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Ground Rules: Part 1

A lot of the list that I’ve been working from regarding the presumed contradictions, was compiled by someone named J Merritt and its posted on the Stephen J Gould website.

Stephen J Gould was an evolutionary biologist who, sadly, died of cancer in 2002.  Gould developed the theory of Punctuated Equilibrium; a theory in evolutionary biology that says the appearance of new species occurs suddenly and without continuous slow variations.   It sounds like a lot like Creationism, I know, but I’m sure that’s not what he meant.

“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persist as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.” Stephen J Gould – “Evolution’s Erratic Pace,”

Natural History, Vol. 86 (May 1987), p. 14.

Gould admits that the fossil record does not support evolution which is why he developed his theory.

But that’s all just interesting background into how skeptics think.

Moving on…

The list starts with a short introduction by Merritt and I wanted to cover it here because it illustrates how skeptics, of any discipline, need to be careful of generalizations.

The Bible is riddled with repetitions and contradictions, things that the Bible bangers would be quick to point out in anything that they want to criticize.

Jim Merritt, A List of Biblical Contradictions

\nFirst of all, repetitions are not a problem.  The Bible is a huge book covering 1400+ years of history.  In many cases it contains the original event and then a retelling, or two,  of the same event.  In the New Testament there are a couple of page long summaries of the Old Testament.  While it may seem unnecessary to some extent, it has no baring on the accuracy, or validity of the text.  In debate this a way of heaping false evidence to make it sound like a bigger case than it is.

The usage of “Bible bangers” gives insight into Merritt’s disposition towards the Bible; he’s being emotional about it instead of objectively critical. Now, do some “Bible bangers” harp on contradiction? Well, yeah, shouldn’t we all? Over all this first sentence makes a weak statement.  Half of it doesn’t matter and the other half works against him.

That’s enough to get started.  Stay tuned tomorrow for Ground Rules Part 2!\n\n


\n\nRead more from the “Skeptics Corner” series here. It used to be called “Contradictions Answered”, but I think Skeptics Corner has a better ring to it.