Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Eric Cline of the Boston Globe states that Biblical archaeology is too important to leave to the "enthusiast" crowd. His is a pretty good run-down of recent "discoveries" that turn out to be nothing of the sort. I don't remember who said it but one of my favorite quotes is "there is enough wood from the original cross of Jesus lying around to build an ark." Cline notes:

Biblical archaeologists are suddenly finding themselves in a position similar to the evolutionary biologists fighting intelligent design - an entire parallel version of their field is being driven by religious belief, not research principles. The biologists' situation makes the risk clear - they did not deign to mount a public refutation of the "science" of intelligent design for years, until it was almost too late, and thus anti-evolutionary science began making its way into the public schools.

The problem seems to be lack of engagement:

When most archaeologists and biblical scholars hear that someone has (yet again) discovered Noah's Ark, they roll their eyes and get on with their business. This can leave the impression that the report might be true.

The problem is, as John Derbeyshire noted in reference to evolution, debating these "reports" is like playing whack-a-mole. Read the whole thing.

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