Skeleton of dinosaur ancestor unearthed!

No matter how old I get, I will always love dinosaurs.

The first complete skeleton of an early sauropod has been found in China, providing a glimpse of the ancestor of all those colossal, four-legged dinosaurs that came later.

The sauropod, tentatively named Yizhousaurus sunae, lived 200 million years ago on the plains of what is today the Yunnan Province of southern China. Yizhousaurus was 30 feet long and already had the signature sauropod long neck, heavy-duty skeleton and four-legged stance.

But what really makes the case for its pivotal role in the evolution of sauropods is its intact skull, which is an extremely rare find, explained paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University.

via Skeleton of dino ancestor unearthed – Technology & science – Science – msnbc.com.

Christians and Creationism

There have been some excellent discussions ongoing by Christians in the biblioblog community on creationism/evolution.

James McGrath: http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2010/10/ignorance-and-creationism-response-to.html

And Joel Watts: http://thechurchofjesuschrist.us/2010/10/christ-or-creationism-the-churchs-pork-problem/

(Update) See also:

http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2010/10/creation-and-inerrancy-round.html

http://thechurchofjesuschrist.us/2010/10/the-two-accounts-of-creation-in-genesis-bibliobloggers-arise/

This will be updated as more come about.

Jesus Biographies and ‘Histories’

I was thinking about it today, and I wonder if I would be more content with all of these “biographies” of Jesus if the scholars who wrote them were clear that they weren’t really “biographies” as much as they are metabiographies. At least labeling them as metabiographies would be more honest. A metabiography is the only way to account for the life of Jesus, using current sources, without dipping into the well of historical Jesus scholarship; without projecting ones own modern social constructs into the past anachronistically. Just a random thought, though I will consider this further as a part of my ongoing dialogue with “historicists” to redefine mythicism.

Sleuths Study Ancient UFOs, or ‘Why MSNBC Needs to Shut Up About History’

Attention Media: Stop trying to educate people on history.  You suck at it.  From MSNBC:

A stela at the Egyptian museum in Cairo shows Pharaoh Akhenaten, Queen Nefertiti and their children worshipping the sun in the more natural artistic style of the time. Akhenaten’s sighting of a “shining disk” descending from the sky is included on a list of 500 unexplained aerial observations made before the industrial revolution, drawn up by Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck.

via Cosmic Log – Sleuths study ancient UFOs.  The image shown is this:

 

But this is not a UFO; its the sun, also known as Aten.  The name Akhenaten means something to the effect of ‘servant of Aten (the sun disk)’.  The sun, in this image, is not ‘descending’ but extending its life-giving touch (hence the ankh, also known as a crux ansata, at the fingertips of the many hands reaching down to touch the lips of the Pharaoh).  Akhenaten was the first Pharaoh (as far as we know) to introduce henotheism into early Egyptian culture, where Aten was worshiped above all other gods.  He changed the capital to Amarna (he called Akhentaten), erected several monuments and after his death (which might have been caused by foul-play) and his line ended, everything in Egypt returned to the old ways.  If it had been aliens, why would the priests and the people return to the polytheism, minus the sun disk as its head, following this Pharaoh’s death?  This is just another case of the media making grandiose assumptions about the past based on association.  The sun disk could be construed as a UFO, ergo it must be.

Stick to the elections and natural disasters–things your accustomed to reporting on–and leave history to those who are not interested in sensationalism.  I wonder when the media will take this image:

With the caption ‘Ancient Aliens turned Pharaohs into Shape-shifters!  Mystery of the Sphinx solved!’

Surprise Discovery: Two Planets, Two Stars, One System

Very cool!

Two massive Jupiter-like planets were recently discovered orbiting around two extremely close sister stars an unexpected find, given the disturbing gravitational effects within most binary star systems that usually disrupt planets from forming.

via Surprise discovery: Two planets, two stars, one system – Technology & science – Space – Space.com – msnbc.com.

Roland Boer and the Sausage-Fest Fiasco! (according to SBL) – Stalin’s Moustache

I made a post the other day about Roland Boer.  It has since made a circle around the interwebs and Roland has finally received a response (though, the end result of the status of his paper and his title are still unknown):

The other day, in fact very soon after I sent my reply to the original effort to banish the celebration of sausages from SBL, I received the following email message. It comes from the relatively new executive director of SBL, John Kutsko, who owns up to asking Charlie Haws to see if he could get rid of that dammed sausage-fest. You’ll notice the effort to keep all this on the quiet, as a supposedly ‘private’ matter, especially between men. But I can’t help wondering: fuck man, what’s wrong with sausages, especially at the Society of Biblical Literature? Castration anxiety?

via Dislike of sausage-fests goes all the way to the top: John Kutsko responsible for effort to censor my paper title « Stalin’s Moustache.  Read on and offer your support.

Jim West offers the following apt statement:

I’m not really sure why Roland’s paper has been singled out.  Anyone who has ever gone through the SBL program book has seen titles that aren’t only just ‘different’ but downright bizarre.  And as far as I’m concerned, more offensive.

via http://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/there-are-some-things-hard-to-understand/

Ancient Maximalism! or ‘What BAR would Publish if it had existed in Antiquity’

I thought I might start a new series of posts over time collecting and blogging about ancient rationalizations about the past.  Our first contender for BAR fame? Palaephatus.  Now Palaephatus wrote in his introduction to his work Περὶ ἀπίστων:

Now some people, who have no acquaintance with philosophy or science, are too credulous and believe everything that is said to them.  Others, of a more subtle and inquisitive nature, totally disbelieve that any of these tales ever happened.  My own belief is that there is a reality behind all stories.  For names alone without stories would hardly have arisen: first there must have been deeds and there-after stories about them.

Palaephatus lists a great deal of “true stories” behind the myths.   In his work, he writes that Centaur’s were real people, but rather than being half-horse and half-man, the stories arose from them being the first group of people to ride horseback (before then, he says, people only used horses to pull chariots)!  And of course the truth behind the Trojan horse is not that a group of Greeks jumped free from it and attacked the city, but that the Trojans tore down parts of their wall to accommodate the horse, thereby allowing the Greeks to enter through the opening!

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