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So much for that 9th commandment

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So much for that 9th commandment
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VisakiUser avatarPosts: 786Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:26 pmLocation: Helsinki, Finland Gender: Male

Post Re: So much for that 9th commandment

he_who_is_nobody wrote:
MatthewLee wrote:The Gish Gallop (also known as proof by verbosity[1]) is the fallacious debate tactic of drowning your opponent in a flood of individually-weak arguments in order to prevent rebuttal of the whole argument collection without great effort. The Gish Gallop is a belt-fed version of the on the spot fallacy, as it's unreasonable for anyone to have a well-composed answer immediately available to every argument present in the Gallop. The Gish Gallop is named after creationist Duane Gish, who often abused i

Wiki/Gish Gallop


Someone correct me if I am wrong, but is not the Gish Gallop only a fallacy for live debates? In a written forum, in which people can take days to research and respond, it seems impossible to Gish Gallop. Even the above quote says, "The Gish Gallop is a belt-fed version of the on the spot fallacy, as it's unreasonable for anyone to have a well-composed answer immediately available to every argument present in the Gallop." As I said, what is stopping anyone from actually researching the claim made, than coming back with a proper rebuttal?

This is not to say that I still think focusing on one topic (three tops) is a far better use of everyone's time here.

I don't think Gish Gallop is as much as a fallacy but rather a dishonest tactic, but that might just be semantics.

I have no problem saying that GG is possible also in written forum. After all you can yell "but he didn't address points C, K and R from my list of points from A to Z so I'm right" in writing as well as in speech, though it is a lot more obvious in writing. Though I also have to point out (this is as a person that hasn't read this thread closely through yet), that it is not GG to respond to one idea with four, one sentense with five, or to a paragrahp with six. It's not GG to be long winded in your words, and it is not GG to use numerous counter arguments to counter a point. It is quite usual that showing the flaws in an argument takes much more space than the argument itself and online arguments can and do often blow up like bread dough. The mistake comes if you claim or suggest that your opponents position is wrong just because they didn't respond to one or more of your N points, or if you make numerous claims just so he can say that the opposition didn't address every one.

And yeah, if you want to discuss some spesific thing with the members, MatthewLee, I suggest that you open a thread on it. We at least try to keep threads on subject, with differing results. And welcome.
Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:03 pm
MatthewLeePosts: 65Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:04 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: So much for that 9th commandment

Visaki:
I think it is has been stated here well and is correct that that GG can’t be applied to a written debate. It implies one is putting someone on the spot in a verbal debate by it’s own language stating that “it's unreasonable for anyone to have a well-composed answer immediately available to every argument present in the Gallop.” That would imply that if you’re debating in a written form with an unlimited or unspecified time period this can’t be the case because you have time to compose arguments. I think I was just frustrated because I didn’t have time to comprehensively respond to the very large range of topics we had already begun to engage on. I was incorrect to apply this term to our discussion.

Aron Ra (or anyone else who would like to discuss this topic):

I know that you won’t be around for a bit so I will start posting evidence for the basic point I would like to start with if that is agreeable. I will start a new thread for this if it is more appropriate so please let me know and I will do so as needed.

I will limit it to one meta-point at a time, with accompanying sub argumentation. I think this will help until we have really had a chance to read and respond to each other’s points for sake of clarity and courtesy. Whenever you have time I will be glad to see your response. I will begin with the above-mentioned point.

I believe the first time I heard this point was in your video “Evolution of Genesis” (Timestamp 20:20) and I made note of it as interesting. Given the depth of your presented evidence there I do not presume to state things you don’t know but rather I am just laying out what my evidence led me to believe. Your video actually made me want to read Gilgamesh and start to get an idea of the layout of the text and it’s historical links to other Near East Traditions. I say again with a deeper shade of meaning that, in fact, my debates with you and with other atheists have really taught me a lot. There are few things I find more enjoyable or more rewarding than reading ancient mythology and Scriptures for content.
Of course, the more I researched the more I heard the recurrent theme in scholarship of disagreement. Some scholars believe there is a connection between the two stories and others fervently disagree. It is reasonable to make the assertion that there is a connection, but I hold with the scholars who disagree. I’d like to lay out a bit of supplementary info as to where this fits into the Epic of Gilgamesh tablets and also make a comparison of the characters. It is my tentative assertion that under scrutiny of the text the differences begin to make the similarity between the stories less probable and therefore suggest that Genesis may not be referencing these characters and icons. Your quote from the former discussion was:

“The character of the serpent was adapted from the story of Lilith and Huluppu tree, as you probably already knew. She lived in a tree in the sacred garden of Inanna with ‘the Serpent who could not be tamed’. Gilgamesh came walking through the sacred garden just as Yahweh did in Genesis 3:8, carrying a flaming sword like the one mentioned in Genesis 3:24. This is where part of that legend came from, at least the part with the snake.”


So I read your proposal that the similar elements indicating a relation the two stories would be the tree, the garden, the snake, the walking anthropomorphized deity, and the flaming sword.

The best versions I have read all say that the poem entitled sometimes “In the first days, the very first days”, “In those days, in those far-off days“, “Inanna, Gilgamesh and the Huluppu Tree” and others by the greater narrative of the tablet “Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the nether world”. The poem is supposed to fit in around the twelfth tablet. I don’t think it was an original part of the epic but was supplemental. It is important to note that we are citing translations of broken and battered tablets full of lacunae in a language that is still being discovered. They add to their interpretations all the time. I believe that Sumerian, Akkadian and the derivative forms of the diverse languages expressed in their scripts have not been really understood in any significant way for much longer than since the middle of the 19th century. To me this seems to mean that it is difficult to make any clear and lasting parallels because the translations all are so wildly different based on the opinions of the translators.
Here is a link to the texts I started with

A: http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section1/tr1814.htm
B: http://jewishchristianlit.com/Texts/ANE ... 2.html#FN1

The first link is The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (“The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature is based at the University of Oxford. Its aim is to make accessible, via the World Wide Web, over 400 literary works composed in the Sumerian language in ancient Mesopotamia during the late third and early second millennia BC.”

The second is an incorporated translation by “Diane Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer (1983)Samuel Noah Kramer (1938)”
In the dramatis personae/plantae of the text we have Gilgamesh, Inanna, Lillith (also rendered lillitu), the serpent, the Anzu Bird (with several different names), and the Huluppu tree.

Point 1: Gilgamesh is a bit of a confusing character to me. He is listed on the Sumerian Kings List and is considered a divine ruler but not a full-fledged deity on his own. I believe the kings list has him ruling for over a hundred years. He is best described as a demigod by the accounts I have read of him and the epic seems to describe him that way. I cannot see a parallel between Gilgamesh and Yahweh because Yahweh is a full fledged alpha and Omega type God (even if we take into the account the idea that he might have been a Canaanite war God) and Gilgamesh is only some portion deity. He seems to represent the Near Eastern Tradition of Kings saying… “I’m God and you’ll worship me that way” and then making art that reflects this. I believe the nature of the character would discourage me from interpreting him as like Yahweh walking through the garden. Although, I can see how the elements could be seen to be overlaid in the simple narrative context. His presence seems ancillary and his actions more human. He doesn’t use godly power… he uses an axe. I don’t think Yahweh used an ax. Although that would have been really cool.

Also, and this is trivial, I don’t recall reading that he was walking through the garden. Is there a citation that supports this assertion?

Point 2:
The Goddess: “Inanna is the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, sensuality, fertility, procreation, and also of war. She later became identified by the Akkadians and Assyrians as the goddess Ishtar, and further with the Hittite Sauska, the Phoenician Astarte and the Greek Aphrodite, among many others.”

Ancient History Encyclopedia


This casts some doubt, in my mind, on the connection between her and the first human woman in the Genesis account. The idea of it being a holy garden is a point in common, though, but it seems only a glancing blow. The tree didn’t start out in this garden, either. It was actually uprooted and taken there and planted so as to let it grow and fatten to make more wood for the bed and the throne…

“70-78"At that time, there was a single tree, a single halub tree, a single tree (?), growing on the bank of the pure Euphrates, being watered by the Euphrates. The force of the south wind uprooted it and stripped its branches, and the Euphrates picked it up and carried it away. I, a woman, respectful of An's words, was walking along; I, a woman, respectful of Enlil's words, was walking along, and took the tree and brought it into Unug, into holy Inana's luxuriant garden.”

Point 3:

From A: The serpent is where we have to start looking at the interpretations of the text carefully…
“At its roots, a snake immune to incantations made itself a nest. In its branches, the Anzud bird settled its young. In its trunk, the phantom maid built herself a dwelling, the maid who laughs with a joyful heart. But holy Inana (1 ms. has instead: I, holy Inana,) cried!”
From B: ““Then a serpent who could not be charmed
Made its nest in the roots of the tree,
The Anzu-bird set his young in the branches of the tree,
And the dark maid Lilith built her home in the trunk.
“I wept.
How I wept!
(Yet they would not leave my tree.)”


I don’t recall the snake being female but I have no good reference for the Akkadian word and cannot conclusively say the gender of the noun used. Also, the text seems to suggest that the snake was not anthropomorphized in this poem. It wasn’t evil or good and it did not speak. It seems to have just been a snake which troubled the Goddess. The addition of the other elements also seems to discourage overlaying the stories as far as the serpent goes. It seems after a few readings that in this story we are talking about symbolism which might have been rich and meaningful to the people it was written for with metaphors lost to time and in translation. This means that the serpent perhaps had other qualities not indicated by the text or that the readers may have known as cultural memes long lost. I haven’t found any analogues to it in the epic but I am a still looking. The differences in the interpretations seem to indicate this as well because in the A translation we see a snake who was immune to incantations (which means Inanna could not have simply used her powers to dislodge it from the tree) and in the B one we see a snake immune to charms. I would have to know something about Inanna’s perceived powers and duties to really know if there was a connection there to the snake in genesis. There is a complete lack of the serpent trying to convince her of anything or any kind of fall. He only seems to want to delay her from making a bed and a throne from the tree. She seems quite bothered by this. There is an interesting parallel here to Jeremiah 8:17
17"For behold, I am sending serpents against you, Adders, for which there is no charm, And they will bite you," declares the LORD.”


Obviously snake charming has a greater linguistic significance which may mean a grand metaphor where the prophet is speaking of a nation or problem that will not be solved or expelled by any Earthly means without divine assistance. The snake may not have been a snake at all but an idiom.
So, if it was a literal snake the two stories cannot be derivative. and if it was a metaphorical snake then ostensibly it would seem we were talking about an idiom that doesn’t match up. The serpent in the garden may have been derived from an earlier tradition but if so a cursory investigation of the text of this poetry seems to disagree with it being that source.

Here is the complete passage from the two translations I used:
From A:
“"The woman planted the tree with her feet, but not with her hands. Inana watered it using her feet but not her hands. She said: "When will this be a luxuriant chair on which I can take a seat?" She said: "When will this be a luxuriant bed on which I can lie down?" Five years, ten years had gone by, the tree had grown massive; its bark, however, did not split. At its roots, a snake immune to incantations made itself a nest. In its branches, the Anzud bird settled its young. In its trunk, the phantom maid built herself a dwelling, the maid who laughs with a joyful heart. But holy Inana (1 ms. has instead: I, holy Inana,) cried!" In the matter which his sister had told him about, her brother, the warrior Gilgamec, stood by her.
136-150He strapped (1 ms. has instead: ......) his ...... belt of 50 minas weight to his waist -- 50 minas were to him as 30 shekels. He took his bronze axe used for expeditions, which weighs seven talents and seven minas, in his hand. He killed the snake immune to incantations living at its roots. The Anzud bird living in its branches took up its young and went into the mountains. The phantom maid living in its trunk left (?) her dwelling and sought refuge in the wilderness. As for the tree, he uprooted it and stripped its branches, and the sons of his city, who went with him, cut up its branches and bundled them (1 ms. has instead: piled them up). He gave it to his sister holy Inana for her chair. He gave it to her for her bed. As for himself, from its roots, he manufactured his ellag and, from its branches, he manufactured his ekidma (the correct pronunciation of this word is unknown) .


Point 4: It is interesting that you quoted a flaming sword. Can you point to a citation? Did I miss that quote? I don’t think I read about one if it was in the text. There is an ax which is translated as “ax of the road” or “bronze axe used for expeditions”. You quoted this correctly in your speech about the evolution of Genesis (TS 20:20 or so?) but here I believe you may have mistakenly (with respect) called it a flaming sword. The ax weighed seven talents in every translation I have read (and some change in minas) which is anywhere from approximately 700 pounds to 500 pounds roughly as far as I have been able to estimate. That is a big axe and I don’t recall fire being mentioned but again, I would be willing to acknowledge any info I have missed.

Conclusion:
The translation from the Oxford source seems to consider the latest scholarship and the latest incorporated translations although I admit I have only begun to peruse it. The tree is either just a tree or is not a tree but a metaphor for something which I have not been able to divine yet. Many of the translations specify that the tree is an elm or willow which lends credence to the idea that it is just a tree. The tree is inhabited by three entities which are not at all simple to understand. “Anzu(d) Bird” references a demon or evil spirit of some sort which is often considered a bird form with other animal characteristics which is referenced in other literature of the time and would have had some meaning. The demon sometimes rendered “lillitu” or other transliterations, is a very, very complex character which I have heard interpreted “ghost maiden”. “Dark maiden”, or many other things but always a demon or ghost or spirit of some kind. I would be very interested to discuss her later uses in Jewish tradition. The serpent is also either just a serpent or a metaphor for some other kind of evil being. Perhaps a nation or people who attack and cannot be quelled by any means other than violence. These elements do not seem to correlate to the content literally or figuratively (in metaphor) to the account in Genesis.

When we compare the narratives side by side I feel that the incorporation of them in their proper context would suggest there is only trivial similarity.
Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:36 pm
AronRaContributorUser avatarPosts: 544Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:47 pm

Post Re: So much for that 9th commandment

Sorry to keep you waiting. I got back from Europe already behind schedule. I'll be happy to jump into this soon, but I just can't spare the time right now, not 'til the end of this month.
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain
Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:48 am
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