Sunday 22 July 2012

The Magnificent Temple of Solomon

Solomon's Temple was a magnificent structure.

The Bible tells us that Solomon employed 30,000 people to build the temple in 3 shifts of 10,000 at a time. There was a staggering 80,000 people quarrying stone to build the temple. Yet another 70,000 people were employed just to transport the stone from the quarry to the building site. Solomon employed another 3,300 supervisors to oversee the work. That's a total of 183,300 people working for 7 years.. yes 7 years to build the magnificent temple of Solomon.

The temple was about 9 meters wide (10 yards).... Just a minute... that's smaller than my house. It was 27 meters long (30 yards) ... Err... That's a little bigger than my house, but smaller if I include the garage. 

The rooms in the ground floor of the surrounding annexe building were 2.2 meters wide, that's barely enough room to lie down. You could fit a king sized bed in there but there would be no room to get out of the side of the bed.

The front porch was only about 4.5 meters long, so its not quite long enough to keep my BMW in the shade.

So, it took 183,000 men 7 years to build a temple less than half the size of your average McDonalds. Exactly what were 80,000 people doing in the quarry for 7 years? Perhaps they had really bad union problems. Perhaps Solomon, his project managers and the supervisors (all 3,300 of them) were just utterly incompetent. Perhaps it's not true. Perhaps the Bible writers just made the whole thing up without paying any attention to the practical reality of what they were writing?

The Bible tells us of the supplies used by this massive workforce. The total volume of all the olive oil consumed by the workers is more than twice the total volume of the temple they were building.

If you assume the olive oil was stored in rounded pots and the pots were piled up in one place, They would be over 4 times the size of the temple.

Perhaps, if they had built the Temple from the empty olive oil pots it would have been a far more impressive building and taken 20 men about a week to build?

If we assume the 30,000 construction workers on the actual construction site were split into 3 shifts of 10,000. If we then assume that we squash all those workers onto the site shoulder to shoulder with only enough room to sit touching another worker on all 4 sides with no spaces for paths to move stone or go to the toilet, that gives us a square of about 2 ft for each of the 10,000 workers on each shift. The workers would have to be placed in 100 rows of 100 workers which occupies a square of 200 ft by 200 ft.

We know that the inner temple was only about 35ft wide. Even if you include all the side chambers, the 10,000 workers could not physically fit onto the site while sitting side by side with no spaces. If you then start to account for the space for the 70,000 men transporting stone, all the supervisors and of course the space for the building they were constructing for 7 years, the absurdity becomes apparent.

Now to go on to the shift workers cutting wood in Lebanon:-
10,000 men working for 313 days a year (Sabbath off). Lets suppose one man cuts down and prepares only one tree a day. that's 3,130,000 trees a year for 7 years which is about 22 million trees to build something the size of a McDonnalds????

It gets more absurd. If you get four 6x6 beams 20 feet long from a single cedar tree. The total number of beams laid end to end would stretch for 333 thousand miles. that's 14 times around the earth.
If you used only the Cedar beams to build the temple as per the stated dimensions it would be 700 miles high.

The bible states exactly how small the Temple was. The magnificent Solomon's Temple was smaller that the smallest church I have ever been in.

Most of you ladies here will know what was going on here. When a self absorbed guy claims it's huge, When you get to see it, the reality is that its usually disappointingly small. 

Sunday 15 July 2012

Pareidolia and Tricks of the Mind

This is an aerial view of a geological feature to the east of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada known as the Badlands Guardian. It clearly resembles a human head possibly wearing some form of traditional head dress.
The feature that resembles ear-buds is a service road leading to a small oil well.

Incidentally, The feature is actually concaved, (it is an erosion valley), however, it  looks convex because our brain instantly recognise a configuration that closely resembles a human face. The pattern matching ability of our brain is converting this random geological feature into a face, makes it look convex and calls upon cultural references to give us the perception it is listening to an iPod.

This picture is a bust of the Mayan King Pacal. Compare this with the image above.

If Erich von Däniken had seen these two images together, he would have had a cow.

Our ability to recognise patterns and to cross reference them to things that are familiar to us is a fundamental function of the brain. All animals that can see also make sense of the world around them by pattern matching.

The brain isn't perfect and often makes mistakes. It often mis-interprets visual cues and gives us false positives. This explains why a child sees monsters and ghosts in their bedroom when the light has been turned out and the moon is casing unfamiliar shadows. The brain goes into overdrive trying to make sense of what it sees... and the brain is excellent at recognising faces in random imagery.

The people in this picture are mostly Catholic and their brains have been fooled into seeing an image of the Virgin Mary in the interference pattern caused by the anti-UV film on this office window in Clearwater Florida.

They have linked the pattern they see in the window to the very strong cultural reference of their belief in the Virgin Mary as depicted in orthodox religious art. 

The connection is so strong that they can not differentiate between reality and optical illusion. To them, this is a real supernatural event, Mary is somehow present and many have come to worship her.

Likewise, Christians can easily recognise a Pareidolia image of Jesus Christ in this dog's butt.

Had this image been manifest in a waterfall or a Butterfly wing, no doubt Christians would be flocking to worship it, However, the cultural significance of a dog's asshole is enough to override the cultural significance of an apparent image of Jesus Christ and they will recognise it for what it is, a trick of the mind.

Cultural references and familiar imagery plays a key role in how our brain matches the image we see to how we interpret that image.

In the image below, almost all adults will immediately see two lovers but to a young child, they will only see dolphins. In fact an adult will need to look carefully just to see the dolphins.