What does it mean for something to be ‘inerrant’?

2 12 2010

What does it mean for something to be “inerrant”?  Well, the Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘inerrant’ (an adj.) as: “That does not err; free from error; unerring.”  Notice, “free from error”.  And just to be complete, ‘perfect’ (an adj) is defined as “In a state of complete excellence; free from any imperfection or defect of quality; that cannot be improved upon; flawless, faultless.”  Notice, “flawless, faultless” and “free from ANY imperfection”.  This means that even the slightest error is enough to show something claimed to be inerrant to not be so.

This brings a recent example to mind.

Recently I have been in a discussion with an individual who claims that bible is nothing less than the perfect, inerrant word of his god (presumably Yahweh).  I pointed out the passage 1 Kings 7:23 which states: “He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it.”  This passage claims that they made a circle with diameter of 10 and a circumference of 30.  If one recalls, pi=C/d=30/10=3.  This statement is 100% false, even at the time 1 Kings was written.  How do we know this? Well, pi was known to the Babylonians to be at least 3.125 in circa 2000BC (Source: http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~huberty/math5337/groupe/overview.html).

Thus showing the bible, containing at least one error (oh and there are plenty more) and is therefore not inerrant.

As the say in math.

Q.E.D.

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Birth is NOT a miracle.

4 10 2010

Miracle-

1. A marvellous event not ascribable to human power or the operation of any natural force and therefore attributed to supernatural, esp. divine, agency; esp. an act (e.g. of healing) demonstrating control over nature and serving as evidence that the agent is either divine or divinely favoured.

2. A remarkable, wonderful, or (in weakened sense) very surprising phenomenon or event; an achievement or occurrence seemingly beyond human power; an outstanding achievement.

3.A wonderful object, a marvel; a person or thing of more than natural excellence; a surpassing specimen or example of some quality.

There have been countless billions of humans born and if you count those fetuses that didn’t make it to birth maybe trillions made.  Even if we didn’t understand the process the way we do by sheer numbers alone, the birth of a child does not, by definition, constitute a miracle.

Quit calling it what it isn’t.  Being memorized by birth is like being memorized by flipping a quarter.

-Joel

All definitions courtesy of the Oxford English Dictionary.





Word of the Day 3/26/2010

27 03 2010

Myopic

Definition: Myopic, adj-

  1. Of, relating to, or affected with myopia; short-sighted, near-sighted.
  2. fig. Lacking foresight or intellectual insight; unimaginative.
  3. n.A short-sighted person; a myope. Also fig. Read the rest of this entry »




It is ‘quaint’…isn’t it?

26 03 2010

The word ‘quaint’ is so innocent today.  But that is only because we use it as an adjective.  Not many people think of using it as a noun.  How, one would rightly ask in understandable astonishment, would you use ‘quaint’ as a noun?  Clearly, used as an adjective,  it means “Cunning, ingenious; elaborate, elegant”(Oxford English Dictionary Online).  But looking a bit deeper, one will find an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary for ‘quaint’ the noun.  It’s definition as a noun is “The female external genitals” (Oxford English Dictionary Online).  To be fair, this meaning has become obsolete and rare after the 16th century.  However, let us exmine the etymology to see how the noun meaning of the past, mentioned above, transformed into the innocent adjective meaning we use today.

The noun form, accord to the OED, was used “either punningly after CUNT n. or as a euphemistic substitution for that word”.  “Cunt”, meaning “The female external genital organs” is identical to that of ‘quaint’ as a noun.  How then did it come to mean “Cunning, ingenious; elaborate, elegant”?  Though one could derive a humorous folk-etymology for this, having done it myself, it would serve us better to find the truth.  Our current meaning in the adjective form cam be linked to the “Anglo-Norman cointecuentecuintekointequaintqueintequintquointe and Old French, Middle French cointe clever, astute, quick-witted, experienced, expert (11th cent.)… With use as noun compare earlier QUAINT n.1 (Oxford English Dictionary Online). Thus, it seems that ‘quaint’ the adjective and ‘quaint’ the noun were used independently and may not have had much contact with each other in terms of semantic, contextual use.  However, given the attitudes (stemming probably from Biblical stories) toward women during the time this word was used in the these ways, that they were always conniving, always trying to do those thing that would make trouble for the men in their lives (from said Biblical stories) it is hardly out of the question that this is how, and maybe why, the noun form meant the female genitals and cunning, crafty.

-Joel