Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Eden found???

Do these mysterious stones mark the site of the Garden of Eden?

asks MailOnline's Science & Tech department. Does this not sound like one of those absolute bullshit stories out there, like someone thinks they found the Ark, or a UFO ate the dingo that ate my baby? But after reading the whole story, I can assure you it's not like that, thank god. In fact, it takes the story as an archaeological discovery trying to decipher the source of biblical stories from a more anthropological perspective. Not trying to say, Wow! Eden was real! I'll bet the talking snake's still here somewhere. Oh I hope I get his authograph! but you know that bible bumpers out there will take this as yet another sign that their whole faith is entirely absolutely true (ignoring all that says otherwise). You know it.

It starts with stone tablet-like monoliths with fascinating etchings all over it. Dating shows them to be far older than other such things we know about, possibly as old as 13,000 years. It wouldn't surprise me if the biblical story is in fact based on a real place once called Eden, but even if this turned out to be true, it doesn't validate dogma in any way. I've heard nimrods say this before... one guy who took over for Art Bell used to love saying he knows the bible is absolutely true because if you go somewhere mentioned in it, you'll find the place really does exist. So there ya go. That's pathetic. Dallas is a real place, but that doesn't mean somebody really shot J.R. Ewing, nor that he ever existed. All it means is someone writing mythical fiction knew the place existed.

From this the story comes to an interesting speculation. Since we already know that agricultural civilization is a horrendously punishing way of life that the old hunter-gatherers had very little incentive (unless they were masochistic) to pursue, anthropologists have often tried to figure out why man followed through with it. If these stone creations were made for religious reasons, with people gathering to worship in congregations, then it showed that religion created reason for backbreaking work and devotion, and made man start acting very strange... oh, and masochistic, as I already covered.

But what I have to add to the speculation is simply this... if suddenly this began, it may mean that man wasn't inherently religious at all. If anything, it sure sounds like a cult suddenly began. That this cult was the fluke--the exception rather than the rule. I'm not saying it's the only one, since that's obviously not true. I'm saying it's not overwhelmingly dominant human nature. It doesn' thave to be. For one out of a million people (dumb enough, evil enough, you decide) to start such a thing, the devotion spreads and converts others by force, threat and fear, whereas basic human nature is to live and leave others alone. But that doesn't spread. That's benign. And that's when we go into the phenomenon shown in the parable of the tribes.

The point being religion's best way of surviving and spreading is through the fear, convincing people that they're evil and terrible and needing saving. But what religion insists saves them is the very thing that's made them learn to be evil and terrible in the first place.

So as you can see, there's no reason to think a find of Eden gives religion creedence at all. If anything, this probably damns religion worse than ever before.