Thursday, February 06, 2014
Bible critics assume what they have to prove
They say that domestic camels arrived in Israel after the times that the Bible says. But they admit that some camel bones dated from earlier periods have been found. To fit their theory they say that the earlier finds "probably belonged to wild camels". How do they know? They don't. They are just assuming what they have to prove.
A more reasonable summary of the findings would be to say that most people were too poor in earlier periods for many of them to own camels -- hence the rarity of camel remains in those earlier periods.
Dromedary camels are thought to have first been domesticated by humans in Arabia around 3,000 BC. Considering that Arabia and Israel share a land border, how absurd is it to say that domestic camels were unknown in Israel at that time?
Atheists really give me the pip sometimes, even though I am one myself. Why do they have to keep denigrating faith? It seems childish and insecure to me
Camels are mentioned in Biblical stories involving Abraham, Joseph and Jacob as well as other famous characters. But archaeologists have found that the mammals were not domesticated in Israel until centuries after famous figures were said to have ridden them.
They claim this shows that text in the Bible was compiled long after the events described in it and challenges the holy book as a historical document.
Camels were not domesticated in Israel until centuries after the Age of the Patriarchs – when Abraham, Jacob and Issac are said to have lived - between 2,000 and 1,500 BC.
Dr Erez Ben-Yosef and Dr Lidar Sapir-Hen of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the moment when domesticated camels arrived in the southern Levant.
They found camels came in the 9th century BC, not the 12th as previously thought.
‘The introduction of the camel to our region was a very important economic and social development,’ Dr Ben-Yosef said.
‘By analysing archaeological evidence from the copper production sites of the Aravah Valley, we were able to estimate the date of this event in terms of decades rather than centuries,’ he said.
It is believed that camels were originally domesticated in the Arabian Peninsula for use as pack animals sometime towards the end of the second millennium BC.
The oldest known domesticated camel bones were discovered in the Aravah Valley, in the southern Levant, which runs along the Israeli-Jordanian border from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea and come from a time when the valley was an ancient centre for copper production.
Dr Ben-Yosef dated an Aravah Valley copper smelting camp where the domesticated camel bones were found in 2009 and discovered they dated to between the 11th and 9th century BC.
He led another dig in the area in 2013 to determine exactly when domesticated camels appeared in the southern Levant.
Together with Dr Sapir-Hen, he used radiocarbon dating and other techniques to analyse the findings of these digs as well as several others done in the valley.
In all the digs, they found that camel bones were unearthed almost exclusively in archaeological layers dating from the last third of the 10th century BC or later – centuries after the patriarchs lived and decades after the Kingdom of David, according to the Bible.
The few camel bones found in earlier archaeological layers probably belonged to wild camels, which archaeologists think were in the southern Levant from the Neolithic period or even earlier.
LOL! I rather naughtily left a pitfall in my comments above. A reader writes to me that Israel has Southern borders only with Egypt and Jordan. It has no borders with Saudi Arabia. That is true. But I did not mention Saudi Arabia. I spoke of Arabia. Jordan is part of Arabia. Look at any map of the area for starters.
CBO: Obamacare Driving Millions Out of Work Force, Price Tag Tops $2 Trillion
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined in early 2011 that the president's healthcare overhaul would cost the US economy 800,000 jobs. Democrats balked at the figure, insisting that the new law would be a job creation boon. Nancy Pelosi said a fully-implemented Obamacare program would create four million American jobs -- and 400,000 "almost immediately:"
Implementation is upon us, and the CBO has revised its numbers:
The Affordable Care Act will also reduce the number of fulltime workers by more than 2 million in coming years, congressional budget analysts said in the most detailed analysis of the law’s impact on jobs. The CBO said the law’s impact on jobs would be mostly felt starting after 2016. The agency previously estimated that the economy would have 800,000 fewer jobs as a result of the law. The impact is likely to be most felt, the CBO said, among low-wage workers. The agency said that most of the effect would come from Americans deciding not to seek work as a result of the ACA’s impact on the economy. Some workers may forgo employment, while others may reduce hours, for a equivalent of at least 2 million fulltime workers dropping out of the labor force.
The official numbers indicate that more than two million Americans will simply leave the work force (the workforce participation rate is already at a 36-year low) over the next four years as a result of the "Affordable" Care Act.
Democrats' sunny expectations were only off by about six million jobs -- in the wrong direction. NBC's Chuck Todd notices that the nonpartisan data reinforces Republicans' warnings about the law from day one.
The GOP campaign ads practically write themselves. This law is increasing national healthcare spending, raising premiums and out-of-pocket costs for millions, kicking people off of their preferred plans, limiting patients' access to care, contributing to deficits, and drastically reducing employment.
Panicked lefties online are squealing that the report merely states that people will choose to leave the workforce, not that Obamacare will directly kill jobs, per se. Good luck with that argument. Over the next few years, millions fewer Americans will get up in the morning and go to work because of Obamacare's impact on the economy.
The report's authors have concluded that the healthcare reform discourages work. That's horrible, unspinnable news. Attempts to spin it will sound desperate and tone deaf. The public will not buy "less people working" as anything other than bad news.
Another note from the CBO document: Democrats touted a $900 billion price tag for the law in 2010, citing a cynically-manufactured CBO score. What will the first ten years of Obamacare cost now that it's in full swing? More than $2 trillion. Beyond that, the government's projected Obamacare enrollment total for 2014 has dropped by one million people. Paul Ryan's office also notes that on our current path, the annual deficit is expect to shrink to "only" $514 billion next year (Bush's average deficit was in the neighborhood of $250 billion, even with two active wars), but it will begin a steady climb after 2015, hitting $1 trillion within eight years:
Our short-term deficits problem isn't good. Our long-term obligations crisis is a disaster, and Democrats have no solutions to fix it -- aside from raising taxes on "the rich," which they've already done, and won't work.
Unaffordable and Uncaring
We all knew there would be incredible transition pains from ObamaCare, and thus far the Affordable Care Act has predictably turned out to be anything but what its name implies. The latest is news that those who made mistakes in signing up via Healthcare.gov and later found out they're paying too much for coverage are trapped in a situation where there is no hope for change. In the case of one 27-year-old West Virginian, a botched calculation in her subsidy is costing her $100 more a month for her policy and an extra $4,000 on her deductible – bad news for her given that she needed gall bladder surgery in January. Unfortunately, even after she learned of the mistake, her appeal is stuck in a bureaucratic loop because the appeals system for the online signup is non-functional.
Others are finding out the hard way that premiums are going to be taking a much larger slice of their paycheck than falsely advertised. A Pennsylvania television station was on location when workers at a small business learned of the cost of their new group plan. To put it mildly, few of them considered it “affordable.” Others are seeing more modest premium increases, or even small decreases, but will have to bear steep out-of-pocket costs on deductibles or co-pays to keep their premiums in check.
As this sort of news trickles out through the gatekeeping Leftmedia, support for the ACA among the uninsured is dropping – a nearly 2-to-1 margin now view ObamaCare unfavorably. However, the same Kaiser poll showed respondents would rather fix the bill than kill it, and Republicans seem more willing to oblige. Since dozens of repeal votes went nowhere with the Senate or the president, GOP efforts are beginning to focus on realistic repairs to the system such as tax credits, allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, necessary tort reform, and a revived emphasis on health savings accounts.
While any and all aspects of ObamaCare are subject to change at the whim of namesake Barack Obama, the general feeling among those who were told that we had to “pass it to find out what was in it” is that we got a raw deal. Even though recent focus has been on the disaster of rolling out the online portion of ObamaCare, the balky website is the least of its problems.
Retirees not the ones to worry about, it is young people
The precipitous drop in the nation’s labor participation rate has fueled a debate amongst economic prognosticators about what it means for America’s economy. Some, like the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s Shigeru Fujita, say the rate is declining naturally due to our nation’s population aging and Baby Boomers hitting retirement age.
Others, like this author, have pointed to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing seniors are actually participating in the workforce at an even greater percentage than in the past.
On January 15, I wrote a piece published at Forbes.com, “Retirees are not the labor exodus problem,” in which I assembled data on contributions to the declining labor force participation rate, now at a 36-year low.
Since 2008, the civilian non-institutional population has jumped by 11.9 million, yet the civilian labor force has only increased by 1.1 million, according to annual figures published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As a result, the participation rate has dropped from almost 66 percent throughout 2008 to its current level of 62.8 percent, the lowest it’s been since 1978.
In the Forbes piece, I noted that those 65 years old and over, because they were working longer, had added 1.13 percent to the labor participation rate, and those 55-64 years old added another 2.39 percent to it.
That in short, if older Americans were not working longer, the participation rate would be even lower than it already is. And that is certainly true.
However, after continuing to evaluate this issue, it became clear that this did not tell the whole story.
What it left out was who was not participating, and how old they are, numbers critical to making the case that the collapse of labor participation is a retirement problem.
To put this dilemma about what is happening in the U.S. workforce into perspective, younger Americans are certainly participating less. The participation rate for those aged 16-24 has dropped from 61.56 percent in 2003 to an average annual 55.05 percent in 2013. 25-54 year olds’ participation rate dropped from 82.98 percent to 82.01 percent.
This is a major problem as younger Americans are failing to enter the labor force and get their careers started.
Yet, younger Americans make a significantly smaller percentage of the population now. Those between the ages of 16 and 54 used to make up 71.9 percent of the non-institutional population in 2003. Now, they only make up 66.4 percent. This shift in population has made a tremendous difference in terms of the reported labor participation rate.
So has the increase of older Americans as a percentage of the population. Those aged 55 and older have increased from 28 percent of the overall population to 33.6 percent in just 10 years.
All of these factors show based on an Americans for Limited Government study of Bureau data that those aged 65 and older added 1.04 percent to non-participation. Those aged 55-64 added 0.95 percent to non-participation. 25-54 added 0.13 percent to non-participation. And 16-24 added 0.87 percent.
So even though older Americans are working longer and contributed to a net increase in participation, because they make up such a larger percent of the population, they simultaneously drove up the non-participation rate.
And although younger Americans are participating less, because they make up a smaller percent of the population, this limited their impact on non-participation.
In short, the aging workforce and retirees have unquestionably driven the participation rate lower, by almost 2 percent, accounting for about two-thirds of the drop.
All that said, poor labor market conditions have undeniably prevented about 4.9 million younger and middle-aged Americans from working or even looking for work — because there’s no work to be found. This too has driven labor participation lower, by 1 percent.
The 4.9 million are spread almost evenly between 2.5 million 16-24 year olds and 2.4 million 25-54 years olds. If these Americans were included in the labor force, the unemployment rate today would be about 9.5 percent or so, and not the 6.7 percent currently reported.
This underscores the continued weakness of the labor market, more than five years after the financial crisis.
It remains true that retirees are not the labor exodus problem. They are not the ones we need to worry about. It is those younger failing to enter the labor force who are not going to be able to get ahead that deserve our attention.
Even when the role of retirees are properly taken into account over the past decade, the fact remains that the current economy is not producing nearly as many jobs as it once did. And until it does, the impact on younger Americans trying to get their start will continue to be devastating — a sustained lost generation of opportunity.
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Posted by JR at 1:37 AM