||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Saturday, September 29, 2018
HBDChick's account suspension
I am amazed that HBDChick has lasted this long, delivering independent content on @jack's platform. Anthropology without a licence, you could call it.
I have watched her work for well over a decade and I am not the sort to pipe down when someone posts something dishonest or abusive - I don't care if the wrong is coming "from my side" or not. HBDChick is a class act; always has been.
And that's @jack's problem. Someone Right and nonPC, who is also engaging and sincere? THAT, @jack cannot abide. If she was a hater I expect @jack would have kept her around.
To Razib and to others on this side of anthropology research: GTFO. Get out now. Find a Twitterlike. Even if you have to use Gab.
Upload #168: a look around
As per my usual custom, when I'd posted the essay "Building the Seven Heavens", I intended that as a placeholder. I do this to mark out initial findings and to constrain all the other projects - in this case mainly "Overwhelming the Yemen", on sura 71. Remember, they are ALL works in progress until and unless I bundle them into books (and even then, well...).
Over the last couple weeks I took the time to return to those two essays, and to suras 67 and 71. My aim was to clean up mutual references in those two essays, and to find any more references to other suras in each. I didn't find much that was worth the upload - until I figured, hey, since "Building the Seven Heavens" mentioned the Dome of the Rock, let's see if it had anything to say about sura 67.
What ho, but the Dome did. Did it ever quote from Q. 67:1 (and 7:158) - right before its own Year Seventy Two date. It's buried in that famous parallel to 57:2 / 64:1 but y'all know what I think about such things. I'd already sort-of touched on this in the "Musabbihat" project, so I went to improve the ending to that, too.
Friday, September 28, 2018
Someday we might get to read a Sumerian book
Sumerian is considered older than Akkadian - because Sumerian got written down first. And Sumerian literature is considered earlier than Akkadian literature.
Sumerian is a linguistic isolate. Akkadian, from its first attestations (in Sumerian tablets), is already an offshoot from a common ancestor with Eblaite, which together branch off from a common ancestor whose other branch is every surviving Semitic language in existence.
Which means we can reconstruct proto-Semitic and proto-proto-Semitic, both. Spoiler: that language was old. Far older than any reasonable reconstruction of proto-Sumerian.
From my understanding of "Sumerian literature", we don't actually have much in the way of belles-lettres until the "Ur III" resurgence, under Ur-Nammu and Shulgi just before 2000 BC. The first Sumerian tablets, a millennium prior, are accountants' ledgers (like the first Greek tablets) and the next generation recorded the deeds and omens of kings (like the Shang did). Then in the 2300s BC there was an Akkadian intermezzo.
So when Sumerian got its "comeback", what the Neo Sumerians of Ur recorded in that language might not strictly have been Sumerian anymore. Sumerian itself ended up as a Mesopotamian Latin over the Late Bronze and Iron Age. New stuff might be recorded in it. A lot of new stuff might have been recorded - look at the reams and reams of Latin which the mediaeval Europeans jotted down, up to Kepler. But you'd hardly go to Kepler to read up on early Roman divination techniques. (You'd be better off asking his mum.) So why are we looking at Ur III and Babylonian texts in Sumerian to tell us about Sumerian oral culture in 2500 BC?
We do seem to own some accounts of Bilgamesh ("Gilgamesh" is an Akkadian mutation because, you know, Semites ain't Sumerian). Maybe that's where we'd start, in forming a canon of Sumerian literature, as opposed to Mesopotamian Literature In Sumerian.
But first we have to quit assuming that because we've found some tablets in this glorious old language that the tablets must be authentic.
If Noah had been a prophet:
... Noah would have preached to the people about the coming Flood, and he would have inspired his followers to build Ark coracles of their own. As (pre)historically likely happened, prophet or no.
But for whatever reason, the Middle Bronze Age Iraqis didn't tell that story. They told a story where the Akkadian gods told this one guy that he and his alone would be saved.
Maybe there was an earlier version of the myth in Sumerian (surviving Sumerian versions seem to be translations from Akkad). But in the current versions, Noah works for his own clan and he benefits from a (literal) ethnic cleansing. A hard rain that drives the scum from the streets, as De Niro once put it.
That Late-Antique anti-Christian Bible-based prophetology which became Islam seems to have stumbled upon this view of Noah: that he did call toward God and toward salvation. However Islam was still locked into exterminationism - and into tawhid. Islam would balk at an Ark Flotilla. There was, still, one Ark: like there was one Prophet per dispensation, and one God.
Noah fails at being a prophet in every Semitic canon.
Thursday, September 27, 2018
A dynasty by any other name
The "Chinese" get that name from Qin, a state that around 200 BC provided an Emperor; sometimes they call themselves "Han" after the state which took over from Qin. Long before all that, another state controlled the Yellow River - which state called itself Shang. It settled Anyang around 1200 BC and lasted a while there until being overthrown by the Zhou.
Modern Chinese call the latter, the Shang "dynasty". Its ruling family didn't call itself Shang though; their kings went by Zi. Shang was the state. The Iron-Age Chinese seem to have agreed that "Shang" was unfit for a dynastic name; they called this dynasty "Yin". (And then, to muddy things further, the Zhou exiled the Zi to the Song duchy, where they continued to rule on the Zhou's behalf.) In fact I don't even know if the word "Shang" was remembered, or if the last century's archaeologists have dug it up.
We know all that because the Shang state was literate. The Zi kings of Shang, further, honoured their own ancestors. Add this together, and we have the Zi memories of their own lineage, inscribed in their prayers ("oracle bones", "dragon bones"...), traced back long before 1200 BC.
The Chinese memory was a long one. And although later histories can garble a few things, they do seem to match the modern "king list" - of posthumous names! - reconstructed from the oracle-bone accounts of ancestry. This is how the archaeologists figured out that the Shang records are the "Yin" records.
Since the Chinese historical memory has been so vindicated, over the entire Shang / Zi era back to the mid-1600s BC, the Chinese will assert that their historians were right about the main kingdom before the Shang, as well. These historians called that state the "Hsia" or "Xia".
There's been talk of the Erlitou culture. This runs, what, 1900-1650 BC. Unfortunately Erlitou wasn't big on literacy. (The early Shang towns weren't, directly, either. But we might not yet have found the important towns.)
Adding some circumstantial evidence to the Xia: the most famous legend (here out West) from the Xia period is, of course, that of the Flood. By tradition, Yu the Great built vast earthworks and saved the Xia from extinction.
(Ethnographers have long pondered the contrast between how the Iraqis dealt with the flood - by loading a vast coracle to be an Ark, and leaving the rest to drown - and how the Xia dealt with it, with public works. It says something about the difference between West and East, perhaps. But that's Another Rant.)
It turns out we do have evidence for a flood around 1900 BC.
Now: do we call the 1900-1650 era, Xia? The classical Chinese were wrong about Yin; it should be Zi or Shang. So I'd rather hold off on that loaded term. But the evidence is looking good that Shang had a predecessor, and that it could put together an organised response to crises.
UPDATE 10/22: Hsia as composite.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
If I am reading Razib right, Vietnam is the Firefly verse.
The Yue / Viets (Viet seems to be the Middle Chinese pronunciation, mostly fossilised in Viet) got some Chinese ideas, like Confucianism and the righteousness of educated bureaucrats, and pushed south. But Indochina is jungly and it's easier to conquer the South than it is to rule it.
We could look at the long Vietnam war, from the 1950s to 1975, as post(?)Confucian Hanoi bringing the "independents" to heel. Small wonder the Americans had an affinity with the South.
Inarah goes Bible-Code
Over on Academia, one John-Jacques Walter has posted an "Analysis of the Koran Using Mathematical Code Theory". Specifically he's doing Analysis of Text Data, on the Qur'an's themes - not on its language.
Walter believes he has found nineteen "signatures" (
Walter also notes that many verses are not spoken by God - and do not claim to be. Many of these are introduced by the command qul: God told the qârî to deliver His message. Scoffers have long pointed out what an artificial dodge this is; and some manuscripts, and traditions of manuscript, for this or that verse will omit qul, or add it. But it does save the effect of Divine speech, for the Believer.
Walter then hits us with: that 315 such verses do NOT have qul. Such verses also share the same "signature" with each other.
His proposal: that these verses were injected by the Mu`tazila, in the 200s / 800s.
The Mu`tazila knew that the Qur'an was created by God, and not pre-existent; and they had a good idea of where the previous Muslims had inserted qul. But the Mu`tazila were on the back foot by the 200s. It was possible to insist on one Qur'an in `Uthman's time and still (barely) possible to swap out Qur'ans in al-Hajjâj's. But it was too late for the `Abbâsids.
So the Mu`tazila simply invented more phrases without the qul and peppered the text with these. Since these verses were new, they could accrue no variants. Since they seemed pious, they slipped past the censors.
Personally I don't believe this. This late, we should see evidence in the histories that verses were slipped into the mix. We should also NOT find these verses in, oh, 27.1 DAM and other Umayyad-era codices. But... we don't and do, respectively.
In addition I am getting a mite tired of authors bruiting about NO MOHAMMED BEFORE THE 60s/680s Y`ALL. Pseudo-Sebeos and the Maronite Chronicle aren't enough? or all those other refs in Hoyland's book?
The Gell-Mann Amnesia is making me distrust Walter's other "findings" as well. Where I sympathise, like that whole Mecca / al-Madina rubbish, I don't think Walter is the man to convince others.
Monday, September 24, 2018
HBDChick and Mike Stuchbery have invited us for dinner at Herxheim. Near here was a farming village probably NOT called Herxheim then - because it held to the "Linear Pottery culture". That's about 5000 BC, before IndoEuropean / "Corded Ware" / "Battle Axe". Who knows what they spoke instead. We do know that they were humanitarians.
We'd not know what they spoke even if we were there, beyond "om nom nom".
Do please explain to us again, feminists, how enlighted Old Europe was, before we eeevil androcrats showed up with our chariots.
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Believing Zionists makes you antiZionist apparently
Jihadwatch (where I'm banned) has posted the first part of Hugh Fitzgerald's article about Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn is a horrible hard Leftist, which unfortunately makes him Authentic in the eyes of Labour voters who cannot be quit of him. He is also a hater of Jews, a booster of Hamas, and an opposer of Israel's right to exist. On that much, I'm not arguing.
But then the author digresses to others in that party, like Ken Livingstone. Among his "problematic" statements are that Adolf Hitler was a Zionist as of 1933. I do have to defend Livingstone on this point and even that nutter, Ron Unz
The German National Socialist movement had always held itself out as for the German worker and for ... whatever, with the rest. Hitler, when he joined it (he didn't found it) and for another 15 years as its spokesman and leader, didn't add much to this except for intensity of expression. The Judenfrage was certainly a part of this - where Germans lived. So Hitler and his most trusted Nazis worked to separate Jews from Germans, including by force. In 1933 Hitler, some corporations, some government officials, and some high-placed local Jews hashed out an agreement called the "Haavara" for Jews to buy their way out of Germany and to get over to Mandate Palestine.
The Indescribablyboring back home a couple years back launched some piety that, no, this wasn't real Zionism. I neglected that article at the time but have now bothered to read it. I remain unconvinced.
The basis of Zionism was only in part Jewish national self-determination. Jews could - in theory - express self-determination in any of the "gentile" Nations, within Jewish enclaves and living Jewish life. The basic assumption of Zionism is that Jews cannot trust gentiles to allow this in their nations. So Jews need their own patch of land - their Zion.
As noted above, the basis of National Socialism is EXACTLY that - before, as Livingstone clumsily put it, the NSDAP Führer went insane or, some would argue, and I would personally argue, that madman convinced his party and his country toward his madness. In core NSDAP dogma Germans needed a proGerman state and there was no room, in that state, for nonGerman interference. But other states (at that point) could coexist behind their own borders.
This includes a Jewish state - since as everyone informs us, Nazism wasn't Christian. And it wasn't yet universalist: although there were mystical quack theories about "Aryan" supremacy even in 1933, I don't think Hitler and the Nazis had yet insisted upon them. (By contrast Christianity does insist that it "fulfills the Torah".)
So in 1933, the Nazis accepted some major Zionist premises and worked to enact Zionist aims. Livingstone would call this the expression of Zionism as done from the gentiles. I cannot find where the British media has successfully countered that proposal.
As of last May, meanwhile, Livingstone isn't even in Labour anymore. Even bringing this guy up is irrelevant to Labour today. But that's what you get, in Current Year, for putting good-faith arguments on fact to the public. You get banned.
UPDATE 7:25 PM MST: Out of eighteen-hour moderation purgatory from Unz / Sailer! So I am not banned there. As for why my corrective comments were delayed this long whilst others' comments weren't, I don't know; an implicit warning not to be so abrasive / not to Tell Tales Out Of School? You could ask them; I personally don't care enough. Anyway please pardon my paranoia.
"Thou shalt read the supplement"
Given that the people in this cave best fit a model with about a quarter Basal Eurasian, we have a better idea on the Basal genome. This turns out not to have any Neander in it ... at all. Apparently the Basals split before the mainline Eurasian ancestors did the thing with Neanders (let alone Denisovans). And then the Basals refused congress with "those cavemen" ever after.
So, where some of that famous "Great Dilution" of western Eurasians' Neander DNA is apparent, not real; much of it is real-enough. It happened because the Basals came back and did the diluting - to Dzudzuana. And ten thousand years later, after the ice retreated - and retreated: Dzudzuana went out to the Med, and spread. They diluted Neander DNA further: both directly by just taking over the lowlands, and indirectly by mating with huntergatherers.
Is intelligence maternal?
Intelligence is genetic and g, the CPU of intelligence, is very genetic. The brain is complex and many genes can harm it; some genes can help it. But g is simpler.
One point about g, that is less true of other genes, affecting the brain or not, is that the standard deviation is higher in males than in females (despite the best efforts of Social Justice to censor this). We men have more geniuses but also more dolts. This implies that variance is transmitted through males.
My candidate is the X chromosome. You get at least one from your parents. You might get a second one; if you don't, you are called a "male" (whatever the social-justice nutters tell you). I'd intuited that the extra X might act as a buffer in females absent from males - if you get one bad X and one good, you even out; but if you just got the one X, it's a roll of the dice. (Chromosomes intermingle here as elsewhere: so that your one or both X/s draw from the Xs of both parents.) That's pretty much Central Limit Theorem: the more tests you conduct, the shorter your error-bar.
But there exists another female-mediated DNA factor in our cells, that doesn't draw from dad at all. I refer here to the mitochondrion - which is how we know the female line of descent (as opposed to just, "the mother") in our archaeological remains. The mitochondrion is a harnessed bacteriumlike which aids each cell in producing energy, mostly. DC Geary suspects: maybe it also helps our brains. (Elsewhere Greg Cochran was musing on selection on Y chromosomes, so selection on a female trait - intelligence - also comes into play here. For or against.)
I had posted a version of this last night, but I didn't convince myself of Geary's thesis; and there was so much other content here then, that I figured one post could be held off, so I held off this one. And now I am certain... that Geary is wrong.
Men and women get the same mitochondrion and the same number of mitochondria, per cell: they get one. The mitochondrion cannot account for any trait's expanded variance in men, as opposed to women. Since g is all about variance, the mitochondrion therefore cannot account for g, beyond crippling disabilities like that PKU thingie which Carl Zimmer nattered on about.
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