Saturday, November 20, 2010

Book Review: Moon-o-theism, Chapter 16

I must admit, I began the section on the Arabic alphabet with a great deal of skepticism. It seemed surreal that a people would reshape their alphabet to give it an astrological appearance. However, a single argument, about two-thirds of the way in, changed my opinion. The author argued that the alphabet was no different from any other symbolic representation, and just a religion influences other symbols, it will influence the alphabet as well. That lone argument made the whole section plausible, and really should have been introduced first. I would counter, however, that the more important something is, the less variation is introduced, e.g., mitochondrial DNA is much more stable, being much more vital to the survival of the organism. On the other hand, at the time of the Koran's writing, most people were illiterate, so the written word was not nearly as an important a symbol. On the third hand, the multiplicity of fonts available in modern times, shows how easily variation can be introduced to an alphabet without adversely effecting it usefulness. Anyway, this was an interesting section.

The rest of the chapter didn't really pique my interest enough to comment on, except at the end. I'm suddenly at the end of the text, with only the backmatter to plow through. There was no conclusion or summation--it just stopped. I know I suffer from this fault as well (I tend to think that if I have argued my case convincingly, my conclusion should be self-evident) so it was enlightening to me just how jarring the lack of a conclusion can be. This book covers so much that it definitely needs a conclusion.

On to the appendices.

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