Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “Why can’t animals talk?”

of course this isn’t history but a sadistic story

Rabbi Gellman, who used to be part of the God Squad with a catholic priest, still has a syndicated column. I occasionally address them there. This time it’s a column that in my paper is titled “why don’t animals talk”.

Now many cultures have myths on why this is. They are just-so stories like Kipling wrote. Raven can’t talk anymore because he stole fire for mankind and carried it in his beak.

The answer we have from the rabbi to ostensibly a third-grade girl is that it is somehow to teach humans “not just about right and wrong but also about wrong and right and even more right.”   (Italics mine) What the hell? This certainly drives a spike into the objective claims of morality from theists. If this god allows something that it kinda isn’t good with, but there is a better idea, then why not require the truly “good” idea? The rabbi wants to have it that eating meat is okay with his god but its better if we could eat without causing some animal to “suffer and die”.

In this column, Gellman mentions Genesis 1:29 and Genesis 9:3. They are, with a little added for context (the specific verses are italicized):

26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”27 So God created humankind[e] in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” Genesis 1

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.

22 As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night,  shall not cease.”

1God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.” – Genesis 8-9

So, we have a god that has no problem with killing and burning animals for its own pleasure, so Gellman’s claim that this god is all about veganism isn’t true in the slightest. This god is so all about meat is that he rejects Cain’s offering of fruits and vegetables, and approves of Abel’s offering, also making it questionable why Abel was bothering with killing animals at all since they weren’t eating them, and why this god had to kill and skin animals to make clothes for the newly naked Adam and Eve. The rabbi claims that his god gives the allowance to Noah to eat meat “grudgingly”. That is no where in the verses.

The rabbi then gives a rather horrible little story (midrash) about how Noah wanted a hamburger. He has the snake being truthful and saying one has to make a hamburger (and seemingly implying that it was being evil, which begs the question, why was this snake on the ark?). Noah, for no reason other than personal want, kills and eats his friend the cow. This is from a person who chats regularly with this god. The end of the story is that animals don’t talk to humans because that Noah ate one of them and they are upset.

So are animals upset with this god too since it demands their death?

Which of the cows did Noah eat and how does this work with the other utterly silly story in the bible where it can’t make up its mind on how many animals Noah took with him on the ark?

If we can eat “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything” then why the claims we can’t eat some of these things in Exodus and Leviticus? This god is so forgetful, losing things, forgetting what he’s said before.

This a prime example of theists making up nonsense thoughtlessly and making things ever worse for their bible’s claims.

“Back of all these superstitions you will find some self-interest. I do not say that this is true in every case, but I do say that if priests had not been fond of mutton, lambs never would have been sacrificed to God. Nothing was ever carried to the temple that the priest could not use, and it always so happened that God wanted what his agents liked. Now, I will not say that all priests have been priests “for revenue only,” but I must say that the history of the world tends to show that the sacerdotal class prefer revenue without religion to religion without revenue.” – Robert Ingersoll (lots more excellent quotes here for those who don’t think atheists used to be as feistyt as they are now)

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – A review of the Noah movie trailer. Oh my, the silliness and this is only a few minutes of an hours long movie.

look, a scary snake!
look, a scary snake!

Haven’t seen the movie yet probably won’t, because I have no desire to add to the box office hits for this stinker. But I thought I’d take a look at the trailer and the movie website.  I do enjoy showing how ridiculous the flood myth is, and have done so multiple times on this blog. Just use the search box and type in “flood” to find those old posts. (following images are screen captures from the trailer here)

Open on Noah looking at a mountain, and stepping in what appears to be blood. Then we get a rapid sequence of images from the story of Adam and Eve, including mutant evil snake almost as good as the effects on a SyFy movie!  :p   Noah has just had a vision that tells him his god will destroy the world. noah wasteland

 

The world has evidently been deforested. Which presents a problem in where Noah gets the huge timber for his magical boat. Yes, I know, it’s silly to require internal logic in such a story.  🙂

 

 

World’s silliest boat. This is made from raw tree trunks. I grew up on a farm where the barn was made from hand cut timbers. Most of the tools for this were still around, adzes, drills for peg holes, etc. These are not complicated tools and we do get glimpses of a few on the website. Noah evidently did not use them at all. We get Noah, making what looks like a box with lashed tree trunks, and painted with what I will assume is bitumen, a thick hydrocarbon that comes from the ground in various sites in the Middle East.   There have been Christians who claim that this movie is not “historically accurate”. Considering that they vary in how they think the ark was shaped, perhaps this is one of the “historically inaccurate” parts.  We also have Ron Wyatt, he of “I have evidence but can’t show you it” fame, who is sure that a huge geological formation is the ark.

 

Alas the bible doesn’t give much description at all and there is no reason to think that this ludicrous structure is any more wrong then the usual boat with tapered hull and keel illustration that many Christians are familiar with and use in their claims of finding the ark. It would indeed take magic to make such a mess float, survive the explosive water spouts, waves, etc. And what a fire trap. animals and arkThen the loading sequence. There are quite a few birds in that circling swarm above the ark, plus we have the herd of every other animal approaching it.

ark doorAs they enter, we see that the boat can perhaps have one extra deck other than the top of the box and the bottom. Looks like we have an okapi, quite few brown bears or grizzlies, maybe a water buffalo, etc. This is confirmed the bit of the website called “The Ark Experience”, where there is an avian deck, a reptile deck and a mammal deck.  Oh and don’t forget to check out the “furnace”, an invention that keeps Noah and the animals warm. This is one of the problem with trying to make a reasonable explanation for a myth, why not just have magic do that too rather than having a fire on board a boat made from logs, and tar.

 

Then we get snakes and frogs, and the birds are still flying around and loading up. I love this one “problem” with the movie that a TrueChristian mentioned “In some cases, it looks like two of every species are packing into the ark rather than two of every biblical “kind.” That would make a very tight fit.” – Jerry Johnson, NRB. No kidding. This shows that Christians have to make up nonsense like “kinds” (some type of animal that all other similar animals can magically come from) to excuse their myth.

Finally we get the lovely all explody water from the “springs of the earth”, and the desperate people who want to get on the ark. Unsurprisingly, no kids seem to be around at all. The only kids on all of the earth seems to be Noah’s. It does help that believers don’t show this god drowning children and kittens, koalas, and pandas. It’d be a little hard on their god’s PR. Now, again, I have not watched the entire movie so I could be wrong in that it does not show children. If anyone has seen it and can show me differently, I’d much appreciate it. This depiction of how the water arrives again may be one of the parts that some believers say is “historically inaccurate” because it depends on who you believe for what caused the flooding of the world to the top all of the mountains on it. We have many silly hypotheses from believers, the hydroplate hypothesis, the canopy hypothesis, runway subduction, comets, or those who just want plain ol’ magic. One can also see more details on how other claims about the ark itself fail here in an analysis of “magic flood is real” claimant Woodmorappe’s book. (Woodmorappe does try to refute this analysis: link found on the analysis page. Like many TrueChristians, it seems that he thinks that the more fonts and colors he uses, the more true his claims must appear.)

There’s been a lot of excuses that this isn’t the “literal” story from the bible so one should not accept it as the “truth”, per the National Religious Broadcasters association. The problem is that the literal story *is* the bare bones that this movie is built on. Those bones are still as ridiculous as ever and still without a shred of evidence. The claims of the “springs of the earth” exploding with water, the huge boat that can hold all of the animals of the world, etc. It all depends on magic nonsense. I do think that this movie does have a purpose, to show just how ludicrous the idea of a monster boat and a global flood is and how horrible the idea of genocidal drowning is. I do wonder how “outraged” these believers would be if they did indeed show children drowning to be “historically accurate”.  One of the more offensive excuses for god killing children and animals is that they would have died anyway and it’s fine since they would have been distressed to see their parents die.  (evidence for this: here, here, and just google “did god drown children” to see even more)

Another thing that could be “historically inaccurate” to some believers is that they back off the biblical claims of a world-wide flood and say that it could have been only regional. So, we need only a flood that maybe was from a good hard rain or at most from a wall of debris coming apart and allowing a lake or sea to escape its basin. Which does make one wonder why one magical event can be reduced to the mundane and not all of them? If believers can’t agree on what “really” happened, why believe anything like this happened at all?

I will have to say that I give props to the movie’s producers in that they have a section of the movie website dedicated to artwork about the flood. Some are less than flattering of the event and the god who supposedly did it, especially this one: http://www.noahmovie.com/art-show/antonio-sandoval

For a more thorough review of how silly the flood story is and why, Talk Origins has a good compilation of all the problems with it and all of the retrofitting that believers have had to try to make it sound plausible. You can also see a great video on how geology shows that the flood didn’t occur thanks to Potholer54.