I thought I would kick-off the 2013 blogging on this channel with a little poll, one that I haven’t exactly seen elsewhere but which might be quite interesting as an experiment. After all, even though the Lord Jesus himself tells us that no man knows the time, there is also a saying “vox populi vox Dei” or “the voice of the people is the voice of God”. So could it be that collectively mankind knows when the end of the world is coming?
In fact, probably not. Was the voice of the people the voice of God when the crowd yelled “Crucify him!”? Hard to say – on the one hand it had to be this so that the prophesies could be fulfilled. In the case of this poll, the only prophesy to be fulfilled will probably be that nobody knows the day nor the hour, which means that our consensus, if the is one, will probably turn out to be hopelessly wrong. Continue reading “We made it to 2013, but how much longer have we got?”
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 you would 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? Biological evolution must indeed be able to explain this.
2) What everyone else means, i.e. change in language, such as that which produced French and Spanish from Latin? There is no reason why a theory which deals with genetic change should address a purely cultural phenomenon, beyond explaining how it is biologically possible in the first place.
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. Even husbands and wives could not talk and little kids could not communicate with their parents. This meant that in order to have an established family language, families needed to isolate themselves, and then they would all learn the language of the mother of that family, as mothers are and always have been the main one to teach the little children language. The men therefore 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, and in the process already the family language would become at once grammatically simpler but also lexically richer than the Babel exit languages each member spoke. We have the expression ‘mother tongue’ in almost every language but Welsh, which is like the exception that proves the rule, exactly from this time, which was only one generation in the history of 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 their own place, so that they could quietly re- establish a common language with those who meant most to them, their family, without linguistic interference from all the others who would come babbling over the horizon, preventing their children from achieving any linguistic competence.
Within a further forty years, that one language per family (already maybe only one fifth of the number actually made at Babel) was similar conflating and merging into tribal 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 foreign languages by all in the tribe but the dominant family. These dominant families are the ancestors of the aristocratic families that grew up later in almost every culture.
The tribal languages would have taken over from the family languages so that by about four hundred years after Babel the single family language was as redundant and extinct as the single person language had been forty years after 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 that we can easily recognise. The Aryan supertribe spoke a language whose name we don’t know, but we know it must have existed and we call it Proto-Indo-European. They themsleves could have called it Yaspriyakis, 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 were generally 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 itself had not been stable long when the emigrations started; some thought the word for ‘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 multiple descendents, 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 Irish Celtic, themselves became forced into a minor role or often made extinct altogether, like Cornish, by more vigorous languages of their distant cousins, 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 vocabulary of somebody who walked out of Babel, maybe in a sound-shifted or abbreviated form. After all, all the material in every tribal or supertribal language came from someone or other’s Babel exit language. It’s not common for languages to invent words, so even ‘shit’ has good cognates in Greek. If we say that ‘skata’ is closer to the Babel exit languages, because we can tell it didn’t go through the Germanic sound shifts which we know all about thanks to the Brothers Grimm, then we can assert with a good probability of truth that some rather powerful man or his wife, with a penchant for talking about his or her bodily functions, received the ancestor word for ‘skata/shit’ in his or her personal language at 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 the observable fact that we cannot get back any further than PIE or PFU, and find further common ancestors, obviates the absurd and counter-intuitive notion that language systems fairly equal in complexity could have evolved in the human race at different times and places, but without the organs of speech of the races then changing so that an infant could not acquire a perfect accent in a non related system, and where we do not see easier grammars compounding into harder grammars, but rather the reverse, and one the other hand it is consistent with what scripture says about language origins.
And so, in conclusion, evolutionary science is at odds with what is known of philology, 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)
- Babel…. (maddmedic.wordpress.com)
- The Bigger Picture (kenyanvoice.wordpress.com)
- God’s Mass Deportation Policy (vridar.wordpress.com)
- Creationist: Science Begins with the Bible, Not the Facts (patheos.com)
- Ruse: creationism the fault of Gnu Atheists who don’t study enough (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
|Playout date:||22 October 2006|
|Post Production:||Windows Movie Maker – slight use|
|Other people featured:||None|
|Music used:||Cyberhymnal.net’s arrangement of hymn tune “Hyfrydol“|
The beautiful hymn by Robert Robinson, this time sung to the tune Hyfrydol.
I did both voices, the melody and the bass part. Can you work out which is the one I’m singing on the video?
An interesting story about this hymn, courtesy of cyberhymnal.org where I also got the midi (this is allowed by them, by the way, as long as you credit, which I am doing)
Robert Robinson had a difficult time with his faith in the latter part of his life, having been converted at 17 and having written this and other hymns as a young man. The story is told of how one day, he encountered a woman who was studying a hymnal, and she asked how he liked the hymn she was humming. In tears, he replied, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
- Sabbath Evening Post #19: A Hymn That I Love (bluemustang5.wordpress.com)
- A Commentary on Hymns (sjbrown58.wordpress.com)
- Behind The Hymns: Tis Sweet To Sing The Matchless Love (harmonyavenue.wordpress.com)
- Your Sunday Hymn: I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say (nicedeb.wordpress.com)
- Hymn of Praise: #1 Praise to the Lord (thedisconsolategarden.wordpress.com)
I was discussing Genesis on Linked-In‘s Christian Professionals Worldwide Group, although I have stopped it and left the Group as some of my posts which had taken time to prepare were deleted without prior warning by the Moderators, which is not the way I care to engage in debate.
That is absolutely no reflection on the Brother who wrote privately to me with a discussion about Answers In Genesis. When I wrote the big piece below it would not pass through the Linked In private message limit, so I decided to place it here so as to share the thoughts here with my dear readers as well as be able to answer this Brother in full. I will call him Brother in Arizona unless he asks me to identify him. He’s not obliged to as he came in private correspondence, and in order to share the good discussion his note provoked, I will at least keep him anonymous unless he should choose otherwise, in which case I can always edit it and identify him if he prefers it.
The first note this Brother sent was
Hello David, it’s ****** here!
Thought I’d reply personally and privately on your previous post.
Sorry, but I couldn’t disagree with you any more on the subject of Ken Ham and his organizations. I believe he has a heart for God, but also believe he is guilty of bending the evidence to fit his theories. Frankly, I think he does more harm than good to the rational defence of Christianity. We’ve met; he registers high on my “kook meter.”
But, then again, I might register high on your kook scale, too!
Blessings to you,
(Brother in Arizona)
I wrote the following non-commital reply:
The evidence is the same for us and for the evolutionists, it is all down to interpretation.
Either you believe one interpretation, or the other. Simple as that.
His response was then a bit more detailed as to what bothers him about Ken Ham’s approach
Right you are, Davey!
Part of what I don’t appreciate about Ham’s approach in explaining the apparent age of the universe is his assertion that God created a “mature” universe, just like he created a mature Adam & Eve. Seems to me that it’s accusing God of fooling us; giving the apparence of an old earth when it’s really young. Why would He do that? Isn’t it more likely that we misunderstood the scriptures? We might also misunderstand the science, but there are many different disciplines, all agreeing on an old earth & universe.
As Christians, I think we fall right into our enemy’s plan when we spend so much time arguing on what six days means. Instead, I believe we should unite and call attention to all the problems with evolution. As more becomes known about biochemistry, Darwin’s ideas become increasingly suspect. The Darwinists are a secular religion, and they’re on the run. They’ve been spinning the evidence lately in creative ways, in order to support their theories. Which is exactly what I think Ken Ham does.
I have no problem believing in an ancient earth/universe; where “time” was not so important as the phases of creation. God created each species distinctly; they have adapted over time, but not changed from one species to another. The tide of scientific evidence increasingly is suggesting Intelligent Design and ancient earth. Always believed in the former, but was surprised when I reconsidered the latter.
Really glad our salvation hangs on none of this! And grateful that we can reason with one another. We may not persuade the other, but the discussion brings more clarity to both views. A radio-mentor of mine likes to say, “I prefer clarity to agreement.”
Blessings to you, Davey, and may God continue to bless us both with more clarity!
Well, as you can imagine, this well-written and cogent message was worth a far more expansive response than my initial one, and so here is the long reply – which Linked-In’s system couldn’t take, and then I brought it here. At that point I also redacted it slightly for the blog readership, hence references to this blog inside it, which were put in at the end.
The objection that you have to the mature Earth approach is exactly that which most of the Christian community had to Philip Henry Gosse’s Omphalism when he first expounded it. In the end Gosse became ostracised – even from his own family – for proposing a God who “deceives” us with fossils, etc. They all said that a God who would hide Himself as implicit in Omphalism or Gosseism, as they put it, was immoral, despite the fact that Scripture itself warns that God sends “strong delusion” that peopl should love and believe a lie. He also hardens the heart of Pharaoh and of others, or blinds their eyes. It is in His sovereignty – He is Potter, we the clay. many people don’t like the idea of that and see themselves as Potter (or Weasley, or Grainger, depending on taste) and God they see as the clay, to be moulded as suits their philosophical fancy.
Personally, I think P. H. Gosse had it basically right and Ham has it basically right, and I’d like to tell you why.
When God made the world already old and put an already mature man and woman in it (he didn’t make them as babies) even having navels although they were not born (omphalos means ‘navel’ hence the term ‘omphalism’ for a world created as if it had been there a long time before), they both knew very well that they were made from the dust. They themselves had no childhood memories, they had language implanted and didn’t remember learning the words from their parents as we do and they were aware that there had been no-one but them at the beginning, they had spoken with God personally.
They lived for 900 plus years and will have told their story to hundreds of thousands of people – their children, grandchildren and great great great great great great grandchildren – all the people who lived then. And nevertheless people ignored God because they hadn’t seen him for themselves. Faith is ordained to come by hearing, and not by sight, and salvation is by faith – so God made it right from the beginning that men and women could come to faith by hearing or could choose to reinterpret what they saw around them in a different way.
After God destroyed the earth by a Flood and personally spoke to Moses afterwards and said “go forth and multiply”, his sons and their families knew without the need for faith from hearing (they had had their chance to be faithful prior to the Flood and had already passed that test) that God had acted in an almighty intervening way, and certainly was who he said he was. But within about 6 or 7 generations you have people already largely ignoring what they heard passed down about that from generation to generation and would have been going “Flood? what Flood? it’s impossible! They must have simply had a local Flood and exaggerated it”.
You can see where this is going; the same story at Babel where everyone alive experiences the breaking of language. The same at Peleg with the splitting of the continents, the same with the people of Israel at the parting of the Red Sea, the pillar of fire and smoke and the manna in the wilderness. It happens again and again in the Bible. God intervenes and everyone knows – without the need for Faith that comes by hearing, that He is who He says He is. But afterwards those who didn’t see it with their own eyes are supposed to believe what they have heard, without seeing.
In order for them to have the ability to accept God in Faith there has to be a credible alternative. If there is nothing that makes any kind of sense but to believe in God then the only way to test people’s faith is to put them through trials, as we see in Job. But God is merciful and gentle, and instead of putting humanity through such trials as Job had on the basis of every person, He makes the test for most of the people who have ever lived (the vast majority of which are in the post-Darwinian period and who have to choose between a secular and a God-centred world view when the ‘scientific’ consensus is supporting a secular view) in that faith in God as Creator is not obvious. It becomes quite a leap of faith to believe in what God tells us in His word about Creation when we are bombarded with apparently clever people bringing what looks like evidence that the universe could have made itself impersonally.
God has hidden Himself from plain sight so that He can address the hearts of men and women and call them to Christ by faith, the faith that comes by hearing and the word of God as it says. The billions of years that it would have taken a world like this to evolve without almighty Divine agency (which actually are not enough, if you look at what is actually involved in the process of abiogenesis the chances of which happening alone are vanishingly small and the world is not big enough, nor even the universe, and ten times the time they think there was since the Big Bang – which regularly gets revised anyway – for the mathematics that are invoved just to get the necessary group of proteins together to produce the simplest viable life and get the chain of evolution started), those years are only notional. God tells us that He did it for us, and therefore there was really no need to hang around for all that time. God was able to make the light from stars millions of light years away hit the maturely created Earth and at the same time the star itself may already have had its supernova, but the light from that is still on its way. God made it this way and pretty much tells us that’s how he did it. And He will do it again for the new heavens and earth, and we won’t have to wait around for billions of years for that to appear either, although when it does appear it will be perfect and mature.
I agree with you that Creationism is not a Doctrine critical for salvation, but if someone rejects the idea of God’s intervening might in Creation, why would they not have the same doubts about God’s intervening might for the Resurrection world, the new heavens and earth? And if we don’t have the Resurrection, we are, as Paul says, of ‘all men most miserable’. That’s why I worry for non-Creationist Christians. I don’t want them to discover one day that they lack the faith to carry on, and give up in depression and misery. Which does in fact happen. I’m certainly not judging them. I would believe the same if God had not kindly opened my undeserving and unworthy eyes to His full power and creative glory.
Eyewitnesses of God’s miracles passed it to those in their family and friends, but it was rejected against the alternative that sight offered and men preferred to believe, but God
has always given us alternatives. We have been put here to believe, most especially in Christ, but in Him as both Redeemer and Creator. First God is interested in whether we will come to Him in Faith about what He has handed down to us by hearing (which includes reading) rather than the empirical “evidence” of sight, and experiment. And once we have faith, then God will test that Faith. People get trials for their faith on an almost daily basis, but thanks to the prevalence of the theory of evolution, some of these trials merely involve enduring the mockery of the world, although the Theory of Evolution inspired both Nazism and Communism, which have offered Christians far more serious trials.
Creationism is very often not served by some of the people who propound it, but AiG is, in my view, one of the better ones out there. That’s why I have their RSS feed continually on the side bar of this blog, and I pray that God blesses that and that these meagre efforts of mine might point some people there to have their preconceptions about the Origin challenged.
I want to leave you with one image – the place were Jesus shows us exactly how He did it. The wedding at Cana. That was Jesus first miracle in His earthly ministry, and so naturally we could even almost expect it to be a reflection of His initial work in creating the earth. When he turns the water into wine at Cana he doesn’t make new wine – he makes mature, vintage wine, which the guests then accuse the bridegroom of leaving the best till last when everyone knows that you put the best wine on the table first so that it can be appreciated while the guests are still fresh. You put the non-mature wines out afterwards, when the guests are, well if not tipsy then at least sated and their taste buds are less fussy. Such received wisdom existed at the time, as we see from the account in the economy of words that are used there. But the detail has much meaning – we are being shown that when Jesus for His first miracle, His Creation-reflecting miracle, changed water into wine He produced mature wine and not new wine. He who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Should anyone be remotely interested there is a lot of newsgroup material from talk.origins group in which I talk about Omphalism and my own take on it, which I called “Omphalism-Lite”. The idea of Omphalism-Lite ties into my views on memory and its importance and centrality to language and thought, and therefore Omphalism Lite posits that God did not place as mature in this world anything involving human memory, including collective memories such as cultural artefacts.
Fossils I said may largely have resulted from the two large scale events, namely the Flood and the Dividing of Continents. First I thought that these were parts of one event and later on I started to think that the Flood and the Dividing of Continents were in different times. These days I don’t really have a problem with the fossils even being an “omphalos” under Omphalism Lite, because they are not a human cultural memory but a geological memory, which is perfectly entitled to reflect notional time.
In any event, if my take on the subject has interested you, googling on “Omphalism Lite” should give you more.
- Were you there? (cubiksrube.wordpress.com)
- 11. Fox in the Hen House! – Enns’ Bible Curriculum (biblescienceguy.wordpress.com)
- Origins 2011 Conference Coming to Rapid City (dakotavoice.com)
- What Happens at a Christian Home-Schooling Convention? (friendlyatheist.com)
- Should Christians Embrace Evolution? (challies.com)
- The Deliberate Protestant (proginosko.wordpress.com)
- The Wedding at Cana – pt3 (ryandayministries.com)