Ignorance in the USA is not “creeping along” but running backwards surpassing all scientific truths and realities in quest of the alma mater narcotic nipple of complacency and wishful thinking—and it is not just in the USA, it is a worldwide contagion. Ignorance breeds hatred and violence as seen in the twin evils of the Florida evangelical church that burned a Koran, to the Afghani zealots who murdered in cold blood UN peace keepers. As Stephen Pizzo wrote (03/24/2011): “For the nation that has, for a couple of centuries, been not only a beacon of freedom, but also a beacon of knowledge and science, Creeping Ignorance at the heart of our government threatens to turn us into a nation only Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter, et al[.], could love: one big festival of stupidity.” (http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/12526)
What Pizzo was referring to was the decline in intelligence in the United States Senate—primarily among the GOP (Tea Party Republicans) where three-fourths proudly proclaim that they do not believe in science (http://www.alternet.org/story/150340/3_4ths_of_senate_gop_doesn%27t_believe_in_science_–_when_did_republicans_go_completely_off_the_deep_end?akid=6712.45167.YMnIiJ&rd=1&t=5). Robert Benson pointed out on March 22, 2011, that the USA has become as bad, if not worse, as it devolved in 1925 following the infamous Scopes “Monkey” Trial in backward thinking Tennessee (http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/scopes/scopes.htm).
Nebraska native (definitely not a native nor a conservative in political matters) and one-time Congressional Representative and later US Secretary of state under Woodrow Williams, Williams Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925; he died in his sleep from diabetes and fatigue five days after winning his war against science), a perennial candidate for president of the USA (1896, 1900, 1908) who was considered a liberal within the Democratic Party had limit intelligence of science and reality but was strong on things religious and superstitious. Bryan firmly believed in the Genesis account of creation (Genesis 1-2) and rejected 2 Peter 3:8 (εν δε τουτο μη λανθανετω υμας αγαπητοι οτι μια ημερα παρα κυριω ως χιλια ετη και χιλια ετη ως ημερα μια) a common event among Evangelicals who selectively chose scripture to prove a predetermined argument that has no foundation in any ancient scroll.
Bryan was defending the “Anti-Evolution Statute” (House Bill No. 185) introduced by “Mr. Butler” that decreed: ”
Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.
Section 2. Be it further enacted, That any teacher found guilty of the violation of this Act, Shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, shall be fined not less than One Hundred $ (100.00) Dollars nor more than Five Hundred ($ 500.00) Dollars for each offense.”
Bryan put the Judeo-Christian Bible before all other books, rejected Darwin, and was the founder of scientific skepticism that has become the bloodline for such declining civilizations as in Texas (where the School Board is rewriting school books to conform with the Bible; http://articles.cnn.com/2009-03-25/us/texas.evolution.teaching_1_science-standards-common-ancestry-evolution?_s=PM:US; http://www.pri.org/science/evolution-education-texas.html), Iowa (a state whose legislature is now run by Nazis and the KKK with limitations put on public assembly (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/22/hundreds-rally-at-iowa-capitol-over-labor-laws/) and protests by Annette Sweeney (R-Hardin County, who was initially against reporting abuses in the agribusiness where hatcheries kill male chickens because they have little economic value: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110314/ap_on_re_us/us_food_and_farm_undercover_videos and http://www.startribune.com/nation/117919279.html and repeated at http://www.newser.com/article/d9lurvmg0/ag-industry-iowa-lawmakers-try-to-limit-undercover-videos-say-effort-doesnt-protect-animals.html) and other misanthropes; ), Ohio and Wisconsin (where no unions are allowed at the instruction of the Koch Brothers of Kansas who cannot see past their nose at the pollution they are inflicting upon the world (the Koch Brothers are one of the top ten worse polluters in the USA: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Koch_Industries and
http://www.grist.org/climate-policy/2011-03-16-koch-group-alec-cut-paste-attack-regional-climate-initiatives; their interest in seeing single (monarchial) rule in the USA is legendary: “Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.” NY Times, Feb. 24, 2011, with their thinking following that outlined by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf; see my various blogs here on Gov. Scott Walker and unions: http://www.bnd.com/2011/03/31/1651843/ohio-legislature-passes-limits.html and http://www.presstv.ir/usdetail/166700.html and http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/opinion/25krugman.html?_r=1), New Jersey and Florida married to the marginality of Indiana in dredging up past platitudes as being sacrosanct while Kentucky evangelicals build a museum depicting mortals walking beside and playing with dinosaurs.
California has its share of unlearned, unwashed, unlettered, but today many are entering Congress as Tea Bag faithful, and spouting such nonsense as “Nobody really knows the cause. The earth cools, the earth warms … It could be caused by carbon dioxide or methane. Maybe we should kill the cows to stop the methane, or stop breathing to stop the CO2 … Thousands of people die every year of cold, so if we had global warming it would save lives … We ought to look out for people. The earth can take care of itself.” — Rep. Duncan Hunter, California. (cf. http://rainbowcamouflage.com/2011/03/27/gop-incorrect-on-climate-change-science/)
The two dumbest comments come from Oklahoma and Illinois: “The greatest hoax ever perpetuated on the American people.” — Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma (he tried to “clarify” his viewpoint on the Senate floor: http://inhofe.senate.gov/pressreleases/climateupdate.htm) whose only lack of understanding is exceeded by Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois says we need not worry about the planet being destroyed because, citing chapter 8, verse 22 of the Book of Genesis, God promised Noah it wouldn’t happen again after the great flood (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1328366/John-Shimkus-Global-warming-wont-destroy-planet-God-promised-Noah.html).
Illinois’ Representative John Shimukus’ is the spokesperson for ignorance in the USA, as he, like radical fundamentalist Muslims and evangelical Christians believes sincerely that the Bible is the ultimate answer to everything—even though scholarship and research has repeatedly shown it, like the Koran, to be a plagiarism of many older works from ancient Egypt, Samaria, Babylon, Crete, and India, and that none of the stories in the Bible are unique, original, or accurate. Even the Bible rejects a literal interpretation of itself, if those who would canonize it as an article of faith (which did not happen for Roman Catholics until the sixteenth century when the Council of Trent finally defined the Bible for their faithful, while Martin Luther went on to create his version of the Protestant Bible to defend his voluminous writing on the evil of Jews and the need for a holocaust against Jews, praying that the German nobility “stab, kill, maim” every Jew they see (Luther, Martin. Wider die räuberischen und mörderischen Rotten der Bauern; Luther, like contemporary evangelical extremists are strong supporters of centralized government and governors who strip workers of rights and civility: Blickle, Peter ed. The Revolution of 1525: The German Peasants’ War from a New Perspective. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981, xxiii; cp. Mark U. Edwards, Luther And The False Brethren (California: Stanford University Press, 1975), p.64)—being the spiritual godfather of Adolf Hitler, for as Luther wrote: “The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows seven times higher than ordinary thieves.” (Martin Luther; On the Jews and Their Lies, translated by Martin H. Bertram, Fortress Press, 1955) Or, “My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulfur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire… Second, that all their books– their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible– be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted…Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country…Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it… He who hears this name [God] from a Jew must inform the authorities, or else throw sow dung at him when he sees him and chase him away”. (Martin Luther, Werk, Weimar Edition, Vol. 53, p. 502).
Martin Luther’s antisocial ideas came from the founder of Pauline Christianity (modern Christianity), Saul of Tarsus, when he argued against the peasants who had“become faithless, perjured, disobedient, rebellious, murderers, robbers, and blasphemers, whom even a heathen ruler has the right and authority to punish”. Luther so abhorred the poor and the workers of the land that he venerated those who fight against the peasants, stating that “anyone who is killed fighting on the side of the rulers may be a true martyr in the eyes of God”, and pontificated, “if anyone thinks this too harsh, let him remember that rebellion is intolerable and that the destruction of the world is to be expected every hour”. The key reasons why Luther urged that the secular authorities crush the peasant rebellion using all means, none being to dastardly or vile, was because of Paul’s teaching of the right of rulers that later generations would style as the doctrine of Divine Right of Kings in his epistle to the Romans 13:1-7, which says that all the authorities are appointed by God, and should not be resisted: 1πασα ψυχη εξουσιαις υπερεχουσαις υποτασσεσθω ου γαρ εστιν εξουσια ει μη απο θεου αι δε ουσαι εξουσιαι υπο του θεου τεταγμεναι εισιν 2ωστε ο αντιτασσομενος τη εξουσια τη του θεου διαταγη ανθεστηκεν οι δε ανθεστηκοτες εαυτοις κριμα ληψονται 3οι γαρ αρχοντες ουκ εισιν φοβος των αγαθων εργων αλλα των κακων θελεις δε μη φοβεισθαι την εξουσιαν το αγαθον ποιει και εξεις επαινον εξ αυτης 4θεου γαρ διακονος εστιν σοι εις το αγαθον εαν δε το κακον ποιης φοβου ου γαρ εικη την μαχαιραν φορει θεου γαρ διακονος εστιν εκδικος εις οργην τω το κακον πρασσοντι 5διο αναγκη υποτασσεσθαι ου μονον δια την οργην αλλα και δια την συνειδησιν 6δια τουτο γαρ και φορους τελειτε λειτουργοι γαρ θεου εισιν εις αυτο τουτο προσκαρτερουντες 7αποδοτε ουν πασιν τας οφειλας τω τον φορον τον φορον τω το τελος το τελος τω τον φοβον τον φοβον τω την τιμην την τιμην.
People are so desperate for an answer—but unwilling to research or investigate anything to obtain that answer. Everything is to be in place without question, and the conduct of inquiry is stifled. For most people, the “ultimate answer” must be a god directive—something that was written down about two to three thousand years ago by a group of wandering Apiru (Hebrews) who took their legends from ancient Babylon (Ten Commandments, Noah, Adam, Eve, etc) or ancient Egypt and Mycenea (Trinity, Mother of God, Jesus, etc), or far older civilizations. Despite the fact that these people claim to have religion it is never settled, and when there is a new discovery they trot out those who have letters and degrees within the same field so that there is no objective research or debate, but a mere congratulation on the furthering of ignorance by attempting to canonize new artifacts and discoveries.
The most absurd of these discoveries came from BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12888421) which claims that “a group of 70 or so “books”, each with between five and 15 lead leaves bound by lead rings, was apparently discovered in a remote arid valley in northern Jordan somewhere between 2005 and 2007.” Nothing is precise, yet Director of Jordan’s Department of Antiquities, Ziad al-Saad, claimed that they “might have been made by followers of Jesus in the few decades immediately following his crucifixion.” There is still no historical proof (you cannot use one book to prove its own contents) that there was a Jesus nor that this Jesus of the New Testament was crucified. Far from being objective, al-Saad enthused “They will really match, and perhaps be more significant than the Dead Sea Scrolls.”
The books were allegedly “cast in lead, before being bound by lead rings”—quite a novel fete, and the pages are “mostly about the size of a credit card” which is even more unusual, and contain “text in Ancient Hebrew, most of which is in code” and was rarely done. The scholars called in included David Elkington, whose objectivity as a scientist was openly forfeited when he made the unsubstantiated claim that the books could be “the major discovery of Christian history … It’s a breathtaking thought that we have held these objects that might have been held by the early saints of the Church.” The word “saints” comes later in church history, the original word was “martyrs” and the majority were poor people who could not afford lead plates to read or eat upon. Elkington has no definable credentials, and according to Wikipedia is a self-proclaimed authority (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Lead_Codices).
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) “absolutely doubted their authenticity,” saying the books are a “mixture of incompatible periods and styles without any connection or logic. Such forged motifs can be found in their thousands in the antiquities markets of Jordan and elsewhere in the Middle East”. It added that Professor André Lemaire, an epigraphist and director of studies at the École pratique des hautes études, said the inscriptions he’s seen make no sense and that it was “a question apparently of sophisticated fakes”. To make matters worse, in 2010, David Elkington wrote a letter to Oxford academic Peter Thonemann, and sent him images of a “copper tablet” and asked for information on what he assumed to be Greek text to be on the tablet. Thonemann responded that it was a forgery, produced in Jordan within the last fifty years (cf. http://danielomcclellan.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/peter-thonemann-on-the-lead-codices/ and ref. http://rogueclassicism.com/2011/03/30/lead-codices-silliness/).
Some writers have gone so far as to argue that Jesus wrote the plates. Scripture, however, notes that Jesus was (allegedly) the son of a carpenter, and as such would not be entitled to nor enrolled in a school for study (primarily the Torah). Rather he would have followed his father’s trade—and been illiterate, as was Muhammad who never wrote a word of the Koran. Moreover, Jesus was not known for his calmness, save in later scriptures, for it clearly states that Jesus was a drunkard (Luke 7:34: εληλυθεν ο υιος του ανθρωπου εσθιων και πινων και λεγετε ιδου ανθρωπος φαγος και οινοποτης τελωνων φιλος και αμαρτωλων), a glutton (Matthew 11:19: ηλθεν ο υιος του ανθρωπου εσθιων και πινων και λεγουσιν ιδου ανθρωπος φαγος και οινοποτης τελωνων φιλος και αμαρτωλων και εδικαιωθη η σοφια απο των τεκνων αυτης) and traveled only with men while stealing grain (Mark 2:23: και εγενετο παραπορευεσθαι αυτον εν τοις σαββασιν δια των σποριμων και ηρξαντο οι μαθηται αυτου οδον ποιειν τιλλοντες τους σταχυας) from fields (Adventists reject the literal words of the Bible at this point as they argue that Jesus, “being a good man” would not have drunk of alcoholic wine, but of a fine grape juice—which is not in the original scrolls; the Adventist argument is at http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/books/wine_in_the_bible/4.html and it does cite the contrary: Norman L. Geisler, “A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking,” Bibliotheca Sacra (January-March 1982): p. 49).
The “cross” (crux) is a Latin word and not found in the Greek testaments. The Greek is closer to crux simplex (upright pole: μόνος σταυρός (monos [a singular] stauros). The T (Greek letter tau) as a cross does not appear in the literature of the emerging christian community until about the year 100, and contrary to Christian apologists, Jesus was never crucified with nails in his hands, as the Greek word is χείρ and that refers to arms and hands together (ἄκρην οὔτασε χεῖρα), which defines that he was crucified on a pole. There is no suppedaneum (footrest) in the biblical accounts, nor is there a sedile (small seat)—if there had been one it would have contained a large nail to prolong the agony of the death.
The crucifixion itself is an invention. Even though Josephus and others claim that they saw numerous crucifixions, there is no scientific or historical evidence of such acts in Rome or Judea at the time that Jesus allegedly lived and died. There is only one such record, on an ossuary, for the crucifixion of ‘Yehohanan, the son of Hagakol’ (Haas, Nicu. “Anthropological observations on the skeletal remains from Giv’at ha-Mivtar”, Israel Exploration Journal 20 (1-2), 1970: 38-59; Tzaferis, Vassilios. “Crucifixion – The Archaeological Evidence”, Biblical Archaeology Review 11 (February 1985): 44–53; Zias, Joseph. “The Crucified Man from Giv’at Ha-Mivtar: A Reappraisal”, Israel Exploration Journal 35 (1), 1985: 22–27; Hengel, Martin. Crucifixion in the ancient world and the folly of the message of the cross (Augsburg Fortress, 1977). Much of the story actually comes from Herodotus, Histories, ix.120–122. Crucifixions were (and remain) worldwide, in every religions: Koran (Surah 5:33, 7:124 and 12:41), in Japan during the Sengoku period (1467-1573) following lessons from Christian missionaries, and in the theocracy of today’s Iran (Iran’s Islamic Criminal Law, Article 195; see p. 4 of the pdf at http://revcurentjur.ro/arhiva/attachments_201003/recjurid103_13F.pdf).