I have read of some, even recall that an association of them exists.

Cohen is well aware of this difficulty, but defends the use offunctional explanation by comparing its use in historical materialismwith its use in evolutionary biology. In contemporary biology it iscommonplace to explain the existence of the stripes of a tiger, or thehollow bones of a bird, by pointing to the function of thesefeatures. Here we have apparent purposes which are not the purposes ofanyone. The obvious counter, however, is that in evolutionary biologywe can provide a causal story to underpin these functionalexplanations; a story involving chance variation and survival of thefittest. Therefore these functional explanations are sustained by acomplex causal feedback loop in which dysfunctional elements tend tobe filtered out in competition with better functioning elements. Cohencalls such background accounts ‘elaborations’ and heconcedes that functional explanations are in need of elaborations. Buthe points out that standard causal explanations are equally in need ofelaborations. We might, for example, be satisfied with the explanationthat the vase broke because it was dropped on the floor, but a greatdeal of further information is needed to explain why this explanationworks. Consequently, Cohen claims that we can be justified in offeringa functional explanation even when we are in ignorance of itselaboration. Indeed, even in biology detailed causal elaborations offunctional explanations have been available only relativelyrecently. Prior to Darwin, or arguably Lamark, the only candidatecausal elaboration was to appeal to God’s purposes. Darwin outlined avery plausible mechanism, but having no genetic theory was not able toelaborate it into a detailed account. Our knowledge remains incompleteto this day. Nevertheless, it seems perfectly reasonable to say thatbirds have hollow bones in order to facilitate flight. Cohen’s pointis that the weight of evidence that organisms are adapted to theirenvironment would permit even a pre-Darwinian atheist to assert thisfunctional explanation with justification. Hence one can be justifiedin offering a functional explanation even in absence of a candidateelaboration: if there is sufficient weight of inductive evidence.

The next best is  which is seemingly just a dressed-up version of religion.

During the 16th century, the monarchy combined the forces of "cross and crown" in its imperial policy; much to the dismay and ultimate destruction of the indigenous peoples of the New World....


Surely the Biblical story of Adam and Eve is literally fabulous.

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The other children of Hinduism -- and -- also have a judgment after death by (king of the Dead), reincarnation, and the potential for ALL to achieve union with God (the Infinite).

Sikhism is a merger of Islam and Hinduism that developed in the 16th Century when its founder, , had a revelation from God. The god of the Sikhs is a personal god, much like the god of the ; however, the Sikh salvation system is the in which ALL have the potential to reach the highest state:


Many tend to mix them up with Witches because of the Witches' past.

A discussion about Omar wouldn't be complete without mentioning his affinity for Zoroastrians. Another Sufi, , went so far as to declare, "We are the eternal Magians – we're not Moslems." Attar felt that the Islamic religion, as it was practiced, lacked the quality of love that dominated the old Persian religion of Zoroaster and Christianity. In the next verse, Omar talks about being a Zoroastrian and not being a good Moslem:

They were a composite tribe of Nahua, Otomi, and Nonoalca.

One of the recurring analogies in Omar's poetry is God as "potter" and humankind as "pots." Literally, we are made of dust, and to dust we return. Omar reminds us that the clay in our earthenware cup could, in the past, have been human!

They practiced a religion that affected every part of their lives....

One of the many points argued by scholars is Omar's meaning of the word, "wine." Obviously, wine is forbidden in Islam. Is the meaning of "wine" literal, symbolic, or both? Personally, I think Omar often uses "wine" literally as "beverage," but he also uses it metaphorically to express "mystical ecstasy." In this stanza, "wine" is clearly symbolic: