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Author Topic:   Validity of differing eyewitness accounts in religious texts
Admin
Director
Posts: 12560
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002


Message 271 of 305 (204472)
05-02-2005 10:16 PM
Reply to: Message 269 by Faith
05-02-2005 9:40 PM


Re: Prove it
Faith writes:

Imagine that. You're deaf to parody. You don't even recognize the thinking of the majority of the idiots on this site whom I am parodying, very likely including yourself.

I'm torn because on the one hand you're unable to stay within the Forum Guidelines, and on the other hand this is a very interesting discussion. Let us try a compromise. If you agree to participate in only a single thread at a time, I'll ignore your guidelines violations.

To everyone else: please do not respond in kind to Faith. Treat her and her ideas with honor and respect.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
 Message 269 by Faith, posted 05-02-2005 9:40 PM Faith has not yet responded

  
Clark
Inactive Member


Message 272 of 305 (204531)
05-03-2005 12:25 AM
Reply to: Message 270 by Faith
05-02-2005 9:41 PM


Re: Prove it
quote:
Now apply your reasoning to Moses, Abraham, King David and Jesus Christ.

I have.

quote:
For Jesus Christ you have a TON of evidence. All His followers from many nations under the Roman Empire of the time.

As much as I would enjoy discussing the historicity of Jesus, I think we would go far off-topic. There is a lot of evidence to discuss, with varying degrees of value and credibility. Lets stick with slightly simpler cases.

quote:
You want to deny this is evidence? By Percy's Law then. If somebody believes it, we disqualify that person's testimony.

It is not that we disqualify a believers testimony, automatically. It is just that a non-believer, a non-interested party, or enemy, is more credible and their testimony is more enlightening than a believer. Dont misunderstand, Im not saying the information they have is better, or more detailed, or anything, just that it has more weight in building a historical framework.

For example, in the case of Moses, if we have Egyptian testimony to his existence and story, that will be extremely valuable in building a historical framework. Not in detail, but we can reconstruct our story around these strong credible details.

Archeological evidence will go a long way for obvious reasons.

Evidence from the Israelites will be less compelling than the above. Not in the specific, but in building a credible framework. To prove it, so to speak. And believers after the fact are the much less compelling still.

Further about the believers testimony. We know people exaggerate, we know people misinterpret, and we know people make stuff up and/or get blinded by their beliefs.

We know that during that time period, the Mediterranean region, the Middle-East, the whole world till about 400 years ago, was rife with mythological story-telling. It was the way of life.

This is all a big reason why independent and dissimilar evidence is so critical.

quote:
Also, take up the question of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan please. Point to writings about them.

Honestly, Im not too familiar with the details of these guys. My understanding is that my criterion of Contextual Credibility and Dissimilarity come into play big time. Dissimilarity, simply, we know about them from the Europeans and Asians that got their asses kicked. Contextual Credibility, Im having a little trouble articulating. Basically they fit the context of the hi[story] were telling. The course of history was obviously changed by them. What preceded and followed their existence in history makes sense, only when we have these characters in-between. And they fit the times, they are credible characters.

quote:
Point to writings about them.

Watch out that youre not getting too wrapped up with the idea of writings. There is more to history than words on paper.

One last note, the existence of Homer, traditionally considered the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey is contested among historians. In much the same way Moses is contested for his authorship of the Pentateuch.

Btw, I may have gotten in a little over my head here. I doubt very much Ill be a consistent poster to this thread.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 270 by Faith, posted 05-02-2005 9:41 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 274 by Faith, posted 05-03-2005 2:48 AM Clark has responded

arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 273 of 305 (204534)
05-03-2005 12:33 AM
Reply to: Message 270 by Faith
05-02-2005 9:41 PM


Re: Prove it
Also, take up the question of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan please. POint to writings about them.

i think part of the point of this is that writing alone, in isolation and contradiction to other writing, is not enough.

so i'll make the challenge even harder: point to something concrete.

This message has been edited by Arachnophilia, 05-03-2005 12:33 AM


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 270 by Faith, posted 05-02-2005 9:41 PM Faith has not yet responded

Faith
Member
Posts: 29837
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 274 of 305 (204548)
05-03-2005 2:48 AM
Reply to: Message 272 by Clark
05-03-2005 12:25 AM


Re: Prove it
It is not that we disqualify a believers testimony, automatically. It is just that a non-believer, a non-interested party, or enemy, is more credible and their testimony is more enlightening than a believer. Dont misunderstand, Im not saying the information they have is better, or more detailed, or anything, just that it has more weight in building a historical framework.

Really, no matter how you put it, it is BECAUSE they are believers that believers are doubted. Percy's Law reigns, only in degrees of sophistication, that's all. Gotta admit that the idea that an enemy would be more trusted than a believer is depressing beyond belief, but I shouldn't be surprised. Just surprising to encounter it in all its rawness sometimes.

For example, in the case of Moses, if we have Egyptian testimony to his existence and story, that will be extremely valuable in building a historical framework. Not in detail, but we can reconstruct our story around these strong credible details.

Uh huh, well, you see, the "problem" is that we have ONLY witness testimony to Moses, ONLY the writings of the Bible. Sure is a handicap given the presuppositions you lay out.

Archeological evidence will go a long way for obvious reasons.

All we have in the case of the Bible is archaeological evidence to various neighboring tribes, kings, locations, that were previously doubted. That's helpful for answering the persistent doubters, God's gift as a matter of fact and I'm very glad for it, but really, it is the witness testimony that is compelling and not these external things. These physical things are useful for those with weak faith but they will never make a believer out of an unbeliever because the whole plan is based on BELIEF, the "ear to hear" that Jesus talked about, which is, at a minimum, the ability to recognize the signs of -- the evidence for -- honesty, sincerity, integrity, truth versus the opposite, versus distortions.

Evidence from the Israelites will be less compelling than the above. Not in the specific, but in building a credible framework. To prove it, so to speak. And believers after the fact are the much less compelling still.

Yep. Thanks for the confirmation. The deck is stacked. Proof, if any was needed, that the way to God will never be found through the kinds of thinking you are describing. Well, that's what He actually says so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Further about the believers testimony. We know people exaggerate, we know people misinterpret, and we know people make stuff up and/or get blinded by their beliefs.

Uh huh, but ASSUMING in a given case that believer testimony is distorted is irrational, but I think in more cases than not this is in fact what is done. Whether there is distortion and what kind of distortion is involved is one of the things you have to determine from the evidence, but the problem is that when it comes to the Bible it is often ASSUMED that believer testimony can be dismissed.

We know that during that time period, the Mediterranean region, the Middle-East, the whole world till about 400 years ago, was rife with mythological story-telling. It was the way of life.

Uh huh, but most myths are pretty easy to identify AS myths. The Bible has NOTHING about it of the nature of myth. The idea is so absurd that it nearly literally makes me sick to hear people say such a thing.

Watch out that youre not getting too wrapped up with the idea of writings. There is more to history than words on paper.

Uh huh, well, the "problem" with this is that *ALL* we have is words on paper for the Bible. That's it. You find them credible or you don't.

Btw, I may have gotten in a little over my head here. I doubt very much Ill be a consistent poster to this thread.

That's OK. I don't think I'll be around much longer either.

{EDIT: P.S. I guess the example of historians' also doubting the reality of Homer is supposed to show the objectivity of it all, but even that makes me sick. There is an epidemic of irrational doubting.

This message has been edited by Faith, 05-03-2005 02:55 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 272 by Clark, posted 05-03-2005 12:25 AM Clark has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 275 by PaulK, posted 05-03-2005 4:09 AM Faith has responded
 Message 277 by Clark, posted 05-03-2005 9:09 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 14419
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 275 of 305 (204556)
05-03-2005 4:09 AM
Reply to: Message 274 by Faith
05-03-2005 2:48 AM


Re: Prove it
The problem with Exodus is that we don't have a good date for when it was written. Exodus 13:17 and 23:31 refer to the "Land of the Philistines" which dates those verses to after the invasion of the Sea Peoples in the 12th Century BC.

Another problem is the lack of dating evidence for the evnets themselves. Even if the verses mentioned above are held to be anachronistic there is no clear way to produce even a rough date from the text of Exodus. Details that might be expected - such as the names of the Pharoahs who appear in the story are missing completely. Even the name of the Pharoah's daughter who is supposed to have adopted Moses is not mentioned.

And the Exodus does not easily fit into history and archaeology. While this would be surprising if the numbers usually stated were accurate this can be explained by noting that the word translated "thousands" may mean "families" or "tents" (see http://www.serendipity.li/petrie/chap14.htm ) However it must also be noted that Joshua's invasion of Canaan does not show up in archaeology either, to the point where most archaeologists have abandoned the idea.

Given a document of unclear age or provenance giving descriptions of events that cannot be matched to other knowledge how can we take it as repesenting "witness testimony" when it could easily have been written centuries after the real events, if it was indeed based more than loosely on any actual events ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 274 by Faith, posted 05-03-2005 2:48 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 292 by Faith, posted 05-04-2005 11:32 AM PaulK has responded

  
mark24
Member (Idle past 3120 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 276 of 305 (204559)
05-03-2005 4:41 AM
Reply to: Message 263 by Faith
05-02-2005 1:53 PM


Re: Prove it
Faith,

If we cannot tell if a historical text is true or false, then it cannot help us to deduce the truth or falsity of any given proposal.

One CAN tell, but YOU apparently can't if you make the perfectly asinine statement that nobody can tell whether Moses existed or not, the kind of asinine statement that the majority around here seem addicted to.

You seem to forget that you wrote

You can't tell real history from fiction, a genuine witness report from a hoax.

Given that you think the bible is a historical account, it would be difficult to catch you out in such a colossal contradiction.
Then, after that, in post 266, you write

Prove the coins were minted in that particular time by those particular entities. Probably minted hundreds of years later. No proof in any case that they depict someone who ever lived. You have no way of proving this, therefore she never existed. All a myth invented by the aristocracy to give the people a national identity and keep them in line.

It is not possible to assume a more hypocritical position. I can't tell the difference, but I can, oh wait! I can't after all

Will Faith's actual position please stand up.

So can I tell a real history from fiction, or not? If yes, please tell me why you have contradicted yourself so completely in consecutive posts. If no, then the following statement from my last post stands.

If we cannot tell if a historical text is true or false, then it cannot help us to deduce the truth or falsity of any given proposal. Moreover, if we cannot tell if a historical text is true or false, then pretty obviously we don't know if the alleged testimony is actual testimony, rather than a hoax. Therefore, the "testimony" cannot therefore be considered evidence because, as you have admitted, we cannot tell it from a hoax, & it cannot help us deduce the truth or falsity of anything.

To put it another way. Evidence is data that supports a hypothesis, since something that cannot be shown to be true or false (by your own admission) cannot possibly support any hypothesis, your alleged "testimony" cannot be considered evidence.

Oh blah blah blah to your sophomoric lecture on evidence.

Indeed.

Oh really? Give me an example. You can't come up with ONE record of their existence. Come on, show me. Prove it. They are nothing but mythological figures invented to provide a romance for the peoples involved. Did Attila write anything? Did Ghenghis Khan? Produce their writings! For Moses we have five books of writings. Did Cleopatra write anything? Did somebody who knew them personally write about them? Why should I believe anything anybody wrote anyway? Why should I believe anything anybody says about anyone? These guys were all bigger than life. They simply couldn't have existed. Come on, produce the evidence!

Again, you miss the point, which is to have independent evidence of the persons existence. I will take Cleopatra as an example. Cleopatra is mentioned by Plutarch in the Life of Mark Anthony, Suetonius also, in The Life of Augustus. Flavius Josephus mentions her in Bellum Judaicum VII, & Antiquitates Judaicae XIV-XV. Appianus: Bella Civilia III-V. Auctor Belli Alexandrini: 33. Appians Roman History (books 2-5), Do Cassius' Roman History , Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, Julius Caesar's own memoirs, to name the few contemporary accounts I found during a quick google.

That she actually existed is not in question, there is ample independent, contemporary evidences (Mark Anthony & Julius would have been enough to make the point) of her existence, not so Moses.

FIND JUST ONE record of the existence ANY of those human beings listed that couldn't be shown to be a mere fiction. Come on, prove it. Take your own medicine.

See above. & I always take my own medicine, Faith, we call it consistency. Unlike your we cant tell real history from fiction because it suits you in one post, followed by oh yes we can in the next, followed, by, "oh no we can't" in the next.

Unrelated people? Let me guess that any original records you could conceivably find (and you can't even find one) would be by people who were related, people who claim to have been ravaged by the first two for instance, or people who get a kick out of having a Cleopatra in their tribe, though she's just a fiction they invented. Find me reports from anyone who isn't part of a tribe with a vested interest in maintaining these myths. Come on, prove it.

Done.

This is the point, Moses et al exist nowhere outside of a religious book. The book he appears in is internally inconsistent & makes fantastic claims. I need more.

More than 66 INDEPENDENT books written over 1500 years, over half of which refer back to Moses, more than millions who have believed it as fact, more than all the Jews who have believed it, among whom thousands have been named after Moses (How many have been named after Attila the Hun?), more than I don't know how many commentaries on the Pentateuch that treat him as a historical figure. Moses is VERY well attested to, FAR better than Attila the Hun et.al.

The careful reader will notice that I wrote, Moses et al exist nowhere outside of a religious book. This under no definition of the phrase can be considered Very well attested. Once again, the bible CANNOT verify itself.

But for the record, how can any book, independent or otherwise, be considered eyewitness testimony when written 1,500 years after the event? You really dont have the foggiest logical notion of what is meant by, independent corroborating evidence, do you?

Since I completed your challenge, perhaps you would be so good as to show me the extra-biblical evidence of Moses, that independent evidence?

This "religious book" is predominantly a HISTORY.

So says you, unfortunately there is no reason whatsoever to believe it is nothing more than a book of myths. Again, the bible cannot verify itself. That historical figures exist in it (Im thinking Herod, Pontius, etc) in no way means that the rest of it is true. In fact, that the actual historical records do not verify the bibles account when it should, should tell you all you need to know.

Lots of fiction is set against a historical background. Dont you find it odd that all the fantastic things in the bible that most certainly would get all the ancients quills scribbling on their papyrus, never seem to?

Mark


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't
This message is a reply to:
 Message 263 by Faith, posted 05-02-2005 1:53 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 286 by arachnophilia, posted 05-04-2005 1:51 AM mark24 has responded
 Message 293 by Faith, posted 05-04-2005 11:37 AM mark24 has responded

  
Clark
Inactive Member


Message 277 of 305 (204599)
05-03-2005 9:09 AM
Reply to: Message 274 by Faith
05-03-2005 2:48 AM


Re: Prove it
The method I'm using is for determining historical certainty that reasonable people can agree upon. It is a method that works, despite your emotional objections.

Uh huh, but most myths are pretty easy to identify AS myths. The Bible has NOTHING about it of the nature of myth. The idea is so absurd that it nearly literally makes me sick to hear people say such a thing.

I think reasonable people can credibly identify the Bible as myth. Only those who have faith that the Bible is an accurate historical record disagree.

P.S. I guess the example of historians' also doubting the reality of Homer is supposed to show the objectivity of it all, but even that makes me sick.

You implied that we didn't doubt other historical figures such as Cleopatra. We do doubt them, all of them, only if we can legitimately reconstruct them, do we point to them with certainty.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 274 by Faith, posted 05-03-2005 2:48 AM Faith has not yet responded

AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 278 of 305 (204646)
05-03-2005 11:47 AM


Praise GOD, Praise GOD
We are finally approaching the Witching Hour on this thread folk. Less than 25 messages left before we reach the 300 mark and can finally set this aside.

Thanks to all who contributed.

For now, please get your summary posts in and make your last points.


New Members should start HERE to get an understanding of what makes great posts.

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Replies to this message:
 Message 279 by mark24, posted 05-03-2005 11:54 AM AdminJar has responded

mark24
Member (Idle past 3120 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 279 of 305 (204649)
05-03-2005 11:54 AM
Reply to: Message 278 by AdminJar
05-03-2005 11:47 AM


Re: Praise GOD, Praise GOD
Jar,

Why not just start a continuation thread?

Mark


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't
This message is a reply to:
 Message 278 by AdminJar, posted 05-03-2005 11:47 AM AdminJar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 280 by AdminJar, posted 05-03-2005 12:04 PM mark24 has not yet responded

  
AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 280 of 305 (204652)
05-03-2005 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 279 by mark24
05-03-2005 11:54 AM


Re: Praise GOD, Praise GOD
If someone has a spin off or continuing topic then fine, they can certainly start a PNT.

But frankly, the discussion seems to have degenerated to "Yes it is!", "No it isn't!".

If someone desires to start another thread then can I suggest that the OP be carefully constructed to define what will be discussed.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 279 by mark24, posted 05-03-2005 11:54 AM mark24 has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 17748
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 281 of 305 (204687)
05-03-2005 2:32 PM


My Summary of the Thread
Faith's position is that the eyewitness accounts of the Bible are true because of the large number of eyewitnesses in the accounts. For example, Moses exists because of the many people in the Bible who witnessed him first hand, and because of the many people who have accepted the existence of Moses through the ages.

For most others here these views seem charmingly naive, or would were it not for Faith's zest for labeling those who don't share her views as idiots and nutcases. Unfortunately, Faith's inability to tolerate different views, her tendency to interpret disagreement as an attack on her own views, her resorts to insult and sarcasm, these are the most visible characteristics of this discussion.

Faith was never able to produce an objective set of criteria such as laid out by Clark in Message 268. In my opinion, Faith has lost the discussion badly both on the merits and by any standards of proper conduct.

--Percy


Replies to this message:
 Message 283 by Faith, posted 05-04-2005 12:05 AM Percy has not yet responded

  
mark24
Member (Idle past 3120 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 282 of 305 (204712)
05-03-2005 4:10 PM


My Summary
Faith seems to hold to a hypocritical mindset that seems to be held by many creationists. A standard is applied & is held as good if it supports the bible, but when that same standard reveals something uncomfortable to the fundamentalist mindset, its rejected only in the second instance. Somehow the standard is still held as good when applied to the bible.

There were two specific instances where this occurred.

Firstly, the Mahabharata, where a man meets with Vishnu & is told specific things that will come true. For some reason this isnt eyewitness testimony, but anything allegedly written by Moses is. For the life of me I cant see where the operational difference lies, both are presented as information being factual, & in the Mahabharatas case the man is telling the story, ie. he testifies that he witnessed a conversation.

Secondly I am told that we cant tell real history from fiction (post 257), but the bible is real history. Hello-o? Any port in a mental storm, I suppose.

I dont think we are seeing anything different in Faiths mental gymnastics that is any different from N.E. Other creationist. It is simply a case of standards not being, well, standards, since they cannot be applied universally & get the result Faith wants. For some reason Faith cannot see this contradiction.

Mark


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't
Replies to this message:
 Message 284 by Faith, posted 05-04-2005 12:08 AM mark24 has not yet responded

  
Faith
Member
Posts: 29837
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 283 of 305 (204820)
05-04-2005 12:05 AM
Reply to: Message 281 by Percy
05-03-2005 2:32 PM


Re: My Summary of the Thread
For most others here these views seem charmingly naive, or would were it not for Faith's zest for labeling those who don't share her views as idiots and nutcases.

Oh good, then at least I made an impact. Otherwise I'd just get dismissed as "charmingly naive" along with so many other poor fundy YECs who have stumbled into this place.

Must say you play this game extremely well, Percy. I've sincerely admired your various moves in response to mine to achieve your ends here. You'd make a great diplomat -- or perhaps a great spy -- CIA, FBI etc.

This message has been edited by Faith, 05-04-2005 12:16 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 281 by Percy, posted 05-03-2005 2:32 PM Percy has not yet responded

  
Faith
Member
Posts: 29837
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 284 of 305 (204824)
05-04-2005 12:08 AM
Reply to: Message 282 by mark24
05-03-2005 4:10 PM


Re: My Summary
Secondly I am told that we cant tell real history from fiction (post 257), but the bible is real history. Hello-o? Any port in a mental storm, I suppose.

Not too bright there. I meant that YOU, personally, can't, and others of your general mental persuasion, not that ONE can't. I certainly can. I consider it easy to tell, for anybody with the basic smarts, feeling for character, etc.

Alas, language is so ambiguous at times.

This message has been edited by Faith, 05-04-2005 01:29 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 282 by mark24, posted 05-03-2005 4:10 PM mark24 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 285 by arachnophilia, posted 05-04-2005 1:43 AM Faith has responded

  
arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 285 of 305 (204833)
05-04-2005 1:43 AM
Reply to: Message 284 by Faith
05-04-2005 12:08 AM


Re: My Summary
Not too bright there. I meant that YOU, personally, can't, and others of your general mental persuasion, not that ONE can't. I certainly can. I consider it easy to tell, for anybody with the basic smarts, feeling for character, etc.

not to sound crass, but you can't seem to identify the differences between history and traditions within the bible itself let alone in relation to anything else as already evidenced in this thread.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 284 by Faith, posted 05-04-2005 12:08 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 287 by Faith, posted 05-04-2005 2:07 AM arachnophilia has responded

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