Friday, December 03, 2004
 
Anonymous ratings on Blogexplosion - A recipe for disaster
Some talk has gone around on Blogexplosion of making Blog ratings permanently anonymous.

See, I'm fairly new to BE - been exploding for about a week and a half. Because of this new-ness to my account, I've been able to identify individually the ratings I've received (all nine of them). Mind you, I don't know who gave me the ratings except in a couple of cases (where the person also left a positive comment). I accomplished this by tracking the average rating on my Blog stats every time it changed and then backing into the newest rating. I'm an accountant: I can't help it.

Of the whopping nine ratings I've received, seven out of ten gave me a rating of "7" or higher - for an average of 8.9. The other two both game me a "1". Eight point niner vs. One. WTF.

Therein lies the problem of anonymous rankings. Maybe they gave my blog a "1" because they thought it was hideously designed or my writing was way below average (or both). Maybe they hated the game Contra (seriously, I doubt that one - I mean, we're talking about quite possibly the greatest NES game without Mario). I think the more plausible answer is that they disagree with what I've written.

Anonymous ratings allow people to spam bad ratings on blogs they find disagreeable. Instead of just hitting the "next" button, adding the blog to the "do not view" list, or leaving a comment about their disagreement, they cowardly ding you with a ONE. They are accountable to no one.

So here is my solution. Allow us to turn on/off anonymous ratings for our blog. If it's turned "off", no one can just slap a bad rating on you without you knowing about it. Hell, you could even make it so you could turn ratings off completely if you don't want them.

To sum up: if someone is going to act like a child and start a rating war or ding you with a ONE simply because they disagree with what you say, everyone (and particularly the writer of the blog receiving the feedback) should be able to see them doing it.

Comments:
Great post. I want to be able to see who rated me as well -- I go from top three blog to off the list (three times) because some goofball(s) zaps me with ones to make sure I don't stay in top three.

I'd like to send a nice box of cat poop to my haters, you know? I'm not one to go around giving revenge scores, so poop is most reasonable, I believe.

I'm classy like that.
 
I totally agree. Anonymity makes people feel like they can just give a horrible rating to whoever they disagree with. It's total BS.

http://www.teeterss.net/thoughtpad
 
i completely agree with you here. if people can turn off anonymous posting on their comments, why can't we turn off anonymous rating. if you really think someone's blog sucks and that they deserve a 1, then stand up behind your rating.

i think rating sucks in the first place. it's a popularity contest. get rid of the whole damned thing. or if not, instead of 1-10, have a pre-set list of suggestions that people can click. constructive criticism is better than a meaningless rating.
 
I agree completely! I hatehatehate that the ratings are anonymous. People complained that they were worried that people would give them a bad rating back *rolls eyes*. Well that seems to be a good reason not to give crap ratings based on 30 seconds then wouldn't it. Stupid people.
 
honestly, i believe there are just many "haters" on BE, and they ding EVERYONE with 1's when they surf. i've heard about a few bad seeds. it's truly annoying.

but great post, i agree with you.
 
HEY!! This is Sofyst, I posted under anonymous since everyone was arguing about anonymous posting and rating...what can I say, I'm a punk.

I do agree with you, to some extent. However, notice the hostility that you feel towards those who ping you horridly? That is the major reason for anonymous rating. Therefore, I would suggest to do away with it, as a previous poster has suggested. Or let us all just be kind to one another and never give less than a five or six, unless of course someone has a completely hedious site with idiot comments, then you can give them a two or three...LOL, trying to please everyone!
 
It's also hard to be genuinely interesting and get a good rating. Look at the blogs that get the highest ratings. They're as sugary and family friendly as a PAX network show.
 
Yeah, I got about six 1's before they made it anonymous. I was pretty ticked off because, I know my blog isn't a 1. No one deserves a 1 unless you want to poke your eyes out with a fork because it is written in bright yellow 4pt font on an orange checkered background.
 
Just in case anyone was wondering if I touched a nerve with this post, I've gotten five more ratings since it was put up - two have been ones.
 
My two cents' worth...I'm not too concerned about the ratings people give because honestly, if they don't like my blog, they're not going to return. I'd rather have ten readers who love my blog than a hundred who think it's mediocre at best. Then again, six months ago when I first started blogging it was really important to me that I appeal to everyone...now, not so much. :)
 
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Thursday, December 02, 2004
 
Red-State/Blue-State BS: Purple America
The Electoral College blue/red state maps are ridiculous. And no, the county-by-county maps are absurd, too. Why? Because they poorly convey how the popular vote turned out.

Despite the fact that the election was won by a 3% margin, many have called the win a mandate. Calling Bush’s victory a mandate is akin to the following scenario: you go to the vending machine; but you can’t decide what to get. What is going to fill you up the most? What’s the biggest bang for your buck? You’re pondering either the Snickers bar or the peanut M&Ms. Five minutes pass. Now you’re deciding between the Cheetos and the pretzels. Finally, with great trepidation and uncertainty but an ever so slightly greater desire for cheesy instead of salty, you choose the Cheetos (Either way, you’re getting junk food, but that’s beside the point).

The stomach has spoken! It's a mandate! May I present Purple America:



Some smart guy at Princeton named Robert J. Vanderbei created this map to convey more accurate data regarding the dispersion and concentration of Republican/Democrat voters (Go here for a bigger version, more in depth information, and an animated version from 2000 to 2004).

There are a number of neat things about this map. Isn’t it interesting how abount one state left and right of the Mississippi River and then eastward the country is so much more purple? what's up with that arc of dark red? Or how about how the greater blue concentration lines the east/west coasts? Or rivers? What about the “Blue belt” of voters in the south? The more you look at this map, the more ideas come to mind (Here is a great side-by-side comparison of the state by state and the purple maps)

It’s fitting that the map looks a lot like a bruise. After all, didn’t we all feel a bit beat up after the 2004 election? And isn’t it silly how we talk about red states and blue states – like we’re proud or ashamed that our state came out blue or red. Republicans [Democrats] in a state that came out 54% red [blue] to 46% blue [red] cite their singularity in ideology – as if the other half of the state doesn’t even exist.

Another map created from the Electoral College vote has been made with “Jesusland” written across the red states – you’ve probably seen it. It’s as if those in the “Blue States” are all deprived heathens.

Are we so simple-minded? Can we just “round up” over 49 million people? I don’t think so. I think doing as such is like two people periodically getting to vote for power over one another – like some dysfunctional marriage where there’s no compromise – not even room for discussion.

As it is, when one side gets the gun, the other better watch their back.

I thought we were better than this.

Comments:
Even the 3% is misleading. The reality is that out of 200 million citizens who were eligible to vote, only about 30% of them voted for Bush and about 28% voted for Kerry.
 
Actually 1% of voters picked Nader, or one of the less known candidates. So Bush won with 2%, not 3%. Mandate Shmandate.
 
Sadly, we aren't better than that. I loved the candy machine metaphor though. :)
 
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Tuesday, November 30, 2004
 
Bumper Wars - Jesus Fish vs. Darwin Fish
Bumper wars are fairly rampant these days – for the 2004 election I saw bumper stickers like “Flush the Johns” and those totally lame “W The President” bumper stickers. Nothing like rallying around someone’s middle initial to get the blood flowing! Apparently, there’s a sticker out there that says “M The Moron.” I’ve personally come up with a spoof on the “W The President” sticker that is “The President WTF”. You might have seen lefty’s concept of this idea on A La Gauche.

May I present one of the greatest bumper wars ever: Jesus fish vs. Darwin fish.

The Jesus fish has a long history. Back when Christians were widely persecuted (yes, some still are), the fish was a code symbol. One person would draw an arc in the dirt with his/her foot – like a raised eybrow. If the other person knew the code, he/she would draw a similar arc. Assuming they are both standing across from each other and the arcs have one point of intersection and one end where they meet, the two arcs made the following symbol:

The fish conveyed that a person was a follower of Jesus – in a safe manner. Pretty cool (assuming you’re a Christian), right? Since then, the fish has been bastardized in a number of ways not the least of which is business people putting the fish on advertisements. Nothing like pulling on someone’s faith to get the next sale! Anyhow, the most visible use of the fish has been as a metallic bumper add-on, the simplest of which is this:

Many Christians have not been shy about their disagreement with Darwin’s theory of evolution over the past 150 years or so. I can only assume that these vocal individuals were the inspiration for perhaps the greatest bumper parody ever to be created, the Darwin fish:

Not to be one-upped, those with the Jesus fish and those who failed to find humor in the Darwin fish had to retort. And you can hardly blame them. Here is what they came up with:

Pretty good, don’t you think? Big fish eats the little fish … er, whatever that thing is – except for one thing. It is unwittingly illustrating one of the most important pieces of Darwin’s theory of evolution: survival of the fittest. The irony is that these bumper add-ons are supporting one of Darwin’s theories to dispute Darwin. Oops!!!! And the war rages on.

Final Score: Jesus fish 1, Darwin fish 2

P.S. For some great Darwin fish, I highly recommend www.darwinfish.com; perhaps the doggy style one is a little over the top.


Comments:
Um yeah, whatever you say. lol
The actual winner would be the Jesus fish - see we aren't disputing natural selection. No crap there's natural selection. We disput the theory of evolution. And the truth wins out, covering up the lies of evolution.
 
Those crazy lies of evolution! Don't know about "covering up" ... more like eating up? Mmm Darwin tastes so good - kinda like chicken!
 
Frankly, when a philosophy degenrates to a bumpersticker war I usually get out of it. That's why I keep my Darwin fish on the fridge.

BTW: Is it just me, or is it impossible to have a meaningful conversation with a creationist? I respect faith and all, but ignorant stubborness is something else entirely.
 
Good point about the bumper stickers, and good call with sticking to the fridge.

There are a *few* (let's say I know ~five) creationists that can talk intelligently about the subject. It only follows that their brand of creationism is fairly intertwined with accepted the majority of what modern science has to offer.

I can't help but continue to argue the point (and so many others like it in the Christian faith) - it's probably because I grew up in a southern baptist church, and hey, I saw the light and left. I suppose I'm trying to take some of those people with me.

Thanks for the comment by the way (both of them).
 
I personally like the Alien one and display it proudly here at work and on my car. :)
 
i was just thinking of this the other day justin but i was thinking about how this "war" shows some of the core values in modern christianity. mainly that when its stances are opposed it should attack and destroy and fetishize the destruction and consumption of the opposition. you know how often christianity re-appropriates & tweeks anything of value to give it the "OK" christian branding.

see example:
http://www.swordandspirit.com/images/TOURS/SWC2001/shirt15.jpg

forceful love?!? we're bigger than you?!?
 
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Saturday, November 27, 2004
 
Biblical Contradictions - Genesis 1 and 2
Background: I recently got into a debate via the comments section of a peer's blog, A la Gauche. As things go, lefty's post wasn't even on Genesis - rather, it was on problem-scripture in the Bible. It pulled a number of comments in support of Christianity and eventually, sparked a debate about Genesis between a fella named sofyst and me. Sofyst contends that there is no contradiction between the first two verses of Genesis. My goal is to debunk this notion as concisely as possible.

First you might want to get caught up on the two passages I'll be discussing. If you go here, you'll see Gen. 1 and clicking the arrow will take you to Gen. 2 (Note that I used the King James Version).

Here is a summary of the events in Genesis 1:

First day: God creates heavens and earth, water on the earth, light (night and day - thus, the first day)
Second day: God creates the firmament (called heaven - perhaps a different heaven from that created on the first day)
Third day: Land, seas (made by creating the land), vegetation
Fourth day: The sun and moon and stars
Fifth day: Fish and birds
Sixth day: Land-based living organisms and man and woman (the hebrew word for man in 1:27 is equivalent of "mankind" - male and female. This is made succint in the statement "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
Seventh day: God rests. (This is captured in Gen. 2:1-3)

Summary of Genesis 2:

It is important to note that what you can't see in the online version of the text is the clear break at this point from a poetic verse to prose starting in Genesis 2:4. Here, creation is either elaborated upon or retold entirely - depending on what you wish to believe. Either way, here is a summary of the chronology of Gen. 2:4-25. In order to be unequivocal about chronology (words like before, past tense, and "if-then" arguments), I'll be quoting certain scriptures.
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;
Synopsis: There is no water on the earth because God had not caused it to rain yet. There are no plants as a result. The earth is dry. A mist appears, waters the ground, God forms man from the dust of the ground. God creates Eden. Every tree is created.

Skipping ahead a bit past God's creation of a few rivers ...
18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet [a helper] for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet [a helper] for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Synopsis: God decides that man needs companionship. Therefore, God creates beasts and birds. This didn't cut it. So God creates woman.

In this "elaboration" or "retelling", there is a clear order of events:

1. God puts water on a dry earth.
2. Man is formed first and then vegetation is formed (Man necessarily coming first because according to Gen. 2, for plants to appear, they need a) water and b) man to till the ground)
3. God creates beasts and birds for man. They are necessarily created after the creation of man because God's justification for creating them is man's need for companionship.

End of evidence and summary.



Contradictions:

1. In Gen. 1, vegetation preceeds the creation of man. In Gen. 2, vegetation comes after man's creation. This point is indisputable since the scripture is clear that vegetation requires both water and the labor of man. Either way, the first clear indication of created vegetation is God planting the garden of Eden. Man must already be created at this point since God "put the man" in Eden. At this point, God creates trees. Trees (and all vegetation) were created on the third day in Gen. 1 (just like all other vegetation). But man was created until day six. Not man and then vegetation as in Genesis 2. Instead of water, vegetation, man (Genesis 1), we have water and man, vegetation (Genesis 2).

2. In Gen. 1, non-human lifeforms (birds and beasts) preceed the creation of man. In Gen. 2 birds and beasts are created because man requires companionship. When this fails (did God not realize that man would need more than birds and beasts for companionship? Oops! I won't go into this here), God creates a woman. Therefore, instead of male and female being created after all other beasts as in Genesis 1, in Genesis 2 man is created, then birds and beasts, then woman.

There are multiple explanations to account for these conflicts. For one, it is believed that these two accounts were written at different times and by different individuals. For another, many regard the "big picture" ideas of these passages (i.e., they were written to provide a creation account from monotheism and order instead of polytheism and chaos - the reigning ideas of the time) instead of trying to make them reconcile to each other or to any science.

Either of these choices is fair. There is nothing wrong with accepting these contradictions. The only thing wrong (obviously in my opinion) is ignoring they exist.



Comments:
Sir, your summary of Genesis 1 was right on the money, could not agree more.

Your synopsis of Genesis two is a little off.

The text does not say that there is no water on the land, only that it had not rained on the land. It says the 'shrubs of the field had yet grown on the land, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not made it rain on the land,' This you must admit.

Also, while I would say that there are no plants on the land, I would note that it is not entirely required as a result of reading the text. The text simply says that no shrub had grown, and no plant had sprouted, not that they were not there. What I am attempting to say is that the strait forward reading of the text does not necessarily warrant the conclusion that the plants were not present, only that they were not growing, and had not sprouted. This you must admit.

The earth is not dry, it just has not rained. It does afterall say in verse six that water would come out of the ground and water the entire surface of the land, therefore you cannot say that the earth was dry, you can only say that it had not rained.

Now, it is quite amazing how you worded your synopsis towards the end, it is quite telling. You say three different things.

1. God forms man.
2. God creates Eden.
3. Every tree is created.

If you will notice you do it exactly as the text does, less verbose of course, but in the exact way the text mentions it. This is quite significant as neither you nor the text say God formed the man THEN created Eden THEN created every tree.

You, as well as the text, simply make three statements. You do not do so in sequential order. It would be as if I told you I went to the store THEN went out to eat, this would be the same as if I told you I went out to eat and I went to the store. Both are describing my day, the first is giving the exact sequential order, the second is merely giving a summary of all that happened, without any mentioning of the sequential order whatsoever.

You second synopsis is likewise alittle off...

You say God decides that man needs companionship...this much I agree with, the text clearly says that. Yet you then say THEREFORE, God creates beasts and birds. This is an assumption on your part, did you not say you were using the KJV? Does the KJV say therefore?

No Sir it does not, be truthful. It simply says AND out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field. You must admit that it is an assumption that God formed the beast BECAUSE man was lonely. You must admit the text does not say so. All the text simply says is that man was lonely AND God formed the beasts. That is all.

The ending of it not cutting it you must likewise admit it a simply assumption on your part.

Now, you say there is a clear order of events, you are mistaken. There is no clear order of events. Back to my analogy. If I were to tell you that I went out to eat AND went to the store would there be a clear order of events? No there would not. Likewise here, we do not have a clear order of events that the beast were created after man, as it nowhere specifically says man was created THEN the beasts were created, only that man was created AND the beasts were created. This much you must admit.

Now, I will address your second contradiction first. Since I have already touched upon it.

You are saying that the beasts were created because man was alone. Read the text again.

15. The LORD God placed man in the garden.
18. THEN God said it was not good for man to be alone.
19. God formed the beasts.
20. Man names the beasts.
21. God causes the man to sleep.
22. THEN the LORD made the rib into a woman.

From the clear reading of the text all one can conclude, simply from what the text says, is that God said it was not good for man to be alone AFTER He placed him within the garden, and God made the rib into a woman AFTER he caused a sleep to fall upon man.

You must admit that any conclusions that the order of events is exactly as the oder of our reading, barring the instances of the sequential words given, you must admit that these conclusions are done off of assumption.

Simply because we read within one verse that God did one thing, then read in the next that He did another we should not conclude that He did the second after the first. All we have is the telling of the second after the first.

I graduated from my CC in 02. I was born in 84. Would you conclude that because I told you I graduated before I told you I was born, that I was born after I graduated? Certainly not. Unless I specifically told you that I graduated THEN I was born, you must admit that your conclusion of order based upon the order of telling is an assumption on your part.
 
Denial is as powerful thing.

Since you decried the KJV, I'll switch to the Revised Standard Version.

"5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up--for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth [necessary preceptor 1], and there was no man to till the ground [necessary preceptor 2]; 6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground-- "7 then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there [Eden] he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food,"
[emphasis mine]

First, no plant was "in the earth". This isn't a simple question of sprouting or not. They aren't there.

Contrast this against Gen. 1:11-12:

"11 And God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth." And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good."

Is the text not clear that the vegetation is there? If my head "brought forth" hair, wouldn't that mean that the hair is outside the scalp for all to see?

Furthermore, the "mist" that God causes to rise up from the ground clearly comes up before the creation of man. God puts water on the earth; then, God creates man. This you must admit.

Secondly, you seemed to glaze over the scripture that makes clear an order of creation - man first, then eden, then every tree.

I thought I made this clear in my original post - guess not. Eden necessarily had to have been created for God to put man there. I can't put my car in my garage before the garage is built.

Third, you insinuate that I have put words into the scripture about God creating beasts/birds after man (the whole "therefore" argument). Perhaps you misread these verses:

"18 Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.' 19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air"

Summarized as an argument:

1. It is not good for man to be alone.
2. Man is alone.
3. God desires to create good.
4. Therefore, God creates companions for man (first the beasts/birds, then woman).

How could this order of creation be anymore clear? There's a "then x, so y" statement. There is no ambiguity that one preceeds the other.

Finally, you make the argument that the events in chapter 2 are a-chronological. The writer is describing a string of events that are not necessarily in any order. Why then does the writer use words like "then" and "so"? Why would the writer describe certain events in order and other events out of order? Though certain verses could appear to happen simultaneously, I'm not relying on appearance to point out contradiction. You claim I'm making assumptions - read the text as I pasted it above and tell me I'm making assumptions when an order is clear.

I do not understand how you can deny the above evidence and the resulting clear chronological order of events. I do understand your desire for an inerrant work; however, in just these two chapters alone there are unavoidable (although apparently, not undeniable for you) contradictions.
 
I know this is pretty lengthy. Therefore I have somewhat concluded all the remarks in four questions at the bottom. If you would like you could just skip all this and read the two questions, if you are in disagreement about any of the questions then read all I have said here, then answer the questions again. I do believe that the only merit you have towards a contradiction is perhaps in the first paragraph. This is where we need to discuss, we needn't spend so much time on all the rest, as I do not think we are in disagreement.

I am going to somewhat address your response backwards, why? Because I'm a little backwards myself...(insert humurous statement).

Finally, you make the argument that the events in chapter 2 are a-chronological. The writer is describing a string of events that are not necessarily in any order. Why then does the writer use words like "then" and "so"? Why would the writer describe certain events in order and other events out of order? Though certain verses could appear to happen simultaneously, I'm not relying on appearance to point out contradiction. You claim I'm making assumptions - read the text as I pasted it above and tell me I'm making assumptions when an order is clear. I do make the argument that the second chapter is a-chronological. You then ask me why the author uses words like 'then' and 'so'.

I do believe the second chapter to be a-chronological, yet not completely a-chronological, I have readily admitted that there is some chronology to it, but it is not to be taken as a detailed timeline of what happened, that is what the first chapter was for.

Now, you ask why the author uses words such as 'then' and 'so'? Are you then admitting that the use of these words indicate chronology? I think that would be a fair assumption on my part. Therefore, if the use of these words do indicate chronology, would you likewise admit that the absence of these words do not indicate chronology? Not that chronology cannot be given without these words, but without these words it would only be an assumption that chronology is present. Would this be a fair statement?

Let us then see where exactly these 'then' and 'so' words are used, shall we? However, I am going to ignore the word 'so' because it is not necessarily a sequential word. It does not indicate chronology. We do not say I went to the store so I went home. That makes no sense. We say I went to the store THEN I went home. Besides, most translations do not translate the 'so' in verse 19 and 21 as 'so', rather as 'and'. Therefore a chronology is not being given by this word, rather a conjuction is taking place.

I see one in verse seven, of chapter two. (6. But water would come out of the ground and water the entire surface of the land.) 7. THEN the LORD God formed the man...

I see another in verse eighteen. (16. And the LORD God commanded...) 18.Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good for man to be alone...'

I see another in verse twenty two. (21. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to come...) 22. Then the LORD God made the rib He had taken from the man into a woman...

Now in this entire chapter we have three chronological words used. Here is an example. If I were to give you a list of all that I did, including: waking up, eating, brushing my teeth, checking my email, watching television, going to work THEN going to the grocery store, going out to eat THEN calling a friend, driving down the road, calling my mom, eating dinner, eating lunch, going to bed, taking a shower. Would you then conclude that I am giving you an exact historical chronological account of my day, in exact order, based upon me using the word 'then' twice? That would be foolish. Obviously I could not have gone to bed THEN took a shower. I took a shower THEN went to bed. By my usage of the word THEN before calling a friend, and after going out to eat, I obviously am trying to tell you that I called a friend after I ate, but I am not trying to tell you that I did everything else that I told you in this specific order. Understand?

So what do we have? We have God taking a rib out AFTER he causes a sleep to come upon the man. We have God saying it is not good for man to be alone AFTER he placed him within the garden. And we have God forming man AFTER water coming out of the ground to water the entire earth. These are the three chronological orders given. I think that you would not debate the first two given, it is the last I mentioned that we need to discuss further.

Third, you insinuate that I have put words into the scripture about God creating beasts/birds after man (the whole "therefore" argument). Perhaps you misread these verses:

"18 Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.' 19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air"

Summarized as an argument:

1. It is not good for man to be alone.
2. Man is alone.
3. God desires to create good.
4. Therefore, God creates companions for man (first the beasts/birds, then woman).

How could this order of creation be anymore clear? There's a "then x, so y" statement. There is no ambiguity that one preceeds the other.
As I have mentioned before the THEN at verse eighteen indicates that God said it was not good for man to be alone AFTER He placed man within the garden.

I would say that the argument you presented is slightly flawed. All we have from Scripture is that God placed man within the garden, THEN God said it was not good for man to be alone AND God formed out of the ground the wild animals. This is all the text says. To posit that because we are clearly told that God said something of man after He placed them within the garden that He likewise created the beast after this is an assumption.

Example: I went to the store THEN bought eggs AND called my friend. Which did I do first, buy eggs or call my friend? Or did I call my friend BEFORE I went to the store? All are warranted. I could have called my friend THEN went to the store THEN bought eggs. Or I could have went to the store THEN bought eggs THEN called my friend. Or I could have went to the store THEN called my friend THEN bought eggs. But I could not have bought eggs THEN went to the store as the only clear chronology that I gave was that I bought eggs AFTER going to the store. Any other chronology is assumed, it is not clearly given. Do you see?

Secondly, you seemed to glaze over the scripture that makes clear an order of creation - man first, then eden, then every tree.

I thought I made this clear in my original post - guess not. Eden necessarily had to have been created for God to put man there. I can't put my car in my garage before the garage is built.
Ok you say first that the order is man first, then Eden, then every tree. Then you say that Eden necessarily had to have been created for God to put man there. Which is it? Or is this a contradiction that you were speaking of.

Let us look at this Scripture that makes clear the order of creation. 7. Then the LORD God formed man. 8. The LORD God planted a garden. 9. The LORD God caused to grow every tree.

Please show me where the clear order of creation is. All I see is three events described in an order, but no hint of their order is given. You have said that it is clear that Eden had to be created in order to put man there. So obviously the order of creation is opposite the order of telling.

Example: I bought a car, I put the car in the garage, I built a garage. Common sense tells us that this cannot be the exact order of events. I cannot have built my garage after I put my car in it.

No sequential words are given here. We have the creation of man, the planting of the garden, the placing of the man, and teh growth of every tree, but we are not specifically told which order all this is done. Why the author chose to say it in this way, I do not know. Perhaps it is because it is prose, and not supposed to be taken as historical narrative, or an exact chronological depiction of what happened in what order...maybe.

Now, for your first argument. I will simply ask a couple questions.

5. No shrub had grown, no plant had sprouted, God had not made rain, and no man worked the ground.

Would you say that this is an accurate summary of verse five? Four simple statements. If you say no, if you say there is chronology given, I would ask for the 'then's' or even 'so's'. All I see is the author telling us no shrub had grown, no plant had sprouted, God had not made rain, and no man worked the ground. I do not see chronology. Perhaps there is supposed to be chronology, but from the simple reading of the text it is not warranted.

6. Water would come out of the ground and water the surface.

Would you say this is an accurate statement of verse six? Simply stating that water would come out of the ground and water the surface? I do not think you would disagree, you are much to educated for that.

Verse seven is where our disagreement needs to be focused. Where your contradiction claim has the most validity, and to this we will discuss.

But we must resolve the other issues first, then focus our attention on this one specific verse.

1. Would you agree with me that if I were to state, as I have above, simply all the things in a day, if I were not to give any sequential words, such as 'then' or 'after' or 'while', that any assumption of sequence or chronology would be just that, an assumption? Would you agree with that? If I were to say that I woke up and I went to sleep, you have absolutely no idea which I did first, unless I said I woke up THEN went to sleep or the other way around. Would we be in agreement here?

2. Now would you agree that in verse eighteen God saying that it is not good for man to be alone AFTER He placed him within the garden in no way contradicts any other portion of Scripture? This is not where your contradiction has claim. Therefore this portion we can ignore for the point of progress in our discussion.

3. Would you likewise agree that verses nineteen through twenty-one could be taken as simply giving a list of certain events? No sequential words are given. We are simply told that God formed the beast and brought them to man, and man named them. God caused the man to sleep and took a rib from him. I ask that you step back for a moment and ignore the presuppositions that you have that this is a sequence given and see that no sequential words are given. 'So' is not a sequential word, it is translated as 'and' by some translations. Therefore could it not be that the author is attempting to convey some other message by telling us that God said it is not good for man to be alone, then telling us that God formed the animals and brought them to man to name. Could it be that the author is not attempting to give us an order of events, hence no sequential words, and is attempting to make another message clear? Would you agree here? Therefore leaving us with this sequential contradiction gone.

4. Would you then say that if there is not a contradiction in God saying it is not good for man to be alone, after He placed him within the garden, and if there is not a contradiction in the author telling us that God formed the beast after he tells us that God placed man within the garden, that the only contradiction that you could have is perhaps within the first paragraph? Could we agree here?

 
Isn't it wierd how Italians get all confused about English song titles? I mean, when I was in Italy, they were trying to tell me "Hotel California" was really about a tavern. I guess they made mistakes because of the translation, huh? Anyway, I think the guy at www.ranhasa.com has a real good explanation on genesis, and like why there's no reason the Pope should be put on calcium channel blockers.
 
Regarding the "then-so", you can totally take out so and you still have the same chronology. Why? Because God says "I will make him a helper". WILL MAKE implies that it has not happened yet. How can this be any more clear in terms of chronologial order? You don't need a "so" there to prove it. My fiance is hungry. I will make her a sandwich. Which happened first, the hunger or the sandwich I make to fulfill her hunger? Can the sandwich already exist even though I say "I will make"? It doesn't make any sense. Explain this to me.
 
It is quite a given that God made Eve after He made Adam and after He made the beast. This is not the difficulty. God said He will make a helper for Adam, because He was going to, in the future. However, you are attempting to posit that God made Adam then made the beast, then made Eve. This is however not warranted, or rather not specifically said as so.

The text quotes God as saying that it is not good for man to be alone. Then it states how God formed out of the ground each wild animal and brought it to Adam. Then it states how God caused Adam to sleep and created Eve. But it does not say that God created the beast AFTER He created Adam, only that He put Adam within the garden, said it wasn't good for him to be alone, and created the beast as well, in what order? We do not know from this chapter. We only know that He made the comment about Adam AFTER He placed him within the garden.
 
I am at a loss for any other ways to try and make you accept that God says "I will make a helper for him" and then he forms out of the ground the beasts/birds. That's what happens - it's "will make a helper" and "God formed birds/beasts" but a helper wasn't found - THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that the helper God formed out of the ground - the "will make" numero uno was the birds and beasts. Your refusal to see this is indication of just how much you have to deny in order to cling to your belief about inerrancy. I've tried to help you - it appears that I've failed. My only consolation is that my failure is because of your willful refusal to accept what is clearly written. I'll part with one last analogy on this, but it's clear that you cannot accept even the best of arguments on this subject.

And Jason said, "I am dirty: I will go clean myself. I wash my hands, but it is not enough to get me clean. I go and take a shower." The order of events is unquestionable - except by those that have theories about some way it MUST have been. If those people change their beliefs - what could happen? Is the world going to fall apart? Are they going to have approach the Bible with wisdom instead of theories of perfection that could never hope to hold water? Would accepting what is there for all to see hurt their faith so much? Why cling to a theory you know in the back of your mind is bunk? I just don't get it, but it's obvious I can't convince you of the errors of your ways - even when I spell it out.
 
One thing guys. You're talking about a text written an awful long time ago, first orally passed down for quite a bit before that- written for and by people who saw chronological time less important then we (modern westerners) do.

You can argue back and forth for quite a long time and no matter who came out on top the ancient Hebrews would just chuckle.
 
I completely agree with you Ed. The reason for this entire discussion was to try to shed light on "errors" or internal discordance within the Bible. The ancient Hebrews never held these two passages to the same scrutiny of chronology that I have here. Why? Because the ancient Hebrews weren't using these two stories of creation as scientific accounts or even accounts that SHOULD be 100% compatible. Rather, they were written at different times for different socio-political-religious reasons. For example, we don't see in our english translation that the word for "God" is different in each story.

There's so much more to this story than chronology, but you have to be willing to take it to the next level and open your mind to the true complexity of the writings in the Bible. You just can't do that with inerrancy on the brain.
 
Now I am at a loss for words. If you readily admit that the author of this passage, or the Hebrew people, did not take this passage as Chronological, how then can you fault it as being erroneously inaccurate chronologically when it is not meant to be taken as an accurate chronology?

It would be like me faulting a fairytale for containing portions which are surreal, all the while recognizing that it is a fairytale. Placing it under the same criticism that I would a legal document or historical narratice. That is ludicrous.

I finally do see what your point with the entire beast argument was. I did not think you assumed the 'help meet' or helper to be the beast. I had assumed that you thought as most Christiandom that the helper was of course Eve. But we all know the populas cannot be cited as evidence.

I do have to ask however, why would God say I will create a helper (singular), then create thousands of beasts? Shouldn't He have said I will create helpers (plural). Last time I checked the Hebrew language did still use such things as singular and plural. At least that is what my Hebrew teacher has been telling me for the last semester.
 
Like I said, willful refusal.

Anyhow, of course the final helper was Eve - but what you fail to mention or accept is that God first made the beasts/birds for man as the initial "try" at providing a helper. Again, "I will make", "the Lord God formed", and "but for Adam no helper was found". Obviously, God intended Adam to find a helper amongst the beasts, but no helper was found. Thus, he created Eve.

Now I am at a loss for words. If you readily admit that the author of this passage, or the Hebrew people, did not take this passage as Chronological, how then can you fault it as being erroneously inaccurate chronologically when it is not meant to be taken as an accurate chronology?

It would be like me faulting a fairytale for containing portions which are surreal, all the while recognizing that it is a fairytale. Placing it under the same criticism that I would a legal document or historical narratice. That is ludicrous.
The problem here is that you believe that the Bible is inerrant. It should be pretty obvious that I don't believe that. So unless you contend that these passages aren't meant to be taken chronologically, in which case I would ask you why you can't accept their discordance with each other, then this is a non-issue. I am arguing this passage from the perspective that everything in the Bible is in harmony.
 
You believe everything within the Bible is in harmony? And yet you believe that these two passages disagree with each other? Is this what you are saying?
 
I do not believe everything in the Bible is in harmony - such a belief would necessitate that I found no areas of contradiction. Since I obviously find at least one area of contradiction (Gen. 1 and 2), I can't believe the Bible is intra-harmonious (if such a word exists). However, in order to argue this point, I'm assuming a "wysiwyg" position on the text. In other words, aside from Hebrew meanings or other such translation problems, my argument is from the text as it is. Sorry for the confusion.

The point of that statement was to say that my perspective on the Bible is a much larger/broader perspective that finds no fault with textual discord. However, in order to have this debate, I must argue using the same rules/playing field as you. Irregardless of my own perspective on the Bible, the question remains posed: do the two creation accounts disagree with each other in any way/shape/form. I contend that they do. I've argued this point, but you will not accept the argument (for reasons I've guessed at in earlier comments). That is where we stand.
 
I see. Very well. I do not accept your arguments, because I do not see them as valid. I see the only way for your contradiction to have any validity is for assumptions to be made. Does the text specifically say that God created the animals as a help-meet for Adam? No. All the text says is that God said Adam was alone and it was not good. God then created all the beasts. God then created Eve.

This is why I cannot accept your argument. Your argument attempts to draw conclusions based upon the order of told events. It attempts to fault a text based upon your assumptions from it.

Yet in the name of friendship I would agree to disagree if you would. I will accept that we cannot agree and leave it at that. Truce?
 
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Friday, November 26, 2004
 
The [Anything But Fair] Tax
As it is, our tax system is tantamount to "splitting the check". If your friend orders steak and you get a salad and you decide to "split the check", you are getting stuck with paying for a portion of your friend's steak. This is happening millions of times over under the current tax system. Having no kids, I pay for a parent's tax credit. Renting instead of owning, I pay for someone else's interest deduction. My low interest college loan is subsidized by countless people who never went to college or don't have kids. Is this fair? Can we really justify taking from one's pocket and putting in someone else's pocket? How could we make it fair?

The fair tax plan is one solution. To my fairly rudimentary knowledge, this plan would simply tax us by taxing our purchases. Thus, the more you spend, the more you pay for taxes. In theory, it would 1) encourage people to save money instead of spending it 2) make our effective tax percentage (total tax paid divided by total yearly earnings) more equitable and 3) replace an extremely complex income tax plan that nobody could ever hope to understand. This is coming from someone who has an undergrad. and masters degree in accounting and got a 98% on the tax section of the CPA exam. It's ridiculous.

So, about the "fair tax" plan, if you make a lot of money and only buy necessities, you're effective tax rate will likely be lower than those who make less money and buy the same goods. Comparatively, if you're one of those people who makes a lot of money and ends up spending all the money you make, you're going to be taxed more. In theory, such a tax rate could curb American consumerism - arguably, a great thing. I *think* the reason it's called the "Fair tax" is because the wealthy aren't shouldering such a huge burden for a bunch of services they don't receive (not sure what the actual statistic is, but I want to say that the upper 5% in wealth pay out a huge percentage of total taxes; therefore, moving to a tax on buying, you're not taking from the rich to subsidize the poor. This is more "fair".

But is it fair? If you're benefiting substantially from farm subsidies but only paying taxes on what you spend, is that fair? What would be fair?

I argue that the "fair tax" plan is really just a simpler way to do what is already being done; namely, redistribute wealth. A tax plan that was really "fair" would tax people on what the government provides for them. If you use the roads a lot, you pay more in taxes that go to roads. If you use public schools, you're taxed more on them. This, and only this, would be a "fair" tax plan. Any system that continues to "split the check" will never be fair.

That being said, it would be difficult to do the system I'm proposing. But it would be honest. It'd stop a system that steals from everybody and pays back to less than everybody (meaning some people make out better while others worse). Why would such a system be wrong? Why is it okay to take other's wealth? How do we justify that? More to come ...

Comments:
The "Fair Tax," as it exists in Congress anyway, is the brainchild of Congressman John Linder (R-GA9). Besides what you say, it would allow for deductions of "capital" or "business" expenditures - in which case corporate jets would be taxed less than a gallon of milk. Whoops.

The Fair Tax would at least be academically defensible if it only taxed income in excess of the annual CPI, assuming the CPI is a pretty draconian measure of what people MUST buy (decent but not extravagant food, decent housing, etc).

Otherwise the middle class would evaporate. Parents in low-income families, for instance, could never save money because all their money would go toward diapers, etc. Their extremely low savings - if any at all - would not allow them to invest as wealthy people can - and the rich/poor gap would accelerate greatly.

This is all to say nothing of the deflationary pressures you'd put on the market - but then again American consumerism is way too rampant. That's more a function of our cultural gluttony, though.

Beyond that, wealth circulation (you can't tell me that families that start rich aren't likely to remain rich, while families that start poor aren't likely to remain poor, and if you start to utter anything about cultural Darwinism then explain to me why we have a dumbass for a President) is a good thing. People have a self-evident responsibility to take care of one another, and screw the economics.
 
I'm not sure what your definition of "academically defensible" or "self-evident" is - as your comment is written, you are making pretty loaded statements. They lead me to believe that you agree/advocate taking from those who can afford to lose (the non-poor). Doing as such is far from self-evident.

As for your comment about families starting rich and staying rich ... again, not sure what your definition of rich is, but studies have shown that there is actually fairly significant movement both up and down the social structure - that the rich are frequently only a couple of generations from being poor and visa versa with movements up the ladder. The key is to have a society that protects personal property and has a large amount of economic freedom. This intuitively makes sense because "those without" typically have stronger desires to succeed than "those with".

I don't see how the middle class would just "evaporate" anymore than I see how the poor wouldn't be able to subsist or save.

Either way, I never advocated the fair tax plan aside from it being a simpler and less burdensome way to tax Americans. I don't see it as being any more fair than our current tax system.
 
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Wednesday, November 24, 2004
 
Overpopulation and the End of the World


Two great movies that have come out in the past few years were Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later. Both fall in the zombie genre. Here's a brief synopsis: some extremely deadly and contagious virus is set loose on the population. The virus turns you into some form of deranged human being that has murder on the brain or some kinda flesh eating undead (28 days being the former and DotD being the later). If you're not squemish, I highly recommend these movies.

The more I've thought about these "end of the world" plagues (Also like Stephen King's The Stand, a great book), the more I think that a lot of us (humans) secretly wish that one of these end of the world scenarios would happen. Of course, the person thinking it is also assuming he/she would be one of the lone survivors. And I don’t really mean the zombies thing, but more the Stephen King version. Some coworkers and I had a discussion about what you would need should something like this ever happen. I'm thinking guns, canned food, and bottled water.

Anyhow, I almost feel guilty for thinking it, but I've begun to think that I'm not alone. Do you ever wish that there were five billion fewer people? Let me go ahead and say that I am in no way advocating some kinda genocide. Just more of a "what if?"

I think these thoughts are evoked by a grossly overpopulated world. Human beings just weren't meant to be so plentiful, and I think some evolutionary leftovers are lurking in our subconcious mind and revolting against the overcrowding. Call it population claustrophobia.

Anyone else have a similar creepy desire for a huge decrease in the population?

Friday, November 12, 2004
 
Live Action Role Playing
Now this is some funny stuff.

Yes, grown adults actually do this. Yes, that guy was really wearing a kilt.

Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt! Apparently, there's a whole subculture of people who like to play dress-up games where they throw foam balls (representing magic) and have swords made out of PVC pipe. I guess there are rules to these games.

I know I've mentioned www.urbandictionary.com before, but it stands to be mentioned again. Check out this definition for lightningbolt. And how about this one for LARP (Read definition no. 2). I mean, holy cow that's hilarious.

In other news, got Halo 2 the other day. So far I think it's a great game and a big improvement over the original Halo. Though the graphics still aren't as good as say Unreal Tournament 2003, they're MUCH MUCH better than the original. And so far, I like the game play more, as well. We'll see what I think after this weekend's brawl.



No, playing video games is a lot different than live action role-playing. For one, it's a bunch of adults who are playing a game on a TV screen where their character is the Master Chief and you're killing alients known as the Covenant. Obviously, this is not the same as some Dungeons & Dragons meets Dodgeball. A frag is a far cry from a lightningbolt!! I'm serious. No, for real! They're not the same!!! Woooooooooot!!!!!!!!

P.S. Add "urbandotcom" to your buddy list for instantaneous definitions from urbandictionary.com.



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