Applying Data and Information Quality Principles To The Bible

In the coming weeks, I intend to show that if we posit a null hypothesis about the Bible and we evaluate the quality of data and information in the Bible, the hypothesis that humans alone were sufficient to create the Bible is supported very well by the Data which effectively refutes the hypothesis posited in 2 Timothy 3:16.

Brief Introduction to Data and Information Quality
I recommend reading the following link on Wikipedia, Data Quality. Its a good overview of how Data and Information Quality got its start as an aspect of computer science.

Data and Information have an intrinsic value
While historically, the desire for accurate information has always been important, especially to Kings and Generals, the perceived need for principles to manage data quality arose from the realization of businesses that databases which accurately reflected the state of the world, namely customer information and inventories, saved money. Over the years, as computing became less expensive the technology was adopted by individual consumers and the amount of information available online grew from diverse sources such as companies, governments and individuals. It became apparent that some way to evaluate the quality of information was needed(1). It should be obvious that some data is accurate and reliable and some data is not. To ensure data is accurate and reliable, it needs to be profiled, cleaned, parsed, matched, moved, analyzed, reconciled and reported on(8). In the past two decades metrics for determining the relative quality of information from a given source have been derived. Measuring the quality of an information source is an inexact science but using principles of probability, its relative quality can be measured(12).

Data Quality Dimensions
Data Quality is a term used to describe characteristics or dimensions attributed to data or information. Much of the research on Data Quality is carried out at The MIT Total Data Quality Management Program where Richard Y. Wang has led the effort since the 1990's. There are several approaches to data quality research that depend on how the data will be used, and they all have their own values for criteria or "dimensions". The approaches can be categorized as "Intuitive" (based on what the researcher believed is important), "Theoretical" (how data becomes deficient during the production) and "Empirical" (data gathered from consumers to see what is important to them). Most data studies fall into the "Intuitive" category, however they all contain a core set of "dimensions" and one data dimension that has a consistently high value in all lists is "Accuracy". Another highly valued core dimension from the intuitive approach is "reliability". Some highly valued core dimensions from the Theoretical approach are "Accuracy, Relevance, Correctness, Currency, Completeness" and from the Empirical approach are "Accuracy, Relevancy, Believability, Valued-added, Interpretability" and "Ease-of-understanding" (11). The different dimensions will have higher and lower values to different organizations depending on the context in which they are used. I will elaborate more on the data production and the data consumer dimensions as I explore how they apply to the Bible in later articles.

Do you think data and information quality important?
Would you be satisfied with a metaphorical record in the following situations or would you prefer a record that accurately represents real world events?
- Reading or watching the news
- Textbooks that you are required to purchase for your University courses
- Studying the only record of the Abrahamic God that exists.
- Producing or reading a business report
- Grocery shopping
- Reviewing your bank statement
- Reviewing the charges for your utilities, such as electric, phone, water, trash, television etc
- Paying your Taxes
- Purchasing a car
- Taking inventory
- Purchasing insurance
- Reviewing your shipping invoice, what you received versus what your ordered and how much you paid.
- Your check at the restaurant
and so on.

Why is data and information quality important?
So what happens when data and information quality is poor? "Poor data quality can have a severe impact on the overall effectiveness of an organization"(3) and "Poor data quality can have substantial social and economic impacts"(11). Subsequently there is a high value placed on information quality as evidenced by how much people are willing to spend to obtain it. There is an industry built on data quality concepts(4) and professional certifications available(5). The reliability of such things as inventory, medical records, medical research, military and civilian logistics, market research, consumer safety, education, consultant reports, work requests, billing reports, status reports, technical manuals and intelligence reports depend on data from verifiable sources that are produced with the goal of accurately representing elements of the real world. One recent example of what happens when there is poor quality information and data is the decision by the United States to invade Iraq in 2003 on the grounds that Iraq possessed "Weapons of Mass Destruction"(6) which turned out to be false. Because of the demonstrable importance of assessing data quality, the industry of Data Quality Management has developed(4).

Who uses Data Quality and Information Quality Dimensions?
Short list of organizations promoting Information Quality Principles
* US Government,
- Data Quality Act,
- Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies
* Data Quality Management Industry, DMReview, an industry magazine.
* Education Professionals,
- The Quality Information Checklist,
- Robert Harris's "VirtualSalt",
- East Tennessee State University
* Legal Industry, Evaluating the Quality of Information on the Internet
* Medical Industry,
- Journal of Medical Internet Research,
- Medical Billing
* US Army Logistics, "Data Quality Problems in Army Logistics", By Lionel A. Galway, Christopher H. Hanks, United States Army, Rand Corporation, Arroyo Center
and many more.

The Book As A Database: The justification to apply data and information quality metrics to evaluate the Bible
A book can be a data source. It can be treated like a database. It can be profiled, cleaned, parsed, matched, moved, analyzed, reconciled and reported on. Examples are an atlas, a history book, generally speaking a text book and The Bible. In fact, over the years, to facilitate ease of study, the Bible has been formatted and cross-referenced very similarly to a database.

If we have a lot of individual pieces of information sources we can collect them, profile them, sort them, categorize them, spell check them, look for exceptions, reconcile them, clean them, parse them, match them, move them, and create a report about them. Then they can be put together into an anthology. Once they are into an anthology, they can be further organized into volumes, chapters, pages, paragraphs, sentences, and if necessary even further still into parts of sentences (to separate two distinct ideas in one sentence for example) and verses. This is what happened to the Bible.

Over centuries early Jewish religious leaders initiated the transcription of oral tradition, then later accumulated individual pieces of scripture, evaluated them and combined them into the Tanakh. Generation after Generation went to great effort to maintain the integrity and quality of the Bible by attempting to ensure, at least in theory, that it remained unchanged during copying. When Christianity had generated their own scriptures, and translated the Tahakh from Hebrew, a similar process happened. In the 13th century Stephen Langton of Magna Carta fame created the chapter and verse system later adopted by Jews during the harsh persecution of the Spanish Inquisition(9) and widely in use today in modern Bibles. Obviously the Bible was considered and treated as a source of information about real events in the world whose integrity and quality were given a very high priority and importance.

So how accurate should we expect the Word of God to be?
In the Bible 2 Timothy 3:16 says that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness". Jesus describes himself as "the way" and goes on to further describe himself as a kind of "Model" to show what God is like. Later, in 325 CE, Church Fathers formally adopted a creed which described him as being "one substance" with God. Jesus confirmed the Old Testament was the word of God by referring to it as such and referred back to it frequently. If Jesus was God incarnate, he verified that Scripture was his word. He mapped Scripture to God and to Himself and verified that Scripture mapped to real world events. Therefore we should expect some measurable difference between scripture and a book not inspired or endorsed by God .

If we use a weighted raking we can get a rough idea of how accurate we can expect the Word of God to be. God is perfect, and man is not. So we can expect that man will be less accurate than God, but if God is helping man, then man should be more accurate than if he were working alone.

1. Man alone is less accurate
2. Man is more accurate with Gods help than without it
3. God is more accurate than man

That should serve as a rough guideline and the first metric in an attempt to quantify the accuracy of the Bible(7).

The following is a list of human endeavors that apparently were not divinely inspired, so when using the weighted ranking scale in evaluating how the Bible compares to human endeavors it should be reasonable to expect the following.
- It should be at least as brilliant as the ancient theories of knowledge, reason, truth, nature, mathematics, logic, knowledge of nature, and the use of mathematics to describe nature which continue to inform the practice of science to the present day resulting in theories such as Germ theory, Relativity, Genetics, Atoms, Quantum Theory all of which have been applied to generally reduce the amount of suffering in the world.
- It should at least be as accurate as a history book where it talks about history
- It should at least be as accurate as a science book where it talks about the world
- It should at least be as accurate as a manual where it gives instructions
- It should at least be as accurate as a scientific theory where it gives predictions
If not, then there is no reason to think that its inspiration is anything different than any other type of inspiration.

A Null hypothesis is any hypothesis that is evaluated for its ability to explain a given set of data. If the hypothesis is not sufficient to explain the data, then there is reason to pursue an alternate hypothesis. While it is not without it criticisms, particularly compared to Bayesian Inference(10), it is a useful heuristic to form an initial opinion about an idea about its probability or plausibility, or to get a "feeling" about something.

In the coming weeks, I intend to show that if we posit a null hypothesis about the Bible and we evaluate the quality of data and information in the Bible, the hypothesis that humans alone were sufficient to create the Bible is supported very well by the Data which effectively refutes the hypothesis posited in 2 Timothy 3:16.

REFERENCES
1. Wikipedia, "Data Management"
2. Information Quality at MIT
3. Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations
4. DMReview, Data Management Review
5. IQ-1 Certificate Program
6. Wikipedia, 2003 Invasion of Iraq
7. How Accurate Is The Bible?
8. Datalever.com
9. Wikipedia, Tanakh
10. Wikipedia, Null Hypothesis
11. Beyond Accuracy: What Data Quality Means To Consumers
12. IQ Benchmarks

Just For Fun
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- Japan objects to US N Korea move
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- McCain supporters face uphill climb in blue Jersey
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37 comments:

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Hey Lee,

This looks interesting.

I just have one question about your methodology.

Testing the quality of data in the Bible will, as you say, rely on perceived assumptions about such data? But won’t these set assumptions need initial data in and of themselves? For example how can we expect things to be in the Bible if not from the Bible? Henceforth testing the validity of the Bible’s information quality is based either on our individual postulations about God, or the Biblical account of God. Either way how can the quality of information be tested? You either test the quality which you need to do the original test in the first place, meaning if you find the quality meager then the test itself must be poor and not worth testing. Or you don’t test the quality you just place it against your own set individual preconceived ideas about God?

Regards, Rev. Phil.

Author of the blog Christianity Versus Atheism
http://christianityversusatheism.blogspot.com/

Lee Randolph said...

HI Rev,
Henceforth testing the validity of the Bible’s information quality is based either on our individual postulations about God, or the Biblical account of God.

no, it can be measured using external criteria. I've finally found a way to break out of the logic loop, circular reasoning of "we know about god from the bible and the bible is the word of god".

Since the bible says that jesus equated himself with god and himself with the scriptures, then we have a standard. The scriptures equate to god.

Since we know empirically what it takes to accurately represent the world, what data production errors produce poor quality information, and what criteria consumers find most useful we can apply those standards to the bible.

If the bible doesn't measure up to being a good quality information source by human standards, especially by human consumer standards, then the probability that god had a hand in creating the bible is low. The bible was created for us to know God by, it should be high quality information.

If you want to say that a poor quality source of information about god is what we should expect from god, more power to you, but to say that your arguments about god are as strong as you think they are using a poor quality information source is irrational compared to rational principles for information quality.

in a nutshell, once I get done with this, only special pleading can qualify the bible as sufficient to create a strong argument for Christianity. This won't be news to atheists, but at least when I'm done, we can say difinitively what is wrong and why it is wrong based on rational principle rather that squabble with equivocation and about "interpretation". One quality dimension is "interpretability" and the fact that so many passages logically (to christians anyway) infer different things is an indicator of poor quality.

heres my "lesson plan" for the next articles.
This is fundamental to my other article series on "the bible as folklore gen 1-11" and "adam bombing/refuting romans 5". They should have been done first so I would have had an easier time in the comments, but I was too eager to jump into them.
Once I get done with establishing rational criteria to measure the quality of information, I'll get back to refuting romans five by adam bombing.

//// notes to myself about the plan for eight more articles taken from my googledocs ////
2. The Bible doesn't meet educational and legal research criteria,
-- use the "beyond accuracy appendix D" or "IQ Benchmarks" definitions
-- use the SALT criteria

3. Overview of otological mapping and production flaws "Anchoring Data Quality"
-- proper representation .
-- incomplete representation .
-- ambiguous representation .
-- meaningless state .
-- Garbling
---- map to a meaningless state .
---- map to a wrong state .

4. The Bible has problems with -- proper representation .

5. The Bible has problems with -- incomplete representation .

6. The Bible has problems with -- ambiguous representation .

7. The Bible has problems with -- meaningless state .

8. My list of top dimensions that the bible has problems with

9. Maybe Bayes analysis of probability of accuracy of Gen 2-3?

then when christians say "oh you can't take adam, the snake and all that literally" then I'll point out that its a quality criteria violation and then start in with biological bases for behavior arguments to refute the "jesus sacrificed himself for us because we are sinners anyway with or without adam" noting all the way that christian arguments are inherently weak because they demonstrably violate rational principles for information quality.

one other thing I'd like to mention to you rev, is that your assertion that adam and eve did not necessarily have to be alone when they were created depends on you injecting elements into the story that were not included by the authors. This shows, using principles of logic, that the adam and eve story is likely not true because it can't stand on its own and be coherent. More of that poor information quality criteria for you.

Evan said...

Lee I think this is a fantastic approach. I'm eager to see where you go with this.

Lee Randolph said...

Thanks evan,
I hope I don't muck it up.
;-)

zilch said...

Lee, man, you're doing it again! Don't you have a day job? Tell me that you do get outside and feel the wind at least once a day!

I agree with Evan: this is a great approach, and I think I already know how the Bible will stack up- am I a prophet?

One nit to pick: you say

One recent example of what happens when there is poor quality information and data is the decision by the United States to invade Iraq in 2003 on the grounds that Iraq possessed "Weapons of Mass Destruction"(6) which turned out to be false.

As I'm sure you're aware, "poor quality information" was not the whole story. While we will probably never know exactly what went on, Saddam Hussein had long been in the sights of the neocons, because of all that American oil that had somehow got under the sands of Iraq. So the Administration was already looking very hard for an excuse to invade, which is not conducive to objective assessment of evidence.

And don't forget the other reason given to invade: Hussein's alleged support for Bin Laden, which the Administration must have know to be a fabrication.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Zilch,
I love the mountains, in fact I went this weekend to gather chestnuts and have a nice lunch in a secluded diner.

Now I roast ten every night to have with dinner. Why Ten? I don't know, probably the same reason I'm driven to find rational principles to apply to religion.

About the WMD thing, you are right, we are never going to know the whole story, and I recognized that poor information wasn't the whole story, but if you unpack that, you can think about how many facets that poor quality information had and how many people it affected. Unpack it and you can see why U.S. allies should have learned a lesson in trust.

trust is good but to not trust is better.

cross-check, cross-check, cross-check.
;-)

zilch said...

Good for you, Lee. It's not quite chestnut time here yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Maybe you're roasting ten chestnuts in remembrance of the psaltery of ten strings featured in Psalms 33, 92, and 144?

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Hi Lee,

You said,

Since the bible says that jesus [sic] equated himself with god [sic] and himself with the scriptures, then we have a standard. The scriptures equate to god, [sic].

The problem still exists. Using the bible's data as you say is the first premises. Therefore the logic trap is still present.

Premise

(1) The bible claims something about God and itself.

(2) We can show via Data information quality that the principles found in the bible are false.

(3) Conclusion, the bible is false in its claims.

ERROR!

If the data used proves the data is false then the this also proves the method is false. You cannot use data to disprove data.

Regards, Rev. Phil.

Author of the blog "Christianity Versus Atheism"
http://christianityversusatheism.blogspot.com/

Lee Randolph said...

Hi rev,
you might want to stop now and wait for the articles because you definitely don't have any idea what you are arguing against at this point.

but here's a hint, if you read the info referenced in the article
namely,

- The Quality Information Checklist,

- Robert Harris's "VirtualSalt",

- East Tennessee State University

* Legal Industry, Evaluating the Quality of Information on the Internet

3. Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations

11. Beyond Accuracy: What Data Quality Means To Consumers

12. IQ Benchmarks

It will be obvious.

but here's something to think about that you will see in my next article.

not only are
there different books in the bible depending on if you use the Hebrew, the protestant, the catholic or the orthodox (for example) If we use the greatest number of books in any bible as our total, then there are only about 21% of them where the author can be identified. 79% percent of them are unknown. 79% percent of the only information that exists about the abrahamic god comes from an unknown source. And a small percentage are not considered worthy of inclusion between denominations. What makes one worthy to one group and not worthy to another?

The conclusion in my next article is
"in principle, that's bad".

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Hi Lee,

Yea, look I think this is a little perplexing to me and I have not read the articles. And you a probably mostly right! I am not sure exactly what I am arguing against given.

However, again I still cannot seem to get a straight answer from you. Your last example is this...

If we use the greatest number of books in any bible as our total, then there are only about 21% of them where the author can be identified. 79% percent of them are unknown. 79% percent of the only information that exists about the abrahamic god comes from an unknown source. And a small percentage are not considered worthy of inclusion between denominations. What makes one worthy to one group and not worthy to another?

The conclusion in my next article is
"in principle, that's bad".

Bad based on what? What makes this bad data? On what premise do you establish this conclusion? Is it either...

(1) on what the bible claims about itself or

(2) on what you yourself think is good and bad?

(3) Another option I don't yet fully grasp?

Either way option (1) or (2) is a self-refuting argument isn't it?

Regards, Rev. Phil.

Author of the blog Christianity Versus Atheism
http://christianityversusatheism.blogspot.com/

Lee Randolph said...

HI Rev,
Bad based on what? What makes this bad data? On what premise do you establish this conclusion? Is it either...

(1) on what the bible claims about itself or

(2) on what you yourself think is good and bad?

(3) Another option I don't yet fully grasp?

I thought it was clear that I was using principles of Data and Information quality derived from experts in the field.

you can either read the material yourself and make the inference yourself, or you can wait for my articles.

If you want me start making my argument in the comments its not going to happen.

Heres another hint,
Since the bible says that it is the VERIFIED word of God, is it more accurate than any of these ancient historians?
Thucydides
heroditus
Life of Homer (Pseudo-Herodotus)
Josephus

Ancient HistoriansPart 1, Part 2

the following list taken from the links above.

Historian - Augustus
In his "res gestae," Augustus recorded in marble what he wished to be remembered of his reign. The copy that survives is in Turkey in what was a temple to Augustus.

Historian - Cassius Dio
Cassius Dio (Dio Cassius) was an historian of Rome possibly related to Dio Chrysostom. Cassius Dio wrote in Greek.


Historian - Eunapius
Resources on the Byzantine historian Eunapius -- or Eunapios -- of Sardis.

Historian - Herodotus
Herodotus was called the father of history. Herodotus was a Greek historian.

Historian - Jordanes - Gothic
Jordanes, himself a Goth, abridged a lost history of the Goths by Cassiodorus.

Historian - Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar kept detailed records of his military campaigns and wars in his Civil and Gallic Wars. In the Gallic War you'll find the famous phrase "all Gaul is divided into three parts."

Historian - Livy
Titus Livius (Livy) was born c. 59 B.C. and died in A.D. 17 at Patavium, in northern Italy. In about 29 B.C., while living in Rome, he started his magnum opus, Ab Urbe Condita, a history of Rome from its foundation, written in 142 books.

Historian - Plutarch (Biographer)
Resources on Plutarch of Chaironeia (Chaeronea), who achieved prominence during the reigns of Nerva, Hadrian, and Trajan his biographies of famous Greeks, and Romans, and bibliography. He lived c. A.D. 45 - 125.

Historian - Polybius
Greek historian (200-118 B.C.) who wrote a history of the world and provided information on the Punic Wars from a non-Roman perspective.

Historian - Sallust
C. Sallustius Crispus or Sallust (c. 86-55 B.C.) wrote monographs about the Jugurthine War and the Catilinarian Conspiracy.


Historian - Tacitus
P. Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 56 - c. 120) may have been the greatest Roman historian. He held the positions of senator, consul, and provincial governor of Asia. He wrote "Annals," "Histories," "Agricola," "Germany," and a dialogue on oratory.

Historian - Thucydides
Thucydides (c. 460-455 - c. 399 B.C.), who wrote the history of the Peloponnesian War, came from a wealthy conservative family, was a friend of Pericles of Athens, an opponent of the radical democracy that sent him into exile.

Historian - Velleius Paterculus
An historian of Rome, Velleius Paterculus lived during the time of Augustus and Tiberius. His prose history is not considered to be in the same class as Tacitus, but he provides valuable accounts of the period in which he lived.

Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Diodorus Siculus, and Plutarch.

Historian - Zosimus
Resources on the Greek historian of Rome, Zosimus, whose work is thought to have been written at the beginning of the sixth century.

Lee Randolph said...

I think you'll find that the bible has the same problems that those guys have, and more.

I'll spell those problems out in the coming articles.

RichD said...

All those problems with the bible, and the mormons get alot of crap for not hinging their belief solely on the bible, go figure. ;)

zilch said...

Yes, richd, and what about those Raelians? They don't recognize the Bible at all, and still people criticize them!

RichD said...

Plenty of others too zilch I was being sarcastic though.

zilch said...

I guess I have to get my irony meter recalibrated, richd. It's been giving spurious readings ever since I got entangled at Triablogue, and hasn't been the same since.

Lee Randolph said...

HI Rev,
I think you have made the point that to use the bible to show that it is inaccurate, is circular.
meaning that if I am proving the bible is bad information then I can't use it to prove that its bad information.

is that right?

well,

I am a rabbit and I am typing this into the typewriter.

That doesn't "map" to a real world state. It doesn't represent a real world state.

You can use the sentence above to demonstrate that it is meaningless using its words and the inferences that it evokes.

So the bible says generally that scripture is the word of God, Jesus is effectively god on earth, and he says that scripture is the word of god all the while using scripture as premises in his arguments.

If those words in the bible don't accurately reflect a state of the world then they are effectively meaningless.

If there was no adam, and evidence strongly suggests that, then when he uses adam as a premise, he demonstrates that either he is deceitful or ignorant about adam. Either one is not what you'd expect out of Jesus. So those passages take a hit in credibility.

If there was no noah, and evidence strongly suggests that, then when he uses noah as a premise, he demonstrates that either he is deceitful or ignorant about noah. Either one is not what you'd expect out of Jesus. So those passages take a hit in credibility.

tigg13 said...

'Scuse me for buttin in...

Even if you disregard the negative results of an information test of bad information on the grounds that the information was bad to begin with, you still have a problem Rev.

You would agree, wouldn't you, that an information test done on good data would show that the information was good, right?

So, if the test is done and you don't get a positive result, doesn't that automatically infer that the information is bad?

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

@ Lee,

Thanks Lee,

I was thinking that for more comments on this strand I would have to wade through your articles suggested and with time constraints this would prove near impossible.

Thanks for getting the drift.

You said,

I am a rabbit and I am typing this into the typewriter.

That doesn't "map" to a real world state. It doesn't represent a real world state.

(1) If the statement is false, as you infer, then you assume at every moment language is present within the Bible in a literal manner. Consequently metaphorical, analogical, etc are not considerations.

My blog answers this in regard to Adam and the Genesis account.

(2) Secondly, your statement actually does 'map' well, the problem is not the statement per se, it is the reconciliation with present experience.

So the problem is not the data its it reconciliation with present circumstances.

You said,

You can use the sentence above to demonstrate that it is meaningless using its words and the inferences that it evokes.

I think the sentence makes perfect sense. Its just hard to reconcile with my personal present experience.

You said,

If those words in the bible don't accurately reflect a state of the world then they are effectively meaningless.

No I don't think so. Accurately is an ambiguous word and something the bible does not claim about itself. I think this is where scientific atheism enters into many methodological problems. It is based purely on observed facts about the world but that is its limits. Science cannot prove your statement wrong.

You said,

Either one is not what you'd expect out of Jesus. So those passages take a hit in credibility.

Here is the major logic flaw though. What you expect about Jesus comes from data in the Bible and according to you this data is poor therefore what you expect from Jesus must also be poor, therefore the argument is circular. The setting up of the premise excludes your conclusion.

@ tigg13

No worries,

You said,

You would agree, wouldn't you, that an information test done on good data would show that the information was good, right?

So, if the test is done and you don't get a positive result, doesn't that automatically infer that the information is bad?

Not necessarily, just because a positive is shown does not mean the converse of a negative is a positive.

For example if it barks it must be a dog. If it fails to bark then it cannot be a dog? Logical fallacy!

Regards, Rev. Phil.

Author of the blog Christianity Versus Atheism
http://christianityversusatheism.blogspot.com/

Lee Randolph said...

Hi rev,
Here is the major logic flaw though. What you expect about Jesus comes from data in the Bible and according to you this data is poor therefore what you expect from Jesus must also be poor, therefore the argument is circular. The setting up of the premise excludes your conclusion.

you are denying sound principles rev. Shame on you.
sound principles of communication, and sound priciples of mathematics rev, just to name two.

Ever heard of cross-checking your results, your answers, your conclusions, your facts, your checkbook, your bank statement, you grocery bill, etc, etc, etc,

If the bible makes a claim, and it makes other claims that are inconsistent with previous claims, then it cancels itself out.

It is not circular because an external standard is applied.

- Jesus is god.
- scripture is gods word
- Jesus is the word or logos
- jesus verifies that the scriptures are the word of god

- but the bible mentions that people were made out of earth
- but the bible mentions that pi is only three
- but the bible mentions that there are winged creatures that walk on four legs. I'll buy you a a beer if you can name one.
- the bible mentions a whole slew of incorrect criteria of the real world

These are meaningless, they do not map to real world items or events, they are overturned by evidence to the contrary.

God is either being deceptive, failing to communicate as well as is warranted, or it wasn't god.

it doesn't get any simpler than that no matter how much you want to shuffle words around.

zilch said...

You owe me a beer, Lee. Pegasus is an animal that walks on four legs and flies. Not only that, but a garbage truck has four wheels and flies. I'll collect when you visit me in Vienna.

Lee Randolph said...

Zilch,
maybe,
but one question first.

Is that a beer bong your holding up to your mouth?

If it is, I'll look into flight arrangements. I'll bring my beer hat and one for you too. We can go cruising for chicks. They dig the hat.
;-)

zilch said...

You're on, Lee. And no, that's not a beer bong: it's a horn made from bull kelp. Since instrument making is not just my profession, but my calling, I can't resist trying to coax sounds out of found objects, and kelp makes a pretty good horn. Unfortunately, here in landlocked Austria, there's no kelp, so I only get occasional fixes on trips- that one was near my uncle's house in Crescent City, in Northern California.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Hey Lee,

You said,

If the bible makes a claim, and it makes other claims that are inconsistent with previous claims, then it cancels itself out.

I agree, but you have not presented any.

You said,

It is not circular because an external standard is applied.

- Jesus is god.
- scripture is gods word
- Jesus is the word or logos
- jesus verifies that the scriptures are the word of god

- but the bible mentions that people were made out of earth
- but the bible mentions that pi is only three
- but the bible mentions that there are winged creatures that walk on four legs. I'll buy you a a beer if you can name one.
- the bible mentions a whole slew of incorrect criteria of the real world

These are meaningless, they do not map to real world items or events, they are overturned by evidence to the contrary.

Sure but why do all these things mentioned contradict the word of God status? The only answer is because you presume that God's word means total LITERAL accurate descriptions of reality. Metaphor, poetry, irony, parallelism, why cannot God use those? For example your description of man being made from earth is only one of two possible creation accounts. You yourself are selective in your data selection. Very Bad Science...? Perhaps the shame should be re-directed.

You said,

God is either being deceptive, failing to communicate as well as is warranted, or it wasn't god.

Or (4) You are failing to take into consideration all the data in all the different ways it is presented. You are setting limits on how you think God must have decided to communicate and are now trying to knock it down. The problem is you are arguing from presumption not consideration of the scriptures.

Regards, Rev. Phil.

Author of the blog Christianity Versus Atheism
http://christianityversusatheism.blogspot.com/

Lee Randolph said...

Hi rev,
Sure but why do all these things mentioned contradict the word of God status? The only answer is because you presume that God's word means total LITERAL accurate descriptions of reality. Metaphor, poetry, irony, parallelism, why cannot God use those? For example your description of man being made from earth is only one of two possible creation accounts. You yourself are selective in your data selection. Very Bad Science...? Perhaps the shame should be re-directed.
thanks for proving my point.
do you mind if I use this in one of my articles?

The problem is you are arguing from presumption not consideration of the scriptures.
look accept it, I am arguing from established principles, you are misrepresenting me on purpose because you can't refute it.

In the only record of a thing that exists, metaphor is poor quality information. The fact that christianity is splintered into so many denominations is proof. The fact that after 2000 years it only has a 35% (at best) mindshare is proof.
If god doensn't provide information any better than a human can, it is irrational to presume that it came from anything other than a human.

metaphor is poor quality information.
Two different creation accounts is poor quality information.

and I'll show diagrams of why in the coming articles, or you can just go look at the "Data Quality ....Ontological principles" diagrams because I am going to use those as examples for mine.

and rev,
leviticus and deuteronomy were not meant to be metaphor and you should know that.

RichD said...

Ok lee,
what about squirals? And don't bats have 4 walking limbs? There not even mythical. ;)
Zilch, never harm done. I don't see how you remain sane after triablogue.

zilch said...

Flying squirrels! Good one, richd. I just remembered the beautifully named lizard, Draco Volans, that can extend its ribs to form wings and glides pretty well. And there are even some frogs whose webbed feet are big enough to glide with. That's several beers, Lee...

As far as staying sane after tangling with the Triabloguers, you just have to know when to quit, because they don't.

Lee Randolph said...

No Rich,
according to Lev. 11:19 the bat is a bird, in any case wings don't count as legs even if those crazy scientists don't think they're birds!

Leviticus 11:20-23 was talking about locusts and grasshoppers.

and flying squirrels don't fly. just throw one up as high as you can in the middle of wide open field and see what happens, but do the christian thing and try to catch it before it hits the ground.

But anyway, I'll buy you guys beers for the effort! Heck I'll even by the rev one cause he's a good sport! And we can use zilchs Horn Of Bull Kelp to play drinking songs with!

Nothing like getting filled with the spirit to the sound of a Horn of Bull Kelp!

zilch said...

Just name the day, Lee. But if you're really located at Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, then you can bring the bull kelp. I'll convert it to a horn.

tigg13 said...

How does one determine whether or not a dog barks?

One listens to it.

If an unknown test subject makes no sound then there is no way to determine if it is a dog. (At least not by the barking test.)

If the subject moos, meows, quacks or trumpets then we know it is not a dog.

To carry this analogy over, your critism of this would be: since the barking test tests for barking, cows, cats, ducks and elephants could not be ruled out as dogs simce they do not bark.

(?)

Unless you are arguing that the bible contains no information (good or bad) I still don't see how your criticism makes any sense.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Tigg,
unfortunately I don't get your analogy,
your test doesn't seem to have any characteristics similar to what I am doing.

but as I told the rev, you may want to wait for the other articles.

Imagine I told you I was god. What principles would you use to INFER that I'm not. Because once I say that I am god, you cannot prove that i'm not can you? But you can come REASONABLY close to determining THAT THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT I AM GOD WHEN IT IS MORE LIKELY THAT I A HUMAN TYPING INTO A KEYBOARD.

What principles would you use to base your reasoning on? How do you know they are valid? How do you know you can trust them? Why do you have a right to use them? If I tell you I'm god do you have any right to question?

I Zilch tells you I'm god, do you have any right to question? What principles would you use to base your reasoning on? How do you know they are valid? How do you know you can trust them? Why do you have a right to use them?

I don't see how you can believe that if Scripture is the word of God, then how is it that in two of a myriad of cases, god incorrectly classified a bat as a bird and thought that some locusts and crickets had four legs.

that was the LAW, if anything in the bible is going to equate to god, the LAW should.

hope that helps.

Lee Randolph said...

and tigg,
according to your profile, you seem to understand chaos theory, and you say you like to play devils advocate.

If you decide to play devils advocate with me thats fine, I enjoy a challenge and a well thought out discussion. I view it as a game of strategy, but please don't get ridiculous, or the game gets grrrrsome (annoying).

thanks in advance.

tigg13 said...

Lee, the "barking dog test" was actually introduced by Rev. Phil.
(In his post at 7:35 AM 10/16/08)

I should have directed my previous post to him and I apologize for any confusion I may have caused.

I agree that that there is no comparison between your analysis and evaluating animals by the sounds that they make. I believe that this was a straw man argument. (And that's really the point I was trying to make.)

As far as being ridiculous goes, hey, I'm a large stuffed animal with a big rubber head - and I still make more sense than your average fundy!

Lee Randolph said...

Hi tigg,
sorry, I misunderstood. I thought your post was directed at me, and thought it was uncharacteristically incoherent, I looked up your profile, saw that you were smart but may be just 'role-playing'.

I was confused, but it happens!
;-)

zilch said...

tigg- lee randolph is God. Just sayin'.

tigg13 said...

Lee, it was totally my fault for not being more specific.

Zilch, if Lee is God does that make you his prophet?

That's a good gig, you know; money, power, hot chicks and zero accountability.

Lee Randolph said...

I'm going to move on and finish my next article. See you then.