Why didn’t the Bible mention blizzards?

Guest essay by Fred F. Mueller

While many people will agree that some of the stories recorded in the Old Testament might not be taken too literally, this book nevertheless deserves a lot of respect for the fact that is represents the collective wisdom and historical records of a nomad populace that roamed vast swathes of Egypt, Mesopotamia and adjacent regions before finally settling in what is now known as Israel.

These tribes were highly intelligent and had a remarkably good understanding of many basic rules governing their daily life. Given the hygienic knowledge and standards of these times, rules determining how to prepare kosher food certainly had the beneficial additional effect of preventing the spread of diseases such as trichinosis or salmonella infections.

The old Jews had a basic but efficient set of laws called the Ten Commandments and, by observing the Shabbat, also practiced a very early form of work hour limitation. And, over a time period probably spanning back thousands of years into the fogs of unrecorded early human history, they kept the collective memory of key weather events and natural disasters such as Noah’s flood or the (probably volcanic) annihilation of Gomorrah. A very remarkable exploit of the Old Testament is the description of the Ten Plagues affecting Egypt. One can view them as a line-up of the worst natural incidents these people ever had lived and recorded over a period of probably several thousand years. Which now brings me to the decisive point: the list does not include freezing temperatures and deep snow.

Hail, but neither snow nor subzero temperatures

While the Ten Plagues included hail storms, the records clearly limit their impact to the destruction of crops and the battering to death of cattle and humans alike. Such events are extremely violent but also very ephemeral. The Bible makes no mention of bitter cold or of lasting snowfall. Given the high intelligence and excellent observation skills of the ancient Jews, one might feel enticed to suggest that during hundreds if not thousands of years, weather events of this type simply did not occur in their habitat.

Which now brings me to the decisive point: while the proponents of the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) insist that the temperatures of the planet are set to rise in an accelerating mode that we won’t be able to control least we adopt drastic climate protecting measures a.s.a.p., we just learn that in the Sinai desert, a region to the south-west of Israel, four hikers have died in a blizzard. They lost their way and sadly froze to death in deep snow at temperatures well below the freezing point. Pictures in the internet show camels knee-deep in snowdrifts.

If one pieces together this information and biblical records, one might feel entitled to draw the conclusion that such a weather event hasn’t been observed in the region for several thousand years. Not exactly an indication of runaway temperatures, at least not a rush to the northern regions of the mercury scale. And this wasn’t a singular event. Over a prolonged time period and a wide area, the Middle East might have been experiencing its worst cold snap in several hundred if not thousand years.

This certainly does not harmonize with stories about runaway temperatures sizzling our planet. If the Bible is right, the CAGW theory seems to have hit some serious snag. Maybe it would be a good suggestion to tell these people to go back to the drawing boards and proceed to an in-depth makeover of their simulation software…

[Note: some commenters questioned why this essay was posted, I simply saw it as an interesting discussion of recorded historical events, something that scholars worldwide look to document. The Roman Warm Period is well known and also much studied, and it coincides with many writings in the Bible. Wikipedia says:

Theophrastus (371 – c. 287 BC) wrote that date trees could grow in Greece if planted, but could not set fruit there. This is the same situation as today, and suggests that southern Aegean mean summer temperatures in the fourth and fifth centuries BC were within a degree of modern temperatures. This and other literary fragments from the time confirm that the Greek climate during that period was basically the same as it was around 2000 AD. Dendrochronological evidence from wood found at the Parthenon shows variability of climate in the fifth century BC resembling the modern pattern of variation.[3] Tree rings from Italy in the late third century BC indicate a period of mild conditions in the area at the time that Hannibal crossed the Alps with elephants.[4]

The phrase “Roman Warm Period” appears in a 1995 doctoral thesis.[5] It was popularized by an article published in Nature in 1999.

Anyone reading anything more into this posting, or thinking that I’m endorsing the idea that the bible “disproves global warming” should think again.  – Anthony]

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206 thoughts on “Why didn’t the Bible mention blizzards?

  1. Goodness, don’t tell Oreskes and Goldenburg, they’ll have to arrest all the Jews, Christians and Muslims.

  2. Very thought provoking. I am reminded of the prevalence of high temperature records in the 30s, which now have been adjusted so that 1998 and 2006 are now warmer years.
    Also captured in literature from the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird”

    Maycomb was a tired, old town,
    even in 1932 when I first knew it.
    Somehow it was hotter then.

  3. Nah, they’d either claim that this is local weather not indicative of any larger trend or else simply laugh at the notion that the bible is more than fairy tale.

  4. Well, may be, may be not. The loss of a few human lives to winter weather doesn’t quite compare to the wholesale destruction of crops by hail or locust plagues.

    What strikes me as more relevant about those stories is their morale – namely that of saving food in rich years in order to survive the lean years. How would the world population fare nowadays in case of a really extreme weather event such as that of 535-536?

  5. Snow and ice are certainly mentioned in the old testament, although blizzards do not form any of the great plagues. Job 6:16 is one verse. In some translations the snow is mentioned as covering his brothers, in others hiding. Given most of the surrounding passage is describing the destruction of people, burying might be a good translation, but I’ll leave translations to the Jewish language experts out there.

  6. Lets try and keep mythology and science separate. Attempting to use one to validate the other just serves to diminish bo

  7. The problem with ascribing absence of evidence as evidence of absence is that it may not be so.

    Perhaps the 10 plagues of Egypt don’t mention extreme cold becasue that even didn’t involve extreme cold? A large volcano could have caused all of the first 9 plagues with just one cause – but it wouldn’t cause cold.

    Of course, death of the first-born is more inexplicable but the book say that that was the most persuasive catastrophe.

  8. there is no global warming
    in fact it has been cooling globally
    there is no AGW, except there where land becomes greener due to more trees, lawns and crops i.e. increasing biosphere, due to more water (distributed by humanity) and due to more CO2 in the air. there is no CAGW
    the sooner we all get this and realize that global cooling is real, the sooner we will realize what will be up coming up next:
    i.e major problems related to the physical aspects of global cooling, i.e. less precipitation at certain areas and latitudes and realtively more precipitation elsewhere, in the path of more weather systems at lower latitudes

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/04/29/the-climate-is-changing/

  9. Heaviest snowfall in Israel since 1953 & in Cairo for about a century. Most of the Old Testament was written between the Minoan & Roman Warm Periods, so there probably was snow in the region during that millennium. Likewise during the subsequent Dark Ages & Little Ice Ages Cold Periods.

  10. Oops, should always read a verse in context, my reference to Job 6:16 was to a stream getting hidden and buried under ice and snow not a person. Still it shows that snow and ice enough to hide small streams was around in Job’s time although he may not have lived in the region of modern Israel.

  11. Job 6:14 (NIV)“Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend
    forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
    15 But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams,
    as the streams that overflow
    16 when darkened by thawing ice
    and swollen with melting snow,
    17 but that stop flowing in the dry season,
    and in the heat vanish from their channels.
    Also:Psalm 51:7
    Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

    Or as they used to say in Lapland “Spring is not a season, it is a natural disaster.”

  12. Let me get that straight: Someone subnamed ‘Part time Galactic President’ commenting in WUWT -a a science blog, wants to keep science and mythology separate. What an oxymoron!

  13. no need to use the bible to disprove anything. their models do not replicate reality

    better to look at the structures of the time like the sphinx and its rain erosion which implies heavy rains over a long period of time [which the pyramids don't show] and goblecki tepe with it carvings of ostriches and crocodiles [which one assumes need local water sources]? Around 55000 years ago the area started to dry out.

  14. “… such a weather event hasn’t been observed in the region for several thousand years” seems to me to be a feeble claim. To take seriously a lash-up of folktales, foundation myths and, no doubt, sheer invention seems to me to be a poor basis for discussing factual matters. I suppose you could argue that when it was put together (Babylonian exile?) the authors/editors could have mentioned blizzards if they thought they’d be believed, and yet they didn’t. But that cuts the period for which this constitutes evidence down to, what, several decades? And maybe several decades in Babylon rather than Palestine.

  15. He sends his command to the earth;
    his word runs swiftly.
    He spreads the snow like wool
    and scatters the frost like ashes.
    He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
    Who can withstand his icy blast?
    He sends his word and melts them;
    he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow. –Psalm 147:15-18

  16. Excellent, just when we’re throwing off the mad-mantle, a post referencing that well-known gobbledygook, the Bible.

  17. FYI: On the History or Science Channel they put forth a theory in a show that Sodom and
    Gomorrah were destroyed by ejecta from a meteorite that hit in Europe.

  18. Well, Fred F. Mueller, have a look into modern archaeological research before invoking the Bible as a source of any truth! For example Silberman and Finkelstein: “The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts”. You should have done that before talikng about “…excellent observation skills of the ancient Jews, one might feel enticed to suggest that during hundreds if not thousands of years, weather events of this type simply did not occur in their habitat.”
    Such argumentation just leaves the goal open to CAGW-proponents to talk about flat earth belief. It gives them a field day.

  19. Whereto begin? The Bible also mentions camels, which were not domesticated in the Middle East at the time the events described therein took place. The stories were written/compiled centuries later. And AFAIK there isn’t a shred of independent evidence for any presence of Hebrews in Egypt at the appropriate time, let alone the exodus from it.

  20. I suspect many are missing the point, driven mad by the mere mention of the Bible.

    So here, for absolutely free of charge I’ll restate the point with a few clarifying words added:

    Whether or not the Bible represents the word of God, or merely the collected folk tales of a people, it contains a lot of historical information, much of which has been confirmed in various ways. Although some people like to ignore ALL of it for the sake of a small number of errors or omissions or ulterior motives, it is interesting that there is such an extremely small number of references to cold weather.

    In recent history, cold weather has appeared in the regions described in Biblical texts often enough that it would be safe to assume that cold weather might be happening more often now than in the era described in the Bible.

  21. I think the video clip supplied by Jimmy sums up the reasons. Why bother mentioning something as mundane as a blizzard when there are far more dramatic inventions to catch the eye of the reader? You’d never get anyone to take your manuscript seriously.

  22. Jesus lived during the peak of the Roman Warming Period. And before that temperatures were significantly warmer than today, 1 to 3C warmer. Overall the Holocene temperatures have been on a slow downward arc for thousands of years.

    So I am not surprised to see little mention of snow or ice in the Bible. It doesn’t really prove anything we don’t already know, but I guess it provides anecdotal support to ice core temperature reconstructions.

  23. Ah, small-minded people, for whom no truth exists except in their narrow little fields.

    Hello? The Lord Peter Wimsey mystery novels, written and set in the 1930s, are works of explicit fiction, and were never identified (then or later) as “science” fiction. They also reference gas-powered automobiles, aeroplanes and radio. Must we surmise that Britain of 1934 had no automobiles because fictional works included them?

    People write for people, and we write what we know even when we’re writing fiction (or especially when: well is it said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense!”)

    Even if the Bible is 100% pure grade-A BS, it was written by and for people who wanted to convey certain ideas. That they didn’t include blizzards strongly suggests that blizzards were not sufficiently familiar as disasters: they may have occurred, but would have been swiftly followed by melting and–huzzah!–flowing water. So, less a disaster than a transiently-inconvenient blessing. Missionaries to Inuit peoples, carrying tales of Hell as a place of eternal fire, failed to convey quite the horror that they meant to — Hell sounded quite warm and cozy to people living on the ice! “Hell” to northern peoples is cold, cold and more cold.

    The epic of Gilgamesh also contains no blizzards. Ain’t nothing wrong with noting a distinct absence of certain features in the stories people told one another in that region at that time.

    Moreover, the idea isn’t being offered as Definitive Proof, The Final Truth That Will Persuade All. It’s merely presented as “isn’t this an interesting notion.”

    Humans are storytelling animals. At least, fully human people are.

  24. I am of the opinion that in biblical times, agricultural productivity was the primary concern, a cold winter was not worth mentioning, unless it killed livestock. Perhaps the mass migrations were driving by longer term climate changes as opposed to a single bad year?

  25. I imagine the knee-jerk reaction by many anti-Christians to this article will be along the lines of “But the Bible is just a fairy tale, so nothing in it could EVER be considered factual.”

    Rather then simple dismiss it, a better argument is that if snow and blizzards were MORE common then today in biblical times, then they wouldn’t stand out as “plagues”.

    And yes, I said anti-Christians, not non-Christians. You don’t have to believe in a religion to respect it’s beliefs. I’m non-Jewish and non-Buddhist (among many others) but that doesn’t mean I throw a hissy fit any time I run into some demonstration of those religions.

    Heck, I even respect the beliefs of Atheists and Warmists. I just wish fewer of each would stop demanding that everyone must convert or be punished.

  26. Even as an evil Denier, I regard this as a very thin story. Fighting myth with myth is a poor strategy.

    You could equally well argue that they didn’t mention snow underfoot and blizzards in the same way the Eskimos don’t talk about such things — they are ever-present and hence unremarkable.

    Could do better.

  27. Snow is mentioned at least 25 times in the Bible.

    Ice is mentioned also, although not as often.

    Clearly, the ancients were familiar with both.

    A few instances:

    1 Chr.11
    [22] And Benai’ah the son of Jehoi’ada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds; he smote two ariels of Moab. He also went down and slew a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen.

    Job.6

    [16] which are dark with ice,
    and where the snow hides itself.

    Job.9

    [30] If I wash myself with snow,
    and cleanse my hands with lye,

    Job.24

    [19] Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters;
    so does Sheol those who have sinned.

    Job.37

    [6] For to the snow he says, `Fall on the earth';
    and to the shower and the rain, `Be strong.’

    Job.38

    [22] “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
    or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,

    Ps.51

    [7] Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

    Ps.68

    [14] When the Almighty scattered kings there,
    snow fell on Zalmon.

    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/r/rsv/simple.html

  28. Ok, I’ll bite but will probably regret lending credence to this.

    Exereme stuff like fallen angels, signs and wonders, deities guiding heroes to fabled golden fleeces, tales of talking snakes and people being turned into pillars of sodium chloride or global 12,000 floods inflicted by vengeful fickle deities make it into sacred texts.

    Boring stuff like snowy weather in winter for instance, or getting ripped off by a gourd seller down the market generally don’t make it into literature.

  29. Weather is very much a part of the books of the Bible. It is not far-fetched to even surmise weather pattern variations and oscillations on an epic scale. Anyone dismissing such ancient texts as a source of information when pursuing scientific objectives displays a bias. Such bias is not a part of scientific investigation.

  30. As the Bible purports to cover a period from the big bang until the middle of the first century AD, there does seem to be a paucity of reports of snow. I’m sure snow fell more than 25 times, it just wasn’t worth reporting.

  31. To dismiss Old Testament writings out-of-hand is a sure sign of being narrow-minded. While considering (and dealing with) the effects of countless biblical translations (and the biases of the translators), there is nothing wrong (or unscientific) with “tossing about ideas” or engaging in “what ifs” in discussions of human history. The same goes for other millenia-old writings.

    The concept is called “Multiple Working Hypotheses”, i.e., you brainstorm (with others) and seek out numerous hypotheses to consider, then retiring the less-plausible hypotheses as you acquire more evidence and as interpretations mature.

    The frames-of-reference of “the ancients” were different than ours and there may yet be other bits-of-evidence (puzzle pieces) to be found in the future through archeology (and other sources) as we try to decipher human and natural history. What seems odd now may be mainstream in 30 years, if we keep an open mind and allow free-and-open debates.

  32. I would agree with the camp that blizzards were viewed as semi-common occurrence.

    I have visited Israel multiple times on business visiting the area north of Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinnerat) and the Golan Heights (fantastic red wines from this area) on several occasions. I have not done so myself, but skiing in the Golan Heights is not unheard of. The melt from the Golan Heights is the source of the River Jordan.

  33. CodeTech says:
    February 25, 2014 at 5:35 am
    Whether or not the Bible represents the word of God, or merely the collected folk tales of a people, it contains a lot of historical information, much of which has been confirmed in various ways.
    =========
    Well said. In many respects the Bible (and Torah) reads like a health manual. But instead of God, use the word “something unknown”.

    Now whenever the Bible says:
    Do this or God will strike you down.
    becomes:
    Do this or something unknown will kill you.

    People thousands of years ago were not a whole lot different than us. They observed the world and when people got sick and died they searched for cause and effect. They tried to make sense of what they saw. And when they saw that illness was associated with behavior, they tried to make sense of it.

    But, they has no knowledge of viruses, bacteria or parasites. They didn’t understand how disease could be communicated. So when they observed that people eating pork died, they said, if you eat pork, God will kill you. Well it wasn’t god, it was parasites, it was something unknown. But it was obviously something very powerful, because it had the power to kill. So our minds, trying to make sense of the world, used the word God to stand for something unknown with the power to kill.

    In a similar fashion, sexual taboo’s came about. People that engaged in certain patterns of sexual behavior became sick and died. No one knew about STD’s. But they surely existed, and were past from person to person through sexual contact. Without the benefit of modern medicine the population learned to avoid certain practices, because to do otherwise could prove fatal.

    We assume that diseases like HIV are relatively recent. But are they? Perhaps marriage practices all but eradicated the disease in human populations. Those that did not follow the taboo’s became sick and died. With the discovery of antibiotics, the fear of STD was largely lifted, a sexual revolution was born, and an ancient disease resurfaced.

  34. The Torah also mentions men living for hundreds of years. Should we take it as evidence that people lived for hundreds of years back then?

    Probably had a good diet devoid of MSG Aspartame Fluoride Asbestos X-rays etc…

  35. I’m not anti-Christian… but this is a SCIENCE blog, and the politics of the climate debate means we MUST distance ourselves from any appearance of being lunatic bible-bashers. If you happen to BE a lunatic bible-basher, then might I suggest a science-based website about climate it NOT the place for you to discuss your ideas – you’re hurting the genuine scientific sceptics who have fought long and hard to be taken seriously by mainstream science and who are not prepared to be shot in the foot.

  36. @ those who pooh-pooh any idea that we might derive intellectual value from the books of old:

    The idea that we can learn nothing ‘scientific’ from the ancient writings of our forebears is quite frankly a most pig-ignorant assertion. What so many men miss when haughtily playing the ‘myth & legend’ card, is access to the cummulative wisdom of ages. Do you really suppose yourself superior to these our ancestors just because we live in an age of ‘reason & science’?

    Who do you think these men were? Were they not giants, men of great repute? And who the hell do you think you are, men of equal stature? Do you really suppose yourself to be equal to or greater in wisdom than Solomon? Or longer in patience than Job? Or more courageous than Joshua, and more daring than David? No? Didn’t think so. At the very least, their exploits and writings have much to teach us about intellectual discipline, about the congnition and awareness of the basic natural laws that underlie and regulate the universe we observe around us.

    I’m sure many of you would agree that placing quantitative knowledge in its proper perspective necessitates an overarching qualitative framework. In other words, how can we make sense of the visible universe when we have no coherent interpretive language to comprehend the importance of what we measure and observe?

    Indulge me for a moment, if you would be so kind. I like to distil the scientific method into what I call the Four IFs and WHYs: Quantify, Qualify, Clarify and Falsify. Quantification obviously entails measurement, building a data set, establishing a list of empirical reference points. Qualification on the other hand involves the interpretation of said data using a coherent foundation of caveats and preconditions, of basic assumptions, first principles and starting points – a theory, otherwise known as educated guesswork.

    I as a thinking man am at liberty to apply whichever qualitative framework I wish at any given moment as long as I am clear and honest about which preconditons and basic assumptions that entails – ‘Clarify’ in the Four IFs and WHYs. If my starting point is the assumption that these particular ancient writings are trusted witnesses to historical events, and I state that position unambiguously, then I have as much right as you to derive theoretical knowledge from that position to try and make sense of the world around me. If you choose a different qualitative framework, and state its cavets clearly, I will respect your conclusions, even where I might disagree with your starting point. Fudge and muddy your basic assumptions, however, and I will have nothing but disdain and contempt for your conslusions – ‘Falsify’ in the Four IFs and WHYs.

    In a nutshell, I think trying to view the physical world around us from a purely quantitative viewpoint that excludes an a priori qualitative framework can be likened to looking through he wrong end of a telescope. Perhaps we need to turn the telescope round to understand more clearly the mysterious workings of the universe. As Albert Szent-Gyorgi said: Discovery consists of seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody has thought. Indeed!

  37. Roger Sowell,

    1 Chr.11 [22]

    “….He also went down and slew a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen.”

    Gulp! Snow and lions in the same sentence. We don’t immediately associate lions with snow these days. Is this Biblical evidence for global warming?

  38. The biblical authors were well aware of a wide range of natural events. e.g.,
    hail 18;
    snow 20;
    ice 3;
    cold15;
    heat29;
    winter15;
    summer 18;
    drought 9;
    famine 91;
    waves 29;
    flood 32;
    wind 115;
    grew calm 2;
    lightning 45;
    thunder 29;
    storm 36.

    On historicity, the Bible has repeatedly been validated by archeology, more than any other ancient text. e.g., see: Biblical Archaeology: Factual Evidence to Support the Historicity of the Bible

    Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict ISBN 0785242198

    NIV Archaeological Study Bible ISBN 031092605X

  39. DavidR says:
    February 25, 2014 at 6:18 am

    Roger Sowell,

    1 Chr.11 [22]

    “….He also went down and slew a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen.”

    Gulp! Snow and lions in the same sentence. We don’t immediately associate lions with snow these days. Is this Biblical evidence for global warming?
    ___________________
    It’s evidence that Benaiah son of Jehoiada had a set.

  40. “If one pieces together this information and biblical records, one might feel entitled to draw the conclusion that such a weather event hasn’t been observed in the region for several thousand years.”

    That, or it was so common it wasn’t even considered plague.
    Sand storms are not mentioned as plagues, too.

  41. Does this make camels the original versions of the SUV. Using up potable water resources and producing untold amounts of CO2?

  42. This is a poor argument for proof that it is colder now than it was in biblical times. I have a bible with an extensive concordance. It references 16 verses that contain the word snow.

  43. Father north, but still a Mediterranean climate, Homer contrasts the silence of thick falling snow, blanketing the ground and seaside, with the flying weapons and noise of the battle on the walls of the Greek camp. Too early for me to look up which book of The Iliad.

  44. The taboo against the eating of pork most likely has a darker origin. You don’t die from eating pork, even back then you didn’t die from eating pork. Pork has no more deadly bacteria than beef, chicken or goat meat.

    The middle east at that time was populated by many peoples who were fond of pork.

    The darker meaning is most likely connected to the commendable prohibition of human sacrifice and cannibalism among Jews.

    I’m sorry if this upsets, but the sound of a pig and a human having their throats cut is apparently startling similar.

  45. Surely on Jesus’s birthday there would have been mention of snow if the wise men had to travel through it or if it had been bitterly cold on that day.

  46. “Over a prolonged time period and a wide area, the Middle East might have been experiencing its worst cold snap in several hundred if not thousand years.”

    Is there evidence supporting this claim? This New Scientist interactive map suggests that temperatures all around the Middle East between 1994 and 2013 were considerably above the 1951-1980 average: http://warmingworld.newscientistapps.com/

  47. Consider the story of Noah. At the end of the last Ice Age sea levels were much lower. As sea levels rose, there would have undoubtedly been flooding of large areas. No all these flooding would have been gentle, as the ocean breached natural dams.

    Imagine now you were living in one of these areas, perhaps at the eastern end of the Med. You are a farmer building a large boat with plans to do some fishing on the inland sea. You neighbors are giving you are hard time, lots of laughs at your expense, because you know nothing about boats or fishing. What you end up with is a monster. Half raft, half house, nothing at all like a boat. More laughs.

    Then comes the breach. A trickle becomes a torrent and the inland sea floods the land. You hurriedly gather up you family and breeding stock from your farm and climb into “the boat”. You survive while all around you die. You drift for day, then weeks on the water. You believe you will die, but finally you reach land and salvation.

    What would you tell everyone you met from that day forward?

  48. “What would you tell everyone you met from that day forward?”

    The unicorns did it.

  49. Zaphod Beeblebrox (Part time Galactic President) says:
    February 25, 2014 at 6:42 am
    The darker meaning is most likely connected to the commendable prohibition of human sacrifice and cannibalism
    ========
    cannibalism is associated with Kuru, similar to mad cow disease. taboo’s would have developed as a result.

  50. Stunned that such was posted. Let’s stick with science and reason. There is no archaeological evidence that the pastoral people of the “Bible” were ever “enslaved” in Egypt.

    What poor judgement by Anthony Watts to post this on his site. The “warmists” will have a field day with this which will confirm to them that the “deniers” are mostly religious fundamentalist (aka “nutters”).

    REPLY: I simply saw it as a interesting discussion about recording historical events. – Anthony

  51. I suggest also remembering other methods. We have hippo bones from about that period in Jordan, now a very dry place. Hannibal brought elephants to the alps, but where did he get them? We’re talking elephants and their whole ecosystem in Tunisia, for crying out loud. And not so long ago. The Bible mentions quite a number of local animals that wouldn’t do well now. I’m pretty sure the general climate in that region was more mild in those days. Not hotter. Not drastically colder. Just more mild.

    Germany, of course, was much swampier. Plenty of Roman records about that.

  52. Indeed, and by association the similarity of the death screams of pigs and humans may possibly have extended the taboo to pork.

    Saying that, the Greeks, Romans, and everyone else apart from Jews continued to enjoy pork.

  53. Zaphod Beeblebrox (Part time Galactic President) says:
    February 25, 2014 at 6:42 am
    You don’t die from eating pork, even back then you didn’t die from eating pork.
    ===========
    don’t give up you day job as galactic president to practice medicine. the parasite in pork is trichinosis.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichinosis

    Trichinosis can be fatal depending on the severity of the infection; death can occur 4–6 weeks after the infection,[14] and is usually caused by myocarditis, encephalitis, or pneumonia.[4]

  54. Unlikely ferd, for two reasons. Firstly the Biblical account is a copy of an earlier one and secondly there are flood myths all over the planet.

    Many argue that these are just exaggerations of riverine floods but that doesn’t fit the description. In all cases the flood came from the sea. Given the wide range of the stories it is more likely that the accounts record a comet impact. I say comet and not meteorite due to the fact that almost all cultures have some sort of airborne snake or dragon in their mythology.

    Rather than a flood like the ones England is experiencing now I think it much more likely that a Tsunami was involved. Later writers, like Thucydides in his “Peloponnesian War” describe the event but doesn’t have a name for it. People back then weren’t dumber than us, but they seem so to some simply because they didn’t have our vocabulary.

  55. Well, you have to remember that “Prophet”—נָבִיא (Hebrew) and προφήτην (Greek)—is a synonym for “Professor,” andI suspect that Prophets were at least as dependable as Professors when it comes to the facts.

  56. The Torah was written in the sixth century BCE, as the world warmed from the Bronze Age climatic catastrophe, so if snow had fallen during the time of Sea People, it would likely not be part of the living memory.

  57. Not out for an argument Zaphod, but if you are going to harp on about the “death screams” then you should provide a reference.

    There was little pork eaten in the middle east then because few actually ate it. The Greeks and Romans eating at home are in different climates to the ME where the food didn’t go off as fast. For similar reasons the practice of circumcision was found predominantly in hot and dusty climates.

  58. Zaphod Beeblebrox (Part time Galactic President) says:
    February 25, 2014 at 6:57 am
    Saying that, the Greeks, Romans, and everyone else apart from Jews continued to enjoy pork.
    =========
    25% of the world’s population does not eat pork, as per the Koran. These people do not consider themselves to be Jews.

  59. Like to thank @Lukewarmerist for my morning chuckle…
    “I’m not anti-Christian… but…” anyone who assigns any credibility to the Bible falls into the category “lunatic bible-basher”. Good thing you’re not anti-Christian. :o) The Bible has been called the anvil that has worn out many hammers. As we see on a regular basis in the climate debate there appear to be two categories: those who are interested in researching what is going on, and those who are committed to serving an ideology hidden under a veneer of scholarship. Same goes for Biblical studies – a group will arise that tries to put the smack down on biblical credibility – like the “higher critical school” out of Germany in the 1700s. Subsequent archeology blew away their claims, and stopped that style of criticism temporarily but it was resurrected again at the turn of the last century… rinse, repeat. Now the same tired, dodgy claims have made their way into documentaries on the History, Discovery, or Smithsonian channels as spouted by uber liberal “scholars”. If one will allow archeology to be considered SCIENCE then consider that in the late 60’s Manfred Bietak of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, Cairo began extensive excavations in the eastern Nile delta and had uncovered some very intriguing structures and cultural artifacts that suggest the presence and influence of a Semitic people, the Hyksos, during a time frame corresponding to Joseph. As well, recent evidence has been captured on video of the evidence of Egyptian war chariot fragments in the Red sea near Arabia as well as structures in Arabia that are a good match to those described in Exodus… a very risky undertaking considering the political climate in that region. I could go on, but I think as WUWT readers we should guard against the kind of sentiments expressed that speak more of a lack of knowledge or a surplus of misinformation than carefully considered insights. The Bible, despite the sometimes juvenile comments, is a library of great antiquity, written by over 40 different authors spanning some 1,500 years that contains information that should not be so quickly dismissed, but given the gravest consideration.
    – Cheers

  60. Don Stubbs says:
    February 25, 2014 at 6:52 am

    Stunned that such was posted. Let’s stick with science and reason. There is no archaeological evidence that the pastoral people of the “Bible” were ever “enslaved” in Egypt.
    _______________________
    Christian fundamentalists are routinely derided by just about everyone else for their literal interpretations of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. I find it interesting that those who speak out against the Biblical mysteries rely on equally rigid literal interpretations to make their case.

  61. Oh, and I suspect these “scientists” who want to shut down open discussion–even of Biblical events–do so because of certain thinly supported scientific beliefs.

  62. Lukewarmerist says: “I’m not anti-Christian…” But then goes on to imply that anyone who even MENTIONS the Bible must be a lunatic bible-bashers.

    …right.

  63. Trichinosis is found in all climates and occurs more in colder than warmer ones, and the pork loving Northern Europeans are still with us.

    Historical Cannan is littered with archaeological sites of ancient Jewish and non- Jewish communities. The non-Jewish being distinguished by the presence of pig bones.

    The non-Jews didn’t sicken and die from eating pork. If they had, there would have been no need for the god of Moses to urge the slaughter of the pig eaters.

  64. Biblical principles laid the foundation and world view for modern science and technology. See:
    The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, Vishal Mangalwadi ISBN 1595555455

    Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence? , by Henry F. Schaefer III, & Eric Heller ISBN 097429750X

    For those unfamiliar with it, I recommend reading the Bible all the way through and studying it, starting with the Gospels. The Judeo-Christian Western civilization and science were based on it.

  65. JohnB says:
    February 25, 2014 at 6:59 am
    Given the wide range of the stories it is more likely that the accounts record a comet impact.
    ===========
    a comet impact would explain many of the events 10-15 K yrs ago.

  66. Evangelical Christian here, and I use the same argument whenever someone gives me grief about evolution. Gravity. Point out to me where the Good Book mentions gravity.

    I’ll wait.

    (As the late great Stephen J Gould said, the Bible is not a treatise on Natural History)

  67. @ Gary Pearse says:
    February 25, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Surely on Jesus’s birthday there would have been mention of snow if the wise men had to travel through it or if it had been bitterly cold on that day.
    =================================================
    The wise men didn’t show up until almost two years after Jesus’ birth. The Greek word used means a young child, not an infant. They came to house where he was living with his parents and when Herod blew his cork he has all children, two years of age and younger, murdered according to the time given by the Magi. Your fun fact for the day. :o)

  68. .
    If you look at the plagues critically, it is obvious that this is a description of the eruption of Thera (Santorini) in the Mediterranean (c. 1600BC). Especially this verse:

    So they took ashes from a furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it toward the sky, and it became boils breaking out with sores on man and beast (through all the land of Egypt). Exodus 9:10

    There could be no better description of the long-range ash fallout from the eruption of Thera. Combine this with a great tsunami (the waters retreating), and you have a first-class eye-witness description of the eruption of Thera.

    Ralph

  69. I knew this post would bring out the insecure Bible haters. Yes, for them, their religion is global warming…

  70. Does Santorini explain how a wooden ship the size of an aircraft carrier is claimed to have ended up run aground 12,000 feet up Mt Ararat?

  71. Zaphod Beeblebrox (Part time Galactic President) says:
    February 25, 2014 at 7:12 am
    The non-Jews didn’t sicken and die from eating pork. If they had, there would have been no need for
    =======
    nonsense. a disease that kills for example 1-100 doesn’t significantly reduce a fighting force. But if the 1 in 100 is one of your children you will seek to prevent the disease.

  72. Hippopotami lived in the Near East in “biblical” times. The farthest north they got in this interglacial was apparently the Orontes River in Syria, which suggests that at least prolonged periods of freezing weather must have been exceedingly rare there.
    During the previous interglacial their northern limit was in Yorkshire and the Rhine valley.

  73. Does proper cooking destroy trichinosis bacteria?

    I repeat, we northern Europeans have munched our way through countless pigs over countless centuries and we are still here.

  74. Let me see –

    Zaphod Beeblebrox (Part time Galactic President) says:
    February 25, 2014 at 4:23 am
    Lets try and keep mythology and science separate. Attempting to use one to validate the other just serves to diminish both

    Part time president, what is the problem you see here? Modern climatology IS mythology, thus what you are saying is that we shouldn’t discuss “modern climate science,” correct, when you use the term “mythology?” Not being an atheist, I tend to take exception at referring to the Bible and any religion associated with it, as mythology. Please keep your anti-religious views out of discussions, if you don’t mind. Look at the post from the point of view from which it was written.

  75. seriously, remember that the ancient Hebrews were primarily mountain people, as the Philistines and other, stronger “people of the plains” held the low lying areas, which was where the really good farmland was. Even in the temperate regions, mountaintops will still get snow and ice in the winter.

    this is also the most likely, and much more prosaic, reason for the ban on pork. There is a distinction that has happened in many places between a semi-nomadic herding culture, which generally is a “sheep and goat” culture, in terms of the animals raised (a “pastoral” lifestyle), and the “pig and cattle” culture, which is more associated with lowland settlements. People living on rocky, sparsely vegetated hillsides and mountains tend to develop a “sheep and goat” culture, because those are the domestic animals that do best in those conditions. Meanwhile, the wicked “people of the plains”, who have all the good farmland, are using it to raise beef for the rich, and pork for the poor. Banning that meat from consumption is a way of saying “don’t be one of them, be one of us!!!” Much the same thing as circumcision – a tightly focused group struggling for survival develops rituals which give them a common sense of identity, distinct from those around them. (Groups that don’t do that just blend into the general population and disappear)

    a final bit of trivia – not saying much to say there’s no hard evidence of Hebrews in Egypt – what evidence would slaves lead? Egyptologists still don’t know who the Sea Peoples were, for heaven’s sake. (and I’m not saying those people were Hebrew, just that there is a lot about the past that we just don’t know) A bit of internal evidence, not “proof” of course, but it is interesting that the most important founder of Judaism was a man with an Egyptian name – Moses. Pharaoh Tutmoses, anyone? (no, they weren’t the same person, but whoever “Moses” was, he clearly had a respected Egyptian name)

  76. Zaphod, I believe it does. IIRC meat needs to be heated to at least 55 degrees C to kill bacteria, which is why food poisoning is more common among people who like their food “rare”. The Romans, Greeks and others went for “extremely well done”.

    Another point to consider is that when the agriculture isn’t really that far above subsistence levels it makes little sense to keep animals that require special preparations for eating. With the possible problems they had with pigs, it might simply have been easier to ban them and use the resources to raise sheep and goats.

    Consider also the extreme changes in the region as evidenced by the 70 odd metre change in water level in the Dead Sea during the 1st C BC. The graph is from a reconstruction done in 1985.

  77. Thanks FredMueller.
    Things that make you go hmmm.
    Living in the neighbourhood of the people with “200 words for snow”, if snow was common it would be part of the language, common words.
    Good thing we decedents of Christians kept printing copies of the Jewish oral history, people who depend on weather to survive, have good memories.
    On a similar note, those viking being exhumed in Greenland , still have to be jackhammered out or the ground thawed around them, but they were buried with a wooden spade.

  78. wws, the occurrence of circumcision is much more closely aligned to the availability of fresh water than being a mere “ritual”. The bottom line is that sand gets in under the foreskin and the chafing leads to infection and death or incapacitation. The practice is much less common if there is plenty of water for washing. AFAIK all cultures from dry areas did it, from the Australian Aboriginals to the Bronze Age Middle East.

  79. Zaphod & Co., here’s something to mess with your heads.

    One of the first words in the first book of the ancient writings commonly known as ‘the bible’ is the Hebrew word for light (אוֹר). It is made up of three letters: aleph, waw and resh. Now Hebrew is a very versatile language with many shades and depths of meaning and nuance. One characteristic of Hebrew, like many other pictoral languages, is its ability to represent abstract conceptual ideas, even in single letters.

    Looked at from this conceptual point of view, the Hebrew word for light encompasses the following ideas: aleph, which is associated with the physical world, represents matter; waw, much like the English word wave, represents energy; and resh represents time itself, again by association with and proximity to other time-related words.

    So here’s a thought for you. How in the name of all that is holy could Moses have known over three thousand years ago that light is made up of particle and wave, of matter and energy? Not only that, but according to this line of thought, light even encompasses time as we know it! I mean we’re seriously into uncharted territory here. So Moses understood quantum mechanics?

    Surely even the most hardened of atheists has to pause for thought here. I didn’t make this up, it’s just an observation of the evidence before me. Enjoy!

  80. Being a logical thinker and one who does not think kindly of bias and prejudice, I find the Bible, and all such ancient texts, fascinating reads. People trying to figure out their place in the world. Trying to understand pain and triumph that seems greater than they themselves can bring about. And trying to make order out of chaos. We are, as a human race, constantly trying to do that in the here and now, either through a government or through a religion, and are constantly trying to “be present” in some way even though we are dead and gone, again through a government or through a religion. Incredibly fascinating.

    I found the following website very interesting:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/archeology-hebrew-bible.html

  81. Schitzree says: February 25, 2014 at 5:55 am

    “Heck, I even respect the beliefs of Atheists and Warmists. I just wish fewer of each would stop demanding that everyone must convert or be punished.”

    Hysterical! Since “convert or be punished” is the whole basis of your Christian religion.

    At least Atheist don’t endorse a system in which they will be in the penthouse suite partying with the master while 90% of humanity is in the basement enduring endless torture prescribed by the host of the their party.

  82. I give up. When they build windmills on your garden, and grind your children up for carrier bags – remember, you lot caused it with your inane religio-babble.

  83. Jenn Oates says:
    February 25, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Evangelical Christian here, and I use the same argument whenever someone gives me grief about evolution. Gravity. Point out to me where the Good Book mentions gravity.

    I’ll wait.

    They didn’t have the concept of gravity. But they did have gravity. How do I know, you ask? Simple … Things fell and when they did so it was in a downward direction. QED. ;-)

    When people try to read too much into the Bible I’m reminded of: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

  84. Zaphod Beeblebrox (Part time Galactic President) says:
    February 25, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Does proper cooking destroy trichinosis bacteria?
    ———————————————————————–
    Please! If you’re arguing science versus biblical veracity, at least know your science. Trichinosis is caused by the larvae of a roundworm, not a bacterium.

  85. Jan Smit says:
    February 25, 2014 at 8:06 am (replying in general to)

    Zaphod & Co., here’s something to mess with your heads.

    One of the first words in the first book of the ancient writings commonly known as ‘the bible’ is the Hebrew word for light (אוֹר). It is made up of three letters: aleph, waw and resh. Now Hebrew is a very versatile language with many shades and depths of meaning and nuance. One characteristic of Hebrew, like many other pictoral languages, is its ability to represent abstract conceptual ideas, even in single letters.

    Looked at from this conceptual point of view, can any one explain how a simple Hebrew “book” of stories and verbal traditions passed from ear to ear for hundreds of generations by a nomadic tribes who used no “numbers” larger than “seven times seventy” got every SEQUENCE of what we now believe is “science” exactly right? Can anyone explain how these ignorant shepherds got each sequence from the Big Bang through astrophysics through planetary development and geology to the concept of continental drift and the atmosphere and biology and and evolution right?

    They spoke about life beginning on earth with plants, and only after the plants were living was the atmosphere clear enough to reveal the stars and moon above so we could navigate and wonder about other worlds to develop science itself. They taught about life itself starting in the oceans long after plants, developing on to land only later. They taught about birds (dinosaurs) coming before mammals, and they correctly spoke about snakes coming last of all other species.

    Jan, you mentioned the letters, but look a bit further into the nuclear physics they described correctly: There was nothing, then everything was created, but with a great disturbance or wind. Only then, after the Creation of everything, did light appear as the energy cooled. Then, after light, matter condensed – and it had to condense because you must have matter to separate the light from the darkness by shadows. (To be technical, notice that “creation” is used only twice – first when everything was made from nothing – just as the Big Bang requires, then a second time to make man’s soul – but we digress from the scientific sequence these shepherds spoke about.)

    Gravity certainly gathered the waters (well interstellar fluids, plasmas, dust, gasses, and particles certainly act like a “water’ doesn’t it?) galacticly (above) and locally (below) into a sphere with a single ocean and a single land.

    Do I believe in the Big Bang and evolution and a spherical planet rotating about a moving star in a far larger galaxy? Sure! The Bible already told us about each one in amazing detail!

  86. Lukewarmerist says:
    February 25, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I give up. When they build windmills on your garden, and grind your children up for carrier bags – remember, you lot caused it with your inane religio-babble.
    ============

    This is a remarkable leap for someone purporting to subscribe only to logic and reason.

  87. The books in the Bible have been edited. Emperor Constantine sponsored a convention where the delegates decided which books would be included in the official Bible. However, I don’t know whether the delegates edited the books for content.

  88. I agree with this article based on the combined intelligence of the Jews, Romans, and other known peoples of that time frame. And before those here start calling the Bible myth there are many instances where the Bible was indeed used for many historical / archaeological discoveries started with looking for locations referenced in the Bible. Even if every single story is not exactly true there’s a lot we can learn about the people and the way they looked at things back then. In this way I feel that it is very valuable as a historical source. (borrowed from other sources two sentences.) Moreover, read the borrowed material before dismissing the Bible.

    Here is a good review of the evidence. http://www.Manavai.Com/articles/art1.Htm

    , the discoveries of archaeology since the mid 1800s have demonstrated the reliability and plausibility of the Bible narrative. Here are some examples.
    The discovery of the Ebla archive in northern Syria in the 1970s has shown the Biblical writings concerning the Patriarchs to be viable. Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. Demonstrate that personal and place names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. The name “Canaan” was in use in Ebla, a name critics once said was not used at that time and was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the Bible. The word “tehom” (“the deep”) in Genesis 1:2 was said to be a late word demonstrating the late writing of the creation story. “Tehom” was part of the vocabulary at Ebla, in use some 800 years before Moses. Ancient customs reflected in the stories of the Patriarchs have also been found in clay tablets from Nuzi and Mari.
    The Hittites were once thought to be a Biblical legend, until their capital and records were discovered at Bogazkoy, Turkey. Many thought the Biblical references to Solomon’s wealth were greatly exaggerated. Recovered records from the past show that wealth in antiquity was concentrated with the king and Solomon’s prosperity was entirely feasible. It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Isaiah 20:1, because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon’s palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. The very event mentioned in Isaiah 20, his capture of Ashdod, was recorded on the palace walls. What is more, fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself.
    Another king who was in doubt was Belshazzar, king of Babylon, named in Daniel 5. The last king of Babylon was Nabonidus according to recorded history. Tablets were found showing that Belshazzar was Nabonidus’ son who served as coregent in Babylon. Thus, Belshazzar could offer to make Daniel “third highest ruler in the kingdom” (Dan. 5:16) for reading the handwriting on the wall, the highest available position. Here we see the “eye-witness” nature of the Biblical record, as is so often brought out by the discoveries of archaeology.

  89. Same question- Does proper cooking destroy the larvae of the roundworm that causes trichinosis?

    If so, would it not have been kinder for the god of Moses to teach the Jews some basic cooking skills rather than to order the slaughter of pig eaters?

    “Look guys, if you’re going to eat dead animals, at least wait for them to stop twitching and cook it right the way through for at least 15 minutes and don’t eat it until the juices run clear”

    Behold the Greeks and Philistines! They cook meat properly and their food doesn’t kill them.

  90. Lukewarmist, why so virulent? Don’t you find human interpretation of epics fascinating? There is so much more to be gleaned from the bible and other ancient texts now that archaeology is uncovering artifacts that sometimes meshes with and sometimes negates ancient narratives. Which begs the question why did ancient peoples feel the need to embellish a small event into such a large one? And what is the human purpose of a myth not based in any notion of scientific fact? That the bible is not scientific observation speaks to an entirely different purpose for its stories. And why the need for memory hooks based loosely on actual geography and time? Probably to remember the stories. And for what purpose do we remember the stories?

    Fascinating

  91. There is an ancient Sumerian Plantisphere which was very carefully done such that modern astronomy can determine the exact date of what was a very large air burst asteroid strike with the debris trail striking the dead sea area. it definitely fits the biblical account of brimstone from the heavens, and only the date is not a match for the events.

  92. Pamela Gray,

    I can’t speak for Lukewarmist, but the reason I have little patience with people rambling on about the Holy Babble is exemplified by the many posts above above that claim things like:

    1.) “(the Bible is ) very valuable as a historical source”
    2.) “The Bible already told us about each one (the Big Bang and evolution) in amazing detail!”
    3.) “… the Bible has repeatedly been validated by archeology”

    Not to mention that in the past, and even more frighteningly in the present, people have used this collection of ancient stories and other various ramblings of neolithic goat herders as a guide for how to live their lives.

    Which is bad enough. But they aren’t content to use it as a guide for their own lives but insist it be used as the basis for the laws and mores of our society.

    So pretending it is just some old book that is dusted off by scholars to see what ancient peoples wrote down about their lives and times, and that people like me and Lukewarmist are over-reacting is kind’a disingenuous, don’t you think?

  93. As the author states, the old testament is “the collective wisdom and historical records of a nomad populace”. That is why it supports slavery, genocide, child sacrifice, animal sacrifice, stoning of women, subjugation of women, etc. Let’s put this bronze age book of myths to the side and focus on science.

    Anthony – Please keep this thread open! It is fascinating.

  94. I can’t claim to have read the whole Bible today, but I searched through the Bible Gateway website using several search terms (RSV) and I can’t find an instance where anyone died specifically due to a natural heat related cause, such as heat stroke, or heat exhaustion, etc.

    There are plenty of references to scorching summer heat and to heat-withered vegetation and so on, but I didn’t find any natural heat-related human casualties. I stand to be corrected.

    If that is indeed the case, and following the logic of Mr Mueller’s post above, should we infer that all cases of natural heat-related deaths recorded recently in the Middle East are the result of global warming?

  95. YEP says, “The Bible also mentions camels, which were not domesticated in the Middle East at the time the events described therein took place.”

    YEP, that’s a pretty severe exaggeration of what is actually known. One research paper, about an archaeological dig in Israel’s Aravah Valley, reported that they tried to find evidence of domestication in ancient camel bones, by examining whether the bones showed signs that the camels had been carrying heavy loads. They found no such bones there which were more than ~3000 years old.

    But that you’ve extrapolated the absence of such evidence in one archaeological investigation to be proof that camels weren’t domesticated anywhere in the Middle East prior to that date. That’s an unjustifiable leap. Considering the paucity of archaeological evidence from more than 3000 years ago, it’s not terribly surprising that we don’t have proof that camels older than that were carrying heavy loads.

  96. @ RACookPE1978 February 25, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Indeed, perhaps it is as you say, but then again maybe not! The thing is, during my own personal intellectual meanderings I have discovered that nothing is ever quite what it seems when it comes to fathoming the ancient Hebrew writings. After all, for centuries many great minds and scholars have broken their heads attempting to reveal the greater depths of either the Torah or the physical world to us, the great unwashed masses.

    You see, I have become very wary of any assertion that tries to formalize ‘truth’, regardless of whether that ‘truth’ is revealed by science or by religion. It’s as if the essence of veracity cannot be captured, for it somehow escapes every time from the confines of our immature cognitive clusters, be they nurtured in a church or in a laboratory. The art I suspect is not to ‘know’ truth primarily in formulaic terms with one’s mind, but to love truth first with one’s heart. That is, to dedicate one’s life to the search for this elusive presence without any guarantee that one will ever find her, though one might slowly perceive her form with greater clarity.

    Occasionally in my lonely sojourn I have caught a fleeting glimpse of her. Just enough to get a tantalizing taste of her sweet promises. Just enough to drive me forward again towards that place that I can neither see nor perceive but that my heart tells me must exist. The more I study Hebrew and carry out word studies, especially on the Genesis account, the more I realize how paltry my knowledge is. I make what at the time feel like great strides forward only to realize upon reflection that I now possess an even wider view of what might be known but what I do not yet comprehend. A process that sometimes looks uncannily like I’m actually going backwards!

    Each addition to my pool of knowledge turns another notch further on the knob that zooms the telescope of my perception ever outwards to reveal so much more that could be known. Or, the more I know, the more I know I don’t know. Anyone who claims otherwise is probably a fool or a charlatan or both. In either case, watch your wallet! So I should be very, very careful with trying to force cosmic-evolutionary theory onto the biblical text…

  97. In days prior to any organized writing, it was imperative to hand down knowledge with accuracy simply to survive. Such as story telling. With that said, we have the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible that Moses wrote. It is Jewish law. for good reason. Also, before the printing press it was imperative that accuracy be written in stone to convey knowledge to be handed down, stones don’t rot. So with that I see no reason to degrade the Bible as mythical when in contrast we spend a great amount of energy deciphering other writings in archeology.

    It is my understanding and have seen that during the Roman occupation of England, many roads and paths etc are named after grapes that were grown to produce wine. The Romans planted the grapes in England during that warm period which is also the period of time that the New Testiment books were penned…in approximation. Therefore, there is not much mention of in the way of blizzards, not that they did not happen, especially at higher elevations. And grapes gladly grew across those areas of England.

    Now back to Christianity. It is the church that paid for the historical writings and compositions of many of the brilliant composers such as Mozart, Bach and Handel. Many other aspects of what we enjoy to day are direct result of Christianity. So be careful where you tread. At Notre Dom Paris is a book in the Sacristy that has been there over the time of Notre Dom. It is a historical record of the events that have taken place day after day, year after year. It is a record of accuracy. It accurately depicts the crowning of Sofia for example. It is not mythical.

    Back to writing. Today, many things that are written by the media are false. So, today many people can’t decipher the difference between truth and non-truth. Prior to today’s modern writing, printing or say falsehoods might find you in the path of a sword…or worse. When looking at ancient writings, assume they are correct from the stand point that it was deadly unhealthy to be wrong. So put things in proper perspective and be glad there is a Bible.

  98. ferdberple says:
    February 25, 2014 at 7:15 am
    a comet impact would explain many of the events 10-15 K yrs ago.
    —————————————————————————————
    What if a comet or meteorite impacted the ice sheet somewhere? Would either one have even left a scar after impacting 1+ miles of ice? Back then most of the populations of humanity lived close to the oceans of the world. Food was always plentiful and temps were more stable than inland scenarios. The Black Sea region would have been a sheltered valley back before the breakup of the ice sheets. It would seem likely that early populations would have settled in the most favorable locations. That particular spot could well be the Garden of Eden from which everyone was driven out, and then dispersed in many directions.

  99. @goldminor 10:42
    Anyone have an answer?
    What evidence would remain of an asteroid, meteorite or such impacting onto 1-3 miles of ice?
    What kind of effects might be noticed by people living 1/2 a world away?

  100. Pass the popcorn, please, Code Monkey Wrench.

    Interesting post, considering that I once had a comment here deep sixed because I compared Warmist science’s equivocation, doublespeak, and jargon to a Tower of Babel. I don’t know if the latter existed or not, nor do I give an aerobatic assignation, but I think the metaphor was apt.

    A fascinating book for anyone whose faith is not wavering is: Misquoting Jesus, by Ehrman, an atheist scholar with a good grounding in “scripture.” Another helpful source for understanding ancient times and writings is Flavius Josephus, the General in charge of the fortress of Jotopata.

    That said, mellyrn’s comment, above, is most relevant to the direction this thread has taken: “Humans are storytelling animals. At least, fully human people are.” Religion represents an aspiration on the part of humans to be more than “fully human:” to achieve “transcendence,” to be more than intelligent animals. The results of this desire are always less than perfect, but are generally uplifting for individuals and society as a whole.

    Although we can point to many, many anecdotes of the failures of religion, they are outweighed in my opinion by the actual good accomplished. Socialism’s death toll of 120,000,000 murders in just one century far surpasses Christianity’s record of intolerance. The basis for the Christian religion is not “convert or be punished,” as ignorantly alleged above; it is simply the teachings of Jesus, whom some call the Christ: love everyone, judge not, render good for evil.

  101. Dear lancifer666:

    For not having time for all this, you certainly have wasted some. And recall it was the “neolithic goat herders” (which seems to be a negative labeling to affect some sort of smear) that saved the Pacific from Japan’s’ Hirohito, and Europe from the German Hitler. And less you forget who cleaned the Moors from Europe. It is Jewish law that is the foundation of civility. Except yours maybe?

    As for goat herders, we enjoy eating goats and drinking their milk and cheese they help produce, as well as chickens, sheep, cattle, fish, ducks, geese, hogs, etc. Are those who care for and produce produce these foods also neolithic goat herder types? How about those Catholic Monks that made fine wine and beers that we so enjoy today? Are they too as to be taken as foul believers which is bad enough. And they weren’t content to use it as a guide for their own lives but insisted it be used as the basis for the laws and mores of their society?

    No response necessary to these ramblings of Babel…would be such a waste of your time.

  102. Sigh, best not to use any Biblical material from before “the return” as there is no archeological evidence for any Israelite presence in Palestine before then. No David or Solomon, nothing seen. The old testament prior to that may just have been an excellent propaganda exercise by the Persians to get the Israelites out of Ur & environs — just persuade them they they always wanted to go where we are shipping them! I’ll change my mind about this when archeologists turn up something clear.

  103. @ lancifer666 February 25, 2014 at 10:04 am
    “…But they aren’t content to use it as a guide for their own lives but insist it be used as the basis for the laws and mores of our society. …”
    ==============================================
    Got some good news for you. It was the basis for the laws and mores of our society – giving rise to the “rule of law” whereby every life was valuable and the lords and ladies were not better than the serfs, just better off, ultimately finding its way into your bill of rights and constitution that provided the foundation for the most successful, highest standard of living of any nation in history.
    But now as more people with an attitude similar to yours erode its influence we see a general departure from an secure standard of right and wrong, replacing it with a more “statistical” morality – “we think this should be the way… oh, and we are richer and more powerful than you worthless lot. Now if we can just get rid of the competition from that annoying middle class. :o)”
    So you can take some comfort in the waning voice of scripture. But I guess my question would be: “what do you use as a basis to govern your conduct?”
    On a dark night would I prefer to run into a bunch of Christians coming out of a Bible study, or a group a young people thoroughly steeped in “survival of the fittest” and… a little short of cash?
    I think “…more frighteningly…” I’d go with those who govern their conduct with the “ramblings of neolithic goat herders”. Just sayin’.

  104. Zaphod Beeblebrox (Part time Galactic President) says:
    February 25, 2014 at 6:57 am
    Saying that, the Greeks, Romans, and everyone else apart from Jews continued to enjoy pork.
    =========
    25% of the world’s population does not eat pork, as per the Koran. These people do not consider themselves to be Jews.

    As I understand it, the anti-pork taboo, had it’s origin way, way back amongst the Bronze Age Jews or even proto-Jews if that is a more accurate description.

    The anti-pork taboo doesn’t appear to have been shared by any other society for thousands of years, even dropped by Christians as soon as it was decent to do so. Indeed the Jews appear to have been pitied for their monotheism and strange beliefs by the more colourful societies which came and went over the centuries.

    Alexander didn’t even bother with Jerusalem, so sad he thought those joyless monotheists

    Yes indeed, Islam the latest of the Abrahamic faiths adopted the anti-pork taboo, whether this was due to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Torah being subsumed into a supposedly original work called the Koran, or whether the Torah seemed like a good start if you’re trying to inspire a new nationalistic faith among Arabic pagans who had increasingly felt left in the deserts passed by, by the tides of history and empires.

    Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, the empires of Alexander and Rome, Persia, the great faiths of Judaism and Christianity had passed Arabia by, and what had Arabia ever given to the World? Nothing except frankincense.

    Until Islam. Even then it couldn’t claim to be original, having to claim that it was a mysterious final revelation to a World that had been expecting a Second Coming of some kind for centuries…

    A rehash of Arabic Judaism and a heretical branch of Christianity for an increasingly nationalistic Arab world.

    Not fake, but not entirely honest either.

  105. Sad that a number here claim to be skeptics, yet apparently completely dismiss the Bible out of hand, rather than consider that it contains historical records, regardless of the intent.

    That a text might not agree with your ideologies does not automatically exclude any of it from being true.

    Sincerely, an atheist.

  106. NZ Willey
    Check out: Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations:

    In my office in Jerusalem, there’s a — there’s an ancient seal. It’s a signet ring of a Jewish official from the time of the Bible. The seal was found right next to the Western Wall, and it dates back 2,700 years, to the time of King Hezekiah. Now, there’s a name of the Jewish official inscribed on the ring in Hebrew. His name was Netanyahu. That’s my last name. My first name, Benjamin, dates back a thousand years earlier to Benjamin — Binyamin —

    See also: Did David, Solomon Exist? Dig Refutes Naysayers

  107. There is one reference to what would seem to be permanent snow in Jeremiah 18:14, thus:
    “Does the snow of Lebanon ever vanish from its rocky slopes?”
    The next line is slightly difficult in the Hebrew but is something like:
    “Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land snatched away?” (being poetry it is parallelism)
    “For my people have forgotten me….”
    Implication being that the snow doesn’t disappear unlike the faith of the people.
    However it might mean the opposite: ie the faith of the people is as quick to vanish as the snow of Lebanon.
    I should get out more!

  108. CodeTech accurately summarizes the article above with “In recent history, cold weather has appeared in the regions described in Biblical texts often enough that it would be safe to assume that cold weather might be happening more often now than in the era described in the Bible.”

    I disagree with that conclusion, however. It would be equally valid to assume that cold weather happened but was so routine that it was not worth mentioning. Historical records by their very nature tend to focus on unusual events. If something is usual, it is simply ignored.

    As others have said, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Even if one assumed perfect accuracy of the Bible as a historical text, the comparatively low frequency of reported cold weather tells you nothing about the actual frequency of such weather.

  109. “History becomes legend, legend becomes myth and what once was is forgotten.”

    Now where have I heard that before?

  110. As a Christian I have read the Bible many times. I agree with the poster there is a lack of mention of the impact of severe cold and snow even sandstorm blizzards. Mt Hermon, a mountain cluster to the north of Israel, is spoken of watering the surrounding mounts and by implication the source of river waters..
    It came as a real surprise to see on TV recently snow blanketing Jerusalem and other parts of the country. If this had been the norm, or even a common, unwelcome, re-occurring event it is surely likely to have been mentioned.

  111. >blockquote>M Courtney says:
    The problem with ascribing absence of evidence as evidence of absence is that it may not be so.
    Perhaps the 10 plagues of Egypt don’t mention extreme cold becasue that even didn’t involve extreme cold? A large volcano could have caused all of the first 9 plagues with just one cause – but it wouldn’t cause cold.
    Of course, death of the first-born is more inexplicable but the book say that that was the most persuasive catastrophe.

    This may be Thera:
    The Minoan eruption of Thera, also referred to as the Thera eruption or Santorini eruption, was a major catastrophic volcanic eruption with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 6 or 7 and a Dense-rock equivalent (DRE) of 60 km3 (14 cu mi),[1][2] which is estimated to have occurred in the mid second millennium BCE.[3] The eruption was one of the largest volcanic events on Earth in recorded history.[4][5][6] The eruption devastated the island of Thera (also called Santorini), including the Minoan settlement at Akrotiri, as well as communities and agricultural areas on nearby islands and on the coast of Crete.
    There are no clear ancient records of the eruption; the eruption seems to have inspired certain Greek myths,[7] may have caused turmoil in Egypt,[8][9] and may be alluded to in a Chinese chronicle. Additionally, it has been speculated that the Minoan eruption and the destruction of the city at Akrotiri provided the basis for or otherwise inspired Plato’s story of Atlantis.[10][11]

    Death of the firstborn is when an underwater eruption of carbon monoxide mixes with the cold water and makes a cold, ground hugging monoxide fog. Such things have been known to wipe out whole villages. In ancient Egypt, the family slept on the roof, except for the first born son, who slept in a special low crib on the ground floor…

  112. Zaphod Beeblebrox (Part time Galactic President)
    It appears you are completely devoid of knowledge of Arabic and Muslim scholars across the board one can only recommend that you educate yourself.

  113. Zaphod Beeblebrox (Part time Galactic President) says:
    February 25, 2014 at 7:24 am
    “Does Santorini explain how a wooden ship the size of an aircraft carrier is claimed to have ended up run aground 12,000 feet up Mt Ararat?”

    No, for the very good reason that so far as we can determine the story of Noah and the ark refers to events that occurred roundabouts 5500 BC, while Santorini exploded about 1500 BC. The reference to 12 000 ft up Mt Ararat is a modern myth based on someone’s misinterpretation of the text. “On the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark grounded on a mountain in Ararat.” (Genesis 8:4 – New English Bible translation).

    “ferdberple” February 25, 2014 at 6:47 am has got it right – the story of Noah is the story of the breaching of the Bosphorus, and the filling of the Black Sea.

    The Egyptian architecture that has come down to us is one of massive stone buildings, plus mud brick dwellings and tombs. In a land without too much rain, it is not surprising that the stone buildings have largely survived (though chopped up a bit by later builders who waned to reuse the stones) and some of the mud brick dwellings and tombs have survived. In Palestine, SFAIK, the Davidic and Solomonic architecture was very largely wooden – some stone survivals are there, such as town walls and gates – but most wooden buildings would have been destroyed by fire or decay. Not surprising that there are plenty of ‘archaeological’ remains in Egypt for people to ponder over, while very little remains in Palestine.

    The first 9 plagues are allegedly heightened accounts of what happens in Egypt in the summer months (or so some commentators have alleged) but the 10th appears to have confounded them, hence the references in previous comments to the 9 plagues. However the story of the 10th plague is understandable when one notes that the word for “first-born” is very similar to that for “chosen” (my references not readily to hand) and if one substitutes “chosen” the 10th plague becomes easily explicable. A major earthquake toppled the stone buildings and killed the ‘chosen’ people – the top levels, so to speak – of Egyptian society. The Egyptian records of the plagues refer to the events in terms which are more explicit. Stone buildings collapsed and killed the top brass, Egyptian society was then leaderless. The Israelites lived in mud huts or straw huts – slaves aren’t entitled to better – and many were killed, but the likelihood of surviving was better, and then was the ideal time to escape. An earthquake is of course quite reasonable as the cause of the tsunami – as is popularly supposed – relating to the parting of the waters of the Reed Sea. And the Israelites were not the Hyksos – the latter were recorded in the Bible as the “Amalekites”, who entered Egypt after the Israelites left..

    Bible – a collection of books, part myth, part legend, part history, written down probably about the time of the Babylonian captivity from zealously preserved oral history – it would not be surprising that there were some stories that had collected errors in transmission, but not to be thrown out as worthless.

  114. I don’t agree with those who are dismissive of Mr. Mueller’s whole approach. I might pick holes in some of his assertions but the idea is still valid. I’m an atheist (for those who might think my religious beliefs might colour my assessment). Religious texts and, for example, carvings on the walls of religious remains can provide valuable information about many things including climate. The longest instrumental record we have dates back thousands of years and was maintained by temple priests.

    The oldest year-by-year record that has come down to us is the flood levels of the River Nile in lower Egypt, a variable which depends mostly on the summer monsoon rains over Ethiopia. Yearly gauge readings at Cairo are available from the time of Mahomet, and some records inscribed on stone go back to the first dynasty of the pharaohs around 3100 BC.
    [...]
    The drying of the desert region from between about 3500 and 2800 BC onwards, which these considerations imply, and the concurrent decline in the
    recorded levels of the yearly Nile floods fed by the rains over Ethiopia, noted in the last chapter, seem to have been related to a climatic development of hemispheric, and probably global, extent.
    Climate History And The Modern World
    Hubert Lamb

    The occurrence of flora and fauna in religious texts or art can also yield more clues, especially if it clashes with the known ecology of the same regions today.

    The earliest drawings of the fauna left by the hunters, who evidently operated in the Sahara, go back at least to 5000 or 6000 BC (corrected radiocarbon dates). Elephants, rhinoceroses, buffalo, hippopotami, crocodiles, antelopes, giraffes and fallow deer are all pictured. Examples of these species, which are today unknown in the region, are depicted even in the central Sahara.
    The paintings came later and continue up to the time of the early dynastic period in Egypt.

    We might not have discovered that solar variability was creating “wiggles” in the amount of radiocarbon in the atmosphere, if historians had not pointed out that the then new-fangled carbon dating was making some Pharaohs younger than their grandsons.

    The fact that ancient peoples might ascribe some extreme weather event or series of them to a deity, or even as a manifestation of his wrath, doesn’t diminish the utility of such records. The same rules apply. Can corroborating evidence be found? Can it be dated? And so on.

  115. Jan Smit says:
    February 25, 2014 at 10:34 am
    ——–
    highflight56433 says:
    February 25, 2014 at 10:38 am
    ————————————————————————
    @ Jan Smit…very nice, I see that we share similar views.

    @ highflight…another great comment. It is good to remember that the Romans took over the banner of Christianity, and with that they imprinted some of their ways of handling affairs. Did the original Christians preach by the sword? Was that the teaching from Christ? We know the answer to my last question.

  116. Thought I’d toss in some Dickens for no particular scientific reason. I just remember being “stared at” by many a country road in my foolish hitch-hiking youth.

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/963/963-h/963-h.htm#link2HCH0001

    Thirty years ago, Marseilles lay burning in the sun, one day.

    A blazing sun upon a fierce August day was no greater rarity in southern France then, than at any other time, before or since. Everything in Marseilles, and about Marseilles, had stared at the fervid sky, and been stared at in return, until a staring habit had become universal there. Strangers were stared out of countenance by staring white houses, staring white walls, staring white streets, staring tracts of arid road, staring hills from which verdure was burnt away. The only things to be seen not fixedly staring and glaring were the vines drooping under their load of grapes. These did occasionally wink a little, as the hot air barely moved their faint leaves.

    There was no wind to make a ripple on the foul water within the harbour, or on the beautiful sea without. The line of demarcation between the two colours, black and blue, showed the point which the pure sea would not pass; but it lay as quiet as the abominable pool, with which it never mixed. Boats without awnings were too hot to touch; ships blistered at their moorings; the stones of the quays had not cooled, night or day, for months. Hindoos, Russians, Chinese, Spaniards, Portuguese, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Genoese, Neapolitans, Venetians, Greeks, Turks, descendants from all the builders of Babel, come to trade at Marseilles, sought the shade alike—taking refuge in any hiding-place from a sea too intensely blue to be looked at, and a sky of purple, set with one great flaming jewel of fire.

    The universal stare made the eyes ache. Towards the distant line of Italian coast, indeed, it was a little relieved by light clouds of mist, slowly rising from the evaporation of the sea, but it softened nowhere else. Far away the staring roads, deep in dust, stared from the hill-side, stared from the hollow, stared from the interminable plain. Far away the dusty vines overhanging wayside cottages, and the monotonous wayside avenues of parched trees without shade, drooped beneath the stare of earth and sky. So did the horses with drowsy bells, in long files of carts, creeping slowly towards the interior; so did their recumbent drivers, when they were awake, which rarely happened; so did the exhausted labourers in the fields. Everything that lived or grew, was oppressed by the glare; except the lizard, passing swiftly over rough stone walls, and the cicala, chirping his dry hot chirp, like a rattle. The very dust was scorched brown, and something quivered in the atmosphere as if the air itself were panting.

    Blinds, shutters, curtains, awnings, were all closed and drawn to keep out the stare. Grant it but a chink or keyhole, and it shot in like a white-hot arrow. The churches were the freest from it. To come out of the twilight of pillars and arches—dreamily dotted with winking lamps, dreamily peopled with ugly old shadows piously dozing, spitting, and begging—was to plunge into a fiery river, and swim for life to the nearest strip of shade. So, with people lounging and lying wherever shade was, with but little hum of tongues or barking of dogs, with occasional jangling of discordant church bells and rattling of vicious drums, Marseilles, a fact to be strongly smelt and tasted, lay broiling in the sun one day.

  117. “The old Jews had a basic but efficient set of laws called the Ten Commandments”

    Actually, there are 613 Commandments.

    “In Talmudic times, the rabbis consciously made a decision to exclude daily recitation of the Aseret ha-Dibrot from the liturgy because excessive emphasis on these statements might lead people to mistakenly believe that these were the only mitzvot or the most important mitzvot, and neglect the full 613 (Talmud Berakhot 12a). By posting these words prominently and referring to them as “The Ten Commandments,” (as if there weren’t any others, which is what many people think) schools and public buildings may be teaching a message that Judaism specifically and consciously rejected.”

    http://www.jewfaq.org/10.htm

    As another comment pointed out:
    Jeremiah 18:14
    Does the snow of Lebanon ever vanish from its rocky slopes?

    Assuming Wikipedia is accurate: (LOL)
    In the Lebanon Mountains the gradual increase in altitude produces colder winters with more precipitation and snow. The summers have a wider daily range of temperatures and less humidity. In the winter, frosts are frequent and snows heavy; in fact, snow covers the highest peaks for much of the year.

    Taking the origin into account: (Jeremiah’s ministry ~ 626 – 587 BC).
    ”It is likely that the various sections of Jeremiah were put together in the form of a “book” soon after the catastrophe of 587 b.c. “

    http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/asbury-bible-commentary/Structure-Authorship-Date-904

    Assuming the question is meant to be rhetorical with the answer being “no” then we would have to conclude that modern temperatures are slightly warmer than what the ancients were experiencing circa 600 BC since the snow covers apparently do not cover the highest peaks for the entire year and therefore do vanish.

    Assuming the question is meant to be rhetorical with the answer being “yes” then we would have to conclude that modern temperatures are about the same as what the ancients were experiencing circa 600 BC.

  118. Jenn Oates says:

    Evangelical Christian here, and I use the same argument whenever someone gives me grief about evolution. Gravity. Point out to me where the Good Book mentions gravity.

    Eh, the fall of man?

    Does anyone else find it amusing that it was an apple from the Tree of Knowledge that was the cause of the fall. And it was the fall of an apple that inspired Newton about gravity. Incidentally, the force exerted by the weight (mass) of an average apple is about one Newton.

    OK the Bible didn’t specifically say “apple”. That is just a Eurocentric thing (and a bit of Latin mal/malum wordplay). And the Newton story is apocryphal, just like George Washington and his cherry tree, about which he could not lie.

    You can go on pilgrimage to Newton’s apple tree (at Grantham), just as you can to Buddha’s Bodhi (fig) tree.

    Science also has its mythologies just like religion and popular history.

    In a similar spooky connection vein. It was a dove, released from Noah’s ark, that found dry land and it was a man called “dove” that “discovered” America.
    Columbus (Latin: columba “a dove”).

    P.S. Lighten up folks. This is a science blog.

  119. Dave N says:
    February 25, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Sad that a number here claim to be skeptics, yet apparently completely dismiss the Bible out of hand, rather than consider that it contains historical records, regardless of the intent.

    That a text might not agree with your ideologies does not automatically exclude any of it from being true.

    Sincerely, an atheist.
    ———————————-
    Seeds of understanding can come from many different sources. Consider Eric von Daniken and his many books in which he is able to ‘find’ the footprint of aliens everywhere he goes in his travels, painted on cliff walls, under rocks, over rocks, hiding in the oceans, in trees, out in the open, everywhere and anywhere. So he gets a bit carried away with his thoughts. Yet at the same time he has brought hundreds of millions of readers to places around the world that most might not ever hear about. And in many of those places there is indeed a bit of mystery hidden there. The influence of all of his prolific imagination has probably sparked the imagination of some to go on reading from other sources. Perhaps, even to develop further interests serious enough to where they turned to archeology and real science to learn more. I remember where he talked about roads on the western coast of South America that go into the ocean. Now that I have expanded my understanding to know about how much the ocean levels changed due to the influence of glaciations/ice ages, it makes perfect sense as to why those roads lead into the ocean. Of course on the other hand Daniken also created a hundred million folk +/- who avidly believe in aliens, but that is how life can be. At the least, he made many people aware of parts of this world that they otherwise may never have heard about. His writings sparked my imagination at times with the places that he took me to without the need to develop a belief in aliens. On the other hand, this global warming debate now has me wondering about a few of the hard core warmingbelievers. Could they be the real aliens? Has this been a long term strategy before the takeover becomes apparent, hidden under the perfect guise?

  120. Flavius Josephus, History of the Jews, Book XIII: (in the link page 308):
    In the mean time the garrison at Hierosolyma sent word to Tryphon, begging him to come immediately to their assistance, and send them provisions. Tryphon prepared a body of horse for the journey, as if he had intended that very night to go to Hierosolyma. But a deep snow falling in the night time, blocked up the roads and made it impossible for the horses to travel, so that his design was prevented. Tryphon finiding this, moved from thence and marched into Caelo Syria, and having made a sudden inroad to Galaaditis, where he put Jonathan to death, and having ordered him to be interred, he returned back to Antioch.

    http://books.google.nl/books?id=WtFCAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA308&lpg=PA308&dq=Tryphon+Galaaditis+snow&source=bl&ots=2rf4hExXvH&sig=XuLqMuu2CzXBE7hnVocMFE7uwbg&hl=nl&sa=X&ei=kR0NU5zOKKSM0AXT34CQDg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Tryphon%20Galaaditis%20snow&f=false

  121. Screw the Bible.

    SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 – Dec. 21)
    Saturn may be moving through the area of your chart that brings doubts by the bucket load, but that does not mean you can’t have fun. On the contrary, Mars in Libra until late July will make it easy for you to hit the town with friends and you’ll be even more outrageous than you usually are. Sooner or later though, most likely when Mars and Saturn join forces toward the end of August, you will have to confront your fears and then blast your way past them. Looking back, you will wonder why you worried so much about things of so little consequence. Life’s funny like that.

    So, more snow then?

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/holiday-guide/holiday-survival-guide/your-new-years-horoscope-whats-in-the-stars-for-2014/article16128894/

  122. rules determining how to prepare kosher food certainly had the beneficial additional effect of preventing the spread of diseases such as trichinosis…
    All available evidence indicates that trichinosis was unknown in the ancient Near East. Apparently pig meat was considered bad because the animals were scavengers rather than grazers.

  123. Fascinating subject. It would be a supreme act of silliness for modern humans to dismiss earlier humans and their vast achievements across the board. We stand on their shoulders – they don’t stand on ours. Our science today will be considered rudimentary, as some do now with earlier man, in two thousand years. I see the dismissal words here from atheists when referencing the Bible and it embarrasses me. Yet there are the same folks who seem to talk tree rings and other methods used with little to no context other than what those who do choose to highlight. Here the Bible is a reference to living people in a living environment with daily weather patterns little different then ourselves. Few if any of us record our daily weather, what we call “extreme” other than talking heads use on television. Yet careful reading from 2000 year old farming, and so on allows us to gleam climate knowledge, Nile flow rate knowledge, and so on. Remarkable. Foods they ate. During the same period Roman records and combat reports across vast stretches of the known world at that time. Shipping and so on. Dismissing of any ancient knowledge, whatever the source, is highly recommended. And yes if there were ancient periods of bitter snows or ice during that time frame that would have been recorded – Hannibal did. As did many other ancient sources. You get a good idea of how entire areas lived, ate, flourished, and why.

  124. jorgekafkazar,

    “The basis for the Christian religion is not ‘convert or be punished’, as ignorantly alleged above; it is simply the teachings of Jesus, whom some call the Christ: love everyone, judge not, render good for evil.”

    Oh for Christ’s sake. Here’s the condensed version.

    1 God makes Man.
    2 Man pisses God off.
    3 God tosses Man from Garden.
    4 God kills a bunch of people.
    5 God has Man kill a bunch of people.
    6 God sends Son to die on stick for Man’s “sins”.
    7 If you repent and accept number 6 you go to heaven with God/Jesus/Holy Spirit
    8 If you don’t accept no 6 “loving” God burns you for eternity.

    Jesus mentions hell 46 times in new testament.

    So, again tell me how my synopsis “convert or be punished” isn’t a pretty good back of the envelope run down of your Christianity.

  125. Lancifer666
    You have your two Books mixed up. BTW – what God or Jesus did was not the thrust of this article, the written words of man, where they lived, the periods they lived in what environments their words mentioned, certainly NOT the religious context.

  126. highflight56433,

    “For not having time for all this, you certainly have wasted some.”

    I said I “didn’t have patience” for silly claims, like the bible describing evolution and the Big Bang “in amazing detail”.

    Not to mention your false claim that Christianity “saved” Europe from Hitler, especially since he was a Christian and his close ally, Italy, was helping him with the full blessing of Pope Pius XI and the Roman Catholic Church.

  127. Lancifer666 says:
    February 25, 2014 at 3:48 pm
    ——————————————
    You are the one bringing up the religious context. The main point of the thread is is supposed to be about what potential understandings of ancient climate can be derived from the Bible.

    To your point though, it was the Romans who added that twist into the story. Although, it would be likely that given the nature of the average person of that day, once they took to heart the teachings then those teachings become susceptible to manipulation. That is an age old process which has relevance to today,s global warming believers. Look at how the acolytes of global warming will embellish the story due to their almost complete ignorance of the reality of climate change, which is a complex story. Look at how willing some of these acolytes to show utter disrespect towards others for holding a different understanding. Some of them could probably bring themselves to kill others over their intense belief, and fully consider themselves right in doing so as they would be saving the future world in their mind.

  128. God asked job if he know of the treasure of snow and hail he had save for the end time.That end time is now ?

  129. Ian M,

    “Got some good news for you. It [the Bible]was the basis for the laws and mores of our society.”

    Bull, here’s James Madison on the subject.

    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”

    “Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects.”

    Here’s James Adams,

    “As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?”

    And finally Thomas Jefferson,

    “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved– the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”

    And perhaps most apropos, also T.J.,

    “The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand, and fly into your face and eyes.”

    You, my friend are one of the hornets. What a shame the “sting” of your logic is so minor and ineffectual.

  130. goldminer,

    “You are the one bringing up the religious context.”

    No, look again. My comments were direct replies to the idiotic claims of Christian commenters.

    “Look at how the acolytes of global warming will embellish the story due to their almost complete ignorance of the reality of climate change, which is a complex story. Look at how willing some of these acolytes to show utter disrespect towards others for holding a different understanding. Some of them could probably bring themselves to kill others over their intense belief, and fully consider themselves right in doing so as they would be saving the future world in their mind.”

    We, at least, agree on that much.

  131. james says:
    February 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    God asked job if he know of the treasure of snow and hail he had save for the end time.That end time is now ?

    Now, now. let us be precise: We were only explicitly promised that the world would not be destroyed (again) by “water.”

    That does leave fire, freezing, feast, and famine on the “active” list. Meteor, comet or asteroid impact, ice and extreme cold before or after such an impact, excess body fat and illnesses, or lack of food entirely because of such an impact could still happen!

  132. Lancifer666 says:
    February 25, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    So, again tell me how my synopsis “convert or be punished” isn’t a pretty good back of the envelope run down of your Christianity.

    You are implying that punishment is immediate and coming from those demanding conversion.
    In that, you are confusing Christianity with Islam.

    Christianity (like Judaism) has concept of “Free will” – you are free to do anything you like and face consequences at the end.
    In Christianity you will get punished, but in afterlife.
    And Judaism doesn’t demand any conversion at all, in fact just the opposite – it is quite hard to convert to Judaism.

  133. the bloodshed of christainty has nothing to dow with the teaching of chjrist and everything to do with the love of power wich is a sin

  134. Udar,

    “You are implying that punishment is immediate and coming from those demanding conversion.
    In that, you are confusing Christianity with Islam.”

    No, you are claiming that I implied that.

    “Convert or be punished” were not even my words. I quoted them from Schitzree. Who claimed, bizarrely, that Atheists (and warmists) made that demand.

    I just pointed out the irony of a Christian, whose religion is based on converting to Jesus worship at the threat of eternal damnation.

    Punishment doesn’t get any worse that eternal hellfire.

  135. wws –
    Banning that meat from consumption is a way of saying “don’t be one of them, be one of us!!!”

    Correct.

    For Ferd & Zaphod…

    quote:
    ===============
    “Many Jewish adults still believe that pork was banned as a public health measure, to prevent trichinosis. But as [Marvin] Harris points out, if that were true the law would have been a simple advisory against undercooking pork: “Flesh of swine thou shalt not eat until the pink has been cooked from it.

    Harris observes that food taboos often make ecological and economic sense. The Hebrews and the Muslims were desert tribes, and pigs are animals of the forest. They compete with people for water and nutritious foods like nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Kosher animals, in contrast, are ruminants like sheep, cattle, and goats, which can live off scraggly desert plants. In India, cattle are too precious to slaughter because they are used for milk, manure, and pulling plows. Harris’ theory is as ingenious as the rabbis’ and far more plausible, though he admits that it can’t explain everything. Ancient tribes wandering the parched Judaean sands were hardly in danger of squandering their resources by herding shrimp and oysters, and it is unclear why the inhabitants of a Polish shetl or a Brooklyn neighborhood should obsess over the feeding habits of desert ruminants.

    Food taboos are obviously an ethnic marker, but by itself that observation explains nothing. Why do people wear ethnic badges to begin with, let alone a costly one like banning a source of nutrients? The social sciences assume without question that people submerge their interests to the group, but on evolutionary grounds that is unlikely. I take a more cynical view.

    In any group, the younger and poorer, and disenfranchised members may be tempted to defect to other groups. The powerful, especially parents, have an interest in keeping them in. People everywhere from alliances by eating together, from potlatches and feasts to business lunches and dates. If I can’t eat with you, I can’t become your friend. Food taboos often prohibit a favourite food of a nearby tribe; that is true, for example, of many of the Jewish dietary laws. That suggests that they are weapons to keep potential defectors in. First, they make the merest prelude to cooperation with outsiders—breaking bread together—an unmistakable act of defiance. Even better, they exploit the psychology of disgust. Taboo foods are absent during the sensitive period for learning food preferences, and that is enough to make children grow up to find them disgusting. That deters them from becoming intimate with the enemy (“He invited me over, but what will I do if they serve…EEEEUUUW!”). Indeed, the tactic is self-perpetuating because children grow up into parents who don’t feed the disgusting things to their children. The practical effects of food taboos have often been noticed. A familiar theme in novels about the immigrant experience is the protagonist’s torment over sampling taboo foods. Crossing the line offers a modicum of integration into the new world but provokes open conflict with parents and community. (In Portnoy’s Complaint, Alex describes his mother as pronouncing hamburger as if it were H*tler.) But since the elders have no desire for the community to see the taboos in this light, they cloak them in talmudic sophistry and bafflegab.
    –Steven Pinker, How The Mind Works, p.p. 383-385.

    The best book on human nature I or anyone else will ever read. Truly magnificent” – Matt Ridley

  136. @ John Robertson. I don’t think we know what the effect of a large impact on ice would be but I think that we would see some evidence in the geological strata in areas where the ice wasn’t. AFAIK there isn’t such a layer. Remember that to hit one of the major ice sheets the fall would have to have been at least 15,000 years ago and it would then be unlikely to be recorded or remembered properly.

    For that main reason I believe we need to look closer to our own time.

    @Dudley Horscroft February 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm. It is unlikely that the Biblical flood has anything to do with the Black Sea for two reasons. Firstly the Biblical account is neither original nor unique. Secondly the Black Sea does not match the description given in the original texts.

    The Biblical account is a direct lift from the “Epic of Gilgamesh” and should be treated as such. A lot of time has been put into working out where “the” flood occurred but this is based on the idea that the Biblical flood is the only really big one and all other flood stories are simply exaggerations of local legends. IOW, only the Biblical account is accurate. This is a baseless and frankly egocentric position to take. AFAIK all cultures bar one have a flood myth and they all say pretty much the same thing. The seas rose up and swallowed the land.

    On the second point, the description of the flood simply doesn’t match a Black Sea flooding. Note these excerpts from the original;
    “Just as dawn began to glow
    there arose from the horizon a black cloud.
    Adad rumbled inside of it,
    before him went Shullat and Hanish,
    heralds going over mountain and land.”

    A dark cloud with loud noises inside and preceded by two large and very bright lights in the sky.

    The Anunnaki lifted up the torches,
    setting the land ablaze with their flare.
    Stunned shock over Adad’s deeds overtook the heavens,
    and turned to blackness all that had been light.
    The… land shattered like a… pot.
    All day long the South Wind blew …,
    blowing fast, submerging the mountain in water,
    overwhelming the people like an attack.

    A really, really bright light in the sky (or multiple lights) followed by earthquakes. The wind driving the water to flood came from the South. That means the water and wind came from the Persian Gulf and beyond it, the Indian Ocean.

    You can only connect the Biblical flood to the Black Sea by treating this particular flood story as somehow special, original and different from all the others (and by ignoring most of the descriptions given in the original). It is none of these things. Looking at the flood stories as a whole, the evidence suggests a double comet impact around 2800 BC. One each in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

    For those who haven’t read it the flood story is Tablet XI;

    http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/

  137. I find it appalling, but not surprising, that so many commenters want to treat any mention of the Bible in the same way Oreskes and Goldenburg want to treat any mention of global warming skepticism. Some people have almost an allergic reaction to a Bible reference, as if one of our longest and most ancient written histories has no value at all. The writings of Homer contain many myths but also much insight into the life and culture of ancient Greeks. Should we throw the baby out with the bathwater and ban all discussion of the writings of Homer because many elements are mythical? Why treat the Bible any differently even if you believe much of it is mythical?

    Much of early science has been falsified over the years. That doesn’t mean we haven’t learned anything from the efforts of early scientists or that we should ban all mention of them. Later science benefited from and built upon the work of early science. Even when the science turned out to be wrong, we learned from the mistakes. The science of yesterday is much different from the science of today. That doesn’t mean today’s science finally has it all correct or that religious beliefs that differ from today’s science must necessarily be wrong. The last word has yet to be spoken. Science will continue to change because there is an awful lot more out there to discover. It is also a given that some things scientists take as facts today (like catastrophic man-made global warming) will be falsified tomorrow. So I can only conclude that it’s a good thing that religion has some differences with science. if it were in perfect agreement with the science of today, it would surely be out of line with the science of tomorrow.

  138. If so, would it not have been kinder for the god of Moses to teach the Jews some basic cooking skills rather than to order the slaughter of pig eaters?
    Zaphod Beeblebrox (Part time Galactic President) says:
    February 25, 2014 at 9:13 am
    Swine were probably carriers of salmonella and e. coli, not to mention roundworms, ringworm mange and erysipelas.
    They also are a potential source of influenza.
    Perhaps, without knowing all this, the Jewish people associated many diseases with pigs that were not associated with cattle and sheep.
    The sheep of those days looked like goats anyway.
    They were wise not to rely on cooking to control the diseases carried by swine.
    Their observations showed them that.
    We are blinded to this now as many pig diseases are controlled in Specific Pathogen Free [SPF]
    piggeries and modern intensive management.
    Not so for nomads.

  139. On the subject of a world-wide flood, I learned something interesting about the enormous amount of water our planet contains from some research out of the University of Liverpool last month. It’s titled “Is there an ocean beneath our feet?” They concluded that the Earth’s mantle contains many more times the amount of water in our oceans. Here’s a paragraph from the article I read in Science Daily:

    Seismologists at Liverpool have estimated that over the age of Earth, the Japan subduction zone alone could transport the equivalent of up to three and a half times the water of all Earth’s oceans to its mantle. … “This supports the theory that there are large amounts of water stored deep in the Earth.”

  140. “Surely on Jesus’s birthday there would have been mention of snow if the wise men had to travel through it or if it had been bitterly cold on that day.”

    What, you think that Jesus was born on December 25?

    The shepherds were tending their flocks in the fields (“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night”), which points to spring or summer or fall, rather than winter. However, late December was already a pagan celebration (Saturnalia, I believe) and it was easier to get the people (peasants) to convert if they could sort of keep their holidays. Pretty much all scholars I’ve read put the time of Jesus’ birth anywhere but winter (I believe spring is mentioned.most, but I’ve hardly read widely on the subject).

    Besides, as a commenter mentioned above, the Wise Men showed up about 2 years after Jesus’ birth, so unless they came in the winter, there’d be no reason for them to travel through snow.

  141. Interesting to see the hesitance of quoting historical documents here. Perhaps the MOST interesting case of using “history” and past tense evidence for a science is of course that of evolution.

    The “big” lie in evolution of course is how the science is being presented as fact or as a reproduciable science. There are simply no reproducible experiments at all that EVER show nature producing new genetic code that results in new features.

    I of course accept the obvious natural selection. When buildings in England turned gray due to using coal then white months were decimated by birds as they stood out against the gray buildings and thus gray moths flourished. However if you paint the buildings purple you do NOT get purple moths since no such genetic code for purple moths exists. Nature can no more create new colors in months and create new features and designs then a computer can program its self with new code.

    So perhaps one of the MOST mainstream teachings we have today is evolution and it NOT based on traditional science that has reproducible experiments. So no repeatable experiments exist that that upholds the theory.

    Result? The theory is based in HISTORICAL references and past tense events. In other words it is DISHONEST to sell me evolution as a science when it belongs in a speculative history class.

    So if we willing to teach a history based concept of evolution, we should be willing to use historical documents to make statements about past climate.

    So I have no issues or qualms in those wanting to quote past tense history documents since that are ALL ONE can do in regards to evolution. If everyone is comfortable using past tense history evidence for evolution then why any problem doing the same with the bible?

    Now I certainly agree quoting the bible does introduce the possibility of creating fodder for our opponents. This is a problem.

    However confidence levels and intelligence here is above average and thus we can and should be able to see the merits of using past history evidence.

    If we are not able to quote past history here than one has to give up evolution which is based on past history.

    It would seem to be an AMAZING bout of hypocrisy that those SAME people who accept evolution by an act of faith without experiential data are the VERY same people complaining that we using history evidence to debunk the global warming mobs by finding past historical evidence of warm periods.

  142. All it takes to bring out the crazies is the mention of any even slightly religious subject.

    Ok by me though. I studied almost nothing but science and religion in university — the same subject as far as I was concerned — the accumulated knowledge of mankind.

  143. lancifer666 says: February 25, 2014 at 4:25 pm
    This illustrates a very important point: the difference between christianity and religion. Personally I hate religon, specifically churchianity since it presents all its corporate (eclesiastical) nonsense claiming to be ‘Christianity’ and throws off otherwise clever people: the quotes you offered by men who had not even a slender grasp on actual christianity and more recently the Dennets of the world.
    They clearly saw the evils and excesses of religious edifices and were determined to prevent its imposition in the new world, but had no clue as to what actual christianity is about which is why they were deists and not christain in the strict sense.
    Jesus said ‘let the dead bury their dead’. The bible, at its bottom line, is about two things: life or death. To updae your back of the envelope idea:
    God made man
    Man’s firmware was corrupted with the help of a hostile outside agency – your nom de plue is a clue there.
    God strove to inject his patch the “lawful” way
    His patch became flesh and anyone who accepted it could be transposed from death to life, because that patch was able to pay the real bill that we all owe but can’t pay.
    So this God they love to slam became us, took our place, died for us – died as us, because the rules cannot be circumvented. He did it for his kids.
    Christianity is a family, not a religion. You get into it the way you got into yours, you get born into it. The new birth, born again, whatever… is your firmware getting reset as you become a member of that family.
    you can live this life any way you want but when the rythmic breathing comes to an stop the next phase is an “endian” problem: if you are “dead” with corrupt firmware you won’t run on God’s OS and there’s nothing He can do about since. He doesn’t break the rules.
    It’s not about hornet stings, is about “God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son” all that other stuff – the killing, the bloodshed, the bullying etc. is the dead doing what they do best and has frack all to do with actual christianity..
    Oh, and it was snowy in Lebanon back then. Burrrr :o)

  144. The Bible might explain why the CAGW supporters are afraid of catastrophic global warming. After all, cold must be good since a blizzard wasn’t among the plagues that were called down on Egypt. /sarc

  145. @John B 5:25
    Thanks, at the danger of thread divergence, its just one of those thoughts that haunts me,had no connection to biblical times.
    The geologists tell me there was nearly 3 miles of ice here in the NWT, Canada.
    I am all too familiar with how tough ice is.
    Few materials react to impact the way ice does.
    Of course after that ice melted, flooded the area and then drained into the arctic, what little evidence of impacts would be hard to find.

  146. @Kip Hansen 6:39
    Yep, almost like a mental block.
    The post was, what could this human record/oral history tell us about climate/weather.
    Now its over to critiquing the machinations of religion.

    Thread jacking does not have to be overt.
    I am beginning to see a trend, the same pseudonyms, who partake in flaming other commenters, engaging in ever more derisive games.

  147. Some here dismiss ancient texts because of modern-day prejudices. To me it makes little sense to do that. The interesting archaeological back story, the stuff between the lines, and the backdrop of who or what the people of these ancient texts were that drove their desire to make sense of events and to put them to memory and papyrus brings endless roads to explore. However, that door is shut if you are blinded by some kind of current prejudice.

    However, I am willing to admit that one can live their life content without such explorations. So on the one hand, maybe it’s like Mountain Climbing. I have no desire to do that no matter how much someone extols its virtues and tells me I will be better for having done it. But on the other hand, I don’t hate mountains either.

    So my dear 666, a little less angst might allow you to view ancient texts as a potential source of pleasant endeavor in much the same way I might be cajoled into climbing a mountain. As long as food, wine, and good company are available, I might be convinced to give it a go.

  148. Gunga Din says:
    Ian M. says:
    February 25, 2014 at 6:53 pm
    =====================
    Thanks Gunga Din. Checked the link and ‘for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” or the fingers typeth.
    I’m suspecting a lot of the same sources… :o)

  149. The bible is not a history book or an “oral history.” Those histories portrayed in scripture are not accurate:

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/science/long.html

    Pamela Gray.
    However, I am willing to admit that one can live their life content without such explorations“.
    Not me. I can do without all the horrible stuff – this kind of thing:

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/1sam/18.html#27

    (warning – not for kids)

    But I just adore the story of Adam and Eve.
    Most people familiar with the story somehow miss the fact that the old man (Jehovah Elohim, or, Lord of the Pantheon) actually lied to Adam and Eve, promising them instant death if they consumed fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.
    The serpent, on the other hand, warned that Jehovah was trying to deceive them, and that if they ate the fruit, then their eyes would be opened and they would become like the gods (elohim, pantheon, plural), and they would be able to distinguish between good and evil.
    When they did taste the fruit of knowlege, everything the subtle serpent said … came true!!
    I really dig that ancient snake story.

    You can check the accuracy of my interpretation with an online Blue Letter Concordance Bible.

  150. And there are two versions of when and how Adam and Eve were created. One is likely a narrative, the other a ceremonial song or chant.

  151. JohnB says:
    February 25, 2014 at 5:25 pm
    Remember that to hit one of the major ice sheets the fall would have to have been at least 15,000 years ago and it would then be unlikely to be recorded or remembered properly.
    ——————————————————————————————————————
    The thoughts start to flow. Look to Australia. How far back does the word of mouth teachings of the aborigines go? Or for that matter, local American Indians have oral traditions that date way back. I was fortunate to have been introduced to a chief elder of the Klamath River tribes back in the early 70s. They even rented a 20 acre piece of land to me that had an old cabin built with hand cut lumber. That spot was where the tribal chiefs had lived for many centuries. This elder they let me meet was now living further north from me on the same ridge. We both could sense each other. At one point I had been saying something while he was gazing off in the distance. I wondered if he had even been listening, until he spun his head around and gazed into me. He had indeed been listening to me in every sense of the word and more. There is a little town by the name of Weitchpec in California. It sits at the confluence of the Trinity and Klamath Rivers. It is estimated that the local tribe had been living there for an estimated 12,000 years. It was almost completely destroyed by the great flood of 1964/65. A gravel bar now sits where the once beautiful fertile river soil had been.

    It is also possible that the biblical flood story survived for the many thousand of years necessary for it to correspond with the breakup of the ice sheets. If it had just been a flood from a tsunami that created the worldwide memory of a flood story, then it would have been likely for the inhabitants to have returned to their original living grounds. It is unfortunate that Turkey has resisted some of the exploration groups who would like to search further in the Black Sea.

  152. @John Robertson. I don’t see a hijack here since the question is “Are ancient Climates recorded in ancient texts”.

    Your question is valid and is one explanation for the sudden onset of the Younger Dryas period. The downside is that any impact event large enough to wreak havoc on a planetary scale would have to be so large that it would create a dust cloud which would leave evidence behind in other places on the planet.

    That being said, I don’t know if much is known at all about ice impacts and their effects. I was looking for papers on this and related topics a few years ago and there wasn’t much that I could find. Which is quite possibly more a reflection on my research abilities rather than anything else.

    I must say that I’m fascinated by those who think the “primitives” of pre Biblical times have nothing of value to say. I’m reminded of the many learned scholars who derided Pliny the Younger’s description of the Vesuvius eruption on the grounds that “Volcanoes don’t erupt like that”. Of course now we know about pyroclastic flows and admit that Pliny gave an accurate account. It seems this lesson must be relearned every generation or so.

  153. albertkallal says:
    February 25, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    You are happy to accept natural selection over short time frames, but cannot accept the same mechanism can cause more significant change over much longer time frames?
    When you think about the DNA molecule and how the same structure is used by such a vast array of life forms, and that the actual difference between very different life forms is such a small percentage of that molecular chain, and that the replication process is done on such a vast scale, at a high velocity over epochs of time, and yet you have a problem with evolution?
    Seems to me you have a problem with logic and accepting the reproducable experiments that are done with bacteria and other simple organisms all over the world for many years now.

  154. JohnB says:
    February 25, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    @John Robertson. I don’t see a hijack here since the question is “Are ancient Climates recorded in ancient texts”.
    ———————————————————-
    Most of the comments have stayed within that framework, despite the efforts of some to bring in the full spectrum of biblical thought so that they can point out what is wrong with religion and what is wrong with believing in God. None of that type of thought has anything to do with the climate, but it was to be expected. However, I also feel that this has been a great thread with much well reasoned thought being expressed.

  155. The argument by some atheists and agnostics that this is a science blog and therefore the Bible must not be mentioned is ridiculous. Historical records, including anecdotal accounts, are of use as evidence of typical and extreme weather in past times. Tony B. has made extensive use of mentions of extreme weather in various sources and has written essays posted on this an other blogs.

    It may be that the mentions of the weather in the Bible are only of a passing nature because the writers were not particularly interested in it. However, it is ridiculous to dismiss out of hand the idea that it is worth considering. If the title of this article had been about the Iliad and the Odyssey would there have been so many critical comments. Many of the commentators on this topic are merely displaying their narrow-minded anti-religious bigotry.

  156. At the turn of the millennium there was an article by Hugh Sansom in Weather, a journal published by the Royal Meteorological Society, that is relevant to this discussion.

    Sansom, H. (2000), Weather in the Bible. Weather, 55: 461–465. doi: 10.1002/j.1477-8696.2000.tb06485.x

    A PDF file of the article may be downloaded from the web page below.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.1477-8696.2000.tb06485.x/abstract

    The article was a follow-up to one Sansom had published in the same journal almost half a century earlier.

    Sansom, H.W. (1951), Meteorology in the Bible. Weather, 6: 51-54

  157. If you are unaware of Bob “Titanic Discoverer” Ballard’s discoveries in and around the Black Sea, this may be of interest.

    No, it doesn’t prove that Noah built a wooden aircraft carrier.

  158. Some thin skinned types are claiming that I have somehow hijacked the thread. Each of my posts was a direct reply to people making inaccurate or plain silly claims about the Bible.

    They are saying things like I am objecting to the Bible being “mentioned”. Uh no, I am fine with the original topic, “Does the Bible mention snow?” The answer seems to be yes.

    I also don’t have any problem with reading it as a collection of handed down ancient Hebrew and early Christian stories and myths.

    I didn’t even see anything worth commenting on until some people started saying idiotic things like the Bible is a source of accurate scientific information on cosmology and evolution, of course others later said it disproved the current theories on those topics. That’s the problem with obscure ancient religious texts, people read all kinds of things into them.

    Especially people that believe they are the revelations of an omnipotent, omnipresent “one true God”™.

    So I have absolutely no problem with the Bible being discussed here on a “science blog”, but it should be open to the same scrutiny and skepticism that is the hallmark of WUWT.

    Of course those that see it as “holy writ” become apoplectic when that happens.

  159. John B, thanks for reply.
    The other part of the ancient history, the rise of the sea as the ice caps retreated.
    I get a chuckle out of TV discovery series, as they follow a university archaeology team,in the foothills of the Yukon, searching for evidence of early emigrants coming to America via the Bering land bridge.
    So the water rose 300 ft in a very short time? Check
    You assume the ancients followed the food, along the sea shore and river mouths? Check
    The ice sheet was still significant, inland? Check.
    So any human relics, should be 300′ down? Check.

    Why are you searching here, 100s of miles from the old coast, where ice would have reigned supreme?

  160. The so called history embedded here is ludicrous
    fiction. The archeological record is clear; Israelite
    culture started in Canaan, as did Phoenician culture and
    numerous other cultures there. There is not a shred
    of evidence for a Mesopotamian origin. The first settlements
    identified as Israelite were identified as Canaanite by
    their pottery and their gods. There is absolutely no connection
    with Israel and Egypt as outlined in the Jewish Bible. Sinai never
    happened except in the fevered fantasies of the Bible writers
    supported by the sudden access of wealth and power of the
    Judean kingdom after the destruction of hated Israel,
    It also snows often in Israel and I have seen it in spades!
    But Bible is a Judean invention and snow far less common
    there.

  161. Who cares what “many people agree” to?

    Many people formerly “agreed” that the earth was the center of the universe. Of course, they had considerably more compelling incentives to do so than mere derision and loss of grant money.

    The idea that detailed accounts of anomalous physical phenomena from ancient scriptures, especially those of highly developed societies, should be taken as allegories instead of investigating possible physical explanations for them is essentially wrong-headed and unscientific. It reminds me of the response of one of my favourite high school teachers when I asked him what his response to observing a flying saucer would be. He said “I’d assume I had lost my mind”! The things otherwise rational people will do or say to avoid burning at the stake…

    So while I applaud this feeble, half-hearted effort to extract some knowledge from ancient scriptures, I can only wonder, with some bitterness, when Immanuel Velikosvky’s much more comprehensive survey of ancient writings of cataclysmic events, published 1952 in “Ages in Chaos” will be examined fairly by those who claim, by virtue of their (virtual) sheepskins, to be “scientists”?

  162. David L. Hagen: I checked that site you said, and while it is very interesting there is a real problem that the archaeologist is very motivated to achieve a specific outcome — as the article plainly states. After all, Israel has a great political stake in establishing its 3500-year tenure in the land, and this Israeli researcher is working on behalf of that goal. Professionals with an agenda, whether it’s climate science, tobacco health studies, medicine, Lysenko, archaeology, you name it, it isn’t trustworthy. Still it is definitely interesting, but disinterested researchers need to confirm these finding before I can sign on — which I would like to do, but sorry, I’m too SKEPTICAL.

  163. I am deeply offended (just joking) by the degrading way some describe “goat-herders.” I happen to raise goats. I herd them. Furthermore, I write.

    True, I have not yet attempted to write anything as profound as a Bible, but I do have my views. I should not be disregarded simply because I am a goat-herder.

    Now I shall throw a log into the fire Anthony has started, when he opened this Pandora’s Box.

    First, the reason many chose not to eat meat may have some scientific basis, but religion involves stuff that cannot obey a fundamental Scientific rule: The observation must be one you can replicate.

    I respect science, and would never demand something that cannot be replicated be accepted as science. However each of us has had things happen to us, in our lives, that happened only once, happened to no one else, and cannot be replicated. Should such things be disregarded?

    I imagine that if you string together a sequence of such events you cannot replicate, each consisting of your individual observation, you might arrive at a conclusion that was sane to you, but utterly nutty to anyone else. This might be the embryo of religion, especially if you thrived and everyone else wasted away.

    In terms of eating meat, the reason to abstain is due to the “vibes” in the meat. “Vibes” are not a thing science can measure with a vibrometer. Vibes, at this point, are definitely not a scientific topic. However the “bestial vibes” in meat are said to make us humans act even more bestial than we already do.

    By who? Well, back in the day I copied the Beatles, and because they read “Autobiography of a Yogi,” I did too. The writer, Yogananda, among other things, tried to convince Americans to become vegetarians back in the 1920’s. I gather not all of his followers found it easy, for at some point he stated, in exasperation, “If you must eat meat, eat lamb.” Why? Because lamb has less bestial “vibes” than yummy beef and pork, according to him.

    If you want to gain the insights Yogananda had you need to do a sort of replication. It isn’t exactly scientific, but you need to replicate his behavior. You need to sit cross-legged for long periods, meditating, until this sizzling stuff shoots up your spine and you experience visions. This will convince no scientists, for they don’t have sizzling stuff shooting up their spines, however it will convince you.

    And that, my friends, is the difference between religion and science. Science is for everyone, and religion, (at its best,) is for you and no one else. It is personal, private, and intimate. People should keep most of it to themselves. To bandy it about is like blabbing about intimate details of your relationship with your spouse.

  164. As I heard it some years back, the ancient prohibition on eating pig meat was because in the old cities, the human sewage boxes were eaten out by roving pigs — this was the earliest form of sewage control. Therefore you did not want to eat the meat of those animals.

  165. Dudley Horscroft says:
    February 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm
    “ferdberple” February 25, 2014 at 6:47 am has got it right – the story of Noah is the story of the breaching of the Bosphorus, and the filling of the Black Sea.
    ===========
    you are a saint among scholars

  166. Caleb says:
    February 26, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    To bandy it about is like blabbing about intimate details of your relationship with your spouse.
    ————–
    It’s call Facebook and Twitter … please try to stay current.

  167. Thanks Pamela,
    Technically it wasn’t a snake until Jehovah amputated its legs — I can agree it was lizard up to that point.
    Your objection to the arbitrary name assigned to the truth-teller in story of Adam & Eve (or How the Snake Lost its Legs) seemed a little petty to me, considering that some people (in fact millions worldwide) are under the misapprehension that the enlightening knowledge fruit in the story was just a mundane apple. “It wasn’t an apple,” you might have said. :)
    Speaking of enlightenment, Lucifer was the originally the morning star; Venus; the bearer of light, hence lux and lumens.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lucifer

    They didn’t teach me that at Catholic school.

  168. For goodness sake, will you all just go and read “God is Not Great- How religion poisons everything” by Christopher Hitchens. It all in there.

    Equally disparaging to Christians, Jews, Muslims Hindus etc.

  169. And yes, in Judeo-Christian mythology, Lucifer was the angel Light Bringer, until God threw him out.

    How the Devil got his horns- here. (Don’t worry nothing nasty, its a BBC documentary!)

  170. Caleb,

    I have nothing against goats (I love goat meat, cheese, milk etc.) or their herders. I just don’t think we should base our laws or morality on their ancient writings.

    Science is for everyone, and religion, (at its best,) is for you and no one else. It is personal, private, and intimate. People should keep most of it to themselves. To bandy it about is like blabbing about intimate details of your relationship with your spouse.

    Well said.

  171. Anthony, or other editor – please don’t permit inflammatory comments such as
    “well-known gobbledygook, the Bible”
    sharpen your snipper!

  172. I wish to make one small clarification regarding the Old Testament. It is composed of 44 books, and almost as many authors. It spans thousands of years and covers events, individuals, nations, and laws from the distant, inaccessible past. And yet, it is coherent, and it is coherent with the New Testament. For this, it deserves a modicum of care in reading, and as an ancient text it cannot really be compared with the Koran which was “dictated” to one man.

    I think there are 3 keys for gaining some understanding the difficulties these comments bring up regarding God in the Old Testament, and will possibly give future readings a little more interest for you.

    1. Theme: Anti-climax.
    This theme runs entirely through the Old and New Testaments. You will recall that Genesis begins with a re-creation event, and the formation of man and woman. The state of the original pair is conveyed in simple terms, but reflect a spiritual reality which is beyond language. The beauty of the creation and its state of purpose and innocence was enjoyed by a pair who were given great intelligence, power, good and wisdom. This was all voluntarily thrown away in a single gesture. This is called an anti-climax. This is also expressed in myths such as Cupid and Psyche, and perhaps you know the results of Elsa’s curiousity in the beautiful story, “Lohengrin.” I seem to be running long, but every story in the Scriptures ends in an anti-climax, so that even when slaves are set free, when left alone for a few days they worship an idol and wish for the good old days of garlic and cucumbers; and even when the Messiah comes to Israel, he is rejected and killed. Being aware of this may help or may not help, I don’t know.

  173. 2. Theme: The Assault
    This just means that spiritually it is assumed and understood that one truly malevolent creature has been allowed to wreak hatred, destruction, malice and deception on the created world and people. This is not altogether foreign to other traditions from long ago. People all over the world recognized the need to choose good, to be protected from evil things, and to know that one is responsible for all that is done, spoken, and thought in this life. This is made most clear by Zarathustra in Persia before the first 5 books of Moses were even written. It is an ancient theme and shows the deep connection of the OT to its land.

  174. 3. Theme: Free Will
    Notice that in the Garden of Eden, although all is in perfection and spiritual harmony, there is always the possibility of rejecting all that is good and true. In the New Testament, Yeshua taught the parable of the prodigal son. One day, a son threw away his relationship with his father and left for a strange country. While there, he squandered his inheritance, and was reduced to feeding hogs. All those fair weathered friends were gone with the money and reputation, so he thought to himself, “How many of my father’s servants have enough to eat, and I would be glad to eat the husks I am feeding these hogs. I will go home to him, and ask him to make me one of his servants.” So he goes home. But while a long way off, his father runs to meet him, and tells his servants to put a robe on him, a ring, sandals, and to call a celebration. You see, we are free to throw away all good and truth, and all relationship, but we are now free to return to Him in faith. On the other hand, if you love darkness, falsehood, worthlessness, fraud and thefts, that is the home you will find for eternity. It is impossible to change your love after you die. Your choice and inmost nature is respected for what it truly is, and not for what was only outward appearances. Those outward appearances are removed in the other life. “He that does not have, even what he seems to have will be removed.” So forgiveness and regeneration begin today if you ask.

  175. Zaphod,
    Christopher Hitchens was a Neo-Conservative slave, and a lying warmonger in the end. Like the piper in the old saying, he played only the tunes he was paid for.
    He was always drunk on his celebrity TV appearances, slurring his propaganda of hatred against Muslims. He was a just a drunken, lying tool masquerading as an academic — one of my least favorite and most resented celebrities in the new atheist cult.
    I am an atheist as you may have realized – but Dawkins spawned a viscous cult of “Organized Atheism,” and it is no different to a religion.

    Let me show you where it started, and who it emulates…

    “When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been,
    though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told – religious Jews anyway – than atheists
    and [yet they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see.
    So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/oct/01/internationaleducationnews.religion

  176. Sounds like common sense.

    (I think you mean to infer “a vicious cult” rather than “a viscous cult”)
    Better a non-superstitious basis for foreign policy than one controlled by a cult which requires the ritual mutilation of babies as a pre-condition of membership.

    If Hitchens was a neocon, why on earth would he advocate the trial for war crimes from South East Asia to the Mid East, of that arch-Neocon, a certain Henry Kissinger?

    I remember Hitchens thirty years ago as a rabid Marxist when he lived in Britain, it always makes me smile when he refered to as a Neocon.

    Yes Hitchens allowed himself to be swept along by the Neocon’s rhetoric over Saddam’s mythical WMDs, as many were including me (I wont be fooled again and we should have listened to The Who more carefully) but on religion he was spot on.

  177. Zeke says:
    February 27, 2014 at 11:17 am

    “… the Old Testament… is coherent with the New Testament.”

    For the sake of intelligible discussion, I’ll assume you meant “consistent” when you typed “coherent”, since otherwise, there is no intelligible content to critique.

    And my (admittedly rhetorical) question is, how can the Old Testament possibly be consistent with the New Testament, when the New Testament is grossly inconsistent within itself, contradicting itself repeatedly on important factual details about the life of Jesus of Nazareth?

    And these contradictions are all the more remarkable, since the various authors of the New Testament are claimed to have been near-constant companions of Jesus, and to have largely witnessed the same events and would certainly have had first hand accounts from their fellow-disciples of those at which they were not personally present.

  178. Khwarizmi says:
    February 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Zaphod,

    “….I am an atheist as you may have realized – but Dawkins spawned a viscous cult of “Organized Atheism,” and it is no different to a religion….”
    I don’t feel qualified to comment on your critiques of Hitchens and Dawkins, as I’ve found their writings too unpalatible to peruse at any lenght. Similarly, I cannot fairly evaluate your assessment of the origin of organized atheism, but do feel rather that it is a manifistation of the same psychopathology that maintains organized religion – a state of constant fearfulness that seeks to rigidly order and limit the personal perspective.

    What I can empathize with fully is your despair at being slotted into a narrow social niche as an “atheist” by the writings of popular authors and demagogues propounding a narrow, anti-mystical, rigidly “materialistic” definition of atheism.

    To me, the issue in English, my working language since childhood, has always been how to answer inquiries into my religiosity. There are only two choices that don’t require a lengthy footnote: “agnostic” and “atheist”.

    “agnostic” is the more misleading, as it suggests to most people a mere indecisiveness, a suspension of judment, perhaps even just uncertainty as to which organized religion or even sect, is the most preferable. This certainly doesn’t fit my beliefs.

    When, after being “confirmed” as a Catholic in my early teens, I decided, without consultation with any other person, that Catholic dogma was illogical nonsense, I proceeded to immerse myself in the study of the more philosophical religions, Hinduism, Bhuddism, Taoism, and their derivatives, such as Theosophy.

    In the end, I decided that all of these mainline religions had rapidly degenerated into dogma (such as Karma) which was nothing more than self-serving propaganda to shore up highly stratified social orders. And that the more radical religions, such as Bhuddism and Islam, were nothing more than tools for a redistribution of power in such rigid and stratified societies, which ended up creating theocracies just as rigid and stratified.

    So labeling myself “agnostic” would have been a gross deception. I could never consider adopting or endorsing any of these religions.

    That left only the label of “atheist”, which by that time, has already been universally associated in the public mind with disbelief in the possibility of more advanced beings (angels, devils, gods), or even belief in the possibility of intuition (ESP), predictive visions (clairvoyance), persistence of consciousness post-mortem (life after death), etc., etc..

    It is difficult in our society to find platforms from which to campaign vigorously for critical yet scientific open-mindedness, and so the fiercest demagogues for a simplistic world view dominate the stage, in the religious sphere as in other areas of intellectual life.

    I call my self an “atheist” because:

    1. superior beings who demand grovelling adulation of their inferiors should be called “devils”, not “gods”

    2. superior beings who are not “devils” would find it repugnant to be worshiped, but would encourage and appreciate the struggle of their inferiors to see and think more clearly and otherwise develop their intellectual and moral faculties

    3. there are undoubtedly beings in our universe who are superior to human beings in their intellectual, social, and/or technical development, and

    4. I don’t know what happens to one’s persona (mind, soul,etc.) after death, but cannot rule out, after decades of reading and thinking about this transition, that some sort of conscious continuity might persist, or even that re-incarnation (the mechanism of which I have so far been unable to comprehend) is impossible.

    It’s unfortunate that there is no English word, at least none understood by the vast majority of educated speakers of English, for someone who holds such beliefs.

    The German word “Freidenker” (freethinker), would be much preferable, although my mother used to say of this group simply that “they all end up killing themselves”. Of course, she was quite mistaken, many have been executed or otherwise destroyed by the “slavethinkers” who police our society.

  179. Why didn’t the bible mention blizzards? They didn’t or rarely get snow in the middle east and the Lavant. Only in the Alps and high terrain, where few people lived anyway.

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