3/2/10

Bart Ehrman’s Problem, part 1

Please note that this essay has been moved to True Freethinker where it was posted at this link



9 comments:

  1. Mariano:

    I would say that the telephone game is a good example of how twisted the original knowledge can become over time. It is an extreme scenario, but a scenario that is nonetheless possible within the parameters of purely oral traditions. The difference between telephone and the wise old men of the ancient world you so revere is simply one of degree, not of kind.

    The point is not to argue the whole process is rotten to the core, but simply to cast reasonable doubt on the "truth" of any given idea.

    And if reasonable doubt is permissible for that idea, it would seem foolish to carry that idea to the point of dogma, to the point of worship and reverence as "The One and Only Truth." Especially since such authority is not routinely given to ideas for which there is more evidence and inherent reliability.

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  2. But is "reasonable doubt permissible for that idea"? God certainly understands the problems with data transmission. These problems are overcome via redundancy. The 2nd diagram shows redundancy via multiple broadcast; however there is another form of redundancy which the diagram doesn't show; namely, internal redundancy. God says the same things, over and over. With all of this redundancy, it's hard to miss the message.

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  3. wrf3:

    "But is "reasonable doubt permissible for that idea"? God certainly understands the problems with data transmission."

    2 points: (1) if god understood the problems with data transmission, why did he not account for it when he sent the message to mankind? (2) you almost prove my point for me--you admit there are problems with data transmission; and as long as there are problems with data transmission, reasonable doubt is permissible, especially given the titanic claims being made.

    "With all of this redundancy, it's hard to miss the message."

    This is true--as far as the Bible is concerned. One must accept the authority of the Bible in order for this argument to wash. What logical basis is there to adhere to the Bible and not some other text?

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  4. If one takes all statements in the Bible to be the word of God (inspired, direct, transcribed or whatever) then it He most certainly is not consistent.

    There are broad themes we can pull from the Bible, however: love, sin & repentance, the veracity of the Bible itself. These things emerge as general ideas which are consistent throughout.

    However, the mental/linguistic gymnastics involved in figuring out when it's not permitted to kill people is laughable. God (of the Bible) is shown to be neither omniscient nor omnipotent, he infrequently lies, and he even changes his mind.

    There's truly only one thing which is perfectly consistent throughout the books: regardless of what we think about the instructions, humans are supposed to do whatever God says.

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  5. @WEM -

    "If one takes all statements in the Bible to be the word of God (inspired, direct, transcribed or whatever) then it He most certainly is not consistent."

    How do you go about showing they are inconsistent?

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  6. I doubt that it would change your opinion, but don't you think it would be more intellectually honest to quote what was actually said at the conference rather than relying on Komoszewski's interpretation of Ehrman's statements?

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