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Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Lisa Miller update

 Even though, as I pointed out in a recent post, her daughter is now of age and free to resume enjoyment of her American citizenship, Lisa Miller is still a wanted felon. News out of Nicaragua is that the federal authorities have committed resources to putting pressure on people thought to possibly be hiding them, even to the point of arresting and interrogating an American citizen. To the extreme frustration of all involved in the hunt, and despite winning convictions and harsh prison sentences for all charged with their escape, every attempt for the last several years has failed to uncover anything new. It is as if the Millers had vanished into another dimension. 

Monday, 17 August 2020

Who are the false teachers in Acts 20:30?

 As I posted earlier (here, here, and here), The Newer and Improveder International Version has a hard time being consistent with its translation of the Greek word for 'men', being unwilling to exclude women altogether from that designation, but not showing any good reason for why it does or doesn't. An excellent example is in Acts 20:30.

First, let's back up and see how various translations handle 'men' in Acts 17:34 (from blueletterbible):

However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. - NKJV

But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. - ESV

But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. - NASB

So, the more literal versions were okay with translating ανδρες as 'men', despite the associated difficulty of including a woman in their number. How about the least literal translations?

but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. - NLT

Well, that was pretty safe, Just leave off translating the word, as the NIV did in Acts One. But most of them tried to translate it with something:

However, some people joined him and believed, including Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. - CSB

But some people joined him and believed. Among them were Dionysius, who was a member of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. NET

Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others. - NIV

So, to the CBD, ανδρες could, and presumably should, be either left untranslated, or at least translated vaguely as 'some people', whenever women could, or should, be included in the referent. So what happened in Acts 20:30, when Paul warned the Ephesian Elders about the coming of false teachers?

Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. - NKJV

and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. - ESV

and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. - NASB

Again, the more literal versions translate ανδρες as 'men', despite the difficulty that false teachers of a female sort would likewise arise (Revelation 2:20). Surely, though, the translators of the more progressive versions would be able to see women in this verse? Let's check.

Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. - NLT

Men will rise up even from your own number and distort the truth to lure the disciples into following them. - CSB

Even from among your own group men will arise, teaching perversions of the truth to draw the disciples away after them. - NET

Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. - NIV

Well, suddenly all their problems with a literal translation of ανδρες seem to have vanished at this verse. Despite the difficulty, all are agreed that only those Ephesians of the male sort were in any danger of becoming false teachers. But Paul himself, later writing to Timothy in Ephesus, specifically spoke of

"gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth." - NIV 2 Timothy 3:6-7

Global search-and-replace has failed them once again. 

EDIT Oct 2, 2020
It has been brought to my attention that (at least in the 2005 Edition), the TNIV  did in fact read "some will arise" and this was one of the reversions made in the 2011 NNIV. 

Monday, 10 August 2020

The Elizabeth Smart Effect

 Elizabeth Smart is an amazing woman. Abducted at age 14 through her bedroom window one night by a drifter whom her father had hired for some odd jobs, she spent the next nine months being raped several times a day. When she was finally found by investigators hidden in plain sight on the streets of Sandy, Utah, she had been so utterly brainwashed that, thinking her family would never take her back, she initially refused to even admit who she was.
But from that low point, she made an amazing comeback. After making up the year of school she'd missed, she went on to graduate from BYU and flew back from a Mission in France to testify at her abuser's trial for kidnapping and rape. Then, incredibly, she became a journalist for NBC, interviewing women like her who had been kidnapped by sexual abusers. Unlike abuse victims who desire anonymity, she has never been afraid to tell her story and in fact used it to catapult her to national attention, using that platform to advocate against sexual assault.
In honor of Elizabeth and her willingness to share every facet of her horrifying experience, I'm naming a little-understood phenomenon after her: The Elizabeth Smart Effect. Simply put, this is the tendency of traumatic rape victims not to have functioning reproductive systems during the time they are under the control of their abusers. Despite the daily rapes, Elizabeth never fell pregnant until after she had married her legal husband. How could this be?

Some may offer the obvious answer that her abuser wasn't fertile himself, and was thus unable to impregnate her. But what about numerous other victims who demonstrate the same effect? In The Slave Across the Street, Theresa Flores relates her experience of serving as a teenage concubine to an entire underworld crime network for over a year--without ever falling pregnant. And the anecdotes are countless; despite pregnancy resulting from single rapes that happened to coincide with a woman already being fertile, rapes that are part of an ongoing abusive situation really do sometimes seem to shut down a woman's reproductive system, so that she never does go through a fertile cycle until the abuse ends.

More study on this is definitely needed--but will it ever come? The political establishment, particularly the pro-abortion wing, clings desperately to the idea that women who are raped NEED the option of snuffing out of any life that results from that rape, and anyone referencing the Elizabeth Smart Effect is likely to get shouted down--or, in the famous case of Todd Akin, even voted out of office just for mentioning it. If there is a biological phenomenon behind the Elizabeth Smart Effect, isolating it, describing it, and publishing it will face some formidable political hurdles.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Another One Gone

2020 is turning out to be an annus horribilus in many ways, one of which is the news that yet another kidnapping/rape/murder* has apparently occurred to a Mennonite girl who was supposedly under the protection of her head covering. To add to her indignity, the one photo the police was able to acquire of Amish teen Linda Stoltzfoos was 'rumspringa-progressed' to show her without the church attire she was wearing when she went missing, in 'street clothes' and with her hair down--showing their reluctance to admit to the possibility that she had in fact been kidnapped, rather than just running away on her way home from church to change her clothes--showing their woefully inadequate understanding of Amish culture.
Someone has suggested, tongue in cheek, that the head covering may have a similar magical quality as that found in Sampson's hair--that is, one is powerless to abuse a girl so long as she remains covered, but if he can in any way get the covering off her, she's fair game. I don't think that theory will hold any water in Linda's case. She appears to have come under Justo Smoker's power while still fully dressed in her church outfit.
The magical piece of cloth just isn't working.

UPDATE AUGUST 24: More information has been disclosed in both of these kidnapping cases. It turns out that Sasha Krause was tied up and beaten, then shot in the head--and both her underwear and her head covering removed and kept as trophies--but the autopsy indicates she died a virgin. That must be some comfort to her family--and may even strengthen their belief in the magic piece of cloth. In Linda Stoltzfoos' case, she has not been recovered, but some of her underclothing was found buried in the woods--indicating that she could have been raped; there was no sign of her head covering.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Why there's no such thing as a Stone Age Tribe

This post has been percolating for many months, so I decided to go ahead and give it a go now, but subject it to revision as I continue to ponder the question.
Two videos have brought about this rush to print: one a series actually, to which I will get shortly; the other being this National Geographic Special about the Waorani tribe of Ecuador. In a documentary like this, the narrator typically gushes that they live as they did 20,000 years ago, and are just now finally emerging from the Stone Age.
These claims not only have no historical basis; they defy logic. The lifestyle of the Waorani is totally incompatible with the evolutionist's claim that they are descended from people who crossed the Bering Straight tens of thousands of years ago. They make their living by using darts (made from one palm) dipped in poison (scraped from the bark of a certain vine, and only deadly if injected) shot through a blowgun (made from another palm). That, for their meat supply; their vegetable staple is manioc, a domesticated crop that only grows in the tropics. Granted, they have been doing this from time immemorial, but only since their ancestors took up residence in the rain forest of the Amazon. It's impossible that their ancestors could have lived any such way before arriving there--and the forensic evidence from this video series (especially beginning with video #10) indicates that their ancestors only arrived there a few centuries earlier than the conquistadors--and that the people whom they displaced were accomplished agrarians.
Just one of the bits that jumped out at me from the movie was that the "uncontacted" Waorani no longer use stone axes or earthen pots--they trade for steel versions of the same. Only the oldest man in the community can even remember how to use a stone axe, and he made a startling revelation---the tribe had no knowledge of where stone axe heads even came from!  They found the heads abandoned in the jungle by a previous civilisation--just as my sons like to comb newly plowed fields every spring for stone arrowheads--and assumed that they fell from heaven or something. A "stone age" tribe equally dependent on outside civilisation for their axe heads, whether they be of stone or steel--incredible!
Elisabeth Elliot, half of the first team of outsiders to live among the Waorani and record their culture, reported that the Waorani told her their ancestors also had worn clothes, but had eventually abandoned all clothing but for a single string around their loins, and perhaps--to dress up--one around each arm. Obviously their ancestors would have needed quite a bit more than that to make the trek to North America!
The native ability of evolutionists to suspend the use of logic continues to astound me.
Another bit that jumped out to me: an anthropologist, who learned the language from the Waoroni civilised by their contact with Elisabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint, led the documentary team eastward to contact their downriver relatives. His research indicated that 70% of the males in the past five generations had died of homicide (oral history traces this murderous tendency back to a falling out over a tribal celebration about ten generations back). Clearly outsiders who bring in diseases that kill off a quarter, a third, or even half of the population are not the major threat to their continued existence. And those who do survive modern diseases will tend to pass their resistance to the following generations.
Again, a wee bit of logic would be helpful. How could a tribe that has lived on this land, disease-free for centuries, still only number in the hundreds--while the descendants of just a couple dozen men on the Mayflower now number in the tens of millions? Obviously murder, from conception onward, is a serious threat to population growth--in the case of "uncontacted tribes" still numbering only a few hundred individuals, clearly the greatest threat. It is notable that, the documentary reports, word filtered back to the uncontacted members of the tribe--along with the steel pots and axes--that there's no need to kill each other any more; so they've stopped the carnage (else, obviously the team would have never made it back out alive with their footage). Note: Mincaye, who had been one of, if not the oldest man in the tribe for over sixty years, has finally died of old age in his 90's. He manged to live long enough to give up his murderous lifestyle shortly before his life expectancy ran out, and "walk Waogongi's path" for the next two-thirds of his life, and on into the hereafter.
Everything in the documentary trumpets the same thing: this is not an ancient tribe peacefully perpetuating the lifestyle of their ancestors--a way of life under threat only by outside intrusion--but instead, a degenerate community in serious danger of completing the process of self-extinction if they are NOT contacted by outsiders.