Pulpit PaleoBabble Follow-Up

My thanks to Mark Goodacre for both the link and this follow-up to the nutty “666 in the NIV.”  Turns out that there’s not even 666 verses in the NIV if you actually look at the certain versification items — the NIV doesn’t include other verses in Mark, so it cannot have 666.  Bummer.

Another Great Moment in Pulpit PaleoBabble

Just when you think preaching can’t get any more insipid, you find yet another logic-defying sermon out there on the web. “Thanks” to the person who sent this to me.

Some surface observations on the problems with this “Bible lesson”:

1. Since the NIV *printed* the longer ending of Mark, isn’t it true that there are in fact 678 verses in Mark?  Didn’t he just count them for us?

2. As educated students of the textual history of the Bible (any Bible) know (guess that excludes this pastor), verses were not original to the text of either testament.  That means that versification is artificial from the get-go, so any numerical “truth” derived from counting them is, well, paleobabble.  Chapter divisions were added in the 13th century. During that century, Stephen Langton (ca. 1227), a professor at the University of Paris, and Cardinal Hugo de Sancta Cara (ca. 1244-1248) pioneered the chapter divisions. (One wonders how this preacher might react to catholics being the source of the chapter divisions).  Much earlier than this, the NT was divided into sections ca. the Council of Nicea, and before that the Hebrew Masoretes divided their canonical texts into section, paragraph, and phrasal divisions using accenting traditions. These divisions (oh, horror!) do not coincide with the KJV divisions or those used by other modern English translations. It is not known exactly when versification was added, but the oldest such scheme seems to be Italian Dominican biblical scholar Santi Pagnini (1470–1541; another catholic!), though his system was not popularly adopted.  As Christopher Smith notes in an article produced for a magazine I edit, “Robert Estienne created an alternate numbering in his 1551 edition of the Greek New Testament.”1 The first English New Testament to use the verse divisions was a 1557 translation by William Whittingham (c. 1524-1579).

None of this probably matters to the speaker, though, since he appears to be a King James only adherent. That brings me to the next problem.

3. The King James Only view that is apparent from this sermon is foreign to the reality of history of the biblical text. Readers are encouraged to read two volumes on this nonsense that are quite informative and helpful.  First, there is Carson’s King James Version Debate, The: A Plea for Realism (1979); then there is White’s  King James Only Controversy, The: Can You Trust Modern Translations?.  Even fundamentalists like Roy Beacham would denounce the KJV only position: One Bible Only?: Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible.

My point here is that this view is completely on the fringe — and there are real reasons why it is.  Frankly, the KJV debate is really a debate about the NT. None of its arguments work with respect to the Hebrew Bible (they don’t work on the NT, either, but applying them to the Hebrew text is where it really gets laughable).

4. My King James Bible says that 666 is “the number of a man” (Rev. 13:18) not the number of a manuscript tradition or publisher or versification scheme.

5. Jesus (I assume that’s who he means by the video title – the greatest preacher) didn’t assign verses to the Bible, nor does he ever reference them. Nor did he write Mark (or any other NT book).  If the preacher is talking about himself, then substitute his name for Jesus accordingly.

I’ll fly my flag at half mast again tonight, not for Ted Kennedy, but for the state of the American pulpit.

Some Classic PaleoBabble

I have to agree with Claude Mariotti’s assessment at the end of this post.  I get this kind of incoherent pablum all the time.  There really is no end to it. People think because they can construct sentences and group them that the ideas therein have some inherent sensibility to them, no matter that not a single fact supports them (“I heard someone say it, or I said it, therefore it is coherent and true”). In case the emailer sees this post, I challenge him to provide real factual data (which means something beyond where they heard it; that nonsense exists does not mean it is proven not to be nonsensical).

Posting Some Comments on Giants

I’ve had a reader have trouble replying to a post I did some time ago on giants.  I wanted you all to get the reply.  I have block-quoted any response I have to the material.  Here’s the post:


This is a very interesting post, along with the previous post about Giants. Anything abnormal always injects a high dose of curiosity into individuals, unless you really don’t care about the world around you at all.

Let me point to all of you to something more than just bones, archeology, history, dinosaurs and polydactylism (see following post on Giants). Other than alien and/or angelic apparitions and demon possesions, how about live Giants and Live mythical-like creatures?

For Living Giants, See Steve Quayle’s Books here:

Genesis 6 Giants, Master Builders of Prehistoric and Ancient Civilizations

I have Steve’s book. It’s a good compilation of reports with FEW examples of modern, living giants. But they are an anomaly and cannot be used as evidence of a race of people exceeding seven feet tall.  For allof Steve’s work (and his is the best collection out there), producing newspaper articles from the 19th century about the discovery of giant bones isn’t sufficient.  It is known now that at least some of those finds were in fact dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals. That means many others could have been as well, had they been investigated . . . it’s just that people 150 years ago didn’t know what they had.  It’s interesting but not proof of anything.

LongWalkers, Return of the Nephilim

For very interesting and captivating interviews with Steve Quayle about living Giant sightings and reports and about the swine flu, and more, see:

Living giant reports are like proof for extraterrestrials — it’s merely hearsay and anecdotal “evidence” that falls FAR short of actual proof.  Or it’s “a renegage military guy told me this and that and he saw giants in the lab.” Yeah. Right. Imagine what it would be like if people had to defend their faith this way.  Give me real DNA, real giant specimens, that sort of thing. Anything less isn’t sufficient.

Flashpoints and Giants (with George Noory):

Illuminati, Giants and dead microbiologists (with George Noory – Just listened to this last night)

CAVEAT: For Coast to Coast AM full downloads above, you must sign up ( not sure, because I did a few months past ) to StreamLink (see: http://www.coasttocoastam.com/pages/streamlink). Although, Steve is a long life time (35 years) dedicated researcher on all kinds of paranormal event around the globe: Biological Terrorism, Illuminati, Ancient History, Giants etc. We may not all agree on what he says at everypoint, but a very diligent researcher indeed, especially, in my interest, when it comes down to talk about LIVNG Giants.

CAVEAT 2: There are 4 full hours of downloadable MP3s in the links above at coasttocoastam.com. The first hour (Hour 1) is only generic global news, I recommend to only listen to Hours 2, 3, and 4, first and then listen to Hour 1 if curious.

CAVEAT 3: What distinguishes these Giants with just tall people (7-9 feet?)? Well, according to Steve and his reported sightings and military contacts:

– They are between 8 to 12 feet tall
– They have six fingers/toes
– They run super fast at abnormal speeds
– They can abnormally lift tons of weighs
– Their smell is uncomfortable
– Maybe a few other features that is escaping me

Where are the actual specimens? Actual science from which these conclusions are drawn? It is, sadly, only hearsay, and hearers must simply take it on faith. Let’s have the real deal before we believe it.  That isn’t an unreasonable request.

For Mothman creatures (research Mothman in Google), see LA Marzulli and Travis Shortt here:

Mothman Theories and Reports

Again, download Hours 2, 3, and 4 above. Very interesting!

There is a Interview-movie being produced by Travis and Marzulli entitled “Dark Wings”:


The 2012 Phenomenon: New Age Appropriation of an Ancient Mayan Calendar

Such is the title of this sixteen page academic essay from Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. It is very worthwhile reading. The author discusses, among others, John Major Jenkins’ ideas about 2012.  Here’s the abstract:

ABSTRACT: According to the ancient Mayan Long Count calendar, a cycle of more than 5,000 years will come to fruition on the winter solstice of 2012. While this date is largely unknown among contemporary Maya, some participants in the New Age movement believe it will mark an apocalyptic global transformation. Hundreds of books and Internet sites speculate wildly about the 2012 date, but little of this conjecture has a factual basis in Mayan culture. This paper provides an overview of the primary currents in the 2012 phenomenon, examines their sources, and speculates about developments as this highly anticipated date approaches.


Close-Mindedness, Thy Name is Zahi Hawass

Zahi Hawass is a good scholar. So why does he need to act like he’s in Palto’s cave staring at the wall? Really, Zahi, amateurs can discover things. It’s a matter of research and (surprise) looking somewhere someone else isn’t or hasn’t. No big secret. I’m no follower of Andrew Collins’ ideas on several fronts, but when someone like Zahi just can’t admit that someone found something he didn’t, it has the ring of paleobabble. Let’s give credit when it’s due.

The Bias of 19th Century German Biblical and Assyriological Scholarship

Turns out even real scholars can be guilty of paleobabble when motivated by biases. They simply filter the data through a preconceived grid.

I’ve blogged before about how F. Delitzsch was influenced by racial theories of his day toward anti-Semitism, which in turn erased his objectivity about the Mesopotamian influence on the Old Testament (see, “Is Zecharia Sitchin Anti-Semitic?”). I don’t think Sitchin or others who blindly follow him are anti-Semitic. But they keep foisting exaggerated and misguided 19th century academic conclusions about Sumerian-Akkadian influence on the Old Testament on their readers. The fact is that today, in the real 21st (and 20th) century worlds of biblical studies and Assyriology, conclusions about such influence are far more tame and guarded. The issue is just more complex than 19th century scholars either knew or cared to admit. Many were propelled by racism.  Here’s another article on Delitzsch and this subject. It’s introduction and conclusion read in part (my highlights):

“Our concern in this essay is not with the role of Delitzsch’s work in the history of the disciplines of Assyriology and biblical studies per se. Instead we aim to take this centennial as an opportunity to refresh the guild’s memory concerning his presuppositions and the tragic turn observable in the lectures themselves.

At the centennial of the “Babel und Bibel” lectures, our intent has been to consider Delitzsch and his method in the context of his time and place in order to gain a heuristic depth perception after the passage of a full century. Delitzsch was a brilliant Assyriologist, one of the most distinguished scholars of the time. But beyond his philological accomplishments, he also left behind a legacy of uncritical political nationalism and questionable assumptions. In this light, Delitzsch stands as a singular reminder of the importance of the way in which we relate our research to our context.”