Originally posted 2020-05-17 12:46:27.
Flying out to the Phils a while ago I watched an excellent show presented by the late Professor Stephen Hawking about time travel. This has fascinated us for over a century, leading to all sorts of speculation about time machines. HG Wells’ eponymous book is perhaps the first and defining of the many books about this and, of course, the beloved Doctor Who is dependent on the notion.
Time and Space
Wells’ vision, however entertaining, overlooked one major problem with time travel: even if you could move to a different when, establishing where that would be is staggeringly complex. The Earth is not stationary, indeed nothing in the Universe is. You would need to calculate precisely where in space you wanted to be at the time you wanted to be there. Suppose you just want to go back a week. It’s not just a matter of going back a week where you are now, because last week, where you are now was 11.25 million miles away.
Continue reading “Time: the cutting edge of Creation.”
Originally posted 2020-04-23 17:59:17.
Cooking is now seen as the definitive characteristic of modern humans, from which all others followed. It seems to have directly led to the development of tools, especially blade design, but it had many other consequences.
Cooking, particularly of meats and fats but also starches, partially pre-digests the food, making more energy available to us and allowing us to use less to digest it. We put this extra energy into growing brains. Growing big brains burns many calories and just running them consumes a significant part of our daily food intake. We know that the physical structures which allow us to speak were evolving at the same time as our brains were growing larger. Speech allowed more complex and efficient communication and cooperation. This encouraged conceptual thinking and other intellectual skills, again leading to the development of bigger brains.
Continue reading “Who we are 2: Cooking, Chattering and Time”
Originally posted 2020-04-20 16:46:22.
Modern humans first appeared in Africa around 150,000 – 180,000 years ago; one of a closely-related group of hominids that had populated the savannah over the preceding three million years. During that time, our ancestors learned how to talk, how to make fire and cook and how to cooperate in groups. We probably lived in a similar way to earlier hominids, but something extraordinary happened: we developed culture.
Continue reading “Who We Are 1: the beginning of culture”
Originally posted 2018-09-20 06:25:57.
In an oral culture — one that is not written down — mythology evolves as it is passed from storyteller to storyteller. The Jesus myth was created in exactly this way, pasted together from earlier sources. This process is called ‘syncretisation.’
There is no fixed record of an oral tradition, by definition. In an oral culture or tradition, myths grow and develop to reflect the lived experiences and cultures of the people telling them. It was only when writing was invented that these traditions could be codified and by that time, they had been evolving for thousands of years. This means that there are many versions of the same myth, as different peoples carried it forward.
So we cannot say that, because detail differences exist between two similar myths, they are different or have different origins.
Continue reading “Inanna and Jesus: a tale of syncretisation”
Originally posted 2021-02-25 14:23:20.
Being a Zionist is usually thought to be restricted to the Jews themselves; but not in my case. So how I came to be a Zionist might be worth telling.
Once, when I was much younger, I took a train journey from my then home in Arbroath in Scotland, to Falmouth in Cornwall. The purpose was to join the crew of a new, semi-submersible oil-rig which had just crossed the Atlantic from Texas. It’s a long way from Arbroath to Falmouth.
In those days, trains had compartments and were comfortable. There was some privacy and one might even sleep. For part of the interminable journey, I shared a compartment with a young woman, blonde and attractive. We chatted about many things but mainly, as travellers do, about where we were going. My tale was easy to tell and seemed to me mundane, but hers was interesting.
Continue reading “Zionist: how I became one (and remain so)”
Originally posted 2021-02-23 17:43:03.
I’ve just refreshed my page that contains free downloads of all the major texts of Islam. For reasons that remain unclear, this page suffers frequent attacks. It’s almost as if Muslims don’t want people to read their texts…silly idea, no?
Actually, no. Islam does not want you to read the texts. Muslims go to great lengths to prevent you and condemn any version of the texts not written in Arabic. This, they say, is because ‘Allah’ speaks Arabic and so any translation of his words is blasphemous. However, a suspicious person, not me, of course, might argue that it sounds very much as if they don’t want we kuffars to read the texts at all. I wonder why that might be, if it were the case?
Continue reading “Islam: Read all about it right here!”
Originally posted 2018-01-13 11:28:08.
The name of King Jan III Sobieski of Poland is one that every European should know and speak with pride.
In September 1683, the city of Vienna was near to collapse. For months, it had been under siege by the Islamic hordes of the Islamic Ottoman army. Every day now, starvation and surrender grew closer. The city had long since run out of horses and pets to eat and even rats were few and far between now.
Worse, the Viennese knew that other Europeans had been the instruments of their doom. Swiss Calvinists had begged the Turks to attack, so that they could sweep away Catholicism. It beggars belief that Christians could call down the hounds of Islamic hell on their fellow Europeans, but that they had, hoping, no doubt, to negotiate some deal, a reward for their treachery, that might spare them the scimitar or a lifetime of submission to the foul creed of Islam.
The city’s defenders, listening in its basements, could hear the scrape-scrap of pick and shovel as the enemy’s sappers undermined them. Soon they would plant another huge mine and blow up a section of the city’s curtain wall, breaching it and allowing the enemy in. Nobody in Vienna was under any illusion as to what would happen then: the men would be tortured and killed or enslaved, the women would be raped and killed or enslaved and the children slaughtered. The behaviour of triumphant Islamic armies was well known.
Today, the Twelfth of September, was the last. The government of the city knew it. The people knew it and worse, the enemy knew it. They were ready: their final attack was to come on the twelfth of the month. There was nothing left. Vienna would fall. Without a miracle, Vienna must fall, and with it, Europe.
Continue reading “How Jan Sobieski saved Europe from Islam”
Originally posted 2021-02-10 14:57:20.
When Islam, in the form of the Ottoman Empire, launched the attack on Europe that ended before Vienna, it was engaged in Jihad — fighting in the name of Allah, to make the world Islamic. The Caliph, his general and all the men who fought, were carrying out their religious duty — to conquer the world for Islam. This is Offensive Jihad, the most aggressive form. We see it today in Daesh and similar bandit groups today, but under the Ottomans, it motivated the biggest killing machine in the world.
There are other forms of jihad, and they may, in the right circumstances, be almost as effective at destroying other cultures and their values. They corrode them just by contact.
Continue reading “Jihad: the Islamic struggle for the World”
Originally posted 2021-02-09 18:22:12.
The Philippines is steeped in folklore and mythology. The very air seems supernatural at times and even today, Filipinos firmly believe in the supernatural creatures which also populate their country. Best known of these are Aswangs and Engkantos.
Many of these beliefs certainly date from the pre-colonial period and before the establishment of Catholicism as the dominant religion. Prior to this, the Philippines was not a unitary polity, but was made up of many small kingdoms and tribal areas. These all seem to have believed in a somewhat similar form of Animism but were all brought together under one faith and one colonial rule, by the Spanish.
Continue reading “Aswangs: supernatural beasts in the Philippines”
Originally posted 2017-08-03 11:32:54.
Gender is innate. It is not a social construct This article discusses how it evolved.
Early human society was fluid, with survival always the goal. It was, in general, divided by sex. Women and children formed a home group, which focussed on protection of the children and nursing mothers, foraging, perhaps trapping small game and birds, and the preparation and cooking of food. This group would have been a sisterhood of equals, but led, in all probability, by the elder women, the grandmothers, who were also the teachers, the midwives and shamans.
The other group was of men and older boys, based on the hunt. This group had to be able to respond quickly to the changing circumstances of the hunt, which could, especially when hunting large game, be lethal. A command system developed, probably around the best and most experienced hunters. We call this the ‘away’ group.
These two groups have long been identified and are still obvious in non-Western societies today. They are the evolutionary basis of gender.
Continue reading “Gender Evolution: Division of Tasks and Groups”