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The Science Of Archaeology

19 May

In an update earlier I said that the Biblical Archaeology Society sent me a free book to make up for the purchase snafu and it is a good book for the most part. You all may enjoy reading it (Discovering The Solomonic Wall In Jerusalem) as it contains very good information about 10th century discoveries you may not have heard about or heard some brief mention of them. But in the preface was a few lines that really bother me and which tells the believer to be careful when listening to some archaeologist presenting their ideas about the past.

The second part constitutes the analysis and the conclusions drawn from them by the most professional means possible, but which themselves may change in light of constant innovations and advances in research. Indeed, as in any scientific field, conclusions derived from archaeological analysis will hold till better ones come along and replace them…As securely established as this belief is, it is not sacred, and, like any other scientific conclusion, can give way to better and more convincing arguments, if and when the time comes. (pg. 10)

When I read those words my first thought was, ‘why draw any conclusions then?’  What is the point of having conclusions if they are not accurate, true and fact? All archaeologists and scientists, who follow this line of thinking, are doing is wasting their time and ours. If the conclusion is not the truth and will ‘give way to a better idea’ later on then why proclaim it at all, you haven’t found anything and spare yourself the egg on your face by being upstaged at a later date when the truth does come out. But this thinking is why the believer can have no confidence in secular science and archaeology. The people involved in those areas of research are not looking for the truth, they are looking to support their hypothesis. This is confirmed by John Manley who wrote the book, All That Matters: Archaeology. He says:

Archaeologists should first draw up hypotheses and then test them through fieldwork. (pg. 17)

These words tell us that the archaeologists’ view is distracted by his own personal theories and may miss something important when and if he uncovers some artifact from the excavation. They are not searching for items that prove the truth, let alone the bible but contaminating what they find with their personal views. Some of those views are very anti-Christian as we see by Manley’s following words:

Knowledge about the origins of humankind up to that point, in the Western world at least, had been shackled by Christian teaching to a Knowledge about the origins of humankind up to that point, to a problematically precise chronology. (pg. 11)

He is talking about Ussher’s chronology here, which is very problematic and inaccurate. Sadly Manley ties Christian teaching to Ussher’s chronology when the Bible does not do that nor do most Christians.  But you can see the bias against anything Christian in those words and that is because true Christianity teaches a finite existence of a few thousand years while unbelievers opt for a God-less billions of years. Of course, people like Manley will not acknowledge that their side may have made errors in their assessment of the age of artifacts, cave paintings, etc.,

The pivotal discovery was made by a French customs inspector, Jacques Boucher de Perthes. He explored the graveI quarries near the Somme River in northern France, and in 1841 published convincing evidence of the association of flint artefacts {hand-axes) with the bones of extinct animals. He argued successfully that this demonstrated the presence of human beings a long time before the supposed biblical food. (pg. 11)

According to them, their side is infallible and cannot make mistakes because they use science. Oh, they may correct a  date here and there but the general idea is never changed. That general idea is that man’s existence was longer than the Bible says and as you can see by the word ‘supposed’ in that quote, you see how seriously they take biblical data. Knowledge has not been ‘shackled’ by Christianity nor has any information about our origins been hampered by Christianity. The unbeliever has done a very good job in constructing their alternative and getting a monopoly for it in the public school classrooms. Sadly, that knowledge and alternative theory is built from all lies and no real evidence. The idea that archaeologists do not present any real facts about the past is reinforced by the next quote from Manley:

I am a firm believer that archaeologists should always seek to infer from the things they find the kinds of society that produced them (pg. 6)

It would be amiss to continue without presenting one definition to the word ‘infer’ and this one seems to capture the idea of that quote completely:

Infer has been used to mean “to hint or suggest” since the 16th century by speakers and writers of unquestioned ability and eminence (dictionary.reference.com)

There are other meanings but one cannot really draw real conclusions about the past without a wide variety of documents left over by those societies studied. Without supporting manuscripts all the archaeologist can do is ‘hint or suggest’ about the past and not present the real truth.

Even Christians would have a hard time presenting an accurate picture of the past if it were not for the Bible. That book is an ancient document written by eyewitnesses to the events recorded so their words are very important in trying to figure out how the ancients lived. Artifacts cannot do it alone, nor can individual inscriptions or monuments for those speak to isolated events or individuals and rarely speak for the general population as a whole.

For example, some tablet may speak of using incantations to heal the sick but that inscription or tablet only reflects the views of the writer of that tablet, or he is recording something for someone who does, and does not say that the whole nation believed the same way. Unfortunately too many archaeologists do not think like that and conclude that medical services in the distant past was more like witchcraft and sorcery instead of real medicine.

We believers cannot trust anything that comes from the mouths or pens of archaeologists or scientists for there are so many mitigating factors that come into play when they draw their conclusions and then repeat them to the public. The above is but a few examples. There is another problem in archaeology, and most sciences and that the public may not get all the information presented to them because of an anti-Christian or personal bias on the part of the archaeologist or scientists.

Returning to Eliat Mazar’s book on 10th century archaeology named above we read about this situation:

In the early 1990s, a number of Israeli archaeologists from Tel Aviv University began following a school of thought  that originated in the universities of Copenhagen, Denmark and Sheffield, England claiming… that no evidence had ever been discovered that could prove the might of Jerusalem during the First Temple Period…Our findings from the Ophel excavations were omitted from these studies, and, accompanied by the argument that the needed evidence has never been found, it followed that they did not even exist. (pg. 11)

I know exactly who she is talking about in that quote and have read their arguments in one of the Tel Aviv publications, I just do not have it handy at this time. She is talking about those professionals called, Minimalists, and they are called that because they disbelieve most of the OT and disregard it,

A couple of famous names that are found in this group are Phillip Davies and Israel Finkelstein and I have read what the latter wrote about those 10th century discoveries made by Ms. Mazar, He does exactly as she claims in that quote. So this means that the believer may not be getting the whole story about the archaeological information that has been uncovered and that they must really be careful not to assume the archaeologist informing them is giving them all available information.

The same idea applies to when believers listen to evolutionists or Big Bang (Astronomy not the t.v. show or musical group) theorists. They do not tell you the whole story and only let you know what they want you to know. The believer is told by Jesus that ‘we shall know the truth’ and that message does not mean that the truth is being spoken by all the experts in the world.

They may be respected in their field but if those experts do not know Christ as their savior then their information is suspect and needs to be double-checked with true believers who know those fields. Christians are to go for the truth not the interpretation or convenient scientific or archaeological explanation.

As far as I am concerned, the majority of archaeologists and scientists are the blind leading the blind and believers are not to be blind but set free by the truth.

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Posted by on May 19, 2015 in academics, archaeology, astronomy, Bible, church, faith, Genetics, history, science

 

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