Board index Noah's Ark & the Flood

Re: The Flood and the Aborigines of Australia

Postby Quark » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:20 pm

> In the ancient world, genealogies were not primarily a way of record keeping, but only to establish continuity from one era to another. Their intention is to bridge a gap between major events (success as creation and the flood, the flood and Abraham, etc.) In the ancient world, genealogies were written for political ends to show divine right. There was no attempt to show every generation (as we do) or even chronology at times. That is, there could be rearrangement of the order of names, telescoping (leaving names out), or even changing the ages or lengths of reign to accommodate their political ends.

Do you have any evidence of this claim?
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Re: The Flood and the Aborigines of Australia

Postby jimwalton » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:44 pm

Sure. There are only a few remaining Mesopotamian genealogies, but the ones we have are linear in nature, and most of them are either of royal or scribal families. Most of them are only 3-4 generations deep, and none are more than 12. Fluidity occurs in them primarily in telescoping, though some rearrangement of ancestors can be detected in the king lists. The most notable is in the genealogy of Ammisaduqa, a descendant of Hammurabi in the first dynasty of Babylon. This genealogy shows evidences of shuffling of the sequence of kings and garbling some of the names when compared with the Assyrian king list. (Finkelstein, J. J. "The Genealogy of the Hammurabi Dynasty" JCS 20 [1966] 95-118; Malamat, Abraham. "King Lists of the Old Babylonian Period and Biblical Genealogies" JAOS 88 [1968] 163-173; Wilson, Robert R. "Genealogy and History in the Biblical World [New Haven: Yale: 1977] pp. 109-110).

Egyptian genealogies are mostly of priestly families, and are likewise linear. They extend to as long as 20 generations and often connect current priests to their priestly lines. Telescoping is evident in these lists. (Wilson, Robert R. "Genealogy and History in the Biblical World [New Haven: Yale: 1977] pp. 125-128.)

Telescoping is obvious in the Assyrian genealogical records of the 700s BC.

Some additional ideas the ancients had about genealogies can be inferred from how they continually reorganize the genealogies of the gods. They group them into various generations and families and given rank and function based on the agenda of the author (Klein, Jacob. "The Genealogy of Nanna-Suen and Its Historical Background" in Historiography in the Cuneiform World, ed. Tzvi Abusch et al [RAI 45, Bethesda, MD: CDL, 2001] p. 279). If the genealogies of the gods are manipulated in this way to serve a particular function, it would be logical to assume human genealogies are treated in similar fashion.

Josephus (Ant 11.8.6 §341) says, "For such is the nature of the Samaritans . . . When the Jews are in difficulties, they deny that they have any kinship with them, thereby indeed admitting the truth, but whenever they see some splendid bit of good fortune come to them, they suddenly grasp at the connexion with them, saying that they are related to them and tracing their line back to Ephraim and Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph." He is observing the way genealogy functions among the Samaritans and how fluid the record-keepers are as they feel free to weave themselves in or write themselves out.

Fluidity is common in written genealogies. It can take the form of telescoping, changing the order of names in a linear genealogy, or reorganizing the relationships in a segmented genealogy. Fluidity can represent shifting realities or polemical attempts to mold the present realities by people seeking to support their political, social, or religious agendas (Wilson, Robert R. "Genealogy and History in the Biblical World [New Haven: Yale: 1977] p. 29). Telescoping is common: as names are added to the end of a list, other names are dropped out or merged (Aufrecht, W.E. "Genealogy and History in Ancient Israel" Ascribe to the Lord ed. L. Eslinger, G. Taylor [Sheffield: JSOT, 1988] p. 6).
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Re: The Flood and the Aborigines of Australia

Postby Conundrum » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:50 pm

If "divinely inspired" texts are limited to the vantage point of humans writing, then what about them is divine?
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Re: The Flood and the Aborigines of Australia

Postby jimwalton » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:50 pm

Good communication takes into account the ability of the receiver to understand the message. All good communicators speak in the language of their audience, or the communication has failed. C.S. Lewis, professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, said, "Our business is to present what is timeless in the particular language of our own age." Because the revelation of God is targeted at the vantage point of human writing is not a weakness, but a necessity. That particular characteristic doesn't deprive it of the reasonability of stemming from a divine source.
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Re: The Flood and the Aborigines of Australia

Postby Conundrum » Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:13 pm

> Christians differ in their interpretations for two primary reasons: (1) any communication is subject to interpretation. In communication theory one must take into account the intent of the messenger, the form of the message, and what the receiver hears. All communications, no matter from whom, to whom, or about what, are subject to interpretation. And (2) Christians are thinking people. We're not just conformist lemmings who go, "OK, duh, whatever you say. I don't have a brain of my own, so I just follow the party line."

This is exactly the reason why "revelation" and "interpretation" are not a reliable solid ground to build a world view on. Better to build your world view with reality as your basis for truth and observe and test whether claims and ideas match reality (reality check things) when building a world view.
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Re: The Flood and the Aborigines of Australia

Postby jimwalton » Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:19 am

It seems that you underestimate legitimate interpretation and overestimate interpretations of reality. Despite the power of knowledge through science, the improper extrapolation of science to the assumption that it, modeled on the natural sciences, is the only source of real knowledge. Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, says, "It’s an ugly, awkward, and erroneous worldview." There are many beliefs that are justified and rational, but not scientific. We have fields of sociology, history, law, economics, politics and metaphysics that are not subject to scientific experiments. Science can't confirm personality or purpose in the world: they are social constructs—worldviews based on other than repeatable lab experiments.

There is an entire field of academic study (historians, philosophers, and sociologists) known the History and Philosophy of Science. Its conclusions are not verifiable in science labs (observation, repeatability, testing, etc.). It is the study of showing how science works, what scientists have done and said, and what the influence of science is on the wider culture. Various ones say, "What counts as verification cannot be adequately articulated, and acknowledged theories of natural science frequently did not qualify."

Karl Popper (philosopher) said that a universal proposition such as "all swans are white" cannot logically be proved, no matter how many white swans we see, but can be logically disproved by the observation of a single black swan. He concluded that verification of universal propositions through processes of induction and confirmation is not what science does. Instead, the way science works is by systematic attempts to falsify supposed universal laws. When a law successfully survives many such attempts, when it passes the most stringent of potentially falsifying tests, it is regarded as having thereby gained strong corroboration. Yet corroboration doesn't guarantee reality.

Pierre Duham (French physicist, historian, mathematician and philosopher): "A physicist can never subject an isolated hypothesis to experimental test, but only a whole group of hypotheses. … There is no such thing as a simple empirical test of a theory; hypotheses are tested in bundles."

W.V. Quine: The distinction between analytical and empirical statements, nor the supposition that individual empirical statements can be reduced to immediate experience were supportable. Ultimately, he concluded, "the totality of our so-called knowledge or beliefs is a man-made fabric that impinges on experience only along the edges."

Thomas Kuhn: Generally speaking, scientists don't try to falsify their theories; they defend them. What's more, theories aren't immediately considered defunct if a single example of a falsifying observation arises. Instead, they are shored up by adjustment of auxiliary hypotheses.

In the end, science seems to be little more than opinion, expert opinion granted, but still just an opinion. There is, in Kuhn's words, "no standard higher than the consent of the relevant community": a situation that has been colorfully characterized as scientific mob rule.

Paul Feyerabend (philosopher of science) argues that there is no scientific method, that science is, and should be, anarchic.

I'll grant these seem extreme, but these are resident smart guys of the scientific persuasion saying these things.

The real question at hand is: How confident can you actually be that revelation and interpretation are any weaker of a basis for truth than the relatively much smaller set of scientific observations?


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