Bad Archaeology

There is a website out there that has those words as its title

It probably wouldn’t be such a terrible site if it did not practice the very things it accuses others of doing. But basically, what that site’s purpose boils down to is ‘if you do not do archaeology our way then it is bad archaeology”.

Bad Archaeology is the brainchild of a couple of archaeologists who are fed up with the distorted view of the past that passes for knowledge in popular culture. We are unhappy that books written by people with no knowledge of real archaeology dominate the shelves at respectable bookshops. We do not appreciate news programmes that talk about ley lines (for example) as if they are real.

In short, we are Angry Archaeologists.

It seems to do good archaeology you have to blindly agree with those archaeologists who run that site and that is never a good idea. Blindly following others doesn’t  produce discussion or different perspectives, it just rubber stamps what one wants whether their ideas are correct or not.

What also ruins this website is its anti-religious bias

Many Bad Archaeologists believe that religious writings are actually technical or scientific treatises that have been misunderstood; or they are the infallible word of the god of choice; or they are collections of half-remembered history. Take your pick, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket by choosing just one option if you want to be a really Bad Archaeologist.

But that isn’t the only page there that carries an anti-religious attitude:

Biblical Archaeology, which has been described as excavation with a trowel in one hand and a Bible in the other, is a specialised branch of archaeology that often seems to ignore the rules and standards required of real archaeology. Conducted for the most part, by people with an explicitly religious agenda (usually Christian or Jewish), it is a battleground between fundamentalist zeal and evidence-based scholarship in which religious, ethnic and national identities are contested and defined.

Our concerns are well expressed by Eric Cline (of George Washington University in Washington, D.C.) writing in the Boston Globe on 30th Sept 2007. His article is entitled Raiders of the Faux Ark

There is one question I would like to address in the paragraph after that quote:

Why not settle for ‘Middle Eastern Archaeology’?

Basically, it is called Biblical archaeology because it deals with matters of the Bible.  if it wasn’t for the Bible, no one would know of the Hittites nor would they look for them as the only source for that civilization for approx 1800 years was the Bible.

The attitude of the archaeologists of that website and others who share their bias against God has led me to wonder if unbelievers should be allowed to draw any conclusions on ancient history or if they should be allowed near an archaeological dig.

In the larger quote immediately above there is this little sentence:

Conducted for the most part, by people with an explicitly religious agenda

What the author of those words doesn’t tell you is that most secular archaeologists have an agenda as well. In fact, the owners of that website have their agenda as they seek to stamp out all conflicting and contrary thought to their way of doing archaeology. They said so on their home page so this hypocrisy undermines anything they claim or conclude and tells us that we will not get the truth from them.

They would much rather use archaeology to back up the stories presented in the Bible as a means of bolstering the faith of waverers. If we can’t find evidence for Solomon’s glorious empire, it must be that we’re not interpreting the archaeological data correctly and that a big discovery is just around the corner (the “Jehoash inscription’ leaps to mind in this context).

Isn’t that what archaeology is for–to back up claims made? I know that is what I. Finkelstein is doing as he looks for evidence for his lower chronology so why can unbelievers use archaeology to support their claims but Christians can’t?

{The Jehoash inscription was declared a forgery but that declaration may not be accurate

it is hard to say if it is a forgery or not as those who do not want the Bible supported will say anything to make sure it is declared a forgery. You can’t trust the secular world if you want the truth}

Of course the unbeliever is mis-interpreting the data, they come with a bias not true objectivity thus their conclusions are going to reflect their bias. This is why Solomon’s stables and David’s palace wall has been dated to other eras. Honest objectivity is not part of the unbelieving archaeologist’s mindset.

Another example of the bias of those owners comes on another page

Of all the forms of Bad Archaeology, creationism is perhaps the worst: its practitioners are frequently not of the honest-but-deluded category but are cynical manipulators whose principal interest is in the power they wield over their disciples and congregations. It’s not the creationist Bad Archaeologists who are confused, but their deluded followers. Creationism was the first hurdle that developing Good Archaeology overcame, back in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The dishonest charlatans who promote it deserve constantly to be exposed as the evil frauds they really are.

Creationism has never been overcome and this paragraph is a good example of how unbelievers do not interpret the data correctly. They feel that creation didn’t take place as they cannot find any ‘evidence’ for it but they dismiss and ignore important data like Noah’s flood.

Just because the unbeliever doesn’t accept that the flood took place doesn’t mean that it didn’t take place. Their dismissal of that event means that they are not using all the data available to come to their conclusion thus they are mis-interpreting the data and avoiding the truth.

Plus since God used supernatural power to create, there will be know evidence to find save for the existence of all people, animals, plant life, the stars, moon, sun and on it goes. There is evidence for creation but the unbeliever just refuses to accept it.

How else can you explain the complete lack of critical judgment, the belief in ancient fairy stories, the utter absence of logical thought they display?

This question in the opening paragraph of that page points out another fallacy used by unbelievers. They think that critical judgment is only used if a person agrees with them or disagrees with the Bible. They refuse to acknowledge that critical judgment renders conclusions contrary to what they want to hear.

This is one of the major weaknesses in an unbeliever’s argument. They think critical judgment can only be used their way and delivers the results they want. That is unrealistic and it demonstrates how the unbeliever will tilt the playing field in order to get what they want– conclusions that say the Bible is wrong.

The same argument applies to their absence of logical thought’ comment. The unbeliever thinks that they alone possess logic. They are very wrong of course but they refuse to admit that they do not hold a monopoly on logic or critical thinking. The believer does do critical thinking and they do use logic when they reject the arguments of the unbeliever.

The believer see the holes in the arguments of the unbeliever, the lack of evidence, the lack of common sense in the theories and decide for God. It isn’t blind faith at work but pure rational and logical thinking that leads the believer to reject the lies of the unbeliever and go with the God who does not lie.

Now, this is not to say that there are not crackpots out there, and I could name quite a few, but that doesn’t mean that the true believer is one of them or that Biblical archaeology is wrong or misnamed. Everything that the unbeliever accuses the believer of doing is usually found in the practices and beliefs of the unbeliever, that website and Eric Cline’s article are evidence to that fact.

The unbeliever has no right to bar anyone from doing archaeology but the believer needs to be honest in their work and make sure they got it right before announcing anything. I too am tired of all those researchers out there who claim they have found Noah’s ark or mt. Sinai, yet have nothing to support their claim.

Believers just need to realize that they do more harm than good when their announcements are frivolous or done wrongly.

One thought on “Bad Archaeology

Comments are closed.