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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dig It.

History isn't dead...it's all around us, embodied in the culture, institutions, and monuments that mark our society.

By these standards, 'Biblical Proof' should be unnecessary. Our culture's still the freest and most just the world's seen, as well as one of the few in which mercy is legally codified, and, broadly speaking, practiced.

And yet, folks want to go digging in the ground to prove the existence of Solomon's Stables or Matthew's tax Collecting Desk or Paul's Pen.

Not a bad thing. Hard proof is useful for convincing doubters (and helping those whose doubt wavers), and besides, archaeology is fun. Ask Indiana Jones.

However, we do have to be aware that there are those who want to disprove Christianity, and use archaeology and paleontology to do it.

They typically get funded. Christian researchers usually don't, at least not nearly to the same degree.

They can sound very erudite and learned and convincing, and they might present reams of careful research. But when you listen to these academic big cheeses, please remember this...from a former academic:


Some basic points, a short 'primer' on academic research...

  • Academic research is funded through grants, typically given through the federal government (like the national Science Foundation), states (highway departments fund some archaeological research, when their roads go through sites), and semi-governmental or private foundations. 
  • Research costs money. Colleges take cuts ranging from 20% to close to 50% for overhead
  • Research takes time, and a lot of the heavy lifting is done by students, who don't come cheap
  • Research projects are typically time-limited
  • The subject and quality of research, not to mention the topics chosen, are absolutely vital to keeping an academic job, and getting advancement
Research starts with either the issuance of an RFP (request for proposals) from a funding organization, or a 'blind' proposal submission from an individual researcher, or research group.

This said, it should be pretty clear that research starts with a set idea. "I think this, my reasons are these, and I want to go about proving it in this manner. Please give me a lot of money."

The funding organization then has to decide between competing proposals on who gets the available money, and how much (it's almost always less than the researcher wants).

All of these factors make academic research one of the most politicized processes around. Going to almost any funding organization with an idea to prove part of the Bible, is simply a non-starter. Conversely, going in with an anti-religious attitude (preferably cloaked in fashionable jargon, but clear to those in the know) will be met with warmth and sympathy.

Evolution's still a theory. There are a lot of arguments against natural selection, the most convincing dealing with the time frames involved...but you'll never get funding to look at these topics. Darwin rules, and no one wants to allow questioning, because even listening to an argument would undermine the listener's position.

Don't look to the academics for truth. Look to them for entertainment, and wish them well, for they are, in the end, highly trained seals barking and clapping their flippers for mackerel-money.

If you want truth, look to the Bible, and then look to our society, and the behavior of people and governments. Does it fit? Does it correctly explain phenomena we see today? if it does...then its reliability in other areas can be more highly regarded.

And look to your heart, because this is where the hard kernels of truth will be most finely, and purely ground.


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