Intelligent Design Religion Science

Materialism vs. science in archaeology, and the difference it makes

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In “First Person: The Bible as a Source of Testable Hypotheses”(Biblical Archaeology Review (Jul/Aug 2011) Hershel Shanks tells a story from Biblical arachaeology that explains more than I ever could about how materialism stifles science: In his new book Excavating the City of David, Ronny Reich of Haifa University treats archaeologist Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University “dismissively” and accuses her of acting “unethically.” What did she do? She used the Bible as a guide to where to excavate.

Let me unpack this: As Eilat read the Bible, it seemed to indicate just where King David’s palace might be buried in the City of David—at least, it did to her. On this basis, she decided to dig there.

This was highly improper and unscientific, according to Ronny. When he heard that Eilat was using reasoning like this to find King David’s palace, he knew immediately that, proceeding in this way, “she would certainly find that building” (emphasis in original).

If she found the building, using the Bible, she did wrong. Shanks adds,

I would have thought that Eilat would have been praised for proceeding quite scientifically—according to the vaunted scientific method that has produced so much for our civilization. As I understand it, you formulate a hypothesis and then you proceed to test it, either proving or disproving it. Eilat had a hypothesis and she wanted to test it by digging.

But you can’t do that in the case of the Bible, according to Ronny. The reason appears to be that you can’t trust the archaeologist to test his or her hypothesis in an unbiased way once he or she formulates a hypothesis based on the Bible. If the archaeologist proceeds in this way, he or she will “certainly” find what was hypothesized. Besides, in archaeology you can’t repeat the experiment; once a particular area of a site has been excavated, it cannot be re-excavated.

He or she “will “certainly” find what was hypothesized? People looking for lost wallets should be so lucky. And generally, archaeology is not an experiment. Once you find a tomb or a city, you stop looking for it, same as you would if you find your wallet.

Here, materialism has substituted as a governing criterion that no method can be used that would support the idea that the Bible was written by truthful people. This criterion is irrelevant to whether a method that assumes so produces results. The materialist would as soon not have results as have results that support the Biblical account.

Are we entering a new “dark ages” of materialism where science decays by stages, illuminated by episodes like these?

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Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

4 Replies to “Materialism vs. science in archaeology, and the difference it makes

  1. 1

    It isn’t so much that Ronny thinks the method is inethical, but the conclusions it supports are inethical. That is, political correctness cares not a twit about method, it is all about arriving at the right conclusions, which is to say, science is about supporting the status quo, not discovering anything new.

    Ungottendammerung.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    this is a gem of a quote from a Bible sheptic:

    ‘he knew immediately that, proceeding in this way (using the Bible as a guide), “she would certainly find that building”

    ,,,,And I have to ask this skeptic, Since the Bible has so much certainty as to the past, what could that possibly say about the certainty of what the Bible says about our future???

    What Are You Living For? – Francis Chan – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86dsfBbZfWs

    ,,, In related note to Biblical Criticism, Bart Ehrman is perhaps the most famous Bible critic of today, appearing on many TV specials, his arguments are addressed here by William Lane Craig;

    Defense Of The Historical Jesus From Supposed Higher Criticism Of Biblical Text And Historical Reliability – William Lane Craig
    http://www.vimeo.com/11144955

    further notes on Bart;

    The (Bart) Ehrman Project – several videos defending various Biblical texts and Historicity of Jesus
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ehrmanproject

    I found the ‘undesigned coincidences’ defense against ‘higher level’ Biblical criticism to be particularly effective:

    Undesigned Coincidences – Tim McGrew – article
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....of-design/

    Tim McGrew – radio Interview
    http://www.brianauten.com/Apol.....mcgrew.mp3

    Along that line, This is an excellent video presentation by Dr. Peter Williams on the latest evidence that the Gospels came from eye-witness accounts.

    Video: New Evidence for Eye Witness Accounts
    http://hcchristian.wordpress.c.....-accounts/

    Accuracy Of The Bible – Feeding 5000 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6745194

    this is interesting as well;

    The Oldest Known Fragment Of The New Testament ‘just so happens’ to have a ‘Serendipitous’ Gospel account of the trial of Jesus – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6517637

    =================

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    f/n

    Here is one ‘jaw dropping’ archeological find that was ‘serendipitously’ discovered at about the same time Israel became a nation again in 1948:

    Historically, the Bible has indeed proven extremely resilient in its historical accuracy with stunning archaeological confirmation:

    Dead Sea Scrolls – Dr. Don Patton – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEa1dGHyDJY

    Isaiah 53 and the Dead Sea Scrolls – verified prophecy before the birth of Christ
    http://www.allaboutarchaeology.....olls-2.htm

    ===================

    Another eye opener:

    The Physical Ashen Remains Of Sodom and Gomorrah – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwTVFk1HK3Y

    ============

    Hebrews 4:12
    For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

    The Word Is Alive – Casting Crowns – music video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5197438/

  4. 4
    es58 says:

    why would anyone anywhere even have a thought to look for such a structure, if they didn’t have a tradition, either oral or written, that this structure existed. According to Ronny, then, looking for the structure, at all, is unscientific.
    how bizarre.

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