Why Genesis Is Risible

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Calilasseia's picture
Why Genesis Is Risible

Time and again, the regulars here will have encountered individuals, who want to assert that the Genesis story is something other than a fabrication of the imaginations of pre-scientific nomads. Apart from the numerous places where this story is directly at variance with the findings of cosmological physics and biology, the whole premise of this story as a purported narrative on ethics, is itself fatuous and risible, and I shall now provide a dissection thereof, for the benefit of those interested in dealing with the tiresome, and at times, duplicitous apologetics peddled on this matter.

First, let us determine what is being asserted in this story. One of the defining aspects of mythology, and Genesis is no exception, is that mythology consists of the presentation of one or more assertions, purportedly constituting fact about the physical universe and its contents, which are intended by the authors to be treated as true, regardless of whatever observational data may point in a completely different direction. The principal assertions I wish to focus on here, are that:

[1] Humans were purportedly "created" by an invisible magic man;

[2] Said humans were purportedly "created", completely bereft of the capacity for ethical thought and reasoning;

[3] That capacity for ethical thought and reasoning could only be acquired by those humans, if they consumed a certain variety of magic fruit.

Assertion [3] above is risible on its own, in the light of decades of neuroscience research into the ventromedial pre-frontal cortex, some of which I cover in depth in this post, and which I therefore have no need to cover in depth again. Apparently, we are supposed to accept as fact, that the first humans either completely lacked this part of the brain, or had a non-functioning version thereof, which is absurd in the light of the fact that other primates demonstrably possess this feature. It would be bizarre indeed if the invisible magic man of this mythology, chose to endow chimpanzees and rhesus macaques with a working ventromedial pre-frontal cortex, whilst omitting it from humans. However, that is merely one of the many absurdities contained in this tale.

In addition, I am not aware of anyneuroscience literature, that contains findings to the effect that our ventromedial pre-frontal cortex only starts working properly if we eat certain types of fruit, or that the performance of this part of the brain is enhanced via this route.

I'll leave aside at this juncture, the fact that the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees almost certainly possessed a working ventromedial pre-frontal cortex, and we inherited ours from that ancestor; instead, I'll continue by taking the mythological assertions at face value, as the authors thereof almost certainly intended, and point to more absurdities arising from doing so.

Let's move on to assertion [2], namely, that the purported "first humans" in this story, were bereft of the capacity for ethical thought or reasoning. This on its own constitutes a gigantic plot hole in the story, because entities incapable of ethical thought or reasoning, cannot properly be held responsible for their actions. This is a basic principle that applies in any properly constituted, well-developed jurisdiction, and in cases where individuals thus handicapped commit criminal acts, the response considered proper in said jurisdictions, is to place those individuals in a suitable hospital facility.

Combine [2] and [3] above, and we have a situation where the only means by which the purported "first humans" could possibly have known whether or not eating said fruit was "wrong", was to eat the fruit in question and acquire the requisite ethical capacity. Prior to doing so, they would be, according to [2] and [3], completely incapable of determining this for themselves.

So, we have two ethically incapable stool pigeons, let loose on the world, and the only reason they have for accepting the supposed "wrongfulness" of eating that magic fruit, consists of "Magic Man Says So". That is the only source of "ethical" guidance that these two stool pigeons have.

Next, we come to another assertion, namely:

[4] The two humans in question were told that Magic Man lied to them on this matter, by a talking snake.

Leaving aside the complete absence of documented instances of talking snakes in the scientific literature, we have more plot holes. First, in order for the snake to know that this was the case, said snake, aside from being blessed with fantastic linguistic gifts not observed in any descendants, would also need to have precisely the same level of cognition as a reasonably modern human being, and the underlying brain apparatus supporting this. This would presumably include a functioning ventromedial pre-frontal cortex, a feature which is, as far as I am aware from the literature, absent in reptiles. Did this snake also eat some of this magic fruit? Was this snake given a prohibition against consuming said magic fruit by Magic Man? The absence of any mention of this constitutes another plot hole.

Then, of course, said snake would, of course, be as much a part of the "creation" as everything else mentioned in the story, and would presumably, according to the requisite assertions, also have been "created" by Magic Man. Who apparently had no problem letting snakes wander around displaying powers of cognition above their station.

So, after listening to this remarkably gifted snake, the two ethically incompetent stool pigeons set about eating the magic fruit.

We are then presented with another assertion, namely, that:

[5] The act of eating the magic fruit, precipitated the wholesale ruination of a purportedly "perfect" creation.

Except that this is another risible plot hole in itself. What definition of "perfect" can possibly be applied, to a setup that has a built in self-destruct mechanism of this sort? The idea that a "perfect creation" could be buggered up on a grand scale, just because two mentally deficient humans eat the wrong piece of fruit, on its own should be regarded by anyone with functioning neurons as a piece of pathetic comic absurdity.

But, it's even worse than that, because having set up the self-destruct mechanism, Magic Man then sets about arranging for that self-destruct mechanism to be triggered. Which means that even taking the assertions of this mythology at face value, we are led to the conclusion that Magic Man set up these two stool pigeons to blow up the whole edifice right from the start. Then, of course, Magic Man throws a hissy fit, and not only blames the two hapless stool pigeons for walking helplessly into the prepared trap, but decides to punish them and all future generations of their offspring for setting in motion something that Magic Man had clearly planned to occur all along.

So not only does Magic Man blame the two ethically incompetent stool pigeons for setting off the self-destruct mechanism, despite manifestly arranging for this to happen, but Magic Man then institutes a collective punishment of the sort that is seen in North Korea, and regarded universally by anyone with functioning neurons as the very antithesis of an ethical course of action. The talking snake also receives its share of collective punishment into the bargain, despite being demonstrated to be correct with respect to the matter of Magic Man lying to the stool pigeons about the consequences of the fruit munching.

If this was presented in the modern era to a publisher as a brand new work of fiction, it would cause the reviewers to wet themselves laughing. It would be regarded as a hilariously incompetent work on an epic scale. Yet, just because some Middle Eastern nomads wrote this bilge, and subsequently made conformity to its assertions a ruthlessly pursued policy, we are supposed to treat this farcical drivel as some sort of repository of wisdom, and accept assertions that would lead to the questioning of the sanity of anyone presenting them de novo in the present, in the absence of the requisite history.

The whole "fall" bilge is precisely that - bilge. It not only flatly contradicts known scientific fact on a ludicrously rococo scale, but as an ethical narrative, fails dismally on account of the manifest duplicity of the lead character, including the thoroughly psychotic punitive aftermath. That an entity behaving in this manner could be regarded as "good", let alone the source of all morality, constitutes the mother of all "WAT" moments. This isn't a "benevolent" father figure, it's a cosmic Kim Jong-Un, an ectoplasmic Donald Trump with all the narcissism and sociopathy turned up to Spinal Tap 11.

In an era where genetic manipulation via CRISPR, manned spaceflight and teraflop supercomputing are all engineering realities, that there exist people who still treat this moronic collection of bad myths as "sacred", is surely one of the most damning indictments of our species on the intellectual front.

I now await the entirely predictable erection of pathetic excuses for this, from the usual supernaturalist suspects once they view this.

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Cognostic's picture
No disagreement from me...

No disagreement from me...

Algebe's picture
@Calilasseia

@Calilasseia

The achievement of the Genesis authors is quite breathtaking. With very limited materials and in almost total ignorance, they laid the foundations for a monumental fraud that continues to dominate the worlds of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism down to the present day. What were their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters doing while the men were creating this long-term blueprint for a backward-looking, death-worshiping, child-abusing misogynistic society?

One of the nastiest aspects of the narrative is the idea that the pain of childbirth is Eve's punishment for the fruit felony. Yet Carl Sagan of all people once pointed out that the areas of the brain that would have been affected by the magic fruit are the very areas that give us the great bulging foreheads that make human childbirth so difficult. I'd put that down to accident rather than insight. If you pump out enough bilge, you're likely to get at least one thing right.

Skeptical Kevin's picture
That whole punishment is BS.

That whole punishment is BS. Anyone could have predicted that fruit would get eaten.

Take your child, put them in a room with a hundred toys, but you take one and put it on a table and say "You can play with anything in the room except this toy." Come back in an hour and that toy won't be where you put it.

God placed Adam and Eve in the garden. He created the tree in the garden and ordered them not to eat it, knowing full well they would, then punished them for disobeying him. Sounds like entrapment to me.

Algebe's picture
Skeptical Kevin: Take your

Skeptical Kevin: Take your child, put them in a room with a hundred toys

Back in the 1960s, I saw a candid camera segment in which small children were left in a room with a selection of very messy cakes and told not to eat them. A few minutes later an adult came in and asked the kids if they'd eaten any cakes, to which they solemnly replied, with cream and chocolate all over the faces, that they certainly hadn't.

If you're a Christian, smile, you're on candid camera. God puts all kinds of temptations in your way and waits for you to fail just so he say "gotcha!".

Diotrephes's picture
Calilasseia,

Calilasseia,
A lot of cultures have variations of the basic story =

"An Instruction, a Sin and the Consequence"
https://www.cs.williams.edu/~lindsey/myths/myths_9.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_life

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trees_in_mythology

http://www.evolveandascend.com/2018/02/14/the-secret-meaning-of-the-tree...

Regarding the biblical Adam & Eve story remember that the Garden of Eden was just down the road from Assyria, Persia, Arabia, and Ethipoia. That sort of fits Egypt. Later on the king of Tyre is reported to have lived in the Garden of Eden. And all of those places existed before and after Noah's flood as if the flood of water never happened. In the Adam & Eve story several things are probably mixed together tp tell a new story. The talking snake was probably a reference to the Egyptian Pharaoh, who had a snake symbol on his crown. The Israelites/Hebrews/Jews were always switching sides with the various empires. The story also illustrates the First Commandment (Exodus 34:11-16).

Talyyn's picture
You have perfectly explained

You have perfectly explained what I think since many years.

Randomhero1982's picture
Again, another beautiful post

Again, another beautiful post Calilasseia, my humble regards!

That said, I simply cannot fathom how anyone can read a bible or quaran and take it seriously.

Perhaps it's my upbringing with no exposure to religion, but if I simply read either book tomorrow without knowing what it was, I'd 100% believe it to be entirely fictional and daft to the highest degree.

I still give religion absolutely no credence whatsoever.

David Killens's picture
Yes, the entire genesis

Yes, the entire genesis narrative is risible. And yes, it is such a crazy tale that it would never make it past any editor's desk. What really makes me scratch my head is what religion does to people.

The great majority of theists are decent people with decent intelligence. When it comes to personal finances or the simple act of crossing the street, they use their brains properly and are rational in their decisions. But all of a sudden, when religion enters the picture, they suddenly turn off the thinking in their brain and accept nonsense, pure unadulterated nonsense. Or as many of us call it, bollocks.

For myself, that is one of the great mysteries in life, because those same theists will read stories from other religions and flat-out reject them as just inane.

Our human intelligence has allowed us to climb to the top of the food chain and control this planet. But somehow, we have invented a new set of problems, religion.

Tin-Man's picture
@Cali

@Cali

As usual, a pleasure to read your posts. This OP is definitely no exception. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, reminded me of a post I made a few months ago regarding this very subject. The following was made in response to a request from another AR member who wanted examples of inconsistencies and contradictions in the first few chapters of Genesis. I did some digging and found it. Figured I would go ahead and re-post it here to perhaps complement your OP a bit. Enjoy...

1. God made plants and vegetation on the Third Day. (1:9-13) He did not make the sun or moon until the Fourth Day. (1:14-19) Somebody please explain to me how vegetation grew/survived without sunlight.

2. Apparently, there is more than one God. God said, “Let US make man in OUR image.” (1:26) Also, after God got pissed at Adam and Eve for eating from the Tree of Knowledge, he said, “Behold! Man has become as one of US!” And so he booted their asses out of the Garden of Eden before they had a chance to eat from the Tree of Life.

3. On the Sixth Day, God created man and woman (1:27). However, way after the Seventh Day after Adam has already gotten settled into the Garden of Eden, God decides Adam needs a “helper”. (2:18) Therefore, he made a woman for Adam. (2:21-22) Call me crazy, but aside from the screwed up timeline “whoopsie”, it seems to me an all-knowing/all-powerful god should have already had that whole man/woman thing figured into his plan from the very beginning…. *shrugging shoulders*…

4. Ummmm…. Why, exactly, would an omnipotent god ever have to rest? (2:2)... *scratching head*… Am I missing something here?

5. God made man/Adam from “the dust of the earth.” (2:7) Yet, God had to put Adam to sleep and yank out one of his ribs in order to make woman/Eve. (2:21-22) Again… Am I missing something here?

6. A supposedly PERFECT and ALL-KNOWING God makes the Garden of Eden and places two totally forbidden trees (The “Tree of Life” and the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”) right smack-dab in the middle of it within easy access of Adam and Eve. (Who happen to be two incredibly innocent and naïve creatures with zero knowledge of harm, danger, or death.) But at least he gives Adam a stern warning not to eat of it. (2:8-9 and 2:15-17) Yet then he has the audacity to be mad when Adam and Eve actually do eat from one of the trees. DUDE! You should have seen that coming!!! PLUS, you could have put those damn trees ANYWHERE ELSE on the entire planet! But, Nnnnnooooooo…! That would have made too much sense, I suppose.

7. Here’s a very subtle one for you I just happened to notice when looking for these others. After God made Eve for Adam he proclaimed, “And a man shall leave his father and mother to be with his wife.” (2:24) Ummm…. Errrrr…. Hmmmm….. Yeah, I’ll just let that one sink in on its own for you…

8. Oh! Here’s a goodie! The serpent! For starters, a talking snake? Really??? (3:1) Mainly, though, is the fact that GOD MADE THE SERPENT and had it in the garden in the first place! KNOWING it would tempt Eve and cause her and Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. What the…??? Seriously??? And exactly WHOSE fault is that suppose to be, pray tell? (Side note, here. Between this one and number 6, I could probably write and entire thesis. *chuckle*)

9. Ya know, for a God that is supposedly omnipotent and omniscient, he certainly does ask quite a few questions: A. Adam and Eve eat from the Tree of Knowledge and discover they are naked, so they hide from God in the garden. God comes strolling along and calls out, “Hey! Where the hell are you two crazy kids?!?.... Yoooo-hoooo…. Ollie-Ollie oxen free!” (3:8-9) B. Once Adam lets God know where they are, God asks, “Why are you hiding from me?” At which point Adam explains, “Well, dang, man. Just noticed me twigs-n-berries are showing. It’s a little embarrassing.” Which causes God to ask, “Hey! Who let you know you are naked?” (3:11) C. When Adam threw Eve under the bus by blaming her for making him eat the fruit, God asked Eve, “What have you done?” (3:13) And all of those questions from a supposedly omniscient God within just a few verses of ONE CHAPTER. Heck, and I haven’t even made it to Chapter 4 yet.

10. Here is another “WTF?” moment. Adam and Eve have pissed off the All-knowing, All-powerful, All-loving, and All-forgiving God, and so he kicked their asses out of the Garden of Eden. Okay. Fine. Whatever. But then this same ALL-POWERFUL God has to place and angel with a flaming sword at the “garden gate” to keep anybody else from entering and to protect both of the forbidden trees. (3:24) Sooooo….. Let me get this straight. He can create the entire universe and Earth and every living creature on the planet, and He knows EVERYTHING, but he needs a “guard” to protect a tiny speck of land that HE created???.... Ummm, okay. Yeah, sure. I’ll buy that.

Diotrephes's picture
It is necessary to understand

It is necessary to understand that all of the biblical stories are based upon one or more of the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 34:11-28 and that the miracle stories are based on exodus 34:10. The Garden of Eden story with Adam & Eve is a First Commandment story. Every action in it is covered by one of the 613 laws Moses dreamed up.

Most of the biblical stories don't make logical sense. That is not their purpose. Their purpose is to illustrate compliance to the Ten Commandments and what happens when people disobey and are disloyal to the Boss.

If you don't know what the real Ten Commandments are and how to relate the stories to them you will never understand any of it. The stories are like riddles. The answers is which of the Ten Commandments the stories are about.

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