www.talkorigin.org

Hot topics in delusion and rationalization.
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Brian the Snail
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www.talkorigin.org

Post by Brian the Snail »

I'm sure most here knows about http://www.talkorigins.org, which is a useful resource if you are trying to counter creationist arguments.

Now imagine typing this into your toolbar, but mis-spelling it slightly. Instead you type "www.talkorigin.org."

Try it. Don't worry, it's not porn.

It's much worse than that.

(BTW, is there a name for this kind of practice?)
Nyarlathotep
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Re: www.talkorigin.org

Post by Nyarlathotep »

Brian the Snail wrote:
(BTW, is there a name for this kind of practice?)
I don't know if there is a name, but I have rule; If somoene has to trick me into listening to their sales pitch (i.e. visiting their website) I automatically assume the product or service isn't worth a crap. That's doubly true in this case.
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LizardPeople
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Post by LizardPeople »

They sell a CD entitled "The Skeptics Annotated Bible : Corrected and Explained". I'm not about to shell out the money, but I'd love to see this online.

Edited to add : just noticed the url : skepticsannotatedbible.org
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Doctor X
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Post by Doctor X »

I think one of the creators tried to defend his "corrected and explained" and got his ass handed to him.

Hint--answer to all contradiction is "IS NOT!!!"

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Yahweh
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Post by Yahweh »

LizardPeople wrote:They sell a CD entitled "The Skeptics Annotated Bible : Corrected and Explained". I'm not about to shell out the money, but I'd love to see this online.
Here you go:

http://www.tektonics.org/sab.html

Examples of the brilliant apologetics include:

In Genesis chapter 30, the Genesis authors told of Jacob's scheme to increase his wealth while he was still in the employ of his father-in-law Laban. The two had reached an agreement whereby Jacob would be given all striped, spotted, and speckled lambs and kids subsequently born in Laban's flocks. Laban then removed all the striped, spotted, and speckled animals from his flocks and put them in his sons' care at a three-day distance from the flock Jacob attended. Not to be outsmarted, Jacob devised a plan:
Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the rods. He set the rods that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, the flocks bred in front of the rods, and so the flocks produced young that were striped, speckled, and spotted (30:37-39, NRSV).
We know today that the color characteristics of animals is purely a matter of genetics, so a modern, scientifically-educated person would never write anything as obviously superstitious as this tale of Jacob's prosperity. The Genesis writer(s), however, knew nothing about the science of genetics, so to him the story undoubtedly made good sense.

The SAB remarks on this verse with the following:
30:37-39 Jacob displays his (and God's) knowledge of biology by having goats copulate while looking at streaked rods. The result is streaked baby goats.
This verse is apologized for here with the following:
In this interesting episode, comprising Gen. 30:25-31:13, we have some action in which Jacob uses peeled sticks to try and control what sort of offspring his flocks have. Skeptics bellow about the lack of science here -- and to an extent they are right in their complaints. What Jacob did is obviously a form of "sympathetic magic" - putting a striped object in front of the flocks so that they had "ringstraked," etc. offspring. Yes, Jacob was engaged in bunk. No doubt about it.

However, there is a great difference between the Bible describing a bunko process and endorsing it as true. Genesis says that Jacob did the magical bit, and it says he got the results he wanted, but it does not thereby establish that a valid cause-and-effect relationship existed -- though I do think that the story is intended to make the reader wonder whether one exists, before setting up the "punch line" which takes place in 31:10-13. Here, Jacob indicates that God showed in a dream that Laban was intentionally cheating him. He says:

<blockquote>And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstreaked, speckled, and grisled. And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstreaked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.</blockquote>

In other words, the reader is now told that God divinely intervened for the purpose of evening the odds that Laban was stacking against Jacob. Jacob obviously did think at first that the sticks were the key to his success, but from events in Ch. 31, it seems that God stepped down on Jacob and disabused him of the notion! As sometimes happens, the Bible is pulling our leg -- and like Jacob had to, it forces us to look in the mirror now and then.
So there you have it, the verse is apologized for because "God can do anything (although in none of the verses is it stated, remotely implied, or can be concievably interpreted that God divinely intervened with this process)" and "the bible is pulling our leg (WTF?)".

[sarcasm] Wow, I've been an atheist for so long, but now I'm convinced! [/sarcasm]

If I were more cynical, I would almost consider this particular piece of apologetics quite blatantly dishonest. (I wonder how they tell the difference between "bunko" processes like the listed above and the "non-bunko" processes like first 7 days of creation...)

At least the editors of The New American Bible were reputable enough to affix a frankly honest footnote to this passage:
Jacob's stratagem was based on the widespread notion among simple people that visual stimuli can have prenatal effects on the offspring of breeding animals. Thus, the rods on which Jacob had whittled stripes or bands or chevron marks were thought to cause the female goats that looked at them to bear kids with lighter-colored marks on their dark hair, while the gray ewes were thought to bear lambs with dark marks on them simply by visual crossbreeding with the dark goats.
You have no idea how easy it is to apologize for the bible:
* There is no need to point out scientific errors and impossibilities. God can do anything, dont tell me you've forgotten...
* All contradictions can be resolved with "OUT OF CONTEXT!", a great deal of verbal gymnastics, small amount of dishonesty.
* Inconsistent geneaologies and quotes are "copyist errors".
* Special pleading. (You'll notice here, the author criticizes skeptics on the basis they must assume "Gen. 5:24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away" implies Enoch ascended into heaven in order to contradict "John 3:13 No man hath ascended up to heaven" - in my opinion I consider the contradiction valid. However, a virtually every example of apologetics I've ever come across relies on ability to assume some facts which are not explicitly stated. H*ck, even see the above example where the author assumes the bible is not endorsing the strange goat breeding technique as true.)

There are some miscellaneous techniques to resolving errors which cannot immediately be disregarded with the techniques above... I think the problem is merely that the apologetics are so poor and frankly unbelievable, even by fundie standards.
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Brian the Snail
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Post by Brian the Snail »

Thanks for posting the link Yahweh. I must say, I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't at http://www.skepticannotatedbible.com. They're missing a trick I feel. The page on Genesis is particularly funny with:

"As the scientific aspects of Creation and Flood our outside Tekton’s purview, I’ve asked a Ph.D. scientist from Answers in Genesis for comment. So if any SAB has any complaints on those particulars, take it up with them!"

So there you go. No arguing with a real life Ph.D scientist from AiG, is there?
Posted by Yahweh

There are some miscellaneous techniques to resolving errors which cannot immediately be disregarded with the techniques above... I think the problem is merely that the apologetics are so poor and frankly unbelievable, even by fundie standards.
That's not the point. It's not meant to be convincing to skeptics. It's written for fundies who stumble across the SAB, read it and get worried. Then they find the apologetic which seems to make sense if you're not prepared to think about it too deeply. Crisis of faith over, nothing to worry about.

It's really just Valium for fundamentalists.
Loon
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Post by Loon »

Yahweh wrote:You have no idea how easy it is to apologize for the bible:
* There is no need to point out scientific errors and impossibilities. God can do anything, dont tell me you've forgotten...
* several other steps that you don't really need.
I've always been under the impression that "God can do anything" covers any errors in the bible.
I guess there he chose to err on the side of more votes. -[size=75]Grammatron[/size]
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Doctor X
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Post by Doctor X »

. . . unless it involves iron chariots.

--J.D.
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"Doctor X is just treating you the way he treats everyone--as subhuman crap too dumb to breathe in after you breathe out." – Don
DocX: FTW. – sparks
"Doctor X wins again." – Pyrrho
"Never sorry to make a racist Fucktard cry." – His Humble MagNIfIcence
"It was the criticisms of Doc X, actually, that let me see more clearly how far the hypocrisy had gone." – clarsct
"I'd leave it up to Doctor X who has been a benevolent tyrant so far." – Grammatron
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Shit. That's going to end up in your sig." – Pyrrho
"Try a twelve step program and accept Doctor X as your High Power." – asthmatic camel
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gnome
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Post by gnome »

Loon wrote: I've always been under the impression that "God can do anything" covers any errors in the bible.
That causes problems too, keeps raising the question of, "If God can do anything, why did he go to all this trouble here?"

Of course the response is that the Lord works in mysterious ways, except for when he seems to make sense, then it's validation.