Friday, December 27, 2013

Star Generations; a Modest Proposal

        Star Generations; a Modest Proposal

In Genesis 15:4-5, Abraham asked G-d about how many descendants he will have. The reply: look at the sky, can you count those stars, so shall your seed be.

But that seems a paltry promise. The number of stars visible to the naked eye is about 6000 for the whole sky, one half to one third of that from any spot on Earth. Let's be generous and say 6000. Well, that's a pretty small tribe of descendants; barely enough to fill a small town. Taken in those terms, it is an embarrassingly petty pledge.

Allow me to suggest a fix; that 6000 refers to generations. At about 30 years per generation, 6000 generations comes out to 180,000 years; a fairly respectable length of time, sufficient to last 'til, say, the next hominid speciation. Of course long before then Abraham's line will, by intermarriage and otherwise, suffuse the entire human race. (It's in the same gene-spreading sense that everyone in England is distantly related to the Queen.) So taken this way, Genesis 15:4-5 promises 180,000 more years for the present human race.

          Of course that implies an equal delay for the coming of the Messiah. So what to do until the Messiah evolves? Practice, practice, practice!

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