Sunday, 3 May 2015

Biblical Topiary

"Finding one's own understanding of the Bible invariably involves creating biblical topiary. I used to live near the Ladew Topiary Gardens in Maryland where remarkable objects are sculpted out of shrubbery, including a fox hunt with dogs, horse and rider leaping a fence, and, of course, the fox. Although creating topiary is a complex art, it ultimately comes down to pruning away what is not wanted to leave only the desired object. And that is what people often do when they read the Bible. They select just what they want. But unlike topiary gardeners with their shears, practitioners of biblical topiary are often oblivious to what they are leaving out. And some of them become extremely hostile to anyone who calls their attention to parts of the Bible that they are ignoring to make its message fit their beliefs."

Richard Hagenston
Fabricating Faith: How Christianity Became a Religion Jesus Would Have Rejected
Polebridge Press, 2014


  1. Cherry picking involves the suppression of evidence or the offering of incomplete evidence to support some position/thesis. If someone acknowledges all of the evidence from a particular source (i.e. The Bible) and offers some logical/reasonable arguments for rejecting part of that material (in other words, they have confronted the parts of the evidence that contradict their thesis with a plausible rationale for its dismissal), I wouldn't characterize that as cherry picking or "Biblical Topiary." It seems to me that only Biblical Fundamentalists/ Literalists could justly be accused of engaging in this practice. "Don't some of them specifically refer to scriptures that seem to contradict their position?" my skeptical friends will ask. Yes, but they base their arguments on the illogical premise that Scripture doesn't contain any errors or contradictions (i.e. "My position must be correct, because the Bible cannot contradict itself").

  2. And sometimes readers of the Bible, or translators, add things that should not be present. I just spoke this last week to a molecular anthropologist at a leading west coast University whose specialty is in ancient human genetics. He was involved in the genetic work done on the ancient teen-aged girl whose skeletal remains were found in Yucatan. Anthropologists refer to her as Naia and this research was featured in the January 2015 issue of National Geographic. Her DNA was extracted from a tooth that had not been breached.

    After the discovery of Kennewick Man there was a great movement among some anthropologists and the press to characterize the First Americans as Europeans. This would displace Native Americans from the status of primacy. I watched a documentary about 18 months ago on either the History or Discovery channel in which all the ancient Americans were depicted as Europeans. I wrote to the archaeologists interviewed during the program about this and neither responded. This Europeans First movement is all based on the idea that Kennewick man resembles a European and also a lot of racism in the academic community. Many felt that he looked like the actor Patrick Stewart who played Picard in the Star Trek NG series. Naia was also thought to not look Native American. The tide was swelling.

    But alas, the genetic analysis indicates that Kennewick Man, Naia and another find, Anzick Boy, all have standard Native American genomes. Interestingly, Naia dates from around 12,000 BP. This means that there was no global Flood as described in Genesis. Naia possesses mutations that are found in modern Native Americans. 12,000 BP is well before the typical timing of the Biblical Flood. There was no way that Naia's genetic package could have passed through the Flood aboard the Ark considering the closely related family of passengers.

    This means that there were Native Americans in North America in 12,000 BP and no doubt before. It takes a while for people to migrate from Siberia to Yucatan. These are the same Native Americans who are here now. There was no interruption of the genetic line by a global disaster. Hence, the flood had to be a local event affecting maybe a small collection of villages. It was turned into a global event by KJV translators who translated the Hebrew word eretz as "earth" rather than "land" morphing a local event to a global event.

    Also this provides problems for the Compendium of World History. Hoeh connected the Phoenicians to Native Americans because they were both "red skins." A really lame idea. But now we know that Native Americans were in the New World Millennia before the Phoenicians came on the scene not to mention the fact that Native Americans are predominantly Haplogroup Q and Phoenicians are Haplogoup J like the Jews.

    The early returns on Kennewick are that he was also had a standard Native American genome. The research will come out of Denmark and has not bee published yet.

    -- Neotherm

    1. I agree with Robert Hageston on this one - he described it exactly.

      I also agree with Neotherm. I've attended lectures on this subject at Princeton University - there are PhD scientists whose life study consists of tracing the migrations of mankind through their mitochondrial DNA. This is now a well-developed field of science that can reach definitive conclusions. And what did they find with regard to Native Americans? Sure enough, just as previously speculated, they migrated in two or three main waves through Siberia and Alaska. If any Indo-European DNA were to show up, somehow, in the DNA of ancient Mayans, it could only be due to a Thor Heyerdahl-type "Ra" expedition that blew off course and somehow made it all the way across the Atlantic. While this is not completely impossible, it is unlikely. In any event, it would have a very minor impact on the gene pool.

      Hermann Hoeh's Compendium? As they say in New York, gimmeabreakaroundhereawready. It was totally based on specious reasoning and unwarranted jumps to conclusions. For example, apparently all names of places whose first consonant starts with "D" and ends with "n" are descendants of the biblical tribe of Dan. Sure, that sounds right.

      In fairness to Hoeh, he was young and enthusiastic at the time, and his higher education came entirely from HWA and his ilk. Hoeh didn't know any better. High school grad HWA awarded Hoeh a PhD for this "research", after which we all called him "Doctor Hoeh". LOL.

      A few years later, when he matured a little, Hoeh realized his error and removed the compendium from circulation. Still, WCG members, true believers that we were, cherished the old copies that were still out there and treated it as fact. I imagine there are still true believers out there who fervently believe, based on nothing, that the compendium is the TRUTH "they" don't want us to know!