History, Science

Dresden Codex & Venus Transit: Unnecessary Follow Up

English: Transit of Venus - Venus completely o...

English: Transit of Venus – Venus completely over the sun Italiano: Transito di Venere sul Sole Русский: Прохождение Венеры по диску Солнца (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Feel free and skip today’s post. The recent one about the spirit in man and artificial intelligence is more interesting, and the last one about being hacked and having an old e-mail address of mine used for evil is more functional. But today’s is about the Dresden Codex, the Venus Transit, and a bit more information than what I gave in the related section of my “Adiós 2012″ post (actually titled “A 2012 Non-pocalypse Post-mortem: Lessons I Learned”).

In that post I discussed the “Every Connection I Can Make is a Good Connection!” Mistake–how just because one can draw some sort of imaginative connection to “support” your point doesn’t mean that it is a good connection to make. It can actually be completely unrelated and can even contradict your point. After pointing out the odd and baseless Jesus Christ/Bolon Yokte connection I saw a few try to make, I mentioned the Venus Transit:

“However, I saw worse. For instance, in trying to claim a connection between the Dresden Codex and 2012, I saw a claim made that the Venus Transit in 2012 establishes such a connection. Does it really? No, not in any way whatsoever, and the assertion is ridiculous on its face. Yes, the Dresden Codex apparently has astronomical Venus tables, so it is plausible that the transit that occurred in 2012 would be indicated in one of the many positions noted in the table (though I would like to see someone show that table entry to me—something I’ve never seen displayed). But this simply does not indicate that the Dresden Codex, let alone its decorative last page, is related to 2012-goofiness at all! It would be like saying that the last page of the Farmer’s Almanac is all about my birthday because, after all, my birthday is in the Almanac! Of course, so is yours, and your mother’s, your dog’s, your parakeet’s, Steven Spielberg’s, etc.”

The point is still a good one: The fact that your anniversary is one of the dates on the Cow Calendar you can buy at Chick-fil-A, for instance, does not mean that they made the calendar just for you. All 365 days are on that calendar.

However, the point can be made even more strongly. You’ll notice some margin I added to my comment, to wit: “…it is plausible that the transit that occurred in 2012 would be indicated in one of the many positions noted in the table.” However, the reason I phrased that as I did is that I have never actually seen the transit indicated in the Dresden Codex. I was simply recognizing that any hobbyist who mentioned it in a sad effort to tie the Dresden Codex to 2012 (and some did) might at least be right in saying that the transit is on the Codex in the Venus tables. But I also noted that I have never seen such a notation in my characteristically parenthetical insert: “though I would like to see someone show that table entry to me—something I’ve never seen displayed.”

Come to find out, apparently 2012’s Venus Transit is mentioned nowhere in the Dresden Codex, even in the Venus tables.

I (re)discovered this after spending a few moments cleaning out some of my iPhone’s bookmarks (I apparently bookmark webpages that I never plan to visit ever again), which included this reference to the Wikipedia page on the Venus Transit. There can be found (as of this typing, at least) a plain statement (bolding mine): “Venus was important to ancient American civilizations, in particular for the Maya, who called it Noh Ek, ‘the Great Star’ or Xux Ek, ‘the Wasp Star’; they embodied Venus in the form of the god Kukulkán (also known as or related to Gukumatz and Quetzalcoatl in other parts of Mexico). In the Dresden Codex, the Maya charted Venus’ full cycle, but despite their precise knowledge of its course, there is no mention of a transit.

Of course, however, this is Wikipedia. So, I followed the footnote provided to a publication by Bohumil Böhm and Vladimir Böhm, titled “The Dresden Codex–the book of Mayan astronomy.” There, the authors go into detail about the astronomical information in the codex as they understand it, even pointing out that the famed Goodman-Martínez-Thompson (GMT) correlation coefficient used to turn Mayan dates into modern dates does not work with the Dresden Codex — something I mentioned before, based on my discussion with a working Mayan researcher and based on widely reported news.

Their views certainly have garnered real credibility, including being published in the prestigious German astronomical journal Astronomische Nachrichten in 2008 (abstract here).

So, if this work is credible, then the conclusions are certainly damaging to those who think 2012 was special to the Maya:

  • 2012’s Venus Transit is not mentioned in the Dresden Codex.
  • If Venus is associated with Kukulkán or Quetzalcoatl and the most significant Venus event of 2012 is not mentioned, given the weird and unsubstantiated claims that 2012 was supposed to be the return of Kukulkán or Quetzalcoatl, it is doubly goofy that 2012 was something significant to the Maya and that the Dresden Codex ties to 2012.
  • And if the GMT correlation is off, then a “Mayan 2012″ is all the more delusional.

There really is no significant tie between the Dresden Codex and 2012.

Now, who cares about this anymore? Well, hopefully virtually no one. :) But when I came across this old bookmark, I couldn’t help adding a little more detail in a follow up to that post a couple of weeks ago, so now I have. The obsession with 2012-ology out there was anything but Christian, and many who consider themselves “scholars” compromised themselves mightily in the service of their personal pet ideas. But now that it is past, what obsessions will 2012ers fixate upon next? Regardless, I don’t expect the facts to get in their way.

About Wallace G. Smith

Pastor for the Living Church of God (www.lcg.org) and a presenter on the Tomorrow's World television program (www.tomorrowsworld.org).

Discussion

10 thoughts on “Dresden Codex & Venus Transit: Unnecessary Follow Up

  1. Mr. Smith,

    In spite of the fact that you refer to this post as not being a very good one, I still found it entertaining. I will only offer one piece of advice. I strongly recommend you (finally) ditch your “iPhone” (aka: The Entertainment Device) and get yourself the new Blackberry 10 (aka: The Professional Device). The difference is so vast, it is like comparing “lunch meat” (iPhone) to an Angus Steak (Blackberry 10).

    Cheers!

    Posted by Steven | January 18, 2013, 2:50 pm
  2. Thanks for your comments. And we’ll wait and see, given that the BB10 hasn’t even been released, yet, let alone tested over time by real users. Regardless, I am rooting for Blackberry and the rest; the more competition, the better the products.

    Posted by Wallace G. Smith | January 18, 2013, 3:00 pm
  3. Steven: Some of us prefer apples to blackberries and some the reverse, but it’s really pointless to turn preferences into biases (on any subject). Every engineering solution has its advantages and disadvantages. What I’d like to see drop out of the human condition entirely is the needless waste of resources by competing products and services. Make one product line, make it the best that you can and sell it honestly: this is something best achieved by cooperation, not competition.

    Mr. Smith: Happy Sabbath! That last bit is partly addressed to your reply. What about this: the more cooperation, the better the products? How is it that we’re so used to the capitalist mantra that we deny our own religious principles in order to get in line with it? We don’t get where we are in the Work by having people compete with each other (internally) for products and services. Yes, we have to work with the world, but I’m not going to “root” for the world or anything it makes or does. That includes Apple, even though I use it and like it, but it also includes everybody else.

    Specifically, I’ve used iPod and then iPhone because that’s the first brand I encountered, because it suits my needs and because I like it. For me, that’s enough. I don’t have the money to waste constantly trying to switch around or upgrade my technical aids. I do admire the advantages (and notice the disadvantages) of other technologies but I’ve learned that I can trust God’s guidance and my instincts to lead me to what I need when I need it.

    Posted by John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav) | January 18, 2013, 8:54 pm
  4. Greetings, Mr. Wheeler, and thanks for the lecture! I certainly agree with the comment about turning every preference into a bias, beyond the fun it gives me in my discussions with Mr. Sena, at least.

    As for “denying our own religious principles” I do hope you are stepping lightly. I caught that you were directing the last bit to my reply, so, no worries, I didn’t miss it. I don’t deny that cooperation would be better, but I also don’t deny that such cooperation is not a part of the world in which I live. The products we enjoy have advanced where to the point they have in large part due to market competition, not because companies worked together. One of the reasons Samsung is doing so well these days is the rival they saw in Apple. And recognizing a reality (e.g., “the more competition, the better the products”) and even to look forward to the outcome (“I’m rooting for Blackberry”) is not necessarily to praise it as a virtue above a better way. Ideally, such innovative minds would work together. As it is, in the world we live in the innovation is brought out, more often than not, by competition, and I, indeed, am rooting for Blackberry in the sense that I would love to see more innovation so that, like you, I can enjoy more things that “suit my needs.”

    I understand your comment about the “needless waste of resources” and I think about it every time I am on a crowded highway looking at the mind-numbing varieties of vehicles, many of which differ from their neighbors by negligible amounts. Yet, there is nothing wrong with “rooting” for the Ambassador Royals in a basketball game–recognizing how the best is brought out in the team by their skilled rivals–as long as good sportsmanship has been practiced, right?

    Again, I don’t disagree with any of your points, and I do look forward to the “competition meter” being dialed down in the world tomorrow. But your “How is it that we’re so used to the capitalist mantra that we deny our own religious principles in order to get in line with it?” was a bit much and had me wanting your “preachy meter” dialed down, as well. :) I agree that too many lose sight of the beauty of the truth when they get caught up in sympathy with the conservative elements of our culture and begin to whistle the world’s tune instead of God’s; it is a frequent complaint of mine and, indeed, was mentioned from the lectern by me just last Sabbath. No “ism” perfectly captures God’s approach–neither Capitalism nor Socialism. Yet, in my complaint, I strive not to come across as if I am accusing all within the range of my wagging finger.

    So, while I appreciate the inclusive “we’re” in your eight sentence, the inclusion still leaves the edge too cutting unshepherded by softer commentary. It provokes within me the same reaction commonly heard from the esteemed Moe Howard, Esq., “Speak for yourself.” :)

    Posted by Wallace G. Smith | January 18, 2013, 9:35 pm
  5. Heh, point taken, Mr. Smith – now here is an illustration of how I can know something most don’t about how human minds work and still get caught out by Jeremiah 17:9. When it comes to things that make (or break) group unity and group values, I most certainly AM “preachy” – in archetype-speak, “critical-parental” – by default unless I’m very watchful. (So was Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, which is why some stumbled at him.) Now I’ve never seen you take on such a tone in that area, so I think I read you right – go back to those times when you’ve read the Riot Act to some wannabe commentator or some weird heresy and see if they’re not consistently dealing with the way they misuse, abuse or ignore the logical ordering of things (from God’s Ten Commandments to many other things you could put in outline form).

    Yes, I do mean to step lightly on the point… but being a fussbudget in the area of group values (esp. when logical systems thinking in the here and now is involved too), sometimes I worry about how much I first, and then everyone, gets influenced unknowingly by the world’s group values. Sorry for using a sledgehammer when a silk fan might’ve done better! :D

    Posted by John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav) | January 18, 2013, 9:44 pm
  6. And BTW, if you thought this follow-up was necessary, then given the motives that obviously drive it, it was necessary by any standard that really counts. I liked reading it and appreciated the points it makes.

    Posted by John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav) | January 18, 2013, 9:54 pm
  7. “What as that got to do with the price of Tea in China?” I think that expression is centuries old and is as appropriate now as it was before the birth of the United States.

    Posted by Chris Connelly | January 19, 2013, 1:25 am
  8. I have to step lightly here, myself. The word “competition” can carry so many negative overtones that it affects our perception. In terms of economics, “cooperation” can result in cartels and monopolies – price fixing, shoddy products, and so on. “Competition” means producing better products at a lower cost – a win for everybody. Then again, competition can itself take on ugly overtones. In that sense, I agree with John Wheeler about the world tomorrow.

    Posted by steve | January 19, 2013, 2:32 pm
  9. On a lighter note: So, the Cow calendar sold at Chick-fil-A leaves out February the 29th for those “Leap-Year” birthed folks? How dare they?!! (Some of them probably wish they would age physically only one year for every four calendar years, as well, as the years creep upon them!) (:-[D)>

    Posted by Texasborn | January 20, 2013, 8:40 am

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  1. Pingback: Last Venus Transit In Your Lifetime « vineoflife.net - February 22, 2013

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