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Old 03-19-2001, 02:05 PM   #31
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MOST of history cannot be determined by the scientific method, i.e., by archeological investigation. And I might add that only part of archeology itself is founded on the scientific method.

"I have not noticed that, in point of fact. From what I have seen, the Christians raise a claim that such-and-such proves the bible. Then it's left to the skeptics to run around and do the footwork of actually verifying or disproving."

Examples?

For the theists. I seem to remember posting about the Gospel of John and recent archeological findings, such as the pool of Bethseda, the papyri evidence for its early dating, and the discovery of the dead sea scrolls.

Nomad has also posted about recent papyri discoveries.

However, most of the discussion comes to just what amount of historical infomration is contained in the New Testament books. The tools listed by Polycarp are the best means by which to discuss this issue. The archeological aspects are generally settled.

Of course, when an uninformed atheists raises long dead arguments, such as Nazareth wasn't really a city, or John was written in the middle of the second century, then we Christians do bring out the archeological evidence.

Just which scientific method applications have you applied in our discussions recently?

 
Old 03-19-2001, 03:15 PM   #32
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:
There is no requirement to throw away all of history, merely because certain sections of it are clearly myth or fantasy. We do not throw away all of Herodotus, just because he talks about winged serpents. But this requires an adult approach to the topic, weighing the evidence from various independent sources.

Just the approach that theists are clearly afraid of, because they realize that with such an approach, their bible becomes just another book in history, instead of privileged territory.
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Bingo !!! We have a winner.

This is exactly the point I've been trying to make. Yet we have people like Bob K. who want to make up different standards for the gospels, etc. because they make religious claims. All I've been arguing for during this whole debate is that we treat the writings of the New Testament as we would treat any other writing.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I'm a theist and I completely agree with you on this point.

I also want to clarify my comments about the scientific method as Nomad and Layman have pointed out. The scientific method has a very limited role in history for the very facts I mentioned (observability and verifcation), but it can be used in some areas such as archaeology, textual criticism, etc. However, the scientific method can NOT be used to determine if person "X" said or did "Y" when the ONLY evidence we have is something that was written on a piece of vellum or papyrus. My main point was that we are still justified in some cases in believing that person "X" said or did "Y" based upon the criteria I mentioned at the start. I've yet to see anyone give a competing list which is superior to the partial one I gave. If you've seen one, then please clearly list the criteria as I did.

Peace,

Polycarp
 
Old 03-19-2001, 03:16 PM   #33
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MOST of history cannot be determined by the scientific method, i.e., by archeological investigation.
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The problem is that you are limiting scientific method to just archaeology. The scientific method can be used, via other disciplines such as engineering, biology, botany, etc. to make valid conclusions about historical events.

You are also incorrectly limiting the usage of the scientific method. You can make statements about some event, which are not totally deterministic, but which can be used to rule out other lines of supposition. Let me state this another way: the best use of the scientific method is in ruling things out, rather than ruling things in. Let's take a non-biblical example.

Suppose someone claims that a particular piece of pottery dates from the early Middle Ages. You can test the composition of the pottery to see if it is consistent with known pottery techniques. If it contains kaolin, then it's an obvious mistake, because kaolin pottery was not known to be produced in Europe before 1700. Do you know where the pottery was crafted? No. Who crafted it? No. When it was crafted? No. Could it still be crafted in Europe? Yes, but not in the timeframe stated. You didn't gain a lot of information by this test. But you were able to rule out a particular line of reasoning.


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"I have not noticed that, in point of fact. From what I have seen, the Christians raise a claim that such-and-such proves the bible. Then it's left to the skeptics to run around and do the footwork of actually verifying or disproving."

Examples?
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Go see the thread that Tercel and I are working on. "Serious questions for those who believe the Bible." Compare the amount of footwork I've done, to the claims that he made over there. He's acting like an arsonist, running around starting little fires, but with very little evidence to support his claims.

Or, have a look at Josh McDowell's masterpiece of crapola, "Evidence that Demands a Verdict".


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For the theists. I seem to remember posting about the Gospel of John and recent archeological findings, such as the pool of Bethseda, the papyri evidence for its early dating, and the discovery of the dead sea scrolls.
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That may be true, my participation on this board is recent. So I may not have seen what you provided.


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However, most of the discussion comes to just what amount of historical infomration is contained in the New Testament books. The tools listed by Polycarp are the best means by which to discuss this issue. The archeological aspects are generally settled.
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Wow. That strong wind must have been the handwaving you're engaged in. You ignore a number of great controversies that still remain (mostly OT material, I admit).

And historically accurate information in the NT does not demonstrate anything about the specific claims that you are making for miracles or theology. The Iliad contains very accurate geographic descriptions. Should we infer that the miraculous events described in it are also true, merely because Homer got the place names and people names correct?


By the way - are you going to address the problems I pointed out? What about Herodotus' refernce to winged serpents; do we accept it, or not? Or how about the problems that Bob K and I discussed, in relation to text. crit.?

Until you start addressing some fo the problems, your quick dismissal of the problems is quite unconvincing.


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Embarrassment - if the text refers to an incident that is not embarrassing, we're asked to take it as accurate because it is fairly plausible and non-controversial. But if the text contains an embarrassment, then that somehow proves the truth of the text and again, the skeptic is asked to accept it.
Dissimiliarity - as Bob K points out, is likewise of questionable use. If the text refers to an event that would be harmonious with the historical and social backdrop of ancient Palestine, then the skeptic is asked to accept it for precisely those reasons. On the other hand, if the event in question is dissimilar to what was expected, then the skeptic is told that "it couldn't possibly be made up, so it has to be true."

It seems that no matter what the evidence, the theist manages to create a "win" out of it.

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Just which scientific method applications have you applied in our discussions recently?
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That's what we doing now, isn't it?




[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 19, 2001).]
 
Old 03-19-2001, 03:30 PM   #34
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:
That's what we doing now, isn't it?

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You are truly a master of distorting your opponent's position. Neither I nor Polycarp ever claimed that its true because it is in an old writing. Or even because someone gets some geography correct. All along we have maintained that there are common tools of historical criticism that can be applied to anceint texts. So no, the fact that an ancient writing references a winged serpent, does not mean that there was indeed a winged serpent.
 
Old 03-19-2001, 03:30 PM   #35
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This is exactly the point I've been trying to make. Yet we have people like Bob K. who want to make up different standards for the gospels, etc. because they make religious claims.

All I've been arguing for during this whole debate is that we treat the writings of the New Testament as we would treat any other writing.
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Except that is NOT not what you have been arguing. You are thoroughly confused here, Polycarp.

You want us to take the biblical miracles at face value, when we would NEVER do so if we found such things mentioned in any other ancient documents. Bob K and I are both talking about applying that exact set of evidentiary standards to the bible - just as we would to Herodotus, or Homer.

In addition, historians routinely reject tales of miracles and magic in other historical texts, no matter how solid the textual criticism or the archaeological evidence is. That's because there is no affirmative evidence for any such events where the law of the universe is suspended, and lots of contradictory evidence. Yet for some reason, theists want that approach suspended for their particular holy book.

So your claim that we want different standards for the gospels because they make religious claims is totally bogus. We want the same standards for the gospels as any other book that makes fantastical claims.

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but I'm a theist and I completely agree with you on this point.
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Sorry to burst your bubble, but you're a theist who has completely misunderstood me on this point.


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I also want to clarify my comments about the scientific method as Nomad and Layman have pointed out. The scientific method has a very limited role in history for the very facts I mentioned (observability and verifcation), but it can be used in some areas such as archaeology, textual criticism, etc. However, the scientific method can NOT be used to determine if person "X" said or did "Y" when the ONLY evidence we have is something that was written on a piece of vellum or papyrus.
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Already dealt with:

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2. There is also the issue of scope. The kinds of secondary investigative pathways that you describe can only produce, by their very nature, relatively guarded and tentative conclusions. The reason that we have to resort to those methods in the first place is because the primary way, the preferred way to discover the facts is not available to us. So the strong, declaratory statements about "evidence" and "proof" that come from secondary methods are inappropriate.
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My main point was that we are still justified in some cases in believing that person "X" said or did "Y" based upon the criteria I mentioned at the start.
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Yeah, right. Would that be the same set of tools that always seem to lead to the same conclusion?

Besides, I thought this was about miracles - not about someone's comments?

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I've yet to see anyone give a competing list which is superior to the partial one I gave. If you've seen one, then please clearly list the criteria as I did.
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I repeat: Any set of rules that always arrives at the same conclusion is fundamentally useless for deriving any truth. Whether or not someone else can suggest better rules is totally besides the point.

 
Old 03-19-2001, 03:32 PM   #36
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You are truly a master of distorting your opponent's position.
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Huh?

1. You asked when I had ever used scientific method in a discussion with you.

2. I responded by saying "isn't that what you and I are doing right now"; i.e., in this very same thread.

3. You accuse me of distortion.

Wanna back the truck up and explain how you figure that, Einstein?


 
Old 03-19-2001, 04:01 PM   #37
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:
Except that is NOT not what you have been arguing. You are thoroughly confused here, Polycarp.
You want us to take the biblical miracles at face value, when we would NEVER do so if we found such things mentioned in any other ancient documents. Bob K and I are both talking about applying that exact set of evidentiary standards to the bible - just as we would to Herodotus, or Homer.
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I have never asked anyone to believe in any miracles in this thread. The only comment Iíve made thatís even remotely close to such a thing is the one I made about the resurrection having the best evidence as being a miracle. I didnít try to argue that it occurred and I never asked anyone to take miracles ďat face valueĒ. The evidence may not be adequate to believe in the resurrection, but it has the most evidence to support it when compared to other miracle claims.

Why are you completely avoiding my request for someone to give an alternative list of criteria for doing historical study ?

I donít want to talk about miracles. The topic originally began as a discussion of which criteria are used for determining history. Some of you have tried to turn it into a debate about miracles.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Yeah, right. Would that be the same set of tools that always seem to lead to the same conclusion?
Besides, I thought this was about miracles - not about someone's comments?
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Its becoming apparent that we are completely misunderstanding each other. I'm still waiting for those criteria we should useÖ Youíre making massive assumptions about what I believe. Iím not an inerrantist, so you can drop that whole line of argument and address the points Iíve made.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I repeat: Any set of rules that always arrives at the same conclusion is fundamentally useless for deriving any truth. Whether or not someone else can suggest better rules is totally besides the point.
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And I repeat...

To which rules are you referring as ďalways arriv(ing) at the same conclusion? Certainly not the ones I listed because historians use those rules all of the time and arrive at many different conclusions about the same issue. I canít see the forest for all of the straw men around hereÖ

Peace,

Polycarp


 
Old 03-19-2001, 06:40 PM   #38
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
I have never asked anyone to believe in any miracles in this thread. The only comment Iíve made thatís even remotely close to such a thing is the one I made about the resurrection having the best evidence as being a miracle.
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You also said:

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Multiple attestation is when a saying or event occurs in more than one source.
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If you think a miracle is an event, then you are asking us to believe in miracles via textual criticism.


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Why are you completely avoiding my request for someone to give an alternative list of criteria for doing historical study ?
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Huh?
I gave you a list.


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The Scientific Method would be a good start.

Another useful approach be to treat all texts as value-neutral. By that I mean, their truth status is unknown until such time as they can be corroborated by several independent lines of evidence from different disciplines.

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And note that I am also including more than just archaeology here. We are able to find out amazing historical things from disciplines like botany or metallurgy.


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Its becoming apparent that we are completely misunderstanding each other. I'm still waiting for those criteria we should useÖ Youíre making massive assumptions about what I believe. Iím not an inerrantist, so you can drop that whole line of argument and address the points Iíve made.
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I've already given you a list of the tools that I would use. Textual criticism might play a small part, but only as a last resort if the other more definitive methods were not sufficient. And any conclusions that I would arrive at via textual criticism would be viewed with the proper caution:

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But historical conclusions that have no support in the scientific method, or are contradicted by the data gathered via the scientific method - those conclusions are either tentative (in the former case) or wrong (in the latter case).

There is also the issue of scope. The kinds of secondary investigative pathways that you describe can only produce, by their very nature, relatively guarded and tentative conclusions. The reason that we have to resort to those methods in the first place is because the primary way, the preferred way to discover the facts is not available to us. So the strong, declaratory statements about "evidence" and "proof" that come from secondary methods are iinappropriate.

</font>
Do you understand what I mean here?


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To which rules are you referring as ďalways arriv(ing) at the same conclusion? Certainly not the ones I listed because historians use those rules all of the time and arrive at many different conclusions about the same issue.
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Yes, the very same ones you listed. Here; let's try this again:


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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Embarrassment - if the text refers to an incident that is not embarrassing, we're asked to take it as accurate because it is fairly plausible and non-controversial. But if the text contains an embarrassment, then that somehow proves the truth of the text and again, the skeptic is asked to accept it.

Dissimiliarity - as Bob K points out, is likewise of questionable use. If the text refers to an event that would be harmonious with the historical and social backdrop of ancient Palestine, then the skeptic is asked to accept it for precisely those reasons. On the other hand, if the event in question is dissimilar to what was expected, then the skeptic is told that "it couldn't possibly be made up, so it has to be true."

It seems that no matter what the evidence, the theist manages to create a "win" out of it.

</font>

So far your only rebuttal to this has been, "Well, tough shit. Can you suggest any better rules?" That response is hopelessly inadequate.

You asked for the flaws in your tools; you were pointed to said flaws.

when are you going to show some backbone and either:

(a) address my point and show me the "strawman" you claim is inherent in my position, or
(b) reformulate your tool to remove the problem of being unfalsifiable?



[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 19, 2001).]
 
Old 03-19-2001, 07:14 PM   #39
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[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:
If you think a miracle is an event, then you are asking us to believe in miracles via textual criticism.


Ahhh!!!! I canít take it anymore. You donít even seem to know what textual criticism is. Textual criticism is the study of manuscripts. Things like codices, papyri, etc. Multiple attestation has to do with source criticism and whether or not a saying or event appears in a source (Q, L, Mark, etc.). They are two completely different things. Do you understand the difference between textual criticism and multiple attestation? Iím highly suspicious that you donít.

I asked you for your criteria and this is all you came up with: ĒThe Scientific Method would be a good start.
Another useful approach be to treat all texts as value-neutral. By that I mean, their truth status is unknown until such time as they can be corroborated by several independent lines of evidence from different disciplines.Ē


If those are the only criteria, then Iím afraid its inadequate. Iíll show you why in a moment.

Quote:
So far your only rebuttal to this has been, "Well, tough shit. Can you suggest any better rules?" That response is hopelessly inadequate.
You asked for the flaws in your tools; you were pointed to said flaws.
when are you going to show some backbone and either:
(a) address my point and show me the "strawman" you claim is inherent in my position, or
(b) reformulate your tool to remove the problem of being unfalsifiable?
Quote:
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Letís put my examples to the test. I gave three examples in my first post in this thread. They were:
1. Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man.
2. Jesus taught in parables.
3. Jesusí family members did not follow him during his lifetime.

Now, it should be fairly easy for you to determine whether or not these claims are historical or not. Use your criteria and tell me if you find these claims to be true or false. Also make sure you tell us how your criteria are falsifiable as you have been commanding me to do. After this little exercise the answers to your two questions will be apparent to all.

BTW, what scholars have you read on the topic of the historical Jesus? I ask this simply because you seem to think that all scholars have arrived at the same conclusion using these tools. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Peace,

Polycarp


 
Old 03-19-2001, 08:49 PM   #40
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Letís put my examples to the test.
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No, I have a better idea. I've asked this question four times, and you still have not addressed it. Enough running and dodging my question. Here it is, once again:


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Embarrassment - if the text refers to an incident that is not embarrassing, we're asked to take it as accurate because it is fairly plausible and non-controversial. But if the text contains an embarrassment, then that somehow proves the truth of the text and again, the skeptic is asked to accept it.
Dissimiliarity - as Bob K points out, is likewise of questionable use. If the text refers to an event that would be harmonious with the historical and social backdrop of ancient Palestine, then the skeptic is asked to accept it for precisely those reasons. On the other hand, if the event in question is dissimilar to what was expected, then the skeptic is told that "it couldn't possibly be made up, so it has to be true."

It seems that no matter what the evidence, the theist manages to create a "win" out of it.

</font>
Your choices are:

(a) address my point and show me the "strawman" you claim is inherent in my position, or
(b) reformulate your tool to remove the problem of being unfalsifiable
 
 

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