo's Geography, Book XV, Chapter 1, § 26 incorrectly states that the Choaspes empties directly into the Cophes. The river should not be confused with the river of the same name which flows into the Tigris.


I think we have nailed it. Parnassus, the greatest mountain in Asia, is Hindukush.

Parnassus is a copyists error (before or after Aristotle, in or after his text) for Paropamise.

I am not sure the Indian Ocean (mistaken by Aristotle for the outer one) can be seen from Hindukush, but there could be a further error in confusing it with Himalaya?

Parapomise is also called, keep the ... wait. Parapomise is called Caucasus Indicus, but Araxes is from another range called "Caucasus", namely, the Lesser Caucaus:

"The Aras or Araxes is a river flowing through Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran. It drains the south side of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains and joins the Kura River which drains the north side of Lesser Caucasus Mountains. Its total length is 1,072 kilometres (666 mi), covering an area of 102,000 square kilometres (39,000 sq mi). The Aras River is one of the largest rivers in the Caucasus."

As mentioned, it flows to the "southeast" or more properly, to the east somewhat south.

Don is here identified with a branch of Araxes, which is wrong. And yes, we are dealing with Don:

"The Don rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres (37 mi) southeast of Tula (120 km south of Moscow), and flows for a distance of about 1,870 kilometres to the Sea of Azov. From its source, the river first flows southeast to Voronezh, then southwest to its mouth. The main city on the river is Rostov on Don. Its main tributary is the Seversky Donets."

No, Aristotle, Araxes and Donets are not the same river...

Here we see Aristotle at his worst. His geographic information has become garbled, before it reached him, gathered by people of less reliability and methodology than himself and this makes it possible to understand why an age of goegraphic discovery would be an age looking down on Aristotle unduly. If you can go to the places (including with wikipedia) you can see this is not so.

From the Caucasus flows the Phasis, and very many other great rivers besides.


Which Caucasus is he talking about now ... Phasis? Wow, it seems it is the one we call Caucasus, despite the fact an ancient source is using the word!:

"The Rioni or Rion River (Georgian: რიონი Rioni, Greek: Φᾶσις Phasis) is the main river of western Georgia. It originates in the Caucasus Mountains, in the region of Racha and flows west to the Black Sea, entering it north of the city of Poti (near ancient Phasis). The city of Kutaisi, once the ancient city of Colchis, lies on its banks. It drains the western Transcaucasus into the Black Sea while its sister, the Kura River, drains the eastern Transcaucasus into the Caspian Sea."

Now the Caucasus is the greatest of the mountains that lie to the northeast, both as regards its extent and its height. A proof of its height is the fact that it can be seen from the so-called 'deeps' and from the entrance to the lake.


He is speaking of Lake Maeotis, i e Sea of Azov. Now, Greater Caucasus continues NW along Black Sea coast a bit beyond Sochi.

How far is Sochi from Sea of Azov?

"The air travel (bird fly) shortest distance between Crimea and Sochi is 473 km= 294 miles."

Problem is, that line is traced from a point on Crimea, namely Simpheropol, well further away from Sochi than Sea of Azov need be. Kertch, Slaviansk, would be more like it.

Kertch-Sochi, 324.66 km, 201.73 miles.
Slaviansk-Sochi, 222.47 km, 138.24 miles

So, if you can see Greater Caucasus from Kertch or Slaviansk, how high does that prove Caucasus to be?

And are you seeing Sochi region, or are you seeing sth further away but also higher up?

I don't know.

Again, the sun shines on its peaks for a third part of the night before sunrise and again after sunset.


I am not sure whether this is diffraction or summer nights being longer further North:

Sochi
Coordinates: 43°35′07″N 39°43′13″E

Stagira (where Aristotle was born)
Coordinates: 40°31′49″N 23°45′09″E

Hmmm, just three degrees further North ...

Its extent is proved by the fact that thought contains many inhabitable regions which are occupied by many nations and in which there are said to be great lakes, yet they say that all these regions are visible up to the last peak.


Wonder what peak of Greater Caucasus he is speaking about? Or have his sources garbled it with some other mointain range further North?

From Pyrene (this is a mountain towards the west in Celtice) there flow the Istrus and the Tartessus. The latter flows outside the pillars, while the Istrus flows through all Europe into the Euxine.


It seems he has confused Alps and Pyrenees. Tartessus is basically Guadalquivir, Ister (which very certainly rises in the Alps, in post-Flood times, however this was a sea shore in pre-Flood times) is of course the Danube.

And any Romanian will agree that Ister flows into the Euxine, since it means the Danube flows into the Black Sea.

Most of the remaining rivers flow northwards from the Hercynian mountains, which are the greatest in height and extent about that region.


Hercynian forest is Schwarzwald, and it is not the highest or most extensive mountain range.

However, Alps, West of it, are highest, and Carpathians, East of it, are very extensive.

"The Mittelgebirge seem to correspond more or less to a stretch of the Hercynian mountains."

As said, Mittelgebirge, like Black Forest, are lower than Alps, less extensive than Carpathians. (Bonus, here is another modern writer scratching his head about Aristotle's geographic information).

In the extreme north, beyond furthest Scythia, are the mountains called Rhipae.


That would be Ural?

The stories about their size are altogether too fabulous: however, they say that the most and (after the Istrus) the greatest rivers flow from them.


Let's check. Istrus or Danube is greatest in Europe?

"The Danube Delta ... is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta"

Kama, one contributary to Volga, starts in Ural, Oka has a tributary called Ugra ... no ...

Checked against better geographic data than those available to Aristotle, his scheme seems to be too schematic.

He is far better a bit higher up, where he said:

"On the contrary, just as above the earth small drops form and these join others, till finally the water descends in a body as rain, so too we must suppose that in the earth the water at first trickles together little by little, and that the sources of the rivers drip, as it were, out of the earth and then unite."

He did just not know how right he was.

So, too, in Libya there flow from the Aethiopian mountains the Aegon and the Nyses; and from the so-called Silver Mountain the two greatest of named rivers, the river called Chremetes that flows into the outer ocean, and the main source of the Nile.


And yes, the Blue Nile does arise in Ethiopia.

Of the rivers in the Greek world, the Achelous flows from Pindus, the Inachus from the same mountain; the Strymon, the Nestus, and the Hebrus all three from Scombrus; many rivers, too, flow from Rhodope.


Pindus, Scombrus, Rhodope.

Those would be the examples best known to him.

Rhodope is, btw, in Bulgaria, it is where Orpheus was from. He was a Thracian, not a Greek.

All other rivers would be found to flow in the same way, but we have mentioned these as examples. Even where rivers flow from marshes, the marshes in almost every case are found to lie below mountains or gradually rising ground.


I suppose this may have been confirmed after his time?

It is clear then that we must not suppose rivers to originate from definite reservoirs: for the whole earth, we might almost say, would not be sufficient (any more than the region of the clouds would be) if we were to suppose that they were fed by actually existing water only and it were not the case that as some water passed out of existence some more came into existence, but rivers always drew their stream from an existing store. Secondly, the fact that rivers rise at the foot of mountains proves that a place transmits the water it contains by gradual percolation of many drops, little by little, and that this is how the sources of rivers originate. However, there is nothing impossible about the existence of such places containing a quantity of water like lakes: only they cannot be big enough to produce the supposed effect. To think that they are is just as absurd as if one were to suppose that rivers drew all their water from the sources we see (for most rivers do flow from springs). So it is no more reasonable to suppose those lakes to contain the whole volume of water than these springs.


I put this down to a flaw in the geometrical imagination. The whole earth, between watersheds, is sufficient, if you take into account that it is never just flat but always "gradually rising" this or that way, and sometimes less gradually too.

That there exist such chasms and cavities in the earth we are taught by the rivers that are swallowed up. They are found in many parts of the earth: in the Peloponnesus, for instance, there are many such rivers in Arcadia. The reason is that Arcadia is mountainous and there are no channels from its valleys to the sea. So these places get full of water, and this, having no outlet, under the pressure of the water that is added above, finds a way out for itself underground. In Greece this kind of thing happens on quite a small scale, but the lake at the foot of the Caucasus, which the inhabitants of these parts call a sea, is considerable. Many great rivers fall into it and it has no visible outlet but issues below the earth off the land of the Coraxi about the so-called 'deeps of Pontus'. This is a place of unfathomable depth in the sea: at any rate no one has yet been able to find bottom there by sounding. At this spot, about three hundred stadia from land, there comes up sweet water over a large area, not all of it together but in three places. And in Liguria a river equal in size to the Rhodanus is swallowed up and appears again elsewhere: the Rhodanus being a navigable river.


And Rhodanus being navigable is very true, it is Rhône. I have been to Marseilles. I have made a boat hiking from Avignon to Lyons.

B U T whereever he gets it from that Rhodanus is first swallowed up and then reemerges as Rhodanus ...

As said, he was not a first hand explorer, for most of his geographical lore (he was of course when it came to accompanying Alexander), he relied too much on indirect ones.

Hard facts, so to speak atomic ones, survive several sources taking from each other from a first one much better than complex and therefore gliding scale accurate facts, like features of landscapes or animals.

Whether the real unicorn was a Rhinocerus or a Triceratops, the Unicorns found on heraldics are far removed from either source. So is the map we can contemplate in Aristotle.

But this is no way any problem in his method, he was just unable to properly apply it.

Now, the real inventor of the water cycle, as in detail:

"Pierre Perrault (Paris circa 1608– Paris 1680) was a Receiver General of Finances for Paris and later a scientist who developed the concept of the hydrological cycle. He and Edme Mariotte were primarily responsible for making hydrology an experimental science."

He was a Catholic. His brother Nicolas Perrault was a theology doctor of Sorbonne, which in Ancien Régime was certainly only Catholic theology. He was a Jansenist and as such excluded from Sorbonne - after having been there.

No Perrault is on the 1948 version of Index Librorum. Not Pierre Perrault, obviously, since hydrology is accepted and since Galileo was even taken off the index, decades earlier.

Not Charles Perrault, despite some modern day Jansenists (or likeminded in morals) who consider reading Tolkien falls under Trentine ban on books of magic. No, if that had been meant, Charles Perrault would be on the index too. Trent meant things like certain works falsely attributed to St Albert.

And, not even Nicolas Perrault and his denunciation of Jesuits.

Pascal's provincials are there, presumably because containing calumny.

Pascal's Pensées are there, but only in the 1789 edition, with notes by Voltaire. So, presumably it is the notes by Voltaire, not Pensées as such which is banned.

If Pascal's "Les provinciales ou les lettres écrites à un provincial de ses amis et aux rr. pp. jésuites sur le sujet de la morale et de la politique de ces pères." (Edition of 1657) had been just disagreeing with Jesuits, and not strawmanning them, presumably, like Nicolas Perrault, it would not have been banned. Or is Nicolas Perrault's work simply nowhere in print?

Nope, that's not it. "Il a notamment écrit la Morale des jésuites extraite fidèlement de leurs livres, etc (1667), ouvrage qui a fait en son temps beaucoup de bruit"

I cannot guarantee it is not bad and strawmanning, it could also be censors overlooked it.

Now, what about Catholic Aristotelians, have they been generally misled by Aristotle in matters where this man could not access accuracy?

No, since it has been very clear that they have tried to attain higher accuracy, on point after point, and this being the origins of science - from St Albert dissecting the bee to Steno inventing geology (and, on top of that, it was a Flood geology he invented, not a Sickar Point one ...) Pierre Perrault was obviously part of this, and owed nothing to Bacon of Verulam, since his work had not been read in France.

"Baco, Franciscus De dignitate et augmentis scientiarum libri IX. Donec corrig. 1668"

Donec corrigatur means the ban is "until it be corrected" - one is open to a reedition incorporating Catholic and presumably Scholastic corrections. The 1668 edition was presumably the earliest available to Catholic censors.

Also, I don't think the Aristotelian view actually contradicts the Bible.

One of the oldest books of the Bible, that of Job, provides a clear description of many aspects of the water cycle. These include evaporation, condensation and precipitation (Job 36:27–28), and the formation of clouds (Job 26:8). Other books provide additional insights, including verses about evaporation (Psalm 135:7), precipitation (Psalm 104:13), infiltration (Isaiah 55:10), the release of groundwater through springs (Genesis 16:7; Psalm 104:10), dew and rainwater (Deuteronomy 32:2), floods in desert streams (Isaiah 44:3–4), as well as cloud movement and the ongoing nature of such (Ecclesiastes 1:6–7).

But the Bible goes well beyond a list of the components of the water cycle. In addition to these concepts, the Bible notes that they are linked by laws and that the process is cyclic. These are two concepts that were not well understood by early scholars.


The fact is, none of the Bible verses, except Ps 104, directly or even obliquely contradicts Aristotle.

Nor does the concept of cyclicity bound by laws : he had his own somewhat different cycle between the elements.

But what is more, it is even better consistent (esp Ps 104) with a view that Aristotle mentioned, though he disagreed with it. While it is correct that the Bible is correct on the water cycle, this correctness in itself is not miraculous. Cumulative correctness is, if Young Earth, Young Universe, and Geocentrism (Joshua 10!) can be shown not to break this cumulation of correctness.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Albert the Great
15.XI.2017

Coloniae Agrippinae sancti Alberti Episcopi et Confessoris, ex Ordine Praedicatorum, cognomento Magni, sanctitate et doctrina celebris, quem Pius Papa Undecimus Doctorem universalis Ecclesiae declaravit, et Pius Duodecimus cultorum scientiarum naturalium caelestem apud Deum Patronum constituit.

Colonia Agrippina is not a disputable location, except at Carnival. It is Cologne in Germany.

Acknowledgements:

Apart two quotes from CMI and one from Aristotle, all other quotes are from wikipedia, except the distances to Sochi, which are from https://www.distancefromto.net/

Oh, the citations about index librorum are from this site, incorporating the 1948 version:

http://www.cvm.qc.ca/gconti/905/BABEL/Index%20Librorum%20Prohibitorum-1948.htm