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Updated every weekday.         Please vote!    

 

2011-07-04

Our society is crazy advanced. Scientists have created amazing devices that allow doctors to actually see inside your body using the power of, get this, magnets! How could you explain that to someone from 200 years ago? And just think what doctors will have in 200 years from now! They’ll look back on our MRIs and say, “How quaint, those primordial cave-dwellers thought that was fancy.”

But it’s not just technology—the way we understand our own bodies has expanded leaps and bounds. Go back just 200 years and nobody even understood the fertilization process of the sperm and the ovum. Now here’s the kicker: Exodus was written around 2,500 years ago. This means the biblical authors were so clueless about reproduction that they didn’t even know how clueless their cluelessness was!

So when we read in Exodus 1:1-7 that Jacob’s children came from his loins, we have to wonder what that meant to the authors (I’ll bet Jacob’s wife wasn’t too happy about their wording!). By this time in history, people had figured out that the gooey stuff that comes out of a man’s penis makes babies appear in women, but the sperm cell wouldn’t be discovered until 1677 CE, the ovum not until 1826 CE. In fact, for a long time in history, all the way up to the 1700s, one of the pervading hypotheses on human reproduction was preformationism. Which is, the idea that a tiny fully-formed human, called a homunculus, existed in a male and was injected into a female where it grew into a baby.

The homunculus hypothesis doesn’t date back far enough to have been an option to Exodus’s authors, but they may have believed in some earlier form of preformationism. We do know that they wouldn’t have had even considered embryology, which was first guessed at by Aristotle circa 330 BCE. The Quran borrowed his ideas and used them in Sura 22:5, but they’re still horribly primitive and wrong on several points. We don’t start seeing a scientific explanation of embryology until the 1800s CE.

So I have to ask, if the Torah, Quran, and Gospels are so perfect and written by an all-knowing god, why does their explanation of human reproduction match the conventional wisdom of the period?

 

Comments

Yeshivakid writes:

 

Considering power, title, and importance were only considered for males at the time, it would only make sense to trace lineage in book form through the men. Plus for the authors it's more impressive if you can claim you can trace your family back to a male of importance like Jacob and Joseph. That obviously doesn't make it true if none of these people existed in the first place, but to believers, you gain that much more Jew Cred in the process.

You may also be over-thinking it, and all the "Jacob's loins" line refers to is that they were a result of his seed, not that he birthed them. It doesn't really matter what they knew of the reproductive process, because as crude and simple as one can be about it all, a child is simply the result of a guy seeing a woman, getting a boner, and screwing her with it. As boners are part of a man's loins, and boners are the most visible (and thus 'real') part of the sex process, men's loins obviously must create babies somehow. PDQ, primitive thought process solved.

Also, hooray for the return of the comic! Welcome back from your hiatus, TAG! Was the break worth it, or did you miss all of us? :)

Ladyofthemasque writes:

 

Welcome back, you zygotic end-result of a pair of gametes gettin' it on, awww, yeah!

...Ow. I broke my own brain, saying that. XDD Welcome back anyway!

Mr-know-it-all writes:

 

Yeah, thanks for blessing us with more comics again!

Hm, ze fair Lady has already preemptively defeated any witty remarks anyone could make, so I guess I can only say: Welcome, and a happy blowing-up-stuff-day!

Baughbe writes:

 

I wonder if any of them were looking at striped sticks when they did it?

TheAlmightyGuru writes:

 

Yeshivakid: Certainly over thinking it, I just used it as a stepping stone to discuss embryology.

Ladyofthemasque: I love it when you talk science!

Mr-know-it-all: Glad to be back!

Baughbe: They would have a white stripe down their head and look like skunks!

Larqua writes:

 

"were so clueless about reproduction that they didn’t even know clueless their cluelessness was


Know clueless their cluelessness was?


That aside, WELCOME BACK, glad to see the comic up and running again.

tussock writes:

 

Didn't the ancients just treat semen as seed? Leave wheat lying on the ground it grows into mice, put it in the ground it grows into more wheat. Logic.

So, put people seed in a woman and it grows into people. Why not? Sure thing you wouldn't want to leave it on the ground, who knows what would grow from it, demons or something.

Demons being what make people sick, spreading first among people of similar behaviours. Aha! Behaviour makes sickness. Sometimes. Close enough. Don't argue with me about it, that makes demons too.

TheAlmightyGuru writes:

 

Larqua: Fixed!

TBman256 writes:

 

magnets: how do they work?

Allanon6666 writes:

 

Ugh, been too busy to look at these until today, but the wait's been worth it! Glad you're back and I hope you had a nice break.

Ray writes:

 

Welp, I've got alot to catch up on. Hopefully, not all of it is about Jacob's loins. Ugh....

NightFairy writes:

 

I keep getting visuals of Jacobs Lions...which turns into jacob-lion creatures. Way more interesting.

 

Oh the irony!