log (2010/05/21 to 2010/05/27)

Hello again!

The little daughter is back from college for the summer. We went down and brought her and her things home yesterday. While we were down there, the little boy and I got haircuts (while waiting for the ladies to be done in the consignment shop, which takes a surprising amount of time!).

So now our necks and ears get cold. *8)

Today the little boy and I cleaned up fallen branches, and cut logs, from the yard, and the little boy mowed, finally. So the place looks less jungle-like.

On Mother's Day I put in petunias on the front porch. They are even still alive! I am so proud. (Here is M on the subect, with pictures.)

What else what else?

The Jehovah's Witnesses have been coming 'round, pretty much every weekend, and we sit out on the front porch and go through this little book they have, a section or two at a time, about stuff they believe.

It's been going pretty well so far; we are all very nice people and they are not at all aggressive.

Today was probably the most contentious so far, because we started on the "how we know that the Bible is the infallible Word of God" chapter.

I told them that I don't actually believe that, and that the part of the chapter that quotes places in the Bible that say that the Bible is the infallible Word of God did not strike me as very convincing.

The little book says, also, that we know the Bible is the infallible Word of God because it contains scientifically-accurate stuff that people back then didn't know.

It cites one passage in particular, that the nice man had me read aloud (this is one of their methods that has great psychological validity: they get you to say things that they believe, presumably knowing that saying something aloud has great power).

The little book says that the passage in question gets the shape of the Earth right, which is impressive because at the time people had lots of wrong ideas about this.

I was kinda disappointed by it, in fact:

There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth, the dwellers in which are as grasshoppers, the One who is stretching out the heavens just as a fine gauze, who spreads them out like a tent in which to dwell.
-- Isaiah 40:22, Jehovah's Witnesses translation of the Bible

I pointed out, politely I hope, that there is no astounding scientific accuracy there. A circle is different from a sphere, and "the circle of the earth" is probably just a metaphor, like the stretching out of the heavens like a tent. Or, if the passage is supposed to be taken literally, then even overlooking that a circle is not a sphere, there is the problem that the heavens are not in fact anything like a tent.

Can't have it both ways, I said.

They smiled and basically went on to the next paragraph of the little book.

The man (today the people who came were a man and wife, who've come before when my primary contact can't make it; they are somewhat less convincing than he is, although they are all very nice) also mentioned Leviticus in passing. The little book says that there is scientifically accurate stuff in Leviticus about "quarantine and hygiene" that people in general didn't know at the time, and intepreted broadly that may be true. On the other hand, Leviticus also contains some weird stuff about how women are "unclean" for a week around menstruation, and anyone who touches the bed of a menstruating woman has to wash all of his clothes, and so on.

As far as I know that's not scientifically accurate at all (menstrual blood isn't particularly infectious); it's just that these particular nomads found it icky.

I didn't bring that up with the nice people today, though.

I finally watched Primer on Netflix Live or whatever it's called. It was good! You should watch it.

It was also very confusing, but that was the point, really.

Also it was very good for having been made on a very tiny budget by a very small number of people. A good example.

I do want to know what the deal was about their handwriting getting worse; I wonder if that was an idea that the writer / director decided not to go anywhere with after all.

I wonder if Netflix Live has "Memento"... *8)

I am writing very short sentences tonight!