Shark Week, Pseudo-Science, And the Willingness of Some Biblical Scholars to Jump the Shark for the Sake of TV Face Time

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Read this report from NPR and substitute biblical scholars for shark biologists and you’ll understand how infuriating it is to watch people who profess to love biblical studies appear on Discovery, which cares NOTHING for the truth and only for ratings.  After describing a guy who researches sharks and his excitement about being a part of the series, Shark Week, NPR continues-

You can guess what happened next. To his horror, Davis found himself featured on a “documentary” that had little to do with his research. Voodoo Shark strongly suggested that Davis believed in the Rooken.

“There’s no way I could’ve known they were going to portray it like that,” he says.

Voodoo Shark shows Davis and his team doing real research, pulling sharks out of the water and tagging them on the deck. Davis says he did not see any unusual sharks. What was unusual was a producer’s reaction when they hooked a big one.

“One of the guys was like, “Oh, maybe you should just let it bite you, that would be so exciting.’ And I was just thinking to myself, ‘Are you kidding me? You really think I wanna let the shark bite me just for ratings? Are you serious?’ ”

Ellen Prager, a marine scientist who has taught at the University of Miami and writes books for children about sharks, says she and her colleagues have a list of things that drive them crazy about Shark Week, such as the emphasis on sharks attacking people and feeding frenzies.

And yet biblical scholars will continue to jump the shark and appear on whatever garbage Discovery airs.  When they do, they deserve, richly, to be associated for the rest of their careers with the dissemination of absolute stupidity.

Scientists know that Discovery twists the truth.  Why don’t biblical scholars?  And if they do (and they have to), then what is it about them that makes them willing to turn their backs on the facts and become part of something insidious and dishonest?

This is What Happens When Rupert Murdoch Buys an Erstwhile Christian Publisher

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Tis a stupid question.  Humanity is fallen.  It’s not a matter of whether or not the Church is ‘complicit’ (what the *&() does that mean anyway?) in the fact of mankind’s fallenness.  The destruction of the imago dei through rebellion and sin is simply the way things are.  Period.  No question.  No debate.

[NB- I know, I know, someone is going to say that the essay isn’t about that at all, etc. etc. blah blah blah.  The tweet itself is the absurdity].

That Chart Won’t Really Work

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James McGrath has posted this:


The chart is wrong for one simple reason- not all fundamentalists are dependent on english translations of the bible.  Indeed, a number of fundamentalists are very engaged in reading the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and many of them are engaged in the complexities of textual criticism.  It is, accordingly, an oversimplification of a complex phenomenon. Fundamentalism has less to do with what text one reads and more to do with a mindset.

The irony here is that McGrath is playing the ‘scholar card’ but not being totally honest with the facts.

[NB- I suppose if I were akin to various other bloggers I could have just left all this unattributed and said ‘I saw this on facebook by someone but I’m not forthright enough to mention who…’  Except such dishonesty is unbefitting academics].


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There is no ‘yes’ in the Bible to same sex marriage.  It simply isn’t there.  Mr Achtemeier can change his mind all he wants and embrace any ideology he pleases and so can everyone else.  But he CANNOT, he MAY NOT claim biblical support for that view.  It simply doesn’t exist.  Special pleading, eisegesis, and scorn of Christian theology notwithstanding.



The Vatican’s Ministry of Misinformation Concerning the Turin Shroud

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Antonio ‘The Leper‘ Lombatti writes

Ne parla in modo giustamente spietato Marco Bella sul Fatto Quotidiano. Pseudoscienza e pseudostoria: che triste realtà. Leggete anche voi. Trovate anche un resoconto del convegno scritto da Sylvie Coyaud. E non dimenticatevi l’articolo di Stefano Milani.

That Awkward Moment When you Realize You’re Reading Pure Rubbish

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This Is Why No One Can Take Pentebabbleism Seriously: Bert Farias Wins the Dilly This Week

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Writes one pentebabbleist in something called ‘Charisma

[Homosexuality] is such a putrid smelling demon that other demons don’t even like to hang around it. A genuine prophet of God told me that the Lord allowed him to smell this demon spirit, and he got sick to his stomach. And yet as humans, many embrace this demon. Yes, you heard me right. Being gay is demonic.

There is an account in the Bible where Jesus casts out 2,000 demons out of a man. The demons came out screaming and begged Jesus to send them into the pigs. The pigs didn’t want them, so they ran down a steep hill and were drowned in the sea. Pigs have more sense than some humans. People embrace homosexual demons, but the pigs would rather die than be possessed with demons.

Erm…  Bert Farias isn’t a member of SBL.  I suspect he’s in AAR.  Anyway, he’s a lousy exegete. So, Mr F., here’s your Dilly, and might I add, it’s very well deserved: