Coming This Fall, "The Exodus Conspiracy" -- Dr. Lennart Moller resurrects Ron Wyatt's photograph of a gilded chariot wheel


Ron Wyatt’s photo of a “gilded chariot wheel” allegedly from the Egyptian army that chased the Hebrews as they fled during the Exodus.

An email has begun proliferating this year titled, “The Red Sea Crossing,” or, “Parting of the Red Sea,” or, “Chariot Wheels Found in Red Sea,” and it is being passed around so much with so little investigation that has begun a page on the email and its claims. I suspect that the email is part of an advertising campaign for a film due out in Fall 2008, starring a creationist named Dr. Lennart Moller (not an archeologist, but a biologist) and titled, “The Exodus Conspiracy

A previous film made for TV by the same company has already popularized the alleged “golden/gilded chariot wheel” that the late Ron Wyatt (another non-archeologist) “discovered in the Red Sea," where "Pharaoh's" chariots were allegedly swallowed up when two huge walls of water slammed together on either sides of them. (See the Bible's Exodus tale.)

The made for TV film also featured Dr. Lennart Moller and was titled, “The Exodus Revealed” and one portion of it featured not the actual “gilded wheel” photographed by Wyatt but a digital “recreation” of it

Announcer: “While most of the possible artifacts found off the coast of Nuweiba are covered with coral, one significant discovery was not.”

Dr. Lennart Moller: “There is one find at the Nuweiba location that is of great interest, and that is the gilded wheel. [digital ‘recreation’ appears on screen, based on photo taken by Ron Wyatt] It is a wooden basic structure of the wheel and it is covered with gold or electrum, a mixture of silver and gold, and corals have not been able to grow on it. [really? why not? see questions below] It’s been very well preserved, although it’s very fragile. It seems like the wooden content has been dissolved. So I mean you could break it if you tried to remove it.”

Announcer: “After its discovery the fragile wheel-shaped veneer was photographed, then left in place on the sea floor. Later analysis revealed that its dimensions and design resembled four-spoked chariot wheels painted on an 18th Dynasty tomb wall near the biblical date of the Exodus.”

Note that Moller does not say he discovered this “gilded wheel,” nor that he saw it, photographed it, nor touched it. There is no undersea footage of the “gilded wheel” in the film but merely a digital “reconstruction” of a photograph taken by Wyatt in the 1970s. But note that although almost no coral is shown touching this bright shiny wheel, based on Wyatt's photo, still there are plenty of thick corals growing on one another and seen all over the actual seabed of the Red Sea as shown in the film. Neither does Wyatt's original photo provide clear evidence as to whether the small piece of coral seen on the wheel simply was placed there or not, it doesn’t seem particularly well attached, not compared with the vast conglomerations of corals in the general area. And contra a statement made by Dr. Moller in the film, there does not appear to be any reason why coral should not be able to grow on an object made of gold, silver or a mixture of both, as any archeologist can demonstrate who has dug up objects made of all sorts of ancient precious metals from the sea with coral growing on them.

Even a Christian on the web has pointed out:

“Can coral grow on gold? Yes. Coral is not a plant, it is an animal, and it does not get its nutrients from the soil or rock it grows on. Instead, it eats zooplankton and other small marine bugs, and it gets its calcium, amino acids, etc. from the surrounding sea water. To structurally support themselves, corals grow next to each other and harden together, forming reefs. Thus they could grow on anything!! It doesn't matter. Coral also uses photosynthesis to make sugars out of sunlight. The only way they wouldn't grow on gold is if it were toxic to coral. I do not think this is the case, since gold has little or no affinity for binding oxygen, carbon, or nitrogen. The only thing it really has an affinity for is sulfur. So if sulfur is necessary for coral to live, then perhaps.... The only thing that my pharmacology book says gold inhibits is mycobacterium tuberculosis, nothing else. Besides the point, however, I'm all for historical evidence of the Bible, but this guy's argument is so ridiculously flawed that it's an embarrassment to believers.”

Also, after 3,500 years of water flowing into the Red Sea and carrying sand and silt along with it, that’s the deepest that such a wheel has become buried? It looks like it’s barely beneath the sand. Why is this “gilded wheel” not covered by several feet of silt and sand after 3,500 years?

Neither do Wyatt’s and Moller’s separate tales add up concerning such a gilded wheel. On the one hand Wyatt claimed in the 1970s to have photographed such a wheel and then “presented it” to Nassif Mohammed Hassan who worked at the Cairo museum whom Wyatt has on tape saying that it “resembled an ancient Egyptian chariot wheel.” (However what studies did Hassan made of the wheel if any? Did he actually handle it? What evidence is there that Hassan was “presented with” anything more than just a photograph of the wheel?) Then Hassan died a few years later. So he’s no longer available for questioning. Now compare Moller’s story in his video which speaks about the “gilded chariot wheel” as if it were extremely fragile, made of 3,500 year old “wood covered with gold or electrum, a mixture of silver and gold. And it’s very fragile. It seems like the wooden content has been dissolved. So you could break it if you tried to remove it,” and the announcer described it as nothing more than a “fragile wheel-shaped veneer.” So if Moller is right, how did Wyatt “remove” such a "fragile wheel-shaped veneer" and “present” it to the person at the museum without breaking it?*

*Maybe Moller interprets Wyatt’s story as merely the story of a photograph “presented” to Hassan, not “the wheel” itself?

Even the few photographs taken by Wyatt are not explicitly stated to be of just one wheel or of two different gilded chariot wheels. But even if there was one 3,500 year old gilded wheel solid enough to be lifted out of the sea and presented to Hassan, and a second gilded wheel in the Red Sea yet undiscovered and too fragile to excavate -- then in either case God’s providence or chance seems to have made it impossible to investigate either “wheel” story via direct investigation of the alleged “wheels,” nor via interviewing Wyatt or Hassan.

In fact there is no evidence other than Wyatt's photograph of how large the alleged "gilded wheel" was, and so it could have been smaller than a chariot wheel because it is difficult to judge an objects size in a photograph unless you place something right next to the object like a yardstick, coin, or other object of known size. Also how do we know for sure that the object was made of gold? It might have been made merely of shiny brass and be a far younger object that recently was tossed into the water, so young that it lay near the surface, was still shiny enough to catch Wyatt's eye, and also young enough such that coral had not had time to cement itself on it. (See the other modern day wheel shaped objects pictured further below.)

Below are links to another portion of the made-for-TV-film that features footage of coral formations and focuses only on those that one might imagine might have been formed around decaying chariot wheels:
Mt. Sinai, Moses & the Exodus - Part 8 of 10

Even in a conservative Christian news source like, Wyatt's own wife is reported as urging "caution" before jumping to conclusions, and admits a lot of coral looks like “wheels” or other alleged chariot parts. The article, titled, “Pharaoh’s chariots found in Red Sea?” also admits that the one “golden chariot wheel” that Wyatt allegedly discovered cannot be found anywhere.

SEVEN Criticisms of Wyatt’s Claim that he discovered and photographed a 3,500 year old “Egyptian Chariot Wheel”

1) While the image could be better, the above photo doesn’t show any of the type of segmenting that the chariot in the earlier museum photo exhibits. Nor does it seem to have the types of joins shown in drawings of Eqyptian chariot wheels. Someone else has already mentioned that the hub of the ocean “wheel” is greatly different then the one in the museum. The style seems more modern and looks as if the edges are milled to be beveled.

2) As to the coral formations. I don’t think anyone has brought up that coral often is spherical and or radial. I haven’t seen any convincing arguments that the formations aren’t natural. Keep in mind that different types of coral grow on top of each other. So given enough coral, time, and space all sorts of shapes are possible.

3) Cnidarians are simple, radially symmetrical, animals. Radial symmetry means that the body is a hub, like a bicycle wheel, and tentacles are spokes coming out of it.

4) I’m at a loss as to how a Saudi Law prevents anyone on the Egypt side of the sea from bringing up objects [am I missing something here?]. If they do not bring up items out of respect/fear for Saudi Law, then how did they bring up the bone?

5) Even if it turns out that the formations aren’t natural it doesn’t mean they’re chariot wheels. There is certainly more than one ship that has been lost in the Red Sea. Google: shipwreck “red sea” 5,790 matches.

6) The film features an examination of the “spokes” of various wheel-shaped coral formations and the discovery of positive metal detector readings and rust being associated with the coral. But 1446 BC is too early for extensive use of iron and Egyptian chariots didn't use much metal. The spokes were wooden. Small amounts of iron had been available to the Egyptians for a long time but we should not be seeing much, if any, at an 18th Dynasty site. We really do need better evidence for the Exodus than counting the number of spokes a coral formation appears to have. Iron Age I starts at 1200 BCE See also this and this about thehistory of metal usage. “Iron was first employed as a technology of war about 1300 B.C. by the Hittites. Within a hundred years the secret of iron making and cold forging had spread at least to Palestine and Egypt and, perhaps, to Mesopotamia as well.”

7) Comparison of Wyatt's golden chariot wheel...

...with some modern day objects found on ships and other machines.

REVIEW OF DR. MOLLER’S BOOK, THE EXODUS CASE, which was published in 2002 and inspired the made-for-TV-film, and the move to be released Fall 2008:

Lennart Moller specializes in the earth hazards of air pollutants and the damage to DNA that they cause. Since 2001, he has been a professor of environmental medicine in the department of bioscience at Karolinska Institutet, one of Europe's largest medical universities and Sweden's main center for medical training and research. Beside his academic duties, Moller is an active member of Evangeliska Fosterlands-Stiftelsen, founded in 1856, a missionary organization within the Church of Sweden. He has edited and authored books on ethics and Gospel exegesis and recently a volume on biblical archaeology, The Exodus Case.

This book is the fruit of extensive travels in the Near East and Egypt. Its stated main purpose is to test a hypothesis: that the biblical texts of Genesis 11:27 through Exodus 40:38 are historically correct. A secondary purpose is to evaluate and expand upon the works of the late Ron Wyatt (1933-1999)... There are disturbing signs already in the hook's introduction. First, it is naive to judge these long texts, preserved through thousands of years of oral and written traditions, as either true or false in their entirety. Academic historians evaluate discrete factual statements, not entire books at one go. But Moller emphasizes that he is neither a theologian, a historian, nor an archaeologist. In fact, he underlines that he does not know what these disciplines believe regarding the questions he takes on. Moller feels that he can thereby offer a fresh perspective.

Then there are the references to Ron Wyatt. If ever there was a true native of Daniken Laird, it was Wyatt. His writings on biblical archaeology are such extreme flights of fancy that even many creationist debaters dismiss them as wild imaginings.

While ostensibly scientific, Moller's perspective is at the same time explicitly antirational (p. 15). We should not be too sure of ourselves and our powers of reasoning. Only God is perfect, says Moller, and humankind is frail and weak...

Moller sets out on his biblical trek through time and space from Abraham in Ur to Moses on Mount Sinai.. He searches intensively for anything that fits with it. The idea that the selected texts are historically true is not a hypothesis for Moller, it is the basic axiom of his investigation. To the extent that he takes his pseudo-Popperian philosophy of science seriously at all, Moller appears to feel that the task of disproving the hypothesis is the reader's job, not his.

Moller stomps in brandishing revealed truth... The book interfoliates a Bible summary with absolutely vertiginous speculations in archaeology, history, geology, and onomastics (the study of the origins and forms of words). Gomorrah was located on the plain between the hilltop stronghold of Masada and the Dead Sea. The reason that there is now only a gypsum formation to be seen there is that the wicked city was built of limestone and destroyed in a rain of burning sulphur: limestone + sulphur = gypsum! Joseph, son of Jacob, is identical with Imhotep, the architect of the Stepped Pyramid at Saqqara. This identification moves the Third Dynasty a thousand years forward in time from its accepted date. This does not appear to trouble Moller, as he feels that the dynastic chronology of Egypt contains serious uncertainties. Moses is identical with Pharaoh Tutmosis II, as indicated by, among other things, the fact that the Pharaoh is depicted with a hooked nose, suggesting a Hebrew heritage! And so on. Wherever Moller goes, what he sees turns out to be relevant to his search. He finally finds Mount Sinai...

AUTHOR OF THE ABOVE REVIEW: Martin Rundkvist, review, is an archaeologist specializing in the pre- and protohistory of Scandinavia. He is a member of the board of the Swedish skeptic organization, Vetenskap och Folkbildning, and co-editor of the association's quarterly, Folkvett. He lives in the suburbs of Stockholm, Sweden, 400 meters from a Viking-period cemetery.



Wyatt Archaeological Research – Fraud Documentation

Ron Wyatt's archeological claims

Ron Wyatts supernatural claims

Who's Who in the World of Ron Wyatt?

A Review of The Exodus Revealed
Summary: The Exodus Revealed video, directed by Lad Allen and funded by Discovery (Institute?) Media Productions, is based on The Exodus Case book by Lennart Moller, which is based on the "discoveries" of Ron Wyatt. Both the video and the book include photos of a gold wheel supposedly found in the Gulf of Aqaba, presented as proof that the Bible's Red Sea crossing story is true. But a TV producer's wife "was told by one of Ron Wyatt's sons that the chariot wheels that Ron supposedly discovered in the Gulf of Aqaba were planted there by Ron." Also, John Baumgardner, who is a Christian and initially believed Wyatt and inspected Wyatt's Noah's ark "discovery", later wrote that "I am almost 100% certain that Ron 'planted' them [rivets on the Ark]." Despite this and much more evidence that Ron Wyatt was a crazy liar, both Lennart Moller and Lad Allen were insidiously dishonest in promoting Wyatt's "findings" without disclosing Wyatt's history of fraud. [See the link below for more on Wyatt, much more.]

(I know the fellow who wrote the investigative review above, and even met some of relatives who live in Greenville, S.C. The family was home-schooled and taught young-earth creationist arguments. Two or three of the sisters attended Bob Jones University. Today half of the author's siblings have left the fold.)


Letter from Joe Zias on the “discoveries of Ron Wyatt,” including mention of the alleged chariot wheel (Zias is Curator of Anthropology/Archaeology, Israel Antiquities Authority, POB 586, Jerusalem, Tel. 972-2-292624)

Lastly, I exchanged a few emails with Pinkowski who runs the Wyatt museum, and who informed me that, "In the 22 years that Ron Wyatt performed this wonderful work for the Lord, he always maintained a very humble personality. It would have been very easy for him to become proud or boastful, but Ron did not do that. Both Moses and Ron Wyatt were extremely humble men. When asked "why" he was chosen to do this work, Ron replied: 'If 10 different people found 10 different major archaeological finds, people could say, 'Well, they were lucky, or smart, etc.,' but for one person to find all of these things is not humanly possible. Not even the most brilliant and celebrated. But God uses 'The simple things to confound the wise.' In choosing a simple, average person, He leaves no room for doubt as to 'who' is actually doing these things. Perhaps He chose me because I was willing -- I really don't know. But I can say that there is no one on earth who could be more grateful than I to be allowed to work with these things.'"

What faith Pinkowski has in the alleged authenticity of every one of Wyatt’s alleged “discoveries,” none of which have ever been verified by legitimate archeologists. Wyatt always seemed to get a glimpse of something and then it promptly vanishes, like the gilded wheel, or the Phoenician style column found on the Saudi coastline and which contained in Phoenician letters (Archaic Hebrew) the words: Mizraim (Egypt ); Solomon; Edom; death; Pharaoh; Moses; and Yahweh; or “the Blood of Christ” on the “Judgment Seat” beneath the Temple site in Jerusalem which only Wyatt saw. Other evidence/claims of Wyatt likewise vanish after closer examination. Even those who at first supported his claims to have found Noah’s ark no longer believed him after examining the evidence at the site further, including young-earth creationists belonging to major young-earth organizations.


Did Jesus Have a Functioning Set of Nuts (Testicles)?

What I find totally odd in the Gospels is that Jesus, who is held up by the evangelical community as the true example for the ideal man (one which all Christian males should pattern their own lives after) has no sexual drive; none at all. One would think that the part of Jesus that was totally 100% human would have been influenced by the male hormone testosterone.

Fact is, that not only Jesus, but all the males (and a few females) who followed him, be they as few as 12 or as many as 70 (Luke 10: 1), all seem to be asexual as well. If the Gospels wanted to portray the real facts, the reality of his very human nature must have at least given Jesus some type of sexual drive which had an emotional outlet. Moreover, Jesus’ disciples who Jesus often rebukes for not having faith (Matt. 6: 30, 8: 26, 16: 8) are portrayed as faithless men who, never-the-less, maintained an asexual life totally happy about preaching a coming Kingdom they never understood anyway.

To complicate matters, in Matthew 5:28 Jesus states in: “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” is very problematic for the heterosexual male, but easy to understand if one is indeed gay. As the late New Testament scholar John A. T. Robinson 1919 – 1983 (Lecture at Trinity College, Cambridge and author of “Honest to God” 1963) once told a student who had ask him about Jesus’ hard statement in the above verse on adultery said: “Committing adultery in your heart is not as much fun as actually doing it in life.”

Christian history tells us that Christian men did struggle with a New Testament which portrays the ideal man as asexual be it Paul (“it is better for a man never to touch a woman” 1 Corinthians 7: 1), to Jesus (For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake." Matt. 19: 12), or the Book of Revelation where the 144,000 were undefiled by women (Rev. 14:4).

However, unlike the sexual denial in the New Testament, the Hebrew Bible endorses not only polygamy, but considers concubines and prostitutes as normal sexual outlets for the male. Books like the Song of Solomon are so highly erotic to the point where Roland Murphy (who authored the commentary in Fortress’ Press Hermeneia Commentary series) felt that it had it’s origins in an ancient Israelite brothel.

We are told by Eusebius in Book IV of his Church History that Origen castrated himself (based on Jesus’ statement in Matt. 19:12) to keep himself pure. We are also told in personal works such as those of Saint Anthony (251-356) in Life of Anthony, written in Greek around 360 by Athanasius of Alexandria (as well as writings from other desert monks) that they struggled daily with their sexual desires which they often would label as Satanic. Even the great orthodox theologian Augustine (354 - 430) Bishop of Hippo, who, before his conversion, had fathered children with other women stated after his Christian conversion that “Sometimes I find myself reaching out to scratch the itching sore of sin.”

Paul boastfully states in I Corth. 10:13 “No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Yet this is no more based on reality than Jesus’ own extreme views on sex and adultery.

The reality of Jesus in the Gospel tradition is, in fact, not reality. This asexual Jesus who is followed by asexual disciples (though Peter is said to have had a wife, he apparently had little use for her after he met a man named “Jesus”) has caused human sexuality to be one subject ministers and priests just don’t talk about. And when the frailties of "sinful human nature" are perched, churches almost always bury their wounded leaders who follow the natural command of God in Genesis to be “fruitful and multiply”.

On the other hand, the denial of human sexuality has damaged the lives of innocent children and their priest as in the case of the scandal in the Catholic Church in American.

So, does it matter if Jesus had a functioning set of nuts? It matters in the fact of reality; both the natural drives of life and fact of total forgiveness.

Jerry Coyne Gives a Brief Primer on Evolution vs. Intelligent Design

Jerry Coyne is a respected Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago who has been active in following the Intelligent Design movement. Prof. Coyne recently gave a talk at The Rockefeller University on evolution, creationism, and Intelligent Design that I highly recommend to anyone interested in the topic. He gives brief examples of problems for the traditional creation ex nihilo promoted by many evangelicals, and then goes into the various problems with Intelligent Design "theory", all the while peppering in various examples of the facts in support of evolution.

(Hat tip to Pharyngula.)

A Calvinst and an Arminian Dictionary

There is a raging debate taking place between Calvinists and those of the Arminian persuasion. Here are two dictionaries about each theology. Calvinist Dictionary. Arminian Dictionary. Although these two dictionaries are spoofs, behind them is a real debate between Christians.

Hector Avalos on "The Ideology of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Demise of an Academic Profession"


William Lane Craig to Co-Edit a Book Response to the New Atheists.

Link. He said:
No doubt many of you have been troubled, as I have, by the rise of the so-called "New Atheism" in our day, represented by people like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. When I read Dawkins' broadsides against Christianity in his book The God Delusion, I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if a group of Christian scholars, including philosophers, scientists, ethicists, historians, and biblical scholars, would team up to write a response to this tirade, each writing in his area of specialization?" Well, I'm pleased to say that it's going to happen! Chad Meister of Bethel College and I have been given a contract by Inter-Varsity Press to edit just such a book, and we've put together a terrific team of scholars to refute the New Atheist attacks, each in his area of expertise. We hope the book will be finished by the summer's end.

William Lane Craig vs Peter Slezak Debate

I'm starting with the video of Peter Slezak's opening statement (at 3:40) since we've heard Dr. Craig's arguments before. Dr. Slezak's opening statement is brilliant...

Be sure to turn up the volume.

You can click on the other parts one after another.

Tribal Boundaries around Christian Giving

What I like least about the Evangelical community I grew up in is that generosity and compassion stop at the doors of the church. Not literally at the doors to the church building, though sometimes that is true, but at the boundaries of Evangelical Christianity. My inability to get comfortable with this boundary around generosity and love was one reason I left.

Within the church community, scriptural mandates about clothing the poor, feeding the hungry, or comforting widows and orphans are matters of routine practice. So are the hefty, reliable donations that buy things like classrooms, choir robes, buses, and even baseball fields. In my home church, the ten percent tithe was a benchmark, below which a family might fall because of financial hardship or otherwise with pangs of guilt. But giving went beyond money. It included time, skill and emotional energy. Many people gave to the church and to other Christians at great personal cost.

I have been a recipient of this generosity. In the days after my father’s death, my husband commented with astonishment at the warm food that arrived meal after meal. I, who had grown up in the church, was more startled by his surprise. Since then, week after month after year, men of the congregation have come to fix my mother’s plumbing, to replace loose shingles, to cart my nephews (who she is raising) to club meetings and outings. They give without calling attention to themselves and when thanked they deflect credit: “God has given much to me . .”

Within Evangelical communities, this kind of behavior is the norm. It is an unquestioned part of what it means to follow in Christ’s footsteps.

But if problems and needs exist in the world outside the Church, that is a different matter. Yes, there are ministries to inner city youth and to the elderly and to new immigrants, but always with the intent of winning converts. If the beneficiaries are not believers, then coaching soccer, providing transportation to medical appointments, or filling hungry stomachs is a means to an end. Catholics in Latin America and Muslims in Afghanistan and Hindus in India accuse Protestant aid organizations of exploiting human desperation to entice conversion. They are not altogether wrong. Even on U.S. college campuses, “friendship missionaries” target lonely foreign students, offering companionship with an agenda.

What is ugly to me is that helping to make the world a little better isn’t an agenda in itself. Children in poor neighborhoods have rotten schools? Of course it’s a problem, but not a Christian problem. Drinking water contains high levels of heavy metals? Definitely a problem, but not a Christian problem. Blood transfusions in short supply? Hospitals struggling to provide services for the uninsured poor? Farmland being eliminated by suburban sprawl? Arms traders providing machine guns to orphaned children in the Sudan? Manatees becoming extinct because of pleasure craft activities off the coast of Florida? Not Christian problems.

The Evangelicals I grew up with might occasionally and individually take on such concerns independent of their faith, but they certainly wouldn’t systematically take responsibility for these concerns because of their faith. And any activities along these lines had no place among the moral and spiritual teachings we received every Sunday and Wednesday. No teaching, modeling, discussion, mentoring or practice. The only model was “give to the church and through the church.” By college, it occurred to me that this leaves an awful lot that needs doing in the world to agnostics and Jews and Buddhists and those not-real (liberal) Christians. To make matters worse, while they struggle to do it all, Evangelicals get to sit by, not just with the certainty of their own salvation, but also with a certain sense of moral superiority.

Not only does such a posture seem ugly, it falls short of the thinking of even our early spiritual ancestors. If one looks at the gospel stories, many of Jesus’s miracles and acts of compassion are not accompanied by a “come follow me” message, nor are they tribal. They are simply done. The blind seeing and the lame walking and the hungry being satisfied or even having enough wine for a wedding celebration—all of these are worthwhile in their own right. They aren’t means to an end, they are simply manifestations of Goodness.

When Jesus preaches the beatitudes, He doesn’t say, “Blessed are the meek Jews for they shall inherit the earth.” Nor does he say, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall have mercy if they profess that I am Lord.” The message isn’t about inclusion, exclusion, or conversion. In other words, it isn’t about tribal boundaries. It is about meekness, and mercy and love.

An Encouraging Email

Hello Mr. Loftus - I'm wading thru "Why I Rejected Christianity". What a wonderful read! I may have to go back in a few more times. How did you know that I was also asking many of those same questions?!

I too am a born-again atheist. From the evangelical world to the liberal, affirming church (when I came out to myself and the world) thru some paganism, right out to the door to the freedom of atheism.

I miss god. I miss faith. I miss knowing that someone is looking out for me with my best end in mind. Fitting me for heaven after all! I was going to soar thru the heavens and understand the mysteries of the Universe. Now I'll become fertilizer. Someone asked me why I was mad at god. I'm not mad at god. I just happen to know that there is no god at whom to be mad. And I sure like relaxing on a Sunday morning!

I used to long for heaven. This life is but a shadow. But now I savor Life. I have so much less anxiety now that I no longer wait for god to do things. I am energized knowing that I make things happen. There is no more second guessing if I'm doing god's will or not. I see the power of Life and I am in awe. I am teaching my children to have a thankful heart for the beauty and power of this life. I am teaching them to have compassion for those around us and to love with their might.

This is why I am so enjoying your book. We shared that solid faith. And now we share enlightenment.

There are others out there like me! You just express it with great intellect.

(But I still hesitate before typing god with a lower-case "g")

Thank you, Sir.


YouTube Video: Bizarre Beliefs: Where is Jesus Now?

I did it again. I'm getting more proficient with this stuff. Here's another YouTube video:

Chimp's Awe Inspired by Waterfall & Some of the Best Things Ever Said in Favor of Human Evolution

Elephants caring for a crippled herd member seem to show empathy. A funeral ritual performed by magpies suggests grief. Then there's the excited dance chimps perform when faced with a waterfall – it looks distinctly awe-inspired.

In June 2006, Jane Goodall and I visited the Mona Chimpanzee Sanctuary near Girona in Spain. There we met Marco, a rescued chimp, who dances during thunderstorms with such abandon that he appears to be in a trance. Goodall and others have witnessed chimps, usually adult males, perform a similar ritual at waterfalls. She described a chimpanzee approaching one of these falls with slightly bristled hair, a sign of heightened arousal. "As he gets closer, and the roar of the falling water gets louder, his pace quickens, his hair becomes fully erect, and upon reaching the stream he may perform a magnificent display close to the foot of the falls," she describes. "Standing upright, he sways rhythmically from foot to foot, stamping in the shallow, rushing water, picking up and hurling great rocks. Sometimes he climbs up the slender vines that hang down from the trees high above and swings out into the spray of the falling water. This 'waterfall dance' may last 10 or 15 minutes."

Perhaps numerous animals engage in similar rituals but we haven't been lucky enough to see them. Is it possible that they are marveling at their surroundings - that they feel a sense of awe? "Do Animals Have Emotions?" New Scientist magazine, 23 May 2007

"A chimpanzee comes to a stunning sight in the midst of a tropical forest: A twenty-five foot waterfall sends water thundering into a pool below, which casts up mist some seventy feet. Apparently lost in contemplation, the chimpanzee cries out, runs excitedly back and forth, and drums on trees with its fists. Here we see the dawn of awe and wonder in animals.

"Famed heart surgeon, Dr. Christian Bernard, witnessed a chimpanzee weeping bitterly and becoming inconsolable for days after his companion was taken away for research. Bernard then vowed never again to experiment with such sensitive creatures."

"When Washoe [the chimpanzee] was about seven or eight years old, I witnessed an event that told about Washoe as a person, as well as causing me to reflect on human nature. [The account proceeds to describe the chimp island at the Institue for Primate Studies]...One day a young female by the name of Cindy could not resist the temptation of the mainland and jumped over the electric fence in an attempt to leap the moat. She hit the water with a great splash which caught my attention. I started running toward the moat intent on diving in to save her. [Chimps cannot swim.] As I approached I saw Washoe running toward the electric fence. Cindy had come to the surface, thrashing and submerging again. Then I witnessed Washoe jumping the electric fence and landing next to the fence on about a foot of bank. She then held on to the long grass at the water's edge and stepped out onto the slippery mud underneath the water's surface. With the reach of her long arm, she grasped one of Cindy's flailing arms as she resurfaced and pulled her to the safety of the bank...Washoe's act gave me a new perspective on chimpanzees. I was impressed with her heroism in risking her life on the slippery banks. She cared about someone in trouble; someone she didn't even know that well."

GORILLA TALK -- "Koko the gorilla has learned the hand signs to over 600 words, and uses them regularly and spontaneously to communicate with others (including another gorilla she lives with, Michael). She also invents her own unique signs. A ring is called a `finger bracelet.' A cigarette lighter is a `bottle match.' Hand signs in Koko's repertoire of abstractions include: bad, imagine, understand, curious, idea, gentle, stupid, boring, and damn. She also understands over a thousand spoken English words and short sentences. She recognizes words that end with similar sounds or start with the same letter, and can `talk' via an auditory keyboard which produces spoken words when appropriate keys are pressed.

"When Koko was 3 1/2 to 4 years old she took several I.Q. tests designed for human children. In her case the tests were administered via sign language, and Koko's scores on three separate tests over a one year period were 84, 95, 85 (which is not an uncommon fluctuation among human children). The scoring even took into account the cultural bias that favored the responses of human children, which was built into the tests, and without which Koko's scores would have been higher. For instance, one question in the test was `Point to the two things that are good to eat.' The depicted objects were a block, an apple, a shoe, a flower, and an ice-cream sundae. Koko, with her gorilla tastes, picked, `apple and flower.' Another asked `Where you would run to shelter from the rain.' The choices were a hat, a spoon, a tree, and a house. Koko picked `tree' instead of `house.' Rules for the scoring required that Koko's responses be recorded as `wrong.'

"Koko `purrs' and makes laughing and chuckling sounds to express happiness. Her laugh is a sort of voiceless human guffaw which she expresses at her own jokes and those made by others. She finds incongruity funny, the way a young child might. Asked `what's funny,' she put a toy key on her head and said it was a hat, pointed to a puppet's nose and said it was a mouth, and signed, `That red,' showing me a green plastic frog.

"Barbara Hiller saw Koko signing, `That red,' as she built a nest out of a white towel. Barbara said, `You know better, Koko. What color is it?' Koko insisted that it was red -- `red, Red, RED' and finally held up a minute speck of red lint that had been clinging to the towel. Koko was grinning.

"Another time, after persistent efforts on Barbara's part to get Koko to sign, `Drink,' Koko just leaned back and executed a perfect drink sign -- in her ear. Again she was grinning.

"She even tells lies, once blaming a broken sink on a human volunteer. Another time, while I [Patterson] was busy writing, Koko snatched up a red crayon and began chewing on it. A moment later I noticed and said, `You're not eating that crayon, are you?' Koko signed, `Lip,' and began moving the crayon first across her upper, then her lower lip as if applying lipstick.

"Koko also cries, a sort of heart- rending wooo-wooo, when she's sad [like when her pet kitten, `All Ball' died], or when she's lonesome. And she's thought about where gorillas go when they die: `Comfortable hole bye.'

"When one of Koko's visitors asked her, `Are you an animal or a person?' Koko answered, `Fine animal gorilla.'"

THE ABOVE QUOTATIONS HAVE BEEN CONDENSED AND EDITED FROM "Conversations With a Gorilla" by Francine Patterson (National Geographic, Oct. 1978); "`Fear, Humor, Commitment, Sorrow' -- Apes Feel Them All" (U.S. News and World Report, July 22, 1985); "Talk to the Animals" by Don Kaplan (Instructor, Aug. 1985); "Sex and the Single Gorilla" by Judith Stone (Discover, Aug. 1988); One of the most careful and thoughtful reports on primate communication is "Language Comprehension in Ape and Child," ed., E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Number 23 (1993). Savage-Rumbaugh's work is based on rigorous tests and does not rely on anecdotal evidence, yet it supports some of the same claims made above.

"Apes and monkeys have drawn and painted pictures, displaying intense concentration, and appearing to gain satisfaction in the process. Artistically, a chimpanzee makes the same progress, by the same steps, as a human child does, though none have ever been known to get beyond the `simple circle dotted with marks resembling facial features,' i.e., they do not add arms, legs, a body, etc. Still, ape and monkey art takes a lead ahead of children in placing its forms in the center of the page -- they balance their compositions. Apes have also been seen tracing their shadows with their finger, and even using their breath to wet a window pane so they could draw upon it. One famous monkey artist, a Capuchin, began to draw with rough objects in her cage even before anyone showed her how. With most other monkeys and chimps all that human trainers had to do was put a pencil in their hand and paper in front of them. They discovered how to use it soon enough, and even how to hold the writing implement properly. The primates that were tested also knew when their pictures were finished, and enjoyed looking at them afterwards...

"Wild chimpanzees have been observed dancing round an object, employing unique modes of rhythym. They also make drinking cups out of folded leaves, and they pluck a stick clean of leaves to make a feeding-tool they use to extract ants and termites from holes in the ground or wood."
SALLY CARRIGHAR, WILD HERITAGE [quotations have been condensed and edited]

"Forgiveness is not, as some people seem to believe, a mysterious and sublime idea that we owe to a few millennia of Judeo-Christianity. It did not originate in the minds of people and cannot therefore be appropriated by an ideology or a religion. The fact that monkeys, apes, and humans all engage in reconciliation behavior (stretching out a hand, smiling, kissing, embracing, and so on) means that it is probably over thirty million years old, preceding the evolutionary divergence of these primates...Reconciliation behavior [is thus] a shared heritage of the primate order.

"When social animals are involved... antagonists do more than estimate their chances of winning before they engage in a fight; they also take into account how much they need their opponent. The contested resource often is simply not worth putting a valuable relationship at risk. And if aggression does occur, both parties may hurry to repair the damage. Victory is rarely absolute among interdependent competitors, whether animal or human."
FRANS DE WAAL, PEACEMAKING AMONG PRIMATES (see also, Morton Hunt, The Compassionate Beast: What Science is Discovering About the Humane Side of Humankind; and, Alfie Kohn, The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life)

"Studies of food sharing by chimps at Atlanta's Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center [show that]...chimps most often get food from individuals whom they have groomed that day. Dominant males are among the most generous with their food. Fights occur rarely and usually stem from attempts either to take food without having performed grooming services or to withhold food after receiving grooming. Chimps usually kiss, hug, or otherwise make peace after a fight, especially if they need help and cooperation from one another in the future, according to Dr. Frans de Waal."



Sharing the Good Nudes, and Bad Neuters, of Christianity (& God's love for harp playing male virgins)


Everything You Wanted To Know About Nude, Virginal, Castrated Men in the Bible, and Men "Undefiled by Women." And Moses's command not to "come at your wives" before meeting God. (Though I don't know if that applies to Southern Baptists heading for their annual convention.) Includes mention of the Adamites and the Skoptzie, along with Augustine's answer to the question, "What if all men should abstain from all sexual intercourse, whence will the human race exist?" All that and more below.

Sixty residents of the Seminole Health Club nudist camp near Miami comprise a Christian mission that worships twice a week in the nude. According to leader Elijah Jackson, "We're not trying to start a cult here, but I think nudity adds something to Christianity." -- News of the Weird, "Weird Clergy"

In the past another group of Christians worshiped in the nude called "Adamites." They believed that Jesus's grace allowed them to draw closer to God in their nakedness, unlike Adam and Eve who were ashamed and withdrew from God in the garden because of their nakedness. They also cited the verse in which Job reminded his listeners that we all entered and exited life naked, and used that to argue that we will all face God naked. Besides which King David lost his robe in a religious dancing frenzy and danced naked for the Lord. The only trouble I can see with worshiping naked in church is having to set the temperature neither too hot nor too cold and keeping the seats from getting sticky.

Christians who worship naked, and the Bible verses they focus upon, are not to be confused with Russian Skoptzie Christians who focused on Jesus's words, "Some have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven." (Mat. 19:12) The Skoptzie avoided the "lust of the eyes" and "of the flesh," via the use of a knife. All for the kingdom. (Another example of a Christian who made himself a eunich for the kingdom of heaven was the early church father Origin. Incidentally, he believed in the restoration of all things, except perhaps for the thing he cut off.) Will we behold in heaven naked dancing genital-less men -- made eunichs either on earth by their own hand, or transformed into genital-less angel-like beings after death by God?

The author of Revelation mentions "144,000 men... not defiled with women; for they are virgins," who are granted a prominent place in front of God's throne to play their harps. That's what God likes most I guess, harp playing male virgins. (Revelation 14: 2-4)

Old Testament authors seem to concur with at least the necessity of celibacy in the presence of Yahweh, since Exodus 19:15,17 taught that Israelite men must "NOT to come at your wives" prior to "meeting the Lord."

Paul likewise hailed celibacy as a holy virtue, but added, concerning those who could not rise to practice such a virtue, "it is better to marry than to burn" (a verse not often heard at Christian marriage ceremonies today, I wonder why, it's biblical):

"It is good for a man NOT TO TOUCH A WOMAN. For I would that all men were even as I myself. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. [i.e., celibate] But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn... I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. Are you loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. The time is short: it remains that they that have wives be as though they had none... He that is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married cares for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit, that you may attend upon the Lord WITHOUT DISTRACTION." (1 Corinthians 7:1,7,8-9,26-27,29,32-35)

But Augustine's commentary on Paul's verses is especially ripe:

"In the first times, it was the duty to use marriage. chiefly for the propagation of the human race. But now, in order to enter upon holy and pure fellowship. they who wish to contract marriage for the sake of children, are to be admonished, that they use rather the larger good of continence. But I am aware of some that murmur, 'What if all men should abstain from all sexual intercourse, whence will the human race exist?' Would that all would. Much more speedily would the City of God be filled, and the end of the world hastened. For what else does the Apostle Paul exhort to, when he says, 'I would that all were as myself;' or in that passage, 'But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remains that both they who have wives, be as though not having: and they who weep, as though not weeping: and they who rejoice, as though not rejoicing: and they who buy, as though not buying: and they who use this world as though they use it not. For the form of this world is passing away.'" (Saint Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, Sections 9-10)



Christian Nudist Convocation, Planning their Summer 2008 conference:

The periodic Christian Nudist Convocation took place in July at the Cherokee Lodge nudist camp in Tennessee, and according to a dispatch in Nashville Scene, the group evokes skepticism not only from most Christians (who dislike the flaunting of naked bodies, even if innocently done) but from most Cherokee Lodge members, who see them as too intense for naturism's laid-back attitude. One CNC attendee acknowledged that many Christians would not approve of Cherokee Lodge, but to him "It's Jerusalem." Another compared his work at nudist camps to missionary work: "Some people get sent to Africa, some people get sent to South America and the Lord was like, 'I want you to go to nudist resorts.' And I'm like, 'Wow, what an assignment.'"
SOURCE: News of the Weird

Christian nudists to build village in Florida by Phil Barnoti Wahba (Columbia News Service Dec. 6, 2005)

"Naked Before God," cover story in Nashville Scene. Christian nudists hit the church-and the hot tub-for three days of wet and wild worship in the backwoods of Tennessee by Elizabeth Ulrich

The compatibility of Christianity and nudism is detailed in "Nakedness and the Bible," a self-published book by Canadian author Paul Bowman. The book cites key biblical events, including God's order to the prophet Isaiah to go naked for three years, and states that, contrary to popular belief, Jesus was naked when he washed the feet of his disciples, when he was baptized and when he was crucified and resurrected. "Nakedness and the Bible" states that nothing forbids nonsexual nudity and that misinterpretations of the Bible stem from faulty translations of ancient Hebrew words for nudity. For example, Jim T., Natura's spiritual adviser, and his wife, Shirley, believe the apostle Paul's call for modesty targeted ostentation, not nudity. Besides, said Shirley, 55, women in church wearing "designer clothes and $90 haircuts" are the immodest ones.

Christian nudists have long organized their own services and prayer groups. Carolyn Hawkins of the American Association for Nude Recreation, which was founded in 1931, said most of its 270-member clubs offer Sunday services, including one in North Carolina where they are led by a member who is a Baptist minister. Nathan Powers, a 50-year-old Texan, begins his day praying naked in his backyard. Nakedness intensifies his dialogue with God, he said. "I feel closer to God. It's an act of humility. It is absolutely spiritual."

Jonathan Palmiter was enjoying a recent Sunday morning stroll through a lush yard full of trees and Spanish moss--naked as was Adam in the Garden of Eden. A 59-year-old born-again Christian, Palmiter was visiting Natura, a development 40 miles north of Tampa, Fla., that, when it opens up next summer, will become the first nudist community for devout Christians in North America.


Transgender Televangelist: Sister Paula Nielsen the world's first and only transgender televangelist. Unfortunately, Sister Paula's show is only available on the cable system of -- you guessed it -- West Hollywood.

Genesis 2:4b-20: Man Made From Earth Is Folklore, Conflated River Elements and the Myth of Adapa

This Article shows that in the second creation story in genesis the concept of man made from earth pre-existed and spanned cultures and geographical boundaries, has the rivers confused between different geographical areas, and has many elements from prexisting Near Eastern Myths such as "The Myth of Adapa".

* This article and its predecessors in the series are a collection of notes put together from sources that are represented by quick reference links to similar web pages to make it easy to get more information as quickly as possible. The original sources are listed at the end.

P1. The Interconnectedness of The Ancients - Demonstrates the robust ancient civilizations at the time and that Canaan, Israel and Judah were central to them. Discusses trade routes, seafaring, the link between whales and the Leviathans of Mythology and how long it would take to get from one civilization to another by sea.
P2. Genesis 1:1-25 Is An Amalgam of Near Eastern Creation Myths. Demonstrates the prior existence of key elements of the story of the creation of the Universe that appears in Genesis.
P3. Genesis 1:26-1:27, Creation of Humans in Near Eastern Myths And The Paleolithic Era. Demonstrates that the physical evidence contradicts the story of the making of the first humans in Genesis.
P4. GENESIS 1:28-2:4a, Be Fruitful And Multiply, Founder Effect and Genetic Diversity. This Article shows that even if the physical evidence didn't refute the special creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve, in Genesis 1:27, the problem of Genetic Diversity known as the "Founder Effect" would eventually lead to crippling genetic mutations or extinction.
P5. Genesis 2:4b-20 Man Made From Earth Is Folklore, Conflated River Elements and the Myth of Adapa. This Article shows that the concept of man made from earth spans cultures and geographical boundaries, the rivers are confused between geographical areas and has many elements from pre-existing Near Eastern Myths such as "The Myth of Adapa.

The criteria for Folklore as described in Alan Dundees book "Holy Writ as Oral Lit" are "multiple existence and variation".

Four major differences in the two creation stories follow, but there are many others that are not covered here.
A. God is referred to by different names in each story. In the first story he is referred to as Elohim (“God”) and in the second story he is referred to as Yahweh (“LORD”) or Yahweh Elohim (“LORD God”).
B. The methods of creation are different. In the first story creation occurs by the spoken word and in the second story creation occurs by physical means (for example, God plants a garden).
C. The order of creation is different in the two stories. The first story follows the order in the Enuma Elish(6) and starts with vegetation and proceeds to animals on to humans, and the second story begins with the male human, then the vegetation in the Garden of Eden, and then the animal kingdom.
D. In the first story, the man and woman are created together, but in the second story, the male is created first, with the female made later from his rib. ("The Book of Genesis", The Teaching Company)


* Multiple stories of Creation are common in all cultures including the Near East(1)
- Egypt, Mesopotamia (although the most widely know is the Enuma Elish(2)) and the Indus Valley all have multiple versions of Creation.
4b. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens-
5. and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground,
6. but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground-

* Many myths regard breath as life and regard it as supernatural. The correlation of breath to life is understandable because breathing is the obvious difference between someone sleeping and someone dead. In Ancient Hindu beliefs, the breath and the spoken word were sacred and representative of aspects of life, morality and divinity.(3)
* MAN MADE FROM EARTH: These predate the Torah
- Mesopotamian,
-- the God Bel (a lot of them were referred to as Bel) cut off his own head and the other gods mixed his blood in with the earth to make humans (4)
-- Kingu was killed and his blood was mixed with clay to make humans(5)
* Africa
-- Egypt - khnum molded people out of clay on his potters wheel(6)
-- Shilluks of the white nile, Juok is the god(4)
-- Fans of West Africa(4)
-- Togo-land, West Africa(4)
* Greece
- Prometheus made men out of clay(7)
7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

The specific dates of origin of these stories are unknown but with the serendipitous mutation of the FOXP2 gene in the isolated population of sub-Saharan Africa about 70,000 years ago, and with the necessity of that gene for language(8), it may be that the story of making humans from clay (as well as other trans-cultural themes in folklore) originated with language.

The Following are various versions from all parts of the world of Man Made from earth or stone, and/or breathed life into them. The latest time of the arrival of the original population can be estimated using the dates of fossil evidence and genetic graphing.

Approximate timeline of origins of cultures that contain humans made of earth or clay as folklore (rounded off)(9,4)
~60000 BCE
* Kumis, Arakan Chittagong India,
* Korkus, India, the god Shiva or Mahadeo,
* Khasis of Assam,
* Mundas, Chota Nagpur, Singbonga the god
* Santals of Bengal, Thakur Jiu asked the god Malin Budhi

~50000 BCE - Indonesia
* Australia - Pund-Jel around Melbourne Australia
* Melanesian legend, Mota, Qat the hero
* Malekula, New Hebrides, Bokor the god,
* Toradjas of central Celebes, i Lai the god, i Ndara the god asked Kombengi the god to make them
* Mihahassa, north Celebes Wailan Wangko and Wangi gods,

* Dyaks of Sakarran in British Borneo, Two large birds made man or the God Salampandai
* Nias, Sumatra, sing a song in couplets like Hebrew poetry, Luo Zaho the god,
* Bila-an, Mindanao, Philippine islands, Melu the god,
* Bagobos, South-Eastern Mindanao, Diwata the God,
* Noo-hoo-roa, kei, Dooadlera the god,

* Pelew Islanders

~40,000 BCE - Eurasain Steppes
* Cheremis of Russia, Finnish people,
* Nui, Netherland Island, Ellice Islands, Aulialia the god

~20,000 BCE - North America
* Eskimo and Indians From Alaska to Paraguay,
* Eskimo of point Barrow, the spirit A Se Lu
* Acagchemem Indians of California the god Chinigchinich
* Maidu Indians of California the god earth-initiate
* The Hopi or Moqui Indians Arizona Huruing Wuhti the god,

* Pima Indians, Arizona,
* Michoacans of Mexico, the god Tucapacha,
* Peruvian Indians,

* Lengua Indians of Paraguay, God in the form of a beetle

8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

* The Story of the Garden of Eden shares elements with the Enuma Elish such as the Following.
- Enki and Ninhursag
-- Seduction with fruit
-- The eating of trees brings a curse consisting of the withholding of life

- Gilgamesh and the Huluppu Tree
-- Tree with Serpent (combined with a demon)

- The Myth of Adapa(10) has some of the same elements as the Garden of Eden Story combined. A list follows.
-- Son is semi-divine, has characteristics of God.
-- The son has done something wrong,
-- The son must answer to the God (Anu) for his misdeeds,
-- God the father warns him not to eat anything or he will die
-- A woman gives him something to eat which could potentially be deadly
-- Because of his choice he doesn't get eternal life and is not allowed to stay in the nice place

--- Excerpt: A summary of the Myth of Adapa from follows(2).
"[Summary: Adapa, or perhaps Adamu, son of Ea, had recieved from his father, the god Ea, wisdom, but not eternal life. He was a semi-divine being and was the wise man and priest of the temple of Ea at Eridu, which he provided with the ritual bread and water. In the exercise of this duty he carried on fishing upon the Persian Gulf. When Adapa was fishing one day on a smooth sea, the south wind rose suddenly and overturned his boat, so that the was thrown into the sea. Angered by the mishap, he broke the wings of the south wind so that for seven days it could not blow the sea's coolness over the hot land. Anu calls Adapa to account for this misdeed, and his father Ea warns him as to what should befall him. He tells him how to fool Tammuz and Gishzida, who will meet him at the gate of heaven. Ea cautions him not to eat or drink anything in heaven, as Ea fears that the food and drink of death will be set before Adapa. However, the food and drink of eternal life are set before him instead, and Adapa's over-caution deprives him of immortality. He has to return to Earth instead.]"
9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

* Bible with sources revealed discusses the the literary device of 'wordplay' in the form of puns. Gihon is similar to the Hebrew word Gehon which is "belly" an obvious reference to the snake that will crawl on its belly. Pishon has the same root has the same root letters as Nephesh which means "a living being". Euphrates appears in the same verse as pishon and creates "you shall eat dust". Tigris as a the combination of two words becomes "his hand and take". Adam is a play on the word for ground. Eve's semitic root is snake and a play on the word "sly" (in reference to the snake) appears later as the humans are naked.

* Only the Tigris and Euphrates have ever been close together. The Gihon and the Pishon are in a different area of that region. The author either mixed up the rivers accidentally or did it on purpose to enable the use of wordplay in the story.
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.

-- Pishon was in Havilah which is commonly thought to be in Yemen(11), at the southern end of the Arabian peninsula,
11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.
12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)

* Kush is in Africa where the Sudan is today(12).
13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.

* The Tigris and Euphrates are in modern day Iraq which was ancient Mesopotamia(13).
14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

* In Near eastern myths, humans served the Gods(14). Though the Hebrews represetation of Gods relationship is noticeably different, in this case Adam was to take care of the domain of the garden of Eden. Here God wants Adam to be the caretaker of the Garden.
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

* Something to eat that will cause you to die is a shared element with Mesopotamian myth of Adapa
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

* Adam needed a helper to maintain the Garden.
18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs [a] and closed up the place with flesh.

And that brings us to Eve being made from Adams Rib.

Quick Reference to material in the sources. For the Quick References, Wikipedia is used liberally because while academics don't consider Wikipedia definitive or acceptable as a source they do consider it generally good enough for quick reference. Please do not confuse quick references with the sources. The sources are where the majority of information came from.

Quick References
1. Creation Myths
2. Enuma Elish Text online
3. Science of Breath
4. Folklore in the Old Testament, Vol. 1 Online
5. Kingu blood mixed with clay
6. Khnum
7. Prometheus
8. FOXP2
9. National Geographic Genographic Project
9a. Man made to serve Gods
10. The Myth of Adapa
11. Havilah
12. Gihon
13. Tigris and Euphrates
14. Man made to serve Gods

1. Human Prehistory and First Civilizations, The Teaching Company
2. Story of Human Language
3. Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World, The Teaching Company
4. The Bible With Sources Revealed
5. The Book of Genesis, The Teaching Company
6. Great Figures of the Old Testament, The Teaching Company.
7. Alan Dundees Holy writ as oral lit
8. National Geographic Genographic Project
9. Folklore in the Old Testament, Vol. 1 Online, Sir James G. Frazer

Avalos Contra Weikart: Part I: General Problems With Dr. Weikart’s Methods

Dr. Hector Avalos responds to Dr. Weikart in what follows:

One of the main goals of Intelligent Design creationists is to undermine the theory of evolution by arguing that it can have catastrophic human consequences. This, of course, involves a fallacious logical argument from consequences. Whether a theory has good or bad consequences is irrelevant to whether that theory is true.

But, this logical fallacy has not deterred Intelligent Design creationists who use it to instill fear of evolution in the public. One of the latest attempts in this fear-mongering effort is the pro-Intelligent Design propaganda film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which paints Darwinism as the main, or only, factor in the Nazi Holocaust.

Suit-and-Tie Atheism: And the “Church-ification” of the Godless

Let me tell you about me and my activities on a typical night off work. I wake up around 4 to 5 pm because I usually work nights and those are my hours. I get up and have a glass of iced tea, some sodas, or a few (or more) beers, depending on my taste and mood. Then I’ll grab some take-out food, which usually consists of the greasiest grub I can find (What can I say? My arteries hate me!) I live in a 750-square-foot world where the Fri-Daddy is god, where snacking on chips, whole cashews, chocolate bars, and anything peanut butter is the divine moral order, and where shrimp and bacon are only one step away from being “holy” foods. There are probably more preservatives in me than blood cells! There are as many paper cups, plastic wrappers, and empty junk-food containers in my kitchen as there are strands of carpet in the living room! At my place, it’s an ongoing battle just to keep up with throwing them all away. So it’s safe to say I’m pretty much your exuberant Class-A slob.

When I’m done eating, I go back to doing what consumes most of my pathetically anal and highly obsessive/compulsive life—reading articles, writing articles, and editing articles, both for freelance and for freethought purposes. I spend the first half of the day doing what I want and the last half of the day doing work, which includes maintaining my blogs and answering emails. In between this time, I peruse the web for documentaries, audio clips, and videos, so much so that your typical, shorthand-using, 14-year-old, internet troll has nothing on me! I also love comedy of all kinds, particularly satire, to the extent that I try daily to gratify my ominously dark and disturbing sense of humor.

But I’m always thinking, thinking when my fat ass is hold up on the recliner, thinking when that searingly hot water is running over my head and beading off my back in the shower. And I’m a tactile thinker. I like to feel myself thinking, so it’s not uncommon for me to spend some amount of money on new keyboards that provide a nice, rough feel for the tips of my fingers to motivate me to keep on writing even when I feel like crap (which is often). I love a keyboard just before the keys get shiny as the surfacing begins to rub off from frequent use! I sometimes grit my teeth as I write, whether I’m mad or not. It just feels good. I also spend a decent amount of money collecting flashlights and pens. I love to feel them. Holding them in my hands helps me to think better.

Though not often, I can be moody, but I am always all-or-nothing; what I love I love and what I hate I hate. I love a cloudy or stormy day. I love the wind whipping through my hair. I love hot peppers. I love a well-timed shot of liquor. I love the cold air’s bite on my cheeks. I love the smell of jasmine. I love doing bizarre things, like sharpening backscratchers so that the intensity of the scratch is stronger on my skin. I play with my hair and rubber bands when I’m mind-numbingly bored, and I sculpt when I’m feeling creative. I love a good game of chess. I do other things too that I won’t go into much detail on, primal things that involve members of the opposite sex and me in handcuffs, but you get the picture.

And some days, the futility of existence is just too much for me, so I don’t get out of bed at all. I just lay there until I have a headache and stare up at the ceiling for hours because I can’t find the motivation to get up. I just lay in the dark, groveling on my bed until I can’t stand it anymore. I hate a lot of things too, like cinnamon and heights and mosquitoes and needles. I never lick my fingers and I hate it when others do around me and are otherwise not germ conscious. Unlike so many atheists, I don’t care much for leftwing politics. I am somewhat of a political enigma, being pro-torture and pro-death penalty on the one hand, and pro-euthanasia and pro-abortion on the other. I don’t care about “going green” to save the planet either. It matters about as much to me as that cross on the neck of a hot-legged Catholic schoolgirl you wish you’d banged when you had the chance.

And I am plenty aware of my faults too. I am impatient, selfish, picky, and much like I do life in general, I absolutely despise large portions of the population, especially cattle-like people who never struggle with the meaning of their existence (though, in a way, I’m a bit envious of them.) I don’t really care for the poor, and the mentally deficient tend to bother me, as do most special interest groups and other near-parasitical forces of society (Hey, at least I’m honest about it!) I am a recluse, by and large, and I prefer to keep it that way.

My ultimate desire in this predictably short charade I call life is to pass on my experiences and knowledge by way of the written word. I am a student of this cruel-but-curiously-stimulating universe, and if I can pass on my observations to future generations so that they may live through them or somehow make use of them, that is perfectly delightful to me. But all of this just describes one atheist—me. It doesn’t describe all atheists, but in fact describes very few atheists.

One atheist may have nothing in common with another except for one thing: both don’t believe in a deity. That is all—end of story. There need be no other similarities between them. An atheist may be educated or uneducated, smart or stupid, kind or mean-spirited, a law-abiding citizen or an outlaw. He may be charitable or stingy, morally straight-laced or downright perverted. She may be a republican, a libertarian, or a flat-out Marxist. I keep thinking the point has been made already. It isn’t that complicated, and yet I see so little understanding of this in relations between believers and atheists.

We vocal atheists have dealt with our share of email exchanges explaining to clueless inquisitors that agnosticism is not a halfway house between atheism and theism, but only a degree of atheism; an agnostic or weak atheist is less convicted and perhaps less vocal than a positive or strong atheist. And that is what atheism is—a conviction and not a philosophy, though it is sometimes classified as a philosophy or a discipline for reference purposes in the field of philosophy. But this simple misunderstanding has done leagues to impede the progress of our debates for who knows how long.

You see this royal misinformation at work every time some Simple Simon makes reference to “the church of atheism” or “the religion of the godless.” Since atheism is strictly a negative conviction, it cannot have a church or any institution built on it with creedal beliefs or affirmative regulations that affect belief, identity, conduct, or character (which is what churches and religions have and do). And yet, even amongst my atheist comrades, these same misunderstandings are being unknowingly propagated with what I have come to call “suit-and-tie atheism.”

Suit-and-tie atheism is the vain attempt on the part of some atheists to “churchify” their godless convictions under differing militant and evangelistic banners. They show frantic worry about “making de-converts” to join us in our “fight for unbelief.” The suit-and-tie atheist is concerned especially with “coming off” right (which usually means putting on a smiley face and displaying pretentiously Christian-like behavior). The suit-and-tie atheist’s goal: they want believers to be impressed with them in hopes of winning over an on-the-fence Christian who just might say, “These cats aren’t so bad. Maybe my Christian stereotypes of atheists are wrong? I think I’ll join them in their quest for reason.” But it doesn’t happen that way, regardless of how little profanity an atheist uses or how kind and inviting an atheist is in a written or oral debate, or if an atheist chooses the term “non-theist” instead of atheist to ward off any nasty preconceptions of them.

It is very important to the suit-and-tie atheist that no atheist in their company comes off like a “village atheist”—an unsophisticated, homegrown, “I’ll believe it when I see it” type who does not continually pay lip-service to the glories of Aristotelian logic, and who doesn’t have a big interest in arguing atheism with anyone and everyone he knows. But even worse to the suit-and-tie atheist is the “angry atheist” because the angry atheist makes all other atheists look depressed and grumpy—a cardinal sin in the eyes of so many happy-go-lucky, pro-marijuana, planet-loving, Toyota Echo-driving naturalists.

Since the suit-and-tie atheist is concerned mainly with appearance and getting people to agree with him/her – always careful to be pleasant to a fault – they naturally shy away from atheists like myself who are too edgy, too rambunctious, and just too brutally honest for their taste. The suit-and-tie atheist is more like a politician, distancing himself from bad imagery, shaking hands with a big smile on his face, while patting kids on the head as he works the crowd on the campaign trail. But as noble as it sounds to try and line up atheists as charming and inviting, it’s a bad idea because it creates yet another of what should be forthrightly shunned—an unfounded stereotype.

Atheists far and wide seem to be contributing to this suit-and-tie silliness, like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett (among others), who have voiced their desire for all atheists to identify themselves as “Brights.” “The New Atheists” is another description that is catching on and becoming increasingly popular. I was always amazed as a preacher at the tendency of churches to wear denominational names and the names of religious leaders, but I am just as amazed as an atheist at how quickly and easily atheists are guilty of the very same thing. The put-your-best-foot-forward mentality, the desire to label and re-label things to reflect excellence and great personal achievement appears to be universal.

As much as I hate to burst the bloated bubbles of these highly publicized and widely adored atheists, this label-wearing malarkey has got to stop. There are no “Brights” or “New Atheists” anymore than there are “New Deists.” The term “atheist” covers everything that needs to be covered. To go further than that only feeds the already fat market of misinformation on the identity of unbelievers and what we are all about. Add to that, the term “Brights” has a mighty arrogant come-off to it, regardless of whether it was intended to have or not. Those who go around saying (by implication or otherwise), “I am bright and you are not!” to them I proudly extend a middle finger, and rightly so! And why do we need “new” atheism anyway? What was wrong with the old? In addition to being a virtual spit in the face to us behind-the-times “old” atheists, gimmicky and trendy names like these wreak of being little more than pathetic sales-pitches for a new age.

Well, how about we get back to the four basic food groups of atheism: 1) Atheism, 2) is a, 3) conviction, 4) only! And being a conviction only, it does not and cannot lead to moral excellence or decay. It is not an idealistic construct. It offers me nothing. It offers you nothing. Like me, it may be the only position you can come to and honestly profess belief in, or it may not be. If you find atheism sound, then great; maybe you already fight at my side to break the rusting and corroding shackles of superstition, but if not, I won’t lose any sleep over the matter. If you believe in God, I have better things to do than to try and get you off that drug.

The truth is, I don’t care whether you believe in a ghost with a capital “G” or not. It doesn’t matter to me at all. I only want to make my experiences available to those who happen to be in a position to benefit from learning about them, and I will only fight against religious beliefs when they happen to be thrown in my face or when some Jeebus-ite starts to wax too missionary in his/her beliefs. But that’s it. Beyond that, I have no interest in “making atheists” out of anyone or putting new and cute labels on those who already identify themselves as infidels. Worship and pray to whomever or whatever you want, or don’t worship and pray at all. See if I care.

As far as the remaining theists are concerned, evolution will take care of them as God-belief ever-gradually continues to fade from the planet. Every time a Sunday school girl makes her teacher mad because she demands to know where Cain got his wife, religion is fading. Every time a young man begins to doubt the veracity of the great flood and the story of Noah’s ark, religion is fading. Every time another college student becomes emboldened enough to throw off his parent’s religion because of what he learned in geology class, we see that the age-old, male-glorifying, monotheistic blood-gods who for so long have vilified reason and promised damnation to those who think for themselves are at last losing the war. They are running for the hills as your eyes finish this sentence.

Atheism is the logical result of knowledge acquired by the sound use of reason. It does not come from pandering to Christians and straightening that proverbial tie to look good for the “camera” of public perception. Instead of worrying about who’s “hurting the cause of atheism,” we should instead see to it that atheism is understood; understanding that will eliminate the illusionary damage that has led to the public’s vilification of the position. The advancement of atheism is not about upholding an image, and it’s not about receiving a message. It’s about mankind being ready and able to accept the truth of her humble origins, her inevitable and hopeless demise, and her limited place in the cosmos. And when she is ready, she will! As the world becomes more enlightened, the atheists are going to be here. I have no doubt about it—unless, of course, a meteor hits the earth and the only ones who survive are the Sean Hannity types, but hey, we’re talking about more realistic possibilities!

Gentlemen, lose the jackets. Get rid of the ties. Ladies, let down your hair. And it’s okay to put your feet on the coffee table.


Fun with Fallacies: The Hitler Fallacy

When you don't have a good argument, just use the Hitler Analogy!

I love the blog The NonSequitur. It is a logical analysis of political Media. While most of the politics is over my head (since I'm not much of fan of politics) I do enjoy seeing a fallacy get a good rogering! One day this week they talked about Nazi Analogies in the political sphere.

Earlier this month I posted an article on eight reasons why it was a fallacy as used by Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor while discussing governments ruled by reason alone.

Anne Applebaum in her Washington Post column said the following about it.
The Hitler Analogy

No, I am not drawing comparisons between George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, two vastly different men, by citing these statements. Nevertheless, it is clear from the above that Bush and Putin, despite their vast differences, share a common contemporary ailment: Each suffers from the inexplicable need to inject the Nazis into current political debate, whether they belong there or not.

True, it seems that Nazi analogies can be used with almost infinite flexibility.

It is so widespread that it is listed in the taxonomy of Fallacies over at the The Fallacy Files.
"The Hitler Card" from The Fallacy Files

And like a cool breeze on a warm summers day, Jamie Steele uses it in my article on "Brains 'Trust Machinery' Identified".

To which Evan pointed out this was predicted by Godwins Law

Hoist up the Jolly Roger, let out the sails! Catch that breeze and muster up ramming speed MATEYS, HAR!

Brain's 'Trust Machinery' Identified

This is a datum to support my assertion that Biological Bases for Behaviors are incorrectly interpreted as "Sin".
The brain centers triggered by a betrayal of trust have been identified by researchers, who found they could suppress such triggering and maintain trust by administering the brain chemical oxytocin.

Brain processes were able to be manipulated without the subject noticing. This means that as far as our motives and desires go, we are our own frame of reference. We may not understand that our reactions, desires and motives fall outside the expectations of others or if we do realize that our behavior falls outside the expectations of others we may not believe that it is a problem. In effect, our perception of reality is a function of the electrochemical processes in our head to the point that we may very sincerely be wrong and very sincerely not realize it.

While the study doesn't relate specifically to sin, motives and desires, I will use it as an analogy to argue from based on the presumption built on evidence that the brain responds similarly to environmental and hormonal factors.

If our behavior can be manipulated from outside sources and we are not aware of it, the system of divine accountablity is flawed. No one can reasonably be said to be willfully sinning against God because, from the perspective of the Human, all the factors cannot be detected or taken into account.

For example, how do any of you, or even me for that matter, know that I have willfully rejected god? It could very easily be a malfunction in the brain. And conversely, christians that believe in God could very well be suffering from a malfunction in the brain. We could very well have a cocktail of chemicals that cause this feeling and we would not realize or believe that it is wrong.

How this relates to sin is that if we are not aware that we are sinning, how can we be held accountable? And since that is the case, if we are to be held accountable for eternity for our sins on earth, why is it possible to manipulate the center of our desires and motivations? Our behavior, desires and motives should be impervious to any influence that are not our own to ensure proper accountability.

While a rapist may very well know that he or she is doing wrong by raping he or she may have no control over the initiation of the desire to do it. He or she can't be said to "be evil" or have "lust in the heart" because the desire could very well be the result of electrochemical processes in his or her head. Some of us have overwhelming desires to do the wrong thing, something more along the lines of deception or gaining unfair advantage, that we can easily justify internally and not realize it is wrong. Behavior such a sweet grandmother that is racist. Behavior that is taught or picked up and embedded in our brains electrochemically until something changes it.

This demonstrates that there is no thought process that goes on outside the brain, there is only the thought process that goes on in the brain of which the brain is its own frame of reference and which can be manipulated by external agents of which it cannot detect.

No Stomach for N.T. Wright (but what about J.P. Holding?)

N.T. Wright on page 290 of The Resurrection of Jesus Christ seems to be admitting the obviousness of a biblical contradiction that many biblical inerrantists (like J.P. Holding for instance) seem loathe to admit. Before reading the passage from N.T. Wright one needs to know which verses he is referring to. They are from a Pauline letter and one of the earliest New Testament discussions concerning what "resurrection" meant, i.e., Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 6:13 & 15:50, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," and, "Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food; but God will do away with both of them." About such teachings N.T. Wright wrote:

"There is that about the body which will be destroyed; in the non-corruptible future world, food and the stomach are presumably irrelevant. So, for that matter (since food and stomach point metaphorically here to sexual behaviour and sexual organs) will human reproduction be irrelevant. Paul is again treading a fine line here, since he wants to say simultaneously both that the creator will destroy the bits of the body which are being touted by some in Corinth as those to do what they like with and that there is bodily continuity between the present person, behaving this way and that, and the person who will be raised to new bodily life."

To comment on Wright's comment, one need only note that the two last Gospels (Luke and John) abandoned Paul's earlier teaching and depicted scenes in which the resurrected Jesus "ate fish" and declared himself "not a spirit," but one "having flesh and bone." Which makes one wonder whether Paul might not have found such late Gospel depictions of the resurrected Jesus "heretical" had Paul lived long enough to read them.

Speaking again of N.T. Wright, in his latest book he preaches that Christians will be resurrected in a new body to live on a new earth, which raises all sorts of questions. Will people be raised with or without sex organs? Will resurrection bodies have the anatomy of Barbie dolls? (In which case, how "PG-rated," finally a "family friendly creation!") Why have that stuff between your legs for eternity if it's to be of no use?

On the other hand, Christians like C. S. Lewis hoped there would be "sex" in the afterlife. And we'd probably require organs of some sort if we were resurrected in "physical bodies" and inhabiting a "new earth." Of course some people might not like being stuck with the same physical organ they once had on earth, either because of its size or shape, or they might like to imagine trying out a different sex organ entirely rather than only having had the experience of one. And what about people born in the old creation with a bit of both sexual organs, the "inter-sexed?" Will God reassign them a gender specific organ after they are resurrected? (Again, a nice PG-rated cosmos, safe from any gray or blurry areas.)

And speaking of a "family friendly" cosmos, how "family friendly" will it be if you can't raise families in it? If new creation resurrcted bodies have sexual organs can the gonads function and conceive children? "Post-resurrection new creation babies?" Such babies wouldn't be born in a fallen cosmos but would have all the advantages of being born in a "new creation" -- all the food, love, and daily miracles anyone might ever hope to see from birth onwards. A bit of an advantage I'd say over all the damned in hell born after Adam's fall.

Of course if giving birth is NOT an option in the "new creation," then God has sterilized the chosen for eternity. (Which is a bit funny after all the lessons Christians keep telling us on earth that sterilization is wrong.)

CONVERSATION OF A SEMI-REBELLIOUS QUESTIONING CHRISTIAN WITH GOD AFTER BEING RESURRECTED IN THE NEW CREATION: "Hey God! Thanks for the resurrected body! Glory! Hey where's my? Oh wait, I've still got it (whew). Does it still work? Yes? But I'm shooting blanks for eternity? I can't make babies? In the old creation You told us to procreate and to have kids which were a tremendous blessing. Now you want us to have sex for pleasure with no baby-making even possible? Weird how you reversed the rules. Almost sounds like a resounding wet dream victory for Hugh Hefner and the sexual revolution. Can we have cosmic orgies too? No? I see. So we have to do it for eternity with one spouse, or "spouses" if we'd thought ahead like king Solomon and married a couple hundred while living in the old creation. What if we died without choosing a partner but were still looking for one? Can we date in the new creation? Is heavy petting an option in the new creation? Can we continue dating till eternity ends without settling on any one partner? Oh, and thanks for sterilizing me, since the only children I WAS able to conceive never "came to Jesus" and are now roasting down below. No point risking letting me conceive more souls to fill hell, I guess. So thanks for the blessing of knowing that the only kids I will ever be able to conceive throughout eternity are suffering horrible pains forever."

Then Adam steps up and whispers in my ear, "Tell ME about it."