One World Language: The Babel event

I took my time in answering because I took the trouble to look at the issue. I read the citations in the other paper that I could get my hands on. My life would be easier if Ruhlen were correct. He’s not.

You should disabuse yourself of the idea that you are correct most of the time. Over and over, your key ideas turn out to be based on outliers. Doesn’t go a long way toward building confidence in the ultimate conclusion.

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Sealkin You are most welcome. I am appreciative of the open minded attitude you have. I suggest looking at my reply to pevaquark today which outlines how I think it happened all the while maintaining the ability to do a phylogeny. I agree with you that the time isn’t important and I don’t necesarily think it requires that it happened to all of humanity either.

LOL, Probably, but I do argue and defend my position until backed into a corner, then I will change. I will study your link when I get out of the hospital. I always study what critics say about what I have said. But I will say this, haven’t noticed a whole lot of humility in any of us here debating about each person thinking they were wrong. Lol, why put out a position if you think you are wrong? You are arguing against me because… wait for it… wait… because you think you are right. Same here my friend.

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Absolutely. But I always recognize the possibility that I could be wrong. That’s where the humility comes in. At least, that’s how I rationalize my behavior … :wink:

I loved the Doric allusion, @gbob. I hope your time in the hospital is spent profitably, and you improve. God bless.

To comment on the question about the Bible, many of us (I know I have) have struggled for a long time trying to fit in the Bible to what I believed as a child–that is, concordant. Please understand that I never wanted to change; I do believe in God through Christ, and believe that Christ is His Word and my savior, as I think you do. I know you have struggled a long time, too. Please keep that in mind that because we have not ended up exactly like you (with what you admit is sometimes a unique point of view), does not mean we don’t have as much devotion to our mutual Father. I have learned a lot from the folks here. I also appreciate your thoughts. God bless.


Where are @Christy and @AMWolfe when I need them?!

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I agree with you, Mervin, that this discussion seems to have moved into an area which is restricted to examining the evidence for a Biblical event–not its significance–and therefore it no longer helps answer the question: What lesson should I take from this bit of O.T. Scripture that is applicable to the problems I (and the rest of humanity) face today.

The Catholic Encyclopedia encourages a literal treatment of the Babel story. "The Lord came down to see the tower of Babel and said “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other. The Lord scattered them all over the earth.”

The authors of this segment of the O.T. may have been inspired, but their concept of the Creator-God still had not shed the shackles of the ANE religions from whence it sprang. They still thought it reasonable that the God they worshiped was capable of harboring jealousy, being fearful that the humankind He (they?) created could threaten or exceed Him in power. So the lesson for today seems to be: "Mankind, beware of the sin of Pride; don’t get too big for your britches."

That can be very good advice, especially if the Pride is expressed thru power over your fellow humans. But the lesson we may learn for today may be somewhat different. The Babylonians should NOT be faulted for wanting a bridge to Heaven. They had to be taught that such a material “bridge”, a ziggurat, cannot be built. Only a spiritual bridge will work.

I prefer to believe that Jesus calls us to be co-creators of a new humankind, a humankind that is far advanced technically over today’s. (Just as today’s humans are able to live a more productive, pain-free life than our remote ancestors.). But our goal for the ‘improved human’ should not be exclusively material, like a ziggurat reaching out to Heaven. As a human, I take vicarious pride in the Apollo program and our robot sojourners to Mars. They represent the Ziggerats of this generation. What is discouraging, is the World Politics that seems returning us to intense tribalism–as opposed to Jesus’ command to ‘love one’s neighbor as oneself’. What I find encouraging are the people who help their ‘neighbors’ on the other side of the planet thru organizations like Doctors With Borders and Smiles Train (and many, many others.)

In spite of Jesus’ command, the word ‘Globalism’ has been given a bad connotation, even tho, in principle, it seeks to share our prosperity with peoples living under a different flag; i.e., geographically remote neighbors. We would rather measure our societies’ progress by our Nation’s Gross National Product. Should we have a different goal in mind when we “make America great again”?
Al Leo

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Didn’t Augustine write in times like these–when Rome was falling to the barbarians, and he wrote of the City of God, which we need to focus on, rather than making our earthly cities our homes and manufactured by our tribal pride? I am not familiar enough with that, but I wonder if there is a parallel. Thanks for your post; it’s good.

In my latest post, I make allowances for ANE peoples underestimating God’s power and majesty (e.g. His lack of jealousy), but its harder to excuse the Fundamentalists of today for the same mistake.

Mainly, tho, I wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and hopes that your trip to M.D. Anderson proves worthwhile. I do not ‘pray to the Good Lord’ in the way I did some 85 yrs. ago, but I do believe He does intervene ‘against the odds’ at times. However it comes about, I hope you are given more years (enjoyable years!) of putting your intellect to work.
Al Leo


I’m on vacation.

I also have no expertise in historical linguistics. All I know for sure is that attempts to develop proto-language, even within established language families are highly speculative. No one thinks there was a Babel event a few thousand years ago. I don’t understand why some people want Genesis to be describing a historical event from 100,000 years ago that would have been completely irrelevant to the original audience. It just sounds like silly “fact checking the Bible” kind of stuff that ignores the literary functions of the text. If the original single human language is what the Genesis account is, why the ziggaruts? Such a scenario kind of ruins the literary flow where the Babel story is the preface to the covenant with Abraham.


I got home today, free from M D Anderson for 2 weeks. Yeah, I have been wrong many times, and I have proof that I will change my mind. I changed from a YEC to an evolutionist. I know only one other YEC published writer who ever made that change, and that was Nicholas Rupke, the originator of the polystrate fossil argument, and he became an atheist as best I can understand. That was a big change, and I squirmed a lot. Yeah, I will defend my position, but slam me with something absolutely irrefutable and unavoidable, and I will change.

I have been working on Genesis 4, which Bill raised, and it is a reasonable issue to raise. I will publish it probabably tomorrow. I have never addressed this issue in any of my publications. I hope some will give me credit for actually writing it.


If you want to know why someone would suggest that, then consider that science says that is the ony way humanity could be descended from a single pair. I suggest looking at When did Adam Live? series. My flood theory, based on the time around which Science says that IF we are to have a single pair it had to be then, results in a flood story that absolutely matches what the Scripture describes. I know most here will think it barking mad. I don’t care.I prefer to have my Bible be factually true.

Edited to add for Christy, I have seen too many young-earthers reject the Bible because they come to believe science says Genesis isn’t true. Unlike yall, they won’t believe the way you do. Thus, one reason to have an apologetic that is scientifically and historically accurate, yet matches the Biblical account is to keep them from going into atheism. I almost went into atheism and still to this day find yalls method of believing that an inaccurate mistake prone Bible holds metaphysical truth to be mind-numbingly illogical to me. It is to the YECs to. So when they come here and say they are slipping on the slippery slope, one better take it seriously. Atheism is about to get another convert. Yall’s system of thinking won’t save them. I think keeping a Christian in the fold is well worth the effort and ridicule I have gotten over the years for my views.

Thank you so much Aleo. You are so kind. I prayed once to be healed, that is all. Bible tells us not to be repetitive in prayers because God knows our needs, but I am content no matter how this turns out. So far, no sign that this trial is stopping the cancer, but I am still healthy enough to do most things in life. Thus, I am blessed.


Oh that video brought back good memories, except for the Scurries (dang albatross), who once dumped on my car winshield the biggest bird strike I have ever seen. Glad I was inside the car. lol
I saw a vid from Aberdeen of a Albatross stealing crisps ever day from a store I believe was on Union street.

Randy wrote: To comment on the question about the Bible, many of us (I know I have) have struggled for a long time trying to fit in the Bible to what I believed as a child–that is, concordant. Please understand that I never wanted to change;"

I know. As I said in response to someone else, the reason we need an interpretation like mine is to help people like you when you are in the midst of struggles. I almost went to atheism and still would if I thought there was no way the Bible could be read as a historically correct, scientifically correct document. I have sadly worked with many struggling people over the years who could never go the way you went Randy, and they became atheists. Also sadly the attitude of those in the intellectual elite of Christianity towards those who believe young earth creationism, is rarely one of love for the individual. It is too often disdain for their ignorance. In some sense I still stand with them on the need of a historical Bible. I don’t say inerrant, I use the word historicity in Scripture. I guess I couldn’t make the change you did.


Thanks. I admire you for compassion and diligence.

I sometimes think…doesn’t this all come back to the nature of God and justice? Only He knows our hearts. He knows our frame…He remembers that we are dust. He alone knows the struggle each of us goes through, and I have to believe He will not blame us for ignorance. Sometimes our sincere search for truth leads us to doubt and atheism…but He, being ultimately Just, will accept our fumbling as a father. Bless you in your efforts.

We should absolutely therefore respect each other’s struggles with as much forbearance as our Father would. Heaven forbid we should look down on our YEC brothers or those of other variations, as you say. Have you read “The Fool and the Heretic,” by Falk and Wood? I just finished listening to it recently…I thought it was a good example of each side learning to interact respectfully.

Thank you.


That is a problem. But a “solution” that caters to their false dichotomy (a face value interpretation of the Bible is 100% historically and scientifically accurate or the whole thing is lies) is just setting them up for problems down the road, and not just with faith/science issues. It is problematic if your view of the Bible requires that a rigid interpretive framework must always work or you have to chuck the whole thing.

Personally, I would prefer to encourage people to develop a more agile, reflective faith than pander to a perspective that I think will ultimately let people down when it comes to the biggest questions about life and faith. I think it’s better to do the wrestling even if it means they have to struggle through a dark time of doubt and unbelief.

Also, in my experience, when people lose their faith, there are a lot of other complex factors at work that are not purely rational and don’t involve intellectual exercises. So I think it’s kind of naive to believe that preserving a certain view of the Bible is going to preserve all these people’s faith in the face of challenges. Humans are complex. People (and the churches they form) are often disappointing and hurtful. Sure, some people latch on to “the Bible isn’t reliable” as a way of rationalizing or explaining why they are walking away from God, but the real story usually has a few more chapters.


I note several hings about this. First, I don’t think the dichotomy is false. I struggled for 12 years about whether to become an atheist. The problems you see in the Scripture, atheists see as well, and they do what I view as the logical thing when faced with those problem, become an atheist. Yall think it is ok to hold that a book so full of holes tells us about eternity with certainty. I can’t go there.

I also note in your reply that you seem to want a faith that can’t be tested. It reminds me of what Frank Tipler said about this escape from verification.

Of course, the real reason modern theologians want to keep science divorced from religion is to retain some intellectual territory forever protected from the advance of science. This can only be done if the possibility of scientific investigation of the subject matter is ruled out a priori. Theologians were badly burned in the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions. Such a strategy seriously underestimates the power of science, which is continually solving problems philosophers and theologians have decreed forever beyond the ability of science to solve.” ~ Frank J. Tipler, The Physics of Immortality, (New York: Doubleday, 1994), p. 7

From my perspective escaping verification shows a lack of faith in God. I know you won’t agree, but there are definitely statements in Genesis 1 claimed to be quotes of God. If God didn’t say them, then who did? If a human said them, why should I care what he says about creation?–he wasn’t there! If God did say them and he ‘accommodated’ to falsehood, then why should I believe God when he says “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”? If God lied in the Genesis statements, why should I take seriously that he isn’t lying in the NT?

I have often asked accommodationalists if there is any nonsense that could be claimed by the Bible that would make them disbelieve? If one says no, then I would contend that one has acceptance of a religion that they won’t trust by trying to verify the religion. If our religion is so wrong on everything we see, does anyone think that maybe just maybe this is not the true religion? I would. That is why having historicity in Scripture is important.

As I see what you are advocating, you are saying God isn’t trustworthy in his statements but I will believe other claims He makes anyway. I can’t do that. While people often say we spend too much time on creation because it isn’t important, it is very important to the trustworthiness of God and the statements he makes.

Just out of curiosity, is there anything so ridiculous that Scripture could say that would make you disbelieve? If not, I wouldn’t say that is a vibrant faith. Christianity AND God’s communications to us must be true if we are to actually go to heaven.

I don’t see the Bible as “full of holes.” I see the Bible as a beautiful, fascinating, deeply moving, not totally fathomable story of God involving himself in the mess of humanity to restore and redeem. If when you look at the Bible, all you see is “holes” you have been taught to read it in a very unfortunate, unproductive way that shouldn’t be humored.

My faith is tested every day. I find God to be incredibly faithful to me personally and to his people corporately. But it’s not because I spend hours fact-checking the Bible against history and science. It’s because I’m out in the world, trying to live the Jesus way in the already/not yet coming Kingdom.

My faith isn’t built on the Bible. It’s in Jesus Christ, crucified, resurrected, and exalted. The Bible reveals truth about the God I relate to through Christ in the power of the Spirit. Making faith about logic and proof makes it about something other than being united with God through Christ. I don’t think the Bible has any magical power of its own. Its truth is apprehended in relationship with the God it reveals. We don’t stand over the Bible and declare it truthful based on our objective standards of proof or rationality. When we do, it will always come up lacking because that is not the proper way to approach the God the Bible reveals.


thanks for the kind words. I have not read that book but will look it up. I listen to books now, too. It is like being a kid in kindergarten where the teacher reads to you. lol

I know everyone struggles with these issues. I want something that people can believe is TRUE because that firms up faith in other areas. Last July was when I realized how to demonstrate the existence of the soul from quantum, I had, the week before learned that the cancer had finally moved to my bones, which is the last terminal stage.It really strengthened my faith; it was like God was cheering me up; saying, “It will be alright”. I had toyed with the quantum soul idea off and on for years, but couldn’t ever get the last puzzle piece until last July. I brought Gordie in to cowrite quantum soul because he read an early draft and said no one would understand it. Gordie did a great job.

But my point is KNOWING that the soul exists; KNOWING that a scientifically accurate account of early Genesis exists means, I can trust more, and believe me trust never came easy to me given the childhood experiences I had. I don’t have to doubt the veracity of scripture because it full of factless nonsense. Instead of a fact free Bible, I now have a fact FULL Bible. Knowing some of the Biblical story is true or can be true, is faith enhancing.

I’m really bad at hypotheticals. We have the Bible. It says it what it says. We have to work out our faith in the world we live in. I don’t believe “because of the Bible,” I believe because of Jesus.