Saying ‘sorry’ to the trees
we need to talk! My name is.. well it doesn’t really matter what it is. I’m just a non-practicing European historian who minored in archaeology.. and who also happens to be an atheist. You’ll remember ‘Europe’ from high-school I hope, it is that great landmass across the Atlantic where much of all that archaeology, you recently referred to, actually is. In any case, we really need to talk about that thing you said the other day, regarding the Bible and archaeology.
Look, I know, we all say dumb stuff from time to time. We also don’t always realise it when we do it. Yet, I don’t think this was one of those times. You really seem to think what you said is true and you appear not to have died of embarrassment in the meantime. Just like a heroin-addict saying ‘he can handle it’, what you said.. it isn’t even remotely true! In fact, it is basically a drug-fuelled delusion nurtured, I suppose, by countless hours of browsing websites containing baseless biblical-pseudo-archaeology. Admitted, your co-opting archaeology is a fresh break from having kindred spirits of yours attack archaeology and deride it as a part of the ‘global-science-conspiracy’. But I’m sure you are not above eating your archaeology and having it as well so I shouldn’t get too much comfort from this diversion.
The notion that the Bible and the archaeological-record are mutually supportive is wrong. We can’t even make them compatible. Your usurping of archaeology’s scientific status is therefore actually pretty ironic, in a bitter way, because archaeology is and has been one of the most destructive sciences for Christian-theology so far. In that sense a theoretical-physicist can perhaps believe what you say and separate it from his work; but believing your Bible literally would pretty much prevent any philosopher, biologist, geographer and indeed every archaeologist, from doing their jobs properly. This is not academic censorship mind you, it just expresses how divorced your believes are from reality.
Now, I know you think that in any discussion between the Bible and Reason you should openly and proudly follow the Bible. I refer you to my previous ‘heroin-addict-analogy’ to express my opinion on that. That you would believe the self-contradictory, post-factum politicised textual reproduction of a game of ‘Chinese-whispers’; that started as a genre of adult bedtime-stories which were translated from a language(s) no-one has spoken in 1500 years; is frankly absurd and a testament to your very poor schooling and lacking mental development. When compared to the material- and internally consistent record of archaeology (that could only have been constructed over many millennia or by purely divine intervention), your precious little book is truly a regrettable waste of perfectly good trees. For you now to claim that your tree-wastage is supported by the very thing that denies it.. well that’s just what we have come to expect and have grown accustomed to, from all of your other fellow Christian-theologists.
Yet here is what archaeologists have uncovered (bad pun intended):
If mankind has been ‘created’ as you seem to think, it was done so through the stretched-out process of billions of years of Evolution and nowhere near the 7-days you had in mind. In this respect, although it is conducted entirely separated from these, archaeology supports these conclusions from biology and bio-chemistry. It also brings to the table what these can’t, the knowledge that in the gradual evolution from Hominids to Homo Sapiens Sapiens it was bipedalism that directly correlates with brain-sizes and ‘tool-using’ and it underscores the importance of ‘fire-making’ in making our species as we are today.
Just by scanning the surface of a ploughed field (near a river where I used to live), archaeologists have found human-made artefacts dating back thousands of years before the time where your beloved Christian theologists typically date ‘Creation’. Many of these artefacts are dated using multiple direct and indirect methods which thus-far have 100% confirmed each other within the margins of error. A 100 years-error-margin may seem quite high, but consider that this is often less than 1% of the time-to-present and basically nothing at all when considering the Bible, which is off by many MANY thousands of years.
Some of the dating techniques used are directly derived from the field of nuclear-physics. The same science where we exploit the constant-rate of nuclear-decay to predict and control the energy-output in our nuclear-energy production. If nuclear-decay had the potential of varying the output of neutrons even slightly, any nuclear-reactor would be a bomb waiting for the kind of fluctuation which creationists accuse carbon-dating of being subjected to. We understand nuclear-decay (the radiating of alfa-, beta-, gamma- rays from the nucleus) as much as we understand electron-transition (the radiation of photons from atoms) and we use the latter to build the atomic-clocks with which we synchronise the GPS system. The most accurate clock humans can build and without which your GPS would lose 10KM/day in accuracy.
Archaeology directly disproves the Biblical stories of Adam and Eve, Noah’s Arc, the Jewish enslavement in- and exodus from Egypt, the possibility for Jesus having been born in Nazareth, the tower of Babel, the presence of camels in 1st century Middle-east, the great-ness and size of King David’s ’empire’ and, I’m sure, many others
On the other hand, despite non-relenting digging in Jerusalem, religiously motivated excavators haven’t found anything frontpage-worthy to support either part of the Bible apart from some quickly debunked forgeries and historical-tautologies like “men in the 1st century were sometimes named ‘Jesus'”. Quod non erat demonstrandum.
Dear Michele, not only does archaeology directly contradict your world-view it even predicts your world-view as a phenomenon as it’s part of a ubiquitous but unproductive consequence of human brain-evolution. This is what can be concluded from the evidence of the many different expressions of religious-sentiment we have found, all BTW predating the ‘revelation’ of your ONE. TRUE. GOD! Seriously Michel, if your Bible is how we came to know about God and how we know he is the only God; then how come we have lived for 100 millennia with all sorts of other religious paradigms (many of them, I presume, God-lacking) and only 2 with yours?
So for anything you feel that archaeology has confirmed in your religion there is a multitude of things your religion just got plain wrong, as is evident from the archaeological record. If there is anything remarkable about it, it must be how little your unoriginal story corresponds to the reality it was set in; which is then again not really surprising considering what we know about how it was actually made (and not how you believe ‘God’ impacted its inception). Seriously, you believe in the literal historical truth of a text that can’t meet the accuracy-standard that even fiction must subscribe to. Then again, this might explain why it is one of the books with the poorest reading-to-printing rations (google ‘books, most printed, least read’, I dare you!). Tell me, if it can’t even agree with what we find underground, how can this book of yours possibly be worth the paper it is printed on?
Isn’t it about time for you Bible-pushers to start saying ‘sorry’ to the trees?