Thursday, March 06, 2008

The M Man Was High

As sure as the swallows return to Capistrano, Time and U.S. News will have something reasonably reverential for Easter, and Newsweek will encourage us to apostasy. Well, this year they've been beaten to the punch: a professor of cognitive psychology at Hebrew U is suggesting that Moses was tripping when he saw the burning bush. Personally, I think James Lileks has the inside track on this one:
I called to say I didn’t believe it, because if Moses was tripping we wouldn’t have ten commandments. We would have three. The first would make sense, more or less; the second, written half an hour later, would command profound respect for lizards who sit on stones and look at you, because they’re freaking incredible when you think about it, and the third would be gibberish.
Actually, I think this is the sort of theory you come up with you are high, and a believer in one's own profundity.

It's utter rot, of course, and anyone who thought about it for five seconds-- or, like Mr. Lileks, was in college about the time I was, and therefore has seen stoned people in action-- can see that it's rot. It's more plausible to figure that somebody in the Jahwist tradition just made the whole thing up. And also of course, it is bouncing all over the news media; I got well over a hundred hits through Google News. Either the critical faculties of the media are completely shot (possibly through excessive use of the same drugs in journalism school), or they're just engaged in agitating to sell papers/pop-up ads. It remains to be seen whether this will settle into the vast mire of anti-religious claptrap which circulates sluggishly on the net. I suspect it is too stupid to make the cut, but then, it's hard to exaggerate how stupid an idea can remain in circulation.