Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Humanities/2006 July 9

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Most religiously diverse country[edit]

What are the most religiously diverse countries in the world today? For example, which has the most religions, the smallest religious plurality, the widest variety, etc? Bhumiya (said/done) 00:50, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

I'd have to say the United States. --mboverload@ 00:59, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
I'd have to say nyc (falls under the sub-category of United States, but really..)-- 01:00, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
FWIW, Lebanon has fairly similar numbers of its three main religions - something which I doubt can be claimed by many nations - and certainly not the US. Grutness...wha? 01:38, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

How about one of those African countries with colonial borders that mix in a hodge-podge of different ethnic groups? Or India? -- Mwalcoff 01:41, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Same problem here as with a previous question on which continent has the largest ethnic diversity (the answer to which was Africa) - does one single person of a certain religion count or does it have to be a substantial portion of the population? In that case the US don't count because christianity is predominant. The point for Lebanon sounds like a strong one in this light. But the articles suggest that the main religions are Islam and Christianity (just two). If you look a the major religions, then Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are the big ones and all these are found in India, but Hinduism is very predominant. Of course looking at absolute numbers wouldn't be fair. But looking at China, there is also a large diversity, including secular people if you count them as a religion too (as the list seems to do).
Don't we have a list for this? DirkvdM 08:08, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
What about Iran? "90% belong to the Shi'a branch of Islam, the official state religion, and about 9% belong to the Sunni branch (many of them are Kurds). The remainder are non-Muslim religious minorities, mainly Bahá'ís, Mandeans, Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians." currently, according to our article, and when members of the Iranian diaspora talk about it in the papers, they suggest that 90% was quite a bit smaller before the Ayatollahs. Skittle 20:30, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure of the answer, but is a fairly good resource for questions of this nature; you may have to trail through it awhile, though. Try looking at countries with large populations, as they will probably have the highest diversity. Australia (although it has a smaller population) is also fairly multicultural. BenC7 01:50, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Non-metric systems around the world[edit]

If the U.S. managed to retain non-metric systems of measurement, why have no other countries done the same (apart from Myanmar, that is)? Surely the U.S. is not the most isolationist country in history. What circumstances led countries like Japan, China, Russia, and the Arab countries to adopt SI? Did any countries put up a fight? Bhumiya (said/done) 01:16, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Because many of the "non metric" systems are useless, which is why university science courses all go [SI]-- 01:26, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Britain still measures distances in miles, and produce in shops is dual labelled in metric and imperial measures. The conversion was meant to be complete some time ago, but conservative political forces managed to hold it back in a very interesting mixed use arrangement. So there has, yes, been some resistance to its use in other places than merely the US. Mnemeson 01:28, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

I'd say there are two main reasons. The first is that Continental European countries adopted metric to rectify a hodge-podge of competing measurement systems. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, for example, decided early in the 19th century it needed a consistent system of measurements for all its constituent parts, so it adopted metric. The adoption of metric also allowed for consistency among all the little states of Europe. The USA, as a gigantic country, did not have this issue; the only people using a non-Anglo-Saxon measuring system were long voyages away. Secondly, I think Americans are more resistant to the imposition of changes on society by a bureaucratic elite. The idea of legally compelling people to use metric -- an important part of metrication in other countries -- would never fly in the US. -- Mwalcoff 01:40, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Also, here in America we have large numbers of people with minimal amounts of higher education who equate science in all it's forms with some type of satanism, and so completely miss the point of having a standardized unit of measure.-- 02:24, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
The story of the successes and failures of the metric system is a very interesting and complicated history. Our page on the metric system explains some of it, and also indicates in a nice prominant map which countries currently do not use the metric system (U.S.A., Myanmar, Libya). If you are interested in the history, two books which are excellent which discuss different aspects of it are Ken Alder's The Measure of All Things (about the crazy hijinks involved in trying to measure out what will be the basis of the definition of the meter) and Peter Galison's Einstein's Clocks and Poincaré's Maps (a major theme of the book is the difficulty of getting standard time synchronizations, which initially is part of the same push as the metric system standardizations). --Fastfission 03:06, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
I think that's Liberia, not Libya... AnonMoos 08:12, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

One reason is standardisation. Using different units of measurement once crashed an international Mars lander (two bits of program were talking to each other, except the one meant metres and the other feet or something, resulting in a way too fast descent). So it makes sense to all use the same units. Next question is who should adapt. Two arguments here.
Firstly, the SI system is much simpler
  1. There is just one basic unit per quantity.
  2. Other units can be formed in a way that is the same for all units (milli, kilo, and such).
  3. All these prefixes are base 10, which is also the base for our decimal numbering system (decimal means base 10).
Three very good reasons I'd say. The imperial system is a hotchpotch of units which don't seem to be related at all. Why have inches, thumbs, feet and miles (and different miles too, to complicate matters even further) if you just want to express one quantity, length? ome opponents in the UK use the argument that the imperial units are better for brain development because they are so complicated. :) And the imperial system can't even make up it's mind about which base to use. Sometimes it seems to be 6 or 12 base (1 foot is 12 inch), but not quite always and the ratio between some is just absurd (1 mile is 5280 feet - what kind of number is that?).
The other argument is that almost everyone except the US uses the SI system. Hell, even China has adopted it and the UK is trying, albeit a bit half-heartedly. New Zealand did it much better. They totally switched from one day to the next. A bit of a slap in the face, but because it is such a logical set of rules it made more sense. An SI unit is not just another unit. It's part of a whole. So the US should do the same. If they don't, the next time we send up a Mars lander, we might do it without the US to avoid the risk of another crash. :) DirkvdM 08:35, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Off-topic I know but it was the Mars Climate Orbiter, not a lander and the mix-up was between the English units (pound-seconds) and the metric unit (newton-seconds). Not as simple as feet and meters. Many engineering units in the U.S. are still customary units while almost all scientific work uses metric. Rmhermen 18:02, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
You don't have to convince me. I realize it's completely illogical for Americans to resist the metric system. Hopefully it will change soon. I was only wondering why this kind of resistance didn't succeed outside of the U.S. (with the exception of Myanmar, of course). Bhumiya (said/done) 12:58, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Because it's the Land of the Free (tm), and you can't force them to do anything. Back with you, European metric commies! -- Миборовский 08:48, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
In some matters the USA simply disagree with the entire world, and will not bow to any sense of logic. A president and his party which tries to change things alltoo quickly will lose popular support and vital votes. The easier way is simply be all patriotic about it and defend the All-American way ("like it has been done since the days of our forerathers") ad absurdum. Flamarande 11:01, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
I was just wondering why the same sort of patriotic stubbornness didn't prevent SI from taking hold in some other country, especially one like China or Japan. Bhumiya (said/done) 12:58, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
The argument has been made that the metric system just isn't as convenient for measuring certain kinds of things. Crypticfirefly 04:45, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

"Surely the U.S. is not the most isolationist country in history" Well maybe not the most, but its up there. Philc TECI 15:27, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Bhutan is isolationist. The U.S. just has a massive excess of power. They sometimes look the same from the outside. Bhumiya (said/done) 16:15, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

I know the intention of the question was not to launch a debate on the merits of the metric system, but I do want to point out that it's not as if the lack of the metric system causes many problems in the daily lives of Americans. I know how far a mile is, how much a pound weighs and what a gallon looks like. The fact that there are 16 ounces in a pound rather than 10 does not cause me any difficulties. In some cases, especially with temperature, American measurements are more "user-friendly" than metric ones. The advantage of the metric system is that it is used around the world. If you are selling products internationally, the metric system is very important. But there's no reason to try to force it on a car-wash attendant in Peoria, Ill. -- Mwalcoff 15:44, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

As for myself, I still can't even get used to the imperial system as it's too "new" to me. I'm told that I'm six-foot tall. But what's that in cubits? Loomis 22:39, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Also bad for the American football players, the offense team has to run an extra yard or so to get first down. --Vsion 01:54, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean Vsion. Even in the CFL, yards are used, not metres. The adoption of a country of the metric system doesn't necessarily mean that all other forms of measurement are "forbidden". The opposite is true as well. For example, whenever I travel to the US I often see soda bottled in "2 litre" bottles. Loomis 23:52, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

FWIW, I have a published scientific paper on the use of metric and non-metric measures of length (Dignan, J.R.E., and O'Shea, R.P. (1995). Human use of metric measures of length. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 24, 21-25). It appears that metrics and non-metrics both have their uses and are often used concurrently in places where metrics have been introduced, even in those cases where official schooling is entirely in metrics. in the case of distance (and presumably other measures), it is easier to grasp the size of items that are measured in numbers of between about 5 and 15 - we can visualise the difference between eight feet and ten feet far more easily than we can the difference between 240 and 300 centimetres or 2.4 and 3 metres. As such, many people (here in New Zealand, at least) tend to use centimentres for small sizes, feet for medium sizes, and metres and kilometres for large sizes. This also explains why - although the country is officially entirely metricated, brith weights are still most often referred to in pounds, not kilogrammes - the weights will be around the magnitude of 7-11 pounds (3-5 kg), so the difference is easier to comprehend in imperial measures. height is also easier - measuring in feet can be far easier to understand than measuring in centimetres or metres for people. Grutness...wha? 07:39, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Bhumiya, my argument was that it is so logical to adopt the SI units that one should ask the question the other way around - why would a country not adopt it? And why are some countries half-hearted about it (like the UK)? DirkvdM 08:34, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
I though what I said just explained that. Who completely change over when half of what you've used before fills a gap in the new system? Also resistance to change is a very strong motivation. Grutness...wha? 01:07, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Dirk, this is discussed in Metrication in the United States and its talk page. Basically, Americans do just fine with non-metric in their daily lives and see no reason to abandon the traditional system for everyday uses. If you've measured yourself in pounds and feet your entire life, you're not likely to switch to kilograms and centimeters just because people on the other side of the ocean do so. -- Mwalcoff 13:04, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

This isn't really related, but while the prefix-stem format of the metric system is logical and straightforward, it also makes for longer names that aren't easily adapted to other forms. "Meterstick" could be used instead of "yardstick", I suppose, but something "centimetering" along or reaching a "kilometerpost" sounds too awkward. Now I agree that the metric system is superior and I fully expect that in time, the whole world will use it. I wonder if these terms will survive, based off units of measurement in an archaic system long forgotten. — Knowledge Seeker 08:55, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Oh, but we use anachronistic language like that all the time. When is the last time you watched a film that was actually "film"? You may well still "dial" a phone number, too. And - except in mediaeval recreationist events - no-one has gone "at full tilt" for centuries. So talking about inching and mileage is likely to stay in the language for a long time to come, even when said "mileage" is measured in kilometres. Grutness...wha? 01:07, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

The Cartesian Subject?[edit]

I'm reading some philosophical literature right now, and I am not quite sure what is meant by the term "Cartesian Subject." Obviously it has to do with Descartes, but I can't quite put it into context. Can anyone enlighten me? - R_Lee_E Flag of the United States.svg (talk, contribs) 01:23, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

They might mean Cartesian coordinate systems, which are the XY coords in 2D or the XYZ coords in 3D, but somehow I doubt it. StuRat 01:40, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Not if it is philosophical literature. --Fastfission 02:55, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Usually when one refers to "the subject" in continental philosophy you are talking about the construction of "the human" as defined by a particular philosophy of man or the mind (at least, that's my general feeling for it, as much as someone can generalize about this). The Cartesian subject in this definition would be "the human subject as defined by Decartes' philosophy of man" or something along those lines, which in this case would likely be the standard figure of Cartesian dualism: the immaterial mind, the material body, and so forth. I have to admit that my own understanding of Descartes is pretty primative, philosophically speaking (I know the big picture view of much of what he has written, but I do not know the details), so I can't say much more than that, but hopefully that will be of some use. --Fastfission 03:03, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Marcus Garvey[edit]

Did he really support white racist groups like the KKK, apparently because they advocating segregation and/or deportation of blacks to Africa, both things which the Wikipedia article on him claim he supported?

I don't know anything additional about Garvey not contained in the article, but I do know that in the early 1920's the KKK was at the height of its power and political influence, and in fact almost mainstream. AnonMoos 07:34, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Some Black Nationalists have gone so far as to work with the KKK. The most famous example in living memory is Imamu Imiri Baraka (formerly known as the poet Leroy Jones...fabulous poet early in his career), who was the contested poet laureate of New Jersey. He was convicted of transporting explosives in a plan with the Klan for causing some carnage. Obviously, these people do not "support" the Klan. Instead, they and the Klan alike believe that Blacks should have a separate nation to live in. It's a very fringe view, and I don't know that Garvey ever went that way, but, nevertheless, some people have done it. Geogre 20:28, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Diet of Plains Indians[edit]

Did they eat only buffalo? 04:36, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

I thought they also ate maize corn. --Kjoonlee 05:41, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
The nomadic ones I mean, did they eat corn? 07:05, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Fish, acorns, birds, deer, etc. People are omnivores, and nomads eat what they can find. They would eat buffalo as their main kill, but they would also get other foods as available. They had to get nutrients from other sources if they didn't want malnutrition. Geogre 12:47, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Of course, if you're willing to eat the whole buffalo, you can come closer to covering your nutritional needs. Remember that the Sami traditionally subsisted almost entirely on reindeer. If you just eat the lean meat, you'll die. But if you eat the internal organs, the bone marrow, the brains, etc, you'll get much more out of it. Bhumiya (said/done) 13:05, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Excellent point. I should have paused a bit longer, as Innuit cultures generally live on fish and meat but consume the whole animals. I was just thinking of specials I've seen when avoiding commercial television that showed such things as acorn paste (very labor intensive) and other vegetable foods that the nomadic plains Indians ate. Essentially, the plains have plentiful food supplies in all but winter, so those peoples wouldn't have turned away from other foods -- especially foods that can't run away or trample you, like veggies. Geogre 01:36, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

domestic corn?[edit]

what was the first way to train wild corn to grow in domestic soil? and when was this?-- 07:24, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

There wasn't really "wild corn" as such, just teosinte (according to one common view -- see Maize#Origin of maize). AnonMoos 07:39, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Is the Bible really just about the origin of the Jews?[edit]

I asked this at the Genesis talk page, but got no reply, so I'll ask here.

As a kid I wondered what happened after Cain and Abel. Where did the next generation come from? Incest? Unlikely. Then I read Genesis and found out that Cain left and met another people. Hold on! Where did they come from then? The conclusion I drew from that is that the bible is about the origin of the Jews, not mankind in general. Or rather the Semites, since the story is also in the qur'an. But then what about the creation of heaven and earth and all that? That sounds more like an 'overall' creation story. I can't be the first person to wonder about this, so what explanations have theologists come up with for this? DirkvdM 09:30, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

It depends upon the invidual theologists. As there are diffrent versions of Christianity, Islam, etc so there are diffrent explenations. Did you believe they gathered and agreed on something? Then we would have only one church wouldn't we?
The Old Testament is not to be taken in a too literal sense, sometimes it has a figurate meaning. Some miracles cannot be disproven or proven by science so they are issue of faith; either you believe in them or not. That's the view defended by moderate theologists (majority - like the catholic church); This view accepts the discoveries of science: evolution theory, carbon dating.
The Old Testament is to be taken in a literal sense always; this is the view of the hardline preachers (minority - and mainly in the US). This view cannot agree with science and they have three answers for this: A)Science has to be wrong. B)God works in a misterious fashion and has placed the wrong data everywhere to confuse us. C)Scienstist are interpreting the available data in a wrong fashion and alternative views are the true science (e.g. Intelligent design).

My own personal view in this subject is that the first groupt are realists who believe but aren't blind. They acknowledge that some things in the bible cannot be taken in a literal sense.
The second group are simply trying to twist science into confirming their religious views. They are trying to disguise their faith as science.
Now what matters is not what your priest preaches; what really maters is what the single (you) believer accepts as the truth. If you are unsure then be simply honest and say: "I am unsure about some things in the bible." Don't let a priest or a scientist decide for you. Read, study, and most important of all: really hear the other side. Then you are able to decide. You may even switch sides after a while. Flamarande 10:52, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
The beginning of Genesis, for whatever reason, and with the exception of Eve, only seems to make reference to the males, and in most cases, the first born males. Note that all the "begats" all make reference to each figure having one son. Obviously they had daughters as well. I believe you'll find your answer in List of names for the Biblical nameless. In short, Cain married an unnamed and unmentioned daughter of Adam and Eve. So yes, it was incest, but no, at least according to the Bible, there were no "other people" around at the time. Loomis 11:55, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Sorry Lomis, but these passages of the Old Testament are quite unclear. Look at [1]. The text doesn't identify that mysterious woman as a daughter of Eve at all, and suppossedly there were "giants on the earth" and the "sons of god (angels?) who came in unto the daughters of men" look at: [2]. Flamarande 16:00, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
The Nephilim. There's also some relevant history at Pre-Adamite. Ziggurat 03:50, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
On the more general question, the origin, flourishing, and establishment of the Jews is the general subject of the Old Testament, but this does not mean that Genesis is about a sole creation rather than a universal one. Generally, theologians do not consider the creation story to be only the creation of Jewish people, but, indeed, the creation of the universe. At the same time, it has been read as 100% true and not at all literal for hundreds of years. Literalism is something quite modern. (How can it be true and figurative? Well, the parable of the prodigal son is 100% true, and yet it is not necessarily a description of a particular man with two sons, etc.) Geogre 12:42, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Let me make clear that I'm not talking about a religious explanation but about the question what whoever wrote the bible had in mind when he did so. What story was he trying to tell?
Geogre, I don't know who the prodigal son is, so that example doesn't work for me. But I cannot but take things as they are and common sense cannot be something recent. People must have wondered about this throughout the ages. Maybe this is one of the reasons it took so long for the bible to be translated into something the people could read (not Latin) because the clergy didn't want them to find out the illogicalities. But even they must have come up with something because I can't believe they were all hypocrits. Many who knew the bible must have truly believed. So what did they make of this?
Flamarande, I wasn't talking about science but about common sense. The story of just two ancestors leads to a problem and there may be different ways to get around them (none of which can ever work I suppose), but what I meant is what the origin of the old testament might be and what theologists (not believers) say about this. I don't suppose not many non-religious people will become theologists (which means it's hardly a science by the way), but some critical minds must have come up with something. And what I came up with is that it's really about the origin of the Jews, not mankind as a whole. I can't be the only one.
When Kain left he went East where he got a child (from whom is indeed unclear), who built a city. We now have a new first generation (Adam and Eve are out of the picture here) and a son founds a city. Inhabited by whom? Translations can go awry, but a normal household mistaken for a city is a bit unlikely. There's just one family. Unless you add in some other people. But then the question arises again where they came from. And anyway, the incest version is just too unlikely. Again, that goes against common sense. Brother and sister can't get any decent offspring (well in the Ozarks maybe, but then look at the results :) ). Angels inseminating women is one way out if you're religious, but that still doesn't solve the story of Kain. Unless there are female angels (are there?). DirkvdM 18:07, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
There was a man who had two sons. One son was dutiful and staid at home, working on the farm. The other asked for his inheritance early, got it, and went off to the city. There he spent his time with loose women and wine, spending every penny. After two years, he returned to the farm. When he did, his father ordered the best sheep slaughtered and a feast prepared for his lost son. That's the story of the prodigal son. Jesus told the story to illustrate God's attitude toward repentant sinners. Now, no one would, as in The Life of Brian, continually interrupt the story, demanding to know the farmer's name, what city the boy went to, how much the wine cost, etc. I.e. the story is true, but it is not literal. Given the fact that Jesus taught with such stories almost exclusively, some theologians came to the idea that Old Testament stories might likewise be true and not literal. They never rejected the literal truth, that I know of, but they began to understand some of the stories (Noah's Ark being the most famous one, as Augustine wrote about how impossible it was and yet how true it was) as possibly not as much literal as figurative. With Genesis, thinkers through the renaissance and early "Enlightenment" were seeing it as less and less a literal account of exact creation and more and more an account of the order of creation and the origins of the universe. After Wallace and Darwin, though, some churches reacted violently by more or less inventing literalism. The account, however, starts with void and ends with mankind, so I don't think it was meant to be only the origin of a single people. Geogre 20:23, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
It seems that Dirk's question is not about the veracity of the bible, but rather whether, as fiction or non-fiction, the plotline makes any sense at all. Fair enough.
First off then, I don't see why the offspring of an incestuous relationship would not be "viable" in the simplest sense of the term. While such individuals tend to suffer from a great deal of health problems, both mental and physical, nobody ever argued that humanity is not made up of a few billion inbred nut-jobs! If anything, humanity being ultimately the result of incest would seem to answer quite a few more questions than it brings up! lol.
In any case, whatever can be said of the life and times of Adam and Eve, according to Genesis it's made clear that ALL of humanity was wiped out by the flood, with the exception of Noah, his wife, his three sons, and his three sons' wives and children. The names of his three sons were Ham, Shem and Japheth.
Genesis goes on to describe that many generations later, Abraham was born, the descendant of Shem, making him a "Shemite" (hence the etymology of the term "Semite"). Genesis then focuses on the decendants of the Shemite Abraham, while the "Hammites" and the "Japhethites" have apparently gone their separate ways. Therefore, according to Genesis, the story of creation is not simply of the origin of the Jews, or even the "Shemites" but rather, the last common ancestor of ALL of humanity, Noah. This is further reflected by the belief in Judaism that most non-Jews (with the exception of the Arabs, who tend to trace their roots back to Abraham as well, and as such are therefore "Semites") are generally regarded as "Noachites", as Noah is believed to be the last common ancestor of mankind. Well at least that's how the "story" goes. Loomis 20:51, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
To put it in a more modern, less theological, more wikipedia friendly way: the flood marked a reboot in the continuity of the story and the history of mankind was reimagined from then on. MeltBanana 23:01, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
MeltBanana, I don't see how your rephrasing is "less theological or "more wikipedia friendly" than mine. In fact I see quite the opposite.
I presented the "story" or "narrative" of Genesis without taking any position on whether it was true or not. Even if it was fiction, good fiction requires coherence (unless you're a big David Lynch fan, in which case fiction requires no coherence at all!)
How often have you left a movie theatre after seeing a fictional movie and saying to your friend "[this or that particular aspect] made no sense at all! The movie was just too unrealistic or incoherent for me to enjoy it". Same goes for my analysis of the "Genesis narrative".
My analysis was not theological in the slightest sense. It was merely an NPOV analysis of a "story", which some consider to be true, while others don't. Dealing with subjects in an NPOV fashion is, indeed the most "wikipedia friendly" way to analyse them.
On the other hand, your comment on the "reimagination" of the history of mankind couldn't be more POV. While I treated the Genesis narrative in a "take-it-or-leave-it" fashion, you took it upon yourself to gratuitously ridicule it as nothing more than a figment of the imagination.
Just when we thought we had finally developed beyond the primitive, bigoted evil of religious intolerance, it seems that religious intolerance has reinvented itself, only this time, rather than ridicule and harass the adherents of one religion with a chauvinistic preference for another, now ALL adherents of any religion are ridiculed and harrased by the so-called "enlightened modernists". Plus ça change...". Loomis 09:45, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Re the original question: try It gives a fairly comprehensive answer. BenC7 01:59, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

That doesn't answer the question, it seems. It just poses it. several times. Then again, it is so badly written I couldn't be bothered to read it all (I did read the conclusion, though, and that doesn't give a real answer). And Jesus is hardly an answer because he came much later. I'm talking about the old testament. And other than that it says that Cain's wife 'must be one of Adam’s descendants.' So that's the incest-version. DirkvdM 08:17, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
If you couldn't be bothered reading to find an answer, why bother asking the question? Here is an excerpt from the article:
...Also, in Genesis 2:20, we are told that when Adam looked at the animals, he could not find a mate—there was no one of his kind.
All this makes it obvious that there was only one woman, Adam’s wife, at the beginning. There were never any other women around who were not Eve’s descendants.
...This also means that Cain’s wife was a descendant of Adam. She could not have come from another ‘race’ of people and must be one of Adam’s descendants.
Some claim that the passage in Genesis 4:16–17 means that Cain went to the land of Nod and found a wife. Thus, they can conclude there must have been another race of people on the Earth, who were not descendants of Adam, who produced Cain’s wife.
‘And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bore Enoch: and he built a city, and he called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.’
From what has been stated previously, it is clear that all humans, Cain’s wife included, are descendants of Adam. However, this passage does not say that Cain went to the land of Nod and found a wife. Cain was married before he went to the land of Nod. He didn’t find a wife there, but ‘knew’ (had sexual relations with) his wife.
Others have argued that because Cain built a ‘city’ in the land of Nod, there must have been a lot of people there. However, the Hebrew word translated as ‘city’ need not mean what we might imagine from the connotations of ‘city’ today. The word meant a ‘walled town’ or a protected encampment. Even a hundred people would be plenty for such a ‘city.’ Nevertheless, there could have been many descendants of Adam on the Earth by the time of Abel’s death.
I'm not sure what else you want... BenC7 09:52, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

The real truth is right in the bible. Adam lived to be over eight hundred years as did most of his immediate family. Yes it was "incest", because God Himself commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. Hence, God caused them to be "fruitful and multiply". And God blessed them to "fill the earth." When God blesses something it is "good". Therefore, the population explosion that took place in Adam's day was great and good because it was God who commanded it.

As far as scientists and the Bible agreeing or disagreeing, actually, if one really studies the Word, they do not contradict each other as much as most people think. Other than Darwinism, which was really only an observation from one man on a small island that got overblown into a "theory" that even today has no scientific basis and cannot be substantiated, most scientific findings, such as the earth being millions of years old is not really refuted in the Bible. In Gensis, the time period between Chapter 1 verse 1 and chapter 1 verse two could very well have been millions of years. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." This clearly means that God created the universe, and then created earth. When God creates something He does not do it half way. He originally created the earth beautiful and perfect, not flooded and without form. But look what has happened to the earth in verse 2. Notice now what condition it is in. "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water." What happened between verses 1 and 2? God originally made the heavens and the earth perfect. Now suddenly in verse 2 the earth has no form and is flooded. There are several verses in the Old and New Testament that reveal that there actually was a "pre-Adamite" race that Lucifer caused to rebel against God, and the result was that God flooded the earth for the first time and destroyed every living creature. And verse two picks up after that first flood where God's Spirit "moved upon the face of the water." Genesis chapter 1 verses 3 thru 31 describes God's recreation of the earth in six days. And that is the beginning of our modern day count of time, roughly six thousand years ago. After God recreated the earth He made Adam and Eve and put them in the garden of Eden which was in the eastern part of Eden. Eden was a lot larger than just a garden, the garden was only part of Eden. So God put Adam and Eve there and one of His commands was to be "fruitful, multiply, and ..." now watch this next command, God told them to "REplenish" the earth. Most people don't stop to realize that if God told them to "REplenish the earth" then it had to have been "plenished" before. Thus, clearly, Adam and Eve were the first modern day people of our time period, but certainly not the first people who ever walked the face of the earth. There very well were people who lived before Adam and Eve, who lived in cities, and who the Bible says in the Psalms, were brought low by Lucifer and rebelled against God, and were destroyed by a flood so great that no creature survived, and even the "cities" were destroyed so that there was nothing left. How many years ago did that happen? Science tells us the earth had people on the earth a lot farther back than six thousand years ago. And this goes hand in hand with Genesis and other Bible verses outside Genesis, that these were the people who lived before modern man(Adamites) and suffered destruction from the first flood. The next great flood was in Noah's day, and after God swore He would never destroy the earth again by flood. Two was enough. So the Bible is mainly a story of modern man and how he was created, fell, and then redeemed back to His creator. It is a love story, the greatest one of all time. "For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him(Jesus), should not perish, but have everlasting life." To have eternal life, the Bible says all one has to do is believe in Jesus, "even to those who believe on His name." Wow! How wonderfully easy and simple it is to receive eternal life. It is not based in any way shape or form on our own performance and religious zeal. It is simply based on whether we believe on Jesus' name. Religion wants to take you thru all kinds of calesthenics and rituals. But that does not please God. The Bible says, "faith pleases God" ...and again, "and Abraham believed and God accounted it to him as righteousness." Abraham was righteous because He believed God. And God will see you righteous if you believe on His sons name. The name above all names. Jesus Christ. And this story, though written over the first 4100 years of modern man's existence, is still being played out today, as we are now living in the "last days" as is written in many books of the Bible, particularly Revelation. You can read the Bible as if you were reading our headlines in today's newspapers. God's Word is true. And HE loves us so much He wants all of us to live with Him for ever and ever. So He provided the "Way" we all can do it. And it does not cost us a thing. How can anyone be angry about that?

That is certainly an admirable effort (perhaps try paragraphs next time?). Although a Christian myself, I cannot agree with the certainty with which you make some of your claims:

1. Evolution is not something that has been blown out of proportion and has no scientific basis. I don't believe in evolution myself, even after a reasonable amount of study into it at uni and privately (trawling through Talk.Origins and other places), but to say that it has no scientific basis is going a little far.

2. The timeline you describe is Gap theory. It is questionable. See [3].

3. The concept that God made the heavens and the earth, then destroyed it, then recreated it, has problems for similar reasons. Try picturing it this way: God made the heavens and the earth, much like a potter grabs (in this case, "creates") a lump of clay. It is formless. The potter then works on the pot to bring it into shape.

4. The statements you make about "REplenishing" the earth are being overly semantic (picky about the meaning of words). Other words for the Hebrew "male' mala'" are equally appropriate, such as fill, furnish, have wholly, etc.

5. The interpretation of some of the Psalms and Isaiah relating to Lucifer are matters of interpretation; it is not clear whether "Lucifer" is actually Satan (read the context in Isaiah 14, where it appears to be talking about Babylon's king), and there is certainly no mention of any people before Adam.

I would recommend that you read a little more widely. The Talk.Origins archive and the Answers in Genesis website are good starting points. BenC7 07:07, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

So the answer to my specific question is the incest-version and maybe it is true that a healthy race can spring from that.
But I didn't mean to ask about whether the story in the bible is true. I should have made my mindset clearer. I'm not religious. So, in my perception, someone (or more likely various people) wrote the bible (more specifically Genesis). My question is 'What did they intend to write?' The creation-text is extremely short, which makes it astonishing that so few people know it, considering there are over a billion christians. But I suppose that's mostly in name, most will not actually read the bible. But that's a different story. DirkvdM 08:17, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
More or less. The danger of incest today (from a genetic POV, as I understand it) is that it results in the accumulation of genetic faults, which makes genetic disease and defects more likely. Assuming that genetic faults started when Adam sinned, there would not be many genetic mutations, and so little danger of genetic disease or deformity. BenC7 11:21, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
That's not an answer to my question and I don't get the last bit, but it bring up something new. If Eve was created out of Adam, they'd have the same genetic material (somehow God must have changed the sex, but that's not too weird). So they're like idenitcal twins. even worse than brother and sister. DirkvdM 07:25, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Which question? You've asked several by now. "What did they intend to write?" Isn't it obvious? It is the book of Genesis (beginnings). It's about the beginning of everything.

What if it were simply about the beginning of the recognition of everything. Assuming God created humanity to know and worship Him, as many religions believe (with one wording or another). Then perhaps this is the story of the beginning of humanity recognizing God and thereby, in a sense, becoming human. The terminology may be a little harsh, but is not unreasonable considering that many tribes in the world are very ethnocentric and often call themselves some veriation of 'humans' or 'the people' in their native language. So with this viewpoint, Adam would not be physically the first human, but the first spiritually; in a sense, the first Prophet. With this viewpoint the metaphor of the rib is very beautiful. In that sense it could very easily be about the beginning of the Jewish people, but in a broader sense, also to the people of the other 'Abrahamic' religions that also believe ing God that arose out of this tradition. This is the viewpoint I ascribe to. -LambaJan 19:29, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Julius Caesar[edit]

In Colleen McCullough's book "Caesar", she writes how Caesar ordered both hands of 4,000 prisoners of war chopped off to teach Gaul a lesson. Is that true or fiction?

Thank you. David Diamond <email removed to prevent spamming>

Well, yes and no. At the end of the Gallic Wars the Carnutes were stubornly resisting against the Romans. After the siege the city of Uxellodonum, Caesar choose to make a example out of the Gallic garrison and chopped their hands of. Im am not sure of the number 4000, but advise you to read Julius Caesar's Gallic war if you really want to be sure. Flamarande 15:21, 9 July 2006 (UTC) Try this:;query=chapter%3D%23392;layout=;loc=8.43
Even then, I wouldn't necessarily trust what Caesar writes about his own efforts. He was a terrific spin-doctor for himself. --Dweller 19:59, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Certainly, so does everybody else during the entire history of mankind. Everybody lies in some personal issues, is only a mater of degree. Defending Caesar, I must point out that he was probably exagerating the numbers of his slain enemies to impress his readers, his fellow Roman citizens. Ave (hail) Caesar :) Flamarande 21:32, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

longest lasting governments[edit]

I was looking for a list of the longest lasting governments. I thought I heard on the radio that the US has the longest current government of 217 years from 1789 (Washington's first election) to today. Is this right?

Also, how does this compare other governments like the Roman Empire, English monarchy, etc.

Thanks for your help.

Bob <email removed to prevent spamming>

If you're willing to treat the US government as constant (one major internal war, innumerable changes of power, but same system of government and no fundamental hiatus), then the UK has (probably) had a constant government since either c.1660, 1689 or 1707. France and Germany are substantially shorter, ditto Spain and Italy... can't offhand think of a longer major European power currently around. Shimgray | talk | 13:30, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
It all depends on how you define "government". If you allow it to include "king", then the oldest continuous government might be Denmark or Thailand or Japan. The U.S. certainly has the oldest codified constitution still in use. You might be interested in this discussion thread, which contains many interesting and varied perspectives on the issue. Bhumiya (said/done) 13:35, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
As for comparisons to historical governments, the Roman Empire lasted for over five hundred years, no matter how you slice it -- but considering that the circumstances of the empire and its actual government were pretty much in flux, I dunno how constant you could call it. The British monarchy, on the other hand, had a much longer run. It's not entirely clear where you should start counting, but for the sake of argument, let's start with William, Duke of Normandy who took up the reins of power. Depending on how you're looking at it, you could argue that it's still going strong, but in practice, since the adoption of the Westminster System, the British monarchy has had less and less actual power to govern. Even so, you could say that the monarchy has a good 800 years or so of actual rulership under its belt. (Obviously, it could be argued that what with rulers, politics, legislation, religions and whatnot changing wildly over the years, it can't be said that the British monarchy as a system survived that long, but let's not go there right now...) But of course, this is all Mickey Mouse crap suitable for children and very pregnant women; if you want staying power for grown-ups, go east, young man: China had a whole bunch of emperors over the years, ranging from the beginning of the Qin dynasty in 221 BC to the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912 -- that's a good couple of thousand years of emperors. Oh, and the Egyptians also had some pretty good runs in there. Not that United States hasn't had been around for a while, but it's gonna take it a while to beat any of the records set by the old timers... -- Captain Disdain 14:17, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
First of all, what you mean is probably regime, not government. What in the US is called 'administration' is in English English 'government' (as in 'the Blair government'). But the terminology is a bit vague (I once tried to figure this out, but didn't quite manage).
Anyway, this depends on what you call 'one regime'. When does a regime change? What are the criteria? Does it take a revolution? The French had their last one earlier than the US, so that is longer lasting. And the UK may still be officially a monarchy, but do jokes count too? :) The Roman empire switched back and forth between emperors and senate, so the regime didn't last 500 years (although I don't know the details). Which also brings up the question whether you mean a 'seated government'. I believe the Egyptian pharaos were in power for rather a long time. Maybe things weren't in flux as much in antiquity as they are now. Everything else goes faster now, so why not politics?
But then there's China. Whenever I think about how things are and have been in the world I always come to a grinding halt when it comes to China and then everything else goes out the window. China is an incredibly constant factor in the history of the world. They just don't give a shit about the rest of the world and the beauty is they can afford to because the country is so bloody huge. A favourite story of mine is how they built this fleet of huge ships that dwarf modern day supertankers, long before the Portuguese ventured onto the oceans, sailed around a bit (to Africa, among other places), decided the rest of the world wasn't interresting enough, burned the ships and continued on their own path. And then there was this Chinese emperor who had a whole bunch of rockets attached to his throne, took off and was never seen or heard of again. Who was the first space traveller? Of course, a Chinese emperor. :) DirkvdM 18:38, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Have you considered the Manx Tynwald, often considered to be the world's longest running government structure? We have an appropriate article. --russ 23:17, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

OK, so now the Chinese were the first to explore the globe, and an ancient Chinese emperor was the first man in space. Jeez. Loomis 23:51, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Nobody said the Chinese were the first to explore the globe. Jeez. -- Миборовский 03:53, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
I did, sort of. DirkvdM 07:43, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
And the emperor was never seen or heard of again, so whether he made it to space .... Twas a joke. Jeez. DirkvdM 07:42, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Speaking of Jeez. The popes ruled since Roman times, didn't they? In how far that counts as a government - when did the Vatican come about? DirkvdM 07:45, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
The Vatican city state originated in 1929. --Halcatalyst 02:22, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
That's just the latest in a long series of "governmental arrangements" involving the RC Church. The Vatican itself was the "head office" of the church for many centuries before 1929, and the papacy exercised power over various kings and emperors. JackofOz 23:56, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

The first King of all England, Edwin, was crowned in 973, although he was ruling for 14 years before that. That makes 1033 years. But I think China goes way back before then - I would say the answer is China.

I've heard it said that the US is the longest surviving democracy, but that isnt true either. I expect its somewhere like Iceland or perhaps Greece, where I democracy was invented.

Altitude of Franco's head[edit]

How tall was Francisco Franco? I seem to recall hearing that he was of below-average height, but I can't find any mention of it in his article. Bhumiya (said/done) 14:48, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Look at the references provided by the article. He seems to be quite short compared to Eisenhower in []. Flamarande 15:28, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Ah, but how tall was Eisenhower? Bhumiya (said/done) 15:35, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
1.79m. Ha, I answered my own question. Bhumiya (said/done) 15:39, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Ok, found something at Flamarande 15:42, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks! I thought he was about 5'4". Bhumiya (said/done) 15:52, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
How tall a US president was? We've got a List of United States Presidents by height order. Wikipedia has it all, especially when it comes to lists, even totally absurd ones! :) DirkvdM 18:47, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
I think it was created in the run-up to the 2004 election by restless political trivia junkies. Had Kerry won, he would have been the tallest president, and a lot was made of how he towered over Bush at the debates (and he was taller too!). If Dennis Hastert ran for president, I'm sure someone would create a List of United States Presidents by weight order. In the fall of 2008, be on the watch for List of United States Presidents by number of penises. Bhumiya (said/done) 23:16, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
What's your definition of absurd, Dirk? Isn't it a good thing that such lists exist so that questions such as this one can be quickly answered? JackofOz 02:32, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't really have a definition of absurd. Indeed it turns out that trivia-lists can serve a purpose, even if it is as indirect as here. We can't predict this sort of thing, so this is a wonderful excuse for trivia-lovers. DirkvdM 07:51, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
One man's trivia is another man's treasure. All knowledge is precious. JackofOz 23:55, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Spoken like a wise man. :) DirkvdM 07:27, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Aaahhhhh, recognition at last. My life is now complete. JackofOz 23:49, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
But then I read today's desk calendar wisdom: "We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge" (John Nasibitt). JackofOz 01:33, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I read such about Franco as well, I think heard he was about 5'4, or perhaps shorter.

indonesia old laws[edit]

what are the indonesian old laws? The laqws that the government uses during the last centuries

Indonesia is really a remnant of colonial days. Whatever the Dutch gathered under their rule in that region is now Indonesia. Over the last centuries there was first the VOC, a trading company that had trading posts in the region that gradually expanded. Then, around 1800, it became an official Dutch colony. And a few years after WWII it became an independent country (effecively a colony of Java, but I won't go into that). You might be referring to the adat, the traditional laws of the various parts of Indonesia. I believe that under the VOC and even when it became a colony that was left pretty much in place, although there will of course have been some Dutch laws superimposed on it. And even now, in 'rural' regions (such as inland Borneo) adat is still largely in place, in lieu of 'official law' because it's not worth it to have a law enforcer in every vilage. But even when there is one, there is often a 'kepala adat', a traditional headman who rules (ie settles disputes) together with the 'official' head placed there by the national government. DirkvdM 19:03, 9 July 2006 (UTC)


Dromie E: "I buy a thousand pound a year: I buy a rope." Apparently this is really funny if you share a certain background with the teller of the joke. Could somebody explain?--Shantavira 18:39, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

(I am not a scholar of Shakespeare). Since Dromio of Ephesus is a slave who is repeatedly beat in that play (Comedy of Errors), my first instinct was that the "thousand pound" referred to how often he was beaten (especially given that the rope he is being sent to purchase will be used to beat Antipholus of Ephesus's wife), but OED doesn't attest "pound" as in "to beat with fists" until ~1700 (much later than the play was written--although there is one early reference from 1596, which is roughly the right time, but not used in quite the same way), whereas "pound" as a unit of currency is attested much earlier than Shakespeare (and, indeed, pounds stirling were introduced as currency right around the time of Shakespeare's birth), so my guess is that "pound" here refers to money, probably. I suppose it could be a play on words though, since there is one use of "to pound" attested early enough. I guess my answer is: I don't know why it's funny. Maybe it isn't funny. :) 21:44, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Doesn't seem very funny to me, either, but the punishment for some debtors was the pound hemp into rope. Thus, you would "buy" a thousand pounds' of debt, would basically suffer enough for an entire rope to have been fashioned. Bit of a guess, but it is possible. (Women would get the punishment of beating hemp, later, in Bridewell Prison, but men were included in their number.) Geogre 17:23, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Southampton walls[edit]

What year were the walls around southampton built? if anyone could answer that would be great and very useful, thanks :)

According to the article Southampton, the walls were constructed after a French attack in 1338. --Canley 22:06, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Francisco Franco[edit]

I recall reading somewhere that Spain's leader during WWII was of Jewish origin. Is that true? If so, did his friend Hitler know, and ignore, that fact? 19:49, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

This is the first time I've ever heard such a story, but then some people really insist on believing that Hitler (or Rommel, or von Ribbentrop, or Churchill, or de Gaulle, or whoever, really) was a Jew. I have no reason to believe that Francisco Franco was Jewish. Calling Hitler and Franco friends is simply wrong, since I believe that the two only met once, and even then Hitler wouldn't give in to Franco's demands of food, equipment, territory and whatnot. Spain was kinda friendly towards the Axis for a couple of years during the war, but they went back to being neutral in 1943. (In fact, Jews used Spain as an effective escape route from the Nazi persecution.) -- Captain Disdain 22:22, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
This page mentions that Paul Preston's 1993 biography of Franco (Franco: A Biography) refers to this: "There has been much idle speculation that his family was Jewish, on the basis of his appearance and because both Franco and Bahamonde are common Jewish surnames in Spain." Captain Disdain is right, do not mistake military alliances for friendship. In any case, Franco was a Catholic, another religion the Nazis had no great love for. Or for that matter, the Japanese, who were also allied with Germany (see German-Japanese relations. -Canley 01:36, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Franco was not Jewish. However, the Franco family did descend from Jews who converted in the 1400's conversadores. So while, like many spainards, he may have had Jewish anscestors it was so far removed and intermixed with non jewish anscestors, he could not be called Jewish.

Nature of god[edit]

Hello, I have read all the standard articles on monotheism, god, Christianity, &c., but I am still confused. Is the Abrahamic (specifically Christian) view of god monotheistic? Obviously the assertion is that god is one entity but comprised of three distinct parts. Is this strictly monotheism or multitheistic (sorry i do not know the word for 'many gods' and doesn't seem to help), within defined parameters? Should 'god' be capitalised in the general sense (I'm a stickler for grammatical correctness)?--russ 23:04, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, since all three parts of the Trinity are believed to be one god, and not separate, then it is monotheism. More than one god would be polytheism. 23:57, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
The word you are looking for is polytheism. Have you read our article on the Trinity? Whether it's monotheistic or pantheistic depends on your point of view, according that article some Muslims and Jews believe the Trinity is essentially pantheistic but you may start a fistfight if you stand up in a Catholic church and loudly state "The Trinity is pantheism" ;) --Robert Merkel 23:59, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Mainstream Christianity - Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox - is monotheistic. They all share the doctrine of the Trinity, which is undeniably a difficult idea that has thus inspired a great deal of speculation both theological and mystical. There are a few Christian sects that don't hold that doctrine, though. To choose a couple of well known examples: Unitarianism holds that God is not triune; hence its name. Mormonism has a variety of distinctive beliefs about God/gods which differ in subtle and not so subtle ways from mainline Christianity; you should read that section of the article.
For spelling purposes, a general rule is that "God" is used to refer to Judeo-Christian-Islamic deity while "god" is used to refer to other supreme beings and the concept generally. --George 01:47, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
To answer the other parts of your question, Judaism and Islam are monotheistic, too. The doctrine of the trinity arose from what Christians see as two clear teachings of the Christian Bible. On the one side, the Bible is crystal clear that there is only one God and the opinion of most Christians, New Testament calls Jesus God and speaks of the Holy Spirit in terms reserved for God. Perhaps the acid test you could do is walk up to a few Christians and ask, "how many gods are there?" I'm betting most will respond immediately with "one." --CTSWyneken(talk) 22:01, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

This all helps clear up thing a lot. Yes, i have read the standard article on the Trinity. Does this mean that if someone prays to God they are praying to one entity or three? I guess a lot of how you interpret the Trinity comes down to a matter of faith. --russ 23:07, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

It's a concept that transcends logic. You are praying to only one God, because there is only one. However the doctrine is that there are three persons in God, each of whom is distinct and each of whom is truly and wholly God. But there is only one God. That's why it's called the Mystery of the Trinity. Human minds can never work it out, you either simply accept it, or not. JackofOz 23:47, 11 July 2006 (UTC)