Where's the birth certificate

Free and Strong America

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Myth of the Talking Snake





"Meanwhile, snakes lack vocal chords, so no, they cannot speak--they never have and never will. At least not with their voices" Tristan Vick, Advocatus Atheist, 2/21/12 Link





I'm sorry, but whenever I hear one of the uninformed referring to a 'talking snake' from the third chapter of the Book of Genesis, my mind immediately goes back to Sir Hiss (above) of the animated version of the film Robin Hood.

I found the above statement by atheist Tristan Vick to be quite amusing to say the least. It only goes to show you that there are skeptics out there that claim to have studied scripture before rejecting it, yet didn't give scripture a fair shake when examining it the first time.



However, Vick is not alone in such a mischaracterization. In fact, not long ago a California atheist group laid bare their ignorance for all to see by referring to the 'talking snake' myth on a billboard. If you're going to be intellectually dodgy, why not advertise the fact?



Right in the beginning of 3rd Genesis, 1st verse, we read that "The snake was more clever than all the wild animals the LORD God had made" (God's Word translation). Some translations substitute 'snake' for the word 'serpent' and 'clever' for 'crafty', but irregardless, even if 'crafty' more accurately describes the serpent, then this would signify at least some level of high intelligence on the part of the creature mentioned here.

We all know that the narrative in Genesis goes on to give account that Eve was (verbally) tempted by this very smart creature to eat the forbidden fruit. However, upon God finding out that this fruit was eaten against His command, we see that God is assigning at least part of the blame on the temptor in this case, the serpent. We read in verses 14 & 15...





"So the LORD God said to the snake, "Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all the wild or domestic animals. You will crawl on your belly. You will be the lowest of animals as long as you live.

I will make you and the woman hostile toward each other. I will make your descendants and her descendant hostile toward each other. He will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel."




So if the Genesis account here is to be examined from a strictly literary point of view, then it is entirely consistant that the serpent (or snake) was physically a very different creature before God passed judgement upon it. In fact, simply typing the words [Eve tempted garden image] into a popular search engine will reveal that there are artists out there that that do not depict the aforementioned creature as being like the snake/serpent that we know of today.


"[W]orld-famous Bible teacher, author, and statesman for Reformed theology" James Montgomery Boice, whom Vick seems (unsuprisingly) unfamiliar with, had this to say about the interpretation of Genesis Chapter 3...




"..the idea that Genesis 3 presents us with a talking snake is based on an inaccurate reading of the passage. I know this is the way the passage is generally taken. We have all seen pictures in which Eve is seen standing demurely in the bushes while overhead a snake is slithering down out of a tree to tempt her to eat the forbidden 'apple.' But Genesis does not say that Eve was tempted by a talking serpent. The serpent that tempted Eve, as a result of God's judgement, slithered away into the bushes to the intense horror of Adam and Eve, who wondered if God's just judgement on the serpent might be their own. But when the creature spoke to Eve there is no reason for thinking that this was any other than an upright creature, not dissimilar to Adam and Eve themselves. We must not press this too far, or course, for in Chapter 2 we have been told that Adam did not find a creature suitable to be his companion and helper until God made Eve. Still, this was not a snake and was undoubtedly an extraordinary and beautiful creature."

Boice, James Mongomery: An Expositionary Commentary, Genesis Volume I, pg 159





EDIT: I also wanted to address this statement by Vick, quote.. "Lack of basic continuity is usually a strong indicator of myths and fables. So are cultural morals, talking animals , and repetition. All of which are present".





From E.J. Young in relation as to whether the fall account is a 'fable', "We realize immediately that this is not the case. In the Old Testament, animals do not speak. We have the special case of Balaam's [donkey], but no other cases than that and the speaking of the serpent in Genesis ever occur. Furthermore, if you are going to dismiss this as being a fable, you would have to come up with some sort of moral. A fable has a moral, but there is no moral attached here at all. So to say that the 3rd chapter of Genesis is just a fable is really not to do justice to it."



Insofar as the account being a 'myth', this would indicate that the narrative is NOT meant to be taken literally and Mr Vick is welcome to present any evidence that would indicate that this was the writer's intention.




31 comments:

Gregg said...

Naturally the skeptic, liberal, or atheist, naturalist, philosopher, and the likes must do away with Genesis 3. Otherwise it would destroy their pontification concerning the existence of "evil" and mankind's propensity to "do evil." A careful reading of the text and additional texts leave somethings to be desired for our clear understanding. However, it becomes clear that Satan, formerly Lucifer, who became the Devil, the deceiver, the tempter, transformed himself in to a serpent of some sort. He made have taken on the exact representation of a "snake" or very similiar. We need to keep in mind that prior to the fall and curse, the serpent seemed to walk in an upright position which should not be strange. God certainly could create anyway He wished and then cursed the serpent to crawl from that point on ward. Also, with the capability to deceive as we see developed in Scripture, it presents no problem to us to grasp the fact that in someway in which we are not told Satan, using the imagery of a serpent or having entered into and possessed a snake, deceived Eve who in turn led Adam into sin.

But again, you can present all the material you want to a corpse lying in a casket and that corpse will not be impressed nor will he assume your position. Atheists and those who are not known by God will not respond to three mountains of evidence that the serpent talked Eve into sin. They will only respond to the gospel accurately preached and energized by the Holy Spirit. Be careful where you distribute your pearls.

JD Curtis said...

I neglected to mention the entire 'Satan' component in my narrative and I'm glad you brought that up Gregg.

Thanks for commenting

Stormbringer said...

So, let me see if I'm getting this straight.

The creature that we know *today* as a serpent is not the same creature that spoke to Eve. Today's serpent is the result of the curse.

Strange, if this was brought up in my other creationist material, I did not notice it.

I can't help but wonder if other creatures spoke before the curse happened, Narnia-esque. But that non-Biblical speculation of mine is nothing for anyone to hang their cowboy hats on.

Bruce Gerencser said...

A literal reading of the text....before God cursed the serpent it was called a serpent. Before God cursed the serpent it talked. Before God cursed the serpent it moved about some other way than crawling. (or God is being redundant)

Since, according to your hermeneutic we must take the Scripture literally we have a talking, non-crawling serpent before God cursed the serpent and we have a crawling serpent after God cursed it.

Your literalism is your curse. If taken as an allegory or a fantasy all these objections go away and Vick has no argument. However, as long as you take it literally you have to take it as written....and a walking, talking snake seems to best fit the text.

Johnny P said...

Aside from an exceptionally question-begging position held by the author here, I detest the tone of his holier-than-thou approach. Of course, whether you believe a snake can talk is irrelevant, since:

"And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” 29 Then Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.” 30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.”"

donkeys can apparently talk too. Hey, anything goes with a miracle god. Apart from, say, not allowing billions of organisms and 240,000 people dying in the 2004 tsunami, or, say, designing a universe where no animals required the death of other animals to survive. I could, if I was omni-everything, perhaps create a photosynthetic animal kingdom, or maybe one that did not need to consume energy at all. But hey, that's nitpicking and off topic.

This kind of interpretation / reinterpretation-when-things-get-tough syndrome reminds me of Krister Stendahl's excellent quote:

"This understanding leads to the puzzling insight that in the living religious traditions continuity is affirmed and achieved by discontinuity. Authority is affirmed and relevance asserted by reinterpretation."

As for Gregg's rather naive approach to morality, I suggest he do some philosophy. And while he's at it, maybe he could answer the dilemma as to why so many theists argue an objective morality grounded in God, when all God shows throughout the bible is consequentialist morality. This is undeniable. This rather undercuts any claimed moral high ground. Ooh, the moral value of the flood killing the entire world's population bar 8 and animal population bar a bunch holed up in a boat is not found in the act itself. That is ridiculous. No, a greater good. Hmm, moral value derived through conseqeunces, eh? interesting...

Tristan D. Vick said...

"We need to keep in mind that prior to the fall and curse, the serpent seemed to walk in an upright position which should not be strange."

Correct. In the realm of mythology, this is common.

The seminal professor of mythology, Joseph Campbell, had this to say:

"Everywhere in legends of primitive hunters: semi-human, semi-animal, shamanistic characters (like the serpent of Eden), difficult to picture either as animal or as man; yet in the narratives we accept their pats with ease." (Myths to Live By)

Campbell also reminds us that

"There is actually a historical explanation based on the coming of Hebrews into Canaan and their subjugation of the people of Canaan. The principal divinity of the people of Canaan was the Goddess, and associated with the Goddess is the serpent. This is the symbol of the mystery of life. The male-god-oriented group rejected it. In other words, there is a historical rejection of the Mother goddess implied in the story of the Garden of Eden."

"The Garden is the serpent's place. It is an old, old story. We have Sumerian seals from as early as 3500 B.C. showing the serpent and the tree and the goddess, with the goddess giving the fruit of life to a visiting male. The old mythology of the goddess is right there." (The Power of Myth)

"In the Christian story the serpent is the seducer... That amounts to a refusal to affirm life." (The Power of Myth)

"Now the snake in most cultures is given a positive interpretation. In India, even the most poisonous snake, the cobra, is a sacred animal, and the mythological Serpent King is the next thing to the Buddha. The serpent represents the power of life engaged in the field of time, and of death, yet eternally alive. The world is but its shadow--the falling skin." (The Power of Myth)

Again, my own article investigates the elements of FABLE in the talking snake myth.

http://threeskeptics.blogspot.com/2011/05/inception-examining-first-christian.html

E.J. Young is BLATANTLY... PROVABLY... STUPENDOUSLY WRONG about there not being a moral in the Eden story.

The moral being two fold. But I talk about that in my essay.

Tristan D. Vick said...

P.S.

The Satan component is a Christian interpolation. Which is why the Garden of Eden story is usually called the first "Christian" myth.

I talk about Christians taking the myth out of its original context and applying a theological overlay which was alien to Hebrew thinking of the early Israelites when the myth was written... in my essay... which you really ought to read.

As you shall see, my essay is appropriately titled: INCEPTION.

http://threeskeptics.blogspot.com/2011/05/inception-examining-first-christian.html

JD Curtis said...

a walking, talking snake seems to best fit the text

Yes Bruce, before it was cursed.

Tristan, is this description accurate when one reads Genesis 3? Please preface your answer with either 'yes' or 'no' and feel free to explain why you would answer as so.


donkeys can apparently talk too. Hey, anything goes with a miracle god


Johnny, perhaps you diod not notice that in the body of this post, the following is brought up.


"In the Old Testament, animals do not speak. We have the special case of Balaam's [donkey], but no other cases than that and the speaking of the serpent in Genesis ever occur."

Is the above statement true? Yes or no please and feel free to explain why.

JD Curtis said...

E.J. Young is BLATANTLY... PROVABLY... STUPENDOUSLY WRONG about there not being a moral in the Eden story

Then please tell me, what is the moral that is clearly attached to the narrative?

In the event that there is absolutely NO clear moral ascribed to the narrative, then does your use of the term 'fable' no longer apply?

Tristan, I couldn't help but notice that in your above (2) entries the word 'Myth' appears no fewer than 7 times.


In the last paragraph of this entry, I posted...

"Insofar as the account being a 'myth', this would indicate that the narrative is NOT meant to be taken literally and Mr Vick is welcome to present any evidence that would indicate that this was the writer's intention."

So what evidence do we have that the narrative being discussed is NOT meant to be taken literally?

Tristan D. Vick said...

As I pointed out in my essay, which you have't read, most ancient myths have morals.

The only difference between a myth and a fable is that a fable couples a talking animal with a myth's moral.

Now, The Garden of Eden story is a proper myth. But since it has a talking animal, it is not wrong to call it a fable, as you for some reason seem to think.

As for the moral, I separated the Christian theological moral from the universal moral. Again, this is made clear in my essay.

The Christian moral is palpably this: Obey your Father.

In this case, God is the Archetypal Father.

The Universal moral, which I argue is the proper reading, is: In order to grow up you must grow wise.

Morals abound.

If there was no moral to be found, I might point out, then the simple fact of the matter is you could not read original sin into the story.

So the moral is undeniable.

And...

As my Joseph Campbell quotes illustrated, we are not obliged to take the Eden myth literally precisely because it uses the language of myth and imagination. Not history.

JD Curtis said...

The Christian moral is palpably this: Obey your Father.

In this case, God is the Archetypal Father.

The Universal moral, which I argue is the proper reading, is: In order to grow up you must grow wise


And yet are either of these two 'morals' you ascribe to the narrative clearly assigned? I could easily walk away from reading such an account and come to the conclusion that the 'moral' (if I were to try to divine one) here was "Don't trust serpents under any circumstances'. Wouldn't my moral be equally as valid as yours since it does not appear in the literal sense of the account, much like your 2 examples? (Unless you can show otherwise)

Also, you seemed to have missed a direct question that I posed to you in my comment timestamped @ 4:33. Thanks.

Tristan D. Vick said...

If you read it as a myth, then yes, you can take out any meaning you want.

Myths serve four functions, which are defined as the mystical, the cosmological, the sociological, and the pedagogical function.

Most people today read myths according to only the fourth function. Sometimes the third. Very rarely the first or second.

So you can take out the moral you describe if you read it as a myth related to the fourth function.

If you read it as anything other than a myth, I am afraid you cannot take a different moral than the ones I mentioned because of the literalism which overrides the function of myth when forced to be confined to historical modality.

I would, however, caution you to go back an read the myth more closely. The moral "Don't trust serpents under any circumstances" does not conform to the narrative. Or more specifically, the narrative does not yield such an insight.

In order for the serpent to be considered untrustworthy he would have had to have deceived Eve in the Garden. Yet the serpent is the one who tells the truth.

God is the one who deceived Adam and Eve, by telling them, they would surely die if they ate of the fruit.

When Eve brings this up as the reason she cannot eat the fruit, the snake balks, it's nonsense... eating the fruit won't kill you.

Low and behold! She eats the fruit and does not die.

The snake told the truth. The deceit is God's.

Now modern apologists try to get around this by saying the Fall is a metaphorical death. The death of the divine human which becomes corrupted by sin. Thus we are perishing in the spiritual sense.

The problem with this interpretation is, as I mention, first, it is a Christian theological concern absent from the historiography contained in the myth. In other words, it is a historiographical misreading.

Second, in order for Adam and Eve to disobey God and make the wrong choice evil would already have to be introduced to them, which it wasn't.

Third, the free will excuse actually doesn't solve the problem, because even with free will, their is no motivator toward evil when it doesn't yet exist in the world.

Fourth, the metaphorical death is just that, a metaphor, which then means sin is also a metaphor if red in the context that the two are synonymous. It is saved when read literally, that is, when sin is assumed real the metaphor can apply to the story. But again, this is an ad hoc assumption which tags a theological concern onto the end of a Hebrew myth.

So there is no logical way to rationalize the snake deceived anyone. So, if you are to read the story correctly, that is not a moral you can derive.

If you read the story as symbolic. Then the snake is actually the guardian of wisdom, truth, and knowledge. As I point out in my essay, this is a common theme in many, many, many world myths. As a myth the story then falls into a long lineage of equivalent myths which fits what we know about how myths develop and progress within human society.

If you read it as a theological bit of metaphysical moralizing, then it strains credulity and all the problems which I raise go unadressed.

Although, if you understand the later development of Christian theology, you can see how it is a later artifact which gets superimposed onto the myth. As I mention, the theological concerns which the Christian reading supplies could not have developed until after Jesus was already dead. In my essay, I even show how the serpent symbolism of the NT gets retconned back into the Garden of Eden story. You can actually trace the literary construction each step of the way. This is rather revealing, because when you go back and re-read the myth with this knowledge, it is easier to see the mistakes Christians are making when they read too much into the Garden of Eden myth.

Tristan D. Vick said...

"...a walking, talking snake seems to best fit the text..."

"Yes...before it was cursed."

"Tristan, is this description accurate when one reads Genesis 3? Please preface your answer with either 'yes' or 'no' and feel free to explain why you would answer as so."

***

The question is: Does the inference that the snake walked before God's curse make sense in a literal context?

Both yes and no, to this.

Yes, because the inference is that God took away the assumed ability of the snake to walk with legs or fly with wings. It never says he walked, so a flying snake is an equally valid inference.

No, because we know in literal reality there has never been a flying or walking snake.

Thus to read it literally placed the additional burden on the claimant to have to prove that snakes, or a snake, at one time walked, flew, and talked. Since these are the literal claims being made about the Garden serpent.

If you read it as a myth, however, you are free from this ridiculous burden.

As Campbell explains:

"Everywhere in legends of primitive hunters: semi-human, semi-animal, shamanistic characters (like the serpent of Eden), difficult to picture either as animal or as man; yet in the narratives we accept their pats with ease." (Myths to Live By)

As such, the mythical reading addresses all of our concerns. Which means it is likely to be the correct reading.

JD Curtis said...

God is the one who deceived Adam and Eve, by telling them, they would surely die if they ate of the fruit.

When Eve brings this up as the reason she cannot eat the fruit, the snake balks, it's nonsense... eating the fruit won't kill you.

Low and behold! She eats the fruit and does not die.

The snake told the truth. The deceit is God's


I find this quite interesting.

But let me ask, did Adam and Eve die natural deaths before or after the fall?

What knowledge do you possess that you can state with certainty that they would have experienced natural death had they NOT eaten the fruit in question?

No, because we know in literal reality there has never been a flying or walking snake

Can you make this universal statement in an absolute sense? If so, then how? I'm sure that you realize that the according to the complete, over-arching narrative, the subject of death entered the world only after the fall, thus any historical record of a different being than the pre-fall serpent described would be either scant to non-existant.


Furthermore, since the Bible is silent on the mobility of the pre-fall serpent, whether walking or even flying, then how would we know which animal, if ever remains are someday found, could we point to and say 'yes, this is representative of a pre-fall serpent.' We may or may not find such an animal, but then, how would we know for sure?

According to the narrrative, all we know is that it was a one point a highly intelligent animal and not a crawling-on-its-belly type of animal, right?

Tristan D. Vick said...

"According to the narrrative, all we know is that it was a one point a highly intelligent animal and not a crawling-on-its-belly type of animal, right?"

Yes. According to the narrative, we are unclear as to the physical features of the serpent, because the Bible is unclear about that point.

But to say it was anything other than a serpent is to ignore the fact that God assigned Adam to NAME all the animals.

If it is called a serpent, then it is probably called that because to Adam, who named it, that is what it appeared as.

If it was anything else, Adam being the giver of the names, would have likely assigned a different designation for the beast.

Why he would have called something a serpent that wasn't a serpent is beyond me. So it obviously resembled, at least to Adam and Eve, something so close to a serpent that they did not have another word for it.

Anyone who theorizes a different sort of beast is merely speculating--but the speculation is going further than I think the text allows for.

Bruce Gerencser said...

The problem with serpent being something other than serpent is that the Hebrew word is used consistently throughout the OT.The word is translated snake, serpent, various types of snakes.

Since Adam and Eve were the first humans, according the the Christian myth, they had no frame of reference for it being "strange" that a snake walked and talked. Perhaps it seemed quite normal to them.

As far as other animals not talking.At best all one can say is that the animals recorded in the Bible didn't talk.It is impossible to extrapolate from the Scripture that all animals, except a snake and and ass were mute.

Since I think the Genesis account is a myth, a fable I am not left with the need to make it all fit. Kids love talking animals.....the writer of Genesis should have added more.

Johnny P said...

""In the Old Testament, animals do not speak. We have the special case of Balaam's [donkey], but no other cases than that and the speaking of the serpent in Genesis ever occur."

Is the above statement true? Yes or no please and feel free to explain why."


So, in the OT animals do not speak, APART FROM A an dB.

So they do speak?

Then of course, they run rampant in the 10 rather horrendous plagues of Egypt. Let's remind ourselves, the Pharaoh has his heart hardened by God who then punishes him and the entire population of Egypt for something the Pharaoh did when his will was bent by God...

Then of course you have Elijah being fed by ravens, 42 young men killed by a bear, the draught of fish, money in a fish's mouth, Jonah in a whale. And then there are the nephilim, seraphim, behemoth, leviathan and all sorts of crazy non-existent stuff.

And then rocks doing funny things.

So really, that an animal speaks is nothing. You believe all sorts of crazy stuff that if you heard from another religion, you would ridicule. Cognitive dissonance does amazing things to people brought up in a religion when they rationalise their own beliefs and yet disbelieve religions from other cultures.

Yes or no?

Er, the OT has all sorts of ridiculous claims that I see in the Gilgamesh and in other holy books. I believe none of them. You special plead for one.

The burden of proof is on you to show how extraordinary claims of the OT are supported by extraordinary evidence, which IS demanded (on account of it being secondary or tertiary evidence, thus the standard of evidence required must meet the challenge).

The OT / NT meets no such challenge, talking animals or rocks that spring forth water. Unknown authors, uncorroborated. Tell me anywhere else you would believe such claims. Oh, you wouldn't.

The fallacy of special pleading.

JD Curtis said...

Why he (Adam) would have called something a serpent that wasn't a serpent is beyond me. So it obviously resembled, at least to Adam and Eve, something so close to a serpent that they did not have another word for it

Another reason could be that they just used the original name.

The problem with serpent being something other than serpent is that the Hebrew word is used consistently throughout the OT.The word is translated snake, serpent, various types of snakes

Bruce, according to the narrative we are given, the animal being discussed here was transformed at one point.

One would have to puzzle over any sort of reasoning in which it would be required for Adam or his immediate descendents to then change the name of the animal in question.

the writer of Genesis should have added more

Given that modern science as we now know it was not understood and propogated until the Christianization of Europe beginning in the Middle Ages, Highly descriptive accounts of the Creation process (accepting that it happened) would probably have been completely misunderstood by simple, early humans.

That and I've been told that the original Hebrew that Genesis was written in is not the best language to lend itself to scientific decriptiveness. (Like perhaps Greek in comparison)

Tristan D. Vick said...

Umm... China was practicing actual science long before the West. FYI

JD Curtis said...

I think 'invention' and 'innovation' would be a better words to describe Chinese advances.

Until quite recently, "China was among the most technologically backward societies on earth", and long before Communism came along.

Tristan D. Vick said...

JD, you views of China as being backwards are just not defensible.


It is true that Communism greatly retarded their progress, but Ancient China was far from being backwards.

From Wiki:

"Ancient Chinese inventors were responsible for pioneering a vast number of technologies. These included papermaking, woodblock printing and movable type printing, the early lodestone and needle compass, gunpowder, toilet paper, early seismological detectors, matches, pound locks, the double-action piston pump, blast furnace and cast iron, the iron plough, the multi-tube seed drill, the suspension bridge,[244] natural gas as a fuel, the differential gear for the South Pointing Chariot, the hydraulic-powered armillary sphere and trip hammer, the mechanical chain drive and belt drive, the raised-relief map, the propeller, the crossbow, the cannon, and the multistage rocket.
Chinese astronomers were among the first to record observations of a supernova. Chinese mathematics evolved independently of Greek mathematics and is therefore of great interest in the history of mathematics. Moreover, the Chinese were keen on documenting all of their technological achievements, such as in the Tiangong Kaiwu encyclopedia written by Song Yingxing (1587–1666)."

Important things like mathematics and magnetic compasses and iron working were all developed far before their Western counterparts independently.

Also China's medical science was mixing willow bark and spiraea into their medicines two hundred years before Christianity! By grinding up these plants and herbs there were able to extract the salicylic acid in them. Today we simply call it Aspirin.

http://books.google.co.jp/books?hl=en&lr=&id=WUgsy0yLEfoC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=ancient+medicine+china&ots=ibwKF97RP0&sig=oQKpWSCkEF9G6c5aESOnVvfwfJ8&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=ancient%20medicine%20china&f=false

They also used mylabris and Cantharidin for over 2000 years, which has proved medical benefits.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0378874189900627

http://archderm.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/137/10/1357

Other Chinese herbal remedies are currently being investigated as alternative medicines. Some have proved to actually be medicinal.

http://omni-health.net/Cordyceps/Docs/Cord_review_1998_part1_eng.pdf


You cannot claim that this was a backwards civilization. Different, perhaps. But that goes without saying. The fact that you brush it off as inferior and then add insult to injury by claiming it is "backwards" shows an Ethnocentric bias bordering on ethnohaulism.

JD Curtis said...

You cannot claim that this was a backwards civilization. Different, perhaps. But that goes without saying. The fact that you brush it off as inferior and then add insult to injury by claiming it is "backwards" shows an Ethnocentric bias bordering on ethnohaulism

Again, I a not saying that the Chinese did not make advances.

For somebody who allegedly studied "English" the use of quotation marks around the phrase "China was among the most technologically backward societies on earth" was specifically to denote that this was not me saying this but instead it was the 'anti-Sino' Center for Strategic and International Studies.

And when this is coupled with the scathing criticism from the 'highly xenophobic' Center for Defense Information that "Internal power struggles were frequent" and thus "By the 19th century China was technologically backward", then there seems to be am organized conspiracy amongst think-tanks against a culture that pioneered and perfected such higly efficient items like the 'baby tower'.

JD Curtis said...

"It is an exception that a couple would have more than one or two girls. If there would be more born, they would be disposed of immediately. It was done in different ways. She could simpy be put out as food for wild dogs and wolves. The father would sometimes take her to a "baby tower" where she would soon die of exposure and starvation and be discovered by birds of prey. Others again would bury the little ones under the dirt floor in the room where they were born. If there is a river flowing by, the children would be thrown in."

Sofie Rueter and Anna Jakobsen, 19th Century Norwegian missionaries to China

Tristan D. Vick said...

Your answers don't actually support your thesis because they are taking single events out of context, and are not the norm for Chinese society, but rather case examples.

Besides, poverty and starvation of peasantry is common in all cultures in all times. Abandonment of small children still happens today in "civilized" countries like the U.S. and Japan. So it is ethnohaulistic to paint China as backwards because such events occurred in its past.

Your first statement was that modern science was due to Christian influences.

I showed that science, in an advanced form, already existed in its Oriental form.

I assumed the "backwardsness" was with respect to scientific concerns, not moral.

But if you're going to open the moral debate, you have to be prepared to consider all the Western wrought evils of Christianity.

Tristan D. Vick said...

Sorry JD, I have a book deadline coming up soon from my publisher. So I can't keep spending time arguing every little point. Besides, we have already gotten pretty far off topic.

Adam and Eve Myth
Science
China
Morality...

My, my... that's a lot of tangents.

Anyway, it doesn't appear the conversation is going anywhere, and as I said, I really do have to stop wasting time online and get back to work.

Peace! Live well and be wise.

Stormbringer said...

So, the Genesis account is mythology and fiction because of naturalistic, uniformitarian presuppositions. Therefore, miracles do not occur.

Rather presumptuous and arrogant, don't you think?

Tristan D. Vick said...

Stormbringer--

What are you trying to say, exactly?

That miracles occur or that all of Genesis is historically true?

Those are actually separate claims.

If you read Genesis, you would know it was a myth. If you assumed it happened historically, then the burden is on you to find historical evidence for it. Unable to do so...

It would be arrogant to continue to assume it was history absent any evidence to support such a theory.

All I have done is observe that it has all the features of a myth, shared by similar myths, and have backed up my claim with the words of real historians to specialize in ancient myth.

"Today we know--and know right well--that there was never anything of the kind: no Garden of Eden anywhere on this earth, no time when the serpent could talk, no prehistoric "Fall," no exclusion from the garden, no universal Flood, no Noah's Ark. The entire history on which our leading Occidental religions have been founded is an anthology of fictions." --Joseph Campbell (Myths to Live By)

Stormbringer said...

" What are you trying to say, exactly?"

Did I type too fast for you to understand?

" That miracles occur or that all of Genesis is historically true?"

Yes.

" Those are actually separate claims."

So?

" If you read Genesis, you would know it was a myth."

There ya go, there's that smug atheist superiority and the false dilemma. With an insult, no less. YES, I have read Genesis. Yes, I believe it.

"If you assumed it happened historically, then the burden is on you to find historical evidence for it."

I'll leave that to historians and archaeologists. As a matter of fact, YOU have just been asserting that it is NOT true, so the burden of proof is on YOU. None of that "shift the burden of proof" nonsense.

"Unable to do so..."

Arbitrary assertions based on your atheistic presuppositions and ignorance of history and archaeology.

" It would be arrogant to continue to assume it was history absent any evidence to support such a theory."

You are building on your arbitrary assertions with more arbitrary assertions.

" All I have done is observe that it has all the features of a myth, shared by similar myths, and have backed up my claim with the words of real historians to specialize in ancient myth."

One misotheist quoting other atheists. Big deal. Your appeal to authority is noted and catalogued with all of your other logical fallacies.

Kind of hard to take you seriously.

GentleSkeptic said...

"We realize immediately that this is not the case. In the Old Testament, animals do not speak. We have the special case of Balaam's [donkey], but no other cases than that and the speaking of the serpent in Genesis ever occur.

I particularly loved this bit of rationalization. See? The Old Testament is not myth because animals don't talk, except when they do.

JD Curtis said...

Other than these 2 instances, are there any other examples?

Spencer1234 said...

Its hard for me to take Vick seriously, because as i read his posts i can't help but picture the man from the battle of wits scene in The Princess Bride movie... all his ranting with big words and then... Croak! and he falls off his stool. Hillarious movie:)