Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Some of the latest intellectual developments:

I watched the Discovery documentray on sex and one of the major new ideas that I picked up from hte movie is that love between a mand and woman is ultimately not about each other but about the children. They point out that no other mammals form such strong emotinal long-term connections and no other mammals require such a long childhood experience before they can fend for themselves. We thus see that the love between a man and woman from an evolutionary standpoint serves the purpose of keeping the family together for the benefit of the children.

Today I investigated the origin of the Hebrew language and alphabet. Most of the research was done on the Encarta Encyclopedia and this is what I found.

Sargon, King of Akkad was the first mahor semitic people to invade Mesopatamia. That was 2300 BC. Some 300 years later the Aromites and Elamites, both semitic people, invaded "Sumer and Akkad" (like it's now called) and conquered some of its cities. Specifically, it seems that the Elamites conquered "Ur" circa 2000 BC. According to the Bible "Ur Kasdim" is the city Abram was born in circa 1900 BC. Thus Abram's family was semitic, belonging to the newly arrived Elamite tribe or some related semitic tribe.

Hammurabi of Babylon (author of the famous Hummurabi Code) did not arrive on the scene until about 1800 BC and once he took over control of Sumer and Akkad, Sumerian culture was officially over although in reality it was integrated into the Babylonian culture.

The phoenicians, who lived in what is now Syria and Lebanon, did not develop their alphabet until the 11th centure BC which corresponds roughly to the days of King David. And so, since the Hebrew alphabet is a derviative of the Phoenician alphabet, the bible could not have been written down before the days of King David. And so the question arises: how did the Israelites preserve all the information contained in the Torah for all those years? Most likely, it was transmitted orally but it's also possible that bits and pieces were written down in Sumerian Cuneifrom or the like until the Isarelites conquered Canaan and had a chance to adopt the phoenician alphabet from their neighbors and write everything down. Thus it is clear that the data contained in the Bible is not 100% accurate; it is inconceivable that all the info was preserved accurately over the course of 1000 years. And so, many of the stories in the Bible should not be taken at face value. They must be viewed from the persepective of the scribes who recorded those legends in the days of David and Solomon. These scribes recorded not just tradition but the myths and errors it contained skewed by their own primitive beliefs and biases.

Men are eager to have sex because they seek to spread their seed quickly and easily. Women have much more at stake since they will be investing much more effort at bearing the child and this is why they are less enthusiastic about sex and are more selective about their partners. A girl wants to be with the right guy whereas the guy doesn't mind whether the girl is right for him since it doesn't cost him much.