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Old 06-20-2001, 04:25 AM   #21
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Since this debate has now strayed into the geography of human origins I think I have something to add. The human genome project, as well as various recent discoveries in caves in South Africa are making it apparent that the first fully modern humans appeared circa 100,000 - 140,000 years ago on the far south coast of Africa. These individuals were descended from a larger group which evolved in Ethiopa and the rift valley overs the previous tens of thousands of years. The coastal groups from the south then migrated up the east and west coast of Africa and established itself in the middle east probably around 50 - 70,000 years ago. It is this middle Eastern group which gave rise to all the non-Black 'races'. Sub-saharan Africans appear to be a very varied mixture including some genetic material from the coastal specialists that took over the rest of the world along with all sorts of other genes from the older gene pool in Africa. As a result sub-saharan Africans have 4 times as much genetic diversity than the rest of humanity put together. This would seem to back up turtonm where he claims it is hard to identify what 'race' (or 'species') actually means. If you were to attempt to use genetics to define race you would have to have a top level where all the main groups in Africa were listed (as the major 'races', and the whole of the rest of humanity as a sub-section under just one of these African groups. The suggestion that we are all descended from pygmies is completely unsupportable. The pygmies are just another one of the African groups I have described.
 
Old 06-20-2001, 07:45 AM   #22
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by thinker:
The suggestion that we are all descended from pygmies is completely unsupportable. The pygmies are just another one of the African groups I have described. </font>
Thanks, Think. I had you and the information you had supplied in mind when I wrote that section.

Michael
 
Old 06-20-2001, 09:08 AM   #23
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Thinker/Turtonm:

The new information changes the picture painted by Jackson in his 1985 book.

Among some of the books on biology/anthropology/geneics I recently browsed at a book store is the use of the term "subspecies" to replace the term "races."

There still is the question of whether or not a single early human subspecies created the religious mythology which includes a Genesis/Adam story, a flood story, a father-god who defines sin, a virgin mother, and a savior-god who was born to save his people (from the father-god or from himself if he/she/it is part of a duality with the father-god or a trinity with the father-god and a spirit-god), was arrested, charged, condemned, crucified (or otherwise executed), buried (possibly descending into a hell), resurrected, and ascended into a heaven that was copied by people/priests from other cultures and therefore was the forerunner of Xnity, the Christianity before Christ.

Did the Ethiopians have such a mythology?

Could the Ethiopians be the subspecies which developed many of the features of religious mythology?

There is in Jackson a reference to the physical characteristics of the Sphinx as having a flat nose, thick lips, and other Negro features, thereby possibly linking the Sphinx to the depictions of the early Egyptian gods as having Negro features:
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> [We] are in reality indebted to the ancient Ethiopians, to the fervid imagination of the persecuted and despised Negro, for the various religious systems now so highly revered by the different branches of both the Semitic and Aryan races. This fact, which is so frequently referred to in Mr. Volney's writings, may perhaps solve the questions as to the origin of all religions, and may even suggest a solution to the secret so long concealed beneath the flat nose, thick lips, and Negro features of the Egyptian Sphinx. It may also confirm that statement of Diodorus, that "The Ethiopians conceive themselves as the inventors of divine worship, of festivals, of solemn assemblies, of sacrifices, and of every other religious practice." (Peter Eckler, in Count Constantine Francis Volney, The Ruins of Empires, Peter Eckler, New York, 1890, pp. iii-iv; the Reference to Diodorus is most likely to be found in Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, translated by C. H. Oldfather, Vols. I & II, Coeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1935, in John G. Jackson, Christianity Before Christ, American Atheist Press, 1985, p. 217.)</font>
Did the Egyptians have such a mythology?

Present in Jackson's book are references to the depiction by the Egyptians of their gods as having Pygmy features.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">So closely were the facts of nature observed and registered by the Egyptians that the earliest divine men in their mythology are portrayed as Pygmies, and the earliest form of the Human Mother was depicted with the characteristics of the Pygmy woman. (Dr. Albert Churchward, The Origin and Evolution of Religion, London, George Allen and Unwin, 1924, pp. 7-8., in Jackson, Christianity Before Christ p. 174.)</font>
If Xns got their mythology from the Ethiopians and Egyptians, and from other sources, then Jesus is just another savior-god and Xnity is another phony religion.

Moreover, there is the question of whether or not savior-gods are based upon sun-gods and are allegories for the motion of the sun through the seasons.

Information on sun-gods would also be helpful for discussing the origins of religion.

Some of it is present in Jackson, and I shall report it as time permits.

Keep in mind that I am still doing a book report and looking for modern information confirming or denying the claims made by the author and the individuals he cites.

[This message has been edited by Bob K (edited June 20, 2001).]
 
Old 06-20-2001, 09:18 AM   #24
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Thinker: The suggestion that we are all descended from pygmies is completely unsupportable. The pygmies are just another one of the African groups I have described. </font>
Outdated anthropological information aside, what are your views on the origin of religion? Most people seem to point to Neanderthal as earliest evidence of ritualized behavior reflecting some type of special feeling about the dead (flowers and possessions scattered within the grave). However, I find it hard to believe that hominid's abstract spiritual ideas blossomed first as represented by Neanderthal practices, especially with Neanderthal being thought of now as an evolutionary dead-end with doubtful genetic contribution to modern humans. Since modern humans existed alongside and even prior to Neanderthal, I bet magical thinking originated way before Neanderthal; what do you think? Pattern-recognition = superstition?

[This message has been edited by DRFseven (edited June 20, 2001).]
 
Old 06-20-2001, 09:24 AM   #25
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Thinker:

In re-reading your Reply, if humans are not genetically descended from Pygmies, there is still the question of whether the Ethiopians or/and the Egyptians got their religious mythology from the Pygmies, and, for all other peoples who created religions having father-gods/virgin-mothers/savior-god sons, the question still remains of whether or not they got their mythologies from the Pygmies.

Yes, I understand the possibility that the Pygmies got their savior-god mythology post Jesus, but, since that is a speculation to be confirmed/denied, the speculation that everyone else got their savior-gods from the Pygmies has yet to be confirmed/denied.
 
Old 06-20-2001, 11:41 AM   #26
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Bob: In re-reading your Reply, if humans are not genetically descended from Pygmies, ...</font>
Bob, Pygmies ARE humans. They are descended from other humans. Anyway, animalistic religions existed way before savior-god religions did. As far as I am aware, the first example of evidence of concept of afterlife was Neanderthal graves in Israel 100,000 BP.
 
Old 06-20-2001, 02:14 PM   #27
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Bob K:
Among some of the books on biology/anthropology/geneics I recently browsed at a book store is the use of the term "subspecies" to replace the term "races."

Call'em what you want. They do not exist, however.

There still is the question of whether or not a single early human subspecies created the religious mythology which includes a Genesis/Adam story, a flood story, a father-god who defines sin, a virgin mother, and a savior-god who was born to save his people (from the father-god or from himself if he/she/it is part of a duality with the father-god or a trinity with the father-god and a spirit-god), was arrested, charged, condemned, crucified (or otherwise executed), buried (possibly descending into a hell), resurrected, and ascended into a heaven that was copied by people/priests from other cultures and therefore was the forerunner of Xnity, the Christianity before Christ.

No, these are all various religious ideas floating around the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean.

Could the Ethiopians be the subspecies which developed many of the features of religious mythology?

Sure. Did they? Needs evidence to support.

There is in Jackson a reference to the physical characteristics of the Sphinx as having a flat nose, thick lips, and other Negro features, thereby possibly linking the Sphinx to the depictions of the early Egyptian gods as having Negro features: If Xns got their mythology from the Ethiopians and Egyptians, and from other sources, then Jesus is just another savior-god and Xnity is another phony religion.

Christianity is another phony religion, but the Sphinx pictures an Egyptian Pharoah, and has features consistent with him. This is all nonsense, Bob K. Why not pick up a serious into book on the history of Egypt?

Keep in mind that I am still doing a book report and looking for modern information confirming or denying the claims made by the author and the individuals he cites.

It is all going to be denying. Jackson has no idea what he is talking about.

Michael
 
Old 06-20-2001, 02:34 PM   #28
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Amos123:
Hi Bob, I think it is a great God who can make me out of a fish, don't you agree?
</font>
Isn't that why we have the "Jesus-Fish" on our cars??

[This message has been edited by MOJO-JOJO (edited June 20, 2001).]
 
Old 06-24-2001, 11:40 PM   #29
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Polycarp:

Me:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">My philosophical position is agnostic, but defined, as are other subjects, on my terms, not someone else’s.

If we look at the concept of proof of the existence or nonexistence of gods, then I define a theist to be a person who has a belief in the existence of proof of the existence of gods, an atheist to be a person who has a belief in the existence of proof of the nonexistence of gods, and an agnostic to be a person who has no belief in the existence of proof of the existence of gods or in the existence of proof of the nonexistence of gods.

These definitions follow popular definitions by normal people, humorously defined as nonscholars.</font>
Thee:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I think part of our problem is that you are using word definitions that are simply false. Here’s what dictionary.com has for definitions:

Theist - One who believes in the existence of a God; especially, one who believes in a personal God; -- opposed to atheist.

Atheist - One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.

Agnostic - a. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God. b. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.

You want to add the term “proof” to each of these definitions which is simply unwarranted, and frankly changes the meaning of the words as the rest of the world uses them.</font>
I have never been afraid of challenging authorities including lexicographers (guys/gals who define terms/phrases for use in dictionaries).

When I read in dictionaries of psychology that psychologists have not created agreed-upon definitions of important psychological terms such as mind, feelings, behavior, personality, mental problems/disorders, mental solutions/health and, surprisingly, psychologist and psychology, I decided to create operational definitions of all these terms, and, having developed the mindset to study carefully what are and to create hardnosed operational definitions for the field of psychology, I have noticed in many other subjects that there is a need for operational definitions of terms used in those fields.

If you re-read my above quote, you will see that I developed these definitions of theist/atheist/agnostic from participating in or by observing conversations in which normal people, humorously defined as nonscholars, actually define these terms as I have suggested.

I needed quite some time to realize that to believe in X means to believe in the existence of X and in the existence of proof of the existence of X.

Let me ask you: What does the phrase "to believe in" or "believe in" mean?

I sense that you will most likely experience a strong tendency to define "to believe" as meaning something like "to believe in the existence of ..." which, to me, means also "to believe in the existence of proof of the existence of ..."

When many people say "I believe in ..." and I ask them why, they offer reasons which to them are proof of some kind. Their set of reasons for their belief often translates into their belief in the existence of proof of the existence of whatever they believe in.

Normal people often say that agnostics do not believe that there is conclusive proof of the existence or nonexistence of gods, and that they, the agnostics, are therefore fence-straddlers awaiting conclusive proof of the existence or nonexistence of gods.

This reference to proof among normals to me is an indication of a recognition of a fundamental truth: That when normal people, which are most people, believe in some thing/event, they believe in the existence of proof of the existence of that thing/event.

This suggests to me the importance of including the concept of proof in the definitions of theist/atheist/agnostic.

When the concept of proof is required, atheists are clearly differentiated from agnostics thus: Atheist = Person who believes in the existence of proof of the nonexistence of gods vs. Agnostic = Person who believes in the nonexistence of proof of the existence or nonexistence of gods.

Where atheists would prefer to include agnostics in the category of atheists because both atheists and agnostics have no belief in the existence of gods, or in the existence of proof of the existence of gods, agnostics go one step further in having no belief in the existence of proof of the nonexistence of gods and thus differentiate themselves from atheists in spite of the claims of Madalyn Murray-O'Hare and Dr. Gordon Stein, with whom I exchanged letters on all this, and whom I respect greatly, even though I now realize there is a way to prove him wrong in categorizing agnostics as atheists.

I suspect that in the future the normals' definitions will be acceptable, because they are more effective for communication and thus differentiating theists from atheists from agnostics.

Thee:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Each definition relates to "beliefs" and has nothing to do with "proof". Why be so dogmatic and require absolute proof for everything you believe?</font>
What I saw/heard in the normals' definitions is a conception of proof as being necessary in the specification of what it means to believe in some thing/event.

For that reason I include the concept of a belief in the existence of proof as part of the definitions of theist vs atheist and the concept of the belief in the nonexistence of proof as part of the definition of agnostic.

I require what you call absolute proof as physical evidence consisting of people/things/events comprised of matter/energy who/which can be seen/heard/touched/smelled/tasted, who/which are independent of opinion/beliefs, and who/which are not the content of ideas to ensure that abstract terms/phrases can be made concrete, to create effective communication, and to create effective thoughts patterns/processes.

To me there is nothing more head-clearing than being required to produce operational definitions referring to real-world people/things/events to eliminate mysticism/supernaturalism and to focus therefore on genuine physical evidence for one's assertions of causality.

Thee:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I’m not going to re-hash old arguments, but you know dang well that you believe many things for which you do not have “proof”. How come when it comes to god you require proof instead of probability before believing?</font>
If I drop the requirement for proof of the existence of gods then anything goes as "proof," there are no standards and people lapse into chaos and nonsense.

If gods are so important for the functioning of the universe in general and people in particular, then why are they mysteries? Why are they not observed readily, and quite often?

Even in Xn mythology, the disciples of JC required proof that he was a god, so JC had to perform miracles to satisfy his own disciples.

Why should I be any different?

I've got standards for the identification of gods, and, as I recall, you agreed with those standards, and those standards include proof by the performance of actions man currently cannot perform because of (A) insufficient knowledge or/and (B) insufficient capabilities to perform certain actions in spite of relevant knowledge.

Without standards, we are lost.

Thee:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Please provide the name of a dictionary that supports your definitions of “theist”, “atheist”, and “agnostic”.</font>
I am not aware of any dictionaries which define theist/atheist/agnostic as I have defined them.

If these definitions become well-publicized and normals start to insist on using them, non-normals/scholars will soon be forced to folow or otherwise risk becoming obfuscated and therefore irrelevant.

Thee:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If we use your definitions, then I’m an agnostic. What do you think of that?</font>
Great! If more theists can become agnostics, then eventually we might be able to eliminate religion from popular confusions and get on with focusing upon each other as people.

[This message has been edited by Bob K (edited June 25, 2001).]
 
Old 06-25-2001, 05:40 AM   #30
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob K:
I am not aware of any dictionaries which define theist/atheist/agnostic as I have defined them.
Quote:
</font>
Bob,

Your whole post could be boiled down to the one sentence I just copied. Your attempt to claim that your definition is the one used by “non-scholars” is simply wrong. If society (and these boards) are going to function in an efficient manner, then we have to use a common language and not simply feel free to make up word meanings as we see fit.

“Belief” means that we “believe X to be true”. In other words, we consider it to be more probable that X is true than that X is false. “Proof” means that we KNOW something to be true.

I’m not going to debate word definitions until I’m blue in the face, but I do have one more question for you: Are you related to William Jefferson Clinton? “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” Or something like that…

Peace,

Polycarp
 
 

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