What-If 0025: "Three Wise Men"

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What-If 0025: "Three Wise Men"

Postby Envelope Generator » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:02 am UTC

http://what-if.xkcd.com/25/

The story of the three wise men got me wondering: What if you did walk towards a star at a fixed speed? What path would you trace on the Earth? Does it converge to a fixed cycle?

Funniest one yet if you ask me. Who would have thought that chaotic magi attractors also attract good magi?
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby TheHorimus » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:54 am UTC

After all, if you pick a random star in the sky, point at the horizon, and predict that there’s a baby about to be born in that direction, statistics—and birth rates—are on your side. Love that ending.

I know that from now on, I'm going to assume they followed Venus on a hovercar. The [citation needed] sure gave me a good chuckle.

Also, I was wondering why the graphics said "Bethehem". Was that intended? It occurred in both the graphics so it didn't seem likely to be a typo.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Vroomfundel » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:07 am UTC

Indeed, the life of biblical literalists is not an easy one - surrounded with both tons of ingenious mockery lack this one and also rock-solid scientific evidence, I imagine it takes a lot of effort to either ignore all this completely or to follow some contrived interpretation of the bible that loosely fits with the facts, like those guys that try to match the astronomic, geological and evolutionary epochs with the 7 days of the creation
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:28 am UTC

Vroomfundel wrote:Indeed, the life of biblical literalists is not an easy one - surrounded with both tons of ingenious mockery lack this one and also rock-solid scientific evidence, I imagine it takes a lot of effort to either ignore all this completely or to follow some contrived interpretation of the bible that loosely fits with the facts, like those guys that try to match the astronomic, geological and evolutionary epochs with the 7 days of the creation


Who says God created the universe in chronological order? If he went back and twerked the initial parameters until he got what he wanted, that would be as good an answer as most to the Goldilocks problem...

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Vroomfundel » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:35 pm UTC

In Christian theology God is considered omnipotent, so he would have got it right the first time. Honestly, I don't know why this (not so) small minority of religious people insist on keeping their position so indefensible. I mean, omnipotency leads to so many paradoxes and contradictions, especially when combined with omnibenevolence... If evangelicals admit that this book that someone wrote millenia ago (be it under divine inspiration) has some slight exaggerations it would be infinitely harder to accuse Christianity of not making sense.

On the other hand, the most prominent denomination that rejects biblical literalism is Catholicism, which is ridiculous in its own right - the correct practice and belief is whatever the current pope thinks it is... even after certain popes have been exposed to be corrupt, power-hungry, or - heaven forbid - maybe even female ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Joan ). This doctrine is also kind of hard to justify, at least in front of reasonable people that haven't been brainwashed in churches before they can even read.

Somewhere in between is probably a whole range of doctrines that make a lot more sense but somehow they haven't managed to get the spotlight and attract a significant amount of followers.
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby J L » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:36 pm UTC

Great job. Still, I hoped for a scenario in which they followed a comet ... like e.g. Halley.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby soundandfury » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:38 pm UTC

Some of those maps are rectangular. So the question is, what projection is Randall using?
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby J L » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:56 pm UTC

soundandfury wrote:Some of those maps are rectangular. So the question is, what projection is Randall using?

The Waterman of coure. C'mon, that goes without saying!

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby soundandfury » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:10 pm UTC

J L wrote:
soundandfury wrote:Some of those maps are rectangular. So the question is, what projection is Randall using?

The Waterman of coure. C'mon, that goes without saying!

You'd think so, and I had that comic in mind when posting, but looking at the maps I don't think they are Watermans (Watermen?). The east coast of the Arabian peninsula would be colinear with the north shore of the Mediterranean, and it just isn't.
Clearly, we need to use SCIENCE (well, actually, MATHS) to work out what projection they are.
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby J L » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:19 pm UTC

soundandfury wrote:
J L wrote:
soundandfury wrote:Some of those maps are rectangular. So the question is, what projection is Randall using?

The Waterman of coure. C'mon, that goes without saying!

You'd think so, and I had that comic in mind when posting, but looking at the maps I don't think they are Watermans (Watermen?). The east coast of the Arabian peninsula would be colinear with the north shore of the Mediterranean, and it just isn't.
Clearly, we need to use SCIENCE (well, actually, MATHS) to work out what projection they are.


You have me convinced. And if it doesn't work, we should use MORE science 'til it does.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:31 pm UTC

Wow. Really? We're discussing the birth of a demi-god with... science? Listen. If we assume the birth of Christ was as beatific as all that, why are we supposing that the Star of Bethlehem was a star at all? Clearly it was an angel set in geosynchronous orbit to serve as a navigational beacon and provide proper lighting. My god.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Thursday » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:37 pm UTC

This is the most likely explanation according to the current understanding of ancient astronomy/astrology. Go to eclipse.net/~molnar/#faqs (can't post a URL because I'm a noob).


So, not really a star but Jupiter rising in Aries, with a dash of Saturn, the Sun and Moon thrown in just to make sure people figured out something important was happening.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby eran_rathan » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:44 pm UTC

EpicanicusStrikes wrote:My god.


Don't be selfish. You have to share him with lots of other people too.
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:01 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
EpicanicusStrikes wrote:My god.


Don't be selfish. You have to share him with lots of other people too.

Nono. That's where a lot of people are wrong, in that they have a fundamental misunderstanding of 'omnipresence' and 'omnescience'. If god truly is everywhere at all times, and he is also truly aware of all things at all times, then he has no choice but to be a personal deity to each and every one of us.

If he's helping you out, leaving me to stand alone, then there must be an admission of a place where he is not present and of which he is not aware. That contradicts two of his defining qualities. Therefore, he is my god. At the same time, he's your god as well. He's everyone's god, individually and instantaneously.

Sort of like midicholorians, only less plausible.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby carilion » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

According to the Gospel of St. Matthew, the Wise Men used LOGIC.
They were astrologers and they saw some kind of sign that signified that a king has been born to the Jews. They traveled to Jerusalem to King Herod's palace because logically, that was the best place to look for a new born king. King Herod knew it wasn't one of his kids because after he rebuilt Solomon's temple, the nation was gripped by Messianic fever. King Herod called together some scholars and asked them where the Messiah would be born. They told him Bethlehem, the city of David. The Wise Men went in that direction and used the star as a navigation aid to confirm that they were going in the right direction. The people at that time were used to navigating by star and sun and these men were expert star gazers. They may be ancients with inadequate science but they weren't stupid.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Zinho » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:41 pm UTC

EpicanicusStrikes wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
EpicanicusStrikes wrote:My god.

Don't be selfish. You have to share him with lots of other people too.

Nono. That's where a lot of people are wrong, in that they have a fundamental misunderstanding of 'omnipresence' and 'omnescience'. If god truly is everywhere at all times, and he is also truly aware of all things at all times, then he has no choice but to be a personal deity to each and every one of us.

If he's helping you out, leaving me to stand alone, then there must be an admission of a place where he is not present and of which he is not aware. That contradicts two of his defining qualities. Therefore, he is my god. At the same time, he's your god as well. He's everyone's god, individually and instantaneously.

Sort of like midicholorians, only less plausible.


Perhaps it is less plausible than midichlorians, but when you put it like you did in your second paragraph then it makes me tempted to compose a Woody Guthrie Homage titled "This God is your God"... If only I were any kind of Poet, then I might try it.

Also, since I belong to a religion that believes God performs His works through application of physical laws (some of which we don't understand as well as He does), I'll suggest that your rejection of His omnipresence is misplaced. George Orwell imagined a Panopticon back in 1948, and modern technology puts it almost within Man's grasp today. If you're willing to ascribe to Deity better tech than ours and allow telepresence to count then the whole "no place of which he's not aware" definition of Omnipresence suddenly isn't so much of a stretch.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Red Hal » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:56 pm UTC

Bethlehem has an ell in it. I expect a retcon soon. Interesting that there is a set of criteria allowing the three large champagne bottles distinguished gentlemen* to follow a star to the "correct" destination.

edited, because only one of them was a champagne bottle.
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:59 pm UTC

Zinho wrote:
EpicanicusStrikes wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
EpicanicusStrikes wrote:My god.

Don't be selfish. You have to share him with lots of other people too.

Nono. That's where a lot of people are wrong, in that they have a fundamental misunderstanding of 'omnipresence' and 'omnescience'. If god truly is everywhere at all times, and he is also truly aware of all things at all times, then he has no choice but to be a personal deity to each and every one of us.

If he's helping you out, leaving me to stand alone, then there must be an admission of a place where he is not present and of which he is not aware. That contradicts two of his defining qualities. Therefore, he is my god. At the same time, he's your god as well. He's everyone's god, individually and instantaneously.

Sort of like midicholorians, only less plausible.


Perhaps it is less plausible than midichlorians, but when you put it like you did in your second paragraph then it makes me tempted to compose a Woody Guthrie Homage titled "This God is your God"... If only I were any kind of Poet, then I might try it.

Also, since I belong to a religion that believes God performs His works through application of physical laws (some of which we don't understand as well as He does), I'll suggest that your rejection of His omnipresence is misplaced. George Orwell imagined a Panopticon back in 1948, and modern technology puts it almost within Man's grasp today. If you're willing to ascribe to Deity better tech than ours and allow telepresence to count then the whole "no place of which he's not aware" definition of Omnipresence suddenly isn't so much of a stretch.

Orwell's Panopticon was just a series of wall mounted monitors, though. That's hardly the same as a holy presence spread throughout the quantum field of reality itself. In order to fully understand what god does, one must explore the difference between magical and miraculous.

D&D trained us to believe that miracles are just using a different energy source from magic. Really... that's thinking too small. Omnipresence isn't about millions of tiny cameras. It's about occupying all points in space as one, and yet still being able to differentiate between each with instant clarity.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby westie » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:11 pm UTC

Zinho wrote:Perhaps it is less plausible than midichlorians, but when you put it like you did in your second paragraph then it makes me tempted to compose a Woody Guthrie Homage titled "This God is your God"... If only I were any kind of Poet, then I might try it.



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This God is my God,
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To the Macon Synod!
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To ol' John We-e-esley,
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby dmm » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:42 pm UTC

Speaking as a practicing* Christian: This was funny. Especially: [citation needed]. (A simultaneous Wikipedia and science-writing joke)

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby cellocgw » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:46 pm UTC

EpicanicusStrikes wrote:Wow. Really? We're discussing the birth of a demi-god with... science? Listen. If we assume the birth of Christ was as beatific as all that, why are we supposing that the Star of Bethlehem was a star at all? Clearly it was an angel set in geosynchronous orbit to serve as a navigational beacon and provide proper lighting. My god.


Good theory, but, ya know, "the lord works in mysterious ways." Else why would it have taken the Wise Men (and some lame kid with a cheap drum) 4 years of wandering to get there?
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:48 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:
EpicanicusStrikes wrote:Wow. Really? We're discussing the birth of a demi-god with... science? Listen. If we assume the birth of Christ was as beatific as all that, why are we supposing that the Star of Bethlehem was a star at all? Clearly it was an angel set in geosynchronous orbit to serve as a navigational beacon and provide proper lighting. My god.


Good theory, but, ya know, "the lord works in mysterious ways." Else why would it have taken the Wise Men (and some lame kid with a cheap drum) 4 years of wandering to get there?

If you've attempted to travel any decent distance with a child in the car, you'd understand.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby sirius3100 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:57 pm UTC

All your talk about omnipresence got me thinking:
What if God occupies the whole universe. Or even better: What if the universe and god are identical. That would also solve the problem with the omniscience. Of course the universe 'knows' 'everything' (all that ever was or ever will be is embedded in it; just that you know: I prefer Bohmian mechanics, so quantum mechanics don't get in the way).

Thinking further I thought: "Well, I can not be the first one thinking about that" and so I just found Pantheism. Thanks xkcd.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Vroomfundel » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:15 pm UTC

sirius3100 wrote:All your talk about omnipresence got me thinking:
What if God occupies the whole universe. Or even better: What if the universe and god are identical. That would also solve the problem with the omniscience. Of course the universe 'knows' 'everything' (all that ever was or ever will be is embedded in it; just that you know: I prefer Bohmian mechanics, so quantum mechanics don't get in the way).

Thinking further I thought: "Well, I can not be the first one thinking about that" and so I just found Pantheism. Thanks xkcd.


This was, incidentally, Einstein's view on religion. Annoyingly, his mentions of 'God' were misinterpreted by people to be a belief in anthropomorphic god with mutually exclusive properties.

Ironically, one of his most famous quote that contains 'God' in it - 'God doesn't play dice with the universe' - was wrong, the random element in the universe was proven in his lifetime, although he didn't accept theories like Heisenberg's principle of uncertainty for quite some time.
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:15 pm UTC

Vroomfundel wrote:In Christian theology God is considered omnipotent,

He's actually not. He even says so himself, when he says something to the effect of "I cannot act against my nature"

An omnipotent being could. God cannot. God is not omnipotent.

carilion wrote:According to the Gospel of St. Matthew, the Wise Men used LOGIC.


You cannot say "X used Y" without the followup of "It's Super Effective!"

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby zkrueger » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:19 pm UTC

(Full disclosure: I am biased because I am Christian).

I am kind of disappointed in this one. Yes, the Biblical narrative does have the magi (note: never in the Bible does it say there are three people, only three gifts) coming from Jerusalem, where they have temporarily stopped to ask the local king Herod where the baby can be found to be worshiped, presumably because knowing his address is easier than following a heavenly object. But before that they are said to have come from the east. So Randall is ignoring part of the the journey. Now admittedly this may have been a calculated move, because "the east" is the most specific the Bible gets on this one, so no matter what, you're kind of spitballing as to where the starting point should be. BUT to help us out, we can look at the word "magi," which is commonly translated priests or wise men but prossibly refers to astrologer-priests (http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0191.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Magi#Description), giving us a starting point of probably Persia? If you are Catholic, Ethopian, Chinese, or any of a number of other things, you have your own traditional beliefs about where they come from. Catholics go with three separate starting locations: Persia, Arabia, and Ethiopia (I think? Catholics, please correct me if I am wrong), so for their paths to converge, I suppose the star/whatever they followed would have to have suddenly appeared over Bethlehem, maintained geosynchronous orbit, and then disappeared after the wise men arrived. OR, the star only appeared for the one night (that of Jesus' birth) and was geosynchronous (or thereabouts) for that one night, and the wise men followed based on their calculations of what it had been directly overhead of while it was around.

I literally just came up with the "it was only there for one night" theory, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. See, if the star stays in the sky until such time as the magi arrive at Mary and Joseph's house, you'd think more people would have noticed. It takes them about two years to get there, notwithstanding stopping in Jerusalem and asking for directions. I say two years because Herod wants to kill the Newborn King once he learns about him, and so he asks the magi what time the star "had appeared" (I dunno Greek, so I can't look at the original language. Can anyone speak Greek and confirm whether Matthew 2:7 is in the past perfect tense?). Then the wise men proceed to find Jesus and NOT tell Herod. Then in Matthew 2:16 - "Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men." So, assume the star showed up about two years ago. The "only appeared in the sky one night" theory also explains why the wise men go to Jerusalem and ask for directions rather than directly to Bethlehem. Perhaps from their faraway starting locations, they would have calculated what was approximately underneath their geosynchronous star and said to themselves "Hmmmm, what important place is in that area, where a king would be likely to be born? Oh hey, Jerusalem is there. Let's go to Jerusalem!" There they encounter the scribes who inform them that according to Old Testament prophecy, Bethlehem, not Jerusalem, is supposed to be the birthplace of the Messiah. Clearly these travelers do not come from the local culture, where this would be known.

The main problem with this theory (and it is a big one) comes in Matthew 2:9b, after the rendezvous with Herod: "And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest (implying it rises and then becomes geosynchronous along the way??) over the place where the child was." So, that might imply that the star has been showing up to guide them this whole time. But if that's the case, the magi's reaction in Matthew 2:10 "When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy" is a bit odd to me. Why be so ecstatic about it unless it was a surprise? Like "HEY, the star came back!!! We didn't come all this way for nothing!" This coming-and-going quality of the star would also explain why Herod wasn't just able to follow it himself to find the baby Jesus. Not that trying would have done him much good, I suppose, because shortly afterward the whole Jesus family flees to Egypt. Which would have been a good time for the star to vanish for good, as it would make no sense for God to warn Joseph in a dream that he should flee to Egypt, but keep the star traveling with them, such that it would tell the world exactly where they could be found.

--

TL;DR: I think this "What-If" could have benefited from more actual Bible references, which would make sense to me as it is a Biblical question. But, even with all that, it's still a guessing game and trying to apply science to what was probably (in Christians' minds) an actual supernatural event is going to be somewhat haphazard.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Reecer6 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:29 pm UTC

Those wise men were pretty wise. We have recently found conclusive evidence that Jesus was born in Botswana!

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:33 pm UTC

zkrueger wrote:I literally just came up with the "it was only there for one night" theory...

So did Chris De Burgh.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Angelastic » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:38 pm UTC

@zkrueger: The actual questions were 'What if you did walk towards a star at a fixed speed? What path would you trace on the Earth? Does it converge to a fixed cycle?' so I'd say any Biblical references are a 'bonus' for Christian readers; spending more time meticulously researching and explaining where and when the magi went and how many of them there were would have pulled the what-if a bit too far off-topic. We're assuming they can walk on water anyway, so I think it's clear that the article should be used for astronomy study rather than bible study.
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:31 pm UTC

westie wrote:This God is your God,
This God is my God,
From Martin Luther,
To the Macon Synod!
From Jerry Falwell,
To ol' John We-e-esley,
This God was made for you and me!

Good for the most part, but then the last line is heresy. Genitum, non factum and all that.

SecondTalon wrote:He's actually not. He even says so himself, when he says something to the effect of "I cannot act against my nature"

An omnipotent being could. God cannot. God is not omnipotent.

No serious theologian who ascribes omnipotence to God takes the word to have that broad of a meaning.
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Ehsanit » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:13 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:He's actually not. He even says so himself, when he says something to the effect of "I cannot act against my nature"

An omnipotent being could. God cannot. God is not omnipotent.

An omnipotent being couldn't act against his nature, because his nature/will/character/soul/whatever you want to call it has to be in control of all that power.
It's not omnipotence if you can't decide what you want to do.

Anyway, all I came to mention was my favourite line "it’s in the gnostic gospels somewhere."
I guess that would be the Gospel of the Apostle Asimov?

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Joe O » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:45 pm UTC

zkrueger wrote:(note: never in the Bible does it say there are three people, only three gifts)


I was waiting for a good Christian to point this out :D

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Jackpot777 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:53 pm UTC

TheHorimus wrote:After all, if you pick a random star in the sky, point at the horizon, and predict that there’s a baby about to be born in that direction, statistics—and birth rates—are on your side. Love that ending.

I know that from now on, I'm going to assume they followed Venus on a hovercar. The [citation needed] sure gave me a good chuckle.

Also, I was wondering why the graphics said "Bethehem". Was that intended? It occurred in both the graphics so it didn't seem likely to be a typo.


Maybe he was avoiding a Reddit-style circlejerk ("DAE want to go to Beth[LE]hem?"), perhaps.

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby teelo » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:00 pm UTC

What if they followed MORE stars??

What if they followed celebrities?

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dotancohen
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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby dotancohen » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:46 pm UTC

The path of the Mars followers sure reminds me of the openSUSE UI for picking package updates:
http://linuxhaters.blogspot.co.il/2009/ ... lease.html

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby nfb » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:20 pm UTC

Though I don't know how solid it is, I personally have always been fond of Simo Parpola's explanation, ever since seeing it on a Discovery Channel documentary decades ago. Here's wikipedia's version:

According to archaeologist and Assyriologist Simo Parpola, the most probable candidate for the "star" mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew (the word star being used in its astrological connotation, a portent associated with a heavenly configuration, as in the phrase "his star is rising") was the aforementioned rare triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation Pisces that occurred in the year 7 BCE, which for the astrologers of the time would have signaled the birth of a new King of the Jews that Herod was supposedly so worried about.

According to Parpola, in the Babylonian system of astrology Jupiter represented the supreme God of the universe, Saturn was the "Steady One," and the constellation of Pisces was associated with the god of wisdom, life, and creation, as well as being associated with the Jewish people. When this "star" was seen "in the East" (Babylonia/Persia, the center of astrology at the time, to the east of Israel/Judea), Rome's authority in the Middle East was not yet well-established, and the Jews were looking for a leader to throw off the Roman occupation. Parpola contends that the Babylonian astrological interpretation of the triple conjunction would have been "the end of the old world order and the birth of a new king chosen by God." Support for this theory can be found in the fact that early Christians used the astrological symbol for Pisces (Ichthys, the fish), the constellation where the triple conjunction occurred, as a symbol for Jesus and of their new religion, and as the symbol of the fruition of the so-called acrostic prophecy of the Erythraean Sibyl.


What I've always liked about it is that it's not looking for something we would consider important or spectacular, but it's asking what would an ancient middle-eastern astrologist find important or spectacular?

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:23 am UTC

A being outside the universe, able to access any point in all of space and time at will, would be hard to distinguish from an omnipresent one...

See also the Guide Mk 2

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby chridd » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:49 am UTC

TheHorimus wrote:Also, I was wondering why the graphics said "Bethehem". Was that intended? It occurred in both the graphics so it didn't seem likely to be a typo.
It looks like it was copy/pasted, rather than written wrong twice. If you look closely, the way the letters are written looks the same on both of those pictures (whereas "Jerusalem" is the same on both those but slightly different on a later picture).
~ chri d. d. /tʃɹɪ.di.di/ (Phonotactics, schmphonotactics) · she · Forum game scores
mittfh wrote:I wish this post was very quotable...

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby Dryhad » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:23 am UTC

If we're taking the meeting with Herod as a key part of the story (which I assume is why we're starting in Jerusalem at all) then it can't possibly have happened after 4 B.C.E. (I know, I know, but it's hardly right to talk about Jesus being born 4 years before himself is it?) because that's the year Herod died. That's why it's the "closest thing to a historical consensus date" although that only seems to be the case because Herod is more important to the story than Quirinius (who's governorship of Syria would place Jesus's birth in 9 C.E. at the earliest).

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Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Postby MahouShoujoMaruin » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:15 am UTC

zkrueger wrote: I suppose the star/whatever they followed would have to have suddenly appeared over Bethlehem, maintained geosynchronous orbit, and then disappeared after the wise men arrived. OR, the star only appeared for the one night (that of Jesus' birth) and was geosynchronous (or thereabouts) for that one night, and the wise men followed based on their calculations of what it had been directly overhead of while it was around.

Let me take a wild guess here, you're not an astrophysicist?
(yeah, I realize this was probably not very serious, but now I can't stop trying to imagine a star in a geosynchronous orbit around a planet :P)

On a different note, I was really surprised to learn there are xtians(or people of any religion for that matter) using this forum. Props to you for having the guts to admit it.


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