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Double standards on Archaeology, be sure of what you believe!

I have been reading some blogs that talk about how much archaeological evidence there is for the stories of the bible. And the first thing that struck me was, how are the believers joyously proclaiming their “victory” over bible-deniers basing their claims on archaeology, the one field they always, always deny when it comes to the reading of history?

I went through a representative sample of what was being claimed as proof for the truth of the bible. Among them the discovery of Ur, the fabled home of Abraham. The city existed but not as a rough hamlet of tents, it was one of the great urban centres of its time. No one denies that. How that proves the story of Abraham is not clear to me.

The notion of the flood is held proven since it finds mention in the texts of a number of religions spread throughout the area, even as far as India, and if I remember correctly, some of the Central American cultures too. Now ignoring the amusing point that bible believers have always denounced texts of other religions as utterly false, it is more probable that there was a flood that affected humankind when it was still confined to a limited area, before we took over the world, and people migrating to other continents carried a memory of that event with them, making it part of their religious mythology. The site also neglects to mention that archaeology has never shown any evidence in the rock strata supporting any world encompassing flood.

Another “theory” they claim to disprove is that Moses couldn’t have written the first five books of the bible, since writing was unknown at the time he was alive. There’s no link to where this claim was made. And as for writing, humans knew of it millennia before Moses was even conceived, and pretty much every archaeologist would agree to that. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuneiform)

Also, what about the lack of evidence for any large scale migration from Egypt into Israel? As far as I know, there isn’t any. Nothing in Egyptian records, nothing from research  in the Sinai, nor any for a sudden increase in population in the geographical area of Israel. One site claims an earlier date for the exodus c. 2450 BCE, to coincide with the fall of the Old Kingdom in Egypt. But other than claiming that Egypt fell apart at this time because their slave labour had all left taking all their gold with them, there’s no more “proof” for the linkage.

This list could go on and on, but the moot point I’m making remains the same. Why are archaeological principles right when they support your claims and wrong when they don’t? Why is C-14 dating acceptable when it comes to dating the fall of the Old Kingdom and wrong when it shows farming having started 4000 years before the earth was even formed according to the bible? Why these double standards?

There was a time when scholars believed that the Hebrew alphabet was developed probably around the 5th or 6th centuries BCE, before they found an inscribed alphabet from c. 950 BCE. Most scholars, based on this evidence would state that the Hebrews were writing earlier that was previously thought. There are similar other points where our ideas about early Israelite history have changed based on recent research. But to claim that whatever is mentioned in the bible has been completely and infallibly proven is a fallacy. Moreover, it’s hypocritical of you to base your claims on the very aspects of science you choose to disbelieve when it brings out inconvenient facts. If you believe in the principles underlying archaeology, please accept whatever results ensue from archaeological research, whether it conforms to your beliefs or not!


About hbhatnagar

I need to fill this up with much better content than I had populated it with earlier. Why I write a blog maybe? I started blogging in 2009 or thereabouts. I was a newly turned atheist and wanted to converse with others of the same persuasion. We're not exactly a big population group in India! It didn't go very well and I sort of lost interest, posting a few things now and then. I got a lot more regular over the last few months and have been posting almost daily since February '15. There were many reasons why I gradually became more regular in posting, but one way or the other, here I am! So this blog has taken shape, being at different points in time my showcase, my comedy club, my art gallery, my book club, my therapist, my close friend, my innermost self....but always my little corner of the world. You are all welcome to visit and I hope you stay awhile! A few points about me because I don't want to lead anyone on(and trust me this does become an issue more often than I'd care to admit). I'm Indian, the brown-skinned variety; if race, ethnicity or skin colour is an issue, you don't have to get to know me any more than what you see on my blog. I'm 40, so if age is an issue, please be informed accordingly. I was a doctor, an ophthalmic surgeon for 10 years before I quit practice.


2 thoughts on “Double standards on Archaeology, be sure of what you believe!

  1. Great post. It’s very frustrating to hear people only use evidence when it supports their position and dismiss it when it doesn’t. As you said in your post, the scholars tend to adjust their positions based on whatever our evidence tells us. Religious people typically can’t do that. Their beliefs are set down once and for all in their holy books, so they don’t have the freedom to adjust their thinking when facts don’t align with their beliefs. Instead, they’re forced to discount the facts, or pretend that the explanations just haven’t been discovered yet. It’s a fairly arrogant position to take, though they probably don’t think of it that way. After all, they’re claiming that their position is infallible; whereas, the rest of us are usually open to adjusting our positions if we’re given good reason to.


    Posted by Nate | 24/04/2012, 9:59 PM
    • Thanks for the compliment. I often wonder how people maintain this level of duality in their minds and not even feel bothered by it. Maybe it takes a bigger effort than it does to deny their heartfelt beliefs.


      Posted by hbhatnagar | 25/04/2012, 11:16 AM

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