If You Thought The Ancients Were Dumb…

…think again


By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ancient Babylonian astronomers were way ahead of their time, using sophisticated geometric techniques that until now had been considered an achievement of medieval European scholars.

That is the finding of a study published on Thursday that analyzed four clay tablets dating from 350 to 50 BC featuring the wedge-shaped ancient Babylonian cuneiform script describing how to track the planet Jupiter’s path across the sky.

“No one expected this,” said Mathieu Ossendrijver, a professor of history of ancient science at Humboldt University in Berlin, noting that the methods delineated in the tablets were so advanced that they foreshadowed the development of calculus.

“This kind of understanding of the connection between velocity, time and distance was thought to have emerged only around 1350 AD,” Ossendrijver added.

The methods were similar to those employed by 14th century scholars at University of Oxford’s Merton College, he said.

Babylon was an important city in ancient Mesopotamia, located in Iraq about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Baghdad. Jupiter was associated with Marduk, the city’s patron god.

Babylonian astronomers produced tables with computed positions of the planets, Ossendrijver said.

“They provided positions needed for making horoscopes ordered by clients, and they also held the view that everything on Earth – from river levels to market prices, for example grain, and weather – is connected to the motion of the planets. So by predicting the latter they hoped to be able to predict things on Earth,” Ossendrijver added.

He noted that the tablets themselves do not mention anything about these astrological applications.

The four tablets, excavated around 1880, were stored at the British Museum in London. The cuneiform characters were impressed in soft clay with a reed stylus and the tablets may have been stored in the scientific library of an astronomer or a temple building, Ossendrijver said.

The tablets contain geometrical calculations based on a trapezoid’s area, and its long and short sides. It had been thought that Babylonian astronomers relied only on arithmetical concepts, not geometric ones.

The ancient Greeks also were known for using geometry, but the Babylonian tablets employ it in a more complex, abstract manner.

The research was published in the journal Science.

The ancients knew more and discovered things long before the Greeks did. If anything, the ancient Greeks would fall under Jim West’s definition of plagiarism as their conquests led them to information held by earlier people long before the Greeks ‘discovered it’ and the Greeks did not give any acknowledgement to this pre-Greek work.

A Few Thoughts

#1. Justice Takes The Hard Roadhttps://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/but-by-all-means-just-keep-talking-about-your-rights/

Why isn’t mom being charged with negligent homicide?  Because the second amendment (wrongly interpreted) trumps every other law in the land.  Without exception.

She isn’t charged because she did not commit a crime. Now some people will say she left a gun in her purse but those who practice real justice will not let the emotion of a child being killed influence their thinking and see what really is involved here. Being forgetful is not a crime; she may have told the kids to leave her purse alone; she did not encourage or tell the kids to play with the gun; the child acted upon his or her own decision to play with the gun or was encouraged by the other children and there are other factors to consider

Real justice doesn’t just haphazardly charge anyone with a crime because something bad took place. Real justice will take the chance to look bad and only charge a person when they actually committed a crime. In this modern age, too many law enforcement officials are just throwing too many charges at the wall to see which one will stick because they are focused on looking tough on crime, getting their conviction rates up or want to be seen doing their job. They are not looking to produce real justice.

When society looks to charge anyone with any sort of criminal activity then people soon adopt the attitude of why care to do what is right because they will be punished no matter what they do. Bad justice encourages and supports more crime.

#2. There Is No Candidate That Would Qualifyhttps://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/theyre-smarter-in-oklahoma-than-they-are-in-virginia/

Dr. Everett Piper of Oklahoma Wesleyan University expressed his thoughts this week on the university website in response to local media inquiring whether he, like Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., would welcome Trump to have the podium. “My answer has been simple and brief. No, I will not,” he wrote.  Piper said that at his university, unless the event is a debate, speakers need to align with biblical principles and be in step with the school’s mission.

Politicians are out for votes and do not care what they say as long as they can get enough people to back them and put them in the white house. I do not think I would qualify as I know nothing about that school or its mission.

#3. I Disagreehttps://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/academic-plagiarists/

It’s the dirty little not-so-secret of academia: Professors have grad students do a good deal of their research.  The fact is, however, that most of the time when the ‘world famous academic’ publishes a book, he doesn’t tell readers that the bulk of the material has been compiled by students.  Instead, he takes the credit (and the acclaim), for the whole.

That’s plagiarism.  And frankly, if you can’t do your own work then you shouldn’t be writing the book.

West likes to think he is king and that he has the right to label other people’s activities as he sees fit. He is part of the problem not the solution. Getting help with research is not plagiarism it is getting help and I guess West forgot to read the page titled Acknowledgments as many times academics do list those who help them in their work.

Distorting what others do is not a Christian act.

#4. So?https://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/there-are-two-things-i-despise-yea-three-which-fill-me-with-contempt/

People who injure children.

People who talk about what the Bible ‘means’ when they don’t read Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic and yet think their opinion really matters.

People who talk or write about Zwingli when it’s obvious that they haven’t read more than half of one of his books.

The first line: Why be so prejudiced and discriminate against those who injure teens and adults? Why not hate all those who purposefully injure another human being? Why should children be singled out here and elevated to such precious status?

The second line: West just doesn’t understand God, the Holy Spirit, the Bible or the church. He is an elitist who thinks only he knows what the Bible says. But then opinion doesn’t matter only the truth does.

The third line: I have Zwingli, Calvin and Luther. Their writings are no greater than anyone else’s and they are not inspired works of God. They carry no more weight than any other Christian writer.

#5. Attacking Scholarshiphttp://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2016/01/patterns-of-evidence-exodus.html

The claim is that, if you move the Exodus back far enough in Egypt’s history, then you get a precise fit with certain evidence. That claim is simply false

I saw very little wrong with the movie Patterns of Exodus and I saw nothing wrong with re-dating certain artifacts and events to line up with the biblical account. That is after all what scholarship is all about. Yet for some reason when people do this to support the Bible it is all wrong and the error filled ideas of Egyptologists reign supreme.

I cannot agree with the quoted words because we are to find the truth even when it corrects accepted scientific and archaeological thought and ideas. The people who have a problem are not the ones using scholarship to think through their ideas but those who refuse to correct their mistakes when the truth is discovered.

#6. Erroneous Teachinghttp://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/10-tips-to-raising-christian-kids-after-fundamentalism/

A common question I’ve received over the years is, “I’ve left fundamentalism, but how do I re-program my kids? How do I raise them differently than how I was raised?”

It’s a good question.

For those of us who have moved beyond Christian fundamentalism but still desire to raise our children as Christians, we need to make some adjustments in how we raise our children in the faith

Are they robots that need programming? We are to teach our children the truth not program them like a person programs a computer. Christian fundamentalism has its problems but those problems do not mean we toss aside the truthfulness of scripture and add in our own ideas to biblical passages. The word ‘teach’ does not mean ‘change the truth’ and go your own way though many use that word to do just that.

If you go through that list of 10 tips you will see that he is telling people to lie to their children because he cannot accept the historicity of the Bible, or that his ideas about scripture are subjective and false. I need to say a few words on each point though:

Teach them a Jesus-centered approach to faith, practice, and reading the Bible.

To do that one has to correctly know the Jesus centered approach to those ideas and they must accept the fact that the other books of the Bible carry as much weight as the Gospels do. All the words are inspired not just the red letters of the gospel. Also one must teach their children how to follow the Holy Spirit to the truth. One cannot get to the Jesus centered approach if they ignore the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit

Help them see the value of Old Testament stories is rooted in the narrative, not the historical reliability.

Doing this means teaching your children that God lied, hid the truth, allowed his writers to lie, did not preserve his word, did not communicate his word and so on. it tells the child that the Bible and God cannot be trusted to tell them the truth leaving them without a bible to guide their lives and teach them how to live correctly.

Teach them the Bible is an inspired story of God revealing himself to us, but it’s not an owner’s manual for life.

This idea defeats itself as how can the Bible be the inspired words of God yet not be a manual for life?What that statement says is that the reader of the Bible can cherry pick which parts are inspired and omit the rest. Also if God is revealing himself to us then he is also revealing to us how he wants us to live and act. What good is revealing oneself to his creation if he withholds instruction on how to please him in our lives?

Help them become love-driven instead of fear-driven.

To do this one must correctly understand what love is first. Love is not accepting unrepentant sinners into the church and letting evil work is destructive nature upon believers. Love does not let sin ruin paradise yet so many of these love focused people forget these vital points and stress acceptance instead of repentance. love does not leave people in their sin, bound to evil and headed for destruction.

Teach them their worth and value is intrinsic and not tied to their ability to perform.

Not sure what he means by that but love does teach that each human is valuable and worthy of grace but love teaches the complete picture–one needs to repent of their sins and then they need to exercise their gifts and talents. Love is not just a feel good emotion where no one is a loser or doing wrong.

Show them the value of Christian community over rigid church attendance.

It is true that some people stress church attendance too much but then David said ‘I was glad when they said let;’s go to the house of the Lord.’ Church attendance is not a bad thing for that is where we can gather together to encourage, support, rebuke, learn, teach and so on. Church is valuable bit sadly too many church leaders think about seats in the pews and not the quality of the service.

Teach them to generously serve without blindly following.

You are supposed to teach them to follow the leading of the Holt Spirit, to do God’s will and follow the instructions given by both God and Jesus. That is not telling them to blindly follow anything but teaching them how to obey God.

Help them develop empathy for others– especially outsiders and those who are different.

Empathy does not mean one forgets or ignores God’s rules.Nor doe sit teach that unrepentant sinners are acceptable to God. Empathy does not remove or alter the steps needed for salvation and acceptance. It tells people the right way to go to be saved and does not hide the truth from them. it does not remove repentance of ones sins.

Show them they can hold their opinions with both conviction and humility.

We are to go for the truth not subjective opinion. We need to show our children how to hold to the truth with humility and conviction so that they do not turn people off of Christ.

Encourage them to ask the hard questions.

This one I agree with but with a caveat. Make sure you know the correct answers or where to find them in order to guide your children to the truth. We do not just give at answers hoping the difficulty will go away. We make sure we provide our children with the right answers presented in the right biblical way in order not to lose them later on in life when someone tells them something different. We also do this so that our children will have confidence in us and our knowledge instead of having them feel dissatisfied and seek the wrong people to provide them with the wrong answers to meet their needs.

We need to take tie to answer our children’s questions correctly so that they can be strong believers as well and not dump the faith when something more glittery and fun comes along.We want our children to find the straight and narrow path and stick to it thus we need to do the hard work to get them there.

Case In Point

The following link has an article similarities among the rocks found on earth and other planets in this solar system


They then claim:

Everything we see today, from Mercury on out to the inner Oort Cloud, was a product of a series of collisions that accumulated into moons, asteroids, and planets. And perhaps one of the most violent blows came when a planet roughly the size of Mars smashed into a fledging planet called Earth. At the end of the cataclysmic event, two bodies were left standing: Earth itself, and a fragmentary, molten piece of the two  planets that coalesced into the Moon.

Their evidence:

The proof is in the oxygen isotopes: that is, the Moon share the same oxygen isotopes in the same ratios as Earth, and preliminary results of tungsten isotopes shows about the same thing. In other words, the Earth and the Moon are made of the same materials. In the “glancing blow” model, the Moon would primarily have contained material from Theia with some admixture from Earth.

Having identical chemical compounds, structure, or even geological similarities is NOT evidence for a chaotic origin of the solar system or that the planets and moons were developed by colliding with each other.  Aside from the obvious argument that the researchers cannot observe this phenomenon in action, which means that this idea is pure speculation, being identical is just not evidence for collisions.

The fact that the moon and earth may have identical geological and chemical formations and construction can and does point to a single creator who made the planets and moons out of the same material and gave them identical properties. This is why we think when we have faith in God. It is to avoid such false teaching. Our faith and thinking powers are not to be used to embrace false teaching but to help us see the folly in what is presented by unbelievers, people who have rejected God and his word, and continue to use them to follow the Holy Spirit to the truth.

Having faith in God and the bible does not mean we do not think, it means we use our ability to think to spare us from being deceived. Another example:

But recent analysis of material taken from the Apollo 12, 15, and 17 missions tells a different tale: that of a violent head-on collision, one that left the Earth forever scarred with the fragments of Theia, and that left the Moon with the same ratios of material.

Where is this evidence for this mysterious planet that sacrificed so much so that our earth and moon could come into being and be perfectly situated to support life? The identical rocks and properties do not provide any evidence for this planet or that it even existed and since, again we have to point to the obvious, the researchers cannot observe anywhere in the universe this supposed chaos and collision activity, they are making it all up because they want an explanation and not the truth.

Until the researchers can produce real and verifiable evidence that this planet actually existed and that collisions actually took place to form the planets, etc., then they are just blowing smoke and lying to the world. They are also demonstrating that they will believe, do and say anything about our origins as long as our origins do not include God. This ideology is repeated over and over by unbelievers and it shows the believer that they are not of God, not following God and do not believe God.

The believer, instead of being cowed into silence by a researcher’s academic and experiential credentials, needs to stop looking at the scientist’s degrees, etc., and look on the fact that they do not believe God thus they do not have the Spirit of Truth guiding them to what is our true origins. We stop listening to these people and return to listening to God.

There was no chaotic universe bringing about order and perfection through collisions, etc., for those ideas are not possessed by chaos, as we read its definition–

complete disorder and confusion (Oxford Dictionary)

At no time has any scientist brought order and perfection from any form of chaotic experiment or event.

But analysis of salt-heavy lunar rocks and soil show it to be virtually identical to the floor of the ocean. As you can see from the map below, the Apollo rocks all came from vastly disparate parts of the Moon, but the ratios in each region remain the same.

When we look at identical twins we know that they came from the same source. We can study their genes, we can study eggs and sperm, we can make real and actual tests to confirm that they were from the same parents and born at roughly the same time. Birthing twins is also observed by millions of doctors, nurses and midwives, not to mention police officers and firemen, and so on, We know how twins came to be.

BUT no such evidence, observation, experimentation, tests, and other factors exist for the birthing of the earth and moon via a chaotic universe and collision. Being identical means coming from the same source, usually, it is not evidence for collision and chaos. Everything about the earth and moon, and other heavenly bodies, being made via collision is made up and a product of someone’s over-active imagination.

True faith shows us this as it is not blinded by the accumulation of university degrees, scientific experimentation and years of experience. True faith has the truth and it is not swayed by the faulty thinking of those who do not believe and do not follow God.


In our ongoing series on dissecting the misunderstanding of biblical items, the issue of faith is an important one. I have not counted how many alternative believers have said the following, or something similar, to me over the years

Faith does not require that we stop thinking

This statement demonstrates the problem of the misunderstanding of faith very clearly. Before we get into the meat of this issue, we need to provide a very clear definition of the word ‘faith’

complete trust or confidence in someone or something (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/faith)

This definition guides to see the error in the thinking of those who use statements quoted above. If these people who claim to be Christian yet adopt and accept secular teaching then they do not have complete trust or confidence in God or the Bible. They really do not have faith but actually distrust God and his word. They are saying that God got it wrong and those people who are deceived know better than he.

While we can think when we use faith, faith does not lead us to say God is wrong. Faith does not lead us to say the biblical authors could not understand how the world came to be really so they wrote what they wanted to write or God allowed them to lie. No, real faith tells us that God communicated exacted how our origins came to be and that his authors wrote down the correct word and understood very clearly what God was saying.

Then while we can think when we have complete trust in God, that faith does not lead us to ignore other passages of scripture nor leads us to disobey God’s commands and instructions. True faith does not lead us to listen to those who are deceived and under the power of evil and sin. True faith does not say that the unbelieving world, one who follows the father of lies has our origins, and other matters of life correct.

True faith leads us to the truth and that God’s word is correct no matter what the deceived, sinful world says. When these alternative believing people say secular science ha sit right, they are saying that secular science is immune from deception, immune from being led astray and immune from any other evil influence that will produce error in their thinking. This is blind faith in action, thinking that science can do what God cannot.

While true faith leads us to accept God at his word and believe what he tells us, it doe snot stop us from learning the truth about the world. The person who made the initial quoted comment went on to say that an asteroid, (meteor or comet, which ever word you want to use) killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. But true faith tells us that is impossible because 1. the earth is not that old and 2. there are other more rational and realistic reasons why dinosaurs are extinct.

As we read in Genesis 10 one of those realistic reasons–

Now Cush [d]became the father of Nimrod; he [e]became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.” (NASB)

Now we need to add here that while Nimrod is the only one mentioned in the Bible, that solitary comment does not mean that other men did not over-hunt the animals at that time.We do not know everything that took place during those early years after the flood.

I can call the asteroid theory irrational and unrealistic because all the scientist has is a crater to go on. There is no other evidence that an asteroid actually hit the earth and formed that crater or that it killed all the dinosaurs. Such thinking is read into the evidence of the existing hole in the ground not taken from it. True faith as described in the Bible leads us to the truth not to unverifiable theories and misleading speculations.

True faith does not lead us to listen to those who do not believe because we know that in the Gospel of John Jesus tells us that the unbelieving world does not have nor can receive the Spirit of Truth. So we must ask ‘how can one have faith and listen to those who do not have the truth?’ Faith allows us to think but that thinking means we do not blindly accept the thinking, theories, speculations, conjectures and hypothesis of those who do not have the truth and do not believe God.

Those people claiming to be Christian yet say evolution is true, or the dinosaurs were killed off by an asteroid millions of years ago, and so on DO NOT BELIEVE GOD. They believe secular science and its members over God thus they are not bringing the truth to God’s people. Saying that they have years of education, years of experience studying these matters doe snot mean that they are following the Spirit of Truth to the truth and such is not a criteria for knowing the truth.

True faith leads us to the truth, to obedience to God and his word and away from sinners and their lies. True faith opens our eyes and allows us to see the correct path to follow and who is or isn’t following that path. True faith allows us to see the difference between who is or isn’t telling the truth. True faith also allows us to see who is making excuses in order for them to follow secular science over God and his word.

True faith does not lead us to sin, lies or disobedience but leads us to the straight and narrow path to salvation and keeps us on it.  Do not fall for those initially quoted words and be led to lies and false teaching by those who claim to be Christian. They are being deceived and leading others to deception. Stay with the SPirit of Truth so that you can have true faith and grow in Christ and your faith.