left biblioblography: ALLEGORIES GONE WILD - BIBLICAL BEHEMOTHS AND FLYING SERPENTS

Thursday, March 15, 2007

ALLEGORIES GONE WILD - BIBLICAL BEHEMOTHS AND FLYING SERPENTS

It seems like creationists trip all over themselves to reconcile reality with their peculiar peccadilloes.

I found an obscure webpage that's just riddled with all sorts of idiocy.

Said fantasist comes out swinging with this:
"Sauropods and Plesiosaurs are not the only dinosaurs / reptiles mentioned in Scripture.

"Isaiah 30:6 tells of a flying reptile like the pteranodon or Rhamphorhynchus.

"Isaiah 30:6 (King James Version)

"The burden of the beast of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent..."

"What is a flying serpent? - The only known reptiles with the ability to fly are the Pterosaurs."

Umm...no, that's vastly incorrect. There are flying serpents (though they actually glide) as well as flying lizards.

Really, creationists should really do better homework. This page was updated last year: there's no excuse for such shoddy research.

"In this verse we see them described as living alongside the other animals. The flying serpents are used in the text with other animals we readily recognize. They are not set apart in any way as to conclude they are fictitious. In fact, the verse continues and speaks of men carrying their riches "upon the bunches of camels". This makes it clear that these flying dinosaurs lived alongside mammals, and man. "

The passage actually illustrates 'animals of the south." And where do these flying reptiles hail from? Southeast Asia. Though what any Israelite was doing in those parts is a mystery indeed. Likelihood is that some Greeks brought back a pretty tale or two from India.

"God created flying creatures such as birds and pterosaurs on the fifth day of Creation. Man and other mammals were created on the 6th day. "

Only in version 1.0. Version 2.0 says something completely different.

"This creature in Isaiah is described as a "fiery flying serpent.

"The description of them as being "fiery" may be in reference to their color, or as some have suggested a burning sensation left from one of their bites."

The word is 'saraph', which derives from the actual coloring of the serpent.

"Personally I think it may actually have been bioluminescent, this is particularly true of the "Ropen" (see below). "

Well, as there's no such critter as a bioluminescent reptile, this is all idle speculation.

"According to the Bible, they were created on the 5th day with the fish and the birds. If this were true, we would expect to find some stories of them living with man. "

Version 1.0.

"Guess what we find? "

It's pretty obvious you found what you wanted to.

"Accounts of Pterosaurs living alongside humans are recorded all throughout history."

Here we go again - how odd we find no real evidence of this.

"Herodotus, the Greek historian wrote about "winged serpents" living in Arabia in the 5th century Before Christ. ("The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible" by Paul S. Taylor)"

Again, more research is needed. This is the same fellow who reported on golden ants (turned out it was marmots), and the actual passage reads thusly:

"There are also about Thebes sacred serpents, not at all harmful to men, which are small in size and have two horns growing from the top of the head: these they bury when they die in the temple of Zeus, for to this god they say that they are sacred.

"There is a region moreover in Arabia, situated nearly over against the city of Buto, to which place I came to inquire about the winged serpents: and when I came thither I saw bones of serpents and spines in quantity so great that it is impossible to make report of the number, and there were heaps of spines, some heaps large and others less large and others smaller still than these, and these heaps were many in number.

"This region in which the spines are scattered upon the ground is of the nature of an entrance from a narrow mountain pass to a great plain, which plain adjoins the plain of Egypt; and the story goes that at the beginning of spring winged serpents from Arabia fly towards Egypt, and the birds called ibises meet them at the entrance to this country and do not suffer the serpents to go by but kill them."

The Histories of Herodotus, Macaulay, George Campbell (translator)"

Note that said 'serpents' had two horns on top of their heads, and are noted as not inimical to humanity.

"Reports of Pterosaurs still alive are recorded in Ethiopia, India and the jungles of Africa. Some of the flying dinosaurs are said be nocturnal, and have a phosphorescent quality about them. These could be the fiery flying serpents described in the book of Isaiah. "

Yes, reports, but these are sporadic, anecdotal in nature, and there's a dearth of photographic evidence (like maybe one blurred photo of something flying over some trees), but until someone catches a live one, or brings a few skeletons that are only a decade old (or younger or older), these are just stories told by overly-excited natives.

"A flying reptile the Natives call "Kongamato" is often seen in the jungles of South Africa. Still alive today, and unchanged by Evolution."

In the first place, Answers.com says this in the entry:

"It is curious to note that the area concerned is advertised as a prime birdwatching site[1], but this large, flying animal seems not to have been reported by any visiting birdwatchers.

There are reports of similar creatures (no details given) from Angola, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Kenya."

Secondly, evolution doesn't dictate that a critter has to 'change' at all. That's contingent on environmental conditions. The good old 'linear progression' fallacy.

The rest of the 'site' is peppered with 'reports' the equivalent of a bunch of fish stories - 'You shoulda seen the one that done got away!' sort that the creationists lean on so heavily, but which blow away like dandelion spores on the first gentle breeze.

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5 comments:

beepbeepitsme said...

It is interesting to me how people take modern information and try and interpret ancient texts in light of it. (Retrospective force fitting.)

Why isn't it that they demand that we accept that the Medusa actually lived? Why aren't they demanding that creatures like minotaurs actually existed? Or centaurs?

My suspicion is that their interest is ONLY in something resembling a dinosaur because they are agenda driven to provide "evidence" for a young earth as the concept of a young earth fits in with their religious beliefs.

They are not interested in whether gorgons, minotaurs, or centaurs existed, because the evidence of these or the lack of it, do nothing to support their favourite religious myth.

Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM - I'm positive that your suspicions are likely spot on. ;)

Chris Bradley said...

Also, dinosaurs not reptiles. Also, not on fire. :)

Which, if I were a different person, might be a meditation on the nature of interpretation of Biblical literalism. They feel the urge, on the one hand, to prove everything in the Bible "true" but, on the other hand, will ignore the fiery party when trying to compare their Biblical dragon to dinosaurs. And despite their multiple levels of interpretation and mental gymnastics needed to get there they insist there is only one correct way to read the Bible.

Love it. ;)

karen said...

So the Ibises killed the migrating pteradactyls eh? Fierce bird, the Ibis. With all those piles and piles of bones lying around, it's a wonder there isn't a story where someone witnessed this event.
Maybe they were all at the dinosaur-truck pull races that day.


KA
blow away like daffodil spores on the first gentle breeze.
Did you mean to say dandelion? Or do daffodils have spores that blow away thusly? I was not aware. If so, my mistake. Just asking.

Krystalline Apostate said...

karen - lends new meaning to 'monster truck rallies', don't it?
So the Ibises killed the migrating pteradactyls eh?
Yeah, obviously this fellow has no sense of scale. Stories about winged snakes aren't...quite the same thing.
I corrected the daffodil thing. Thx for pointing that out.