Monday, February 17, 2014

No Signs of Intelligence at the New York Times

According to this New York Times article:

There are too many camels in the Bible, out of time and out of place.

Camels probably had little or no role in the lives of such early Jewish patriarchs as Abraham, Jacob and Joseph, who lived in the first half of the second millennium B.C., and yet stories about them mention these domesticated pack animals more than 20 times. Genesis 24, for example, tells of Abraham’s servant going by camel on a mission to find a wife for Isaac.

These anachronisms are telling evidence that the Bible was written or edited long after the events it narrates and is not always reliable as verifiable history.

I get this mental picture of “too many camels.”  It wouldn’t take many to be “too many” at my house.  Then I picture my copy of the Bible on the table.  I see little camels being squeezed out of it because there are just “too many camels in the Bible” and the must, of course, get out of there and go somewhere.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Seriously, it is the same old story of Bible + archeology + news media always equaling something stupid.

The story reports that two archaeologists from Tel Aviv University excavated at an ancient copper smelting camp in Israel and Jordan.  There, they did not find evidence of domesticated camels until long after the time of the patriarchs.  Which logically implies that the Biblical reports of the patriarchs using camels must be wrong, doesn’t it?  That’s what the article states, but logic in the report is shoddy to absent.

I am neither an archeologist, nor the son of an archeologist, but I am not quite a complete idiot.  Lack of evidence does not prove a negative, not logically, at least.  This excavation might suggest that camels were not used at this particular location this early, but that tells us nothing definitive about other locations.  A general conclusion drawn from two instances does not a good inductive argument make.  No matter what you think about the Bible, logic is logic.  Perhaps the Bible is all wrong about camels.  Perhaps there are “too many” of them mentioned in the Old Testament, at the wrong times and the wrong places.  But absolutely nothing in this article shows that to be the case.

But realizing that requires logic, something that seems to be lacking at the New York Times.

1 comment:

James Nichols said...

Many Camels may be found today, but mostly around convenience stores. There are 20 in every pack, and they are hazardous to your health.