IDQ Flaw of Meaninglessness Representation In The Bible

Very little in the Bible can be understood as it is written. To be understood as relevant and applicable to today necessitates speculation, interpretation and pre-processing for general consumption. The Bible, as it is written, has become meaningless even though Church leaders try to speculate, interpret and derive meaning from it. Since Christian leaders don't agree, large portions of the data in the Bible is demonstrably meaningless which is a result of the Information and Data Quality flaw of "Meaningless Representation".

This Article is part seven of the series of articles applying Information and Data Quality (IDQ) Principles to the Bible. The purpose of the series is to show that the Bible is not a reliable or trustworthy source of information about God because it has problems from its origin identified in Information and Data Quality research as causing inaccuracy and unreliability. Links to the previous articles are listed below.

1. How Accurate is the Bible?
2. Applying Data and Information Quality Principles To The Bible
3. Applying IDQ Principles of Research To The Bible
4. Overview of IDQ Deficiencies Which Are Evident In Scripture
5. Jesus As God From IDQ Design Deficincies
6. "Son of Man" As Jesus From IDQ Deficiencies

A brief review of Meaningless Representation(1) follows.

Meaningless representation
When the information system contains superfluous information then it can lead to a situation where the Information System does not accurately represent (map back to) a real world state. For example this can occur by the use of too many descriptive terms, undefined terms or some minor addition to the story intended as an elaboration. Meaningless states can still represent Real World states properly, however it is not a good design in principle to include meaningless data if for no other reason than users may expend resources and make commitments based on the data only to later discover the data to be meaningless. For example, the ancient Greek historian Heroditus, while accurate to a large degree, is known to have exaggerated and to have uncritically included information from apparently unreliable sources.

Figure 1 illustrates this point by showing two instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and three instances of Data in the D column. One instance of an information state is not represented by or does not map back to a real world state .

Figure 1



Operation Deficiencies - Garbling:
Meaningless State
In human terms, garbling occurs at the point of "consumption" or reading and interpretation. In Information Systems, it occurs at operation time or when the database is being accessed. Garbling occurs when a Real World state is incorrectly mapped to a wrong state in the Information System. There are two cases in which this occurs. If a meaningless state exists, then Real World mapping will be to a meaningless state, or the mapping might be to a meaningful but incorrect information state. This can occur as a result of inaccurate data entry or omissions of real world states at the creation or origin of the data. Analogous examples of this type of garbling are legends, folktales and the "Artistic License" of the author or originator.

Figure 2 illustrates this point by showing two instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and three instances of Data in the D column. One instance of an information state is not represented by or does not map back to a real world state and a Real World state in incorrectly interpreted as being represented by the superfluous datum.

Figure 2


GENESIS 1-11 IS REGARDED BY SOME LIBERAL CHRISTIANS AND JEWS AS BEING METAPHORICAL
The terms "Divinely Revealed" and "Divinely Inspired" have no consensus therefore they are meaningless terms with respect to the Bible. Additionally, the Bible contradicts established knowledge about such things as the principles and laws of physics of the Universe and Biology. If the Bible was divinely revealed then the fact that its metaphorical should have been divinely revealed. If it was divinely inspired, what does that mean? There is no consensus so it is meaningless. Christianity is meaningless because of its ambiguity, sliding windows and moving goalposts of criteria and definitions. I heartily endorse every Christian to take up their Bible and read it two or three times cover to cover and THINK HARD about what it says. Use your own brain to figure out what it means. Don't let anyone do your thinking for you.

Below are a few lines starting at the beginning of the Bible to ask some critical questions and do some thoughtful elaboration. Please follow along in your Bible.

GENESIS
1:1. So where did God come from? If a creation is evidence of a creator, and if everything that exists is created, then if god exists, he is evidence of his creator or he is "a special case" with no precedent and no extra-biblical evidence or God is a result of apologetic "special pleading" fallacies.
1:2. Is similar to pre-existing Egyptian creation myths
1:3. Where did the light come from without suns? Some speculative "Pre-light"?
1:4. Darkness is the absence of light. To say that light and dark "can be separated" is meaningless.
1:5. This depends on Gen 1:4 being true so its meaningless as well.
1:6. The ancients thought there was as much water in the sky as on the earth somehow being prevented from falling.
1:7. Depends on Gen. 1:6 being true so its meaningless
1:8. Also depends on Gen. 1:6 being true so its meaningless as well.
1:9. This is similar to the pre-existing egyption creation myth of Atum creating a hill out of the watery chaos to become the Egyptian city of Heliopolis so he could stand and then have his temple built on it. The Bible neglects to mention that there is more water than land and there are more than one land mass, which makes it meaningless to "gather the water into one place so that land can appear".
1:10. God named the land and the sea. But that presumes there was and always has been one original language, when it is known that this cannot be true due to the variety of fundamental differences and mutually exclusive features of the languages of the world. Communication between members of a species is not unique to Human Beings. And should there have been an original language that God spoke, then to guarantee its preservation to this day would have been a reasonable and efficient way of guaranteeing the integrity of the Data recorded in the Bible.

As one goes line by line through the Bible elaborating and assessing the information contained within, its mythological character should become undeniable to most people. If we take the Bible to be 100% true when we start reading it, then as we go through it and find statements that we know to be false and we find statements whose truth depends on false statements, then we should reduce our percentage of belief with every fact shown to be false.

Below is an overview of some major but not all inclusive problems with the remaining chapters of Genesis up to chapter eleven. Why is Genesis important? Because it lays the foundation for the human necessity of redemption by way of the Human Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.

GENESIS 1 continued
* Genesis 1:1-25 Is An Amalgam of Near Eastern Creation Myths
* Genesis 1:26-1:27, Creation of Humans in Near Eastern Myths And The Paleolithic Era

GENESIS 2
ADAM AND EVE
The Story of Adam and Eve is considered a metaphorical story in Liberal Christian Circles. Several disconfirming facts are listed below with links to my articles elaborating on them.
- Being made in the image of God is meaningless, there is no consensus on what "the image of God" is.
* Disqualifying Adam and Eve. There is no reason outside of the Bible to accept this story as representing a Real World event.
* Adam and Eve and the Problem of Evil. Shows how the Christian Tenet that humans are "incompetent" nullifies any reliable interpretation of the Bible or any knowledge supposedly gained through flawed Human reasoning.
* GENESIS 1:28-2:4a, Be Fruitful And Multiply, Founder Effect and Genetic Diversity. Shows how lack of Genetic Diversity would prevent the establishment of a Robust and Healthy population.
* Genesis 2:4b-20: Man Made From Earth Is Folklore, Conflated River Elements and the Myth of Adapa. Discusses a correlation between Hebrew and all other Folklore typologies regarding the first humans.
* Genesis 2:21-25: Woman From Rib and Mother Goddesses of Near Eastern Myths. Discusses a correlation between Hebrew and all other Folklore typologies regarding Eve.

GENESIS 3: THE FALL OF MAN
- Killed an animal and made clothes for them, the eyed-needle first showed up about 45,000 years ago with the Cro-Magnons(7).
* Adams Sin Was An Emergent Behavior. Shows how the physical makeup of the first Humans guaranteed the emergence of the behavior they subsequently got punished for.
* Gen. 2-3, Normal-form Game Matrix Shows That God Chose The Worst Outcome. Shows that the omniscient God Character in the Bible chose the worst possible outcome for his creation guaranteeing all the problems that subsequently occurred.
* Gen. 2:16-3:24: Adam and Eve Were Mentally Incompetent. Shows how Adam and Eve did not have enough life experience to make good decisions.
* Gen. 2:7-3:6, God Should Have Known That Adam Would Disobey.
* Gen. 2:6-9, God Ignored Adams Admonishment Option. Shows that using effective principles of parenting, Adam and Eve's transgression warranted nurturing correction rather than expulsion and the handicap of being cursed by a God.

GEN 4 CAIN AND ABEL
- Founder effect. Due to lack of genetic variation, the effect of the small percentage of natural mutations are amplified in a population generally reducing the efficiency of the organism and increasing the probability of birth defects.
* GENESIS 1:28-2:4a, Be Fruitful And Multiply, Founder Effect and Genetic Diversity
- Where did the other people come from, where they all first and second generation relatives?
- 4:17 he built a city and called it Enoch. People first lived in caves then around 28,000 years ago starting building shelter structures out of Mammoth bone(7). How did they go from cavest to bone structures to cities in one generation?

THE MARK OF CAIN
- The Mark of Cain is meaningless. There is no clear consensus on what it was.
- It was thoughtlessly regard by some as Black Skin, justifying racism. However all Cains offspring would have been destroyed in the Flood if the Flood had really happened. Any critical analysis of the text would have revealed that inconsistency.

GEN 5 DESCENDENTS OF ADAM
- no one lived that long, the human body cannot support it. Accumulated DNA Damage guarantees that.
* Wikipedia, DNA Damage Theory of Aging

GEN 6 CORRUPTION OF MANKIND
- Nephilim? Very similar to the Greek Titans.
- Similar to Babylonian myths, Enuma Elish
* Wikipedia, Enuma Elish
- Mathematically and Logistically, the Ark doesn't add up.

GEN 7 THE GREAT FLOOD
- Similar to Babylonian myths, Enuma Elish
- Where did all the water come from and go?

“The book of Genesis says of the Flood that ‘… all the high hills that were under the whole of heaven were covered…’ Taken literally, this seems to indicate that there were 10,000 to 20,000 feet of water on the surface of the earth, equivalent to more than half a billion cubic miles of liquid! Since, according to biblical accounts, it rained for forty days and forty nights, or for only 960 hours, the rain must have fallen at a rate of at least fifteen feet per hour, certainly enough to sink any aircraft carrier, much less an ark with thousands of animals on board.” - John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy, (Collins Publishers, 1988), p. 13.


GEN 8 THE FLOOD SUBSIDES
- God evidently changed his mind and said that he would never do that again even though "every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood". God cannot logically change his mind if he knows everything from the beginning. Once he knows the future, the future is set. If the future changes, then he didn't know it. If he knew of a finite number of outcomes, he should have know which one would happen, thereby making all other outcomes irrelevant.
- The earth would be a big marsh after that.

GEN 9 COVENANT OF THE RAINBOW
- Founder effect again.
- The rainbow is a refraction of light and can be reproduced in the lab. It would have been present before the flood unless the physics of the world was different prior. Since God set it up as a "note to self", God cannot be omniscient.
- Noah was mad at Ham so he cursed his son Canaan? All Ham did was tell his brothers that Noah was Naked. Any other interpretation is pure speculation.

GEN 10 DESCENDENTS OF NOAH
- Founder effect again.

GEN 11 TOWER OF BABEL
- How does an ancient Zuggarat no more than 170 meters tall threaten a god and space travel doesn't?
- There was never a single language. The exact definition of Language differs from one theory to another, but it is evident that other species have forms of communication, therefore, it is likely that communication and language develop within a culture, therefore independent of each other.
Wikipedia, Origin of Language
- DNA Damage guarantee humans can't live much more than 120 years.
- God didn't know everything because he was evidently surprised by how capable humans were to build the Zuggarat.

MEANINGLESS ITEMS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
If the Bible was Divinely inspired or Divinely revealed, then its truths should be timeless, not just applicable to the the time frame they were written. Apologists will tell you that the authors were speaking to people of their time, but that excludes any influence that an omniscient being would have had. In fact, plenty of "truths" originating from the ancients have survived relatively uninterpreted and sound to this day, specifically mathematics. Likewise, an omniscient being could be expected to do just as well as its human creations in creating and preserving ideas.

The New Testament is full of meaningless things. Here are a few examples.

DO CHRISTIANS NEED TO LIVE UNDER OLD TESTAMENT LAW OR NOT?
It seems clear that Jesus intended Christians to keep the old testament laws without apologetic equivocation.

17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
18"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK, ON ITS FACE, IS BAD ADVICE
It enables bad behavior to continue. The middle ground is the more appropriate where harm is minimized and less harmful behavior is nurtured. As it is written, it is meaningless without some further interpretation and speculation on the intention behind the speaker, namely God as Jesus. And who is qualified to interpret the intentions of God?

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.'
39 "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
41 "Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42 "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

Are Christians saved by Faith, Works or Both?
Depends on who you talk to. There is no consensus therefore it is meaningless.

JESUS COMMITS A FALLACY
"Whoever is not with me is against me" and "whoever is not against us is for us". Logically this is mutually exclusive and it is a fallacious reasoning scheme. If you have three groups of people, committed, rebellious, and ambivalent, then Luke 12:30 would exclude 66% percent while Mark 9:40 would only exclude 33%. Luke would exclude the Middle while Mark would include them. What happens to those that don't care one way or the other? Who knows? Therefore its meaningless and logically inconsistent coming from the mouth of God.

Luke 12:30 "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters."
Mark 9:40 "For he who is not against us is for us."


Is it possible that God revealed his word to Joseph Smith?
Again, it depends on who you talk to. There is no logical reason that it could not have happened, especially if it presumed that Gods interaction in peoples lives is ongoing to this day.

PRAYER IS MEANINGLESS
My article on "The Promise of Prayer"
Why does one pray? God should already know what is desired. People should not be able to influence God if he has a plan and already knows everything in advance. Does he need or want praise? How does a perfect being need or want anything?

I invite the reader to continue to apply what they already know to elaborating and evaluating the data in the Bible.

References and Further Reading
1. Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations
2. GENESIS 1:28-2:4a, Be Fruitful And Multiply, Founder Effect and Genetic Diversity
3. Wikipedia, DNA Damage Theory of Aging
4. Wikipedia, Enuma Elish
5. John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy, (Collins Publishers, 1988), p. 13.
6. Wikipedia, Origin of Language
7. Human Prehistory and The First Civilizations, Brian M. Fagan, The Teaching Company

My Criticisms of Genesis One through Three consolidated.
Highlights the characteristics and typologies of Near Eastern folklore in the Bible and points out where it deviates from what we know about history and nature.

1. Genesis 1:1-25 Is An Amalgam of Near Eastern Creation Myths
2. Genesis 1:26-1:27, Creation of Humans in Near Eastern Myths And The Paleolithic Era
3. GENESIS 1:28-2:4a, Be Fruitful And Multiply, Founder Effect and Genetic Diversity
4. Genesis 2:4b-20: Man Made From Earth Is Folklore, Conflated River Elements and the Myth of Adapa
5. Genesis 2:21-25: Woman From Rib and Mother Goddesses of Near Eastern Myths

Criticisms of the Story of Adam and Eve (AKA Adam Bombing).
1. Adam and Eve and the Problem of Evil
2. Disqualifying Adam and Eve
3. Gen. 2:16-3:24: Adam and Eve Were Mentally Incompetent
4. Gen. 2:7-3:6, God Should Have Known That Adam Would Disobey.
5. Gen. 2:6-9, God Ignored Adams Admonishment Option
6. Adams Sin Was An Emergent Behavior
7. Gen. 2-3, Normal-form Game Matrix Shows That God Chose The Worst Outcome

35 comments:

Jane Steen said...

"I heartily endorse every Christian to take up their Bible and read it two or three times cover to cover and THINK HARD about what it says. Use your own brain to figure out what it means. Don't let anyone do your thinking for you." I totally agree. Where we differ is that I think that we'd end up with MORE Christians that way. Worked for me.

Frank Walton said...

Blah-bittiy Blah. Dumshits.

Rose said...

Your questions about Genesis do raise doubts about whether the popular interpretation is at all valid. There are two outcomes to your analysis. 1) The stories are totally worthless, or 2) the popular interpretation is incorrect.

I've recently finished an interesting book that takes this topic up in detail, specifically to address the question about whether DNA and the pattern of life is found in those early books of the Bible. Entitled Coils of the Serpent, the answer to the question, and more importantly, its implications, may startle you. I can't seem to get this whole question out of my head... Give it a try if you haven't had a chance to read it.

I will caution you that it is not a quick read as the heavily researched details of DNA and the "Pattern of Life" were new to me, but I was well aware of the biblical passages where the connections are made.

--Rose

Greg Mills said...

I stumbled across this blog today, and I was stunned by this series of articles. Lately I've been trying to articulate this very idea, and haven't had the powerful tools you obviously have, Lee.

Your arguments dovetail nicely with a sort of theological noncognitivism. "God" isn't a concept that anyone can articulate with any accuracy, because (I think) the only source we have depicts god is incoherent. We are forced to reach to assumptions everything when we talk about god and other theological concepts.

I'm waiting for an sensible answer to the question "What is God?". Then we can talk about whether "God" exists.

As for me, I was raised religious (Russian Orthodox) and I have pleasant enough associations with my church going past. But it always bugged me that there was no answer to that one question that didn't require a bushel of caveats and assumption.

I think for me, the God referred to by the Quakers, the Catholic, the Episcolpalians, the INSERT DONOMINATION HERE, may not be always the same god, or idea of god. Nevermind Krishna, Thor, Mt. Fuji, the Demiurge, or other personalities (I'm wondering too, how these are semantically "gods" and what they have in common with YHWH that they can share that catagory. I think too much about weird stuff, usually above my pay grade.)

And, assuming we can refer to a real thing called God when you and I talk about God, how do you or I determine that we are indeed talking about God, and not parroting artifacts from Augustine, or Aristotle, or Rick Warren, or Mark, or the Council of Nicea, or a bored 10th century scribe ? What is journalism in the Canon, and what is poetry?

Greg Mills said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gandolf said...

Hi Lee, hope you had a great break and wishing you a happy new year !.

I really enjoyed this post of yours.

Ive always wondered just how could any supposed divine word of any God have been so blatantly misleading to so many.

Of course naturally a number of faithful answer "oh no but its not if its read properly" etc,strangely these folk no doubt are all biblical scholars or else think they are.I personally think they might overlook that a number of other folk they might disagree with might in fact be pretty well read in matters of the bible book as well themselves! yet some how might have come to some very different opinions.

It also seems rather STUPID and unlikely (to me)to think that any book of god divinely written as a guide for his CHILDREN would not be divinely given out by God in simple terms (to easily be understood) so that as many as possible could be saved .Unless this god set out to create a book that only certain people could understand?.

(To me) it seems just so illogical and unreasonable with a intelligent mind to think of this book as divine word of any god that might have been able to create the universe etc with such perfection !.Yet some how it seems it is suggested to be involved in the creation of a book that has confused many and been the reason for much sadness disagreements ,maybe even was the cause for some people to be put to death in times gone past.And still is at least a part of the reason why some still suffer in religion even today.

The (suggestion)by the faithful that this book (is) divine and of god, i suggest would be almost ABUSIVE to any God that there might be.And i would think logically a God would be both disgusted and quite angry at the thought and accusation that he/she had had anything to do with something that had been the cause of such sadness and abuse over the many many years.

The bible holds all the trappings and outlooks of seeming literally very totally human ,to me.And as i look around this world i can see many other human writings that all contain the very same confusion and mistakes.

I agree with Jane Steen many who read the book might end up confused believers .But i doubt so many would be so likely to become this way if they used a lot of common sense and made (sure they did not) have some very vigilant local priest or indoctrinated church elder hanging over their shoulder.

Because this bible book has been written with much devious manipulation involved in its writings as well.Brainwashing and mind control is a big part of it!,once trapped within fear becomes the jail one needs to escape from.Which is why we have so many faithful folk asking why we might bother with debunking it !,as far as they have been taught often faith is faith and cannot be faith if it is questioned etc.It does not make it any easier for them hearing people questioning it all the time.

Many folks become like Frank Walton and the best they can do is fume and steam and gnash the teeth! ,its just all to much for the brain to consider that their life spent inside this man made jail of the mind might have just been for no GOOD reason really.Even somebody else mentioning the thought that just maybe they might have wasted so much of their time ! has them spewing and spitting tacks before they even consider it properly themselves.

Lee Randolph said...

HI Rose,
but I was well aware of the biblical passages where the connections are made.

what are those biblical passages? would you list them please so I can look them up?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Greg and Gandolf,
I'm glad you liked the article. I've been busy handling the real world. ;-) I thought about posting some "op-ed" stuff, but I didn't have the time to defend my credibility against the "nay-sayers". I like to have data with me when I write something and save the "op-ed" for the comments.

anyway.....
one key element of christianity that poisons the well for any meaningful interpretation of the bible is the fact that christians think that they are sinful and cannot help but twist, distort and misunderstand Gods word and intentions.

Therefore, according to their criteria, they can never be sure they understand what is written in the Bible.

The best a christian can logically do is to have an uncertain bias in favor of God whose characteristics are undefined. At its core all belief is, is a commitment to an idea. That doesn't take evidence, just a willingness to commit to it consciously or not. However, the feeling, the emotional signal, that accompanies the Idea correlates to the certainty.

So some believe comfortably, and some don't. But I stress studying the bible and looking at the events in it and seeing if they match up with the real world.

rhetorically speaking....
"suffer a witch"? Ever seen any? Ever seen any do anything undeniably "witch-y" and not "magician-y"? Ever seen any bring anyone back from the dead to give you advice? When I was a christian, I was so gullible, and I spent money on that crap, believed it. However, as their predictions did not pan out, they lost my trust but kept my money. They can make a living like that with a limitless supply of the gullible.

In my opinion, Thats part of the harm in not having inference from evidence and an understanding of statistics and probability at the core of your world view.

Jeff Carter said...

Lee,
Where can I go to learn the basics of Information and Data Quality as you understand the term?

JacktalkThai said...

Lee,

How does your post avoid being fallaciously circular? I am asking out of sincere curiousity.

Regards,

JTT

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jeff,
IDQ seems to be a pragmatic science that borrowed its key concepts from the philosophy of ontology.

its really uncharted territory for the most part. As I understand it, people have understood what bad quality information was, but were able to argue around it because bad quality data was subjective. Now its not. It is a new science, derived from the "information age". Now there is an industry built on the science. There are Journals and consulting agencies, There are metrics and software developed to help organizations in weeding out their poor quality data and techniques and procedures for producing high quality data at its origin.

my articles have most of the important places (links) where you can START. I just skimmed the surface deep enough to find out what makes data quality poor and then turned around and applied it to the bible. I knew instinctively what bothered me about the data in the bible so that guided my research.

Though I bought and am reading "Journey to Data Quality" as a starter, some of the books are expensive and I'm not sure that they focus on the ORIGIN OF THE DATA. I don't care what processes such and such organization or hospital used to improve their processes, or how their organization uses various forms of data as much as I care about HOW THEY KNEW THEY HAD BAD DATA and WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE DATA THAT IS BAD.

I chose my research based on the critical question, "what are the characteristics of poor quality data?" How do I know what makes poor quality data? How do I rate one piece of data over another in terms of quality?

go look at the references and further reading in these articles for a start. In some cases I may have put a link in the middle of the article and not included in the references so pay attention to that.
2. Applying Data and Information Quality Principles To The Bible:
gives a background and introduction to the concept and a justification for their use in assessing the quality of data in the bible
3. Applying IDQ Principles of Research To The Bible
first article applying the fundamentals and showing that we all should have learned the basics as school children looking things up in the library or these days, the internet.
4. Overview of IDQ Deficiencies Which Are Evident In Scripture
Lays out the three criteria and two effects
and then articles 5, 6 and 7 each take one of the criteria and show an example of it in the bible and what problems it has caused in christianity.

Hope this helps.

furthermore, as I see it, the most important points to focus on in debunking christianity is
1. applying common sound principles and reasoning schemes to christianity
2. defining what good witness testimony is
3. defining what good evidence is
4. defining terms in general such as "the soul".

I have found in problem solving that defining the terms and stating the problem clearly, is half the solution. Some other famous guy said that before me.

Lee Randolph said...

HI JTT,
because...(are you ready?)

It isn't.

Hope that helps. ;-)

Greg Mills said...

Seems like general semantics can be of some help here, specifically the idea that "the map isn't the territory", ie an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself, but a debased and compressed simulcrum.

Such is the case with Logos.

Logos is an unreliable form of transmission in the best of conditions, never mind when the subject is "ineffable", incoherently defined, or plain just not there.

But Logos is all we have in this case, so we are forced to grope through subjective language. I don't see how you can base a coherent idea of objectivity reality under those conditions -- never mind anything transcendental.

Lee Randolph said...

greg, you lost me. Did you mean to post that in this article?

Lee Randolph said...

and incidentally,
Logos is an idea that can be traced back to Greek philosophers who derived "essence" from mathematics.

Would you want to "go there" and say that Christians borrowed pagan ideas to incorporate into their religion?

If so you are admitting syncretism in the creation of Christianity.

Jeff Carter said...

Lee,
OK, I'll read your articles and then we can talk. I understood you were laying out the principles for applying IDQ to Christianity and the Bible, I just want to understand the GENERAL principles (the ones that should be applied to information in general).

JacktalkThai said...

Lee,

I wish you hadn't been quite so dismissive of my first query. I apologize if the question seemed trite. Allow me to ask a different question.

If I am understanding the post correctly one of the main premises is that when any data (X)is being evaluated interpretative consensus avoids the flaw of meaningless representaion. Is that correct?

Regards,

JTT

Lee Randolph said...

Hi JTT, You didn't give me much to work with the first time.

Interpretive consensus is a result of assessing whether the datum represents a real world state or not. For example, the examples in my article are disconfirming evidence of the their biblical counterpart. When one or more agree that a datum in the bible is not supported by the physical evidence, then there should be "interpretive consensus". But just simply saying that the majority of people think something is true without empirical or evidential (if you will) support is fallacious.

the point is simply, is the claim supported by the evidence? If I type in that the "J" key is next to the "K" key on a qwerty keyboard, that is meaningful representation because it can be independently verified.

that is higher quality data than, so and so lived to be 900 something years old, because not only is there no evidence to support it, there is evidence that DISCONFIRMS it, (contradicts it) or shows that humans cannot live much past 120 years in any case.

Since the Bible is filled with cases where the data was evidently created in error, it is consistent with human error, and likely to have been originated by a human, unless you want to say that we can expect God to allow that kind of ineptness in the transcribing of his word. That kind of ineptness undermines the whole point in revealing it doesn't it?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi JTT,
something else,
and if you want to say that god can do anything he wants to and perpetual miracles are entirely consistent with people living to be 900 years old, then you still don't have any data to go with that speculation, and you have to accept that LDS may be a valid religion, just like Islam, and that God may have changed his mind again after christ, just like he did with the flood, the covenant with abraham, and the new covenant in Jesus.

When you accept that god can do anything he wants, and he is unpredictable, then you open yourself up to a quagmire of uncertainty that logically leads to agnosticism, because you can't know anything about him.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jeff,
in a nutshell,
the general principles of data quality are that data should not be missing, not be ambiguous and they should be representative of real world states (meaningful). Data should be independently verifiable and not contradict what we know about the world.

Jeff Carter said...

Lee,
I've had a chance to review at least three of your blogs. I have written a response and posted it on my website (www.sophiesladder.com, "The Failure of IDQ Principles When Applied to the Bible."

My main contentions are 1)it's invalid (or, at least, silly) to apply IDQ to something that is poetical or mythological; 2)given the nature of the subject, we must expect the language not to be straightforward, and in fact, inadequate; and 3) in order to verify whether the "real world" is actually being mapped to, one must have access or understanding of that real world, and non-believers don't.

Lee Randolph said...

HI Jeff,

My main contentions are
1)it's invalid (or, at least, silly) to apply IDQ to something that is poetical or mythological;

You have decided that its poetical or mythological? How do you know? Many christians don't take that viewpoint. Applying IDQ principles will help us assess whether it maps to real world events or not. If you've already decided that its mythological, more power to you. You've gone one step beyond. But then are you willing to commit to mythological ideas to make decisions with? The history of christianity demonstrates how problematic that is.

2)given the nature of the subject, we must expect the language not to be straightforward, and in fact, inadequate; and
if its origin is from people then yes, if its origin is from something all powerful and all knowing then no, we should expect better quality and integrity. If not then there is no reason to say that a god had anything to do with it because at that point the god becomes indistiguishable from the human originators.

Incidently the "human originators" in IDQ lingo are "collectors" so thats how I'm going to start referring to them.

3) in order to verify whether the "real world" is actually being mapped to, one must have access or understanding of that real world, and non-believers don't.
Jeff, you are missing a qualifier in that conclusion. You are ignoring or do not know that I used to be a fundamentalist baptist apologist, deacon, teacher and song leader. You should go read my deconversion story, if your intersted that is. I applied the tools of thinking that I commonly use to get my paycheck to my belief system and my belief system collapsed.

So I had access, and evaluated the information and determined that there was something wrong with the information. Only recently did I discover that there was a research field for Data Quality. Now I am applying that research to identifying what is wrong with the Bible.

But, if as you assert, the bible is mythological, then that is a conclusion that must be reached after an assessment of the data. How have you assessed the data?

and if you think it doesn't represent real world events as you seem to seem to say in item one then why is item 3 relevant? They are mutually exclusive. Mythology and real world are mutually exclusive.

Jeff Carter said...

Hi Lee,

You have decided that its poetical or mythological? How do you know?

First, what is IDQ’s method for distinguishing the scientific / historical from the poetic / mythological? It must have one or else it will be led on a lot of wild goose chases. Second, how does anyone know that Yeats is to be read as poetry and not science? But the answer to your question is in my blog (see the passage about Jesus and Nicodemus) The Word Himself declares the Bible should not be taken literally.

But then are you willing to commit to mythological ideas to make decisions with?

Of course. Though poetry and myth is not scientific / historical, it can be truth nonetheless.

if its origin is from something all powerful and all knowing then no, we should expect better quality and integrity.

Again, I addressed this in my blog. You can’t expect better “quality” of words when words are inadequate to address the subject.

So I had access…

With all due respect, I have no way of verifying whether you had access to the real world or not. Is it valid thinking to take your word for it?

But, if as you assert, the bible is mythological, then that is a conclusion that must be reached after an assessment of the data. How have you assessed the data?

If you think an exploration as to whether the Bible is poetical / mythological, then I will be glad to explore that with you. As I said above the Word Himself says He is mythological.

and if you think it doesn't represent real world events as you seem to seem to say in item one then why is item 3 relevant? They are mutually exclusive. Mythology and real world are mutually exclusive.

I’m beginning to think you didn’t read my blog. The real world IS the spiritual, and can only be expressed in the mythological, if that.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jeff,
you're right, I didn't read your blog, but give me some time, i'll read it and be back.

J.L. Hinman said...

The basis for this article is the same old misconceptions and false assumptions upon which all atheist biblical criticism is based.

Its' coming a book from another world, another planet (so to speak) another world, another time, and another culture, another languae and applying it to modern communication theory that in in itself assumes contemporary understanding of cultural constructs.

you might as well be saying that the Bible fails as a guide book for aro dynamics. I wish Christians would read their Bibles carefully and realize you cannot make a modern jet aircraft form anything in the bible.

that just disproves the whole religion!

Atheism is a hate group. your purpose in doing this is to feel Superior to the hatted group.

I compare atheism to the model of hate groups constructed by the FBI and it works. It works just as well as the model Randolph uses compared to the Bible.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi J.L.
do you mind saying WHY my criticism doesn't work?

if paul used adam as a premise for the need for jesus to be a human sacrifice, then it seems reasonable that adam should have existed.

if adam was a metaphorical representation for the human race, then since god was the creator, and he knew everything, then adams behavior was an emergent property of the combination of components.

Humans are defective products of a perfect being.

simple, elegant, succinct.

J.L. Hinman said...

Hi J.L.
do you mind saying WHY my criticism doesn't work?

mainly because you are using a model that assume expository prose, it's more suited a busness conference. I was a communications major (double major: communication/sociology) that's the kind of thing I studied in my major. It's not made to work for literature and narrative.

if paul used adam as a premise for the need for jesus to be a human sacrifice, then it seems reasonable that adam should have existed.


No.I don't know what. ITs' not as though Paul made up either of them. he's just using a basic cultural construct of Hebrew society that everyone knows to illustrate a point.

He's not doing sympathetic magic.


if adam was a metaphorical representation for the human race, then since god was the creator, and he knew everything, then adams behavior was an emergent property of the combination of components.


that doesn't make any sort of sense. Adam is not exactly a Metaphor, but definitely a "type" of humanity. That doesn't mean it would have kind of characteristics beyond symbolism or figures of speech. It's a cultural construct not a theory of biology.

Humans are defective products of a perfect being.


so?

simple, elegant, succinct.

Yea, it is but somehow you manage to doubt it anyway.

J.L. Hinman said...

I've done an article in response:

http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jeff and JL,
i'm going to back out of the comments here and work on my next article featuring your articles, link to them and respond to each of them.
thanks for contributing thoughtful dialog.

Lee Randolph said...

on second thought after seeing the length of JL's, I think I'll handle them separately.

Jeff, you're first, then JL.

Philip R Kreyche said...

Jeff,

Where does the poetry end?

Can Hell be merely an metaphor? Or the soul? God?

Lee Randolph said...

great question philip.

Jeff Carter said...

Where does the poetry end? Can Hell be merely an metaphor? Or the soul? God?

great question philip.

Well it is a very good question because our society and age know little about the truth of poetry and myth (and please don't take me for some sentimental sap that spends his time smelling roses. I happen to be a chemical engineer, as I told Lee earlier). I think what underlies your question is a belief that metaphor refers to either a) something unreal or b) some physical emotion. but it need not be either. What it can do is refer to a non-objective spiritual reality.

Also, Lee if you need to move on to other work, that's OK. We will surely meet around other blogs.

J.L. Hinman said...

Jeff,

Where does the poetry end?

Can Hell be merely an metaphor? Or the soul? God?


Do you have a problem telling where it end in other kidns of texts? I mean you do know that poetry is written differently than prose right? There is a written style of Hebrew poetry, it's easy to tell once you learn what it is. but see atheists don't look at this kind of thing, the science of textual criticism.

Heberw poetry works by soemthing called a "distich" that's what they have instead of metrical patterns. If you learn to identify a distich then you can always tell when its poetry.

don't ask me because I forget (hey seminary was a long time ago). But I can easily find out and so can you. if you buy that Oxford Bible with the read cover it will tell you that and a wealth of other things you need to know. everyone should have that Oxford bible, that's the kind we had to buy for Seminary.

as for hell, my personal view is that hell is a metaphor: it stands for spiritual death. I can prove it too.

I'll put up the link to my pages


http://www.doxa.ws/Theology/hell.html

Lee Randolph said...

JL,
the fact that your idea of hell is different than other groups of christians is in itself a manifestation of the IDQ Flaw of "Ambiguous Representation", which reduces the quality rating for that information.

What other poetry and literature do you value as highly as the bible?

and in what way do you use them to make decisions about your lifestyle choices?

when one of your other valued texts contradicts the bible, how do you handle that?

poetry and literature or not, it can be given an accuracy and believability rating. Predictably a keats poem or psalms will have a low accuracy and therefore believability rating, but how do you handle the four gospels? They aren't poems and at least Luke says that its intention is to be accurate.
" 1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,

2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,

3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;

4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
"