Monday, December 29, 2008

He's young for his age

A naturalist with whom I occasionally interact via email (whom I'll call "Joe") recently sent me one of the stupidest sets of arguments I've literally ever seen, no lie. Here it is with very slight modification (to remove names and such):

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In my previous response to one of your claims about your YEC story, I inquired about the source of your authority for some of your language and asked: "What text is that? The King James Version assembled by consensus and put together by poets?"

My statements around your response is:

Joe: Prove that the meaning from the literally first version of the story in a culture where there is reason to think there was a limited vocabulary came over the years with the same and accurate meaning.

Rhology: Prove it? It says "on the 3rd day, God created..." The onus is on you to show that the "on the 3rd day" does not mean "on the 3rd day".

I've certainly seen the language argued to support a different interpretation


It seems you did go all the way back to King James English to 'prove' your source statement. I don't think they were speaking English around the campfires when this story got started. It is usually argued that they were speaking Aramaic, a short description of which follows:

Aramaic is a Semitic language with a 3,000-year history. It has been the language of administration of empires and the language of divine worship. It is the original language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and is the main language of the Talmud and Zohar. Aramaic was the native language of Jesus. (Note: Links are Joe's.)

Personally, I have doubts about Aramaic for the earliest versions of your YEC story but it is certainly closer to the original than your 'thee' and 'thou' loaded source. The language argument is that the word actually used in the earliest known versions of the YEC story, which gets translated to 'day' in the King James Version, would be better translated as 'period of time' without specifying a definite amount of time. I have no reasonably reliable idea what the 'true' version of this story is.

As for your argument that "The onus is on you to show that the "on the 3rd day" does not mean "on the 3rd day"; I'll be happy to take that one since the evidence so readily indicates that the events described did not happen in any three days. Just how blind do you have to be to be a Christian? If you have missed out on that much of what we understand about the small portion of the universe we can see, you really need to re-start your education.

While we are addressing sources, let me address the segment:

Joe: What text is that (referring to YEC)?

Rhology: Genesis 1, Genesis 2, and Jesus' and Paul's referrals to the literality and historicity of the people mentioned in the Creation account.

Besides the rather improbable time condensation of the origins of mankind, there being some more 'days' of remarkably rapid events, your source also goes into things like Noah's Flood which manages to disappear in the seemingly more minor events we can discern in the past. Your source does not stand as a reliable guide to events of the past and is disproved based on its own evidence. As for the value of Paul claiming it happened that way, it is of the same value as you claiming it happened the KJV way. You are both believers making a statement of what you have faith in and pretending it must be real because you believe it so much. It counts for naught.

On the matter of language, I would also like to revisit Darwin in this segment:

Joe: If you can argue that Darwin says man can't know what's going on, then other gods made land grants.

Rhology: What could the connection between these 2 possibly be?
Since Darwin DID say that, and Judges DOESN'T say that...
Perhaps you deny that it is possible to obtain a true interpretation. In which case your argument fails, since it wouldn't be true that other gods made land grants.
Or perhaps you deny that *my side* has the ability to obtain a true interpretation, which is nothing more than cheap special pleading. You'd need to provide a pretty good argument for that one, and you'd need to show a modicum of biblical knowledge.

Well, the connection could be that, since you get to take Darwin out of context, I get to take your Bible out of context and only have to consider the verse that has another god making land grants. Of course, there is also the possibility that a Judge of Israel did know what he was talking about, every word of the Bible is true I hear tell, and there was at least one more god at that time who could make land grants. (Note: He refers to the assertion which I rebutted here.)

As for the charge that I "deny that *my side* has the ability to obtain a true interpretation", I will say you have made some real reaches in the past and seem rather short on science, general knowledge, and logic.

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So there you have it. My own response is unnecessary, but here it is anyway.

Joe,
This message is one of the most pathetic and empty-headed emails I've ever gotten from a skeptic more than 15 yrs old. Sorry to say. I strongly suggest you go back to the drawing board on this.
Why would anyone talk to you about such matters when you won't even take account of the most elementary of relevant facts?

You said:
-It seems you did go all the way back to King James English to 'prove' your source statement.

? Absent an argument from you that the Hebrew is incorrectly translated into English, I don't know what you could mean here.


-It is usually argued that they were speaking Aramaic,

. Genesis is part of the *OLD* Testament, written in Hebrew. There was no Aramaic at the time.
You're conflating the spoken language of Jesus and the disciples with the OT. Sorry, that is a very amateurish error.


-Personally, I have doubts about Aramaic for the earliest versions of your YEC story

You are being such a poseur here! I can picture you sticking your nose in the air and saying this with an air of authority, blissfully ignorant of your ignorance.
As if you have any idea about the validity of ancient Aramaic, or Hebrew for that matter! Please. "Personally, I have doubts", sure. And the arguments for why the "Aramaic" version is incorrectly translated?


-since you get to take Darwin out of context, I get to take your Bible out of context

You know, that's usually not how rational argumentation works.
If someone takes a source out of context, the other guy is supposed to CORRECT him and offer an argument as to why, not to return the favor with an equal level of irrationality. Compounding error with error gets us nowhere.
Your arguments, anyway, about how I took Darwin out of context are based on your ad hoc and unsupported assertion that Darwin uses one specific permutation of a word, based on a modern dictionary. Good luck with that.

Peace and a little thought to you,
Rhology

1 comment:

Seth said...

I believe the argument for an aramaic Genesis may source from the popular modern/liberal interpretation that the OT was not authored as attributed by Jewish/Christian orthodoxy but rather sometime during David/Solomon's reign (thus the 3K timeframe would be reasonable).