This is an old account. See https://www.lesswrong.com/users/joshuafox for my active account.
Wonderful project! I enjoyed writing for that old wiki.
Will you redirect given pages from the old to the new wiki, or at least have a link that readers can follow?
Also as an event, because LW does not support non-geographical posts.
Also as a post, because LW does not support non-geographical events.
How do we create a group? Please post a URL.
"Why does ancient Egypt, which had good records on many other matters, lack any records of Jews having ever been there?"
Of course the words "Jews" isn't used, but it is well-documented that West-Semites lived in Egypt. (They even ruled it for a while as the Hyksos dynasty.) There is also the Mernepthah Stele, with a small mention of "Israel."
Though we do have written records from ancient Egypt, they are nowhere near complete or consistent enough for the absence of evidence to be treated as useful evidence of absence.
Not that I'm claiming to be wise or anything.
I was being forced to memorize and recite
Without getting into the theological aspects, a good technique as part of learning a second language is memorizing a text, particularly one with a poetic structure (like many prayers), even before it can be fully understood.
We were given a transliteration, but not a translation. I asked what the prayer meant. I was told that I didn't need to know
That is an extremely unusual experience, except as a temporary stage of learning. In most Jewish circles, reading Hebrew in the original script is considered important, and it is believed that one does need to understand what texts mean.
What about "near-human" morals, like, say, Kzinti: Where the best of all possible words contains hierarchies, duels to the death, and subsentient females; along with exploration, technology, and other human-like activities. Though I find their morality repugnant for humans, I can see that they have the moral "right" to it. Is human morality, then, in some deep sense better than those?
Another variation on heaven/hell/man/woman in a closed room: No Exit
Minor point perhaps, but in the field I once studied, diachronic linguistics, people always want to know what the oldest language is, and no amount of explanation will convince them that there question is off-base.
Among the positive values of school, matriculation exams, college, grad school, the tenure system, and the career-track rat-race: In some cases they help motivate and bring out the best in people; even smart, creative people sometimes need that sort of external motivation.
(See also James Miller above.)