Sometimes people ask me, “Uncle Davey, do you support the idea of freedom of the press?” And then I reply; “Certainly, I think the press should be free, in fact, I’ll go further; they should pay us to read that guff”.
The point at issue is that journalists, who are among the most powerful members of our society, because they create opinions, are not voted into place at all. They say that they are voted for every day, that every time one of their articles is paid for by the punter who buys a newspaper, that’s a vote, and that everyone who disagrees doesn’t have to buy them. To counter this, it seems very clear to me that people simply buy what is put in front of them, like sheep, and that there seems to be little choice in the matter of which paper to buy, as they are all a mix of what I call the three kinds of journalism, which as I mentioned in an earlier article are true journalism, jumbalism and junkalism.
True journalism investigates, reveals facts accurately and adequately and as the Dutch say “bijtijds”, which means in a timely way, and then comments on them in a thought-provoking, literate and justifiable way. Jumbalism looks like journalism but is a lazy man’s version of it, where people who don’t really know what they are talking about talk about it anyway, knowing that all but a few specialists will be taken in by what they say and getting hold of the wrong end of the stick. Or they give away the fact that they barely know the culture they are making “expert” comments on.
Recently both the BBC and the Guardian have been commenting on Polish affairs, for example, and going into villages so rural that they probably represent less than 5% of the population and this is identified as being how almost half the Poles live. On two occasions recently I have seen men referred to in their surnames as “-ska” because the jumbalist must have spoken to their wife or mother, taken her name and assumed that must be the same for the man. This shows the most extreme ignorance of any Slavic culture and ought to debar a person from commenting on it in any intelligent news framework. Anecdotes from people’s travels off the beaten track are treated as if they were news. The BBC “Whirled service” radio and television, the apex of high style journalistic reporting as they claim, can barely speak English properly and no longer seem to take any pains over proper pronunciation. (See Tristana Moore’s party piece rendition of ‘Zgorzelec’. One can hardly believe she was standing in the middle of the place and couldn’t be bothered to ask anyone how to actually say it. Was she flown in for, like, five minutes, just to stand in front of the cameras, spout some meaningless drivel, which her report certainly was, and then leave again as quickly as possible?) Continue reading “Journalism, Jumbalism, Junkalism and Juntalism.”→
On the Origins of Language Species (or: “We don’t know what’s right, except that the Bible‘s account of language origins must be wrong!”)
Way back over eight years ago now, on 26th January 2004, I wrote this article in talk.origins, free.christians and alt.fan.uncle-davey which kicked off no little furore, and got me labelled by Aaron Clausen, a talk.origins regular, as a “science-fiction writer” and “the most dangerous and mischievous kind of Creationist“. He called my account “nothing more than a piece of fiction. It’s like good science fiction, it weaves fact and fiction together in such a way as the improbable seems no more surprising than the probable.” He also wrote on 2nd February 2004 “To my mind, Davey, you are the most mischievous and dangerous kind of Creationist. … You even know the holes in the knowledge of the study of language, and you can use the terminology to great effect. People … seeing your essay, would likely fall for it hook, line and sinker. Because it mixes fact and myth so very well, you give it an air of plausibility.” That was in amongst admitting that he didn’t know any better answer to the origin of language families, and when I asked him what he would tell his kids on the subject if they asked him whether there was a polygenesis of language families or linguistic monogenesis, (this being the sort of thing they ask at the breakfast table in American skeptics’ households) he said he would tell them “we don’t know“.
It seems like even no explanation at all is better for these “knowledge-thirsty” evolutionists than the Bible’s one, if and whenever the Bible invokes supernatural intervention by God, as at Babel. And their counter to the perfectly reasonable claim, (straight out of atheist Conan Doyle, by the way) that if you cannot disprove a theory it must be true, is that that’s the ‘goddidit’ argument, also known as the “God of the gaps” argument. They think that by giving silly, mocking designations to the perfectly logical and consistent lines of thought that Christians have, they have somehow effectively dealt with them. Either that or they make out that the questions which we raise are invalid in some way. In all they do they are like lawyers who, having trouble with the evidence, use odd points of law to attack the procedure, so that justice and fairness and true rationale flee out of the window, pursued by the harrying hounds of unscrupulous rhetoric.
Obviously, I’m not out to deceive anybody or produce fiction or stir up mischief as Aaron Clausen claimed, but I really think that if someone knows the facts about where we are in the reconstruction of earlier languages, and doesn’t have a world view that excludes a priori the chance for God to work directly on the human mind, en masse, they will say that the explanation I gave, based on the Babel account of scripture, is just as valid an account of how we got to today’s languages as any other. Only prejudice against the possibility of such action by God is a reason not to acknowledge that I have offered a workable and valid theory, and one that reflects observable fact more clearly than such theories as would dovetail well with evolutionary views of the origin of man.
Anyway, the person who got me started is ‘Sloggoth’ and he/she is in the quotes.
Some of the following is quoted from the time, and some has been added since to improve the communication of the ideas.
Well, Uncle Davey, you’ve confused a lurker pretty well here. If youwould be so kind as to clarify: When you speak of linguistic evolution do you mean: 1) The evolution of the *capacity for language* in humans? Biologicalevolution must indeed be able to explain this. or 2) What everyone else means, i.e. change in language, such as thatwhich produced French and Spanish from Latin? There is no reason why a theory which deals with genetic change should address a purelycultural phenomenon, beyond explaining how it is biologically possible in the first place. or even 3) If one cannot trace linguistic evolution beyond the known families, (which probably arose at some time in the past that could very loosely fit the Babel account), then the Babel account is thereby not contradicted?
The way I see it is that what happened at Babel everyone received their own language. Evenhusbands and wives could not talk and little kids could not communicate withtheir parents. This meant that in order to have an established familylanguage, families needed to isolate themselves, and then they would alllearn the language of the mother of that family, as mothers are and alwayshave been the main one to teach the little children language. The mentherefore would also have needed to take their wive’s grammar and syntax, but the wife would in return take a lot of the lexicon from her husband, andin the process already the family language would become at oncegrammatically simpler but also lexically richer than the Babel exitlanguages each member spoke. We have the expression ‘mother tongue’ in almost every language but Welsh, which is like the exception that proves therule, exactly from this time, which was only one generation in the historyof man.
That’s right. There was only one generation from Babel in which individual languages became family languages. The majority of the languages that came out from Babel would have gone into disremembrance when that person dies. In some cases the vocabulary will have been loaned into the family language, and in most cases the phonetics will have influenced to some degree the family language. People who had no families and no successors therefore had their individual languages vanish probably without trace.
You see, this was the mechanism that would have driven people out of Babel into theirown place, so that they could quietly re- establish a common language withthose who meant most to them, their family, without linguistic interference from all the others who would come babbling over the horizon, preventingtheir children from achieving any linguistic competence.
Within a further forty years, that one language per family (already maybe only one fifth of thenumber actually made at Babel) was similar conflating and merging intotribal languages. The basic model would then be the family language of the most dominant family in the tribe. This process took longer than the family language process, as the new languages were being learned as foreignlanguages by all in the tribe but the dominant family. These dominantfamilies are the ancestors of the aristocratic families that grew up laterin almost every culture.
The tribal languages would have taken over from the family languages so thatby about four hundred years after Babel the single family language was asredundant and extinct as the single person language had been forty yearsafter the Babel event. But each of these tribal languages would have been a selection of grammars, phonologies and lexical materials that came out of the Babel event. We are told in scripture that God confused the language, which may suggest that he took things which were already in the Adamic language and mixed them up. However, my personal belief is that none of the exit languages had all of the material that was in the Adamic language. When given directly to Adam by God, this language was a perfect thought vehicle for the man that He had made, and to be able to be taught and used by future generations. In Isaiah 65v20 as well as in the early Genesis chapters we see indications that the original plan for the length of human childhood was 100 years, setting up for a lifetime of up to 1000 years. Up to the Flood we see nobody doing any “begetting” until they are over one hundred, that’s for sure. The language given by God originally would have been a rich language taking the full measure of 100 years to acquire from parents and enabling thought and worship on a level unparalleled by people living today. Because there were relatively few of them and the Flood was such a huge cataclysm, we cannot see any indications of the achievements they had made with this linguistic tool, but they must have been amazing.
Once we arrive at post-Flood times and you see in scripture the lives of post-Flood generations going down to below what would have counted as infant mortality before the Flood, people maturing already in the second decade of their lives and then expected to have finished their educations (one of the reasons why there is this conundrum that we barely use a fraction of our brains’ synaptic capabilities – they are still the same size as those brains were which held Adamic, but now our childhoods are too short to learn it properly anyway) so the Adamic language was probably already deteriorating – probably people started to use a debased, pidgin version of the old language at Babel, although as a Community they may still have possessed the totality of it.
So the size of the confounded languages were probably much smaller – it’s reasonable to suggest about 20% of the complexity and richness of the original Adamic language. Each individual language probably held a unique mix and match combination of about 20% of what was in Adamic, but shifted and confused so that Adamic could not be put back together again.
And of such languages, getting back to the story, tribal languages emerge within up to 400 years and we come to the rise of the supertribal language.
Some of these early tribal languages exist until today. Basque is a good example. It isn’t visibly related to other languages around it, it has simply been there, carried in a small tribe in enveloped in the Pyrenees, for thousands of years.
Other tribes conflated again into the supertribe, and the supertribe is where we find the original languages at the heads of the family trees thatwe can easily recognise. The Aryan supertribe spoke a language whose name wedon’t know, but we know it must have existed and we call it Proto-Indo-European. They themsleves could have called itYaspriyakis, Blurbnurb or something like that, or just “Smith’s Tongue”, for all we know. It was a supertribe,and as with all supertribes, it fell apart, with people who spoke it leaving and mingling with the languages of the substrate where they went, which weregenerally tribal, not supertribal peoples, and could not compete with them.
So we have a tendency for common grammatical elements to be seen, but a lot of different lexical stock from the borrowings. Even the supertribe itselfhad not been stable long when the emigrations started; some thought the wordfor ‘a hundred’ should be ‘kentum’ and others thought it should be ‘sati’.About all they could really agree on was the words for beech trees, snow,and about twenty other matters.
So the supertribal language was the turning point. From Babel to the supertribal period, maybe a hundred thousand languages got down to maybe ten thousand.After that time the supertribal languages started to have multipledescendents, and even some descendents had multiple descendents themselves,so that they replaced the exit languages being spoken by peoples like the pre-Celtic cultures of Ireland, and then many of those languages, like IrishCeltic, themselves became forced into a minor role or often made extinctaltogether, like Cornish, by more vigorous languages of their distantcousins, such as English.
In sum, if we have had six thousand years since Babel, one of those thousand has seen the rise of the linguistic supertribe, and the other five thousand has seen mainly supertribal languages disintegrating into the language families we know today (and others which have gone extinct with no trace). In some parts of the world smaller languages, even ones that have resulted from supertribal disintegration, have started to grow again into supertribal languages, so the whole ebb and flow described here is something which didn’t necessarily happen just once in that length of history.
Incidently, even broader groups than Nostratic have been proposed,including attempts to reconstruct words of Proto-World. Unfortunately the only one I recall at the moment is rather indelicate.
There’s every chance that we can guess at a word that was in the vocabularyof somebody who walked out of Babel, maybe in a sound-shifted or abbreviatedform. After all, all the material in every tribal or supertribal languagecame from someone or other’s Babel exit language. It’s not common forlanguages to invent words, so even ‘shit’ has good cognates in Greek. If wesay that ‘skata’ is closer to the Babel exit languages, because we can tell it didn’t go through theGermanic sound shifts which we know all about thanks to the Brothers Grimm, then we canassert with a good probability of truth that some rather powerful man or hiswife, with a penchant for talking about his or her bodily functions,received the ancestor word for ‘skata/shit’ in his or her personal languageat Babel. It is very interesting how reluctant mankind is to introduce linguistuc material out of nothing. Almost everything is a loanword or a calque or an omatopoeia, or a contraction of other words. Even on the internet existing language was massaged to create the terms we are now using worldwide over the last 25 years. Very little by way of truly random words have been used. Even the search engine “Google”‘ links from “go ogle” and “Facebook” comes from two very basic monosyllablic English words.
Anyway, this account, which has no shortage of fantasy in it as I am more than aware, and make no apology for in the face of the fantasy required to make a dinosaur drawing complete with colours and habits from a couple of bones, this being the sort of trick on which most people’s understanding of evolution seems to base, is consistent nevertheless with both on the one hand theobservable fact that we cannot get back any further than PIE or PFU, andfind further common ancestors, obviates the absurd and counter-intuitivenotion that language systems fairly equal in complexity could have evolvedin the human race at different times and places, but without the organs ofspeech of the races then changing so that an infant could not acquire aperfect accent in a non related system, and where we do not see easiergrammars compounding into harder grammars, but rather the reverse, and onethe other hand it is consistent with what scripture says about languageorigins.
And so, in conclusion, evolutionary science is at odds with what is known ofphilology, and the Bible is not.
By the way, in the rest of the original talk.origins discussion, it became apparent that the evolutionists have nothing to offer but rhetoric, and try to divert the uncomfortable topic onto archaeology, where they attempted to argue from negatives assuming that Babel hinges on the archaeological work of Babylon, when there is no reason at all to expect to find any traces of Babel and its tower. However large it was, it was doubtless less in terms of mass of fabric than the Berlin Wall was, and people recycled that in the space of a few months, let alone a few thousand years. If anything has changed, and any evolutionist has something to offer which is new, please go ahead and make your comments.
I remind evolutionists reading this article of their right of immediate and public reply on the bulletin board of this site, which as I said earlier is not edited or moderated except for things that are illegal and for spam.
I hope Christians are encouraged by all this not to believe that science has all the answers, it doesn’t. But as we see evolutionists, especially those who are only using the evolutionary fallacy as their charter for atheism or apostasy, will fill in the gaps between real science and their world view and then try to convince us that this philosophical putty of theirs is good science too.
(DJJ, based on material added to the old site usenetposts.com 29/4/04, original debate from Jan-Feb 2004, now with 25% added material)
Here is the The Book of Samson and Dallillah (the second book of the Usenet Apocrypha, the first being The Book of Aaron, also available on this site. The third book, The Wisdom of David is lost and efforts are being made to uncover it for the readership of Huliganov TV.
The Book of Samson and Dallillah is believed to be, along with the other Books that make up the Apocrypha of Yuzneth, a lost portion of the Book of Mormon, having fallen out of Joseph Smith’s pocket as he was walking back from the hill to the village of Manchester, Ontario County, which, by a cosmic misunderstanding, fell through a kink in the space time continuum and ended up in Manchester England 159 years later and was offered for sale to me by a man in a white van as I was taking petrol at Knutsford Service Station. I didn’t get his number.
Those modern day mormons who became aware of the existence of this
book naturally wished to acquire it, but the angel Moroni came to me
in a vision during an advert break on telly as I was enjoying a nice
cup of coffee and gave me to understand that they had had their
chance and blew it when Joe Smith let it fall out of his pocket,
especially since they didn’t drink caffeine based hot drinks as God
had commanded to the remnant of the human race at the time of Noah,
and that now it was my turn, as a linguist and coffee addict, to have
a go with the Urim and Thummim, and translate the plates, and the
mormons were not to have them for any money, or all the tea in China.
And so, without further ado, here is The Book of Samson and
1. As it is written in the Book of Psalms, ‘Blessed is the man
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the
way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth
he meditate day and night’.
3. There was indeed one who was such in the land of Yuzneth, and
verily he was like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that
bringeth forth his fruit in his season
4. And his scroll of answers to oft asked questions came forth as
an offering to the people of the temple each time that the moon was
The “Book Of Aaron” is part of the UsenetApocrypha, a number of books written by me in the 1990s satirising the soap opera that went on in various Usenet discussion groups or newsgroups, some of whose participants were real people airing their linen, and others where personae there to troll or participate in the rough and tumble of Usenet discussion (read: “flamewars“). Some of the flamewars were productive of quite creative writing, and in this case I used the Jacobean English of the King James Bible (no disrespect to the Bible itself intended of course, it is merely the humour to be had from juxtaposing this classical and religious form of English on the life and views of a handful of eccentric guys and girls living in modern America) to produce some Usenet Apocrypha celebrating and combining some of the amusing stories that had been discussed on the group over recent months, in particular those of usenet legend Aaron Kulkis, described by many as the Ubertroll. Whether he genuinely believed his chauvinistic beliefs nobody can say, but he was a real person who came to see me in London in 1998. For those who don’t know the people involved, I have know idea whether the book will still be a laugh or not, or make any sense or not. You tell me!
1. This is the history of the prophet Aaron son of Kulkis, which beginneth when he was yet unborn.
2. In the land of Po the LORD looked over the people to see if there were any righteous and not sunken in iniquity. And behold, one Kulkis of the ancient tribe of Lith did walk uprightly.
3. And the LORD came unto him in a vision by night and said unto him ‘Gird up thy loins and betake thee and all thine house unto a land which is afar off, a land that I, the LORD thy God will shew thee’.
This is the sixth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org
6. “FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST”
Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, 10th October 1985. Music Robert Jackson (1842-1914) Tune name “Trentham”. The tune appears to be named after the village of Trentham near Stoke-on-Trent, England, which has a pleasant lake backed by hills and the river Trent and the canal nearby. It is my favourite of the four famous tunes we have from this composer. It is of course a Short Meter tune, and ideal for meditative hymns. Most commonly it is sung to “Breathe on me breath of God”.
First published on the net on 24th April 2004
(NB. The picture to the right was taken in 1985, this is how I looked when I wrote this hymn.)
For me to live is Christ,
For me to die is gain
Lord, may this blessed truth me guide,
In comfort and in pain.
Not I it is who live
But Christ doth dwell within.
My former, carnal self hath died
And I am dead to sin.
The life which now I live
I live by faith alone,
In Christ who loved me and gave
Himself, me to atone.
So may the Lord restrain
Me from all other plea
And may the cross of Christ my God
My only glory be.
“”For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”(Philippians 1 v 21) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2 v 20) “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6 v 14)