Thank you, gene90. That was a very good explanation. I would, however, like to receive Peter's reply before I respond. In the meantime, perhaps you could answer the second question, "Are the conclusions of these other investigations fact or opinion?"
By the way, Cro_1 elected to drop out of the debate on Bolt. I may begin a new thread on the topic here, but I am not sure yet how well that style of debating would be received.
[This message has been edited by w_fortenberry, 07-07-2002]
quote:Originally posted by Peter: Not sure on the difference re: sequence or positioning.
Fossils as found increase in difference from modern forms as depth of position increases.
So the sequence of the fossil record is the fact, in this case.
Sequence denotes an order in time. A reference to the sequence of the fossils is a reference to a particular order in time. The chronological order in which the fossils were laid is still a matter of speculation. Any given sequence may correspond to your definition for a theory, but it does not meet the requirements you have presented for a fact. Contrariwise, the position of those fossils in the ground is a fact. It is observable in a way in which the observers opinion is not involved. For example, the sequence which you have presented is that the fossils increase in difference from modern forms as depth of position increases. To obtain this sequence you observed the fact of the fossils’ position plus the fact of the differing anatomies of those fossils and theorized that those facts could best be explained by a sequence which corresponds to the theory of evolution.
quote:A conclusion, almost by definition, is an opinion isn't it ?
A conclusion is merely an end. Whether that end is fact or opinion is not predetermined by the definition of the word.
quote:The facts of the other lines of enquiry can be interpreted in a way which is consistent with an evolutionary interpretation of the sequence observed in the fossil record.
Since consistent interpretations of different data are possible the conclusions/opinions lend credence to one another .... but no they are not fact.
Since they are not fact, in what way are they more valid than the Bible?
quote:There was a fact, theory, fallacy thread somewhere in which I ut forward my interpreration of fact and theory in this context as::
FACT is something observable, where the observer's opinion is not involved.
THEORY is a consistent interpretation of data.
ToE is a theory (kinda dumb I know since it says Thoery of Evolution ... but )
The fossil record (and sequence of fossils) are fact.
Using your definition of a fact, allow me to pose a few conclusions about the Bible.
The actual words which make up the Bible are observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore the existence of those words is a fact.
That each of those words have known definitions is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore those definitions are facts.
The formation of those words into sentences, paragraphs, and books is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that structure is a fact.
The correlation of those sentences, paragraphs, and books to certain known grammatical structures is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that correlation is a fact.
That those certain grammatical structures limit the definitions of those words is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that limitation is a fact.
That the context of each word further limits the possible definitions of those words is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that limitation is also a fact.
That those words, when viewed in context, taking into consideration the grammatical structures of the sentences, paragraphs, and books thus formed, do not contradict each other in any way is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that lack of contradiction is a fact.
That historians and scientists do not always agree with the statements of the Bible is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that disagreement is a fact.
However, my question is whether those historians and scientists base their disagreement with the Bible on sheer fact or on their opinion of how those facts should be interpreted.
quote:Originally posted by minnemooseus: A fundimental principle of geologic study is the principle of superposition...
A very good defense. Let us then assume that the sequence is factual. We must then face the fact that there remain many possible interpretations of that sequence. For example, some would say that the flood could have laid the layers in a manner much different from Peter’s evolutionary interpretation. Regardless of which is correct their still exists a difference of interpretation. This is also true of the Cosmic background radiation, as well as most other observable facts. The point that I wish to make is that the mere difference of interpretation of the facts does not negate the usage of the facts themselves.
Maybe you could explain how Gould arrived at such a precise definition. Perhaps he did an etymological study and discovered that the word “fact” originated from the Latin word “facere” meaning “to do“ then decided that it really should mean “might have done.” If so, I think he would find that he has quite an affinity with Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty. He said, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” Although it is certainly possible that Carroll got his probabilities mixed up and that it was really Alice who said that. Then again, maybe it wasn’t any of Carroll’s characters. I wonder what the possibility is of Poe’s raven having croaked such an ominous statement.
Pardon the humor. As you can see, I don’t give much credence to the definitions posted by freethought. For the moment, at least, I would prefer to continue using the definition which Peter has already provided.
quote:Originally posted by Peter: Not entirely. Since the language is ancient there is opinion involved in the definition of each word.
If there were not we not have the arguments along the lines of 'But the hebrew word [whatever] can also mean/really means' etc.
The mere fact that moose and I disagree on the actual definition of the word “fact” does not negate the fact that the word has known definitions. Similarly, the mere presence of debate over the definitions of different Hebrew words does not negate the fact that those words have known definitions.
quote:...They require an interpretation of what grammar imposes upon the raw words, and as soon as you bring context in you are adding subjective elements.
I did not say that the interpretation is a fact. I said that it is a fact that grammar and context limit the definitions of the words. This is true of all literature. Whether we are speaking of the Bible, or scientific reports, or even online debates, the grammar and context of each word limits the definitions of those words.
The context is not subjective; the position of a word within a sequence of words is an observable fact.
The word “context” is derived from a combination of the Latin word “texere,” meaning “to plait or join,” with the prefix “com,” meaning “together.” It is defined as “The part of a written or spoken statement that surrounds a word or passage and that often specifies its meaning.” (Webster’s II New Riverside University Dictionary)
quote:No. There are quite heated debates about whether or not there are contradictions within the bible. There is therefore opinion involved in that assessment. And again the use of the word context should be an alert to opinion being involved.
First of all, the mere presence of debates does not negate the facts, nor does it demand the involvement of opinion on the part of each debater. It is certainly possible that of those debating one group is debating from the facts while the other is doing so in ignorance or denial of the facts.
Secondly, it appears that I did not word this point as precisely as I thought. Allow me to try again.
That those words, when viewed in context, taking into consideration the grammatical structures of the sentences, paragraphs, and books thus formed, readily yield themselves to an interpretation which contains no contradictions is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore the existence of a consistent, non-contradictory interpretation is a fact.
quote:The meaning of any passage of the bible is open to interpretation, and so cannot be USED as fact. You have above pointed out where that interpretation starts and where the facts stop.
The question you posed was not whether any stated meaning should be used as fact. The question was whether the Bible itself should be used as fact.
To claim that the meaning of any passage of the Bible is open to interpretation and so cannot be used as fact is to claim that the meaning of any grouping of words is open to interpretation and so cannot be used as fact. To follow this line of reasoning is to depend solely on first hand observation. In which case, nothing anyone says on this site can be used as fact, nor can any thing ever written or stated be used as fact.
quote:Originally posted by Mister Pamboli: I'm afraid you fall at the first hurdle. The inclusion of texts in the canon is still a matter of some controversy between the Christian churches. The resolving of contradictions between preserved early texts and what constitutes the true text, or if indeed it makes sense to talk of such a thing for a collection of documents with such diverse sources and from such diverse sources: these are still continuing matters of controversy amongst Biblical scholars. Identifying "The actual words which make up the Bible" requires considerable interpretation: they are not a fact in the sense you seem to adhering to.
Yet each text consists of actual words. The debate over which of those texts is the true text does not disprove the existence of such a text. For the purpose of this debate all references which I make to the Bible will be to the King James Version and the texts from which it is translated. It is in reference to these texts that I stated: “That those words, when viewed in context, taking into consideration the grammatical structures of the sentences, paragraphs, and books thus formed, readily yield themselves to an interpretation which contains no contradictions is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore the existence of a consistent, non-contradictory interpretation is a fact.”
quote:There are actually quite a few words in the Bible whose definition is extremely unclear and there are considerable variations in opinion as to their meaning. Leviticus 16, for example, has a number of very obscure terms indeed whose definitions are germane to the understanding of the passage - Kapporeth, Mitsnepheth, `aza'zel, etc.
Yet those words still have known definitions. Though there is discussion over which of those definitions is correct, the correct definition still exists. To claim otherwise is to claim that the word is in actuality just a random assortment of letters with no intended meaning.
quote:Wrong - and then some! Again, not only is the text of the Bible contested at the level of words, but in several source texts there are considerable transpositions. What is generally known as 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is an excellent example of a text which appears in different locations in different sources and appears to do so because its meaning is subtly altered by such transpositions.
Again the presence of debate does not negate the facts. Though there is a difference of opinion regarding which arrangement is correct, the arrangement itself still exists.
quote:Wrong! The Hebrew texts in particular are notoriously difficult to parse to grammatical structures.
The difficulty to discover which grammatical structure is used does not negate the fact that such a structure is indeed utilized.
[QUOTE]Way way way wrong! Let's take for example, parataxis. Parataxis chains short sentences or clauses using "and" or "but" or somesuch device as a comma or semicolon. This is frequently used to construct a list of actions or descriptions, but the semantic relationship between the members of the list is always a matter for the reader to interpret. As the parataxic bumper sticker says: "You toucha my car. I breaka your face." This can be contrasted with a hypotaxic sentence such as "First he got a hammer, then a nail, then the string, so he could hang the picture." In the hypotaxic sentence the temporal, causal and intentional order are explicit.
Parataxis is found in frequently in Genesis and in the Gospel of Mark. And does it affect meaning? You bet it does. The parataxis at the end of Romans 13:1 is particularly controversial. "For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." The intepretation of the parataxis, linked here by the colon, is pretty crucial to a number of sects, including Mennonites and Friends.[/B][/QUOTE]
Parataxis simply refers to “the coordination of grammatical elements such as phrases or clauses without the use of coordinating elements such as conjunctions.” (Webster’s II New Riverside University Dictionary)
In the case of Romans 13:1, the verse does not display true parataxis. The two phrases are divided by a coordinating element, the colon. According to Kate Turabian, “A colon marks the point at which the idea expressed in one clause is followed by another clause or phrase (or more) that expands, clarifies, or exemplifies its meaning.” (From: A Manual for Writers by Kate L. Turabian)
However, even if this verse did show true parataxis, there is more to grammar than just parataxis and hypotaxis. For instance, formality, genre, and punctuation must always be taken into consideration.
quote:Correct! :-) The limitation is a fact. What that limitation is and which definitions are constrained by the context remains a question for interpretation - or opinion as you put.
quote:Well, given you have been wrong in all but one of your premises, guess what - your conclusion, too, is hopelessly wrong.
Please refer to my corrected conclusion.
quote:Sorry folks for going into so much detail - but there was more crap in this post than most people manage to put up on the board in a week.
I will not deny that such is a possibility, but I am not the one arguing that the mere presence of debate necessitates the inexistence of fact.
'First hand observation' is how I have defined a fact. Even then we have to contend with the possibility that what I see is not the same as what any other individual sees ... not as easy to discount as one might think...
...Mister Pamboli clearly has much greater scholastic knowledge of bible study than I, and so I refer you to his post (with which I agree).
Am I to assume then that when you claimed that the Bible can not be used as fact, you did so with limited observation?
If so, allow me to suggest that you increase your observations.
quote:When the Bible is being USED AS FACT, it is AN interpretation of some passage or other that is used, not the word sequence of that passage.
In other words, you are not questioning whether the Bible is a fact but whether any one interpretation can be said to be a factual account of the events stated?
quote:The interpretation is not fact
Are you denying the possibility that an interpretation can be 100% factual?
quote:You state that King James bible is The One ... and this is the one that contains ELS ... and yet another poster has said that the Massoretic text upon which KJV is based is the least likely candidate for THE bible ... and the English text of KJV has been claimed as modified for political reasons.
You must have me confused with another poster; I have not said nything about ELS.
My acceptance of the KJV as the Bible is based primarily on the fact that it is completely internally consistent. It does not contradict itself.
quote:Originally posted by keenanvin: Hasn't the bible contradicted itself enough for you people to realize it is flawed, or does it have to say again "God is all powerful, but cannot destroy chariots of Iron! [Ahh the magical Supermetal!]" -Keenanvi
You are referring to Judges 1:19.
quote:And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
The pronoun "he" in this verse refers to Judah not to the Lord and is the subject of both the second and third clause. Thus it was Judah who could not defeat the chariots of iron not God. The reason for Judah's failure is given in Judges 2:1-3.
quote:However the Bible is not perfectly internally consistent (for example, the eternal salvation of the thief crucified which Jesus).
Please explain how your example is an proof of a lack of consistency. I am not aware of any Scripture which is contradicted by the salvation of the said thief.
quote:The teachings of the Christian religion were chosen by a Pagan to accomplish a political end. Now there are those factions in the Christian world that believe that book is inerrant?
That is incorrect. Constantine established what was to become known as the Catholic Church, but the teachings of Christianity were established long before his rise to power. Please read the on-line booklet, The Trail of Blood found at, http://www.biblepreaching.com/trailofblood.html
I have read biographies of Constantine by both Catholic and secular historians and have found that they agree that Constantine only established a denomination not the teachings of Christianity itself. They agree that those teachings were in existence even before his birth.
quote:The order of the books of the Bible was decided by the Council of Nicea. This goes back to editing. If this is not coincidence, it is not divine either.
The early Christians were most likely aware of each portion of Scripture upon its completion. This is evidenced by II Peter 3:15-16. The complete canon of the 66 books was known to and mentioned by the church fathers of the first, second, and third centuries.
John, we have each referenced on-line material in defense of our different positions on the history of Christianity. I would like to point out two glaring differences between the two sites mentioned.
I) The site you referred to presented twelve books used in the research of the material. In contrast the site I referenced presented a partial listing of sources which mentioned seventy-nine books.
II) I also noticed that while the site you presented refers to historical events to support its conclusion, the other site refers to traceable historical documents to support its conclusion.
For these two reasons, as well as many others that I could mention were we to debate the contents of the essay, I do not accept the material you have referenced as a valid record of the history of the Bible and Christianity.
Peter, let me make sure that we understand each other.
The question as it now stands is that of whether a specific translation or interpretation of the Bible exists which maintains internal consistency and which presents a factual account of historical events.
quote:Originally posted by John: You did notice that only a handfull of those references actually dealt with the very early church? The rest deal with the history of the Waldenses, the Baptists,.... etc. This is a very lame way to add credentials to a paper or to a point.
Have you ever studied the histories of the Waldenses, the Baptists, or the Albigenses? All three of these groups trace their history back to the early Church. The Catholic church does the same. However, even if we did not include the histories of these groups, we would still be left with 26 books whose titles indicate a possible focus on early church history.
quote:I have just reread the the site you posted with your comments in mind. The part of the online essay dealing with the early church -- 30-500ad-- lists not one traceable historical document (unless of course, you count any document published prior to today as a traceable historical document) except for verses of the Bible itself. The Bible can't verify the Bible. This is silly. Your link is a compendium of two thousand years worth of christian apologetics. This is not the same as providing historical fact.
I also have reread the portion in question and found six direct references to historical documents. They are as follows.
quote:in A.D. 251, the loyal churches declared non-fellowship for those churches which accepted and practiced these errors.
Hence Galerius, the emperor, sent out a direct edict of more savage persecution. This occurred Feb. 24, 303 A.D.
this same emperor, Galerius, just eight years thereafter (A.D. 311) passed another edict recalling the first and actually granting toleration
In A. D. 313, a call was made for a coming together of the Christian churches
though all the fathers of the first four ages, down to Jerome (A.D. 370), were of Greece, Syria and Africa, and though they give great numbers of histories of the baptism of adults, yet there is not one of the baptism of a child till the year 370
By this new law, "Infant Baptism" becomes compulsory. This was done A.D. 416.
In each reference, the author presented a description of the contents of the document and the date of publication.
I also found several indirect references to historical documents. For instance...
quote:The name appears, as first applied to the Bishop of Rome 296-304.
The word "appears" indicates that the author is refering to an actual historical document even though he chose not to reference that document directly.