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This is inspired by https://mythology.stackexchange.com/questions/435/how-enkidu-was-created-out-of-clay-and-saliva, which (to my understanding) discusses the scientific basis behind a myth. My opinion was

I'm downvoting only because it asks about the feasiblity of a myth. Any and all myths are impossible in some way.

"All" is a poor choice of words on my part, but I think it gets the sentiment across. We could come up with questions along this line for many, many, many myths.

Currently, the question has two close votes; both are "unclear what you're asking." I have not yet voted to close because I want to put this question on meta first.

Are feasibility questions on or off topic? I would vote, by the way, for "off topic".

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  • Related: meta.mythology.stackexchange.com/questions/21/… (It's decidedly not a duplicate), but the same reasoning may apply. – durron597 May 4 '15 at 17:50
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    Aside: that question is certainly not "unclear about what is being asked". Whether it's on-topic or not is a different story. – durron597 May 4 '15 at 17:53
  • This is exactly same thing I was asking in this post (Although perhaps this one is phrased better because it's more specific) – David Stratton May 5 '15 at 22:08
  • @DavidStratton I saw that afterword; I wanted to address both the question I brought up and something more general than just abilities, although the answers there addressed that. – HDE 226868 May 5 '15 at 22:09
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I think it depends heavily on how the question is phrased.

  • An "out-of-universe" feasibility question, such as:

In reality, can a human be created out of clay and saliva?

is blatantly off-topic. These sorts of questions belong on the Worldbuilding, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, or some other SE depending on the exact content.

  • An "in-universe" variation of the question could be on-topic. For example:

Wikipedia states that "Enkidu was formed from clay and saliva by Aruru." Do we know any more detail about this process? Did Aruru sculpt him like a potter, or did she spit on the clay and cast a spell of some sort? Is there any particular reason she chose these materials?

I'm not sure if this would be answerable, or if there is an answer other than "we don't know," but at least this way it seems unambiguously on-topic to me. Maybe that last part could spur some interesting answer about the symbolic meanings of clay and saliva.


Looking at the main site question, I think it leans far more toward the former/out-of-universe question, and is thus off-topic in its current form.

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I would say the linked question appears off-topic as it asks for (pseudo)scientific validation of the creation of beings.

If the question was wider, allowing for answers that are purely mythological - such as Aruru chewed the clay and spat Enkidu out whole then it is on-topic.

There is a very blurred line between the two. At this stage of the genesis of this site we should aim to improve the focus steadily.

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