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So please (he continues) keep going about how whales have little tiny hairs.
It’s easy to see that Solomon has a point, and that if he wants to define behemah as four-legged-land-dwellers that’s his right, and no better or worse than your definition of “creatures in a certain part of the phylogenetic tree”.
Now, there’s something wrong with saying “whales are phylogenetically just as closely related to bass, herring, and salmon as these three are related to each other.” What’s wrong with the statement is that it’s false. Suppose you travel back in time to ancient Israel and try to explain to King Solomon that whales are a kind of mammal and not a kind of fish.
Your translator isn’t very good, so you pause to explain “fish” and “mammal” to Solomon.
(like the kelev and the parah and the gavagai) You try to explain that no, Solomon is wrong, dag are actually defined not by their swimming-in-sea-with-fins-ness, but by their genes.
Solomon says you didn’t even know the word dag ten minutes ago, and now suddenly you think you know what it means better than he does, who has been using it his entire life?
You can get a reputation as a daring and original thinker just by copy-pasting it at different arguments with a couple of appropriate words substituted for one another, mad-libs like.
Solomon tells you that your word “fish” is Hebrew dag and your word “mammal” is Hebrew behemah.I’m not making the weak and boring claim that since they’d never discovered genetics they don’t know better.I am making the much stronger claim that, even if the ancient Hebrews had taken enough of a break from murdering Philistines and building tabernacles to sequence the genomes of all known species of aquatic animals, there’s nothing whatsoever wrong, false, or incorrect with them calling a whale a fish.The Ministry of Dag is based on the coast and has a lot of people who work on ships.The Ministry of Behemah has a strong presence inland and lots of of people who hunt on horseback.
Solomon says oh God, you are so annoying, who the hell cares whether whales have tiny little hairs or not.