When nuts disorganize: the “Cyrus Cylinder” and the Bible as a science text

“Scott Thong,” one of the mentally splintered keyboard-whackers making numerous appearances in this death-spiral of a thread about climate change, took issue with my reminding the aptly named troll named “TEXAN” that the Bible is not a factual account. Mr. Thong offers as “counterevidence” to my radical claim a link to a post on his own site dealing with the Cyrus Cylinder, a scroll discovered in 1879 that may or may not corroborate the events in the Book of Ezra to some extent.
It’s not clear to me why Mr. Thong thinks the existence of the Cyrus Cylinder suggests that everything in the Bible can be trusted. I know of no one who claims that the Bible doesn’t include at least some accurate historical information. However, it doesn’t take a logician to understand that the existence of a verifiable fact or two in a particular body of work doesn’t imply that everything else is trustworthy–even Answers in Genesis has a few things right. It also doesn’t take a genius to differentiate between history and science, but it apparently takes a mind more powerful than this chap’s.
Anyway, Mr. Thong uses the Cyrus Cylinder as a segue into the many reasons the Bible ought to be revered not only as a guide to proper living but as a history textbook. One by one:


See also more archaeological support for Biblical history:
The Jeremiah Tablet – Evidence of the Bible’s Accurate History
Here Scott links to one of his own posts, so I ignored this and visited a page on the UK Telegraph instead. While the headline is wildly inaccurate, it turns out that the discovery of this little piece of rock may lend credibility to an inconsequential portion of the Old Testament pertaining to a figure named Nabu-sharrussu-ukin. However, as with the aforementioned Cyrus Cylinder vis-a-vis the rest of the Bible, there is plainly no justification for viewing the Jeremiah Tablet as evidence that, say, the universe was created in six days, snakes and sticks can swap themselves, or donkeys can sometimes talk. A contemporary example: Just because I like Discovery magazine doesn’t mean I find the ROM Machine advertised therein to be anything more than an expensive joke.
Isaiah in the Dead Sea Scrolls (dated by secular research to 100-300 years before Jesus Christ)
Another internal link. That the Dead Sea Scrolls accurately foretold the events in Jesus’ life is an old, tired idea. Religious scholars don’t believe that the scrolls offer anything besides insight as to the range Old Testament tradition in the century or two preceding 0 BCE. And since the Jesus figure is clearly based on older god-men such as the Egyptian god Horus, I wonder what Mr. Thong thinks about the fact that the Shroud of Turin was radiocarbon-dated to about the 13th century CE and is therefore a medieval forgery.
Was the Bible Changed? (Reasons Why It Could Not Have Been) (with list of some of the Bible’s countless ancient and accurate document sources)
I don’t think this requires an in-depth response.
When Were the Gospels Written? – Internal Evidence From Acts
Again, I don’t think anyone needs to waste time explaining the inherent failure of circular reasoning such as “The Bible is true because it says so right there in the Bible.”
Was Christ Crucified? Deedat vs. McDowell
I don’t know how this impacts the historicity–and more to the point, the scientific validity (the concept Mr. Thong originally insisted I was wrong about)–of the Bible. It’s certain that someone, in fact many someones, suffered the torture and indignity of death by crucifixion in those days. There were self-described prophets running all around Mesopotamia at the time, and there was ample, violent resistance to their ideas. However, I don’t think anyone extinguished in this manner got up and started boogying around three days later.
D2Y2.com: Christian Apologetics Article
This is an article Mr. Thong wrote himself for an Asian youth e-zine. It is completely off-topic; all it consists of is an explanation of what Christian apologetics are and how they should be perpetrated.
Christianity – The Faith of Famously Intellectual, Logical, Reasonable Thinkers (Intelligent, skeptical, scholarly atheists/agnostics who were logically convinced of Christianity’s truthful basis)
Physicists Believe in God (Or At Least a Creator or Designer): A Collection of Quotes (Educated smart guys who conclude that it is highly likely God exists)
I’m sorry, but Lee Strobel is not a paragon of intellect, with or without his signature Lego-man bowl haircut. But is the fact that intelligent people can be Christians serve as evidence of anything? No, but that doesn’t stop people like Mr. Thong. And if people are going to resort to such rickety reasoning, they should go all the way and admit that belief is inversely correlated with education, particularly in the sciences.
As for his “physicists believe” bullet point, it links to a ridiculous series of mined quotes, including some from established atheists such as Steven Weinberg, Paul Davies, and Stephen Hawking. All this from a tool who admonished me for “not doing my research.”
The greater picture is that these people do not trust modern-day scientists with the IPCC (and one need not agree with its computer models to the last detail in order to accept that anthropogenic effects on climate almost certainly exist) or any other organization, yet trust the “science” set forth in an assortment of apocalyptic faery tales crafted many thousands of years ago by anonymous writers with very limited access to the Internet, the Library of Congress, and PubMed. One has to wonder what it takes to create an otherwise intact human being who cannot see the bias and futility in this. Religiosity itself may not be a mental illness, but when coupled with a mind already potentiated by misfortunes of genetics, it is a truly evil catalyst.

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  1. #1 by BrainUser on December 19, 2008 - 10:51 am

    Sherlock Holmes novels take place in London. London has been found to scientifically exists. Does this mean that Sherlock Holmes was a real person?

  2. #2 by BrainUser on December 19, 2008 - 10:51 am

    Sherlock Holmes novels take place in London. London has been found to scientifically exists. Does this mean that Sherlock Holmes was a real person?

  3. #3 by Warren on December 19, 2008 - 4:54 pm

    I know of no one who claims that the Bible doesn’t include at least some accurate historical information.
    Penn Jillette (Penn & Teller, Bullshit!) has made the comment that the Bible contains equal amounts of history, fact and pizza.

  4. #4 by John J. McKay on December 19, 2008 - 6:47 pm

    Sure, just because some famous scientists were Christians doesn’t prove that the Bible is true in every detail, but what about Country Western singers?? Huh, mister smarty pants running guy!!!?! HOW DO YOU REFUTE THAT??!!1!??!eleven!??!

  5. #5 by Badger3k on December 19, 2008 - 7:09 pm

    BrainUser – of course it does. And I hear Spider-Man has been swinging through New York lately.
    I can’t believe that someone is using McDowell (as in Josh, the debunked hack) as something serious (at least, I assume that is him, I didn’t check – I’ve read the debunking of his numerous errors). At least Mr Thong (is he Capt Underpants’ sidekick?) didn’t give William Lane Craig or Alvin Plantiga. He hasn’t gone that far down (although, using Strobel as some kind of intellectual or expert is hilarious enough).
    John – what about PYGMIES+DWARVES? Huh? All it needs is a squirrel with a laser on it’s head.

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