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Just as proponents of "Intelligent Design" are rallying against the theory of evolution, their counterparts in linguistics are pushing the (strictly scientific, mind you, and not in the least religious) theory of "Wrathful Dispersion":
The opponents of Wrathful Dispersion maintain that it is really just Babelism, rechristened so that it might fly under the radar of those who insist that religion has no place in the state-funded classroom. Babelism was clearly rooted in the Judeo-Christian story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11: 19); it held that the whole array of modern languages was created by God at a single stroke, for the immediate purpose of disrupting humanity's hubristic attempt to build a tower that would reach to heaven... Wrathful Dispersion is couched in more cautiously neutral language; rather than tying linguistic diversity to a specific biblical event, it merely argues that the differences among modern languages are too perverse to have arisen spontaneously, and must therefore be the work of some wrathful (and powerful) disperser who deliberately set out to accomplish a confusion of tongues.
One cynical observer has likened WD to Scientology, which "is a religion for purposes of tax assessment, a science for purposes of propaganda, and a work of fiction for purposes of copyright."This article, of course, is a parody. However, this site appears to be all too sincere, and offers up pearls of wisdom such as:
The Tower of Babel scenario of the Biblical account in Genesis 11 posits that all people spoke the same language before the Lord confused human tongues. Up until the nineteenth century it was common knowledge that the pre-Babel tongue was the language of the Bible, Ancient Hebrew and the language of Adam and Eve. ven in colonial America, Hebrew was so revered that the first dissertation in the New World, at Harvard College, was on Hebrew as The Mother Tongue. The Continental Congress nearly made Hebrew the language of the new republic, as much to break away from England as to reaffirm America's status as the new Promised Land.Actually, the claim that Hebrew almost became the US national language is a myth.
And it goes on from there, going into things from the white-supremacist tenets of Darwinism to Noam Chomsky being the connection between Godless non-Edenist linguistics and rabid anti-Israelism, not to mention the "proto-world" fallacy of assuming that languages remain largely static.
A 500 year extension would let Disney track down Shakespeare's heirs and buy all rights to the Bard. No matter how much the heirs wanted, the deal would pay for itself in no time. Every school that ever wanted to perform or study Shakespeare would have to send a check to Disney. Every newspaper or magazine or radio show that wanted to quote the Bard would have to send one, too. So Disney asked, and Congress gave, and the World Intellectual Property Organization followed Congress's example. Disney paid off Shakespeare's heirs, then used the Shakespeare profits to buy all rights from the heirs of Dumas, Dickens, Twain, Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, Bram Stoker and more. Once most of the films in every other studio's library were subject to Disney's copyright, they went bankrupt or became divisions of Disney.
Then Jimmy Joe Jenkins's DNA proved he was the primary descendent of the translators of the King James Version of the Bible.(via bOING bOING)
This Christmas Day, Britain's Channel 4 is continuing its annual tradition of courting controversy by broadcasting a documentary questioning the authorship of the Bible and suggesting a link between Christian theology and the troubles in the Middle East.
He declares the New Testament a 'masterwork of spin written by people who were nowhere near the events they describe, all gathered by powerful editors who kept out ideas they did not like'.
One of the most revealing moments comes when Beckford visits the US state of Georgia to talk to President Bush's spiritual adviser, baptist minister Richard Land. Land dismisses as 'rubbish' suggestions that the Bible is inaccurate and cannot be the basis for political decisions. 'When you stand in judgment of scripture, that is a theology of death,' says Land, who has called for Iraq to be 'flooded' with US troops.
Again, it's probably nothing most educated people in the secular world haven't heard of; nonetheless, evangelical groups are up in arms about the timing.
The Bible, now with added Miracle Ingredient A; because you can't underestimate the importance of believing in a supreme being of your own nationality.
A Canadian court has ruled that parts of the bible are hate literature; specifically, the parts of Leviticus that mandate the putting to death of homosexuals and adulterers. The court upheld a ruling by a human rights tribunal which fined a man for putting an ad in a newspaper quoting Bible verses denouncing homosexuality. It's refreshing to see authorities who aren't blinded from such things by a belief that religion is the basis of all morality, civilisation and common human decency, and a spot of xenophobic hatred here and there is a small price to pay for fending off the chaos, nihilism and lawlessness that would follow mass godlessness. (via rotten.com)
Ironic Christianity: Coming soon: the Cockney Bible; following in the footsteps of Klingon and Ebonics, a religious education teacher from East London has translated the Bible into Cockney rhyming slang. His translation -- endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, no less -- has Jesus feeding 5,000 geezers with "five loaves of Uncle Ned and two Lillian Gish". Though one wonders what the aim is: whether this is an attempt to make Christianity more relevant to East Londoners (unlikely), or to sell more Bibles to the easily amused, and hopefully win a few converts along the way.
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