I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses: Searching for the Why

Searching for the why—at first glance, what could be easier? Just read the charges. But when Putin says, “Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians, too. I really don’t understand why they are persecuted”—there appears more to it than meets the eye. When Human Rights Watch says, “Russia’s religious persecution focuses almost exclusively on Jehovah’s Witnesses,” the plot thickens.
 
0D75954D-1D51-47C1-B036-B9850C320C42
 
Like Luke to Theophilus, here is a book that “traces everything from the start with accuracy.” Like Luke to Theophilus, here is a book that tells it from the believer’s point of view. Stripped of the red herrings that plagued Dear Mr. Putin—Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia, updated to the February 2021 present, and ever respectful towards the land of the bear, in most ebook forms it continues to be free, a labor of love.

Here are presented the modern-day Acts of Russia with regard to worship, the acts of believers and of those who oppose them. The acts of Russia have taken a dark and perplexing turn, puzzling even Putin. Can it be? The wizard who runs Oz doesn’t know how his contraption works? Here is a book that picks up where Baran’s Dissent on the Margins (2014) leaves off. The tale has not yet ended. But then, neither had the tale ended when Luke completed the first century Book of Acts.

Early in 2017, every Jehovah’s Witness in the world was invited to write letters to designated Russian officials, urging that justice be done in their case. I wrote one. Here is my expanded version.
Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Mathematics and Everything: From Hannah Fry to Stephen Fry. Part 3

For continuity, start with Part 1.

Now—what about Hannah Fry’s TV presentation—“Magic Numbers?” Are they really magic? Or are they like when my gushing business typing teacher from high school days said, “Today we are going to learn how to use the magic margins!” and I said to myself, “This guy really thinks they are magic.”

Remember, Harley—you don’t want to be a donkey here. Remember how you were with Meg, working on her dissertation involving the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle, and the only one who could grade it was her U of R professor because he was the only one who knew what she was talking about? Don’t make the same faux pas with Fry that you made with her—saying something to show that you’re not exactly ignorant about her subject, and in so doing conveying that you are. Don’t be like Ed Norton, trying to impress the financier, casually letting it slip that he is in the “sewer game” himself.

Okay, now. Turn on the TV. What do you notice about math? Yikes! The first thing I notice has nothing to do with math. It is about Fry. She is one attactive woman!

Harley, you gauche slob! That’s even worse! Go back to saying something stupid about math! Nobody cares about physical appearance! It is only the mind we care about! If you didn’t have such a perfect face for radio, you wouldn’t come all unglued when you see one for television!

It made a mixed initial impression on me, and not all of it good. “We cannot be certain of this and we cannot agree on that,” she more or less said, and I added, “but can we all agree that my flowing and flaming red hair is beautiful?” I mean, don’t go telling me that her producer doesn’t know the power of outward appearance. He showcases her as though a model on Vogue Magazine.

And in fact, once I adjusted to it, all was well. It was my bad. Most things are. I had expected some drab and dry old hen chalking formulas on the board. It’s not her. My bad. You use whatever you have to best present your topic. Lord knows I do. Go for it. When they strap Hannah Fry into a zip line harness to show she speeds up just like Galileo said she would, instead of her dull professor of yesteryear dropping a marble and bowling ball simultaneously—well, why not? He wanted to ride a zip line, too, but it wasn’t allowed back then. Now it is.

It may be that the scientists and mathematicians have never been dull, and only now is the stereotype breaking that says they are. It may all be a carryover from my school days, when they would roll into the classroom a towering TV for some “educational television” and the only thing you knew for sure was that it would be BORING.

It’s not that way now. The two Great Courses archeologists I follow present almost as Indiana Jones. One of them was even inspired by Indiana Jones, for he relates how his mom dropped him off as a boy at the multiplex, the movie subtitle said. “Somewhere in South America,” and he said to himself: “There’s a South America?” Who says they have to be dull? It’s a good gig—why not behave as though it is? Paul Halpern may have the largest cache of physicist photos on the planet—all the time he is posting them, showing the good ‘ol (usually) boys of brilliance having a ball. And just yesterday he posted a cartoon with the quantum computer diagnosis: “broken in every way possible, simultaneously.” I added: “And the relativity computer looks broken when they pass it one way, but okay when they pass it the other way.”

So Hannah Fry begins to narrate her program. “Look hard enough to at anything, mathematics is lying beneath,” she says at the show’s outset. Is math all in our heads, invented? she poses the question. Or is it an eternal physical reality, something existing out there, waiting to be discovered?

Then she dives into the same chronology that they all dive into, but it is such a rich chronology that every presentation is different. Farmelo wrote in his book how he was struck in high school that the formula for gravity took the exact same form as the formula for magnetism, different only in that you can reverse the latter. Why should that be? I was struck by it, too. He also said he didn’t recall any of his teachers ever commenting on that peculiarity. Neither do I.

“How could something we invented in our brain have the power to reveal the workings of the universe?” she says, and then inserts clips of a few mathematicians who say confirming things, like how it’s “shocking that mathematics makes predictions about the world around us.”

“It seemed inconceivable that math could be anything other than something we discover,” Fry says, but then she ventures that in the 19th century, people began to wonder if everyone was really as it seemed. “The problem for humans is overriding our instincts, trusting in our intuition,” another guest math-whiz says. Aristotle, clever though he was, got a lot of things wrong. It’s intuitive that heavy lands before light [is it?], so Aristotle stated that it did. Galileo figured it didn’t, wrote the formula to govern falling things, and said the feather falls slower only due to friction with the air. Whereupon, Hannah splices in Apollo moon footage in which they attempted just that experiment—take out the air— and sure enough, they do both land at the same time! She could have done it in some drab school experiment where they pump the air out of some container, but she did it on the moon! Don’t tell me she doesn’t know how to use the modern medium.

Breaking free of Euclid makes it more complicated—now Fry will try to serve up some sympathy with the ‘inventors of math’ view. (But it won’t work with me—I’m on to her—and it’s not clear where she stands herself.) Cantor pours fuel on the fire with his infinites, some of which are greater than others! You would think that an infinity is an infinity is an infinity, but it turns out that some “are more equal than others.” And don’t get me going about that “proof” (Hannah didn’t cite this one—I just threw it in myself) that the sum of all natural numbers is -1/12.

Then there is Descartes, who invented imaginary numbers. They correspond to nothing real in themselves, but they have been used to build bridges from one real place to another, places that otherwise seem to be “you can’t get there from here,” places. The only thing I know for sure about imaginary numbers (always based upon the square root of -1) is that Hobbes, Calvin’s stuffed tiger, helping the boy with his homework, declared that an especially hard arithmetic problem would require their use—the kid’s hair stood on end and his eyes bugged out at the thought.

Okay, so maybe we don’t have to run the “inventors” completely off the planet, but to suggest that anything can be accounted for by what some smart-alek math whiz will concoct is just too much.

Why can’t it just be acknowledged what Job acknowledged? “Look! These are the fringes of his ways, And what a whisper of a matter has been heard of him!” Why should humans assume that they will figure it all out, then come all unglued when they can’t, and somehow work that into a scenario that God doesn’t exist, whereas it should do just the opposite? It reminds me of a old buddy who would overturn the gameboard whenever he saw he was not going to win.

As to Fry being attractive—sorry—maybe I should not have said anything about that. It’s not the thing to focus on. On the other hand, there was a smiling young women, always posing with her motorbike, chalking up hundreds of likes from social media users in Japan. But some sharp-eyed users smelled something amiss. Mirror reflections didn’t look so pretty. Sometimes her arms were hairy! They pushed an investigation and, sure enough, it was a 50-year old guy playing with photoshop! The fellow wasn’t overly repentant. “Who’s going to click on tweets of a 50-year-old guy?” he said.

Exactly. I’ll bet Hannah is a 60-something, pot-bellied, balding slob like me!

 

....Visit Smashwords bookstore.  Also available at Amazon & other ebook retailers.

 

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Notes from Ancient Egypt: Weighing in on Joseph and the Exodus Account: Part 1

Sitting in on Bob Brier’s Egyptology lecture series for Great Courses, you learn that nations don’t war on their neighbors. They don’t conquer them. They “beat up on them.” If he said it once, he said it a hundred times. List the accomplishments of any pharaoh: he built the temples, he built the tombs, he beat up on the Syrians (or whoever).

“Beating up” is especially emphasized in Egypt, for with them, “there was no place like home.” Egyptians warred with their neighbors constantly—“peace was not a virtue in Egypt,” Bob says—but they never established garrisons in those conquered lands. Why—were you to die thousands of miles from home, how could you be properly mummified? And if you weren’t that, what would happen to your chances at the afterlife?

So they didn’t stay. They “beat up” their neighbors, left demands for yearly tribute, but after a while, people forget. You have to go and “beat them up again,” to remind them they better pay—and cart off “everything that wasn’t nailed down” while you were at it.

What is it with this guy? Is he from the Bronx? In fact, he is. And even though he’s a professor steeped in Egyptian honors at Long Island University, he still lives in the Bronx. (as of 1999, when he recorded these lectures). Of the supports used to raise a body so mummy wrappings could be wound beneath him—“it’s like jacking up a car,” he adds helpfully (probably while gazing through his window at a jacked-up car). 

D92A199D-8CD1-492D-A547-DBCC64B5D125

(Photo by Sam LaRussa)

What would he do when he comes to Bible accounts? I wondered. He will blow them away, of course, but will he do it with respect or ridicule? He seems like a nice guy. But sometimes people with brains lose it when it comes to spiritual things.

To my surprise, he does not blow them away. He treats them with great respect and allows that they are probably true. To be sure, the “external evidence” that is archeology is scant. Archaeology corroborates the Bible in many things, says Bob, but it says next to nothing about the Israelites in Egypt. However, what he calls the “internal evidence” is strong, and as an Egyptologist, he has learned how the two must be combined.

After the Old Kingdom period, during which the pyramids were built, there arose the “Hyksos,” kings who ruled from the north, the delta region. The word means “rulers of foreign lands.” Could Joseph’s family have been the Hyksos? Not much is known of the Hyksos, Brier says, they “didn’t integrate well,” Some have said they were the family of Joseph. Josephus says so. Therefore, I say so, too. I mean, someone has to correspond to Joseph and his brothers. The north is a  damp and marshy region, where archeological finds are meagre, inferior, and badly damaged. It is the dry climate to the south that preserves papyri for thousands of years.

At this point Bob Brier assigns his listeners homework. They are to read Genesis 37-50. Then he narrates just who was Joseph and what was his involvement with Egypt, highlighting what these “guys” doing and what those “guys” are doing.

There is no external evidence for Joseph, but what is the internal evidence? Does the story “hang together?” It does, he thinks. He recounts the Bible story, which ends in a tearful tale of forgiveness—Joseph sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, his quick rise in Potipher’s house, his reversal and hard times, his meteoric rise to fame upon deciphering the dream that had perplexed Pharaoh, and how those same brothers approach and bow before him decades later—he, the one now in charge of alleviating famine.

In a dream that nobody can figure out for Pharaoh until someone remembers that Joseph in prison had a knack for that sort of thing, he is brought to interpret the dream. Seven lean cows are preceded by seven fat cows. The lean ones eat up the fat ones! They are years of famine following years of plenty. During the years of plenty, preparation can be made for the years of famine. “Based upon Joseph’s interpretation of dreams, the economy of Egypt is planned for the next 14 years.”

Joseph shows what a “sharp businessman” he is during the famine period, is how Bob Brier puts it (perhaps as he is buying a used car from a sharp businessman on the corner lot). People get destitute enough that they eventually sell him their land in return for food. He makes Pharaoh very wealthy, and Pharaoh rewards him.

The ring that Pharaoh gives to Joseph—that also is how they would do it in Egypt, a ring to the “right hand man.” A signet ring. A sign of authority. When the Bible says, everybody cried out Abrek after Joseph—that’s “real Egyptian.” Somebody knew what he was talking about. He deciphers the phrase as roughly meeting ‘Let God be with you.’ (Genesis 41: 42-43)

For a long time, Bob had a problem with Egyptian priests admitting defeat in interpreting Pharaoh’s dream. They never admitted defeat in anything. But later finds cleared it up for him. There is a papyrus in the British Museum which is a book for interpreting dreams.

All dreams meant something, the Egyptians believed. They were all prophetic. The trick was in interpreting them. When you had a dream, you went to the priest to see what it meant. Everything was written down in a book. The priests didn’t “just wing it.” They looked it up in a book. “If it’s not in the book, you’re stuck,” Bob says. So Joseph‘s account has the ring of truth to it, he says. When they said to Pharaoh, We don’t know, about his dream, it just meant that nothing about fat cows or lean cows was in the book—it didn’t go there. So it wasn’t the fault of the priests, who never would have admitted a fault—it wasn’t in the book. (Genesis 41)

There’s a Egyptian inscription on Sahel Island of seven years when the Nile did not rise, resulting in famine. Another inscription shows skeletal figures of people who were not slaves. Potipher is an Egyption name. Goshen is where the brothers of Joseph settled—a real Egyptian place in the delta region. Two cities are cited with names they had at the time, and not names they would be given later. Joseph (and Jacob) are embalmed by the Egyptians and mourned for the proper period. The Joseph story is written by someone who knew Egypt, Brier states.

“Internally, we get a feeling for the Joseph story that it fits. It’s not archaeological evidence, but the story fits.” Embalming for 40 days, mourning for 70. For a long time that was not understood, but it turns out that is how Egyptian‘s did it. (Genesis 50:3)

The Hyksos did not control all of Egypt. Instead, they coexisted with the Sixteenth and the Seventeenth Dynasty, which were based in Thebes, 500 miles to the south. Warfare between they and the pharaohs of the late Seventeenth Dynasty eventually ran the Hyksos out of Egypt. (and Bob approves of this, because the Hyksos are not “his guys”—they are not real Egyptian) Later leaders of them would be portrayed as oppressive and warlike.

A papyrus of the time, sent by the last Hyksos king to the Prince of Thebes, reads: “The hippopotami in your pool are keeping me awake at night. They have to be silenced.” What exactly does that mean? Dunno, but it’s not friendly. Inflammatory for sure, Bob says. The Prince sends an army in retaliation. How does it turn out? No idea. The papyrus breaks off. The first and the last portions of an ancient papyrus roll is often no good. The inside end is wrapped so tightly that it breaks. the outside end is on the outside where it gets knocked around a lot, torn and scuffed up over time.

 

....Visit Smashwords bookstore.  Also available at Amazon & other ebook retailers.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Live Tweets from Ancient Egypt: Part 14

Great Courses, Bob Brier, tweets composed and sent while dog-walking. AI screwups corrected in brackets

For continuity, start with Part 1:

Lecture 27: What mummies tell us

“A mummy is a mummy is a mummy” to most people, Bob Brier says, but all cars are not alike—neither are mummies. They made them over thousands of years. They differ.

Early mummies of the First Kingdom aren’t very good. Bodies are encased as with statues, but not preserved. X-rays reveal they have fallen apart, bones lying at the bottom.

Hetepheres, wife of “my man Sneferu” is an exception—with internal organs that had been removed.

Great story of high-quality artifacts suddenly appearing on the antiquities market in the 1870s, so authorities figured tomb robbers had made a massive find (steal) and, sure enough, found the culprits and (eventually) tortured the location out of them.

A huge trove of mummies, the grave robbers had found. Mummies spanning many dynasties. Shipped off to the Cairo museum, where researchers learned much about mummymaking—what innovations had been made at what time periods.

One other cache of mummies found later, the tomb of Amenhotep II. That’s where Bob Brier discovered that the king had bad teeth, maybe he needed a coregent because he was incapacitated.

All Egyptians had bad teeth, on account of the sand from the grindstones that found its way into its bread.

Lecture 28: Making a modern mummy:

Cool! Bob makes his own mummy. Only he doesn’t identify the person. This reminds me of when my wife took anatomy for nursing. These bodies are donated for research, she was told. They might be someone you know. They were to be treated respectfully.

He says he did it not to make a mummy but to learn how it was done. Lots of unanswered questions after reviewing the papyri. Only way to answer them was to do one, he said.

For example, the brain coming out the nose? Bob thought you could just pull it out with a hooked instrument, but no—it is too viscous. Can’t be done that way. Instead, they—(are you sure you want to know this?)—are swished around up there further, making it more liquid, then inverted the body so as to pour it out through the nostrils.

They made bronze tools. I guess I should have known this, but didn’t. Bronze, a hard metal, results form the mix of two soft ones—tin and copper. But the knife made was not very good.

The “sharp Ethiopian stone” (obsidian) worked well for a knife. Bob says modern surgeons have gone that way—using obsidian.

They used natron (basically salt and baking soda) to preserve. (It takes 600 pounds of the stuff) Bought the frankincense and myrrh from local sites.

Now they have a control sample—they know what they did. They know what works and what doesn’t. It will help with the analysis of ancient mummies.

Herodotus’s 35 day period they figured out (too late) is the time the body has to sit after being dried with natron. It is not completely dry by then, you can still cross the hands in royal style, but Bob & crew had waited too long. They had to wrap with arms at sides.

There’s not a lot of mummies in this neck of the woods. I don’t have any original photos. The best I can do is this one of Tauchannock Man in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

F07ED4B7-39D3-4EE7-BF48-B27F3FF67118

Go to Part 15

....Visit Smashwords bookstore.  Also available at Amazon & other ebook retailers.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The World’s Most Persecuted Religion—Part 1

Don’t persecute them! a certain foe with no use for Witnesses urged Russia. You’ll just feed into their “persecution complex.”

Well—sure. The best way to feed a “persecution complex” is to persecute whoever has it. On the other hand—which came first: the chicken or the egg?  If there really is persecution, who says it is a persecution complex? Isn’t reality the word he is searching for?

In December 2020, there came an United States Commission on International Religious Freedom report—it is a bipartisan commission, and thus not a product of any one political administration—entitled: “The Global Persecution of Jehovah’s Witness.” Religious scholar Massino Introvigne digests it and issues the obvious byline: “Jehovah’s Witnesses: The World’s Most Persecuted Religion.

The report serves to erase all doubt, even among Witnesses themselves, that theirs is the most persecuted religion today. It is not that other faiths do not suffer persecution from place to place—they certainly do—at times more brutal than that of the Witnesses. It is that no matter where you go, the Witnesses face it in one form or another. The USCIRF focuses on nine different nations—they are all assigned subheadings: Eritrea, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Singapore, and South Korea, but makes clear that these are just the tip of the iceberg, which does “not include the many other countries where the faith is banned or faces official harassment. The situation is ultimately even bleaker than our survey might indicate.”

Those many verses about persecution?

“You will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name.” (Matthew 24:9)

“All those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)

If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you..  If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own....Bear in mind the word I said to you, A slave is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:18-20)

and others? They are fulfilled upon the group whose members approach persons one-on-one to speak “about God and bearing witness to Jesus.” (Revelation 1:9) There were repercussions when John did it—exile to the island of Patmos. There are repercussions today. In Russia, it has been exile to Siberia.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are pacifists—why shouldn’t non-pacifists earn the ‘extremist’ label? They’re industrious. Why shouldn’t those who leach off society top the list? They’re obedient to government authority. Why shouldn’t the disobedient be ‘extremist?’ They live, work, and school in the community; they visit their neighbors with Bible thoughts. Why shouldn’t the reclusive and secretive hermits take top ‘extremist’ honors? Even those who dislike them will describe them individually as “very nice people.” Why shouldn’t those not nice win first ‘extremist’ prize? The easiest gig a cop will ever pull is to be assigned traffic control outside the Regional Convention. Everyone smiles at him or nods a greeting. No one calls him a pig. Why doesn’t a group where people do call him a pig take top ‘extremist’ honors?

It is crazy, so contrary to what anyone would expect, yet it is the way things are. So crazy is it, yet so exactly fulfilling Bible expectations, that it all but screams: Here they are! Here are the people hated for doing good—exactly as the Bible said would be the case! The top dishonor of ‘most persecuted’ becomes the top honor of ‘identifying the people taken from the nations for God’s name.’ (Acts 15:14) It is why I ended a chapter in I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses: Searching for the Why with: “When searching the field of religion, look for the group that is individually praised but collectively maligned.”

As for suffering under persecution, Jehovah’s Witnesses will be fortified with: “What merit is there in it if, when you are sinning and being slapped, you endure it? But if, when you are doing good and you suffer, you endure it, this is a thing agreeable with God.” (1 Peter 2:20-21) “Look! We pronounce happy those who have endured”—the James 5:11 verse is woven into the current circuit assembly program. As is Proverbs 27:11: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.” It is the Devil taunting God, as he did with Job, that a person will serve God only when the going is easy.

If you peer into the pants of this or that king to tell of his soiled underwear, you can expect him to get mad. But what if you treat him with respect while you simply go about your innocuous business? Won’t he leave you alone? You would certainly think so, is the gist of Introvigne’s parting remark, but—alas—it is not so:

“What the Jehovah’s Witnesses defend is the right to live differently, in this world, yet part of a kingdom ‘not of this world,’ as Jesus says in John 18:36. Are our societies prepared to tolerate those who live in a way different from the majority’s, as long as they are peaceful, honest, and law-abiding citizens? That the answer is ‘no’ in an increasing number of countries proves that our world is becoming a dangerous environment for religious liberty.”

1503A8EC-E027-46F7-8DB3-A6BE2C888A73

Visit Smashwords bookstore.  Also available at Amazon & other ebook retailers.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Live Tweets from Ancient Egypt: Part 13

Great Courses, Bob Brier, tweets composed and sent while dog-walking. AI screwups corrected in brackets

For continuity, start with Part 1:

No narrating into the phone today. It’s too cold. A few days ago it was almost 80. Now it is in the mid-30’s, wet, and blowy. Today walking the dog I’ll must take in the lectures on the headphones and write them up later:

Lecture 25: the end of dynsasty XVIII

No children from the final 3 kings, big problem for continuity.

Horemhab is the last of three. A military general. He is the one who first integrated priests into the army—the first “chaplains?” He saw how powerful priests were with the people, figured ‘best get them on our side.’

That monotheistic king—Athenaten? He’s an embarrassment by now, and subsequent kings try to erase him. That’s why little is known about Tutankhamen other than his intact tomb—the only one that is intact.

The restoration stela at Karnak says that after Athenaten, the statues of the gods had  been melted down (even the one god Athenatem worshiped he said there would be no images of), weeds were growing in the temples, the military was no longer respected.

The images and the weeds—two scenarios that repeat whenever the faithful Israelite kings toss out the riffraff and restore Jehovah’s worship! Only here that is considered a bad thing, not a good thing.

Look, I’m going to chase this down someday. If Joseph can be connected with the Hyksos, Athenaten is not too far removed from him—is he Joseph apostasized? No, I don’t expect to find what the great men have missed. Still, you never know with great men. Sometimes they make assumptions that mess up all subsequent conclusions.

I wonder if Bob brings up and speculates about this later. There is an upcoming lecture about ‘Exodus—did it happen?’

Horemhab’s wife was named Mutnedjemet. It means “sweet mama!” A common name, Bob says, so it maybe isn’t Tutankhamen’s sister-in-law, as some Egyptologists think. 

Lecture 26: Mummification

Bob loves mummification. He has done one, you know. (I wonder on who?) People come to Egypt and they want to see two things: pyramids and mummies. Mummies are special, he says. A recognizable figure staring at you from thousands of years in the past.

Still, they weren’t much cared for until recently. Artifacts were, but it did not occur to the collectors that dead bodies should be. Now Bob Brier will try to retrace how dead ones were mummified.

Not easy, because no written instructions were kept. Just a relief he tells of somewhere that shows the mummified body up on two blocks, so you can wrap underneath with out disturbing it. “Like jacking up a car,” the professor from the Bronx states. 

He spends time on embalmers, that they in many ways like undertakers today—a family profession. They might have several being embalmed at the same time, and they had different options representing different expense levels!

Just like when I buried my Dad and I told the undertaker that JW’s (Dad was not one, but he would have agreed on this) view the body as a container. At death, the person no longer has any need of it. Therefore, cremation would do just fine.

He said he thought of bodies much the same way. Did it give him the creeps working alone at at night amidst bodies? He said sometimes at first, but the feeling quickly fades. (I’ll bet he doesn’t feast on horror shows, though.) 

This is the funeral director who let me sit is his vintage Cadillac, picked up from some Hollywood mogul. It had been in a few films.

6035DB9F-A426-45BF-8EC3-412FCA88B959

How to do mummies was a trade secret, not written down, but for Herodotus, since he was going away, Bob says embalmers told him a lot. Like how they take the brain out—through the nose with a “sharp Ethiopian stone.” Bob figures obsidian.

Go to Part 14

....Visit Smashwords bookstore.  Also available at Amazon & other ebook retailers.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Mathematics and Everything: From Hannah Fry to Stephen Fry—Part 2

See Part 1 here.

You can always trust Albert Einstein to come up with good questions. You can trust him to dive into the scientific but not abandon the spiritual. You can’t trust everyone to do that but you can trust him. For example, he says:

“Here arise a puzzle that has disturbed scientists of all periods. How is it possible that mathematics, a product of human thought that is independent of experience, fits so excellently the objects of physical reality? Can human reason without experience discover by pre thinking properties of real things?”

Morris Kline answers. He is not dumb, but forgive me if I suggest that his huge oversimplification is: “What we have achieved by way of mathematical description and prediction amounts to the good luck of the man who finds a hundred-dollar bill while casually taking a walk.”

Replace the hundred dollar bill with a hundred trillion dollar bill and then maybe we can talk. My opening remark will be, “When was the last time you found a hundred trillion dollar bill?”

It’s like Douglas Adams (the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), who also isn’t dumb. In fact, he’s smart, just like Kline is. But, like Kline, he hugely oversimplifies it. Try oversimplifying a paragraph of his book, and he’d howl like a rhesus.

Adams addresses people who believe that God must exist because the world so fits our needs. He compares them to an intelligent puddle of water that fills a hole in the ground. The puddle is certain that the hole must have been designed specifically for it because it fits so well. The puddle exists under the sun until it has entirely evaporated.

Whoa! What a great illustration! All you need do for it to be perfect is find an intelligent puddle of water. It is as though these pillars of thought leadership just dissolve into mush when they try to explain away what any 5-year-old knows can’t be explained away.

Take this tweet from Richard Dawkins—no one sneers at God more than he: He quotes Einstein again, just like I did in opening this post: “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible,” the great one says. Dawkins adds: “But what is the alternative to comprehensible? What kind of a world would it be if it were incomprehensible? What would it look like?” He even invites his audience to “discuss” his moronic question.

My contribution was that it would look like this:

249317F3-D2C3-405A-BFEE-FE5B46CE065C

Careful, Tommy, careful. Remember, Dawkins (and Kline, and Adams) is a Great Man, and you are not. You really going to call him moronic? You really going to go the route of the one who doesn’t suffer fools gladly—and a fool is anyone who disagrees? Really?

Sigh...of course I am not. I am chastened. Dawkins has more Twitter followers than I do—and THAT probably is not only what the world would look like if it were incomprehensible, but the greatest proof that it is! Even so, sometimes a child with fewer followers than he must say: “The emperor has no clothes!”

 

Now, if I say that Hannah Fry’s doing a math show to make me mad, it must be conceded that math can make a person mad. It is not so directly transferable to reality as may at first glance appear—and in accounting for this, the renegades are emboldened to take shots at God.

Everyone knows that parallel lines never meet. They know that by looking down the railroad tracks. The rails may seem to converge, but it is just an illusion. So do you think that simple math (geometry) will come down on the side of illusion or sense? It comes down on the side of illusion! In real life, if you walk down a few hundred yards, you see they are still apart—they don’t touch. In geometry, they do!

Do a thought experiment Start in your head with two perpendicular lines; one is horizontal, and one is vertical. They cross. Call the point where they cross ‘P’. Grab hold of the vertical line just above the horizontal line and start to pivot it. What happens to ‘P’—that point of intersection? Doesn’t it move farther and farther down the horizontal line. At what point does it “jump off” to make the two lines parallel?

When I played this trick on guys in the workplace, some saw right away that the lines would never separate—designate a place of separation, and why can you not draw a straight line from the pivot point to a point just a bit further down from your separation point? Some guys walked away scratching their heads. Some got mad, as though I was messing with reality.

It’s like that other scenario of how in a race someone gaining can never pass the one in the lead, since he would first have to close half the distance, and he couldn’t do that until he had closed half that distance. And he couldn’t do that until he had closed half that distance, and so forth. It doesn’t end. The runner catching up can never pass. But go to the races and you will see that he does all the time.. So math can mess with your mind. It does screwy things.

So can you seize upon such things to throw out God? “Mathematics is the alphabet with which God has written the universe,” says Galileo, but since there are some strange letters in that alphabet, that means he didn’t write it. Can you go there? Why not do a Job instead?  “Look! These are the fringes of his ways, And what a whisper of a matter has been heard of him! But of his mighty thunder who can show an understanding?”  (Job 26:14)

The woman following Jesus thought it enough to touch his outer garment, and it did wonders for her when she did. She didn’t have to try the garment on herself. Why doesn’t that satisfy the scientists? Why can’t they just acquiesce to “My ways are higher than your ways?” (Isa 55:8-9)

Return to Einstein, and even my observation of him that he will delve into the scientific without junking the spiritual, ofthe developing field on quantum mechanics, he observed:

“Quantum mechanics is very worthy of respect. But an inner voice tells me that it is not the genuine article after all. The theory delivers much, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the Old One. I . . . am convinced that He does not play dice,”

Alas, Einstein caught Him playing dice!—the weirdness of quantum mechanics has proven true. But it didn’t stumble him. He didn’t say, “Well, I guess there isn’t any Old One.” He said (not literally) “Well, I guess Old One is older than I thought, and a cagier too.” I mean, who says he has to spell it all out for humans to understand readily. He’s God. He can do what he wants. “If I were hungry,” he says at Psalm 50:12, “I would not tell it to you.”

Exactly. Are humans going to help him out?

See Part 3.

 

....Visit Smashwords bookstore.  Also available at Amazon & other ebook retailers.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Live Tweets from Ancient Egypt: Part 12

Great Courses, Bob Brier, tweets composed and sent while dog-walking. AI screwups corrected in brackets

For continuity, start with Part 1:

Egypt 12, Lecture 23: the murder of Tutankhamen: a theory

What he next presents, he makes clear is his theory. Some agree, but it seems most disagree. This is like his theory of Athematem, the religious nut, attracting the flower children.

Why do I begin to equate Bob Brier to Maigret, who insisted upon stepping into the shoes of whatever murder victim, to get a feel for him, before arriving at a solution largely intuitive? 

Another discussion of how names mean something. I’ve let this pass many times before and remarked upon. I won’t go into it here. But like in the Bible, names are significant. Sometimes people change their name, to indicate new beliefs, often new gods they follow or wish to honor.

Johnson equals John’s son. Goldman equals man who works with or sells gold. It almost looks like the only people in history that use names just as a meaningless tag is our age. Historically they have not been that way.

Tutankhamen changes his name to Tutankhamen, to show that the old religion is coming back. No more monotheism of Athematem. He leaves the city in the desert, and comes back to thieves. [Thebes]

He was about 18 years old when he died. They can tell by molars, they can tell by bone ends, which become less Cine week [senewy] with age. They damaged the money [mummy] getting it out. At the time, before DNA knowledge, people didn’t realize the treasures that were mommies, [mummies] and weren’t as careful as they would be with gold objects.

Because his mommy [mummy] is the only one ever found intact in its tomb, they decided to leave it there. You can’t see it. It is within the sarcophagus. What is there is in the tomb as you go visit.

after Tutankhamen’s death, his widow is the sole survivor of royalty, no one left in the family. She writes the Hittite king.

They were enemies. But she says “they say you have a lot of sons. Send over one, and I will marry him andmake him king.” She ends her letter “I am afraid“. She says “never will I marry a servantOf mine.” It sounds like, Bob says, someone is forcing her to marry a commoner. Who would do that?

“That’s like the British writing to Hitler and saying “come on over “”

He presents all those discussion, not so much to say he is right, though of course he thinks he is, but his goal is to show how an Egyptologist forms a theory.

After checking it out, because he doesn’t believe it at first, the headache [Hittite] king sends a prince. The prince is murdered at the border. A government job, Bob says. This is only in the Hittite records, not Egyptian ones.

 He found the new berry [Newberry] ring in an antique with his shop. He didn’t have the money to buy it. He drew it. It showed Tutankhamen’s wife and Aye together. They were married. Was Aye the commoner Tutankhamen’s wife was afraid of? She disappears from history. Someone else bought the ring, so the question comes up:Did it even exist? It has never been heard of again.

Bob says: “it’s like a murder mystery only better!”

E19530AF-6CF8-4D8C-9C5E-A51D6AFD4DB5

A similar ring was later found. They were married, yes. It is in the Berlin Museum. Bob went to see it. But on the phone the curator did not know about it. Bob asked to speak to another curator. He did know about it. It’s because east and west Germany had just been reunited, and two museums made into one.

I’ve got to admit, Bob’s theory holds together. That guy killed him, and married his widow. But he says it’s just a theory, you shouldn’t take it as fact. He is from the Bronx, though. Bear that in mind.

Wow! Bob plans to go there himself to the tomb and check it out. He wants to excavate the mommy [mummy] again. Now they have CAT scans. Maybe stomach contents will tell him stuff . Maybe he has done these things by now. Best to check it out.

Lecture 24–Medicine

No Bob Brier will do one of what he calls his side trips, this time into medicine. Last time I think it was obelisks, how to make one, how to transport one, how to set up one.

The physicians are connected with the priest. Serving at different temples.

Writing is obviously an important invention. But for some reason the Egyptians didn’t write an awful lot of things. Not mummification. Not how to make pyramids. But they did write down their medicine.

Play toll [Plato] says Egyptians invented writing, the God toss [Toth], and it was a terrible invention. “Good old Play-Doh?” [Plato}

He says “now men will have the appearance of knowledge, but not true knowledge“. So you don’t have to have it in your head anymore. You’ve got it on papyrus, so you don’t need to know it. Apparently that’s his thought.

So there is a tradition that really important things, you don’t write down. And Plato was a student of Socrates, who never wrote anything down.

Three guards, [gods] he discusses the mall [them all], were associated with healing. You went to the temple for your healing. “It was like the clinic”

“Egypt was famous for his positions [physicians]” There are Greek inscriptions of ones who say they came, they asked the guard [god] for help, and they were cured.

Some think that Egyptian’s were so good at Madison [medicine] because they practice mummification, and that’s how you learn anatomy.

Bob himself doesn’t buy it, though. The priest and the bombers [embalmers] were of different classes. The embalmers kind of more slowly [lowly], they smelled, they reeked of chemicals.

They took all organs out through about a 2 inch opening in the abdomen, so you don’t really see too much that way. You don’t learn too much of anatomy that way.

The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus. Three options given physicians  that they can say. One. This is an illness that I will treat. To. This is an illness with which I will contend. Three. This is an illness that I will not treat. Saved face for the physicians, Bob says. There were illnesses you were supposed to walk away from.

The Edwin Smith surgical papyrus has instructions for 48 types of injuries. It mostly deals with physical injuries, breaks and so forth, that you might encounter building huge pyramids, moving huge blocks.

Another papyrus outlines 800 medical treatments. Spells, poultices,

Magical spells for blindness.  For “when the gods made me see night during the day”

If you had a lame foot, wrap it in a deer skin. The deer is fleet of foot. Maybe wrapping it around your foot will make you fleet of foot like the deer.

So there were two approaches. One was clinical, and one was magical, when the calls [cause] wasn’t known.

Go to Part 13

....Visit Smashwords bookstore.  Also available at Amazon & other ebook retailers.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of April 19, 2021

Weekend Meeting:

That speaker today—a young man. He was a single teen when I last worked with him in Sunday PM service. He’d come with his parents for his Dad’s public talk

When he and his wife thought he’d be moving, prior to Covid, I ended up storing an array of drums in my attic that had been stored in his.

3 scriptures from the speaker in short order & my wife says she has used all of them in service in the past 2 weeks:

Showing favor to the lowly is lending to God

The foolish one pays attention to every word

Treat others as you would want to be treated.

The overall theme is Psalm 19:7–“The law of Jehovah is perfect, bringing back the soul. The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy, making the inexperienced one wise.”

Watchtower Study: 

Someone cited the observation of how Mary’s participation in deep spiritual discussion with Jesus would have “shocked most Jewish men” of the time.

I remember working in a van with a group of five, and the sister driving knew how to mix 5 so everyone had equal turns with others, and I didn’t, yet she felt obliged that I should make those assignments. “Tell me what you want to do and I’ll bless it,” I said.

“A baptized son is not the head of his mother. (Eph. 6:1, 2)”

I remember the family that had done a work stint in Saudi Arabia describing the utter chaos, even delinquincy, that resulted when mothers were unable to discipline their teenage sons.

“With good intentions, an elder might think of himself as a fatherlike head...& reason that if a family head has the right to make rules to protect his family, an elder can make rules...” I’ve never heard it put that way, but I have seen it play out. A good point to set straight.

Faces blacked out on the Governing Body picture, because it’s not about them, someone said, but their assignment —illustrated by the world map overhead that was not blacked out. Well—I can recognize their profiles, though. These guys are all spottable jw.org days.

“Why should we respect the headship principle?” Contrast with the greater world, where everyone pushes to be head & the collective chaos that results, even though they be better educated, many of them.

“The article mention he [the husband] may well want to consult his wife before...” “May?!—he’d better!” says my wife—not to all on Zoom.

Midweek Meeting—Assigned Bible reading: Numbers 22-24

Finally Jehovah caused the donkey to speak: “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?...Am I not your donkey that you have ridden on all your life until today? Have I ever treated you this way before?” He has a point.

Someone said how there is free will, yet God “notices” when Balaam tries to act the way his will clearly is.

These are verses as though prophets almost come under a spell. I mean, Balaam doesn’t want to bless anyone. He wants to curse them. But his own words outmaneuver him each time.

It IS a little awkward getting the other person to read out loud. I always say it helps me to follow along.

Jade said she wasn’t about church, so maybe someone might thing a Bible verse wouldn’t wash. But she did say she was about promises.

Bandwidth problems! The internet crashes just before my wife’s student talk! It is restored, just in the nick of time—via someone else texting the conductor to wait a few seconds. Then turned to a hotspot.

When you are in prison, it is more about Jehovah helping you to keep positive outlook and find joy. The more we concentrate on what we had before, the more we suffer. The quicker we accept our new circumstances, the quicker our joy returns to us, along with the opportunity to make good use of the new circumstances.

Someone said the video is not meant to scare, but “it is just reality.”

“I heard how everyone came to meet you. I tried to imaging how cool it is to be loved, valued, and missed. For some, there is not enough of that in life. Take care of yourself, Dima.”

A sister with a checkered dress is sitting on a checkered cloth chair. It’s a good thing she is wearing a sweater to tell where one leaves off and the other begins.

“Do not put your trust in princes Nor in a son of man, who cannot bring salvation. His spirit goes out, he returns to the ground; On that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is the one who has the God of Jacob as his helper,” (psalm 146:3-4)

On the picture, someone says it is not one party vs another. It is all human government vs God’s Kingdom government.

What was the overall theme tonight? Wasn’t it that Jehohah’s will stands, despite opposition from —count em—Batak, Moab, Ammon, Nazi Germany, Russia, Egypt, Tyre—different examples appeared though the night.

A visitor recognized a few in the congregation. Big response when she did. Catching up on things before all in the breakout room. “How’s you mom?” “She died 5 years ago.”

The elderly sister whose grandson bought hives last year, which survived the winter, said—and I don’t think it was intentional—that “he’s buzzing all around here.”

 

 

 

 

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Taughannock Man, a Day at Taughannock Falls—With Special Guest Appearance by Bob Dylan

“It was a horrible, nasty, vicious piece of work,” hissed Andy Currant about Piltdown Man. But the reason it was horrible, nasty, and vicious is that it made his revered heroes look like fools. Had it been his enemies made to look foolish, he’d be singing its praises to this day, most likely. Scientists steeped in evolutionary thinking confirmed the prehistoric man was genuine. The fraud remained undetected for 40 years.

However, what is truly a horrible, nasty, and vicious piece of work is that nobody told me such dupes were to be found much closer to home—at nearby Cornell University. It took a trip to Taughannock Falls to break free from the blinders they’d all tried to fit me with. In 1879, local scientists, steeped in evolutionary thinking, had chipped a few small pieces loose from “Taughannock Man,” unearthed in by workmen widening a driveway, and had upon analysis declared the petrified man authentic. But it wasn’t authentic. It had been (literally) cooked up just weeks before in a local mechanic’s establishment, and was made of stone dust, eggs, minerals, iron filings and beef blood.

It had then been slipped in sideways though a tunnel. Tree limbs had been twisted about its neck, as though having grown there ages later. The dirt overhead, therefore, literally had been undisturbed for centuries, and this was among the circumstances that caused the Cornell experts to swoon that they, too, had discovered a prehistoric man—and right in their own back yard at that!

C46F34BE-D58B-423E-B18B-A3E49896DAEB

It took the cautious application of alcohol to uncover the ruse. Or maybe the incautious application of it. One of the local good ‘ol boys drank a little too much of it at the tavern and began boasting of how he and his chums had buried the stone giant just to fool the great men.

Fooling the great men does not appear to be the motivation, as it was with Piltdown Man in at least one of the several theories offered as to its creation. Taughannock Man was a straight-up publicity stunt, aimed to drum up business for the expanding Taughannock Hotel. That same year, its proprietor had hired a stuntman to tightrope-walk the adjacent gorge. It was a lavish hotel build next to lavish surroundings. Railroads dropped off visitors at the north and south ends of Cayuga Lake, steamboats took them to a landing point, and stagecoaches took them to the hotel, which—alas—burned to the ground in 1922. If there is one common feature of magnificent historical wood buildings, it is that they burn to the ground,

The main attraction of Taughannock State Park is Taughannock Falls. You can see it from the visitor center on the northern rim of the gorge (built upon the site of the old hotel—a display legend indicates the location of an excavated wall), but for best results, you hike the easy 3/4 mile trail up the gorge from the main park entrance. The cliff walls close in upon you from either side and in due course you are just before the falls and looking up, not down as you would be from the visitor center. The water drops 215 feet, making Taughonnock Falls the largest single-drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. It drops further than Niagara Falls.

8116391E-0157-4046-AC93-DA2FAFEA75D8

0E850679-0BAA-4E7F-BEF1-5E5AD44791E5

Besides the Park display legend, I found two other sources telling of the Taughannock Man hoax. One is a bland nostalgic piece from the Ithaca Times, gently chuckling at the outrageous old days that could never happen again because we are so much smarter. The other, from lifeinthefingerlakes.com, leaves open the possibility that it could happen all over again because we are just as dumb as we have always been. The bland piece even seeks to cushion the great men from Cornell University, saying their analysis yielded “decidedly mixed results.” But the fingerlakes piece and the park legend both say that they swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

We are just as likely to fall for such pranks again—not the same ones, for we have been forewarned, and it will take a while for that forewarning to wear off—but different ones that we have not been (lately) forewarned against. Pride will blind us. Greed will blind us. Ideology will blind us. Some of today’s realities are yesterday’s conspiracy theories. Are we really to believe that none of today’s conspiracy theories will become tomorrow’s realities?

Gullibility is old and its not going away. Bob Brier, the Egyptologist, tells how pharaohs never recorded their defeats (so, of course, no one else dared to do so either). They only recorded their victories. He relates the exploits of one pharaoh who recorded victory after glorious victory! each one closer to his home base (because he was retreating).

With regard to the evolution theory, the Jehovah’s Witness organization appears to have no problem with “micro-evolution.” It is macro they choke on. Of course, they do not champion either, since that is neither their specialty nor mission, but micro, which is not all that different from animal husbandry, the stuff of what Darwin observed on the island, they can let stand without throwing stones at. It is the “kinds” of Genesis. They even invited Michael Behe over to talk shop.

Taughannock Man, along with the more famous Piltdown Man, is clearly macro. Piltdown is rightly more famous, because with it there was no town drunk to spill the beans within weeks, and the great men were fooled for forty years. However, in an effort to save face, they have declared that they were not fooled at all, they were not that dumb, that they smelled a rat almost from the beginning.

If so, this makes it worse. It replace gullible with fraud, for they said nothing about it. Moreover, it is contemptuous fraud, the sort that rt.com resorts to when reporting on Jehovah’s Witnesses, when whatever reporting they present takes place amidst of backdrop of religious crazies doing truly crazy, bizarre, pugilistic, cultish things that have nothing to do with Jehovah’s Witnesses, as anyone who knows the slightest bit about them will instantly attest. (chapter 13 of this work)  In the case of the evolutionist fraudsters, it is: “Tell the dummies anything you must to keep them on board—who cares if it is true or not.”

Thus it becomes necessary, as it so often is with me, to bring in Bob Dylan with what started as a joke. Explaining a metaphor to Evo-Ann that any child would instantly understand, it reached the point of my posting a tree fallen across the road with the comment that it was blocking “Evolution Row.”

8752FEEC-C59B-46C3-95C4-10D233135AA1

Sometimes something gets in your head and you knock it around a bit and come up with more. “Evolution Row” is actually not a bad interpretation of the song “Desolation Row.” Take this portion:

At midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew

Come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do

Then they bring them to the factory where the heart-attack machine

Is strapped across their shoulders and then the kerosene

Is brought down from the castles by insurance men who go

Check to see that nobody is escaping to Desolation Row.

Anyone familiar with the Bible, as Dylan is—he did a stint as a born-again Christian; listen to Slow Train Coming, for example, and you’ll see he is thoroughly familiar with scripture—will know who is “all the agents and the superhuman crew.”

At the darkest time, they round up everyone “who knows more than they do.” Well, nobody knows more than does the “superhuman crew,” so it must be a reference to those who think that they they know more than others, who think that are very smart indeed, and that take great pleasure in parading their knowledge before everyone else, quick to disparage anyone in their path, ones who don’t suffer fools gladly—and a fool is anyone who disagrees with them.

Despite their self-heralded knowledge, they are “rounded up” and processed, as though in a “factory.” The knowledge that they take such pride in is nevertheless death-dealing, like a “heart attack machine strapped across their shoulders,” with “kerosene” thrown in for good measure. 

Despite their knowledge being death-dealing—settling for a few dozen years lifespan at best and then eternal blackness—nobody must escape this tripe. “Insurance men” see to it. Nobody will escape from Evolution Row. (Dylan actually wrote “to Desolation Row,” not “from Desolation Row,” but it was probably a typo and I will set him straight when I see him next.) Let us not forget that the evolution teaching (in its full measure—not counting the intelligent design variety) is desolation to the Bible based hope of living forever on a paradise earth.

No, I don’t really think Dylan had that in mind. Other stanzas don’t so readily lend themselves to that interpretation. But it’s not a bad interpretation all the same. Dylan often writes in a stream of consciousness and doesn’t necessarily have any underlying message. It’s like decrypting Kafka. The tone is distinct, but the underlying words can be taken any number of ways. He is not inclined to pose as a great man with deep underlying meanings he is cryptically recording for all of humanity if they can but prove their worth by unraveling the message. Naw. He describes himself more like a modern Aaron, who throws stuff into the fire and “out came this calf.” (Exodus 32:24)

To see the Taughannock Giant, if your interest is peaked, you might think you could find it somewhere within Cornell, since it plays a part in that university’s history, even if an inglorious one. However, they red-facededly want nothing to do with it. The baked giant can be seen at the History Center of Tompkins County. Docents there probably retrieved it from Cornell’s dumpster.

 

....Visit Smashwords bookstore.  Also available at Amazon & other ebook retailers.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Live Tweets from Ancient Egypt: Part 9

Great Courses, Bob Brier, tweets composed and sent while dog-walking. AI screwups corrected in brackets

For continuity, start with Part 1:

Queen heavy [Hatshepsut—I’ll render it right from now on] . 12 years old, royal blood. The one who married her, Todd most the second, [Thutmosis II—I’ll do this right as well, and even the other names] reigns as king for 20 years. Then talk most third [Thutmosis III—sorry] rains. [reigns]

Eventually, Hatshepsut herself begins to rain [reign] not as queen, but as king. Where’s [Wears] the false beard of authority, the hieroglyphic on her to him [tomb] reveals. Tied the beard on with chin straps.

The tallest obelisk still standing in Egypt, go to car next [Karnak] temple to see them. Hatshepsut  has them in hieroglyphic on her tomb. They weighed 250 tons. Transported by 27 barges on the Nile, quarried and S one.

The Pharaoh was always associated with Forrest [Horus], the falcon God. Hatshepsut was the female falcon. Ruled as a king, but did not hide that she was a woman.

Did Hatshepsut usurp the throne from her stepson?

The theory goes that she did, and upon her death, the stepson ruled again, became very great, and in anger he raised [erased] her name from her own tomb, substituting he, his father, and his brother.

Bob Hatshepsut doesn’t buy the theory. Had her name was a raced, [erased] but not till 20 years after the stepson began raining. [reigning] Maybe they just wanted to erase traces of a woman raining. [reigning]

Send bought [Senemut] appears, after Hatshepsut becomes a widow. Very close, were they lovers? A successful commoner, with many titles, overweight, which was a good thing in Egypt, Bob says. It means you could eat.

A pornographic relief suggest that people were talking, the workmen on break from sun, in another cool tomb, produce a porn drawing of the two carrying on. Bob describes it. Will I, on this family blog? No

Look on the kings list and you will not findHatshepsut. All traces of her erased. Maybe to cover up that one of the kings was a woman?

End of lecture 17 on Hatshepsut. Start lecture 18, on obelisk.

Obelisk comes from the Greek word for meat skewer! That’s how it gets its name.

Heliopolis, Helio, son, polis, city, is the same as the biblical On. The most obelisk ever in that city, today there is but one. And one more, if you count the one of heavy, which is wild them.be

Here Bob defines electrons, [electrum] used in the obelisk. I read it so often in the Bible. Not quite knowing what it is, it is a mixture of gold and silver.

Now Bob  Brier will discuss how to quarry and erect and obelisk. Start with granite. Aswan granite, at Egypt’s southern border.

How big were they? And unfinished one atS one [atd Aswan] weighs over 1000 tons. As big as two jumbo jets

Pounding out the obelisk, with dolomite balls, keep dropping them and they eventually chip away, it is a job probably reserved for prisoners, Bob Brier says. He’s pretty sure no one wanted the job.

Bob has used these balls. Hard work. Your lungs were filled with granite dust. And then swinging them sideways to pound out caves, so as to separate the obelisk from the earth.

Put on rollers roll to barges float them down the Nile. I don’t know. I suppose, but it’s a lot of work. No Egyptian records of this, by the way. No papyri. It is all the speculation of later historians.

After slanting it on a ramp, tie ropes to the top and pull it with “lots of guys“ to get it upright.

Now I recall the objections to theories of building the pyramids. They mostly revolve around physics, moving that much mass. Ramps supposedly would crumble under the weight. ...1/2

Nor could that weight be pushed up ramps by sheer manpower. No matter how many guys. Don’t know if Bob will come back to this topic. Maybe he has already dealt with it...2/2

Trivia question: what city in the world has more obelisks than any other? Rome. 13. Augustus moved two obelisks from Heliopolis in 10 BC.

What holds them in place? Gravity alone, Bob Brier says.

Paris has an obelisk, a gift, give it an 1830. England has two, in London, in 1877. One of them was lost at sea. Another vessel came along and claimed that, then negotiated its return. 

Bob says if he could make a feature movie, it would be the one of the obelisk coming to New York. After London got theirs, New York said they needed one too. William Vanderbilt paid for it. “Go orange [Gorringe] was a really cool guy“ says Bob Breir of the one put in charge of transport. Tons of obstacles, And he overcame them all.

Gorringe bought a transport ship cheap from the bank robbed [bankrupted] Egyptian post office, opened it up, rolled the obelisk onboard over cannonballs, contended with alcoholic Yugoslav crew.

Sailed to New York. Refused to pay outrageous landing they demanded, landed at 96 street. Transported the obelisk to Central Park, made just a block all day. Bob Brier wishes he was a kid at that time, to see it.

Bob says you should go to New York and see it in Central Park. It’s right behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gorringe wrote a book about his exploits. Should I seek it out?

Bob thanks I will list [obelisks] are just as great achievement as the pyramids, but in a different way.

 

Go to Part 10

....Visit Smashwords bookstore.  Also available at Amazon & other ebook retailers.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)