The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Building worlds

My IQ is almost certainly not as high as Nick Land's. This means I rarely understand what's he's going on about, especially when he's talking futurism. Still, I did - I think - understand his conclusion here: Our species is about to start building worlds. If we don’t take that seriously, our seriousness is very much in question.

These new virtual worlds will matter to the extent that well-respected people accept that the worlds are true. Or at least that this or that world be more true than is the world which our teachers have been assuring us is true - the world of Progress.

I somewhat made the point in House of War that, as of AD 600, the Jewish and Christian storytellers had already built a world. They had agreed upon a common history in which, to give one instance, some dude called Noah rescued this whole planet on board an ark. Well, okay, maybe that's not fair. That's just the Bible. How about the stories of Solomon binding up demons, or Jesus giving life to clay pigeons? If you want to read what this shared-world looked like as of AD 800, read Gordon Newby's The Making of the Last Prophet. Trust me, it looks very different from what you've been learning from history books.

Between AD 600 and 800, some rather important events occurred in that general location. And a new doctrine was accepted there, which made more sense of the shared-world of the Near East than did the mere secular logic of the Hellenes.

So, back to today. What rough beast slouches . . .


posted by Zimri on 21:52 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Where all da orc women at

This exists an ongoing critique of Tolkien, that his low-grade orcs are all doodz. It's been brought up again in the runup to "Shadow of Mordor". The authors, I think, have punted.

I do not blame The Lord of the Rings for avoiding all this. I've said for some time: that story revolves about Saruman. This one is a Maia sorceror who lacks Sauron's power - even without the Ring. The white wizard's Uruk-Hai, accordingly, aren't orcs. They are genetically-created mutants. The Uruk-Hai very probably cannot breed true; and anyway Saruman wouldn't trust one to do so if it could, so if one with female characteristics did emerge from the pits of Isengard, it/she would be put down straightaway. Given that, Return of the King is just Part Three of a two-part series. It doesn't matter what Sauron throws at the good-guys; the part that mattered is done.

However: the fact of Uruk-Hai existing does not exclude the continuing existence of the common orc, whose DNA formed the mutants' base stock. How do orcs breed? Since "Shadow of Mordor" really is about this breed of orcs, the question actually matters here.

Here, we get into Saruman's forebears: Sauron (with Ring), and Morgoth. Morgoth had first created orcs from a tribe of Elves waylaid from their odyssey West: the so-called "dark elves" (whom we never meet, and are presumed extinct). Morgoth was powerful enough that he had no concern about limiting and controlling the orkish ranks; Morgoth wasn't the servant of evil, he was Evil. Sauron his successor worked with the tools he'd inherited. During the career of the latter, the cycle alludes to an offstage event where orcs capture Elrond's wife Celebrian and "torment" her, so she leaves Middle Earth and her husband. A torment which estranges woman and man means -

So, now we know that "male" has a meaning with the orc species. Also we can suspect that these orcs breed true with elves. Lastly, we know that even if the latter happens, it doesn't happen with elves' consent and it is in any case far too rare to account for the swarms we read about.

All this tl;dr means that orc women exist. What can we say about them?

An orc woman would have to be such as to spawn large amounts of orc men. She would also be such a one as to help raise orc boys to be like orc men. In deriving the character of orkish manhood, Tolkien drew upon his experiences in combat during the first World War; the "Shadow of Mordor" guys have further delved into Western prison societies.

It's an open question how Tolkien would see his orkish females; Spartan women is a thought... but. The common orc didn't have anything like that degree of discipline. One might make that case for Uruk-Hai were they not mutants.

For "Shadow of Mordor" orc women, one should look into the underclass which creates men who enter those prisons. We would be dealing with Alpha Game society writ large: women who mate with the strongest. There would be no such thing as an orkish marriage; just an informal notion that this guy's harem wasn't to be tampered with.

As for sexual dimorphism: One constraint on dimorphism would be that some women could also fight, mainly to protect her own children against half-brothers and step-fathers. Another one would be that orkish violence and crime would keep female-to-male ratios high. So I expect dimorphism to be higher than it is among Men, but not by much. It would however be notably higher than that among Elves.


posted by Zimri on 20:24 | link | 0 comments

So, World Cup 2014

Let's all have a moment of silence for the compulsive gamblers in Asia.


posted by Zimri on 16:49 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sandra and Woo

I was wondering why Jim The Sith Lord liked the webcomic Sandra and Woo.

I'd found this comic some years ago, and thought its artistry was at least worth hitting the "back" button to check it out from the start. But I quit early on. The anti-hunting nonsense was there, which culminated of course in the white "8 Mile Road" (you can put 'em all in whiteface, but we know you're still being racist dude). And then we had the global-warming stuff (which is where I dropped off). If all that hadn't driven me away, this cowardly removal of comments sure would have - apparently the author's smug, witless Bismarckism on healthcare had attracted "trolls".

But then I saw this.

Well, as Jim points out, you better catch S & W whilst you can. Because its authors are Nice People, who want to be politically-incorrect enough to salvage their audience but not so politically-incorrect that the Upworthy swarms will descend upon them. This is, says Jim, what did for Sinfest.


posted by Zimri on 23:32 | link | 0 comments

Living on Mars (and beyond)

I just found out that in 2011 Robert Zubrin put out a second edition of his 1996 work The Case for Mars. I didn't buy it in the late 1990s as I assumed it would be swiftly dated (and we're all agreed by now that I was right). I did, between 1996 and 2011, purchase How To Live On Mars - among the most enjoyable and informative books on general planetology I've ever read. So, given that Zubrin is rewriting his past books, I have some feedback to offer for this more "popular" and unedited effort.

Some are nitpicks, like when he mocks carbon-monoxide at page 72 (as a fuel) just before he gets into how useful the chemical is (as an ingredient) at pp. 74, 81, 82, 84. The underlying problem is perhaps the lack of an index; although, admittedly, since the conceit of this book is that it comes to us from the future, and from a high-energy / low-resource planet at that, its narrator was assuming that his book came to us via PDF. I am hoping his earthly editor prints an index for dead-tree dinosaurs like myself.

There is a more important miss where our narrator has no clue about nylon. Nylon is used to make threads that will work at room-to-moderate-high temperature. Nylons can be used for clothes which work much better than the trash-bag residue he recommends at pp. 76-7; they should also work for reinforcing brick at pp. 97-9, if not well-heated brick.

On topic of fabrics, I'm thinking that hemp and (for richer markets) cotton might be a good use of human- / animal-generated fertiliser at p. 97. For Martian life generally, humans will have to beware of Mars's low surface phosphorous. But this does exist in the mantle, so its might be extricable from volcanic formations and perhaps the northern lowlands.

Zubrin's biggest potential rewrite will be that later chapter on "how to invest your savings" which asks us to envision asteroid-mining. He chose Ceres (p. 131; 2.77 AU). Vesta is closer (2.36). Vesta also, conveniently, both has differentiated and has lost its crust. All that means the good stuff at its mid-mantle may be easily mined from it. The complaint at p. 128-9 that there is "nothing to eat" on the M asteroids also doesn't hold for C-type Ceres. It does hold for the V class headed by, you guessed it, Vesta. Again, Zubrin has made his case that Mars is a potential base for mining the closer-in rocks. But Ceres is a poor choice for the scope of this book. It may well get its own colonies.


posted by Zimri on 12:00 | link | 0 comments

Two armed female models

The righteous and good are inviting us to define the difference.

The American is backed by a flag with fifty stars on it. Now that the nation has its fifty, it is not going to go out and add more. It is in fact more likely the flag will lose stars in my lifetime. As for the holy book she's holding, this has nothing to do with the flag; as it happens the Constitution behind that flag expressly forbids religious tests for office.

The Gazan, on the other hand, is not in front of a Gazan flag. She stands in front of a green / white / black flag which promises that there is no other mode of thought than that of the Qur'an. This Gazan is not a Gazan patriot, not even a "Palestinian". She is a Muslim(a). UPDATE 3 PM: Read the map.

Gee, that was easy.

PS. to the hipsters at Know Your Meme who think they're so clever by mocking "both sides" - get bent.


posted by Zimri on 11:16 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Shabab's Anglophone mujahidun

Jihadwatch - Kenya: 29 dead.

The group responsible, al-Shabâb, despite its Arabic name started out as a Somali outfit. The lines of communication in this atrocity weren't carried out in Somali; they were in English, with some Arabic. The leader was described as "white".

So, these Somalis were a tight-knit group of Anglophone Somalis. We do find such men in higher echelons of Somali society. But they don't fight jihad under some random white guy. Alternately, we find them among immigrants / emigrants who pass through Anglophone cities. Look to a city with lots of Somalis who know each other.

And their White Wizard would be someone who didn't give a shit about Somalia, but did care something of Islam and did wish to speak a language his troops would understand. Maybe in the Congo the locals wouldn't know from a European and a South Asian. But this is East Africa. If the leader was a Pakistani they'd say so. And if the Kenyans thought the ringleader was speaking in any other accent but British, also, they'd say so.

I think we're dealing here with Minneapolis troops; English convert leader.


posted by Zimri on 19:17 | link | 0 comments

The conversion of hinterland northeast Africa to Islam

Per Juliette Ochieng, who should know: The Luo weren't Muslim and they're mostly still not Muslim. The Obama family has names like "Barak" and "Husayn" only because they converted a few generations ago.

It was also rather late that northern Sudan converted. The Sennar made the switch in 1523, apparently under Amara Dunqas. The Somalis in Mogadishu, though, did have a sultanate by the 900s AD.

Going Muslim generally followed the trade-routes, at least in Asia. If the despot of some island or port-city went Muslim, he could then immediately arrest his enemies and sell them as slaves. He'd never see them again. He also - more to the point - got some measure of protection against being enslaved himself. Lastly if he had a real problem from rival nations, he could summon other Muslims on a jihad. (But this would only be a last resort; he wouldn't want a bunch of Chechens sailing over and usurping his whole damn nation.)


posted by Zimri on 18:20 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Senate Conservative Fund's stretch-goal

Very quickly, the McDaniel legal fund has already beat the original goal of $50k. The next-stage goal is, apparently, $75k. I don't know how much they exactly need anymore... which is now raising a small flag. Despite this, that little circle is all green which means, the circle is still based on the old goal.

This smells like overly-helpful software. The Senate Conservative Fund needs to fix that before someone thinks they're moving goalposts. Elsewhere they do have a list of endorsements for at least two good candidates, Rob Maness and Joni Ernst - Maness being probably the one in more need of help.

Interested conservatives will want to shift some dough the candidates' way directly instead of via the S.C.F. This until we get some answers about what's going on with that legal fund.

UPDATE 8:35 PM MST: They fixed the graph - it's now, yes, tagged to $75k. (Interesting to watch this in near real-time.) So they did intend to move the goal. I still don't know why. The money will be nice to have, it always is; but what would the extra money buy them?

UPDATE 7/6 3:23 PM: They're about to meet that $75k goal too and are now aiming at $100k. Er...


posted by Zimri on 20:27 | link | 0 comments

Danielle Allen is a liar

Allen is right that the Declaration is at odds with property rights (I'd add: and therefore, with liberty). She is wrong in interposing that comma, which would neuter "pursuit of happiness" into a pursuit of happiness benevolently overseen by God-Emperor Obama. Protein Wisdom has beaten me to it, so, I'll link him first. He notes that the comma doesn't actually do what Allen wants it to do. I have more points to add.

First, I'm not conceding anything to Allen that I haven't already. The Declaration never had a comma between that pair of clauses and this is why: it is a propaganda rant. Such rants have certain rules. Among them is the Rule Of Threes. Take this:

  1. Life
  2. Liberty
  3. Property

Then, take Jefferson:

  1. Life
  2. Liberty
  3. Pursuit of Happiness

The rot is starting to seep in (I repeat: I am not on Jefferson's side, so I am unbiased). Now, here's Allen:

  1. Life
  2. Liberty
  3. Pursuit of Happiness (that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed)

This reads like an insurance-company lawyer wrote it. Who'd fight in that war?

There's more. Jefferson's opener for all of this is we hold these truths to be self-evident. Then, since bullet-points are not practical in a propaganda rant, our orator creates some - they're instantiated with the word "that". So we have: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. After the two clauses which Allen's putative comma conjoins, we have: that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it (etc). Immediately after Allen's comma, note, appears another that. So it's a bullet point too. Not only does "pursuit of happiness" end and the need to secure rights begin, but the need to secure rights jumps in with a bang. In war, the first casualties are stupid commas . . .

My second point is just that Danielle Allen is bought and paid for. Danielle has done pretty well for herself by telling the other white people what they want to hear. She is getting half-million dollar grants and the opportunity to hobnob with Michelle Obama. So: she has motive to invent punctuation and, hell, whole sentences where none existed nor were intended.

Lastly, Danielle Allen has a history of self-justifying her choices on specious moral grounds. She claims she got turned off conservatives because of the racism and sexism at the National Review - you know, those despicable racists and sexists who first hired her. I must concede that William Buckley would, the next year, go on to fire Joseph Sobran - who actually was an antisemite. So it's certain she heard some antisemitism there; possible, some racism and sexism too. But it wasn't from the high-ups; it wasn't from the actual thinkers. Besides, her dad William Barclay Allen, by definition of being her dad, had grown up a generation earlier. I reckon he'd heard much worse than she did. But I'm sure the other National Review guys, after the leg up they gave her, appreciate the view under that bus after she's kicked them all in the face. (Cue the next internal NR purge and apology.)

(Side note here, upon what I personally appreciate: it's being lectured about privilege and equality by the daughter of a Reagan protégé. Oh boo hoo, when they passed in the hallway John Derbyshire gave her mistrustful looks. Try working for a living. Try "awareness", "ethics", and "diversity" seminars which unanimously target whites and men; imagine that it's not just your peers and your boss setting their bigotries against you, but your HR department. I suppose we deserve it. But the nature of wheels is, they turn...)

The Declaration is the barn wall in Animal Farm. Danielle Allen is playing the part of Squealer the Pig.


posted by Zimri on 18:32 | link | 0 comments

Support Chris McDaniel

If you find election donations to be a waste of money and voting a waste of time, I don't blame you. Lately everyone who donated and voted for Chris McDaniel has been defrauded by a cynical end-run to non-Republicans who had often, in fact, already exercised their electoral rights as Democrats.

Take it away, Dr Spank at Ace:

Mississippi Dems admit Team Cochran wanted help stealing the election : http://tinyurl.com/ow6ndgw
Report exposes Dems and Repubs who funded Cochran's racist hate campaign in MS : http://tinyurl.com/qxjzjkc

So - how about making a contribution... that you know will matter?

The Clarion-Ledger has directed me to McDaniel's Election Challenge Fund. I put in fifty bucks. (I kind of had to.)

UPDATE: Here's why it matters: because, as of now, Cochran's "lead" has already shrunk from 7000 to 3000. And they weren't even allowed into all the stations, and they're only checking the crossovers. Say the challenge succeeds - we get a conservative into the Senate, and we detach some horns off the Republicans In Name Only caucus. It also will keep certain of the other races honest - like Maness and Ernst and, apparently, Wolf and Sasse. If the case loses we've at least kept the shenanigans in the spotlight for some crucial weeks.


posted by Zimri on 17:57 | link | 0 comments

They come to conquer

American flag burned on the Fourth, says Breitbart.

I wouldn't put it past them. A lot of teen-to-twenty gangbangers have come across in this Childrens' Crusade. And these activists have done this before.

Anyway, for all the Declaration's airy words - the invaders have no intention of living under equality between them and us. And why should they? They have Wille zu Macht; American citizens don't.


posted by Zimri on 17:13 | link | 0 comments

Over-eager Darwinists

Vox Day has a thing against bullshit, and is fairly good at detecting it. Not long ago he sniffed some of that in Greg Bear's book Darwin's Radio. I actually read this book, thirteen years back, and referred to it here so. . .

Now, I don't remember much of this book, but I do remember that "punctuated equilibrium" was its point. Bear knew, as Stephen Gould knew, that sometimes there are abrupt shifts in the very nature of biotic populations. These "puncture" such equilibria which had, for instance, kept trilobites trundling along for so long with little competition. The problem behind Bear's book is that no-one knows why humans had shifted so quickly from ape to Neanderthal, and (apparently) from Neanderthal to urban civilisation (65,000 years). There exist hypotheses, sure; there always do. But they're not easy to falsify. That means they're not science.

Enter the SF authors. Greg Bear figured that the shift might have been a DNA retrovirus, or whatever the sciency term is. (He'd lifted this notion from the bone fever / fat death in Brian Aldiss's 1980s work.) The problem thus solved, Bear was free to get on with flaming those yokels who hate Darwin. I guess.

Bear's book shows several symptoms of bullshit: the Just So Story, and the abuse delivered upon the deniers. Vox Day, who does not have "dummy" on the list of insults which may be leveled against him, called Bear on his crap.

Which is not to say that Vox Day is wholly right. He has some just-so stories and some abusive comments of his own. Also... nowadays, we can say that some of the genetic traits which make up Modern Man aren't just 65,000 years old. Some of the traits drifted in from Neanderthals and Denisovans. Which means they had many more hundreds of thousands of years up on Modern Man. Divine intervention not so required. Side issue though.

What does matter - as Vox Day points out - is here is unmasked a "hard" SF author peddling Not Even Wrong solutions for problems, and then insulting those people who demand more. Ironically that iconic atheist and liberal, Carl Sagan, was much kinder to science-skeptics in his own novel Contact. Would that Greg Bear had followed Sagan's example.


posted by Zimri on 14:37 | link | 0 comments

The Denisovan gene in Tibet

Now that politics is out of the way, let's get back to race...

A few years ago a small and ancient bone was found in Denisova, a cave in Siberia. This bone was thought to be Neanderthal at first; it contained a large cluster of DNA for testing - which proved it something(s) else again. We now know it as a mongrel of at least two human subspecies, none seen before; of which the greater portion was tagged "Denisovan". (It was later that the other contributions were distinguished. But I think that the truly distinct "Denisovan" DNA may be triangulated, for instance from this other hybrid.)

Denisovan DNA was quickly found in Polynesia. Later, trace amounts were seen elsewhere in East Asia. It now turns out the Tibetans have a Denisovan gene that means something.

It has to do with red blood cells, which are iron-based and carry oxygen (in the form of rust) from the lungs to elsewhere. Most modern humans, including other high-altitude peoples like Peruvians, have the obvious genetic "hack" to get around low-oxygen environs: we increase red blood cell production. I imagine it's helpful underwater. It's definitely helpful for getting up hills... assuming we'd be descending them again in the short term.

But if we were to LIVE on the Tibetan plateau, our red blood count would STAY that high. And if we've any arterial blockage at all, eventually those red blood cells will get into a logjam. Most likely we'd stroke out. I've read elsewhere that miscarriages are common at high altitude as well.

For whatever reason the Denisovans never developed that "hack", or else lost it (on this I hope the researchers're still researching). It would appear that a Denisovan relic population climbed up into Tibet - whither they were followed, by Asian relatives to the Chinese. There were vanishingly few crossovers between these two peoples, by comparison with other Asians like the proto-Austrasians. But at least one couple passed on the "Denisovan downshift" of this DNA chain which allowed their children to survive up there. And their children developed other mutations to handle the reduced oxygen in other ways (they're definitely researching this much).


posted by Zimri on 12:15 | link | 0 comments

Tancredo speaks

Tom Tancredo: the good loser of Colorado. h/t Vic.

He blames himself for his loss (as he should, because his tally really wasn't that great), and endorses the winner Bob Beauprez (whose tally also wasn't a technical majority). He does this by way of distinguishing Beauprez from cheats like Cochran and sneaks like Cantor. He also doesn't namecheck Gardner - directly, or indirectly via Buck.

So I still won't be voting for Gardner. Beauprez, though, is worth a second look. As Tancredo points out and as we keep having to relearn, even an insufficient harrumph at the wrong time will get you tagged. Beauprez is tainted - which means he's got nowhere else to go but us.


posted by Zimri on 11:26 | link | 0 comments

Friday, July 04, 2014

The meme machine

Facebook users are being toyed with. In 2011ish I left Facebook with extreme prejudice (as opposed to my normal state of prejudice). But although I'm not affected... others were still left there.

So: anyone notice how powerful memes have become lately? I mean, under Bush I suppose there was that goofy stem-cell nontroversy which failed to get Kerry elected. But then we had, you know, Obama.

And lately we’ve had a wholesale redefinition (destruction) of the institution of marriage. It was like I woke up one morning and suddenly all the Prii and Subarus had those purple / yellow “=” stickers. And then people started losing their jobs and getting (successfully) sued for not stepping-to.

I feel like the whole country has become a Milgram Experiment (and I should know). Maybe this warping of Facebook has had a part in it.


posted by Zimri on 19:52 | link | 0 comments

The Fourth of July and the end of liberty

[bumped from 29 July. Freedom, freedom, freedom; oy.]

It has long been NRx's observation that the Declaration of Independence is no such thing, at least not if you define independence as liberty. The document argues for the end of America's then lawful hierarchy. Ultimately it overturns any hierarchy. The document supports instead equality - and equality cannot coexist with liberty. The Declaration's thesis rests at base upon a self-evident falsehood. (Often this observation is attributed to Calhoun.)

The pushback against the Declaration starts with governor Thomas Hutchinson. (I'd call him the Edmund Burke of America but, Burke came late to this party and tied himself up in knots over it.) More recently, with the benefit of hindsight, blogger Radish has pointed out that the end result of the Declaration wasn't our Constitution. It was Shays' Rebellion; across the pond, Robespierre (which is when Burke finally stumbled over his earlier idiocy).

It was the event of Shays which forged that Constitution - in reaction. The States retreated from the Declaration, and instituted some executive and oligarchic prerogatives.

The Left is well aware of all this - and always has been. The Abolitionists learnt to hate the document and burned it. FDR had his Four Freedoms, two of them antiConstitutional. The latest effort in that vein is Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality by Danielle Allen. Allen's main difference with us is that she thinks continual revolution is awesome; where we know it poses a problem.

Whether or not we on the Right support constitutional republicanism, we should agree on this much: the fourth of July is to be held on par with a celebration of the Communist Manifesto. A Constitution Day would be better.


posted by Zimri on 10:00 | link | 0 comments

Thursday, July 03, 2014

D'Souza: propagandist for the Lincoln League

I bought tickets to 2016 and saw it and approved it. (I should buy that classic and watch it again, so that I can say more about it - but that's not the subject of this post here.) Lately the director Dinesh D'Souza has another documentary out, America. It is not like to do the same business as did the former one.

On a personal level, I am not unlike D'Souza and Obama. I too am a transplanted foreigner of British culture, who came to America by way of an Oriental and/or fringe-African culture. We can also here cite Naipaul, Ibn Warraq and even Rushdie. Because of my background 2016 spoke to me, like few documentaries do. And even where 2016 couldn't, I saw where it had Obama's number. But that was different.

I don't think his new effort is going to work. Part of that is because of the reviews, sure... and the reviewers do trend Left. Look at how they all rally behind that stupid movie "Snowpiercer" (which no American is watching). There could be another reason: a case of the falling camel attracting knives.

For D'Souza's new camel sports a severe limp. Our director can talk about the ex-colonial experience but he doesn't, still, truly, understand the "United" States. He still thinks that the Declaration of Independence was something other than a pack of lies to rally a mob. He still doesn't understand that the Confederacy had its own reasons - good reasons - for rebelling against a Lincolnist coup.

This is because D'Souza is an Indian and he sees the Indian state as a parallel to Lincoln's Republican Union. Gandhi is his Washington; the Pakistan is his Confederacy. What D'Souza is not, is an American. So when he discusses American history, he really can't speak to the American experience. People like D'Souza should (try to) approach America as I (try to) approach Islam - and America: with dispassion.


posted by Zimri on 22:51 | link | 0 comments

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

For whom to vote?

Terri Land. Tim Scott. Tom Cotton. Joni Ernst. Thom Tillis. Mike Rounds. Joe Miller and Rob Maness (if either wins the primary). Whoever wins the primary in Georgia. Certain of the sacrificial lambs, like Jeff Bell and Allen Weh. And Steve Daines, just because the Libertarian Party has thrown a ringer into that race, which they only do when the bipartisan Establishment fears the opposition.

I used this list.

Lastly and most importantly: Chris McDaniel. "This can't stand."


posted by Zimri on 18:48 | link | 0 comments

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Khalidi on Jesus's oral tradition

Tarif Khalidi in his book The Muslim Jesus noted several parallels in Jesus's sayings in Christianity to the same Prophet's sayings in Islam. (My review here: "a COEXIST sticker taped over sura 3".)

That populariser of Oriental culture and of nonWest Christianity Philip Jenkins has got hold a copy, apparently recently. Robert Spencer has run across Jenkins's article; and, amongst other critiques, asks: If such words were treasured by Eastern Christian monks and hermits, and only some but presumably not all Christian monks and clergy accepted Islam, why is there no trace of these sayings in Eastern Christian traditions? I think Spencer's being rhetorical.

There survive MANY traces of these sayings in Eastern Christian traditions as they existed as of Arabic literacy 650-850 AD. This is all that matters for the thesis of Jenkins (and of Khalidi). Per Jenkins's article: Sayings that did not find their way into the canonical text continued to float free as agrapha, “unwritten,” or unrecorded. We know them because they appear frequently in quotations by early Church leaders, or in alternate manuscript readings of the New Testament. Many of those Church leaders were Near Eastern. I'd personally start with Clement of Alexandria and work my way thence.

On topic of agrapha: Alfred Resch, Agrapha: Aussercanonische Evangelienfragmente notes plenty of those instances recorded by the Patristic authors. This was a second-hand preservation of apocrypha, sure; but for Jenkins it is enough to put those sayings into the hands of contemporaries to Islam.

I agree that Jenkins oversteps where he posits that the Muslims had pre-Gospel sources ("Q") directly. But even here he isn't entirely wrong, that Christian agrapha in Islam weren’t all second-hand. Take “The Gospel of Peter”: its best (Egyptian) manuscript dates to the Islamic era (we’re all talking about the written copies, not the original composition). The “Diatesseron” as well is widely considered to be the version of the Injil extant in Arabia at the time (although this one, I’ll grant, had slipped out of orthodox circles by then). A little more googling would certainly uncover more examples.

None of this is to imply that Jenkins is right overall. As for the monks he noted who embraced Islam - that much, is not a credit to those monks but an indictment. Spencer elsewhere flags several other points where Jenkins goes full-kumbaya. You never go full kumbaya.


posted by Zimri on 19:14 | link | 0 comments

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cory Gardner the windbag

I just now went to Cory Gardner's homepage. He's running for Senate. To do that, he had earlier convinced Ken Buck (who didn't win last time) to stick with the House race. Gardner, you see, is more "electable". By which, we should understand, he's the best chance we got to elect someone else - Mitch McConnell, as Senate Majority Leader.

My question is whether Gardner wants McConnell to win in return. Does there exist any easy way to send a message - like an email - to Gardner's aides via Gardner's website?

*checks* Facebook and Twitter, is what our candidate offers; that, or snail-mail. Going back to the main posts on his site, I find nothing about the Tea Party nor about Gardner's personal preference for Majority Leader.

I do find this however: Cory has promoted legislation to streamline the permitting process for renewable technologies on federal lands and supports a paid-for extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC).

Gee, I wonder how all those other corporate-welfare renewable-energy schemes are doing. This, before we get into Solyndra et al.

To translate: Gardner is a bird blender, a follower of fads no matter how destructive. The SWPLs will own him like Mississippi Democrats own Cochran.


posted by Zimri on 21:48 | link | 0 comments

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