Atheism requires as much faith as religion?

Atheism requires as much faith as religion? bearvspuma : The only problem with this rationalization is that ita s assuming all athiests are so because theya re intelligent in the ways of science and reasoning and all people that believe in a form of god are unintelligent. Full Story

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#172788 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
That brings me to the next point. What is and isn't evidence?
That is undoubtedly a major point of contention. What is the standard of evidence? Is it the preponderance of the evidence which is 51% or higher, or is it beyond reasonable doubt? With all due respect to the uninitiated in legal and historical matters, the higher standard is only applied in criminal cases. Not civil cases or historical research. Certainty isn't the goal in presenting evidence for the spiritual seeker. Certainty would have us all in Vegas or never leaving the bathroom.
If your claim is the existence of a supernatural, then yes, I do want evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. And that has to be established *before* we can take the story of Jesus at face value. If the evidence for Jesus isn't at *least* beyond a reasonable doubt, then it simply isn't sufficient to demonstrate its claim: that Jesus was a deity incarnate.

This is not simply a historical question. The historical question is whether some preacher in the early first century taught the things attributed to Jesus and was then killed by hanging on a cross.*That* requires a much lower standard of evidence than the much more relevant issue of the supernatural claims about Jesus' identity. Whether there were people who *believed* that Jesus rose from the dead is another historical question. But even the existence of people with this belief is insufficient for the proof that they were correct in their beliefs.

So, even if we could prove the historical existence of a preacher that taught as Jesus did in the gospels, and that there were people who honestly believed they saw him alive afterwards, is that sufficient to show that Jesus was, indeed, a divinity made human? No. Far from it. The standards of evidence for the two cases is far different. One, as you say, is a historical question with lower standards of proof (partly by necessity), but also more doubt about the conclusions made. The other is a deep question about the nature of reality and needs to be addressed separately and with a much higher standard of proof.
blacklagoon

Brookline, MA

#172789 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:

<quoted text>Hundreds of thousands? Can you provide me a less vague figure? If there are hundreds of thousands of scientists, isn't it possible that there are many more scientists who will NOT admit that their worldview influences their method? Have there been more than one or two corrupt police officers in the history of criminal justice? And what is your opinion of this one scientist who admitted that the secular scientific community regularly and purposely rigs the methodology for the specific purpose of excluding supernatural phenomena? Isn't that dishonest?

Is it possible that there are many more scientist who will NOT admit that their worldview influences their method? I have no idea, do you? Do you have some figures that bear this out? And you tell me I'm being "vague."

What do I think of the ONE scientists opinion? I think maybe he was f-cked over by someone, or maybe thought he was not appreciated, or a scientific find he made proven to be fraudulent, and he decided to cry like a baby and try to discredit other scientists. Once again can you be "More vague?" Name, date, any information about this ONE individual might help your case, though I doubt ONE whiner, will convince anyone.

blacklagoon wrote:
As was pointed out to you, Millers experiments were NOT dishonest, we was working with the information available at that time, he was NOT trying to deceive anyone.

Roman Apologists wrote:

<quoted text>How do you know that for sure?

I know that the materials and the information he was working with were 50 years behind the times.
blacklagoon

Brookline, MA

#172790 Jul 22, 2013
atheism is evil wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm in McDonalds using their Wi-Fi to show people in the store how ugly atheists are. I'm specifically showing them YOUR posts. I'm searching all of the threads you have infested and so far the crowd is appalled at how filthy you are as human trash.
Keep posting. We're really getting some great discussions going as to how you will be destroyed in Hell for your weak-willed and gutless deeds as an atheist.
Even the employees are getting in on this.
Somehow I can't imagine that anyone is concerned about YOU and the crowd of obese drooling low IQ numbskulls who frequent McDonalds. Slackjawed idiots sitting and consuming mountains of salt and Fat, heart attacks waiting to happen, aren't much a concern to intelligent people. I'm surprised they actually know the meaning of words like "Specifically" of "infested" You're probably not to sure of these words either, are you? Now back to your mountain of fries and your big mac, I'll bet you have a 1000 calorie Chocolate shake with that great meal right? You poor slob, Here a life saving tip for you..........SALAD!!!!!!!!!!
blacklagoon

Brookline, MA

#172791 Jul 22, 2013
atheism is evil wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm in McDonalds using their Wi-Fi to show people in the store how ugly atheists are. I'm specifically showing them YOUR posts. I'm searching all of the threads you have infested and so far the crowd is appalled at how filthy you are as human trash.
Keep posting. We're really getting some great discussions going as to how you will be destroyed in Hell for your weak-willed and gutless deeds as an atheist.
Even the employees are getting in on this.
REALLY?.......Is your life really this empty that you sit around McDonalds (of all places) and dribble away on Wi-FI? Is your life that meaningless? Here let me guess....Your at least 50 lbs overweight, have either NO job, or a menial one, live at home with Mom, both of your friends, if you have any at all, are also 50 lbs overweight, you wallet is attached to your baggy pants with a huge chain, to protect your 6 dollar McDonald's money. I'm right aren't I.....Yeah I thought so!!!!
blacklagoon

Brookline, MA

#172792 Jul 22, 2013
Just Results wrote:
<quoted text>
Another gutless atheist showing how worthless his life is.
Nice driveway.......do stop it and engage in an adult dialog....that is if you dare.....which I doubt very seriously. You can ALWAYS tell the religious cowards, they dart in for a quick and witless comment, and dart back out, way to cowardly to stop and take part with the adults. Too funny!!!

“H-o-o-o-o-o-o-ld on thar!”

Since: Sep 08

The Borderland of Sol

#172793 Jul 22, 2013
Thinking wrote:
Or six by nine.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =zBmdkhDGZ8AXX&list=PL1Ff4 SgStx9YpHw0c3ZO3yBJgfloOhQzM &t=1980
<quoted text>
*snicker*

“H-o-o-o-o-o-o-ld on thar!”

Since: Sep 08

The Borderland of Sol

#172794 Jul 22, 2013
ChristineM wrote:
<quoted text>
There's a frood who really knows where his towel is
Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too
Hoopy.

“H-o-o-o-o-o-o-ld on thar!”

Since: Sep 08

The Borderland of Sol

#172795 Jul 22, 2013
ChristineM wrote:
<quoted text>
You have it, the problem with the universe is the lack of telephone boxes
Who is this god person anyway?
That's why we don't see Superman any more, either.
Got nowhere to change.
Thinking

York, UK

#172796 Jul 22, 2013
It's just not the same, getting changed in an app.
macumazahn wrote:
<quoted text>
That's why we don't see Superman any more, either.
Got nowhere to change.

“a.k.a. GhostWriter2U”

Since: Jul 13

Location hidden

#172797 Jul 22, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
If your claim is the existence of a supernatural, then yes, I do want evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. And that has to be established *before* we can take the story of Jesus at face value. If the evidence for Jesus isn't at *least* beyond a reasonable doubt, then it simply isn't sufficient to demonstrate its claim: that Jesus was a deity incarnate.

The standards of evidence for the two cases is far different. One, as you say, is a historical question with lower standards of proof (partly by necessity), but also more doubt about the conclusions made. The other is a deep question about the nature of reality and needs to be addressed separately and with a much higher standard of proof.
Kudos Polymath. I had to clip some of it for space considerations. I'm sure you understand. This is an excellent thought provoking post, and it deserves respect for the thought process that you put into it. As you say, the burden for establishing historicity is lower than "beyond reasonable doubt." Necessity dictates that this is correct.

But what drives my inquiry is why does the standard of evidence need to be so high to consider the supernatural as possible or probable?
I lived for 20 years as an agnostic skeptic, but even then I knew that nobody operates with 100% certainty in every aspect of life unless there are some serious mental health issues going on.

I can respect the fact that an atheist would argue against the deity or supernatural accounts told about Jesus. I think that's a fair and argument. I don't agree, but I can recognize a fair argument when I see one. It's fair to history and it's fair to the investigation of natural causes. What I have a problem with is the Jesus Mythicist argument because it's lazy. Here's why I think it's lazy. The following is what I heard fellow skeptics say when I was still a skeptic myself.

"If we grant that Jesus lived, then the subject of resurrection is going to be discussed."

"If the evidence in favor of resurrection is more plausible than any competing or alternate argument, then that means there is life after death is possible."

"If life after death is possible, then that means I could be judged for what I do here in this life, and I don't want to be judged."

"If I'm going to be judged for my actions in this life, then I have to change, and I enjoy some things too much to change. I want to be master of my life and not be held accountable for it."

"To avoid the entire afterlife accountability issue, I'll deny that Jesus even existed and look for reasons to justify that position.(Naturalism, materialism, etc.) Problem solved."

That's why it's lazy. It's intellectually dishonest because the skeptic who goes to this extreme is willing to re-write history to escape emotional discomfort.

Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel was honest about it when he wrote the following:

"I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isnít just that I donít believe in God and, naturally, hope that Iím right in my belief. Itís that I hope there is no God! I donít want there to be a God; I donít want the universe to be like that.Ē

(ĒThe Last WordĒ, Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#172798 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
<quoted text>
Kudos Polymath. I had to clip some of it for space considerations. I'm sure you understand. This is an excellent thought provoking post, and it deserves respect for the thought process that you put into it. As you say, the burden for establishing historicity is lower than "beyond reasonable doubt." Necessity dictates that this is correct.
But what drives my inquiry is why does the standard of evidence need to be so high to consider the supernatural as possible or probable?
At the very least, the existence of a supernatural requires many physical phenomena relevant to the interaction of the natural and supernatural. That alone implies the violation of many well-established results (conservation of mass-energy, for one) that have been thoroughly tested in an incredibly wide range of situations. To overturn those results, even in limited cases, would require evidence 'beyond a reasonable doubt'.

At this point, the question re-emerges of what you consider to be 'possible'? Are gnomes in your garden 'possible'? Sure, there is no violation of *logic* if such gnomes existed. But their very existence would significantly change many well-tested theories. And any evidence for such gnomes should be weighed against the evidence for these theories. The same is true, but even more so (because of even stronger claims) for the supernatural.

So, yes, I would require at least proof beyond a reasonable doubt to accept a supernatural. Mere historical plausibility or possibility is far from being up to that standard.

Since: Mar 11

Louisville, KY

#172799 Jul 22, 2013
Well said. Sadly he offers no proof but merely his personal biased opinions.
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>If your claim is the existence of a supernatural, then yes, I do want evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. And that has to be established *before* we can take the story of Jesus at face value. If the evidence for Jesus isn't at *least* beyond a reasonable doubt, then it simply isn't sufficient to demonstrate its claim: that Jesus was a deity incarnate.

This is not simply a historical question. The historical question is whether some preacher in the early first century taught the things attributed to Jesus and was then killed by hanging on a cross.*That* requires a much lower standard of evidence than the much more relevant issue of the supernatural claims about Jesus' identity. Whether there were people who *believed* that Jesus rose from the dead is another historical question. But even the existence of people with this belief is insufficient for the proof that they were correct in their beliefs.

So, even if we could prove the historical existence of a preacher that taught as Jesus did in the gospels, and that there were people who honestly believed they saw him alive afterwards, is that sufficient to show that Jesus was, indeed, a divinity made human? No. Far from it. The standards of evidence for the two cases is far different. One, as you say, is a historical question with lower standards of proof (partly by necessity), but also more doubt about the conclusions made. The other is a deep question about the nature of reality and needs to be addressed separately and with a much higher standard of proof.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#172800 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
What I have a problem with is the Jesus Mythicist argument because it's lazy. Here's why I think it's lazy. The following is what I heard fellow skeptics say when I was still a skeptic myself.
"If we grant that Jesus lived, then the subject of resurrection is going to be discussed."
"If the evidence in favor of resurrection is more plausible than any competing or alternate argument, then that means there is life after death is possible."
"If life after death is possible, then that means I could be judged for what I do here in this life, and I don't want to be judged."
"If I'm going to be judged for my actions in this life, then I have to change, and I enjoy some things too much to change. I want to be master of my life and not be held accountable for it."
"To avoid the entire afterlife accountability issue, I'll deny that Jesus even existed and look for reasons to justify that position.(Naturalism, materialism, etc.) Problem solved."
That's why it's lazy. It's intellectually dishonest because the skeptic who goes to this extreme is willing to re-write history to escape emotional discomfort.
Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel was honest about it when he wrote the following:
"I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isnít just that I donít believe in God and, naturally, hope that Iím right in my belief. Itís that I hope there is no God! I donít want there to be a God; I donít want the universe to be like that.Ē
(ĒThe Last WordĒ, Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)
Yes, this argument is intellectually lazy. Truth is not determined by desires, but instead by evidence.

I find many theists to have a similar issue, however (not claiming you do). They say that the do not wish to live in a universe with no deity, or say that their lives would be without meaning if such were true. I find such arguments to be equally lazy. Again, the truth of a proposition does not depend on our desires.

Since: Mar 11

Louisville, KY

#172801 Jul 22, 2013
You cannot show one person questioning the existence of Jesus as making those statements. They are obvious Christian apologetic talking points and you know it. Your own bible says Satan is the father of the lie, so why must you lie so much?
Roman Apologist wrote:
Kudos Polymath. I had to clip some of it for space considerations. I'm sure you understand. This is an excellent thought provoking post, and it deserves respect for the thought process that you put into it. As you say, the burden for establishing historicity is lower than "beyond reasonable doubt." Necessity dictates that this is correct.

But what drives my inquiry is why does the standard of evidence need to be so high to consider the supernatural as possible or probable?
I lived for 20 years as an agnostic skeptic, but even then I knew that nobody operates with 100% certainty in every aspect of life unless there are some serious mental health issues going on.

I can respect the fact that an atheist would argue against the deity or supernatural accounts told about Jesus. I think that's a fair and argument. I don't agree, but I can recognize a fair argument when I see one. It's fair to history and it's fair to the investigation of natural causes. What I have a problem with is the Jesus Mythicist argument because it's lazy. Here's why I think it's lazy. The following is what I heard fellow skeptics say when I was still a skeptic myself.

"If we grant that Jesus lived, then the subject of resurrection is going to be discussed."

"If the evidence in favor of resurrection is more plausible than any competing or alternate argument, then that means there is life after death is possible."

"If life after death is possible, then that means I could be judged for what I do here in this life, and I don't want to be judged."

"If I'm going to be judged for my actions in this life, then I have to change, and I enjoy some things too much to change. I want to be master of my life and not be held accountable for it."

"To avoid the entire afterlife accountability issue, I'll deny that Jesus even existed and look for reasons to justify that position.(Naturalism, materialism, etc.) Problem solved."

That's why it's lazy. It's intellectually dishonest because the skeptic who goes to this extreme is willing to re-write history to escape emotional discomfort.

Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel was honest about it when he wrote the following:

"I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn¬ít just that I don¬ít believe in God and, naturally, hope that I¬ím right in my belief. It¬ís that I hope there is no God! I don¬ít want there to be a God; I don¬ít want the universe to be like that.¬Ē

(¬ĒThe Last Word¬Ē, Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#172803 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
But what drives my inquiry is why does the standard of evidence need to be so high to consider the supernatural as possible or probable?
This is no more than would be required for many other physical effects.

An interesting thing happened in particle physics recently. A team of well-respected physicists at an international lab reported that they measured neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. This was a remarkable claim! Much of the basis of physics in the 20th century was based on special relativity which said that such travel was impossible.

Now, of course when such a measurement is found, the *first* thing you suspect is some sort of measurement error. Were the devices calibrated correctly? Were the neutrinos generated when they thought? Were they measuring the distances correctly? Were their clocks accurate enough for this measurement? And it *was* a very delicate measurement with quite a number of pitfalls that are not obvious to non-physicsts (among such the fact that the source of neutrinos and the detectors are both in a rotating frame of reference).

But these physicists could not find anything wrong with their measurements. So they published their results. I should say that even they did not believe the results. Why not? Because there has been a *huge* amount of evidence for special relativity over the last century and the observed violations would probably (not certainly) have been detected earlier. But perhaps neutrinos were different.

By the way, this is a good example of how biases do NOT determine observations. Nobody expected these results. Everyone expected them to be wrong. Yet, they could find no *reason* to discount them, so they were presented to the larger community for comment and review. This is how science is done.

After a very long procedure, it was found that some wiring added a few nanoseconds to some measurements, and that was enough to invalidate their results. When the experiment was run again (necessary!), the neutrinos were found to respect the light barrier.

Now, in this, the measurements were 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. After all, well-respected scientists were unable to find anything wrong with them for *months* of thinking. But the results were *wrong*. So, yes, at *least* we want 'beyond a reasonable doubt' if not much more *if* we see the possibility of having to rewrite some central laws of physics.

“a.k.a. GhostWriter2U”

Since: Jul 13

Location hidden

#172804 Jul 22, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, this argument is intellectually lazy. Truth is not determined by desires, but instead by evidence.
I find many theists to have a similar issue, however (not claiming you do). They say that the do not wish to live in a universe with no deity, or say that their lives would be without meaning if such were true. I find such arguments to be equally lazy. Again, the truth of a proposition does not depend on our desires.
Precisely! I find fundementalist-young-earth-cre ationists to be as equally guilty to justify their faith. They take the bible literally in every regard and refuse to listen to scientific logic which is just as lazy as "Jesus Mythicism." It's absurd! I find that wanting something to be true so badly that we exaggerate or deny it with a "blanket statement" such as 'The Earth is 6,000 years old because the bible says so!' or 'Jesus is a myth because Bruno Bauer said so!' is just inviting intellectual disaster.

Liberty, I've already seen your statement that you think this is apologetic posturing. I don't care if you believe me or not. I don't care if it makes you angry or not. But I know for a fact that people really do think that way, some atheists (not all) and some fundamentalists (not all) are guilty of this. I've heard people on both sides say such stupid things.

Since: Mar 11

Louisville, KY

#172805 Jul 22, 2013
Lol so pathetic. Atheists and skeptics all happen to say word for word apologetic talking points.... Or could it be that some people correctly stye that there is no historical proof for Jesus?

Lmfao!

Bart Ehrman is one who says he thinks Jesus existed but the miracles were made up as the majority of secular scholars who reluctantly agree he probably existed. So to say that the only reason you ask for historical proof that he existed is because you are scared of being judged is just childish.

Pure apologetic lies. Oh well great for a laugh :))

“a.k.a. GhostWriter2U”

Since: Jul 13

Location hidden

#172806 Jul 22, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
This is no more than would be required for many other physical effects.
An interesting thing happened in particle physics recently. A team of well-respected physicists at an international lab reported that they measured neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. This was a remarkable claim! Much of the basis of physics in the 20th century was based on special relativity which said that such travel was impossible.
Now, of course when such a measurement is found, the *first* thing you suspect is some sort of measurement error. Were the devices calibrated correctly? Were the neutrinos generated when they thought? Were they measuring the distances correctly? Were their clocks accurate enough for this measurement? And it *was* a very delicate measurement with quite a number of pitfalls that are not obvious to non-physicsts (among such the fact that the source of neutrinos and the detectors are both in a rotating frame of reference).
But these physicists could not find anything wrong with their measurements. So they published their results. I should say that even they did not believe the results. Why not? Because there has been a *huge* amount of evidence for special relativity over the last century and the observed violations would probably (not certainly) have been detected earlier. But perhaps neutrinos were different.
By the way, this is a good example of how biases do NOT determine observations. Nobody expected these results. Everyone expected them to be wrong. Yet, they could find no *reason* to discount them, so they were presented to the larger community for comment and review. This is how science is done.
After a very long procedure, it was found that some wiring added a few nanoseconds to some measurements, and that was enough to invalidate their results. When the experiment was run again (necessary!), the neutrinos were found to respect the light barrier.
Now, in this, the measurements were 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. After all, well-respected scientists were unable to find anything wrong with them for *months* of thinking. But the results were *wrong*. So, yes, at *least* we want 'beyond a reasonable doubt' if not much more *if* we see the possibility of having to rewrite some central laws of physics.
I see what you mean and I can agree with your reasoning with regard to a physics experiment. I never really worried too much about what I couldn't see. That's what fascinates me about people who live their lives in such a way that everything has to pertain to the five senses and nothing outside that philosophy is of importance. I've just never understood the big deal behind empiricism as a life shaping philosophy.

Now with regard to historic claims and empirical evidence, we have archeology to bridge that gap. As the timeline gets longer between the event and the archeological discovery, we need a methodology to determine what is the most likely scenario, and even then we have to understand that the ravages of time and nature are going to work against us. All historians understand that dynamic. That's where those ten tests of reliability come into play. Documents don't survive carbon dating. So we do need a scientific method to determine reliability. No historian approaches the subject with absolute objectivity. It's impossible and dishonest to say otherwise. that's why the ten tests exist. They can (if done correctly) neutralize the bias of a document's author, and they can also neutralize the bias of the historical researcher to the maximum extent possible. That's why I swear by them.

“ The Lord of delirious minds.”

Since: Dec 10

Location hidden

#172807 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
<quoted text>
I see what you mean and I can agree with your reasoning with regard to a physics experiment. I never really worried too much about what I couldn't see. That's what fascinates me about people who live their lives in such a way that everything has to pertain to the five senses and nothing outside that philosophy is of importance. I've just never understood the big deal behind empiricism as a life shaping philosophy.
Now with regard to historic claims and empirical evidence, we have archeology to bridge that gap. As the timeline gets longer between the event and the archeological discovery, we need a methodology to determine what is the most likely scenario, and even then we have to understand that the ravages of time and nature are going to work against us. All historians understand that dynamic. That's where those ten tests of reliability come into play. Documents don't survive carbon dating. So we do need a scientific method to determine reliability. No historian approaches the subject with absolute objectivity. It's impossible and dishonest to say otherwise. that's why the ten tests exist. They can (if done correctly) neutralize the bias of a document's author, and they can also neutralize the bias of the historical researcher to the maximum extent possible. That's why I swear by them.


"That's why I swear by them."

You swear by complete conjecture and wishful thinking then, and you belief in these things are apparent. But improvisation is needed to make belief into real evidence, so you in fact hold only a hand of three, three dollar bills.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#172808 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
<quoted text>
I see what you mean and I can agree with your reasoning with regard to a physics experiment. I never really worried too much about what I couldn't see. That's what fascinates me about people who live their lives in such a way that everything has to pertain to the five senses and nothing outside that philosophy is of importance. I've just never understood the big deal behind empiricism as a life shaping philosophy.
It is a mistake to equate empiricism with the claim that everything has to pertain to the five senses, at least if you take that strictly.

For example, empiricism has been used to demonstrate the existence of many things that are beyond our senses: radio, ultra-violet rays, neutrons, neutrinos, ultra-sound, various types of radioactivity, etc. Our eyes can detect only a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our ears have a larger range in terms of octaves, but dogs can hear much higher sounds than we can.

With that said, the *starting* point is the five senses. From those, we can learn how to detect things we cannot see or hear.
Now with regard to historic claims and empirical evidence, we have archeology to bridge that gap. As the timeline gets longer between the event and the archeological discovery, we need a methodology to determine what is the most likely scenario, and even then we have to understand that the ravages of time and nature are going to work against us. All historians understand that dynamic. That's where those ten tests of reliability come into play. Documents don't survive carbon dating. So we do need a scientific method to determine reliability. No historian approaches the subject with absolute objectivity. It's impossible and dishonest to say otherwise. that's why the ten tests exist. They can (if done correctly) neutralize the bias of a document's author, and they can also neutralize the bias of the historical researcher to the maximum extent possible. That's why I swear by them.
I missed where you enumerated the ten tests. And yes, archeology can add to the data to consider. By not having the inherent biases of an author, it allows a bit more objectivity, but we still have the biases of the archeologist. The latter tend to be cultural and unintentional, but they still exist, just like the biases of the historians. There is now, at least, a tendency to attempt to point out such biases and learn how to minimize them in professional work.

The links I *did* see were OK as starting points, but they also tend to ignore the context by which we obtain ancient writings. Unless they are written in rock (which has its own set of cautions), ancient writings have been written and re-written by scribes over centuries. We can often even relate the different documents by looking at the errors the scribes made and how they were transmitted to later manuscripts. We can often follow how interpretations have changed over time because of the types of errors that scribes have made.

I would also challenge your assertions about the reliability of oral traditions. While they can be much more reliable than many think, they are definitely less so than written records. The most reliable ones use rhyme in some way as a memory check, but even that allows for large changes over time. It also takes a fairly large collection of people devoted to memorization to maintain reliability over time. And, finally, the subject has to be one that the memory specialists think is interesting enough to *be* memorized. And such considerations change over time. This leads to a situation where oral tradition is more reliable than a simple game of telephone, but much less reliable than written records, which are also not perfect as transmitted over centuries.

And, once again, we always have the issue of whether the stories in the writings are believable to begin with. For example, do we really think that the god Pan lead Julius Ceasar across the Rubicon?

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