An Israeli algorithm sheds light on the Bible

Jun 30, 2011 By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press
This undated file photo made available by the Yad Ben Zvi Institute on Nov. 8, 2007, shows a piece of an ancient parchment believed to be part of the most authoritative manuscript of the Hebrew Bible, the Aleppo Codex. Software developed by an Israeli team of scholars led by Moshe Koppel, of Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, is giving intriguing new hints about what researchers believe to be the multiple hands that wrote the Bible. (AP Photo/Yad Ben Zvi Institute, File)

Software developed by an Israeli team is giving intriguing new hints about what researchers believe to be the multiple hands that wrote the Bible. The new software analyzes style and word choices to distinguish parts of a single text written by different authors, and when applied to the Bible its algorithm teased out distinct writerly voices in the holy book.

The program, part of a sub-field of studies known as authorship attribution, has a range of potential applications - from helping law enforcement to developing new computer programs for writers. But the provided a tempting test case for the algorithm's creators.

For millions of Jews and Christians, it's a tenet of their faith that God is the author of the core text of the - the Torah, also known as the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses. But since the advent of modern biblical scholarship, academic researchers have believed the text was written by a number of different authors whose work could be identified by seemingly different ideological agendas and linguistic styles and the different names they used for God.

Today, scholars generally split the text into two main strands. One is believed to have been written by a figure or group known as the "priestly" author, because of apparent connections to the temple priests in Jerusalem. The rest is "non-priestly." Scholars have meticulously gone over the text to ascertain which parts belong to which strand.

When the new software was run on the Pentateuch, it found the same division, separating the "priestly" and "non-priestly." It matched up with the traditional academic division at a rate of 90 percent - effectively recreating years of work by multiple scholars in minutes, said Moshe Koppel of Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, the computer science professor who headed the research team.

"We have thus been able to largely recapitulate several centuries of painstaking manual labor with our automated method," the Israeli team announced in a paper presented last week in Portland, Oregon, at the annual conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics. The team includes a computer science doctoral student, Navot Akiva, and a father-son duo: Nachum Dershowitz, a Tel Aviv University computer scientist, and his son, Idan Dershowitz, a Bible scholar at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The places in which the program disagreed with accepted scholarship might prove interesting leads for scholars. The first chapter of Genesis, for example, is usually thought to have been written by the "priestly" author, but the software indicated it was not.

Similarly, the book of Isaiah is largely thought to have been written by two distinct authors, with the second author taking over after Chapter 39. The software's results agreed that the book might have two authors, but suggested the second author's section actually began six chapters earlier, in Chapter 33.

The differences "have the potential to generate fruitful discussion among scholars," said Michael Segal of Hebrew University's Bible Department, who was not involved in the project.

Over the past decade, have increasingly been assisting Bible scholars in searching and comparing texts, but the novelty of the new software seems to be in its ability to take criteria developed by scholars and apply them through a technological tool more powerful in many respects than the human mind, Segal said.

Before applying the software to the Pentateuch and other books of the Bible, the researchers first needed a more objective test to prove the algorithm could correctly distinguish one author from another.

So they randomly jumbled the Hebrew Bible's books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah into one text and ran the software. It sorted the mixed-up text into its component parts "almost perfectly," the researchers announced.

The program recognizes repeated word selections, like uses of the Hebrew equivalents of "if," "and" and "but," and notices synonyms: In some places, for example, the Bible gives the word for "staff" as "makel," while in others it uses "mateh" for the same object. The program then separates the text into strands it believes to be the work of different people.

Other researchers have looked at linguistic fingerprints in less sacred texts as a way of identifying unknown writers. In the 1990s, the Vassar English professor Donald Foster famously identified the journalist Joe Klein as the anonymous author of the book "Primary Colors" by looking at minor details like punctuation.

In 2003, Koppel was part of a research team that developed software that could successfully tell, four times out of five, if the author of a text was male or female. Women, the researchers found, are far more likely to use personal pronouns like "she" and "he," while men prefer determiners like "that" and "this" - women, in other words, talk about people, while men prefer to talk about things. That success sparked debate about how gender shapes the way we think and communicate.

Research of this kind has potential applications for law enforcement, allowing authorities to catch imposters or to match anonymous texts with possible authors by identifying linguistic tics. Because the analysis can also help identify gender and age, it might also allow advertisers to better target customers.

The new software might be used to investigate Shakespeare's plays and settle lingering questions of authorship or co-authorship, mused Graeme Hirst, a professor of computational linguistics at the University of Toronto. Or it could be applied to modern texts: "It would be interesting to see if in more cases we can tease apart who wrote what," Hirst said.

The algorithm might also lead to the creation of a style checker for documents prepared by multiple authors or committees, helping iron out awkward style variations and creating a uniform text, Hirst suggested.

What the algorithm won't answer, say the researchers who created it, is the question of whether the Bible is human or divine. Three of the four scholars, including Koppel, are religious Jews who subscribe in some form to the belief that the Torah was dictated to Moses in its entirety by a single author: God.

For academic scholars, the existence of different stylistic threads in the Bible indicates human authorship.

But the research team says in their paper they aren't addressing "how or why such distinct threads exist."

"Those for whom it is a matter of faith that the Pentateuch is not a composition of multiple writers can view the distinction investigated here as that of multiple styles," they said.

In other words, there's no reason why God could not write a book in different voices.

"No amount of research is going to resolve that issue," said Koppel.

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flashgordon
5 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2011
Psalms 84:11, god is the sun; there's plenty of other passages throughout the Old Testament to the effect that god is just the stars, and the Jews who made the bible(there were many different sects of jews; even early on, Israelites and Judahites were quite distinct; then, the Assyrians took out the northern Israelites; they didn't think the southern highland Judahites were worth lifting a finger for) were astrologers. What does Gen book one say? Yea, that's write, god made the sun and stars for signs - in other words, for astrology.
flashgordon
4 / 5 (3) Jun 30, 2011
Somehow my deductive disproof of the existence of god got deleted; so much the better; i'm waiting till I'm reading to publish!
flashgordon
5 / 5 (2) Jun 30, 2011
Biblical scholars have shown that there's like four writers of the old testament; the judahites, the israelites(distinguished by whether god is called elohim or adonai), the prists, and then the redactors(people who touched it up over the centuries(the old testament wasn't really settled till like 100 A.D; modern day Judaism is a roman accepted judaisms just like christianity is what was acceptable to the romans; pay unto caesar what is his!).
210
1 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2011
Somehow my deductive disproof of the existence of god got deleted; so much the better; i'm waiting till I'm reading to publish!

Flash? Gordy-babe, I AM...AM tryin' to follow you..!
What do you mean, "...reading to publish!"???
flashgordon
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
I can't edit; i did see that. I've been waiting for the three minutes to pass to post a correction.

Somehow my deductive disproof of the existence of god got deleted; so much the better; i'm waiting till I'm "ready" to publish!
210
1 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2011
; modern day Judaism is a roman accepted judaisms just like christianity is what was acceptable to the romans; pay unto caesar what is his!).

Your Flashness, modern Judaism is A LITLE BIT different than what it once was, yes,yes.
The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD...the Jewish Faith was ALWAYS based on blood sacrifice, AND the great Temple to sanctify it. Our modern Jewish brethren are NO LONGER looking for/anticipating a Messiah of any kind and no longer use the holy writ...most use the Book of Palm I believe it is called. But yes, they are different as you note!
210
3 / 5 (2) Jun 30, 2011
Psalms 84:11, god is the sun;) were astrologers. What does Gen book one say? Yea, that's write, god made the sun and stars for signs - in other words, for astrology.

Excuse me your excellent Flashiness, oh great One ...but... wouldn't the presence of the Sun ALSO and possibly, primarily be of great benefit to...welllll...my flower garden? I also have a very excellent veggie garden and my neighbors centerfold-buxom teenage daughters love to TAN in the Sun. I am sure we can also see the practical side to what can also be called an astrological element. :-)
word-to-ya-muthas
210
1 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2011
? Yea, that's write, god made the sun and stars for signs - in other words, for astrology.

Stop it Gordo...you Gordonian you!!!
"Write" is not right! 'Right' is right/correct...!
You ARE testing me to see if I can qualify as your editor when you write your best seller: 'WORLD ACCORDING TO GORDON THE GORDONIAN." ....am I hired?

word-to-ya-muthas
flashgordon
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
about all I want to add is that Jesus Christ was an effor to make a more peacefull sacrifice. It's kindof striking the way Jesus Christ is suppose to sacrifice himself for our sins(whatever the ruling elite at a given time says they are); and, oh yes, 'confess' your sins(in other words, let us in on your inner secrets so that I can dangle them on top of your head and control you).
flashgordon
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
Now that is bad; i am eating while writing these comments!
210
1 / 5 (3) Jun 30, 2011
about all I want to add is that Jesus Christ was an effor to make a more peacefull sacrifice. It's kindof striking the way Jesus Christ is suppose to sacrifice himself for our sins(whatever the ruling elite at a given time says they are); and, oh yes, 'confess' your sins(in other words, let us in on your inner secrets so that I can dangle them on top of your head and control you).

HEY! Gordonitude!! You ain't got no sins to worry about...I corrected all your mistakes, mostly... When you publish, just give me a little credit...slip me some coin...we're tight, friends, biz-partners, I like you cause when Christmas comes I don't have to spend any money on you. I know girls like you cause your name sounds like that porn movie...
word-to-ya-muthas-
flashgordon
5 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2011
as soon as I have money!
210
1 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2011
as soon as I have money!


SHWEEEEET!!!
flashgordon
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
look at our journalist here!

http://israelpale...soldier/
flashgordon
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
http://www.newsvi...r-israel

Matti Friedman actually wrote this; i remember coming across it at yahoo. Maybe, he's not as biased as I thought.
TheCyndicate
1.7 / 5 (12) Jun 30, 2011
Honestly, I can make a computer program that tells me that "Big Bird" wrote the Bible, that doesn't make it true. I really dislike these types of debates & research. You have the people of Science, NOT practicing REAL Science, because they have an agenda to "prove" that the Bible(Torah) was not written but one man & kept pure as it is claimed. You can NEVER prove or disprove it, either way. PERIOD.

Then, at the same time, you have "Religious Researchers", that are set out to disprove & attack Science. They end up FORCING(anyone that wants to follow or learn from), them to denounce Science & Scientific results for anything, sometimes including medical issues, that can result in death for the person.

BOTH just need to stop. Let people believe what they want to believe. This is like the oldest "Gang War" in history. Both sides just need to grow up and worry about REAL issues.

There is NO VALUE to Science, to do work like this in the 1st place. If proved right, it provides NOTHING
Norezar
4.8 / 5 (6) Jul 01, 2011
I wonder how much money has been poured into researching the easter bunny?
RobertKarlStonjek
4.5 / 5 (10) Jul 01, 2011
So it wasn't written by God after all? How surprising [NOT!!!]
It is just a collection of local myths, legends and popular stories...
kevinrtrs
1.6 / 5 (21) Jul 01, 2011
Strange how that collection of local myths, legends and popular stories has a way of pulling misfits, drunkards, druggies, criminals and prostitutes out of their misery and setting them on their feet and back into a normal life again.
Ever heard same such for the evolutionary myth? I thought not.
ennui27
5 / 5 (8) Jul 01, 2011
Strange how that collection of local myths, legends and popular stories has a way of pulling misfits, drunkards, druggies, criminals and prostitutes out of their misery and setting them on their feet and back into a normal life again.
Ever heard same such for the evolutionary myth? I thought not.


Have heard that claimed for the Qua'ran, the Book of Mormon, the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, and all that pales compared to what the Scientologists claim for a not-very-good SF writer. Regular viewings of OPRAH will do the same thing. We all know that Johnny Rivers can better that 'cause he is the One, the One. the One they call the Seventh Son".
stanfrax
1 / 5 (3) Jul 01, 2011
July 1st 2011 is Mayan mix - alternate realities attention dreams - the books = abstract science books
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.6 / 5 (14) Jul 01, 2011
Strange how that collection of local myths, legends and popular stories has a way of pulling misfits, drunkards, druggies, criminals and prostitutes out of their misery and setting them on their feet and back into a normal life again.
Kevin is woefully unaware (or chooses to ignore) the fact that 12 step programs were conceived because religion and other methods were ineffective in treating addicts. 12 step programs have nothing to do with religions or any god of the sort they tend to sell. Just ask any priest, minister or rabbi who has used them to get sober.

Kevin also ignores the fact that the majority of criminals are religious. This has been posted here before and I'm sure he's seen it.
FrankHerbert
3.8 / 5 (13) Jul 01, 2011
Psalms 84:11, god is the sun; there's plenty of other passages throughout the Old Testament to the effect that god is just the stars, and the Jews who made the bible(there were many different sects of jews; even early on, Israelites and Judahites were quite distinct; then, the Assyrians took out the northern Israelites; they didn't think the southern highland Judahites were worth lifting a finger for) were astrologers. What does Gen book one say? Yea, that's write, god made the sun and stars for signs - in other words, for astrology.


Christianity is the successor to the ancient Sun religion through Rome's influence on the early church. When Rome adopted Christianity as the state religion, it was merged with the previous Sun cult. Ever notice that Jesus usually has rays coming out of his head?

Rome had a history of retaining past religious practices upon adopting a new religion. This explains confession (pagan) and the date of Christmas (originally Saturnalia, also pagan).
panorama
5 / 5 (7) Jul 01, 2011
Rome had a history of retaining past religious practices upon adopting a new religion. This explains confession (pagan) and the date of Christmas (originally Saturnalia, also pagan).


They believed it allowed them to control the people they had conquered who worshipped said ghod. They would essentially "capture" the new ghods. Gotta catch 'em all...
Scientist_Steve
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 01, 2011
@kevin
Most healthy intelligent people can't square with the idea that there might not be anything beyond this life for them. That ultimately, they are not "special". You expecting people at the end of the rope to do it?. I watched a family member come back from alcoholism, trust me they need something (or anything) to cling to. Religion provides a nice foothold, a "purpose" to the madness, thats it. Don't try to oversell it there champ.
ennui27
3.3 / 5 (4) Jul 01, 2011
The AA idea of a "higher power" is hard to square with a religion. It does not have to be spiritual.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.2 / 5 (9) Jul 01, 2011
I watched a family member come back from alcoholism, trust me they need something (or anything) to cling to. Religion provides a nice foothold, a "purpose" to the madness, thats it. Don't try to oversell it there champ.
Right. But religion - any religion - will not serve that purpose. If it did then 12 step programs would not have been needed, nor would they have lasted for long.

The concept of a higher power in AA can mean anything to anybody. It is only a convenient mechanism for shedding baggage. And it WORKS, in conjunction with ALL the other aspects of the program, when nothing else will.

No religion can make this claim, and kevin is being willfully dishonest (as usual) in doing so. His 'conform or be condemned' threats are exactly the type of baggage addicts need to shed.
Scientist_Steve
4.8 / 5 (6) Jul 01, 2011
@Otto
Interesting comment. I generally agree with it. However, I think its too bold to say religion NEVER serves that purpose. Case in point, my brother never attended AA. He got involved in a church and it had the effects i listed above on him and allowed him to get control over his drinking problem (chemical addiction, thats a different conversation). My point was simply that religion serves that purpose for alot of people, regardless of whether or not they struggle with addiction. From my experience, it simply has an amplified draw for those in distress. Sounds like i am agreeing with kevin, but the difference is in the fact that he probably sees this effect as something of a divine nature. I see it as being a social and psychological effect that is easy to explain.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 01, 2011
(chemical addiction, thats a different conversation)


1) We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.

There are 11 more but the first ones probably the toughest.
http://www.na.org/
http://en.wikiped...nonymous
Scientist_Steve
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 01, 2011
@otto
ok?? If there was a point there it went completely over my head.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.5 / 5 (11) Jul 01, 2011
My point was simply that religion serves that purpose for alot of people
And I'm sorry but now I have to revert to evil otto and say that RELIGION is also an addiction.

It divides people and sets them against one another. It makes each group feel that they are more divinely privileged than the rest. It promises people that their god will provide them with special favors and will support however many children they may chance to have. It enables people like kevin to spread the kind of lies that endanger the lives of people like your brother.

Religions are the cause of all the problems in the world. And EVERY religionist will agree with me on this point; save for the one they believe in, the one which has the right to rule the world.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jul 01, 2011
@otto
ok?? If there was a point there it went completely over my head.

He got involved in a church and it had the effects i listed above on him and allowed him to get control over his drinking problem (chemical addiction, thats a different conversation).
Im sorry I thought you said your brother still had a problem. My mistake. Sobriety means different things to different people.
Scientist_Steve
5 / 5 (5) Jul 01, 2011
@otto
gotcha.
Per your other comments, you are preaching to the choir. I definitely don't agree with most of religion, I just see how necessary it is for most people. The alternative is much too difficult to accept for many.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (7) Jul 01, 2011
@otto
gotcha.
Per your other comments, you are preaching to the choir. I definitely don't agree with most of religion, I just see how necessary it is for most people. The alternative is much too difficult to accept for many.
I see you've fallen for the party line. Religion is not NECESSARY for anyone. Religions are all fantasy. There is much more comfort and solace available in reality. As there is with any form of sobriety.

Religion provides the quick fix of the epiphany, but you have to keep going back to achieve the same effect. Pretty soon it has consumed your thoughts (re Kevin), stolen your money, and commandeered your life.

You may think that religions provide friends and fellowship; but they also provide instant enemies, which can have various implications depending on the time and the place.
stanfrax
1.5 / 5 (4) Jul 02, 2011
the Egyptian Chinese Aztec Tibet monks Hopi Aborigines - most past civilizations = all of them unrelated all coming up with the same time lines but none seem to had got it as close as the Mayan culture of whats really going on today - wanting wisdom and control of its masses through experiments and fear they tried to tune their culture with the pattern of life with stars - unlike the Gregorian calendar as we know it that's been put in place because it fits with today's cultural social structure - its more of a life scale - the 2 that fit together form a type of clock - a bit like 3 days good luck bad luck type of thing or windows of opportunity - to remind every one of their calculations each person born on a day was given the same name - their calculations were so precise they knew of Pluto Karen zeta all left in there monuments and scriptures - we only knew about the past few 100 yrs - they used geometry and math and found the 0 - only found in India a few 1000yrs bk - the spiral tbc
stanfrax
1 / 5 (4) Jul 02, 2011
the main clock tells of the sun is speeding forward in time through our spiral galaxy - the planets including earth they knew they were on are moving in an elliptical orbit around the sun - all leaving an unseen spiral DNA pattern in our wake - they then watched the pattern of life coupled with their new mathematical science and knowledge -they could now predict events - we are moving forward in time - the past doesn't exist we are not even in the same space as we were 5 mins ago - this really is the 64000 year cycle unless we change the stars theirs nothing we can do about it - our leaders know of this
ennui27
4.7 / 5 (7) Jul 02, 2011
Well, that's a good way to terminate a debate.
Pas2
5 / 5 (1) Jul 03, 2011
How about running Quran through this software?
Raygunner
3 / 5 (2) Jul 03, 2011
IMHO, the Bible (divinely inspired or not) was written for a bunch of sheepherders; uneducated folk that had no idea of the true nature of the cosmos, or of the dark side of man. How could they? It was meant to give a social framework built on mystery with heaven as the proverbial carrot to help control our impulses and to keep us from eating each other alive (although that continues to happen here and there anyway). The Bible, and whoever was responsible for its conception, needs to return to Earth ASAP and give us an update - and a good thrashing too. We, as a once proud and civilized species attempting to crawl to greatness, have most certainly lost our way - and lost our collective souls in the process. I firmly believe that "goodness" (especially humble/kindness goodness) is a universal standard of measure to advance as a species and is "looked upon" with great approval. And I'm not religious in the slightest bit...
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (5) Jul 03, 2011
So ray
IMHO, the Bible (divinely inspired or not) was written for a bunch of sheepherders; uneducated folk...framework built on mystery with heaven as the proverbial carrot to help control our impulses
How could an ignorant bunch of sheepherders have been able to do this for this purpose, and why would they have wanted to?

Youve got a number of things wrong here probably because you dont know much about the bible or the species. Most bible stories originated far earlier in previous religions. They all contain valuable lessons on human nature and fundamental social truths, often presented with very subtle messages and many layers of meaning. We can see how they were refined from earlier versions from other cultures and tailored for their most effective application in HERDING PEOPLE.

And yet they are very blatant and open in how they do this, and exactly why it has needed to be done. The bible is the triumph of gens of some of the most brilliant People who ever lived.
Cont
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (4) Jul 03, 2011
We, as a once proud and civilized species attempting to crawl to greatness, have most certainly lost our way
How do you figure? When did this noble age of proudness and civility end? For that matter when did it begin? Humans have always been locked in cycles of growth, decay, collapse, and rebirth due to our ability to reduce the natural causes of attrition, and the unfortunate population overgrowth which is the result. Our tribal nature ensured that conflict would be, and still is, a very nasty endeavor indeed. This is pretty obvious in studying history - a record of neverending struggle.

And yet since around the time of the sumerians, and coincidently [?] when Abram left Ur, civilization as a whole continued to grow. Its centers of control moved to be sure, but Order and Stability expanded unabated.
Cont
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2011
Religion was an integral Part of this Process. There is every reason to believe this was an intentional Effort, in no small part because of how appropriate the various state-sponsored religions have been, to the particular phase of this Effort to conquer the world.
certainly lost our way - and lost our collective souls in the process.
Of course there are no things as souls, collective or otherwise, but we can see how the promise of eternal life required the concept.

And we can see just how Useful this concept could be in convincing people to give up their own wants and needs for Those who could provide immortality.
I firmly believe that "goodness" (especially humble/kindness goodness) is a universal standard of measure to advance as a species
Well, 'goodness' is measured not only in how altruistic you are to fellow tribal members but also how ruthless you are in destroying tribal enemies. Religion can extend the tribal dynamic beyond the tribe - a brilliant triumph.
Cont
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Jul 03, 2011
So look at the world today ray. Much of it has achieved pop growth in concert with the ability of technology to sustain it. The rest of the world is enthralled in one major religion or another which are presently dividing them up and setting them against one another in safe and constructive wars and revolutions and general mayhem.

Elsewhere Progress continues unabated, spurred on to a great extent by the threats these religionist groups present, a time-honored Incentive. This wild rate of tech development will soon hatch this egg we inhabit, and humans in their best Form will populate the inner system.

Which will give the race the Opportunity for yet another great evolutionary Leap. It will at last have the confidence to believe that it will persist. I would have to say that things seem to be going quite well indeed.
Raygunner
2.5 / 5 (2) Jul 03, 2011
As much as I appreciate your comments and all of the positive things you have to say about humankind, my view is somewhat tainted. I do believe in the soul and a continuance of sorts once we die. I also think the universe has provided a path, natural or otherwise, for these "good souls" to progress if you meet certain criteria. I'm starting to sound like a loon here because there is a much larger conversation to bring this into perspective, but suffice to say "admission" to this path (quantum-based I think) is natural and not monitored. Goodness/peacefulness/empathy="spiritual glue", evil/ego/just-plain-mean="spiritual chaos" or anti-glue. In other words the good spirit "holds together" to move down this path and the other? Dissipates. I dunno, getting off on a severe tangent here. I believe in an afterlife ('nother LONG story) but NOT God in the classical sense. Believing in my fellow human? Mostly no. I see patterns everywhere and they all point downwards. Overpopulation? Yes!
Raygunner
4 / 5 (1) Jul 03, 2011
You mention technology. If humankind had the right attitude and maturity then technology would be the cat's meow, nothing better! But we have the technology MINUS the maturity to use it wisely for the betterment of humans. Instead true technological developments will/are being militarized to destroy or control humans. Yes, there are some bright spots but just wait another few years. My great fear - and we are ALMOST there - is AI. This will happen minus the wisdom to shape it to have empathy and it will most likely appear in some skunk-works lab. And I predict when that happens, it will have been militarized in some fashion. With awareness and perception billions of times fast than humans, just what will it decide to do? What are humans good for if it has been taught to destroy? The best possible scenario would be for God to exist in the classical sense with most of us good folks spending eternity floating on clouds bathed in a golden light. I ain't holding my breath on that last one.
Raygunner
5 / 5 (2) Jul 03, 2011
One last statement and I'm done.

Technology maturity=civilization moves towards greatness

Technology immaturity=eventual civilization death

And being militarily mature does not equate to being emotionally mature. It shouldn't be "Kill the invaders!" but "Welcome visitors!"

I think we be WAY off the subject now!
pokerdice1
not rated yet Jul 03, 2011
@raygunner
"The Bible, and whoever was responsible for its conception, needs to return to Earth ASAP and give us an update."

Google "The Urantia Book"
Raygunner
not rated yet Jul 03, 2011
Thanks Pokerdice1 - very interesting book. I will read it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2011
I also think the universe has provided a path, natural or otherwise, for these "good souls" to progress if you meet certain criteria.
And that would depend entirely on your Perspective wouldnt it? Not to attack and destroy an enemy would be a grave sin against your tribe if it was obvious thast that enemy was eventually going to attack you. But from his perspective you might be the ultimate evil.
I believe in an afterlife ('nother LONG story) but NOT God in the classical sense.
Why? Because you WANT to, or because it is obviously the case? Because its not. And we can see, as I said, how useful the meme can be, and how quickly it would be expected to spread. Leaders would have to make sure that it was obviously They and only They who could provide it.
If humankind had the right attitude and maturity then technology would be the cat's meow, nothing better!
Why? Why bother to create nuclear subs unless you knew the Enemy was going to, and you needed to do it first?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2011
And being militarily mature does not equate to being emotionally mature. It shouldn't be "Kill the invaders!" but "Welcome visitors!"
As I said, once humans became able to eliminate those natural elements which kept their numbers in check, the next tribe became their mortal enemies. Because they would Inevitably come into conflict over limited resources. No amount of peaceful negotiation is going to provide enough food and water if there is not enough to go around.

You may think this is an ancient problem but it fully explains all the turmoil in the middle east and africa today. Religions there demand that their people outreproduce their infidel neighbors. What we see on tv has always been the result of this ancient method of beating an even more ancient dilemma.

There is a Solution to this. Again, western growth rates now roughly equal tech progress. There can be no peace in the world until those ancient cultures which exceed this balance, are destroyed.
Raygunner
not rated yet Jul 03, 2011
I don't know about perspective. At the end of the day it all is just my opinion and nothing else. I do enjoy sharing and trying to enlighten/be enlightened. It's life, human existence. I don't think I need to convince anyone that there is a basic truth in all this - one pure truth. Folks can try to religiously spin this and that but that basic, absolute truth will always be there. That's all I'm trying to do - drill down deep to try and see that. It's there buried under many, many layers of bullsh*t and societal conditioning. I'm not trying to convince anyone of my "personal" truth, and fooling myself is the last thing I want to do. To borrow that phrase from the "X-Files" - the truth is out there. And it can be found by anyone willing to look with a clear and open mind. I think we all have that inside, it's a matter of recognizing and opening your mind to see it. Is it religious? God? Satan? The unimaginable supreme quantum intelligence? I dunno, but I'll know it when I find it.
Raygunner
not rated yet Jul 03, 2011
Or it finds me.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2011
And it can be found by anyone willing to look with a clear and open mind.
And while youre looking, Someone else may be running the world and showing you only what they need you to see to enable Them to do it. Thats Their one pure truth. The survival of Their tribe and Their offspring, which equates to overarching Stability and Progress throughout the world.

The fact that we're here to contemplate, means we have some Purpose of Theirs to Serve.
Raygunner
not rated yet Jul 03, 2011
I'm sure that you are referring to some sort of mind control by mass manipulation - at least I THINK that's the discussion here. I for one am not easily controlled. Yes, throw a little sex my way and... well, I digress.

A) I don't believe in time, just a NOW
B) no time = NO FATE/DESTINY

We are making this up as we go NOW. That means our future is not, cannot, be perfectly predicted no matter how powerful the Deity. A nudge here, there, and you can push or help shape society in a direction but there are no firm outcomes. Patterns, however, can be discerned into paths that statistically have almost certain outcomes, all due to averaged human behavioral patterns and tendencies. Turn on the TV and you see that every day.

The mass mindset and how to manipulate it for big bucks - now there is one of the ugly truths on our small, polluted rock spinning on the far outskirts of the Milky Way. Me thinks we are the trailer trash of the galaxy, and no disrespect intended to the trailer folks
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2011
We are making this up as we go NOW. That means our future is not, cannot, be perfectly predicted no matter how powerful the Deity.
You are thinking this, and somebody is waiting around the next corner to steal your wallet... oops. That person is predicting your future for you. you are thinking this way and your boss is preparing to lay you off after the holidays. Oops! He is determining your future for you. Youre contemplating free will but -oops!- Khadaffy has planted a nuke in the city nearby. Khadaffy has chosen your future path.

Your future is not up to gods. It can be changed by people very easily. You see a commercial on tv and get the notion for a trip to disney world, or youre hungry for a mcfish sandwich. Same thing. You want a mcfish sandwich but you caught the flu, or cant find your car keys. So much for free will.

Similarly you can be given attitudes based on where you live, how old you are, how much money you make, etc.
cont
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2011
Similarly you can be made to instantly hate an enemy if you see them flying planes into buildings or sinking battleships in picturesque harbors.

You can blame some CEO in NYC if you lose your job or your bank goes belly-up, because people whose opinions you trust tell you this CEO is responsible. In fact you will believe just about anything youre told, when it is presented to you in the proper manner.

All thats needed is a little preparation and a pressing need for you to believe.
The mass mindset and how to manipulate it for big bucks
This here is a very good example. You are led to believe that the only reason others would want to manipulate large groups of people, is because they are GREEDY.

The Truth could very well be that They are manipulating people in order to SURVIVE. That people, if left to their own motivations, would end up ruining the world. If there was a way to prevent this, by manipulating people, dont you think it would be well worth doing?
cont
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2011
-Even if you had to lie to them and tell them it was being done by greedy, ignorant, insane bastards as usual; and further, it was their OWN fault because they were not vigilant or worthy or informed enough, or they failed to give their govts enough support and that this was the result?

People are so easy. Luckily.
Raygunner
5 / 5 (1) Jul 03, 2011
All of what you say - walking around a corner and getting robbed - all of that assumes someone is PLANNING or has knowledge in advance of an event and outcome. My boss firing me is not determining my future - he is affecting it at that moment. The robber may see me coming but has no idea I'm packing a gun. All of these scenarios can be attributed to HAPPENSTANCE. Every situation you described and all others would affect me by happenstance. Nothing is preordained - I just HAPPENED to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I can decide to turn any corner although I may have a habit of going a certain way. Manipulation to try to achieve a result is one thing - someone having a vision of a future outcome is another. Also consider: No time=free will. Yes I can be manipulated like anyone else but as long as I'm aware of it then it will be tough going for the manipulator (assuming I'm not enjoying it!). All in all, it has no bearing on the true meaning of fate, with fate being preordained.
Raygunner
5 / 5 (1) Jul 03, 2011
We are so far off topic I can't even remember what was being discussed. Something about the Bible or aliens or something like that.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Jul 03, 2011
All of these scenarios can be attributed to HAPPENSTANCE.
Nope. They all saw you coming and Planned to take advantage of you. Its what people do - they can foresee possible future scenarios and Plan to take advantage of them, or not. They can Plan to manipulate them to their advantage, or not. Some of those scenarios may include you. I am sure you do this very thing quite often, as do I.
We are so far off topic I can't even remember what was being discussed.
Not at all - the topic is the bible and what otto has to say about it. 8-O
Raygunner
5 / 5 (2) Jul 03, 2011
I think we are discussing two different things - manipulation by taking advantage, and manipulation by past/present/future by a deity and/or someone with that power. All I'm saying is someone may plan to do something and maybe 99% of the time pull it off, but only if people that are unaware or uncaring allows it to occur. It seems to be fate but it's not.

There is one destiny that I can say with 100% certainty will happen: it's 6:58 EST I'm planning to go and eat some juicy hamburgers and fries!
neiorah
1 / 5 (4) Jul 04, 2011
I say god dictated his words to a human author and that is that. Humans do it all the time so why cant the most powerful being in the universe do it too.
FrankHerbert
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 04, 2011
And I say that author was a schizophrenic.
ennui27
not rated yet Jul 05, 2011
I say god dictated his words to a human author and that is that. Humans do it all the time so why cant the most powerful being in the universe do it too.


Were there not something like 5 dudes nameed Ecclesiastes? If any God decided to divide Herself (Himself?) into 5 .. then "Vanity, Vanity, All (certainly) is Vanity".
Ramael
5 / 5 (1) Jul 07, 2011
Strange how that collection of local myths, legends and popular stories has a way of pulling misfits, drunkards, druggies, criminals and prostitutes out of their misery and setting them on their feet and back into a normal life again.
Ever heard same such for the evolutionary myth? I thought not.


Ignorance is bliss.
ennui27
5 / 5 (1) Jul 07, 2011
I say god dictated his words to a human author and that is that. Humans do it all the time so why cant the most powerful being in the universe do it too.


It is my understanding that this is Muslem dogma - that the Qu'ran is the actual word of god, dictated and written down. The testiments, old and new, are stories, parables and bon mots of what the writers believe is god or what this god wants, but nothing is actually dictated. (There are three versions of of 10 Commandments that often do not agree.)

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