Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why People Believe: Ignorance

Just read this post from some guy who says his belief in the bible is cemented by the facts that:

A. the bible has never been wrong
B. says things people didn't know until later one
C. like us only being able to live 120 years [reference: Genesis 6:3 ...his days shall be one hundred and twenty years]
D. the oldest man ever was 119
E. in biology he learned human cells live to 120 years old

Ok... really?

#1 Jeanne Calment lived to 122 years 164 days

#2 no credible biologist would claim human cells live only or exactly 120 years.

#3 ergo, the bible is wrong

#4 you haven't shown anything that was actually in the bible before it could have been known

Nevermind the basis for these beliefs are ridiculous from the outset:

#1 People knew how to measure years for thousands of years

#2 People observed how long people lived for thousands of years

#3 it is therefore reasonable to assume that the authors would have had some idea about maximal lifespans - this is not 'things ppl didnt know'. And they guessed WRONG, if this guy can claim it as proof the bible is accurate before, then I can now claim it as irrefutable evidence the bible is a fraud.

And the bible has never been wrong? Oh, please. I think he means the bible is never wrong if you assume that all the incorrect portions are metaphorical and you redefine many words.

Now, I'm not calling this person Ignorant - but rather his beliefs are based on Ignorance. That isn't an insult, it is just a fact. My point is to show the dangers of two main things: #1 he clearly doesn't have reliable evidence supporting the facts he claims to believe and #2 he is also basing several arguments on gaps in knowledge (e.g., has anyone lived be greater than 120 years old) - these are called Arguments from Ignorance (I don't know of anyone who has, therefore it must be true).

I'm really up on numbering things today apparently.

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