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Switch to Forum Live View The bible - not history, and certainly not science.
3 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 1:38PM #1
d_p_m
Posts: 9,617
One of the problems with trying to have a rational discussion of the origins and development of life is the tendency of YECists to retreat to non-rational arguments based on their perception of the bible.

In many cases this turns into a dogmatic insistence that the bible is 'an inerrant literal source of truth for all fields of knowledge', followed by claims about an ark, a global flood, the age of the universe, the special creation of humanity, etc, etc, etc.

This is often used as a springboard for claims about things like the origin of all sedimentary rocks, the formation of the grand canyon, the speed of light, the nature of radioisotope halos, variations in half-life, the nature of mutations, artificial boundaries for genetic variance, the movement of tectonic plates, the origin of the asteroids and comets, etc, etc, etc.

Attempts to refute these assertions are typically met with claims that the bible must be true and inerrant because:
1. It is the word of God, and therefore perfect.
2. It is proved by prophecies fulfilled.
3. It is proved by science, which agrees in every respect with what I (chose your YECist) believe to be scientific truth.
4. It is proved by the historical and archeological record, which agree in every respect with the bible.\

The first argument can generally be refuted by analyzing the basis of this claim, which generally comes back to 'God says the bible is the word of God, it says so right here in my inerrant bible'. Curiously, YECists generally fail to see the flaw in this argument, even when it is very slowly and carefully pointed out to them.

The second argument is best left for others here who know far more about the weaknesses and failures of biblical prophecy than I. They have eloquently expressed the problems with this claim before, and doubtless can do so again, if needed.

The third argument has been hammered into flinders countless times here, and will doubtless be demolished again and again. Again, somehow, this does not seem to register with YECists, who generally ignore any real science that conflicts with their preferred beliefs.

The fourth argument fails when compared to the actual record of archeological and historical findings, and this looks like a fruitful point at which to start investigating the validity of the claims of biblical inerrancy upon which much of the YECist argument rests.
"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr



"One need only watch a few minutes of any Orphan Black episode to see why Tatiana Maslany deserves to win every acting award available."

    —Mark Rozeman, http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2014/07/18-first-time-emmy-nominees-wed-like-to-see.html?a=1
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 2:44PM #2
d_p_m
Posts: 9,617
Of course, if we are going to critique the bible on the basis of evidence, we'd best find some evidence.

So, digging around in a pile of archeology textbooks, we find
"Archaeology and Biblical Interpretation", editor John R. Bartlett, Routledge, 1997.
ISBN 0-415-14113-3 (hbk)
ISBN 0-415-14114-1 (pbk)
ISBN 0-203-13587-3 Master e-book ISBN
ISBN 0-203-20066-7 (Glassbook Format)

Let's look at a few highlights:

P.7: "The direct association of biblical texts and archaeological evidence has always tempted
scholars, and is fraught with risk."


P.11: "Many, however, have tried to use archaeology to prove ‘the truth
of the Bible’. If Albright did not claim quite so much, he did use
archaeological evidence to attempt to restore confidence in the essential
historicity of the biblical tradition, and to discredit the scepticism of
some biblical historians. The problems here are, first, that such attempts
reveal a simplistic view of the nature of ‘history’ in the Bible, and,
second, that archaeology, while it might provide evidence for the site
of Solomon’s temple, or evidence for popular cultic practices, has
nothing to say about the validity of such ideas as the kingdom of
God, or the meaning of the poem about the servant in Isaiah 53. The
biblical student has to realise that the discovery of a ship on Mount
Ararat or of the broken tablets of the law at the foot of Mount Sinai
will not prove the existence of Yahweh or the validity of the
interpretation put on the historical events (whatever they were) by
the biblical authors. Archaeological research may once have found
the tomb of Jesus and may yet find the grave of Moses, but such
discoveries will not demonstrate the uniqueness of Yahweh or the
resurrection of Jesus. And, thirdly, archaeological research has often
offered more evidence, or less evidence, than was desired, at least in
some quarters. The Bible, for example, totally ignores the existence
of any female consort for Yahweh; yet recent evidence from Kuntillet
‘Ajrud has suggested to many scholars that at least in one place a
female consort of Yahweh was worshipped (Meshel 1992: 103–9;
Dever 1984: 21–37; 1990b: 140–9)."


Meshel, Z. (1992) ‘ Kuntillet ‘Ajrud ’, in D. N. Freedman (ed.) ABD IV, New
York: Doubleday, 103–9.

Dever, W. G. (1984) ‘Asherah, consort of Yahweh? New evidence from Kuntillet Ajrud’,
BASOR 255, 21–37
— (1990b) Recent Archaeological Studies and Biblical Research, Seattle and
London: University of Washington Press.
"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr



"One need only watch a few minutes of any Orphan Black episode to see why Tatiana Maslany deserves to win every acting award available."

    —Mark Rozeman, http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2014/07/18-first-time-emmy-nominees-wed-like-to-see.html?a=1
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 3:14PM #3
d_p_m
Posts: 9,617
Continuing on to the chapter
ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE EMERGENCE OF EARLY ISRAEL
William G. Dever
in the same textbook.

One of the key elements of the YECist mythology is the 'biblical timeline' based on a belief that teh bible contains an exact historical account of the origin and history of mankind, up to the time of Christ.

Few events are more dramatic, displaying God's power, central, or likely to leave archaeological evidence than the whole story of slavery in Egypt, the Exodus, the wandering in the wilderness, and the conquest of Caanan.

So, what do the facts say?

Concerning the origin of the Israelites:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The oldest and most obvious model – long associated with such
names as Albright, John Bright, G. E. Wright, and others – is that of
military conquest. This model is drawn, of course, directly from the
book of Joshua, which recounts how the twelve-tribe Israelite league
invaded from Transjordan after spectacular victories there and at
Jericho, then swept through western Palestine in a series of lightning
campaigns that destroyed many of the Canaanite cities and
annihilated much of the population. The twelve tribes then took
possession of the whole land. There followed the period of the
Judges, a time of cultural struggle and assimilation; and in due course
the Israelite state arose, consolidating the earlier conquests and
fulfilling the promise of the land.

This model has the merit of simplicity, and it adheres to at least
one strand of the biblical tradition. But the model has fared so
badly archaeologically that it has been almost entirely abandoned
by biblical scholars in the last two decades, and it is overwhelmingly
rejected by archaeologists.
The full story of this model’s demise
cannot be told here, but the main points are as follows. One should
bear in mind throughout this discussion that both the newer
archaeological evidence on settlement-history and the famous ‘Victory
Stele’ of Pharaoh Merneptah mentioning a ‘people Israel’ in Canaan
c. 1207 BCE require a thirteenth-century date, rather than the fifteenth century
date found in older handbooks.

(1) The Exodus story is nowhere illuminated by references to
‘Israelites’ in Egyptian New Kingdom texts, or by the discovery of
nomadic routes and encampments in the Sinai desert, despite
intensive exploration of the latter by Israeli archaeologists. The one
identifiable site excavated – Kadesh-barnea, where the Israelites
would have sojourned for some forty years in the thirteenth century
BCE – has no remains whatsoever before the tenth century BCE.

(2) Most of southern Transjordan is now well known
archaeologically, but it is clear that the Edomites, Moabites and other
sedentary peoples that the incoming Israelites are said to have
encountered were not yet settled in the Late Bronze Age, indeed not
until two or probably three centuries later. They were simply not
there to be ‘conquered’.
As an example, the specific cities of Dibon
and Heshbon, where great Israelite victories are described, have been
located (Tell Dhibân and Tell Hesbân) and extensively excavated.
But they were not founded before the twelfth–eleventh centuries
BCE, and there are no remains there at all of the ‘conquest’ period
(figure 2.1).

(3) The same is true of Jericho and ‘Ai where great victories are
hailed in the Bible. Both have been extensively excavated, but were
abandoned much earlier (Jericho a thousand years earlier) and show
no evidence of occupation at all in the thirteenth century BCE.

(4) One may list all the cities in western Palestine that are
mentioned by the biblical writers as the site of Israelite destructions
and then look closely at the archaeological evidence. In doing that
it must be concluded that only one – Bethel in the hill-country near
Jerusalem – has a destruction layer c. 1225–1175 BCE that could
possibly be attributed to incoming Israelites, and even there we
have no direct evidence for the cause of the destruction. Either the
biblical sites were not destroyed; not destroyed at the requisite time;
or destroyed by other agents, such as the ‘Sea Peoples’ or Philistines.

In summary, the mounting archaeological evidence does not
support a ‘conquest’ model of any sort
to explain the cultural changes
of the Late Bronze–Early Iron I horizon in central Palestine or the
rise of Israel, and indeed renders such a model impossible.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

So, the central origin story for the Jewish people seems to almost completely ahistorical.
"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr



"One need only watch a few minutes of any Orphan Black episode to see why Tatiana Maslany deserves to win every acting award available."

    —Mark Rozeman, http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2014/07/18-first-time-emmy-nominees-wed-like-to-see.html?a=1
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 3:58PM #4
Crowhed
Posts: 1,625

Fun! I occassionally renew a subscription to Biblical Archeology Review to check in on the state of things.


It's AMAZING how much I learned about history when I stopped reading Josh McDowell and actually read the work of real archeologists.


 


Another eye-opener for YECers and inerrantists is to go over to the Islam debate boards. They will SCHOOL you in the history of christianity and the bible. I dare you. If anyone takes up that dare, please let us know so we can go watch.


 


 

“We are all without god – some of us just happen to be aware of it.” Monica Salcedo (Does anyone know who this is?)
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 6:01PM #5
d_p_m
Posts: 9,617
One last quote from Dever to round out the day:

"Here we have to acknowledge another thorny problem, one that
few archaeologists or biblical scholars have been willing to face
head-on. To put it at its simplest, the picture of indigenous Israelite
origins that the ‘archaeological revolution’ has virtually forced upon
all of us is at radical variance with the biblical story of an exodus
from Egypt and a conquest of Canaan. If we are right here, such
events never happened, at least in the way the Bible claims.
Furthermore, if there was no exodus and sojourn in the wilderness,
there was no historical figure of Moses as the Bible describes him,
the traditional giver of the law and founder of Israelite religion.
Yahwism is then a later development, perhaps much later, not the
cause of Israel’s rise but the consequence."


Such considerations pretty much doom the assumption that the bible is
either accurate history or inerrant... which means that appealing to
biblical literalism to buttress YECist arguments fails miserably.
"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr



"One need only watch a few minutes of any Orphan Black episode to see why Tatiana Maslany deserves to win every acting award available."

    —Mark Rozeman, http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2014/07/18-first-time-emmy-nominees-wed-like-to-see.html?a=1
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 05, 2011 - 10:04AM #6
Midutch
Posts: 4,113

Expect a very long "the Bible is right because it says right in the Bible that the Bible is right" post from our favorite YEC proselytizer (with lots and lots of Bible quotes as "evidence").

"creationism" ... 2000+ years worth of ABYSMAL FAILURE ... and proud of it.
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 05, 2011 - 2:04PM #7
d_p_m
Posts: 9,617
Interesting. The isotope ratios of an ex-Kuiper belt comet support the suggestion that the water in the Earth's oceans accumulated from comets during the Late Heavy Bombardment, from about 4 billion to 3.8 billion years ago. The initial loading of organic molecules may have also occurred at this time.

www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/10...

www.bbc.co.uk/science/earth/earth_timeli...

This is distinctly at odds with the biblical account, which places water at the very beginning, rather than over half a billion years after the formation of the earth.

Another obvious science fail for the bible.

Interestingly, the 'water first' origin myth is common to a number of classical pagan religions and may have been borrowed from them.
"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr



"One need only watch a few minutes of any Orphan Black episode to see why Tatiana Maslany deserves to win every acting award available."

    —Mark Rozeman, http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2014/07/18-first-time-emmy-nominees-wed-like-to-see.html?a=1
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 09, 2011 - 9:19AM #8
Blü
Posts: 24,680

The first argument can generally be refuted by analyzing the basis  of this claim, which generally comes back to 'God says the bible is the  word of God, it says so right here in my inerrant bible'.


Nowhere does the OT claim to the word of Yahweh, or otherwise inerrant. 


Nowhere does the NT claim to be the word of Yahweh, or otherwise inerrant.


 


Even if they did, that would establish nothing.


The only way to demonstrate that the bible is inerrant about science, history &c is to compare its claims to science, history &c and see if the bible got it right.  When you do this, you find it didn't.  Fundies know this, and for that reason they avoid doing it.

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3 years ago  ::  Oct 15, 2011 - 2:31AM #9
iamachildofhis
Posts: 10,395

 


iama:  d_p_m,  the chronology traditionally given to Egypt's history is error:


 


The Times of the Judges–The Archaeology:
(a) Exodus to Conquest


 


.

The wonder of Christmas is that the God Who dwelt among us, now, can dwell within us. - Roy Lessin
.
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
.
Justice is receiving what you deserve.
Mercy is NOT receiving what you deserve.
Grace is receiving what you DO NOT deserve.
.
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 15, 2011 - 8:21AM #10
Ridcully
Posts: 3,747

Oct 15, 2011 -- 2:31AM, iamachildofhis wrote:


 


iama:  d_p_m,  the chronology traditionally given to Egypt's history is error:


 


The Times of the Judges–The Archaeology:
(a) Exodus to Conquest


 


.




 


Thanks Iama.  I think it would difficult to find another article that so succinctly demonstrates creationist thinking.  The author explicitly notes that in order to arrive at the creationist view one must assume that the evidence of our senses and logical thinking must not be used, and that one must assume that the Bible is literally true.  Once one does those two things, then one can argue for creationism, ID and whatnot with full vigor.


 

"Things just happen, what the hell."  Didactylos
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