Tags: religion

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South by secularity

On the Sunday afternoon in the middle of South by Southwest Interactive, Andy, Jessica and I took some time out for a very pleasant Mexican lunch at Las Manitas with Sean Bonner, Tantek, Ariel and our anglo-Canadian musical masters, Matt and Hannah.

As lunch neared its end, every single mobile device at the table began to vibrate with ever greater frequency. We were missing the now-infamous interview by Sarah Lacey of Mark Zuckerburg but Twitter was giving us a blow-by-blow account of the debacle. The most astute observation was delivered from afar by Tom Morris:

What’s the difference between Facebook and the FB session at SXSW? You can leave the session…

On balance, we were all pretty glad that we were missing the train wreck.

We got the bill and started paying up. Tantek began going through each of his dollar bills with a felt-tipped pen, crossing out the word “God” from the phrase In God We Trust. I asked the obvious question. Tantek, what are you doing? His answer:

Separating church and state.

The Dunbar number of the beast

I came across an interesting follow-up to a post I made a while back that makes reference to the oft-misused as first espoused in Co-evolution of neocortex size, group size and language in humans. In this blog post, the author makes an interesting point about Dunbar’s work:

However, from my perspective, he’s left out one crucial factor: Jesus Christ.

Looking back over Dunbar’s research, I found a number of other glaring omissions. Nowhere in his work does Dunbar make any reference to Zeus or even Apollo. It gets worse. There’s nary a mention of Odin, Thor, Loki or any of the denizens of Valhalla. Most damningly of all, Dunbar doesn’t even make a passing reference to the flying spaghetti monster.

That’s just shoddy science.

A quick theological question

Did Noah have to put two of every fish in the ark?

Update: I guess I should have titled this “A quick rhetorical theological question”, but in any case, thank you to everyone who sent me emails attempting to answer this question.

Philip wrote to say “only carried land animals” but doesn’t back that up with any references. Drew, on the other hand, had me RTFM by pointing to Genesis chapter 6, verse 20:

Of fowls according to their kind, and of beasts in their kind, and of every thing that creepeth on the earth according to its kind: two of every sort shall go in with thee, that they may live.

But that is immediately proceeded by verse 19 which clearly states:

And of every living creature of all flesh, thou shalt bring two of a sort into the ark, that they may live with thee: of the male sex, and the female.

Meanwhile, Pete points out there might have been seven of each type of kosher fish but just two of eels. Actually, it looks to me more like 14 of clean fish and 4 of unclean:

Of all clean beasts take seven and seven, the male and the female. But of the beasts that are unclean two and two, the male and the female.

Alternate translation:

Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

There are a lot of ambiguities in the specifications. I can’t help but feel that Noah would have been better off if God had been more like Jason Fried:

Noah, just build it. Get real!

P.S. Please forgive my blasphemy. I have the greatest respect for people’s beliefs and I don’t mean to mock sacred institutions like Judaism, Christianity or 37 Signals.