The Antikythera Mechanism

edited December 2010 in Religion & Philosophy
Two years ago, a paper was published in Nature describing the function of the oldest known scientific computer, a device built in Greece around 100 BCE. Recovered in 1901 from a shipwreck near the island of Antikythera, this mechanism had been lost and unknown for 2000 years. It took one century for scientists to understand its purpose: it is an astronomical clock that determines the positions of celestial bodies with extraordinary precision.

More here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/punctuated-equilibrium/2010/dec/10/1
We've lost so much with the fall of every great civilization... From the engineering of the Romans to the documentation of the Egyptians and the science of the Greeks... One can't help but wonder where we would be today if that knowledge had been preserved and passed on. We might have landed on the moon in the 16th century.
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  • One of the greatest tragedies of all was the burning of the library at Alexandria, but of course, regional events also destroyed countless articles that could illuminate history.
  • said:

    One can't help but wonder where we would be today if that knowledge had been preserved and passed on.


    I don't know if you're familiar with the "Stargate" series of movies, DVDs and TV shows...

    If you're not it's easier to just wiki it. As bad as Wiki is at political stuff, they are equally GOOD at documenting stuff like that.


    Short version for this post...

    Human life in this galaxy originated here on earth and then aliens came and kidnapped humans to be slaves and hosts for their symbiotic life forms.

    Yet there are groups of humans on other planets that are so much more advanced than us that they are able to almost ignore those same aliens that threaten to wipe out our entire planet.

    In other words, how did humans get taken as slaves living in an almost bronze age condition, eventually abandoned for one reason or another, and then manage to get so far ahead of us that they actually refused to give us the advanced technology to defend ourselves because they were afraid we'd hurt ourselves with it. (Like giving a gun to a 4 year old.)


    At some point they decide to "hang a lantern" on this oddity by having one of the characters mention that if it weren't for the dark ages following the fall of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century...

    (I know historians place the fall in the early-mid 5th century, but lets be honest... they were already toast by New Years Day, 400.)

    ... we'd be at least 1,000 years ahead of where we are now.


    That actually bothered me a bit, because I was cognizant of the fact that only Western Europe really fell. Much of Asia was really doing well during the Dark Ages and of course Meso-America was at least at the level of Egyptian civilization during their height.


    Then I realized of course, that the big problem was that there was no way for a civilization's knowledge to survive the fall of that civilization.


    Guy alludes to the Library of Alexandria and he's correct that the loss of that was terrible. Far better that it would have been stolen and taken away.


    Of course, I doubt it would have mattered much.

    The "Foundational Knowledge" neccesary for our modern civilization hadn't been discovered yet.

    Oh sure, the Greeks gave us Geometry, but that survived. The Moors gave us Algebra, and that survived too. The ancients even had complex devices like the Antikythera device, steam engine, hypocaustic baths, automatic doors and astonishingly sophisticated architectural skills, but really...?

    The most complex device they had was arguably the aforementioned Antikythera device, and that was no more than a sophisticated collections of gears. The only reason it took us so long to figure it out was because nobody X-Rayed it and then tried to rebuild it until very recently.


    You see, the real foundational knowledge of our modern civilization was Calculus, which led to Analysis and eventually to Relativity (both), Quantum Mechanics, Fractal Geometry, Non-Linear Dynamics, M-Theory, Quantum Foam, 11 Dimensions, the Multiverse and so on, and so on...

    This is where I get to my point...


    I realize that I might just be the only person here who really believes that OUR society is on the precipice and in literal danger of falling apart, but... so be it.


    That did worry me at first, in terms of the possible magnitude of the loss of knowledge, even with modern civilization distributed as far and wide as it is.

    But then I realized...

    In EVERY collapse in the history of civilization there was always one part of the world that fell apart and others that didn't.

    In the past that didn't matter since the fallen civilization didn't pass on their knowledge, but now...

    Well, don't laugh, but now we have the internet.

    The USA could be magically erased from the face of the earth and once the backbone routers around the rest of the world had updated their routes, the net would continue on as before.

    And more importantly, with the exception of our latest and greatest military and industrial secrets, ALL of our knowledge would continue to exist. Even the history of our Republic, which might be as useful to some future society as Athenian Democracy was useful to ours; if only to serve as an example of what not to do.


    The point being, the foundational knowledge that makes modern technological civilization possible won't die with us if we go. The knowledge is already too distributed. It would take a global extinction level event similar to Toba, the Sumatran supervolcano that erupted 74kbp and reduced humanity to perhaps a few hundred breeding pairs.


    Of course, there is Yellowstone, so perhaps we're not off the hook yet.

    If it can hold off for another century or so, perhaps we can make it out of the nursery at last and create a self-sustaining civilization that isn't bound to our birth planet.
  • Oh sure, the Greeks gave us Geometry, but that survived. The Hindus gave us Algebra, and that survived too. The ancients even had complex devices like the Antikythera device, steam engine, hypocaustic baths, automatic doors and astonishingly sophisticated architectural skills, but really...?

  • edited December 2010
    said:

    Oh sure, the Greeks gave us Geometry, but that survived. The Hindus gave us Algebra, and that survived too. The ancients even had complex devices like the Antikythera device, steam engine, hypocaustic baths, automatic doors and astonishingly sophisticated architectural skills, but really...?


    I don't know that it's enough to hang an argument on, but the Indians only did some of the foundational work.

    NOT that it wasn't a breakthrough or immensely important, but they didn't finish the work. The Arabs did. I said "Moor" because I was being cowardly and trying to avoid a controversy.

    But "Algebra" is an "Europeanization" of, literally; "Al-Jabr". I had to look that up because I forgot how the "jabber" part was spelled.

    The word means, depending on who you ask, "Complete", "Finish" or "Restore".


    Basically a problem we used to have in calculating the area of some irregular shape was this: To a limited extent you could break the shape down into other shapes and use classical Euclidean geometry. However, if the shape didn't lend itself to a neat breakdown, the only crutch people had was trying to fit a bunch of circles inside the leftover area to approximate the calculation, but it was never actually CORRECT.

    Then someone figured out how to do a better job of crutching the calculation using a series of quadratic equations. Don't ask me how... I was taught how to do that in my first calculus class as a way of illustrating how much more powerful calculus was, but that was around the time of the first Napoleonic War and I've forgotten too much.


    Edit:

    I pushed the wrong button...



    OK, so....
    By using CALCULUS instead of either geometry or algebra, you get the complete answer instead of a partial, "crutched" answer.

    So why is Algebra called Algebra instead of Calculus being called Algebra...? Arguably, the calculation wasn't complete until Calculus came along, right?


    Well, I dunno, but here's my theory...

    The Arabs/Moors/whatever were Moslem. They are raised in a culture that tells them from birth that everything ISLAMIC is the latest, greatest word in everything; and that everyone else is full of shit.


    So naturally, they figured that since their new math was so much better than the old Euclidean way of doing things, that Math was complete and that was that.
  • I'm feeling lazy so I'm cutting and pasting:


    Algebra may have been named after a book by al-Khwarizmi titled "Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah", but the origins of algebra itself can be traced to the ancient Babylonians who were able to do calculations in an algorithmic fashion.[59] Having something named after what popularised or refined it by no mean makes it the inventor, and by doing so you would have to discount the works of mathematician Diophantus of Alexandria (200 and 214 AD - 284 and 298 AD) who authored a series of books called "Arithmetica" and is commonly referred to as "the father of algebra".

    Paul Vallely begrudgingly admits that the system of numbering in use all round the world is 'probably' Indian in origin, yet the title of the supposed Islamic invention still remains "The system of numbering". The first known use of numbers dates back to around 30,000 BC, but it is universally accepted that the system of numbering we use today (the digits 0 to 9) was invented in India.[60][61] The reason why they are referred to as "Arabic" numerals in the West is due to them being introduced to the Europeans through the Arabs, who in the same way had earlier received them from the Hindus. Likewise, the Arabs themselves commonly refer to them as "Hindu numerals."[62]

    The use of zero as a number is found in many ancient Indian texts. The concept of negative numbers was recognised between 100 - 50 BC by the Chinese. Greek and Indian mathematicians studied the theory of rational numbers (The best known of these works is Euclid's Elements, dated 300 BC. Euclid is also often referred to as the "Father of Geometry"). The earliest use of irrational numbers is in the Indian Sulba Sutras (800 - 500 BC). The first results concerning transcendental numbers were made by Johann Heinrich Lambert in 1761. The earliest known conception of mathematical infinity appears in the Hindu text Yajur Veda (1,400 and 1,000 BC). The earliest reference to square roots of negative numbers were made by Greek mathematician and inventor Heron of Alexandria (10 – 70 AD). Prime numbers have been studied throughout recorded history. The mathematical branch of Trigonometry has been studied by the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, but it was the ancient Greeks who proved theorems that are equivalent to modern trigonometric formulae. And finally, the earliest known algorithms were developed by ancient Babylonians (1,600 BC).[63][64][65][66][67]

    As for al-Kindi; While he is thought to be the earliest to describe frequency analysis, the technique itself may not not have been discovered by al-Kindi as claimed. Nobody knows who actually discovered/invented/realized that the frequencies of letters could be used to break chiphers,[68] and cryptology itself can be traced back to the time of Julius Caesar.

  • So naturally, they figured that since their new math was so much better than the old Euclidean way of doing things, that Math was complete and that was that.

    In contrast to the Greco-Judeo-Christian concept of examining the universe and its laws in order to understand the deity, the very idea of "laws of science" is blasphemous to orthodox Islam. Nothing can limit Allah or cause him to work indirectly, etc. His all-pervasiveness is such that you'll even hear it said that terrorists attacks are not terrorists killing people, but Allah killing them, and they mean, literally, Allah killing them.

    The reasons for the stagnation of Islamic societies, their dependence on outsiders for innovation, are numerous, but that is one of the big ones, I would think. Even those rare geniuses that popped up and were able to theoretically innovate within Islamic society (most of which were irreligious or non-Muslim), you didn't see those theoretical innovations put into practical application, as in the West or Far East.
  • I'm going to gloss over the math part, because math is boring...


    MCE, I agree that the preservation of information is ultimately more important than the preservation of the society that created it. I also agree that colonizing another planet is our best chance at survival as a species -- when we fuck up and blow up our home planet, at least we'll have people elsewhere in a safe location. The odds of wiping out two planets at once are minimal.
  • said:

    I'm going to gloss over the math part, because math is boring...


    MCE, I agree that the preservation of information is ultimately more important than the preservation of the society that created it. I also agree that colonizing another planet is our best chance at survival as a species -- when we fuck up and blow up our home planet, at least we'll have people elsewhere in a safe location. The odds of wiping out two planets at once are minimal.

    Hopefully your father will put you on a rocket to another planet before that happens. Be sure your mother packs lots of plaid flannel so your adoptive family can fashion it into a superhero costume that protects you from the deadly radiation of maple syrup fragments.
  • said:


    In contrast to the Greco-Judeo-Christian concept of examining the universe and its laws in order to understand the deity, the very idea of "laws of science" is blasphemous to orthodox Islam. Nothing can limit Allah or cause him to work indirectly, etc.

    It might be simpler to say that doctrinally, Islam says that no law can be higher than the law of Allah; especially the laws of Man. I will continue this thought below your next comment.




    The reasons for the stagnation of Islamic societies, their dependence on outsiders for innovation, are numerous, but that is one of the big ones, I would think.

    That would be rather like saying that the reason we weigh what we do is because we're on Earth. Accurate but not really the point.



    In Jewish-Catholic-Protestant culture there had always been a long history of believing that The Law is The Law and that to violate it was to risk horrible consequences.

    The same can be said of Islam.

    Here's the difference, as I see it: With the first three religions there was always the subtle acknowledgment that the process of living could reveal more of God's mysteries. This opened the door for science, because if a scientist said that the Earth revolved around the Sun and could prove it, it wasn't a case of Man placing himself above God, it was a case of Man having come to a better understanding of God's creation.
    Our rather pathetic public school system has for YEARS taught that "The Inquisition" got mad as Galileo because he said that the Earth was not the center of the universe. The truth is that Galileo didn't own the only telescope on the planet, nor was he the only person with an ability to do math. The Catholic Church, which already knew that the Earth revolved around the Sun, didn't punish Galileo for stating something that by that time in history was already know, they punished him because Galileo was kind of a douchebag who didn't know when to stop insulting the Pope. Of course, I don't know that I would consider life imprisonment in a luxurious villa complete with servants to be the last word in "punishment", but that's a different story.



    The problem with Islam is that the Koran is supposed to be the "Last Word" of God, is and always will be perfect and complete, and the religion itself has a doctrinal rigidity that, were it to be occurring in modern times, would cause the religion to be labeled a Cult.

    Essentially, there's no ROOM for new revelations, because if those revelations were true and correct, they'd already be in the Koran.

  • Woyzeck pegged it, and Axe missed it.

    The invention of the concept of zero was key and critical.

    And MCE, FWIW, I'm on board with the coming collapse of civilization, but your insights about the web are right on the money.

  • It might be simpler to say that doctrinally, Islam says that no law can be higher than the law of Allah; especially the laws of Man. I will continue this thought below your next comment.

    I was being rather literal - paraphrasing modern Muslim religious authorities who oppose the concept of laws of science, proclaiming them a fallacy. This is particularly amusing when considering their highest authority was a man who, when one of his cultists returned and informed him that the cure for an upset stomach he recommended failed, told his follower that the patient's stomach had "told a lie".


    With the first three religions there was always the subtle acknowledgment that the process of living could reveal more of God's mysteries. This opened the door for science, because if a scientist said that the Earth revolved around the Sun and could prove it, it wasn't a case of Man placing himself above God, it was a case of Man having come to a better understanding of God's creation.

    Pretty much what I was getting at.


    The truth is that Galileo didn't own the only telescope on the planet, nor was he the only person with an ability to do math. The Catholic Church, which already knew that the Earth revolved around the Sun, didn't punish Galileo for stating something that by that time in history was already know, they punished him because Galileo was kind of a douchebag who didn't know when to stop insulting the Pope.

    IIRC there were monks who initially supported him (Franciscans?) until he managed to alienate them. Copernicus dedicated at least one of his own works to either the Church or the Pope, as I recall.


    Of course, I don't know that I would consider life imprisonment in a luxurious villa complete with servants to be the last word in "punishment", but that's a different story.

    Depending on your personality, it could better or worse the Classical Greek punishment for overly divisive figures: Exile from the city-state. Xenophon comes immediately to mind.


    Essentially, there's no ROOM for new revelations, because if those revelations were true and correct, they'd already be in the Koran.

    Ditto why the Bahai, Druze, Alawites, etc. have always lived in fear. Iran is more determined to wipe out the Bahai than they are the Jews. The Syrian Alawite regime maintains a state of jihad against Israel in large part to keep the Muslim majority from skinning them alive. And then of course there's the Shiite-Sunni civil war that's been waged since Muhammad finally had the good grace to expire.
  • said:

    Two years ago, a paper was published in Nature describing the function of the oldest known scientific computer, a device built in Greece around 100 BCE. It took one century for scientists to understand its purpose: gay porn.

    FYP
  • Protestant and Catholic aren't different religions.
  • said:

    Protestant and Catholic aren't different religions.



    LOL, the hell they ain't.


    Don't be confused by the fact that they worship the same tree ornament.
  • Fine, it doesn't really bother me to see you put your cluelessness on display with totally misplaced arrogance and stridency. In fact it's pretty hilarilous. Carry on.
  • said:

    Fine, it doesn't really bother me to see you put your cluelessness on display with totally misplaced arrogance and stridency. In fact it's pretty hilarilous. Carry on.



    Still have your head firmly inserted in your colon, I see.
  • said:

    Fine, it doesn't really bother me to see you put your cluelessness and witlessness on display with totally misplaced arrogance and stridency. In fact it's pretty hilarilous. Carry on.

    FMP
  • said:

    Protestant and Catholic aren't different religions.

    I'd say that they are indeed different "religions." They don't purport to worship a different God, however.

    If the are not different, then what were you and I going on and on about a month ago? Of course, you were saying then that they were not different also, so at least you are consistent.
  • said:

    said:

    Protestant and Catholic aren't different religions.

    I'd say that they are indeed different "religions." They don't purport to worship a different God, however.

    Technically, neither do Jews, Mormons or Moslems, although Christians see multiple "aspects" of the same God, Mormons see a common purpose; while Jews and Moslems are more... what? Unitarian? Or is that an incorrect usage? I'm not even going to get into Zoroaster, either.




    If the are not different, then what were you and I going on and on about a month ago?

    For that matter, what was Europe so worked up about in the 16th & 17th centuries?




    Of course, you were saying then that they were not different also, so at least you are consistent.

    I was going to take a cheap shot at Bill here, but I think he'd miss the point anyway.


  • said:

    said:

    Protestant and Catholic aren't different religions.

    I'd say that they are indeed different "religions." They don't purport to worship a different God, however.

    If the are not different, then what were you and I going on and on about a month ago? Of course, you were saying then that they were not different also, so at least you are consistent.
    Using Wikipedia, (I know)
    said:

    Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life and the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency,[1] or human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine.

    In the essential points, they are the same, it's in the details that they differ. From your perspective, every different sect would be a separate religion, including those various Bapist sects. That said, arguing this is like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    I don't see that it matters, but as usual, ymmv.
  • said:



    said:

    Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life and the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency,[1] or human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine.


    That's the problem with Wikipedia when you get onto sensitive subjects. You get bullshit.


    Religion is a set of commonly held beliefs and rituals, usually but not always in relation to the belief in and [method of] worship of a supreme being or beings.
    (Buddhists and Atheists being obvious exceptions to the "supreme being" thing, albeit for vastly different reasons.)


    As most people know, including Bill, if he's pull his head out of his ass, the religious practices of Catholics and the religious practices of Protestants are vastly different.

    Or perhaps I can be charitable and say that he simply doesn't understand what was so revolutionary about what Martin Luther said.
  • said:

    As most people know, including Bill, if he's pull his head out of his ass, the religious practices of Catholics and the religious practices of Protestants are vastly different.

    If christianity is "a religion", then two expressions of it are not different religions so long as religion has the same meaning both times.
  • said:

    said:



    said:

    Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life and the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency,[1] or human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine.

    That's the problem with Wikipedia when you get onto sensitive subjects. You get bullshit.

    Religion is a set of commonly held beliefs and rituals, usually but not always in relation to the belief in and [method of] worship of a supreme being or beings.
    (Buddhists and Atheists being obvious exceptions to the "supreme being" thing, albeit for vastly different reasons.)
    Yours is a different definition, what I would call "rectal data" and made by you to suit your purposes. If you have a cite for your definition (beyond your own anus) take this as an invitation to post it.

    Buddhism and Athieism are not religions. Buddhism has many facets, but however you slice it buddhism does not address (or concern itself with) the issue of a creator or surpreme being which is central to the matter of religion as most of the rest of the world uses the term.

    Athiesism per se has no beliefs in common beyond the belief that there is no god or surpreme being, ergo regardless of how loudly or how many times you repeat the mantra that "athiesm is a religion;" it's pretty hard to make a case for it being a religion beyond simple emotional backlash at the temerity of athieists.
    said:

    As most people know, including Bill, if he's pull his head out of his ass, the religious practices of Catholics and the religious practices of Protestants are vastly different.

    Or perhaps I can be charitable and say that he simply doesn't understand what was so revolutionary about what Martin Luther said.

    What I said originally about details. They commonly meet in a specialized building called a church, they commonly sing specialized music called Hymns, they commonly (but not universally) celebrate the Last supper in accordance with the belief that Christ said "Do this in remembrance of me," and they commonly have someone preach a sermon on some matter of faith and/or morals. That's a pretty good description of "a set of commonly held beliefs and rituals, usually but not always in relation to the belief in and [method of] worship of a supreme being or beings."

    What varies are the details, pretty small stuff.
  • said:

    said:

    As most people know, including Bill, if he's pull his head out of his ass, the religious practices of Catholics and the religious practices of Protestants are vastly different.

    If christianity is "a religion", then two expressions of it are not different religions so long as religion has the same meaning both times.

    In this context, which is that we're drilling down a bit, "Christianity" is better described as "A Faith".


    If it helps, think of it in terms of set theory.

    All Catholics are Christians
    All Protestants are Christians
    Not all Christians are Catholics
    Not all Christians are Protestants.


    The confusion here is that people forget what a "Christian" is.

    The very word "Christian" has it's roots in the word, or to be more accurate, the title of "Christ".

    Literally, a Christian is a follower of the teachings of Christ. This includes "Jews for Jesus", who are a never ending source of amusement for me. (I like to remind them that strictly speaking, they are Christians. I'm kind of an asshole that way.)


    Look...
    If you really can't wrap your head around what I'm saying here, try doing a little reading on the 30 Years War and the Inquisition.

    17th Century Catholics and Protestants were not in the least bit confused about those two faiths being different religions. That's WHY it was such a big deal to them. (Although admittedly, they thought of the OTHER side as being apostates as opposed to merely different religions within the same faith. And don't even get started on the whole Arianism thing. They all had a serious bug up their ass about THAT.)
  • said:


    Yours is a different definition, what I would call "rectal data" and made by you to suit your purposes.

    Ease up there Grandpa...
    I was criticizing Wikipedia, not you.
    Although in truth, you should know the Wiki rule by now: If it's controversial, forget Wiki; and there ain't NOTHING more controversial than Religion and Politics.





    If you have a cite for your definition (beyond your own anus) take this as an invitation to post it.

    I suppose I could look up the course curriculum for what might be termed "Comparative Religions 101" at a number of different schools across the country, both religious and secular; then look up the Library of Congress listings for them and try to find the ones that that have the appropriate passages posted online... But I don't plan to work that hard.
    ESPECIALLY since the point you're missing is that what I have stated isn't even a "Comparative Religions" viewpoint, it's an Anthropological one.



    Definitions for any subject are, by their nature, reductionist. You need to find the broadest definition that fits the entire subject.

    Example: Art.
    Art is something that is created by one or more persons for the purpose of expressing a thought or feeling on the part of the artist(s) and/or causing an intellectual or emotional reaction in the observer.





    Buddhism and Athieism are not religions.

    Sure they are, although of course Atheists would violently object to that label.

    Look, I'm not the one who invented the standard Anthropological definition of religion as a set of commonly held beliefs and practices that are usually focused on the worship of a deity
    Buddhism may be about a spiritual way of life as opposed to the worship of a supreme being, but Buddhists STILL hold a common set of beliefs ABOUT "The Great Path" and a common set of practices for WALKING it.


    As far as Atheists...
    Look... You've met those idiots. I don't mean the ones who simply believe that there is no God and who then leave it at that... I mean the ones who proselytize about it and never seem to realize that they're making the same leap of faith that the most ardent believer does... simply in the OPPOSITE direction.





    Buddhism has many facets, but however you slice it buddhism does not address (or concern itself with) the issue of a creator or surpreme being which is central to the matter of religion as most of the rest of the world uses the term.

    Most of the world uses all sorts of terms incorrectly.




    Athiesism per se has no beliefs in common beyond the belief that there is no god or surpreme being, ergo regardless of how loudly or how many times you repeat the mantra that "athiesm is a religion"...

    Beliefs and Practices. They believe passionately in something they cannot prove AND they believe that they need to "save" other people by leading them to The Truth; which they put into practice by "Witnessing" to people who don't really have any interest in being subjected to their preaching. Sound familiar?




    it's pretty hard to make a case for it being a religion beyond simple emotional backlash at the temerity of athieists.

    Emotion has nothing to do with it.
    I know I'm repeating myself here, but I think this is one of those times I have to.
    The only way to understand these things is to step completely outside of them and look back at them with an open mind. That is, by definition, the Anthropological Perspective.
    It's not my fault that people, by nature, are uncomfortable with examining the behavior patterns of their own species. Personally, I find humans to be fascinating.





    What I said originally about details. They commonly meet in a specialized building called a church, they commonly sing specialized music called Hymns, they commonly (but not universally) celebrate the Last supper in accordance with the belief that Christ said "Do this in remembrance of me", and they commonly have someone preach a sermon on some matter of faith and/or morals.

    I just wanted to remind you at this point that the Last Supper was a Seder, and that Jesus was not just a Carpenter, he was a Rabbi. Rebbe would probably be more accurate, but I don't want to clutter this mess up more than it is already.




    ... and they commonly have someone preach a sermon on some matter of faith and/or morals.
    That's a pretty good description of "a set of commonly held beliefs and rituals, usually but not always in relation to the belief in and [method of] worship of a supreme being or beings."
    What varies are the details, pretty small stuff.

    You're right. But what you are missing is that almost all of what you mentioned IS the petty small stuff.


    Look...

    Forget about everything else I've said...

    In fact, forget about me talking altogether. Ask Guy one question, which I am 99% sure he will answer in a particular way.

    What is the critical difference between Catholics and Protestants; and why does that difference mean that Catholic Religion has more in common with the Jewish Religion than with the Protestant Religion?


    Believe me... The answer is a BIG DEAL.


    While you're waiting for him to answer that question, ask YOURSELF this one:

    If you wanted to know what God's will was on a certain subject, what would you do?
    (Hint: The answer is NOT "pray".)


    I want you to ask Guy, because he's not going to gratuitously back me up just to be nice to me. I'm pretty sure he knows EXACTLY what I'm trying to get across here and if you hear it from him it might go down easier.

  • Eric, you have no idea what protestantism is. I'm sure you cannot give a coherent, substantive description of it, explain how protestantism constitutes a coalescent, distinct religion (even by your own feeble, and inadequate definition), nor could you create an accurate, consistent framework to distinguish how protestantism, as a coalescent whole, is distinct from Catholicism.
  • Oh, and I won't even bother to question your certain and deep ignorance regarding Catholicism.
  • Bill, I am talking to Bart because I consider him to have an intellect that's worth spending time on.

    You'll notice that I don't spend much time on you.
  • You're talking to Bart because you believe he will allow you to frame the debate and bite on your trolling tactics. Which is fine. If Bart finds some entertainment from mining your bereft brand of conversation, more power to him. It doesn't change the fact that you are talking entirely out of your ass and can't speak intelligently about this topic.
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