Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Young Earth Creationists

I just finished reading another book, it refers to evidence with respect to this comment: "Just so I get the timeline correct. Were people believing in a sky god at the same time they were on friendly terms w/ dinosaurs?" so I may as well answer it.

But first a note on the first part, note that groups of people from all around the world have always believed in the Creator God that tends to be associated with explanations as to their most ancient of origins and the matter of Good and Evil, from beginning to end. Examples: Hananim (Korean, the Great One), Shang Ti (Chinese, the Lord of Heaven), Koro (Bantu, the Creator) Magano (Ethopian, the ultimate Creator again, as contrasted to the malevolent Sheit'an), the Great Spirit (American Indian), Deos (Greek, perhaps corrupted to Zeus and drawn down into a corrupted anthropromorphic focus, later reformed back by the philosophers under the new name Theos), and so on and on.

As to that last, Aristotle used logic to trace things back to the unmoved Mover, while Xenophanes commented:
Homer and Hesiod attributed to the gods all the things which among men are shameful and blameworthy - theft and adultery and mutual deception. . . [But] there is one God, greatest among gods and men, similar to mortals neither in shape nor in thought ... he sees as a whole, he thinks as a whole, he hears as a whole ... Always he remains in the same state, changing not at all ... But far from toil he governs everything with his mind.
Xenophanes text fragments (Colophon: c. 570 - c. 478)

As to the second part of the comment, ancient man considered dragons a great threat and so there were probably fewer and fewer places where it could be said: "Here be dragons." No one would deny that man hunted many species of large animals to death. If we are not blinded by the false standards that the charaltans so typical to science and the keeping of knowledge these days make use of to protect their demonstrably false philosophies, then we can open our eyes to textual evidence. This is not to say that there is no physical evidence that can be found or that texts can be taken to stand alone, yet note that organisms easily die and recede back into the ground with nary a trace of them to be found within a short time.

Text is a better and more lasting way of saving information than most of the processes that happen by supposed happenstance upon the earth.

E.g., textual evidence:
There are, of course, the famous descriptions of two such monsters from the Old Testament, Behemoth and Leviathan
Job 40:15—41:34), [The curious thing is that the Great Serpents are used metaphorically to represent a nonphysical Serpent/Evil, e.g. Isaiah 21:7 vs. Psalm 104:26] Behemoth being a giant vegetarian that lived on the fens, and Leviathan a somewhat more terrifying armour-plated amphibian...
The Egyptians knew Behemoth by the name p’, which is the same name, of course. Leviathan was similarly known as Lotan to the men of Ugarit. Babylonian and Sumerian literature has preserved details of similar creatures, as has the written and unwritten folklore of peoples around the world. But perhaps the most remarkable descriptions of living dinosaurs are those that the Saxon and Celtic peoples of Europe have passed down to us.
The early Britons, from whom the modern Welsh are descended, provide us with our earliest surviving European accounts of reptilian monsters, one of whom killed and devoured king Morvidus (Morydd) in ca 336 BC. We are told in the account translated for us by Geoffrey of Monmouth, that the monster ‘gulped down the body of Morvidus as a big fish swallows a little one.’ Geoffrey described the animal as a Belua.
Peredur, not the ancient king of that name (306-296 BC), but a much later son of Earl Efrawg, had better luck than Morvidus, actually managing to slay his monster, an addanc (pr. athanc: var. afanc), at a place called Llyn Llion in Wales. At other Welsh locations the addanc is further spoken of along with another reptilian species known as the carrog. The addanc survived until comparatively recent times at such places as Bedd-yr-Afanc near Brynberian, at Llyn-yr-Afanc above Bettws-y-Coed on the River Conwy (the killing of this monster was described in the year 1693), and Llyn Barfog. A carrog is commemorated at Carrog near Corwen, and at Dol-y-Carrog in the Vale of Conwy.
Moreover, ‘dinosaurs’, in the form of flying reptiles, were a feature of Welsh life until surprisingly recent times. As late as the beginning of the present century, elderly folk at Penllin in Glamorgan used to tell of a colony of winged serpents that lived in the woods around Penilin Castle. As Marie Trevelyan tells us:
‘The woods around Penilin Castle, Glamorgan, had the reputation of being frequented by winged serpents, and these were the terror of old and young alike. An aged inhabitant of Penllyne, who died a few years ago, said that in his boyhood the winged serpents were described as very beautiful. They were coiled when in repose, and “looked as if they were covered with jewels of all sorts. Some of them had crests sparkling with all the colours of the rainbow”. [...] His father and uncle had killed some of them, for they were as bad as foxes for poultry. The old man attributed the extinction of the winged serpents to the fact that they were “terrors in the farmyards and coverts”.
...whilst we are in Wales, it is worth noting that at Llanbardan-y-Garrag (is Garrag a corruption of carrog?), the church contains a carving of a local giant reptile whose features include large paddle-like flippers, a long neck and a small head.
One could multiply such reports by the hundred. In England and Scotland, again until comparatively recent times, other reptilian monsters were sighted and spoken of in many places. The table at the end of this chapter lists eighty-one locations in the British Isles alone in which dinosaur activity has been reported (there are, in fact, nearly 200 such places in Britain), but perhaps the most relevant aspect of this as far as our present study is concerned is the fact that some of these sightings and subsequent encounters with living dinosaurs can be dated to the comparatively recent past. The giant reptile at Bures in Suffolk, for example, is known to us from a chronicle of 1405:
‘Close to the town of Bures, near Sudbury, there has lately appeared, to the great hurt of the countryside, a dragon, vast in body, with a crested head, teeth like a saw, and a tail extending to an enormous length. Having slaughtered the shepherd of a flock, it devoured many sheep.’

After an unsuccessful attempt by local archers to kill the beast, due to its impenetrable hide:
‘ order to destroy him, all the country people around were summoned. But when the dragon saw that he was again to be assailed with arrows, he fled into a marsh or mere and there hid himself among the long reeds, and was no more seen.’
Later in the 15th century, according to a contemporary chronicle that still survives in Canterbury Cathedral’s library, the following incident was reported. On the afternoon of Friday, 26th September, 1449, two giant reptiles were seen fighting on the banks of the River Stour (near the village of Little Cornard) which marked the English county borders of Suffolk and Essex. One was black, and the other ‘reddish and spotted’. After an hour-long struggle that took place ‘to the admiration of many [of the locals] beholding them’, the black monster yielded and returned to its lair, the scene of the conflict being known ever since as Sharpfight Meadow.
As late as August, 1614, the following sober account was given of a strange reptile that was encountered in St Leonard’s Forest in Sussex. The sighting was near a village that was known as Dragon’s Green long before this report was published:
‘This serpent (or dragon as some call it) is reputed to be nine feete, or rather more, in length, and shaped almost in the form of an axletree of a cart: a quantitie of thickness in the middest, and somewhat smaller at both endes. The former part, which he shootes forth as a necke, is supposed to be an elle [3ft9ins or ll4cmsl long; with a white ring, as it were, of scales about it. The scales along his back seem to be blackish, and so much as is discovered under his bellie, appeareth to be red...[The dragon] rids away (as we call it) as fast as a man can run. His food [rabbits] is thought to be, for the most part, in a conie-warren, which he much frequents ... God, I hope, will (to defend the poor people in the neighbourhood) that he shall be destroyed before he grows...
This dragon was seen in various places within a circuit of three or four miles, and the pamphlet named some of the still-living witnesses who had seen him. These included John Steele, Christopher Holder and a certain ‘widow woman dwelling neare Faygate’. Another witness was ‘the carrier of Horsham, who lieth at the White Horse [inn] in Southwark’. One of the locals set his two mastiffs onto the monster, and apart from losing his dogs he was fortunate to escape alive from the encounter, for the dragon was already credited with the deaths of a man and woman at whom it had spat and who consequently had been killed by its venom. When approached unwittingly, our pamphleteer tells us, the monster was...
‘...of countenance very proud and at the sight or hearing of men or cattel will raise his neck upright and seem to listen and looke about, with great arrogancy.'[...]
Again, as late as 27th and 28th May 1669, a large reptilian animal was sighted many times, as was reported in the pamphlet: A True Relation of a Monstrous Serpent seen at Henham (Essex) on the Mount in Saffron Waldon.
In 1867 was seen, for the last time, the monster that lived in the woods around Fittleworth in Sussex. It would run up to people hissing and spitting if they happened to stumble across it unawares, although it never harmed anyone. Several such cases could be cited, but suffice it to say that too many incidents like these are reported down through the centuries and from all sorts of locations for us to say that they are all fairy-tales. For example, Scotland’s famous Loch Ness Monster is too often thought to be a recent product of the local Tourist Board’s efforts to bring in some trade, yet Loch Ness is by no means the only Scottish loch where monsters have been reported. Loch Lomond, Loch Awe, Loch Rannoch and the privately owned Loch Morar (over 1000 ft deep) also have records of monster activity in recent years. Indeed, there have been over forty sightings at Loch Morar alone since the end of the last war, and over a thousand from Loch Ness in the same period. However, as far as Loch Ness itself is concerned, few realise that monstrous reptiles, no doubt the same species, have been sighted in and around the loch since the so-called Dark Ages, the most notable instance being that which is described in Adamnan’s famous 6th century Life of St Columba.
(After the Flood: The early post-flood history of Europe traced back to Noah
by Bill Cooper :131-135)

And so on. I do not have time to go into comparisons with Darwinian narratives that are based on reasoning of this sort: "If I can imagine this historical happenstance, then that is evidence that it happened that way. Wow, I'm being overwhelmed by the evidence of my own imagination now!"

I would note that you can see the way that the door is open for metaphoric interpretation of many ancient texts because the serpent comes to be used as a symbol for evil and the like. It is metaphoric. I noted above that the Bible does the same thing. Yet because people lack the spiritual capacity to understand metaphoric truths these days they come to believe that it is all just a story with virtually no literal/physical truth to it, the fairytale narrative of slay the dragon and be the hero. I guess one could say that they are metaphorically blind.

[Related posts: Here be and there
Unidentified Sea Creature Found After Typhoon

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