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Thursday unfunny yuk

By jardinier ·
This is NOT an attempt to reopen the EL thread.

It is however a tragic comment on the mentality of ****** .... I can't complete this sentence for fear of being accused of America bashing.

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- A Gallup Poll released Wednesday suggests about 53 percent of Americans reject the theory of evolution as the explanation for the origin of humans.

Instead, they believe God created humans at one time "as is," the survey showed.

About 31 percent of respondents said they believe humans evolved, but God guided the process. Only 1.2 percent said they believe the scientific theory of evolution and "God had no part."

Researchers said people with lower levels of education, those who attend church regularly, those who are 65 or older and those who identify with the Republican Party are more likely to believe in the biblical story of the origin of humans.

The poll was conducted in September but no margin of error figures or other information was available.

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y're right about the decline of Islam

by rob mekel In reply to I'd say you were "hit for ...

It started somewhere in the 17/18 century.

And this is what history tells us, don't mix religion and government. They are doomed to kill one another. It happened to the Egyptians, the Roman Empire, Sultany of Turkey, and Japanese Empire.
This due there own or outrun technically and overthrown by a force.


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Those dumb, ignorant sand niggers

by jardinier In reply to I'd say you were "hit for ...

Alas it is not widely known that Western civilization is indebted to Muslims for the very foundations of our culture.

The Dark Ages of Christianity in Europe, when knowledge and scientific enquiry were suppressed, were paralleled with the Golden Age of Islam.

Muslim scholars traversed the known world gathering knowledge of all kinds, especially scientific and philosophic.

Our numerical system: 1 - 9 and zero -- was invented by Hindus and brought to the West by Muslims.

"The Indian culture developed the decimal system. The Mohenjo Daro culture of the Indus River valley was using a form of decimal numbering some 5000 years ago. Succeeding cultural changes in this area developed the decimal system into a rigorous numbering system, including the use of zero by the Hindu mathematician some 1500 years ago. The digits we use for the decimal system are the Arabic-Indian digits of 0 through 9. Each number occupies a place value. When 1 is reached, the value goes to 0 and 1 is added to the next place value."

They preserved the teachings of the great Greek scientists and philosophers, as well as making many original contributions to knowledge.

A web search for "muslim scholars middle ages" will reveal an abundance of information showing just how much Islam contributed to the Western culture that we take for granted.

Here is one article that covers the topic to a certain extent, but there is much, much more information readily available.

The early 'Abbasids were also fortunate in the caliber of their caliphs, especially after Harun al-Rashid came to the caliphate in 786. His reign is now the most famous in the annals of the 'Abbasids - partly because of the fictional role given him in The Thousand and One Nights (portions of which probably date from his reign), but also because his reign and those of his immediate successors marked the high point of the 'Abbasid period. As the Arab chronicles put it, Harun al-Rashid ruled when the world was young, a felicitous description of what in later times has come to be called the Golden Age of Islam.

The Golden Age was a period of unrivaled intellectual activity in all fields: science, technology, and (as a result of intensive study of the Islamic faith) literature - particularly biography, history, and linguistics. Scholars, for example, in collecting and reexamining the hadith, or "traditions" - the sayings and actions of the Prophet - compiled immense biographical detail about the Prophet and other information, historic and linguistic, about the Prophet's era. This led to such memorable works as Sirat Rasul Allah, the "Life of the Messenger of God," by Ibn Ishaq, later revised by Ibn Hisham; one of the earliest Arabic historical works, it was a key source of information about the Prophet's life and also a model for other important works of history such as al-Tabari's Annals of the Apostles and the Kings and his massive commentary on the Quran.

'Abbasid writers also developed new a genres of literature such as adab, the embodiment of sensible counsel, sometimes in the form of animal fables; a typical example is Kalilah wa-Dimnah, translated by Ibn al-Muqaffa' from a Pahlavi version of an Indian work. Writers of this period also studied tribal traditions and wrote the first systematic Arabic grammars.

During the Golden Age Muslim scholars also made important and original contributions to mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and chemistry. They collected and corrected previous astronomical data, built the world's first observatory, and developed the astrolabe, an instrument that was once called "a mathematical jewel." In medicine they experimented with diet, drugs, surgery, and anatomy, and in chemistry, an outgrowth of alchemy, isolated and studied a wide variety of minerals and compounds.

Important advances in agriculture were also made in the Golden Age. The 'Abbasids preserved and improved the ancient network of wells, underground canals, and waterwheels, introduced new breeds of livestock, hastened the spread of cotton, and, from the Chinese, learned the art of making paper, a key to the revival of learning in Europe in the Middle Ages.

The Golden Age also, little by little, transformed the diet of medieval Europe by introducing such plants as plums, artichokes, apricots, cauliflower, celery, fennel, squash, pumpkins, and eggplant, as well as rice, sorghum, new strains of wheat, the date palm, and sugarcane.

Many of the advances in science, literature, and trade which took place during the Golden Age of the 'Abbasids and which would provide the impetus for the European Renaissance reached their flowering during the caliphate of al-Mamun, son of Harun al-Rashid and perhaps the greatest of all the 'Abbasids.

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The Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World

by jardinier In reply to I'd say you were "hit for ...



Once upon a time -- no, this isn't a fairytale, although I suppose it may sound like one on occasion -- there lived a man named Herodotus. He was Greek and lived at that golden time of Greek history when so many other great men lived -- Pythagorus the mathematician, Aristotle the philosopher, Eratosthenes the astronomer, Socrates, Euclid, ?schylus, Aristophanes, Ptolemy, Euripides -- the list's as long as my arm and I could go on all day, except I won't, of course.

Herodotus, however, was an historian. He travelled the world as it was recognised in his day writing about the people he saw, their cultures, their beliefs, their customs, a kind of anthropologist of his time. And all this information eventually found its way into a series of books simply entitled "The Histories."

As Herodotus travelled around, he saw many great and truly awesome constructions which drove him, eventually, to call them ?wonders of the world'. In his eyes, such famous creations of the mind and hands of humanity were so completely breathtaking in their splendour that no other epithet would suffice.

He had to trim his list several times because he saw so many wonderful constructions during his travels, but he eventually got it down to seven. And just so I can't be accused of not remembering Herodotus' Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, here they are: the great pyramid of Pharaoh Kheops at Giza in Egypt, the hanging gardens of King Nebukhadnezzar at Babylon, the great golden statue of Zeus at Olympia, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the mausoleum of King Mausollos at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, the giant colossus at Rhodes, also in Asia Minor, dedicated to the sun, and finally the very famous lighthouse, or Pharos, at Alexandria in Egypt.

Today, only the great pyramid has stood the test of time and indeed, an Arab proverb even says this: "Man fears Time, but Time fears the Pyramids," which, in the case of the seven wonders has become only too true. Now, much as I agree with Herodotus' final choices, I honestly believe there is one more wonder which should have been added to the list -- eight wonders instead of seven. I suppose most of us could add at least one other, or even several, except we'd be falling into the same quagmire as Herodotus himself did when he first began compiling his list. Too many would be just too top-heavy, even to the point of diminishing the awe in which these great constructions were held.

So, you may ask, what's my choice for the eighth wonder of the ancient world? It's not too hard to guess, I suppose, given by background, and it's also in the same city as the lighthouse. It's the Great Library of Alexandria. When Alexander the Great died at the tragically early age of 33 in 323 BCE, his infant son was only days old, so the enormous empire he had carved out was divided equally between four of his most trusted generals. Ptolemy Soter inherited the quarter containing Egypt.

Fortunately for history, Ptolemy was a classically educated and highly literate scholar on many subjects as well as being a soldier, and he saw a need for everyone to have access to what he had received. So he devised an incredible plan, and that was to build the greatest repository of manuscripts the world had ever seen, a glorious temple to scholarship and learning in the very city his master lay buried, a memorial to Alexander and a monument to knowledge the world over. So in the dying years of the fourth century before the common era, the project was commenced.

The library was the centre of this great undertaking, but in reality, it was much more. A research institute adjoined the library, and lecture halls were built to accommodate the growing number of students who arrived to hear all the world's greatest minds expound on their theories and gadgets. A huge scriptorium and bookstore for sale of extra books adjoined the library's other side as well.

Some of the greatest scholars of the day came to work and lecture at the Library. Many were brought to Alexandria specifically by Ptolemy himself, others came as the fame and glory of the place spread from one end of the known world to the other. Demetrios of Phaleron was the first chief librarian, his task being to organise the library and begin to collect the books.

At the height of the library's fame, there were upwards of a million books there. Not books as we know them, of course, but scrolls, written on the papyrus paper for which Egypt was famous. The library even boasted its own squad of customs' officials, who searched every incoming boat for rare books, had them copied and then returned to their owners with thanks. Demetrios alone secured nearly a quarter of a million books for the library.

The library's nearly ten centuries of domination over the scholarly world was roughly divided into five phases. The first two centuries were given over to the many great scholars who came to teach or carry out research there, living on generous pensions from the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt who succeeded Ptolemy Soter. The second phase, characterised by a radical shift from Aristotelian empirical research to the greater idealism of Plato, lasted until almost the beginning of the common era.

Religion and metaphysics gradually grew stronger as time passed across the divide, dominated by the Jewish philosopher, Philo Jud?us, the rise of Christian thinking not far behind. Religious philosophy slowly strengthened even more over the next phase, until about 400 CE, wherein a whole plethora of religious thought struggled for domination in Alexandria: Christianity, of course, the Hellenistic Judaism of Philo Jud?us, the paganism of Rome, Gnosticism, the Roman version of Persian Mithraism and the Hellenistic Neoplatonism of Greece.

Of the latter, one of the greatest exponents was Hypatia, last great chief librarian. One morning when she was on her way to work in the library, a mob, mostly Christians, led by the Bishop of Alexandria no less, got out of control, Christianity being completely opposed to Neoplatonism. The one regarded the Bible as containing everything one ever needed to know about life, the other espoused freedom of choice, of learning and scholarship. Hypatia, as a practitioner of the latter, found herself surrounded by the angry mob and was assassinated forthwith.

How were the books stored? Scrolls are best stored lying down, especially when there are a great many of them. Over ten enormous halls, in compartments signifying either subject or author, every scroll was clearly marked with the writer's name and the subject under review. The great task of arranging all these scrolls in such meticulous order had fallen to Callimachus of Cyrene, whose life parallelled the first seventy years of the library. He established the first comprehensive library catalogue, called the "pinakes." Nothing remains of it today, but what a boon it would be for today's libraries if it had.

Who taught or studied at the library? Demetrios himself was an Homeric scholar, and produced the first critical editions of both the Iliad and the Odyssey in the format we know them today. Zenodotus, who succeeded Demetrios as the chief librarian, was a brilliant Greek grammarian, literary critic, poet and editor. He updated Demetrios' work on Homer. Eratosthenes of Cyrene, a student of Callimachus who eventually also became chief librarian, was an accomplished mathematician, geographer, astronomer, philologist, philosopher, historian and poet.

He founded both the sciences of astronomy and geography, and was known as the most learned person of his day after Plato. Small wonder with such scholarship! He worked out a calendar with a leap year long before Julius C?sar and Sesosthenes, calculated the tilt of the earth's axis -- yes, in those days they knew the earth was round -- accurately measured the circumference of the earth and created a remarkably accurate map of the then-known world. And where did it all go? The final phase of the library's existence, after Hypatia's assassination and up to the time of the Arab conquest in 642 CE, was a time of slow decline where once knowledge and learning had dominated. The rise of Christianity across the world was principly to blame, the tenets of Neoplatonism and indeed all the other myriad philosophies that had flourished during the prime of the great institution, stamped out by the new religion's utter dismissal of any knowledge which did not adhere to their way of thinking.

A sad mistake. After all, when read carefully, the Bible espouses a flat earth, for instance, which was the current thinking during the time it was written. Had the Christians succeeded in their killing of all knowledge save their own, that's what we'd be believing today! But they didn't. Many of the students and teachers still remaining at the library saw the end coming and fled with as many books as they could. The rest, alas, were burnt beyond recognition in the great fire that destroyed the library in 642 when the Muslim Arabs overran Alexandria.

But not all was lost. If the Arabs were great warriors in the name of their new religion, then they were also great scholars, intellectual and sophisticated. Many of the scrolls came into Arab hands over the following decades known in the west as the dark ages. And when light once again began to filter into Europe during the reformation, western scholars, hungry for information, found these translations, soaking up the wonders they contained. Again, many swapped languages and were translated into Latin, English, other vernacular tongues of the region. Knowledge slowly returned and was built upon. Giant minds surfaced again?Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Bacon, Shakespeare, Harvey, Galileo, Newton, to name only a few?not everything had been destroyed.

And yet, it's so easy to imagine that, had not this wonderful storehouse of knowledge been wiped out by such ignorance as existed then, we may have had automobiles shortly after the commencement of the first millennium, for instance, planes and jet fighters a thousand years ago, and Galileo and Newton may have been the first men to walk on the moon. Which would put us in this generation perhaps on the very edge of exploring our own galaxy, reaching out to others, colonising new worlds! All this and much, much more!

I do not blame Herodotus for failing to include the Great Library of Alexandria on his list of ancient wonders of the world. Those he chose were indeed wonderful enough, magnificent tributes to the ingenuity of the human mind. It was what they stood for that really mattered. Only the great pyramid remains to remind us of what went before. But tombs and monuments to gods no longer worshipped, even beauty such as King Nebukhadnezzar's gardens, do nothing more than to awe.

The Great Library, although destroyed, was quite different, however. Yes, it no doubt awed those who saw it, but it was what it stood for that was far more important than any edifice of brick and stone, marble and gold could ever be. It held our heritage, our inheritance of a world that should have been. We had to re-discover so much that was lost that we are probably many centuries, even millennia, from where we should be in our development.

It was a wonderful achievement for its time and a tragic loss for our future -- the Great Library of Alexandria, the eighth wonder of the ancient world. (Ken ye he ratzon) I rest my case.

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Contributions during the "Golden age"

by jdclyde In reply to I'd say you were "hit for ...

are one thing.

What has this "civlization" done to better humanity since? Even the different "flavor" of Islam can't live with each other showing they seem to have no place in a civilized world.

It really should be a real eye opener for all the bleeding hearts out there. These are not a "peaceful" people. If they would just as soon kill the "incorrect" flavors of islam, what do you really think they want to do to someone that doesn't follow ANY verson of islam?

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jd you have totally evaded the point I have illustrated

by jardinier In reply to I'd say you were "hit for ...

But then perhaps you cannot live with the notion that without the Golden Age of Islam, Western civilisation would be far less advanced than it is today.

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I don't think so

by jdclyde In reply to I'd say you were "hit for ...

my point is that like the days of glory of the romans, every bit of the glory is gone now, and only a bunch of rabid dogs are left.

The fact that some long lost relatives were productive and actually a value to the world does not justify the savages that reside in the middle east NOW.

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To mjwx -- cycles in religions

by jardinier In reply to I'd say you were "hit for ...

Actually I would say that Christianity has passed its zenith -- marked by a period of questioning the doctrines (from the early 19th century to the mid 20th century) by scholars including Kant, Kierkegaard, Barth, Bonhoffer, Schweitzer etc.

The charismatic movement which started to appear about three or four decades ago has seen a surge back to the most extreme kind of fundamentalism, paralleled by dwindling numbers attending mainstream denominations.

An example close to home is the Methodist Church which I attended as a youth/young man. It was flourishing so well that a brand new church was built. Just 40 years later that new church has closed its doors for good because the congregation had dwindled to a handful of elderly people.

Some of the larger Charismatic churches in Sydney, in contrast, have congregations numbered in the thousands.

Thus today extremist Muslims (terrorists) are met by extremist Christians. It is most certainly not a recipe for peace in the world.

However I personally dissociate from the "End Times" theme that appears to preoccupy evangelical Christians (certainly those who post to Christian message boards).

I cannot envisage a full scale "war" between Muslims and Christians (or Westerners). Only a small proportion of the world's Muslim population lives in the Middle East.

Some people may be surprised to learn that of the top ten Muslim populations, only one (Iran) is in the Middle East.

Pakistan: 157 million
Indonesia: 156 million
Bangladesh: 133 million
India: 130 million
Iran: 74 million
Turkey: 66 million
Russia: 64 million
Egypt: 57 millin
Nigeria: 46 million
Morocco: 33 million

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Julian: the top three nations are attepting

by mjwx In reply to I'd say you were "hit for ...

to crack down on extremism. Pakistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh. One of the people I work with is a Bangladeshi and he tells me that the Bangladeshi authorities have been trying to root out extremism for years. He said that this is hampered by the high rate of poverty in Bangladesh.

To extremism it seems that desperation (in poverty mainly) is its primary fuel. Maybe this is the key to defeat it. IMO someone is not as ready to die if they have someting to lose. This is also how I think HAMAS can be pulled into line. They have plenty of reasons for war but now they could have a reason for peace.

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I thought you were open minded

by Montgomery Gator In reply to Thursday unfunny yuk

This does not sound like the open-minded Julian that we know.

I could say that it is sad that the other way to look at it is that it is high that 47% of the respondents in the poll don't believe that God created humankind at once "as is" :-)

What people believe as far as creationism vs evolution does not matter much when it comes to their day to day activities and interactions. I can see the merit of both views, and combine mine into a paradigm that says that all creation was created by God, but he did it over a period of billions of years.

But I have no problem with people who take the literalist view of Genesis. At least they acknowledge God as the Creator of all things. And I believe there was a specific moment when God gave self-awareness, free will, and a soul to the creatures that became the first humans when He did that. As far as the time frame is involved, and the "6 days of Creation", scripture does state that 1000 years is but a day to the Lord. Some translators take the "day" of Genesis and say the word can mean a period of time, not necessarily a literal 24 hour day.

I guess you can put me in the 31% who believe that God guided the process. But I do have agreement with the 53% that there was a specific time when "humans" actually became truly human, transformed by God to give our ancestors true human intelligence.

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Tom, that ranks right up there with, "If man evolved from monkeys.........

by sleepin'dawg In reply to I thought you were open m ...

why are there still monkeys??" You are dealing with two distinct things here; belief and knowledge. One is a close ended concept the other open ended because we are still in the learning process and will be for many eons to come.

Dawg ]:)

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