Category Archives: Language & Linguistics

Naked Bible Podcast 210 – God and Deception

Finally, someone who understands the spectrum of deception.

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Differences in Human and Neanderthal Brains Explain Human Exceptionalism

When I was a little kid, my mom went through an Agatha Christie phase. She was a huge fan of the murder mystery writer and she read all of Christie’s books.

Agatha Christie was caught up in a real-life mystery of her own when she disappeared for 10 days in December 1926 under highly suspicious circumstances. Her car was found near her home, close to the edge of a cliff. But, she was nowhere to be found. It looked as if she disappeared without a trace, without any explanation. Eleven days after her disappearance, she turned up in a hotel room registered under an alias.

Christie never offered an explanation for her disappearance. To this day, it remains an enduring mystery. Some think it was a callous publicity stunt. Some say she suffered a nervous breakdown. Others think she suffered from amnesia. Some people suggest more sinister reasons. Perhaps, she was suicidal. Or maybe she was trying to frame her husband and his mistress for her murder.

Perhaps we will never know.

Like Christie’s fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, paleoanthropologists are every bit as eager to solve a mysterious disappearance of their own. They want to know why Neanderthals vanished from the face of the earth. And what role did human beings (Homo sapiens) play in the Neanderthal disappearance, if any? Did we kill off these creatures? Did we outcompete them or did Neanderthals just die off on their own?

Anthropologists have proposed various scenarios to account for the Neanderthals’ disappearance. Some paleoanthropologists think that differences in the cognitive capabilities of modern humans and Neanderthals help explain the creatures’ extinction. According to this model, superior reasoning abilities allowed humans to thrive while Neanderthals faced inevitable extinction. As a consequence, we replaced Neanderthals in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia when we first migrated to these parts of the world.

Computational Neuroanatomy

Innovative work by researchers from Japan offers support for this scenario.1 Using a technique called computational neuroanatomy, researchers reconstructed the brain shape of Neanderthals and modern humans from the fossil record. In their study, the researchers used four Neanderthal specimens:

  • Amud 1 (50,000 to 70,000 years in age)
  • La Chapelle-aux Saints 1 (47,000 to 56,000 years in age)
  • La Ferrassie 1 (43,000 to 45,000 years in age)
  • Forbes’ Quarry 1 (no age dates)

They also worked with four Homo sapiens specimens:

  • Qafzeh 9 (90,000 to 120,000 years in age)
  • Skhūl 5 (100,000 to 135,000 years in age
  • Mladeč 1 (35,000 years in age)
  • Cro-Magnon 1 (32,000 years in age)

Researchers used computed tomography scans to construct virtual endocasts (cranial cavity casts) of the fossil brains. After generating endocasts, the team determined the 3D brain structure of the fossil specimens by deforming the 3D structure of the average human brain so that it fit into the fossil crania and conformed to the endocasts.

This technique appears to be valid, based on control studies carried out on chimpanzee and bonobo brains. Using computational neuroanatomy, researchers can deform a chimpanzee brain to accurately yield the bonobo brain, and vice versa.

Brain Differences, Cognitive Differences

The Japanese team learned that the chief difference between human and Neanderthal brains is the size and shape of the cerebellum. The cerebellar hemisphere is projected more toward the interior in the human brain than in the Neanderthal brain and the volume of the human cerebellum is larger. Researchers also noticed that the right side of the Neanderthal cerebellum is significantly smaller than the left side—a phenomenon called volumetric laterality. This discrepancy doesn’t exist in the human brain. Finally, the Japanese researchers observed that the parietal regions in the human brain were larger than those regions in Neanderthals’ brains.

Because of these brain differences, the researchers argue that humans were socially and cognitively more sophisticated than Neanderthals. Neuroscientists have discovered that the cerebellum helps motor functions and higher cognition by contributing to language function, working memory, thought, and social abilities. Hence, the researchers argue that the reduced size of the right cerebellar hemisphere in Neanderthals limits the connection to the prefrontal regions—a connection critical for language processing. Neuroscientists have also discovered that the parietal lobe plays a role in visuo-spatial imagery, episodic memory, self-related mental representations, coordination between self and external spaces, and sense of agency.

On the basis of this study, it seems that humans either outcompeted Neanderthals for limited resources—driving them to extinction—or simply were better suited to survive than Neanderthals because of superior mental capabilities. Or perhaps their demise occurred for more sinister reasons. Maybe we used our sophisticated reasoning skills to kill off these creatures.

Did Neanderthals Make Art, Music, Jewelry, etc.?

Recently, a flurry of reports has appeared in the scientific literature claiming that Neanderthals possessed the capacity for language and the ability to make art, music, and jewelry. Other studies claim that Neanderthals ritualistically buried their dead, mastered fire, and used plants medicinally. All of these claims rest on highly speculative interpretations of the archaeological record. In fact, other studies present evidence that refutes every one of these claims (see Resources).

Comparisons of human and Neanderthal brain morphology and size become increasingly important in the midst of this controversy. This recent study—along with previous work (go here and here)—indicates that Neanderthals did not have the brain architecture and, hence, cognitive capacity to communicate symbolically through language, art, music, and body ornamentation. Nor did they have the brain capacity to engage in complex social interactions. In short, Neanderthal brain anatomy does not support any interpretation of the archaeological record that attributes advanced cognitive abilities to these creatures.

While this study provides important clues about the disappearance of Neanderthals, we still don’t know why they went extinct. Nor do we know any of the mysterious details surrounding their demise as a species.

Perhaps we will never know.

But we do know that in terms of our cognitive and social capacities, human beings stand apart from Neanderthals and all other creatures. Human brain biology and behavior render us exceptional, one-of-a-kind, in ways consistent with the image of God.

Original article: Differences in Human and Neanderthal Brains Explain Human Exceptionalism

“Jesus Was a Poor Man!” You Say…

Really!?

You think a man who was visited by kings at his birth, bestowed with gold and other royal gifts as a child, traveled to Egypt, who at 12 was wiser than all the sages of Jerusalem, and who as a grown man:

  1. Cured anyone of any disease whenever he wanted;
  2. Opened the eyes of the blind with a word;
  3. Cleansed lepers of a cruel flesh-rotting disease;
  4. Healed mental illness with a touch;
  5. Enabled cripples to walk;
  6. Raised the dead;
  7. Foresaw the future;
  8. Fed five-thousand people at least twice, on a whim;
  9. Walked on water;
  10. Was transformed into light on a mountain;
  11. Paid His taxes (and everyone else’s) with money from the mouth of a fish;
  12. Got crucified but resurrected Himself three days later;
  13. Walk through stone walls; and
  14. Could teleport whenever He felt like it…

was poor?

That is the stupidest comment I think I’ve ever heard.

And even if one thinks only in materialistic terms, and reduces Christ to financial poverty…

Need I remind you of 2 Corinthians 8:9?

You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

Or are you going to allegorize that verse too? Just anything to excuse you from actually getting off your butt and doing something outside yourself and succeeding at it, right?

Stop justifying your cowardice or your laziness — whatever has you bolted to your recliner.

You are no longer limited to the stark imperialism of 1st century Judea.

It is the 21st century!

And you are in America, a beautiful hard-won republic with free speech, free worship, free assembly and an entire international capitalist technology-driven market to generate all the wealth for the Kingdom you’ve been called to financially support since those stark imperialistic days so long ago.

You have been BORN AGAIN, and live in a nation founded on the prosperous beneficence of the New Testament.

You have the BLESSING all over you. It’s everywhere.

Act like it.

And even if the ridiculous assumption that Christ was destitute is granted…

He was only “poor” for the first 33 years of his ETERNAL life.

He’s still alive and He’s a still a MAN.

You think Jesus poor now? Seated at the right hand of majesty on high?

Wake up!

Or, you know what? Go back to sleep.

At this moment I don’t care which.

The Book Burners Are Back

book burning 4.png

To be honest, they never left.

They have always been here biding their time.

The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is bigger and broader than tyrants can comfortably allow.

The Constitution was written to rule a moral people, and that morality, explicit or not, was the gentleness of the New Testament: the life and words of the greatest life ever lived:

Jesus of Nazareth.

No one else even comes close. No one else is even in this guy’s league.

The Son of Man is unique.

Every Human Being who walked this Earth after Pentecost was invited, commanded actually, to be in His image.

Well, just look around. You can see how few took Him up on the offer.

It is quite revealing how many of my so-called “liberal” friends gasp in horror at the warnings of Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, or George Orwell’s equally prescient works Animal Farm or Nineteen Eighty-Four, or even the horrors of the Second World War, culminating in the National Socialists German Workers’ Party — you might remember them, they were also called Nazis — book burning parties…

but all quietly consent to the de-platforming, demonetizing, and banning of any voice (particularly Libertarian, Conservative, Constitutional) who dissent from the Far Left’s media choke hold.

While American mega-corporations like Google and Apple sleep in the same bed as freedom-crushing, church-burning Chinese communist overlords, Facebook and Twitter and YouTube are quietly (and not so quietly) stripping the social media landscape of independent thought.

One wonders if China owns controlling stock in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, given who zealous they are to do the work of foreign dictators sua sponte.

That is, on their own accord.

End Times Persecution Is Here: The Largest Country In The World Is Destroying 1000s Of Crosses And Bibles

bible burning 1

Many Christians in the western world don’t even realize that the persecution of the end times has already started. All over the world, Christians are being attacked, Bibles are being burned and churches are being shut down. This persecution has been escalating for quite some time, but what prompted me to write this article today was the dramatic change that we have witnessed in China this year. Up to this point, the Chinese government has largely tolerated the booming house church movement, but now that era of toleration is officially over. New religious regulations that went into effect in February are being brutally enforced, and this is causing some to point out the frightening parallels between Communist China and Nazi Germany.

According to Fox News, during this new crackdown Chinese government officials have been “destroying crosses, burning bibles, closing churches and forcing Christian believers to sign papers renouncing their faith”…

The Chinese government is destroying crosses, burning bibles, closing churches and forcing Christian believers to sign papers renouncing their faith as the crackdown on religious congregations in Beijing and several provinces intensifies.

The suppression of religious freedoms is part of an official campaign to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the atheist Communist party and removing any potential challenge to the party’s power in the country.

Doesn’t that sound quite similar to Nazi Germany and other tyrannical regimes?

If Christians refuse to sign these papers, they could lose their jobs or be cut off from all government benefits.

So let us pray for strength for our brothers and sisters in China, because many of them will be confronted with some very hard choices.

According to the Express, authorities have also “raided Christian homes to remove religious symbols, arrested church members and seized churches”. In Henan province alone, more than 7,000 crosses have been destroyed, but other than Fox News most of the mainstream media outlets in the United States have been completely silent about this very important story.

You can see some footage of Bibles being burned in China on Twitter right here. This is evil on a level that is hard to describe, and it seems to be getting worse with each passing month.

Earlier this month, one pastor was heartbroken after authorities burned crosses, Bibles and furniture after a raid on his church…

A Christian Pastor in the Henan city of Nanyang, whose name was not identified out of fear of retaliation by the authorities, reportedly confirmed that crosses, bibles and furniture were burned during a raid on his church on Sept. 5.

He added that local authorities were in discussions with the church about reforming it, but no agreement had been reached.

According to Chinese laws, religious believers are allowed to worship only in government-sanctioned congregations. But many millions of Christians belong to underground or house churches that ignore government regulations.

So exactly what kind of “reform” did the authorities have in mind?

Basically, China wants churches to look like something out of a George Orwell novel. The following comes from CBN…

Chinese Christians report authorities have urged church leaders to remove pictures of Jesus from their sanctuaries and replace them with patriotic posters, or posters of President Xi instead. They’ve suggested hymns be replaced with patriotic songs about the “wonderfulness of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Nettleton also said Chinese authorities are using advanced artificial intelligence software to monitor church attendees.

“One pastor in Beijing not long ago was told by the government, ‘pastor we don’t mind if you continue holding your services, we just want to put this camera on your platform looking out at the audience and it’s attached to facial recognition software so that we can tell who comes to church on Sunday and who’s there and what they are doing and how involved they are,’” he said.

Could you imagine going to a church like that?

I couldn’t.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is it.

This is the persecution of the last days, and it is only going to get worse.

In addition to everything else, the Chinese government is banning just about all expressions of faith on the Internet…

In addition to these attacks, the Chinese government is implementing tight restrictions on online content related to religion. Images and descriptions of religious activities will be largely prohibited, with exceptions for organizations that have obtained licenses from the government — and even then, what kinds of religious content they may share is restricted. As the Telegraph reports, “Individuals would be forbidden from posting photos, videos and even text related to religious activities, or sharing links related to preaching.”

This will happen here in the United States too eventually if we don’t fight it.

And of course it isn’t just in China that we are seeing a rise in persecution.

Just a couple weeks ago, Islamic radicals viciously attacked home churches in Egypt…

Homes of Copts in the Minya region were attacked by hundreds of furious locals leaving two Christians with knife wounds in the head and face, World Watch Monitor reports.

Four homes were ransacked, looted and partially set on fire by a Muslim mob during the three-hour-long attack, which was reportedly in protest of one of the properties being used as a home church.

A local source for Christian persecution watchdog World Watch Monitor said the small Coptic community had been warned about the attack on August 31 a few days before it took place.

And earlier this year in Ethiopia, a total of 69 churches were torched by radical Islamists…

On March 2nd, Muslims went on a rampage in an Islamic area of Ethiopia, beginning with an assault on churches in Asendabo. ICC and others alerted the world and called on the Ethiopian government to intervene. Unfortunately, the local government did not intervene and the attacks continued for a week. When the smoke cleared, the damage was evident. The Muslims had burned down the homes of 30 Christian leaders, they had killed one Christian, wounded several others, and torched 69 churches, a Bible school, and a Christian orphanage. One of the many wounded in these attacks was the grandson of a church elder who put himself in between the Muslim militants and his grandfather when they arrived to kill the elderly man. The Islamists attacked the young man with machetes – seriously wounding his head and hand and leaving him for dead. His family was forced to make a three-hour journey on foot to bring him to a hospital in a nearby city.

Hatred for Christians and the Christian faith is rapidly rising all over the planet, and this was something that I warned about in my book about Bible prophecy. We should do all that we can to put pressure on governments to stop persecuting Christians, but if we really are in the end times, ultimately the persecution is just going to continue to escalate.

The good news is that persecution always brings out the best in the people of God, and I believe that the greatest chapters of the Church are still ahead.

So let us pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters all over the world, and let us also prepare ourselves for the immense persecution that is on the horizon for all of us.

Original article: End Time Persecution in China


The censorship that is sweeping the world, from Europe to China, Facebook to Google to Twitter, to our own media, has to happen.

If you have an ear to the Father, you already know the broad strokes of the End of Days, and some of the finer ones too.

You must remember: to be physically alive (biologically alive) is not the same thing as being SPIRITUALLY ALIVE.

All you are seeing is the collusion of the dead: this is how they half-think, this is how they act. They are utter cowards, almost to a man. They are horse-lashed by fear. They are governed by it, and they know enough about the life and words of Jesus Christ to know, anyone who is regenerated by them, is someone NEW.

And that someone new is translated into the Kingdom. All the usual nonsense that trembles the already quaking fool, just rolls off the impenetrable soul of the Saved.

Or at least it should.

It you are saved and these antics trouble you, your Sanctification needs work.

This world and the vast majority of its leaders have no affiliation with the Father. You don’t need to be a mind-reader or a quiet guest to a secret globalist soiree to recognize who is on the side of the Son and who is on the side of the dragon.

You will know them by their fruits.

And their fruits are bitter.

And bring the cold silence of death.

Adam Sedgwick

Adam Sedgwick

One of the early leaders of geology in Britain, Adam Sedgwick  was born in the Yorkshire village of Dent in 1785. Attending Trinity College Cambridge, he was ordained as clergyman and in 1818 was appointed to the Woodwardian Chair of Geology, which offered a small stipend. Despite having little prior knowledge of the subject, Sedgwick soon commenced fieldwork, offered regular annual lectures, and joined with John Stevens Henslow, William Whewell and others to build up the University’s reputation in the sciences. Sedgwick’s research soon centred on the older rocks of Britain, and was instrumental in establishing the ‘Cambrian’ and ‘Devonian’ divisions of the geological column. He was a liberal reformer and a strong evangelical throughout his life.

Having attended a thorough course at Edinburgh, Darwin did not attend more than a few geology lectures at Cambridge, but came to know him through informal gatherings. In the summer of 1831 Darwin accompanied Sedgwick on a tour of the older fossil-bearing rocks of Wales. This provided his main training in field geology before the Beagle voyage and ‘set him up wonderfully’, as he told Henslow in a letter, ‘Tell Prof: Sedgwick he does not know how much I am indebted to him for the Welch Expedition. It has given me an interest in geology, which I would not give up for any consideration. I do not think I ever spent a more delightful three weeks, than in pounding the NW mountains.’ Darwin and Sedgwick continued to correspond in later years, discussing matters relating to the Geological Society of London and posting their latest books.

This cordial relationship was tested to the limit when Darwin sent a copy of the first edition of Origin. Sedgwick had long battled against evolutionary theories, believing that transmutation was an unphilosophical speculation which undermined the moral status of humanity.  He read the work of his one-time pupil with an explosive mixture of anger, alarm and disappointment: ‘You have deserted—after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth—the the true method of induction—& started up a machinery as wild I think as Bishop Wilkin’s locomotive that was to sail with us to the Moon’. However, the two men continued to exchange friendly letters.  In 1870 they met for the last time, and Sedgwick took Darwin on a long tour of the vastly expanded geological collections at Cambridge. Darwin was exhausted, lamenting to Joseph Hooker: ‘Is it not humiliating to be thus killed by a man of eighty-six, who evidently never dreamed that he was killing me?’