Archive for December, 2005
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
Revelation 16:15 (King James Version)
15Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
TONY ALLEN-MILLS, NEW YORK
IN THE beginning was the word of God and God never said anything about brassieres or boxer shorts. Thus was born Natura, AmericaÃ¢â¬â¢s first Christian nudist camp.
After two years of biblical debate over Adam and Eve and their fig leaves and whether or not nudity is sinful, a 67-year-old Quaker grandfather is preparing to open a modern-day Garden of Eden 40 miles north of Tampa, Florida.
Bill MartinÃ¢â¬â¢s ambitious plan for a 200-acre Christian- oriented Family Naturist Village has survived legal challenges, doctrinal disputes and a plague of internet prudes. Land is now being cleared for the opening next year of what may become the worldÃ¢â¬â¢s only Christian community to feature nude volleyball.
Despite howls of complaint from fundamentalists who have likened Martin to the Antichrist Ã¢â¬â and described his nudist plans as Ã¢â¬Ågraphic evidence of AmericaÃ¢â¬â¢s moral collapseÃ¢â¬Â Ã¢â¬â Natura intends to build 50 houses around a non-denominational church where clothing for services will be optional. He has fought with his neighbours over property rights, fallen out with other nudists over his promotional material and sparked a vigorous internet debate over whether the true path to godliness really involves getting naked.
Yet Martin remains confident that Christians will flock to Natura to experience the spiritual benefits of a lifestyle Ã¢â¬Åfree from body shameÃ¢â¬Â. He is spending more than $2m on a nudist recreational complex that will also feature a hotel, campsites and a childrenÃ¢â¬â¢s water park.
Ã¢â¬ÅAs evidenced by Adam and Eve, we believe that when GodÃ¢â¬â¢s children are in the right relationship to Him, they will be naked and unashamed,Ã¢â¬Â explains one of NaturaÃ¢â¬â¢s brochures. American Christians have long been intrigued by the biblical implications of nudity and Ilsley Boone, a Baptist pastor, was the founder in 1931 of the American Sunbathing Association, an early naturist group.
Martin and his supporters argue that nudism is unhealthy, especially for children, unless it occurs in a proper Christian context. He has criticised non- religious nudist camps for encouraging alcohol and sensuality. Ã¢â¬ÅWe are going after a totally different group, a group that doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t want a sexual atmosphere,Ã¢â¬Â he said. Ã¢â¬ÅThere is absolutely no relationship between nudity and sex.Ã¢â¬Â
Much of his groupÃ¢â¬â¢s philosophy appears in a book, Nakedness and the Bible, self- published on the internet by Paul Bowman, a Canadian author. The book cites several biblical references suggesting that God does not disapprove of nudity and that Jesus may have been naked at several key moments of his life Ã¢â¬â notably when he washed the feet of his disciples.
MartinÃ¢â¬â¢s supporters also claim that nude worship is much more in keeping with modest Christian values than are the ostentatious displays of wealth on show at the suburban Ã¢â¬ÅmegachurchesÃ¢â¬Â, where women attend services in Ã¢â¬Ådesigner clothes and $90 haircutsÃ¢â¬Â, says one internet posting. None of which has stopped MartinÃ¢â¬â¢s critics from battling against his project. Texe Marrs, who operates a website called Conspiracyworld.com, has pointed to MartinÃ¢â¬â¢s project as evidence that Satan is subverting Christianity.
Daniel Bellows, chief executive of the new development, said that he regularly receives e-mails from Christians appalled by the idea of nude worship and warning him that he faces eternal damnation.
Although MartinÃ¢â¬â¢s land has been used by naturists before Ã¢â¬â the area has the largest concentration of nudist camps in America Ã¢â¬â he has alienated local residents with proposed property improvements that have spawned half a dozen lawsuits.
He has also upset AmericaÃ¢â¬â¢s largest naturist association with his Ã¢â¬Åholier-than-thouÃ¢â¬Â approach. Earlier this year Natura was expelled by the American Association for Nude Recreation, representing 270 member organisations, on the grounds that his website was publishing Ã¢â¬Åsexually exploitative materialÃ¢â¬Â.
Martin, who made his money building nursing and retirement homes in Washington, dismissed the allegations as professional jealousy and defended the photographs as harmless. Ã¢â¬ÅChrist has forewarned us that we would be persecuted for his sake,Ã¢â¬Â he told supporters in an e-mail. But he later removed all photographs from his site.
Martin also became embroiled in a bizarre dispute about an article that appeared on his website discussing male erections Ã¢â¬â a perennial concern for novice nudists. Martin told the St Petersburg Times that the article was meant to help young men worried about an embarrassing reaction when first confronting naked women.
Ã¢â¬ÅIf you canÃ¢â¬â¢t speak about human nature, I donÃ¢â¬â¢t know what you can speak about,Ã¢â¬Â he said. Ã¢â¬ÅErections have got to be addressed. ItÃ¢â¬â¢s a major concern of teen males.Ã¢â¬Â
MartinÃ¢â¬â¢s critics depict him as a religious fanatic whose criticisms of rival resorts are damaging the naturist industry. Ã¢â¬ÅWe are not concerned about him taking our members,Ã¢â¬Â said Elf Anderson, who conducts nude marriage ceremonies at other resorts. Ã¢â¬ÅBut we are concerned about the impression he gives to the public about us.
Ã¢â¬ÅWe are all for wholesome family nudism Ã¢â¬â but heÃ¢â¬â¢s just way off the scale.Ã¢â¬Â
Incense burner with Dragon handle and Pheonix cover. Bronze. From the Vietnamese Bronze Age: 3rd century A.D. Cast bronze. Size: 13.5 x 19 cm (5 5/16 x 7 1/2 in.) Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Dongson culture.
Double-Chambered Whistling Bottle, 4thÃ¢â¬â7th century Ecuador; BahÃÂa, Ceramic
“There is precious little data about dinosaurs to transcend. What the museum scientists know about Indians, whales, and elephants is more than enough to mimic real life. But when it comes to dinosaurs, all they really have to work with is an incomplete jumble of bones. …. And the elephants are a special case.
There’s a running joke among professional dinosaur artists that goes like this: Given just an elephant skeleton, they’d probably render a titanic hamster….Discover Magazine..What Did Dinosaurs Like, and Will We Never Know” Funny , you should mention: Elephants.
Here at s8int.com, we believe we’ve shown in this section that evidence exists in archaic art to support the idea that “ancient” man lived with and/or interacted with “dinosaurs”. Looking at ancient art could permit us to go back in history as if using a time machine.
Just as anthropologists have shaped our view of “ancient man” by drawing him as a primitive from just a few bones (in other words, they used pure imagination) paleontologists and artists working with them have used virually their imaginations alone to describe what dinosaurs looked like.
We assert that they may have been way off when it comes to ceratopsians. We think all those images of the ceratopsians are probably wrong in a vey important detail. The proboscis. Far fetched? Of course it is, particularly if you’re convinced dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. ….
Signed by Muhammad Baqir
Ink and transparent color on paper: color by s8int.com
Rogers Fund, 1974 (1974.20)
Are we sure that this artist from the 1600′s in Iran had never seen a battle between a lion and a “dragon”? Did he really draw a battle between a very real lion and a mythological beast? Or–did these animals actually interact as reported in histories of the period? This one does have the headcrest which apparently, many of the dinosaurs actually did have….
” Calligraphically rendered drawings enjoyed a long tradition in Persian painting from as early as the fourteenth century under the Ilkhanid and Jalayirid dynasties. The genre was unquestionably indebted to the art of China, which provided not only the initial impetus but also fresh waves of influence at various periods. Favorite subjects among the Persian artists and their Turkish colleagues, who from the sixteenth century also produced drawings in this mode, were mythological beasts, particularly the dragon, which was often shown in combat, as here.
From the first, these drawings followed the artistic precepts of the Islamic culture that produced them, while the style varied according to period and place. In this drawing, the rhythms of the strongly calligraphic line set up a harmony with the supple curves of the intertwined bodies of the animals, while the nuances of texture and color variations enhance the subtle tension between naturalism and fantasy. Nothing is known of the artist who signed the drawing, although one other work with his signature also bears the date 1069 A.H. (1659 A.D.).
The Book In A NUTSHELL: Hey! Maybe there are really an infinite number of universes (which we have no way of verifying) so that we happen to be in the one that supports life –merely giving the appearance of having been designed.
by David Heddle, Nuclear Physicist
SusskindÃ¢â¬â¢s new book The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design is generating a lot of interest. Recently he gave a fascinating interview to Amanda Gefter at NewScientist.
I especially enjoyed the last question and answer:
If we do not accept the landscape idea are we stuck with intelligent design?
I doubt that physicists will see it that way. If, for some unforeseen reason, the landscape turns out to be inconsistent – maybe for mathematical reasons, or because it disagrees with observation – I am pretty sure that physicists will go on searching for natural explanations of the world.
But I have to say that if that happens, as things stand now we will be in a very awkward position. Without any explanation of nature’s fine-tunings we will be hard pressed to answer the ID critics. One might argue that the hope that a mathematically unique solution will emerge is as faith-based as ID.
The landscape to which he refers is an estimated 10500 environments consisting of different values for the physical constants, i.e., different laws of physics. At the risk of oversimplifying, possible universes exist as local minima in this vast megaverse. Our universe is one with the Ã¢â¬Åjust rightÃ¢â¬Â fine-tuning that we observe.
SusskindÃ¢â¬â¢s answer shows that his book should be subtitled String Theory and the Possible Illusion of Intelligent Design. He has done nothing whatsoever to disprove fine-tuning. Nothing. He has only countered it with a religious speculation in scientific language, a God of the Landscape. Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, he tells us that we should embrace the String Theory landscape, not in spite of its ugliness, but rather because of it.
Physics should change its paradigm and sing praises to inelegance. Out with OccamÃ¢â¬â¢s razor, in with Rube Goldberg. Out with reductionism, in with lots of free parameters. Why? Because if we donÃ¢â¬â¢t (according to Suskind) there really is no way to explain the fine-tuning, except by Intelligent Design. He even likens, in his last sentence quoted above, those physicists who search for the antithesis of his landscape, a simple, beautiful fundamental theory, to IDers.
I think he is correct. For a fundamental theory that predicted all the constants would be a Ã¢â¬ÅwinÃ¢â¬Â for IDÃ¢â¬âit would destroy the only real threat to cosmological ID: multiple universes with varying laws of physics.
The subtext (at times explicit) in SusskindÃ¢â¬â¢s book is that fine-tuning is real, in the sense that our universe really does exist on a knifeÃ¢â¬â¢s edge, so much so that it demands attention. The only possible way that it is an illusion is if our universe is but one of many. To save materialism, Susskind argues that we must explain this fine-tuning, and his landscape has the best chance of playing the role of a white knight.
What about falsifiability, that inconvenient scientific requirement that critics like to bring up when discussing ID? How does Susskind answer attacks on the landscapeÃ¢â¬â¢s falsifiablity? Well, he suggests that maybe, though not likely, the one landscape prediction: a negative curvature to the universe, might be detected through more precise measurements of the cosmic background. Presently, our universe appears to be flat, corresponding to a value of the total density ÃÂ©0 equal to 1. In his review of SusskindÃ¢â¬â¢s book, cosmologist George Ellis looks at the possibility:
The particular multiverse version proposed by Susskind, however, has the great virtue of being testable in one respect. It is supposed to have started out by quantum tunnelling, resulting in a spatially homogenous and isotropic universe with negative spatial curvature, and hence with a total density parameter ÃÂ©0<1. The best observationally determined value for this parameter, taking all the data into account, is ÃÂ©0=1.02+/-0.02.
Taken at face value, this seems to contradict the proposed theory. But given the statistical uncertainties, the observations do not definitively exclude ÃÂ©0<1, so the theory survives; nevertheless, the observed value should be taken seriously in this era of ‘precision cosmology’. These data are not discussed in the book Ã¢â¬â a symptom of some present-day cosmology, where faith in theory tends to trump evidence. Presumably the hope is that this observational result will go away as more evidence is collected. (Nature 438, 739-740, 8 December 2005)
Ouch. (It should also be noted that a detection of a slight negative curvature would be consistent with the landscape, but it wouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t prove it.)
Susskind seems to recognize that falsifiability is a weakness in his theory, so (you just have to give him credit for moxie) he simply goes right to the source. In the same NewScientist interview, he states:
There is a philosophical objection called Popperism that people raise against the landscape idea. Popperism [after the philosopher Karl Popper] is the assertion that a scientific hypothesis has to be falsifiable, otherwise it’s just metaphysics. Other worlds, alternative universes, things we can’t see because they are beyond horizons, are in principle unfalsifiable and therefore metaphysical – that’s the objection. But the belief that the universe beyond our causal horizon is homogeneous is just as speculative and just as susceptible to the Popperazzi.
In other wordsÃ¢â¬âthe routine assumption that the part of the universe that we cannot see is the same (has the same physical laws) as what we do see is just as unfalsifiable. Chutzpah!
Susskind has presented the physics community with what is, for some (not this writer), a Sophie’s Choice: a hidious, complictated, unfalsifiable String-Theory Landscape, or Intelligent Design.
By Dennis Leap The Trumpet.com
The Bible is the only ancient, well-organized and authentic framework in which to fit all the facts of history.
The Bible does not record all history. In fact, there are huge gaps in the history contained in the Bible. Yet, without the Bible and what it reveals from prehistory, ancient history and prophecyÃ¢â¬âwhich is history written in advanceÃ¢â¬âyou cannot truly understand any history. No worldly source can help us as the Bible does!
But what do modern men say about the Bible? Most agree it is a book for the religious, but think its history cannot be trusted.
For centuries, until the so-called Age of EnlightenmentÃ¢â¬âalso known as the Age of ReasonÃ¢â¬âthe Western world accepted without question the historical accuracy of the account of the Garden of Eden, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the history of the patriarchs and the Exodus from Egypt.
However, in the 17th and 18th centuries, European intellectuals began to claim that only through human reason could true knowledge be obtained. Rather than the Bible, scientific reasoning became the source of authorityÃ¢â¬âthe ultimate judge of all truth. The Bible came under direct attack.
Then in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the theory of evolutionÃ¢â¬âthe fable of a creation without a CreatorÃ¢â¬âand higher Bible criticism spawned by anti-Semite German rationalists, came on the scene and succeeded in completely removing God and the Bible from the picture. German Bible critics argued that the Bible was unhistorical and had no reliable basis in fact.
Here at s8int.com, we were inclined to go along with that description, but did note a resemblance to some of the duck billed hadrosaurs, like Lambeosaurus–due in large part to the similarity of the “horns” to the headcrests on many of these dinosaur types.
What really caught our attention is the Museum’s own description….
16 December 2005
NewScientist.com news service
The shattered remains of a 5500-year-old citadel that stood on the modern-day border between Syria and Iraq provide some of the oldest evidence for organised and bloody warfare.
The Mesopotamian settlement lies in Hamoukar, on the northernmost tip of Syria, 8 kilometres from the Iraqi border. In 3500 BC the 13-hectare development was subjected to a devastating attack, its edifices crumbling beneath a crushing hail of bullet-shaped projectiles.
The evidence of the destruction was uncovered in October and November 2005 by an expedition coordinated by the University of Chicago, US, and the Syrian Department of Antiquities.
During earlier excavations, archaeologists found buildings that had been destroyed or severely damaged by fire.
The latest expedition revealed 1200 oval clay “bullets” measuring 2.5 centimetres in diameter and 4 centimetres in length. It also unearthed 120 heavier projectiles measuring 5 centimetres by 10 centimetres.
The team originally mistook the larger projectiles for pots, but both these and the smaller bullets showed impact scars and impressions apparently caused by striking buildings.
The archaeologists also conducted experiments that confirmed the projectiles could easily be launched using slings. The smaller bullets were deformed upon impact, which suggests they were manufactured in the heat of battle and were still soft.
“The whole area of our most recent excavation was a war zone,” says Clemens Reichel, a member of the team from the University of Chicago. “This was clearly no minor skirmish. This was ‘shock and awe’ in the fourth millennium BC.”
During this period, many large settlements were established south of Hamoukar, within the Euphrates valley in central Iraq. There is evidence that these people periodically migrated northwards, establishing colonies and bringing so-called “Uruk” cultural artefacts with them.
But excavations carried out in Hamoukar between 1999 and 2001 show that the original settlement pre-dates this Uruk migration. Shortly after the city was destroyed, however, Uruk artefacts and structures become common in the area.
“It is likely that the southerners played a role in the destruction of this city,” Reichel adds. “They took over this place right after its destruction.” This is the first evidence of Uruk people becoming involved in armed conflict on their northward migrations.
Alexandra Fletcher, a curator in the Department of the Ancient Near East at the British Museum, says the discovery in Hamoukar adds fresh detail to the picture of early civilisation in the area.
“It’s a very interesting time period,” Fletcher notes. “It is the beginning of big cities and everything we associate with modern life – including war.”
The current “scientific” dating scheme is all messed up. Here you have “modern” man’s footprints before man was supposed to have even evolved–which is quite a conundrum for some. Footprints? I don’t see no footprints! As for their configuration, maybe those volcanic ashes were hot!
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Published: December 13, 2005
What is one to make of the intriguing footprints found in Mexico?
The scientists who discovered them said last summer that they were made by humans walking in fresh volcanic ash 40,000 years ago. This seemed incredible, since no human presence in the Americas had been established earlier than about 13,000 years ago.
So geologists went to the scene, near Puebla. They came to an even more astonishing conclusion: the prints were in 1.3-million-year-old rock, meaning the prints were laid down more than a million years before modern Homo sapiens evolved in Africa.
The surprising antiquity of the rock bearing the prints was determined by a research team led by Paul R. Renne, director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center in California.
The researchers conducted repeated argon dating and investigated the magnetic imprint in the rock. All the tests yielded the 1.3-million-year date.
In the journal Nature, the team wrote, “We conclude that either hominid migration into the Americas occurred very much earlier than previously believed, or that the features in question were not made by humans on recently erupted ash.”
The original discovery was made in 2003 by Silvia Gonzalez of Liverpool John Moores University in England. Dr. Renne questioned that these were, in fact, footprints.
“Their distribution is quite random, not like something made by early humans,” he said by telephone. Paleontologists she consulted, Dr. Renne said, agreed. It may be, they said, that the prints are recent breaks in the hard surface caused by vibrations from a nearby highway and an active quarry.