Re: Re: [asa] Brilliant article by Dawkins

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Tue Aug 25 2009 - 11:00:38 EDT
Hi Iain, you wrote:
"But a myth in the proper sense was a story intended to illustrate a profound truth, through a semblance of history."

Actually, if we go back to the epic tales of Mesopotamia, and these would be the first "myths," the object of the writer was to produce a story of such interest he could sell copies and make money.  Truth was something that could only get in the way of a good yarn.  Yet it needed to be about someone famous such as a king, or a god, or a goddess.  Gods, goddesses and kings in the same story were popular and widely circulated such as Dumuzi the king of Badtabira in his quest of Inanna the goddess of the morning star, essentially the first love story ever written.


Let's take the eleventh tablet of Gilgamesh as another example.  Gilgamesh was the fifth Sumerian ruler in post-flood Uruk (Erech).  Legends about him abounded, all written in Sumerian, as he apparently was a larger than life individual.  Who knows what elements of truth were embedded in the legends that contained obvious features of impossibility.


An Akkadian scribe decided (apparently) that he would put a famous character from his own line of ancestors, Noah, together with the famous Gilgamesh and make a composite myth drawing upon historical elements that were commonly known.  Thus what we have today is a famous tale of a Sumerian king and his unlikely encounter with the also famous survivor of the great flood.

Dick Fischer

Aug 25, 2009 07:37:59 AM, wrote:

On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 11:33 AM, Jack <> wrote:
I dont know about it being brilliant.  He spends a lot of time talking about how evolution isnt a "theory" its a fact, when we all know that the word theory has more meanings than the sense that he is using it.
I also bristle a bit at his suggestions on what preachers should preach about. 

Granted it's disingenuous, but there is something to be said for caution in the way preachers talk, say about Adam and Eve.  There is a modern problem with the word "myth", because it is seen today as being just "falsehood".  You see websites with "Top 10 myths about XYZ busted".  But a myth in the proper sense was a story intended to illustrate a profound truth, through a semblance of history.  Perhaps in the past people would realise this and not take exception to talking about mythological characters as if they were real, but perhaps in modern times we need to make that qualification because the modern tendency is to take things literally.
This is disingenuous isnt it?  What he really wants is for there to be no church, no preachers, and no religion.  Perhaps he wants the preachers to say that the existence of Adam and Eve isnt factual just to create dissension, not to spread truth.  Since evolution does not necessarily negate the historicity of Adam he is straying to far from his area of expertise here.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 3:04 PM
Subject: [asa] Brilliant article by Dawkins

No, I am not joking. There was an absolutely brilliant article in The Times today on the menace of creationism. Excellent stuff, not one attack on Christianity. It does have a few necessary comments on bishops and clergy put in an understatement.

Non timeo sed caveo
(")_(") This is a bunny copy him into your signature so he can gain world domination
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