by badboy 11 Replies latest jw friends

  • Finally-Free
    But he could build a ship half as big as the Queen Mary (out of nothing but wood, LOL) - and all with only a few helpers. While preaching!

    Now I'm wondering how he counted his time.


  • james_woods

    Good to hear that from you, Leolaia!

    About the flood in general - there are so many preposterous things about this (and particularly the peculiar obsessive details made up by the JW about it) that it hardly bears argument. And most particularly not by attaching such to ancient numbering systems. I kind of tend to stay open to the "local flood legend" theory myself, but I think real proof would be hard to come by.

    That book I had which mentioned the pair counting system was "The Golden Ratio" by Mario Livio. He is head of the science division at the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. His book is really about the mathematical concept of the Phi ratio...

    { a line point A to point B being bisected by an intermediate point C, so that the part A>C is longer than C>B. If C is placed so that the ratio of the whole line AB is to segment AC would be equal to the ratio of segment AC to segment CB; the ratio is an irrational number approx. 1.6180339887...the decimals continuing on forever! }

    Anyway, he is no hardliner on the "pair counting" system but mentions it as an interesting theory on how human counting may have evolved. It is a prelude to discussion of how the Phi ratio was discovered and its influence on modern math, architecture, art and science.

    I looked up the count subject last night in an older hardcopy Encylopedia Brittanica that I keep at home. It was copyright 1954, and so gives a sort of mid-20th-century viewpoint on this. The article describes the sort of "words for numbers" and therefore "no numbers greater than the highest word" schemes like BadBoy was joking about as "non-systemic". It goes on to say that while this may be a possible formative scheme in truly ancient times, that it is completely a matter of speculation and that no known number system, including the Aboriginal, the S. Aftrican, or the S. American actually works this way in modern times (including 1890!). The author further shows that all discovered evidence indicates that primitive language counts actually still in use by the turn of the last century were "systemic", i.e., they could describe higher numbers by creating sums. They were not limited to 4, but have been demonstrated to have summed descriptions up to 10 or even higher. This article also gives examples of other systems, including:

    Quaternary: having specific words for 1 through 4 and forming additive composites above 4. Several ancient indigenous California tribes had this, believed to be tied into a religious view that the sky was divided into four quadrants.

    Quinary: having 5 (the "hand") as a basis, so forming 10 as "two hands", etc.

    Vigesimal: having 20 as basis.

    None of these references are calling anybody stupid - it seems to me that they rather nicely extoll the human intellect that it took to create and evolve numbers in the first place. Author Livio points out that the ancient masters of arithmetic, the Babylonians, really thought that the Pi ratio was the even integer three! (not too far from 3.14159, but it would not get you past 6th grade math today!).

    So, I'll just bet you have some revisionist ideas on Margaret Meade and her so-called discoveries in the South Pacific back in 1920 as well? Me too.


    p.s. I still think the Eskimos sometimes made Igloos out of ice.

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