Showing posts with label IDQ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IDQ. Show all posts

Jesus As God From IDQ Design Deficiencies

19 comments
This article will show how the concept of the Trinity was derived from the Design Deficiency of incomplete representation in scripture leading to "Garbling" causing Scripture to map to a meaningless state. The Bible has many instances of incomplete representation but for the sake of brevity, this article will focus on "Jesus as God". It highlights some disconfirming evidence which refutes the proposition that "Jesus was God" can be rationally determined from the text.

This Article is part five of the series of articles applying Information and Data Quality Principles to the Bible. Links to the previous articles are listed below.
1. How Accurate is the Bible?
2. Applying Data and Information Quality Principles To The Bible
3. Applying IDQ Principles of Research To The Bible
4. Overview of IDQ Deficiencies Which Are Evident In Scripture

Presuming that Jesus was Jewish, and that Jesus was a rabbi, and that Jewish rabbis were experts in Jewish theology, and Jesus was an expert in Jewish theology, in John 14:6-11 Jesus was not referring to himself as god but more likely referring to a Jewish teaching regarding their view of the relationship between God and Man with respect to the soul. It can also be seen that Jesus did not clearly and unequivocally state that he was the incarnation or personification of God.

The example used in this article could be used for two types of IDQ deficiencies depending on the context. If we presume for the sake of argument that it is true that Jesus was God, then the example falls in the category of the IDQ deficiency of Incomplete representation. If we presume that Jesus was not God then the example would fall under the category of Ambiguous Representation. However, I would prefer to use the presumption that Jesus was God and handle it as a an Incomplete Representation and save the Ambiguous Representation for another example.

As described in my article "Overview of IDQ Deficiencies Which Are Evident In Scripture"(1), in order for an information system to accurately represent real world events, each of the Information System data must "map" to a real world event.
A brief review of Incomplete Representation and Mapping to a Meaningless State(2) follows.

Incomplete representation
If the Information System is missing some information about the real world, then the information system cannot accurately represent the state of the real world for which it was intended. This is termed as "incompleteness". Figure 1 illustrates this point by showing three instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and two instances of Data in the D column. One instance of a Real World state is not represented by the Data in column D.

Figure 1


Operation Deficiencies - Garbling:
Meaningless State

In human terms, garbling occurs at the point of "consumption" or reading and interpretation. In Information Systems, it occurs at operation time or when the database is being accessed. Garbling occurs when a Real World state is incorrectly mapped to a wrong state in the Information System. There are two cases in which this occurs. If a meaningless state exists, then Real World mapping will be to a meaningless state, or the mapping might be to a meaningful but incorrect information state. This can occur as a result of inaccurate data entry or omissions of real world states at the creation or origin of the data. Analogous examples of this type of garbling are legends, folktales and the "Artistic License" of the author or originator.

Figure 2 illustrates this point by showing two instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and three instances of Data in the D column. One instance of an information state is not represented by or does not map back to a real world state and a Real World state in incorrectly interpreted as being represented by the superfluous datum.

Figure 2


The Trinity
The concept of the Trinity was a hotly debated topic for generations that came to a head in 325ce when it was formally adopted as a tenet by the Council of Nicaea(3). It lead to accusations of Heresy, religious persecution and according to sources lead to the poisoning of Arius(4).

Jesus was Jewish and a Jewish principle is that the "soul" is part of God that God has hidden in us, and we are to show it to other people through our lifestyle, and by doing so Gods influence on the earth will be released.
On the website Askmoses.com, Rabbi Shlomo Chein(5) responds to a request to define the Jewish soul. He says

" A person is known as a "miniature world". The soul can perhaps be explained as a "microcosm of G-d". By allowing his G-dly soul to be expressed within his own existence the Jew can bring G-d into all of existence."

"So the next time you face adversary, feel ostracized, or question your ability to carry out your Divine mission of Judaism, remember, G-d is not only with you, He is in you."


But Scripture tells that Jesus said the following about himself which has been used to justify the concept of the Trinity. If Jesus really said this and he was a Jewish Rabbi it is not likely that he meant that he was God on Earth.

John 14:6-11
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
7 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."
8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us."
9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
11 "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.


So if John 14:6-11 represents the type of thing Jesus said about himself, and Jesus was a Rabbi, Jesus probably had the same concept as Rabbi Chein and was not saying that he was God incarnate. It seems to be a misinterpretation of a Jewish teaching that was not part of Gentile culture. Understood as the Jewish viewpoint of the soul, it makes more sense, but understanding it as Jesus saying that he was God on Earth, can only be described as DOUBLETALK.

Jesus never clearly said that he was God on earth, and he never said that he, God and the holy spirit were one substance. Therefore, if it is true, and it was not included in the scriptures, it is the design flaw of incomplete representation. It has been shown through IDQ research that "Poor data quality can have a severe impact on the overall effectiveness of an organization"(2) and "Poor data quality can have substantial social and economic impacts"(6). Christianity has had a relatively poor adoption rate compared to Mathematics which was developing about the same time(13). Mathematics adoption is practically ubiqutious where Christianity is not. These results can be explained, when compared to Christianity by the relatively high quality of information about Mathematics, its relevance, utility, reproducability, and resultant plausibility.

The scriptures recognized the problem with Information and Data Quality, but the insight they demonstrated was typically human and poor when compared to their peers. They had no divine guidance about how to handle this "divine revelation". Instead, they handled it inadequately by warning against false prophets and worrying about the "correct" interpretation of scripture which has resulted in a very splintered church(7). Not even the "Holy Spirit" has been effective in preserving the true meaning of the text across Christian Churches and denominations. Due to lack of clarity, many interpretations have been derived from poorly designed scripture and have resulted in the three major divisions which are The Roman Catholic, the Eastern Orthodox and the Protestant Churches. Further competing interpretations have lead to each of those divisions having various subdivisions resulting in tens of thousands of denominations. Furthermore this has historically led to Christian on Christian violence which leads to a doubt about the Holy Spirit(8) and is not likely to be something intended by Yahweh or foreseen by him, or those that put words in his mouth. Christians will equivocate this point calling it "the body of Christ" pointing to the parable of the grape vine, but we know through real world experience, trial and error, applications in business, war strategy and a field of research that it is a weakness and a sign of poor performance, so much so that there are sayings addressing it, "United we stand, divided we fall", "Divide and Conquer" and "Divide and Rule".

God showed remarkable lack of insight by not providing instructions for ensuring the Quality of Data and Information, or in picking the right people that would have done it naturally or that would have figured it out without compromising their free will. The Fact that Jesus verifies scripture as Gods word and it can be shown to be of such poor quality is further disconfirming evidence that the scripture is the word of god and that Jesus was god on earth. From the text, it cannot rationally be determined whether Jesus was God or not and interpreting John from the view point of a Jewish Expert, Jesus was just repeating a Jewish teaching about the soul.

Below are some lists showing how poor quality data has lead to the splintering of Christianity and its poor 33% performance world wide over 2000 years(9).

A Short List of Christian Denominations
1 Catholicism
1.1 The Catholic Church: Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome
1.2 Other Churches that are Catholic, But Who Are Not In Communion With Rome

2 Eastern Churches
2.1 The (Eastern) Orthodox Church
2.2 Western-Rite Orthodox Churches
2.3 Other Eastern Orthodox Churches
2.3.1 Assyrian Church of the East
2.4 Oriental Orthodoxy
2.4.1 Oriental Orthodox Communion

3 Anglicanism
3.1 Anglican Communion (in communion with the Church of England)
3.2 Independent Anglican and Continuing Anglican Movement Churches

4 Protestant
4.1 Pre-Lutheran Protestants
4.2 Lutheranism
4.3.1 Presbyterianism
4.3.2 Congregationalist Churches
4.4 Anabaptists
4.5 Methodists
4.6 Pietists and Holiness Churches
4.7 Baptists
4.7.1 Spiritual Baptists
4.9 Apostolic Churches - Irvingites
4.10 Pentecostalism
4.11 Oneness Pentecostalism
4.12 Charismatics
4.12.1 Neo-Charismatic Churches
4.13 African Initiated Churches
4.14 United and uniting churches
4.15 Other Protestant Denominations
4.16 Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

5 Messianic Judaism

6 Restorationism
6.1 Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement
6.2 Southcottites
6.3 Millerites and Comparable groups
6.3.1 Sabbath Keeping Churches, Adventist
6.3.2 Sabbath-Keeping Churches, Non-Adventist in north Pennsylvania
6.3.3 Sunday Adventists
6.3.4 Sacred Name Groups
6.3.5 Other Adventists
6.3.6 Bible Student Groups
6.4 Anglo-Israelism

7 Nontrinitarian Groups
7.1 Unitarianism and Universalism

8 Religious movements related to Christianity
8.1 Manichaeism
8.2 The New Church also called Swedenborgianism
8.2.1 Episcopal
8.2.2 Congregational
8.3 New Thought
8.4 Christian mystery movements

9 Ethnic or syncretic religions incorporating elements of Christianity

10 Christianism

A List of Inter-Christian controversies
- Trinity or no?
- Arianism
- The disputes that drove the creation of Protestants.
- Denominations of Protestants
- Denominations of Catholics
- War between Catholics and protestants
- Holy Spirit male or female?
- Holy Spirit is a person or not?
- Salvation, faith or works
- Baptism
- Infant Baptism
- Hell is real and fiery or not?
- Purgatory
- Snake handling
- Once saved always saved?
- Where do Suicides go?
- Speaking in tongues
- Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
- New covenant theology
- The 'two natures' in Christ.
- The Ordination of Women
- The attitude towards gays
- The various parts of the Bible that seem to be later additions, such as the 'story of the woman taken in adultery' and the 'Great Commission' that ends Matthew, etc.
- The Rapture
- Slavery
- Biblical inerrancy
- Christendom
- Papal Infallibility
- Double Predestination
- Just War Theory
- Penal Substitution
- God as a Male
- Sin
- Unforgivable Sin
- Second coming has already happened
- The point in time that the holy spirit indwells and fills you
- Gifts of the spirit given to everyone or different people at different times
- 'pre-Nicean' controversies

References and Further Reading
1. Overview Of IDQ Design Deficiencies Which Are Evident In Scripture
2. Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations
3. Wikipedia - Formulation of the doctrine of the trinity
4. Wikipedia - Arius
5. Askmoses.com, Rabbi Shlomo Chein describes the Jewish Soul
6. Beyond Accuracy: What Data Quality Means To Consumers
7. Wikipedia - Christian Denominations
8. Reasonable Doubt About The Holy Spirit
9. Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents
10. Wikipedia - Arianism
11. Wikipeda - Trinity
12. Wikipedia - Christology
13. Wikipedia, History of Mathematics

Overview of IDQ Deficiencies Which Are Evident In Scripture

32 comments
The originators of scripture had a remarkable lack of insight when creating scripture considering it was revealed to them by God. Apparently God didn't reveal to them some fundamental principles in ensuring they were creating quality information and data that would stand the test of time and generations.

This article introduces Information and Data Quality design deficiencies which will be elaborated on with scriptural examples in follow on articles and will serve as quick reference for them. It is part four of a series on applying IDQ priniciples to cross-checking the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible. Links to the preceding articles follow.
1. How Accurate is the Bible?
2. Applying Data and Information Quality Principles To The Bible
3. Applying IDQ Principles of Research To The Bible

What are Design Deficiencies?
As the saying goes "Do it right the first time" many industries recognize and practice the principle of ensuring quality early in the production cycle to avoid problems later in the cycle or in the market(27). As a marksman knows when taking aim, a tiny deviation from the target at the source can lead to large deviation at the target. By not ensuring data integrity and quality at the creation of scripture, many problems have manifested themselves and continue to appear as the scripture gets older. Metaphors do not retain their integrity in meaning over thousands of years. Some of the problems have led to persecution for heresy, divisions in the church and division of the Churches into denomintations until there are tens of thousands of variations of Christianity in existence. For example, they may all agree that Jesus died on the Cross, but they don’t all agree on his nature.

With these kinds of problems it is no wonder why after close to 2000 years, Christianity has only a 33% mind share while all other religions together total 66%(28). Its not that people are evil so they don't believe, it is that there are no compelling reasons to believe in Jesus. Comparing all these religions to some other philosophical ideas that were developing in parallel about the same time, Mathematics has become ubiquitous while the various religions are still languishing under the weight of implausibility(26).

The originators of scripture had a remarkable lack of insight when creating scripture considering it was revealed to them by God. Apparently God didn't reveal to them some fundamental principles in ensuring they were creating quality information and data that would stand the test of time and generations. And furthermore God had a choice in who he revealed scripture to. Using the law of large numbers, he would have been able to analyze and consider any number of millions of starting points for his desired outcome to include the one person that would start a path of reliable transmission of the data from person to person(29). He, like no one else, had the ability to choose the one in ten million starting point that would have gotten the scripture to this point uncorrupted.

Overview of Proper Representation and Design Deficiencies
Some fundamental deficiencies in data design and creation have been identified in the field of Information and Data Quality through research and trial and error(3). Each of them will be defined in this overview and then how they relate to scripture will be elaborated on separately in follow on articles.
They are as follows.
- Incomplete representation
- Ambiguous representation
- Meaningless representation
- Garbling by mapping to a meaningless state
- Garbling by mapping to a wrong state

Proper representation
In order for an Information System (IS) to accurately represent real world events, each of the datum in the Information System must "map" to real world states. Each real word state must be accounted for in the information system. Having more than one instance of a Real World state (a record) is appropriate if it represents an aspect of the Real World state that hasn't been previously accounted for. To have more than one instance of a record of the same Real World state doesn't add any significant value, but a record of the same Real World state that has related data, in another context for example, adds value if it doesn't lead to a meaningless Real World state such as a contradiction. For example, having two instances of the same story do not add any value unless one of the stories has different information in it which does not contradict the other. Figure 1 illustrates this point by showing three instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and four instances of Data in the D column. Each Real World state is represented by a datum in the information system with one instance of a Real World state being represented by two instances of data in the Information System.

Figure 1.


Incomplete representation
If the Information System is missing some information about the real world, then the information system cannot accurately represent the state of the real world for which it was intended. This is termed as "incompleteness". Figure 2 illustrates this point by showing three instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and two instances of Data in the D column. One instance of a Real World state is not represented by the Data in column D.

Figure 2



Ambiguous representation
While it is permissible to use to a multiple datum to represent one real world state, it is not permissible to use one datum to represent two real world states. If multiple Real World states are represented by one datum there is not enough information with which to accurately represent either Real World state. This situation is called "Ambiguity". It is similar to incomplete representation because it can be considered an instance of missing information, even though one datum could incompletely represent two instances of a Real World state because it is not specific enough. It is analogous to using the term "she" in a conversation when discussing an event concerning multiple women. By not specifying which "she" is being referenced, the details of the event become unclear because the "she" being referred to is ambiguous.

Figure 3 illustrates this point by showing three instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and two instances of Data in the D column. One instance of a Real World state is not represented by the Data in column D but instead, two instances of Real World states are represented by one instance of an information state.

Figure 3



Meaningless representation
When the information system contains superfluous information then it can lead to a situation where the Information System does not accurately represent (map back to) a real world state. For example this can occur by the use of too many descriptive terms, undefined terms or some minor addition to the story intended as an elaboration. To say that in a battle some person or group chose a brilliant strategy and exhibited exceptional strength or bravery may mean that an unintended desperate situation has been incorrectly represented and will be incorrectly interpreted. This situation happens often in television, movies and songs about historical events such as the Spartan battle with the Persians at Thermopylae depicted in the movie "300" or Egyptian Hieroglyphs documenting events in the lives of pharoahs.

Figure 4 illustrates this point by showing two instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and three instances of Data in the D column. One instance of an information state is not represented by or does not map back to a real world state .

Figure 4



Operation Deficiencies - Garbling:
Meaningless State
In human terms, garbling occurs at the point of "consumption" or reading and interpretation. In Information Systems, it occurs at operation time or when the database is being accessed. Garbling occurs when a Real World state is incorrectly mapped to a wrong state in the Information System. There are two cases in which this occurs. If a meaningless state exists, then Real World mapping will be to a meaningless state, or the mapping might be to a meaningful but incorrect information state. This can occur as a result of inaccurate data entry or omissions of real world states at the creation or origin of the data. Analogous examples of this type of garbling are legends, folktales and the "Artistic License" of the author or originator.

Figure 5 illustrates this point by showing two instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and three instances of Data in the D column. One instance of an information state is not represented by or does not map back to a real world state and a Real World state in incorrectly interpreted as being represented by the superfluous datum.

Figure 5



Map to a wrong state
Figure 6 illustrates this phenomena by showing two instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and three instances of Data in the D column. One instance of an information state is not represented by or does not map back to a real world state and a Real World state in incorrectly interpreted as being represented by a valid however incorrect or unintended information state.

Figure 6


In successive articles I will explore each IDQ design deficiency and give a biblical example.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING
1. Wikipedia, "Data Management"
2. Information Quality at MIT
3. Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations
4. DMReview, Data Management Review
5. IQ-1 Certificate Program
6. Wikipedia, 2003 Invasion of Iraq
7. How Accurate Is The Bible?
8. Datalever.com
9. Wikipedia, Tanakh
10. Null Hypothesis
11. Beyond Accuracy: What Data Quality Means To Consumers
12. IQ Benchmarks
13. Reasonable Doubt About Adaption Theory
14. IQ Trainwrecks
15. Robert Harris' VirtualSalt
16. Data Quality Assessment
17. Cornell University Library
18. Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agnecies
19. East Tennesee State University Researchers Toolbox
20. George Mason Univeristy
21. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Evaluating Internet Resources
22. The Virtual Chase, Criteria for Quality in Information--Checklist
23. Know Your Bible
24. Wikipedia, Authors of The Bible
25. Ancient HistoriansPart 1, Part 2
26. Wikipedia, History of Mathematics
27. Data Quality Requirements Analysis and Modeling
28. Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents
29. Making Sense of Probability

Applying IDQ Principles of Research To The Bible

62 comments
By applying principles of Information and Data Quality (IDQ) in research to the Bible, it can be shown that a high level of confidence in the accuracy and reliability of the information in the Bible is irrational, therefore arguments or claims using the bible as a premise are inherently weak.

Cross-check, Cross-check, Cross-check!
Accuracy and verifiability are part of the foundation of IDQ.

Researchers of Information and Data Quality (IDQ) have created classifications for Data Collectors, Data Custodians and Data Consumers. Those that collect the data provide it to those that store it and maintain it, and to those that use it. There are different values associated with IDQ dimensions depending on which categorical context it falls into(16). For example, the data custodian considers accuracy as the number one value while the consumer (depending on the context) may not consider accuracy the most important dimension. In all cases the most important criteria for the user is whether or not it is useful.

The fact that the consumer does not necessarily regard accuracy as the highest value creates a market for less accurate information which enterprising data producers are willing to satisfy. One example is the "tabloid" and "gossip magazine" industry. However, the desire for useful though inaccurate information extends across categories into business, marketing, politics and religion. Unfortunately, to ensure accurate data when needed, some extra work is necessary in the form of cross-checking.

Who is the author?
Like everything in life, cross-checking should be able to be used to verify a piece of information to see if it makes sense from another perspective. One way to do that is by being able to identify the author. When the author can be identified their credentials can be reviewed. Whether or not the author is an expert can be assessed, what their peers thought of them and what environment they lived in. These properties can be used to cross-check to see if the information has external consistency and makes sense from other perspectives. These properties allow the use of inference to assess the credibility, plausibility, believability and most importantly the accuracy of the information. There is no precise definition of accuracy, and in fact many of the dimensions of IDQ are self-referential, but it is the case that what accuracy is NOT is apparent and using that as a criteria, a working definition can be derived.

Accuracy implies that the datum represents a real world state.
It implies that when the data are reviewed, and compared to the real world event or object it describes the real world event sufficiently for more than one person to have as close to the same understanding of it as possible. An accurate representation of a real world event will not be ambiguous, will not lack precision and will not be incomplete because this will lead to inferences about the real world that do not or never existed or that represent an incorrect element in the real world(3).

Accurate and verifiable data are crucial to having enough understanding about the subject to be able to make reliable decisions, inferences and predictions in order to increase the likelihood of successful outcomes. Verifiability increases the credibility of information.

Your spouse, parents and reputable organizations endorse accurate reporting.
Almost everyone that has an interest in making some kind of an investment whether its monetary from a giant corporation or emotional from a trusting spouse desires, requires and demands IDQ. Human understanding and knowledge depend on it. Technology is successful because it builds on the accurate reporting and successful reproduction of work that came before it. Relationships are successful because Information Quality (also known as truth) fosters trust. Since Information Quality is so fundamental, it is easy to find reputable organizations that endorse it and not just your mother, father, spouse or friend.

Reputable organizations such as Cornell University(17), East Tennesee State University(19) and George Mason University(20) and McGraw Hill(21) and the U.S. Government(18) have websites set up which are devoted to promoting criteria for assesing the quality of information from sources. They place a high value on it and stress the importance of it. Two other websites related to education are "The Virtual Chase"(22) which is devoted to "teaching legal professionals how to do research", and Robert Harris's VirtualSalt(15) which is heavily referenced throughout the Internet. VirtalSalt has a checklist called "CARS" which was derived from the first letter of its major criteria, Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness and Support. The CARS Checklist encapsulates the research criteria that are endorsed by reputable organizations in an easy to remember mnemonic and can be found here

Criteria for Data and Information Quality in research
Listed below are the components of the CARS checklist. The initials of some of the other organizations listed above are used to show where their criteria fit into it. Their initials are beside the data quality dimension they endorse - vs is VirtualSalt, c is Cornell, vc is VirtualChase,

* Credibility (Credentials)
vs Author, c Author, vc Authority, c Publisher, c Title of Journal
Two relevant indicators of a lack of credibility are Anonymity and lack of quality control.

Critical Questions to ask are:
- Why should I trust this source?
- What is it that makes this source believable?
- How does this author know this information?
- Why is this source believable over any other?
- What are the authors credentials?
- What type of quality control did it undergo?
- Was it peer reviewed?

* Accuracy
vc Accuracy, vs Timeliness, vc Timliness, vs Comprehensiveness, c Coverage, vc Scope of Coverage, vs Audience and Purpose, c Intended Audience, c Edition or Revision, c Date of Publication,
Three relevant indicators of a lack of accuracy are no date for the document, vague or sweeping generalizations and biased to one point of view.

Critical Questions to ask are:
- Is it accurate? Is it correct?
- Is it up to date? Is it relevant?
- Is it Comprehensive? Does it leave anything out?
- What was the intended audience and purpose?

* Reasonableness
vs Fairness, vs Objectivity, vc Objectivity, c Objective Reasoning, vs Moderateness, vs Consistency, World View, - c Writing Style, vs consistency, vs world view
Some relevant indicators of a lack of reasonableness are intemperate tone or language, incredible claims, sweeping statements of excessive significance and inconsistency (written on the VirtualSalt as "conflict of interest")

Critical Questions to ask are:
- Does it offer a balanced, reasoned argument that is not selective or slanted?
- Is it biased?
- Is a reality check in order? Are the claims hard to believe? Are they likely, possible or probable?
- Does this conflict with what I know from my experience?
- Does it contradict itself?

* Support
vs [source documentation or bibliography], vs corroboration, vs External Consistency, c Evaluative Reviews
Some relevant indicators of a lack of support are numbers and statistics without a source, absence of source documentation and/or there are no other corroborative sources to be found.

Critical Questions to ask are:
- Where did this information come from? What sources did the author use?
- What support is given?
- Can this be cross-checked with at least two other independent sources?
- Is the information in the other independent sources consistent with this information?


What are some real world examples of poor Data and Information Quality research?
Conclusions about History are necessarily defeasible. One of the problems is that methodology and techniques improve a little every century. Conclusions made about a certain topic are revised as new information turns up. New information is used to compare to the old information for coherency and consitency. Some of these problems stem from poor data creation by the originator. Data are not accurate or complete. Users still struggle with these problems today. "A Website Dedicated to Information/Data Quality Disasters from Around the World" has been set up by the International Association for Information and Data Quality (IAIDQ) and its called IQ Trainwrecks(14 ). "Poor data quality can have a severe impact on the overall effectiveness of an organization"(3) and "Poor data quality can have substantial social and economic impacts"(11) that span the spectrum from news to marketing to text books to health care. Fortunately we can examine the methods of the ancient historians and scientists to see what led to poor results so that we can avoid those methods, improve what can be improved and derive new ones to replace the old.

Applying Data and Information Quality for research to the Bible.
As accurate as they tried to be, the authors of scripture still suffered from the same sorts of problems common with ancient historians and scientists. They were biased, inaccurate, had no way to verify information, depended on second or third hand information from relatively uneducated people, were influenced by political affiliations and commissions from aristocrats and state leaders and had poor tools to work with.

The Authors of the bible do not do any better job than their historian and scientific peers in documenting the world. In fact, of the three categories, scientists fared somewhat better because of their quality of documentation. The Library in Alexandria was destroyed by fire over time, so much of ancient scholarship and science was lost but some of the works that do remain leave little doubt about how to reproduce their experiments or their authorship.

It used to be believed that every author of every book in the bible could be identified but over time, it has come to be recognized that tradition is a poor way to record who authored what. External verification of the data revealed how unlikely it was that the person traditionally believed to be the author actually was or even existed.

According to several sources "The Bible comprises 24 books for Jews, 66 for Protestants, 73 for Catholics, and 78 for most Orthodox Christians." (24) From others: "The Protetant Bible contains 66 books (39 OT, 27 NT); the Catholic Bible contains 73 books (46 OT, 27 NT); the Eastern Orthodox Bible contains 78 books (51 OT, 27 NT). The Hebrew Bible (the name of the OT by Jews) contains only 24 books.(23)

Most of the authors of the original information about the Abrahamic God are unknown
There are different books in the bible depending on if you use the Hebrew, the protestant, the catholic or the orthodox (for example) If we use the greatest number of books in any bible as our total, then there are only about 21% of them where the author can be identified. 79% percent of them are unknown(24). 79% percent of the original information that exists about the abrahamic god comes from unknown sources. One of the indicators for lack of credibility in a work is anonymity(15). A small percentage of scripture are not considered worthy of inclusion between denominations. What makes one worthy to one group and not worthy to another? Lack of credibility is one criteria that comes to mind.

The bible is an amalgum of scriptures that span years. Some of the scriptures seem to be derived from other scriptures most of which were also included in the Bible. Trying to use the criteria for varied sources for cross-checking with the Bible is difficult because they were derived from each other, a large portion of the authors are unknown and the quality of production was poor. The criteria used to put them together is not clear but a presumption at a minimum of a need for coherency and consistency is warranted.

The word "trust" is used liberally to describe IDQ criteria. While the bible is generally considered to be trustworthy, is it really? What is it about something that make it "trustworthy"? Accuracy? Coherency and consistency with what we know from our experience?

What follows is a summary of principled research criteria standards which the Bible does not meet with some generic examples.
For the sake of brevity I did not include many solid examples but I do welcome audience participation by documenting them in the comments.

* Authorship - Traditional authorship have been overturned by later scholarship
* Not up to date - Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the OT, Pauls bias against women in the NT
* Inaccurate, incorrect - The rivers of Eden in the OT, Inconsistencies between the gospels
* Irrelevant - Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the OT, ambiguous NT fallacy apparently contradictory anyway "Whoever is not against us is for us — Mark 9:40" vs "He who is not with me is against me — Matthew 12:30a"
* Bias - Old testament treatment of worshipers of other gods, NT treatment of Jewish leadership and scholars.
* Unlikely - Most of the OT and in NT Jesus sternly rebuked his disciples for sleeping in the garden of gesthemane so who witnessed it?
* Conflicts with knowledge obtained from our experiences - Magicians do water to wine tricks.
* Contradicts itself - Who discovered the empty tomb?
* Cross-checking with external sources is extremely difficult and does not support to a large degree. There is no verifiable eyewitness account of the existence of Jesus, however that does not mean he did not exist.

Robert Harris's VirtualSalt has a checklist with a mnemonic for how to deal with information.

Living with Information: The CAFÉ Advice from VirtualSalt(15)
Challenge
Challenge information the information with critical questions and expect accountability.

Adapt
Adapt your requirements for information quality to match the importance of the information and what is being claimed. Extraordinary claims warrant extraordinary evidence.

File
File new information in your mind rather than immediately reaching a conclusion. Turn your conclusion into a question. Gather more information until there is little room for doubt.

Evaluate
Evaluate and re-evaluate regularly. New information or changing circumstances will affect the accuracy and the evaluation of previous information.

I will sum it up in a word.
Cross-check, Cross-check, Cross-check.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING
1. Wikipedia, "Data Management"
2. Information Quality at MIT
3. Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations
4. DMReview, Data Management Review
5. IQ-1 Certificate Program
6. Wikipedia, 2003 Invasion of Iraq
7. How Accurate Is The Bible?
8. Datalever.com
9. Wikipedia, Tanakh
10. Null Hypothesis
11. Beyond Accuracy: What Data Quality Means To Consumers
12. IQ Benchmarks
13. Reasonable Doubt About Adaption Theory
14. IQ Trainwrecks
15. Robert Harris' VirtualSalt
16. Data Quality Assessment
17. Cornell University Library
18. Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agnecies
19. East Tennesee State University Researchers Toolbox
20. George Mason Univeristy
21. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Evaluating Internet Resources
22. The Virtual Chase, Criteria for Quality in Information--Checklist
23. Know Your Bible
24. Wikipedia, Authors of The Bible
25. Ancient HistoriansPart 1, Part 2

Applying Data and Information Quality Principles To The Bible

37 comments
In the coming weeks, I intend to show that if we posit a null hypothesis about the Bible and we evaluate the quality of data and information in the Bible, the hypothesis that humans alone were sufficient to create the Bible is supported very well by the Data which effectively refutes the hypothesis posited in 2 Timothy 3:16.

Brief Introduction to Data and Information Quality
I recommend reading the following link on Wikipedia, Data Quality. Its a good overview of how Data and Information Quality got its start as an aspect of computer science.

Data and Information have an intrinsic value
While historically, the desire for accurate information has always been important, especially to Kings and Generals, the perceived need for principles to manage data quality arose from the realization of businesses that databases which accurately reflected the state of the world, namely customer information and inventories, saved money. Over the years, as computing became less expensive the technology was adopted by individual consumers and the amount of information available online grew from diverse sources such as companies, governments and individuals. It became apparent that some way to evaluate the quality of information was needed(1). It should be obvious that some data is accurate and reliable and some data is not. To ensure data is accurate and reliable, it needs to be profiled, cleaned, parsed, matched, moved, analyzed, reconciled and reported on(8). In the past two decades metrics for determining the relative quality of information from a given source have been derived. Measuring the quality of an information source is an inexact science but using principles of probability, its relative quality can be measured(12).

Data Quality Dimensions
Data Quality is a term used to describe characteristics or dimensions attributed to data or information. Much of the research on Data Quality is carried out at The MIT Total Data Quality Management Program where Richard Y. Wang has led the effort since the 1990's. There are several approaches to data quality research that depend on how the data will be used, and they all have their own values for criteria or "dimensions". The approaches can be categorized as "Intuitive" (based on what the researcher believed is important), "Theoretical" (how data becomes deficient during the production) and "Empirical" (data gathered from consumers to see what is important to them). Most data studies fall into the "Intuitive" category, however they all contain a core set of "dimensions" and one data dimension that has a consistently high value in all lists is "Accuracy". Another highly valued core dimension from the intuitive approach is "reliability". Some highly valued core dimensions from the Theoretical approach are "Accuracy, Relevance, Correctness, Currency, Completeness" and from the Empirical approach are "Accuracy, Relevancy, Believability, Valued-added, Interpretability" and "Ease-of-understanding" (11). The different dimensions will have higher and lower values to different organizations depending on the context in which they are used. I will elaborate more on the data production and the data consumer dimensions as I explore how they apply to the Bible in later articles.

Do you think data and information quality important?
Would you be satisfied with a metaphorical record in the following situations or would you prefer a record that accurately represents real world events?
- Reading or watching the news
- Textbooks that you are required to purchase for your University courses
- Studying the only record of the Abrahamic God that exists.
- Producing or reading a business report
- Grocery shopping
- Reviewing your bank statement
- Reviewing the charges for your utilities, such as electric, phone, water, trash, television etc
- Paying your Taxes
- Purchasing a car
- Taking inventory
- Purchasing insurance
- Reviewing your shipping invoice, what you received versus what your ordered and how much you paid.
- Your check at the restaurant
and so on.

Why is data and information quality important?
So what happens when data and information quality is poor? "Poor data quality can have a severe impact on the overall effectiveness of an organization"(3) and "Poor data quality can have substantial social and economic impacts"(11). Subsequently there is a high value placed on information quality as evidenced by how much people are willing to spend to obtain it. There is an industry built on data quality concepts(4) and professional certifications available(5). The reliability of such things as inventory, medical records, medical research, military and civilian logistics, market research, consumer safety, education, consultant reports, work requests, billing reports, status reports, technical manuals and intelligence reports depend on data from verifiable sources that are produced with the goal of accurately representing elements of the real world. One recent example of what happens when there is poor quality information and data is the decision by the United States to invade Iraq in 2003 on the grounds that Iraq possessed "Weapons of Mass Destruction"(6) which turned out to be false. Because of the demonstrable importance of assessing data quality, the industry of Data Quality Management has developed(4).

Who uses Data Quality and Information Quality Dimensions?
Short list of organizations promoting Information Quality Principles
* US Government,
- Data Quality Act,
- Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies
* Data Quality Management Industry, DMReview, an industry magazine.
* Education Professionals,
- The Quality Information Checklist,
- Robert Harris's "VirtualSalt",
- East Tennessee State University
* Legal Industry, Evaluating the Quality of Information on the Internet
* Medical Industry,
- Journal of Medical Internet Research,
- Medical Billing
* US Army Logistics, "Data Quality Problems in Army Logistics", By Lionel A. Galway, Christopher H. Hanks, United States Army, Rand Corporation, Arroyo Center
and many more.

The Book As A Database: The justification to apply data and information quality metrics to evaluate the Bible
A book can be a data source. It can be treated like a database. It can be profiled, cleaned, parsed, matched, moved, analyzed, reconciled and reported on. Examples are an atlas, a history book, generally speaking a text book and The Bible. In fact, over the years, to facilitate ease of study, the Bible has been formatted and cross-referenced very similarly to a database.

If we have a lot of individual pieces of information sources we can collect them, profile them, sort them, categorize them, spell check them, look for exceptions, reconcile them, clean them, parse them, match them, move them, and create a report about them. Then they can be put together into an anthology. Once they are into an anthology, they can be further organized into volumes, chapters, pages, paragraphs, sentences, and if necessary even further still into parts of sentences (to separate two distinct ideas in one sentence for example) and verses. This is what happened to the Bible.

Over centuries early Jewish religious leaders initiated the transcription of oral tradition, then later accumulated individual pieces of scripture, evaluated them and combined them into the Tanakh. Generation after Generation went to great effort to maintain the integrity and quality of the Bible by attempting to ensure, at least in theory, that it remained unchanged during copying. When Christianity had generated their own scriptures, and translated the Tahakh from Hebrew, a similar process happened. In the 13th century Stephen Langton of Magna Carta fame created the chapter and verse system later adopted by Jews during the harsh persecution of the Spanish Inquisition(9) and widely in use today in modern Bibles. Obviously the Bible was considered and treated as a source of information about real events in the world whose integrity and quality were given a very high priority and importance.

So how accurate should we expect the Word of God to be?
In the Bible 2 Timothy 3:16 says that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness". Jesus describes himself as "the way" and goes on to further describe himself as a kind of "Model" to show what God is like. Later, in 325 CE, Church Fathers formally adopted a creed which described him as being "one substance" with God. Jesus confirmed the Old Testament was the word of God by referring to it as such and referred back to it frequently. If Jesus was God incarnate, he verified that Scripture was his word. He mapped Scripture to God and to Himself and verified that Scripture mapped to real world events. Therefore we should expect some measurable difference between scripture and a book not inspired or endorsed by God .

If we use a weighted raking we can get a rough idea of how accurate we can expect the Word of God to be. God is perfect, and man is not. So we can expect that man will be less accurate than God, but if God is helping man, then man should be more accurate than if he were working alone.

1. Man alone is less accurate
2. Man is more accurate with Gods help than without it
3. God is more accurate than man

That should serve as a rough guideline and the first metric in an attempt to quantify the accuracy of the Bible(7).

The following is a list of human endeavors that apparently were not divinely inspired, so when using the weighted ranking scale in evaluating how the Bible compares to human endeavors it should be reasonable to expect the following.
- It should be at least as brilliant as the ancient theories of knowledge, reason, truth, nature, mathematics, logic, knowledge of nature, and the use of mathematics to describe nature which continue to inform the practice of science to the present day resulting in theories such as Germ theory, Relativity, Genetics, Atoms, Quantum Theory all of which have been applied to generally reduce the amount of suffering in the world.
- It should at least be as accurate as a history book where it talks about history
- It should at least be as accurate as a science book where it talks about the world
- It should at least be as accurate as a manual where it gives instructions
- It should at least be as accurate as a scientific theory where it gives predictions
If not, then there is no reason to think that its inspiration is anything different than any other type of inspiration.

A Null hypothesis is any hypothesis that is evaluated for its ability to explain a given set of data. If the hypothesis is not sufficient to explain the data, then there is reason to pursue an alternate hypothesis. While it is not without it criticisms, particularly compared to Bayesian Inference(10), it is a useful heuristic to form an initial opinion about an idea about its probability or plausibility, or to get a "feeling" about something.

In the coming weeks, I intend to show that if we posit a null hypothesis about the Bible and we evaluate the quality of data and information in the Bible, the hypothesis that humans alone were sufficient to create the Bible is supported very well by the Data which effectively refutes the hypothesis posited in 2 Timothy 3:16.

REFERENCES
1. Wikipedia, "Data Management"
2. Information Quality at MIT
3. Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations
4. DMReview, Data Management Review
5. IQ-1 Certificate Program
6. Wikipedia, 2003 Invasion of Iraq
7. How Accurate Is The Bible?
8. Datalever.com
9. Wikipedia, Tanakh
10. Wikipedia, Null Hypothesis
11. Beyond Accuracy: What Data Quality Means To Consumers
12. IQ Benchmarks

Just For Fun
Tomorrows History, A snapshot of whats going on in the world today.
- Jacob Zuma of South Africa still a mystery
- Pirates Seize Tanker Off African Coast
- Kim Jong-il Health: Still A Puzzle
- Three Jewish rioters hurt, Arab home set ablaze in latest Acre ...
- Terrorist Suicide attacks a growing threat in Pakistan
- Bomb in Pakistan capital, air strikes on militants
- How Malaysia's PM fell from grace
- Sri Lankan troops kill 18 rebels
- Bush to sign landmark US-India nuclear legislation
- Will the Afghan Taleban join peace talks?
- Japan objects to US N Korea move
- IMF chief hails 'first' global coordination on financial crisis
- The global economy players: Which organization does what?
- McCain supporters face uphill climb in blue Jersey
- Maine now on McCain radar
- McCain inches closer in Saturday's Gallup
- Concern in GOP After Rough Week for McCain
- Florida Republicans cast blame as McCain trails in polls
- On the trail to the White House
- Obama Thanks McCain for Urging Supporters to be Respectful

Jesus Was a Human Sacrifice

170 comments
In all "civilized" countries in the world, Human Sacrifice is unlawful. The reason it is unlawful is that it is murder. I have seen it argued that a law against murder is one of the Ten Commandments because it is an aspect of a universal moral that proves Gods existence. I think we can all see the irony and logical inconsistency in that.
[Revised Aug. 8, 2008 to add the "Human Sacrifice Algorithm" to the bottom of the matrix]









This article uses a Matrix to show that Jesus was a human sacrifice. While some Christians may find nothing wrong with this, I know that some do. In my early days in the church, the sight of that cadaver hanging on the cross with blood pouring down its face and a bleeding gash on the side along with the old "this is my body and blood" at the communion presented a formidable stumbling block to me. I will even go so far as to say that I had to overcome a natural revulsion to accept those aspects of Christianity. [Click on the picture of the lamb to enlarge it to see the stream of blood pouring out of the gash on the left side.]

Since I expect that some Christians will attempt to concentrate on one datum or some philosophical spin to discredit the conclusion and/or "poison the well", I opted to present the data in a matrix because it is a data analysis tool that presents data in a way that makes it easier to avoid focusing on one datum and to consider, compare and contrast all the data at a glance.

In the Hypothesis Test Matrix, a datum that is consistent with the two categories of comparison are labeled with a "C", a datum that is inconsistent is labeled with an "I", and a datum that is ambiguous is labeled with an "A". In Hypothesis tests, usually there are competing hypotheses but in this case, I couldn't think of any competing hypotheses. Therefore there is nothing that is inconsistent or ambiguous, especially since Paul and John speak of Jesus death as a sacrifice of atonement. In a real Hypothesis Matrix, the winning hypothesis is the one that is least inconsistent with the data.

Hypothesis test: "Jesus was a Human Sacrifice"

Data Jesus Human Sacrifice
Wikipedia on the "Lamb of God":
Lamb of God (Latin: Agnus Dei) is one of the titles given to Jesus in the New Testament and consequently in the Christian tradition. It refers to Jesus' role as a sacrificial lamb atoning for the sins of man in Christian theology, harkening back to ancient Jewish Temple sacrifices in which a lamb was slain during the passover (the "Paschal Lamb", Hebrew: Korban Pesach), the blood was sprinkled on the altar, and the whole of the lamb was eaten. In the original Passover in Egypt, the blood was smeared on the door posts and lintel of each household (Exodus 12:1-28).
C C
The Lamb (in early Christian Symbolism) from The Catholic Encyclopedia:
The next step in the development of this idea of associating the Cross with the lamb was depicted in a sixth-century mosaic of the Vatican Basilica which represented the lamb standing on a throne, at the foot of a Cross studded with gems. From the pierced side of this lamb, blood flowed into a chalice whence again it issued in five streams, thus recalling Christ's five wounds.
C C
Romans 5:8-11:
"8. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."
C C
Atonement from Answers.com:
"1 Amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong; expiation.
2.a. Reconciliation or an instance of reconciliation between God and humans.
b. Atonement Christianity. The reconciliation of God and humans brought about by the redemptive life and death of Jesus."
C C
John 3:16-17:
"16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. "
[this is the atonement, or reconciliation between god and man, jesus paid the price for mans sin with his life blood.]
C C
Without the atonement no one, moral or not, gets to heaven. Jesus Sacrifice was a prerequisite requirement.
C C
Jesus was killed (more or less) during the same time frame as the passover lamb was supposed to be killed. The Passover is a Jewish ceremony that contains rituals of cultural rememberence.
C C
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia on Human Sacrifice:
"Offering of the life of a human being to a god."
C C
Human Sacrifice from Wikipedia:
"Human sacrifice is the act of homicide (the killing of one or several human beings) in the context of a religious ritual (ritual killing). Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals (animal sacrifice) and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practiced in various cultures throughout history. Victims were typically ritually killed in a manner that is supposed to please or appease gods, spirits or the deceased."
C C
www.allaboutjesuschrist.org says it explicitly:
"Approximately 1,500 years later, on the 14th day of Nisan, the Passover Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, was sacrificed upon a wooden cross for the sins of all mankind. When the Day of the Lord comes, those who have covered themselves in the blood of the Lamb by accepting Christ will be kept safe while the world pays for their rebellion against God."
C C
Revelations 5:12:
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
C C
Humans do something to offend god,CC
Humans need to do something to propitiate, apppease, pay, remdiate, reconcile, pick the synonymous word you prefer or come up with one of your own. CC
A human sacrifice is chosenCC
A human sacrifice is performedCC
A human Sacrifice is made as part of a ritualCC
Sometimes the sacrifice victim is willingCC
The god is appeased, the "wrath" in this instance is all wrapped up and put away.CC

Considering that it is so easy to find Christian sites that support the hypothesis, it is not a good hypothesis to test with the matrix because there really are no other competing hypotheses that I know of. However, I have been challenged and seen Christians deny that Jesus was a human sacrifice while acknowledging all the premises required to support the conclusion. I expect that this article will turn into a debate with some Christians about "definition", "meaning" and "distinctions" with liberal use of "special pleading" where they argue that it is not murder or human sacrifice because the Christian God was involved, while they wrestle with the cognitive dissonance that occurs when two values come into conflict.

Further Reading:
Answers.com: Human Sacrifice
Answers.com: Ritual Killing
Answers.com: Atonement
The Catholic Encyclopedia
Wikipedia: Lamb of God
www.allaboutjesuschrist.org

Genesis 2:21-25: Woman From Rib and Mother Goddesses of Near Eastern Myths

192 comments

This Article shows that in the second creation story in genesis the concept of woman made from bone, earth and antler pre-existed the writing of Genesis, spanned cultures and geographical boundaries and that Eve shares aspects of Goddesses in Ancient Near Eastern Mythology.

* This article and its predecessors in the series listed below are a collection of notes put together from sources that are represented by quick reference links to similar web pages to make it easy to get more information as quickly as possible. The original sources are listed at the end.

A LIST OF PREMISES AS ARTICLES REFUTING GENESIS 1-11 AND ROMANS 5 SO FAR
P1. The Interconnectedness of The Ancients - Demonstrates the robust ancient civilizations at the time and that Canaan, Israel and Judah were central to them. Discusses trade routes, seafaring, the link between whales and the Leviathans of Mythology and how long it would take to get from one civilization to another by sea.
P2. Genesis 1:1-25 Is An Amalgam of Near Eastern Creation Myths. Demonstrates the prior existence of key elements of the story of the creation of the Universe that appears in Genesis.
P3. Genesis 1:26-1:27, Creation of Humans in Near Eastern Myths And The Paleolithic Era. Demonstrates that the physical evidence contradicts the story of the making of the first humans in Genesis.
P4. GENESIS 1:28-2:4a, Be Fruitful And Multiply, Founder Effect and Genetic Diversity. This Article shows that even if the physical evidence didn't refute the special creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve, in Genesis 1:27, the problem of Genetic Diversity known as the "Founder Effect" would eventually lead to crippling genetic mutations or extinction.
P5.Genesis 2:4b-20 Man Made From Earth Is Folklore, Conflated River Elements and the Myth of Adapa. This Article shows that the concept of man made from earth spans cultures and geographical boundaries, the rivers are confused between geographical areas and has many elements from pre-existing Near Eastern Myths such as "The Myth of Adapa.
P6.Genesis 2:21-25: Woman From Rib and Mother Goddesses of Near Eastern Myths. This Article shows that in the second creation story in genesis the concept of woman made from bone, earth and antler pre-existed the writing of Genesis, spanned cultures and geographical boundaries and that Eve shares aspects of Goddesses in Ancient Near Eastern Mythology.

The criteria for Folklore as described in Alan Dundees book "Holy Writ as Oral Lit" are "multiple existence and variation" of a story.

In Genesis, there are two versions of the creation of Man and Woman. In the first story, the man and woman are created together, but in the second story, the male is created first, with the female made later from his rib.

Making women out of bone and other materials was common in prehistoric times. They are called "Venus Figurines"(1). The theory is that they were used in the practice of sympathetic magic(2) to influence the fertility of the earth.

Sympathetic magic is the practice of trying to influence outcomes using objects or techniques that have only an apparent similarity in appearance or relationship and is not based on any causal link at all. Examples of this can be seen throughout history with the possible inclusion of cave paintings as far back as 32,000 years ago, to belief that behavior of groups or individuals influence nature, to (though not exclusive to) pre-game rituals of modern day athletes. At its core it is a common fallacious reasoning scheme known as "confusion of correlation and cause". One relevant example of sympathetic magic is the Venus Figurine.

Venus Figurines are representation of women with large breasts and bottoms carved in bone, antler, stone or molded of clay(3). Coincidentally, tools in the prehistoric era were made of bone, antler and stone(4). Both were used to help bring about successful outcomes. Examples of them are on display in various museums around the world, but the earliest reside at The Hermitage Museum(3) in Russia.

Theoretically, over time, the concept behind the Venus Figurine came to represent a Mother Goddess(5), which later became represented in various near eastern mythologies as can be seen by the Ashera in the Bible. Similarly, the concept of a God fashioning a woman from bone or some other material has parallels in the East.

Humans originated in sub-sahara Africa(6). They migrated out and began to compensate for their environment and situations. This led to the making of tools, higher order organization, planning, development of agriculture and the establishments of settlements that developed into cities, populated regions and civilizations. The Near East was at the center of trade and conflict between established and robust civilizations all within 1000 miles or about two months march of each other. Egypt and Sumeria developed more or less simultaneously fighting and trading all the while. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle credit Egyptian thought as the foundation of Ancient Greek thought, so even the all-mighty ancient Greeks didn't live in a bubble and it explains their love for the culture.


GENESIS 2:21- 22

21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.


WOMAN FROM RIB FOLKLORE
The following is a list of cultures where there exists a parallel story of woman being made from bone or some other material and is compiled from Sir James G. Frazer's book "Folklore In The Old Testament".

Origins of the people are ~60,000 BC or earlier
* Karens of Burma, pg 10.
* Bedel Tartars of Siberia,pg 11.

Origins of the people are ~18,000 BC or earlier
* Diegueno Indias Kawakipais, south-western California, pg 25.

The following list represent examples where Frazer believes that cultures have been influenced by Christian missionaries because of the similarity of the word for woman and rib, and some cases where the tribes trace their ancestry to Adam. The influence of missionaries does not necessarily mean that the whole concept of woman being made from a rib came from them but it is sufficient to add details to an existing myth.

* Tahiti - Taaroa the god, pg 9.
* Fakaofo Bowditch Island - Man made from stone, pg 10.
* Ghaikos Karens, trace their genealogy to Adam, pg 11.


GENESIS 23 - 25

23 The man said,
"This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called 'woman,
for she was taken out of man."

24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

For the following discussion I used Tim Callahan's Secret Origins of the Bible(8) pages 40 - 49 as a quick reference because it is a convenient "Handbook" collection of relevant information that I've found in other reference material and in lecture courses. This book has hundreds of references listed and I highly recommend it for anyone attempting a serious study of the origin of the bible.

RATIONALE FOR MAKING EVE COME FROM ADAMS RIB
- In Gen 3:20 Eve given the name "Mother of All Living". This is the concept of the mother goddess.
- Like the bible states that the Jews were trying to get rid of the Ashera, the story of Eve serves as a demotion of the Mother God, and a conflation of concepts and ideas circulating at the time.

SYMBOLISM OF EVE
- Reducing the Mother Goddess
- She was derived from Adam, therefore reduced in status, she was supposed to help him.
- From his side, she was equal to him, or supposed to be his partner

LINGUISTIC
- The fact that ancient languages omitted the vowels creates a potential for creativity and relationships between concepts. In Hebrew, the reference to the first woman was written as HWH. HWH when pronounced is similar to Hebe, the greek goddess of youth, guardian of the cups and fruits of immortality. The sound and the ideas are similar to the Hurrian Goddess Hiba, Hebat, Hebatu, Hepatu and Khepat. The Hurrians were referred to in the Bible as the Horats, Hivites and Hittites (even though they preceded the Hittites). She was the consort of the Storm God Teshub. Teshub, like Yahweh and Zeus was associated with Bulls.

EVES DIVINE ORIGIN, PARALLELS BETWEEN GODESSES
- In Sumeria and Babylonia Ashratum wife of Anu
- In West Semitic Ahserah wife of El
- The iconography (ancient picture representations) are essentially the same.
- El had a consort and when Yahweh succeeded him in folklore he kept Asherah as a consort. Subsequently the Hebrews tried to get rid of the Ashera from the pre-exile Jerusalem temple.
- Mother of all living associated with Hebat, Ashtart and/or Asherah
- in the Enuma Elish the goddess Ninti is created to heal the rib of Enki who has violated a taboo on eating forbidden herbs and has been punished. Nin-ti means "Lady of the Rib". In some variations of the story, Nin-ti is created from Enki's rib.

From Wikipedia
Cuneiform TI or TÌL (Borger 2003 nr.) has the main meaning of "life" when used ideographically.

With the determinative UZU "flesh, meat", UZUTI, it means "rib". This homophony is exploited in the myth of Ninti ( NIN.TI "lady of life" or "lady of the rib"), created by Ninhursag to cure the ailing Enki. Since Eve is called "mother of life" in Genesis, together with her being taken from Adam's "tsela"` (side, rib), the story of Adam and Eve has been taken to derive from that of Ninti.

In Akkadian orthography, the sign has the syllabic values di or ṭi, in Hittite ti, di or te.


Continuing From Callahan
- Athena breathed life into the clay men created by Prometheus, and she popped out of the Head of Zeus when he was in pain with a headache.
- In the creation myths in Atrahasis and Enuma Elish their respecitve Mother Godesses mold primordial beings (called the Lullu) out of clay under the supervision of a male deity. This is more relevant compared to Gen. 4:1b, Eve says "I have gotten a manchild with the help of the lord". This verse is evidently abmiguous and could be translated as "I, as well as God have created a man" or "I have gotten a man by the lord" meaning the lord was the father of Cain instead of Adam.
- In Gilgamesh, Aruru (a female deity) makes Enkidu out of clay to defeat Gilgamesh.
- A female Deity has sex with Enkidu to help him become more civilized, to help make him more like a civilized adult man.

---------------------------------------
Quick References

1. Venus Figurines
2. Sympathetic Magic
3. The Hermitage Museum
4. Prehistoric Bone Tools
5. Mother Goddess
6. The Genographic Project
7. Folklore in the Old Testament, Vol. 1 Online
8. Secret Origins of The Bible, Tim Callahan

----------------------------------------
Other Quick References
1. Creation Myths
2. Enuma Elish Text online
3. Prometheus
4. The Myth of Adapa

----------------------------------------
Further Study

ORIGINS OF YAHWEH
* Early History of God, Mark Smith

VENUS FIGURINES
* Archeology.about.com
* Magdalenian excavation
* Minnesota State University E-Museum

SYMPATHETIC MAGIC
* Anthropology of Religion

NEAR EASTERN MYTHS
* Sumerian Myths, Grand Valley State University

-----------------------------------------
SOURCES
1. Human Prehistory and First Civilizations, The Teaching Company
2. Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World, The Teaching Company
3. The Book of Genesis, The Teaching Company
4. Great Figures of the Old Testament, The Teaching Company, (Discontinued)
5. Alan Dundees Holy writ as oral lit
6. Folklore in the Old Testament, Vol. 1 Online, Sir James G. Frazer
7. Ancient Near East Mythology, The Teaching Company, (Discontinued)
8. Classical Mythology, The Teaching Company
9. Great Battles of the Ancient World, The Teaching Company
10. Great World Religions: Judaism (2nd Ed.), The Teaching Company
11. Introduction to Judaism, The Teaching Company
12. History of Ancient Egypt, The Teaching Company
13. Between the Rivers: The History of Ancient Mesopotamia, The Teaching Company
14. Great Ancient Civilzations of Asia Minor, The Teaching Company

Genesis 2:4b-20: Man Made From Earth Is Folklore, Conflated River Elements and the Myth of Adapa

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This Article shows that in the second creation story in genesis the concept of man made from earth pre-existed and spanned cultures and geographical boundaries, has the rivers confused between different geographical areas, and has many elements from prexisting Near Eastern Myths such as "The Myth of Adapa".

* This article and its predecessors in the series are a collection of notes put together from sources that are represented by quick reference links to similar web pages to make it easy to get more information as quickly as possible. The original sources are listed at the end.

A LIST OF PREMISES AS ARTICLES REFUTING GENESIS 1-11 AND ROMANS 5 SO FAR
P1. The Interconnectedness of The Ancients - Demonstrates the robust ancient civilizations at the time and that Canaan, Israel and Judah were central to them. Discusses trade routes, seafaring, the link between whales and the Leviathans of Mythology and how long it would take to get from one civilization to another by sea.
P2. Genesis 1:1-25 Is An Amalgam of Near Eastern Creation Myths. Demonstrates the prior existence of key elements of the story of the creation of the Universe that appears in Genesis.
P3. Genesis 1:26-1:27, Creation of Humans in Near Eastern Myths And The Paleolithic Era. Demonstrates that the physical evidence contradicts the story of the making of the first humans in Genesis.
P4. GENESIS 1:28-2:4a, Be Fruitful And Multiply, Founder Effect and Genetic Diversity. This Article shows that even if the physical evidence didn't refute the special creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve, in Genesis 1:27, the problem of Genetic Diversity known as the "Founder Effect" would eventually lead to crippling genetic mutations or extinction.
P5. Genesis 2:4b-20 Man Made From Earth Is Folklore, Conflated River Elements and the Myth of Adapa. This Article shows that the concept of man made from earth spans cultures and geographical boundaries, the rivers are confused between geographical areas and has many elements from pre-existing Near Eastern Myths such as "The Myth of Adapa.


The criteria for Folklore as described in Alan Dundees book "Holy Writ as Oral Lit" are "multiple existence and variation".

Four major differences in the two creation stories follow, but there are many others that are not covered here.
A. God is referred to by different names in each story. In the first story he is referred to as Elohim (“God”) and in the second story he is referred to as Yahweh (“LORD”) or Yahweh Elohim (“LORD God”).
B. The methods of creation are different. In the first story creation occurs by the spoken word and in the second story creation occurs by physical means (for example, God plants a garden).
C. The order of creation is different in the two stories. The first story follows the order in the Enuma Elish(6) and starts with vegetation and proceeds to animals on to humans, and the second story begins with the male human, then the vegetation in the Garden of Eden, and then the animal kingdom.
D. In the first story, the man and woman are created together, but in the second story, the male is created first, with the female made later from his rib. ("The Book of Genesis", The Teaching Company)

BEGINNING OF THE SECOND STORY OF CREATION

* Multiple stories of Creation are common in all cultures including the Near East(1)
- Egypt, Mesopotamia (although the most widely know is the Enuma Elish(2)) and the Indus Valley all have multiple versions of Creation.
4b. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens-
5. and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground,
6. but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground-

* Many myths regard breath as life and regard it as supernatural. The correlation of breath to life is understandable because breathing is the obvious difference between someone sleeping and someone dead. In Ancient Hindu beliefs, the breath and the spoken word were sacred and representative of aspects of life, morality and divinity.(3)
* MAN MADE FROM EARTH: These predate the Torah
- Mesopotamian,
-- the God Bel (a lot of them were referred to as Bel) cut off his own head and the other gods mixed his blood in with the earth to make humans (4)
-- Kingu was killed and his blood was mixed with clay to make humans(5)
* Africa
-- Egypt - khnum molded people out of clay on his potters wheel(6)
-- Shilluks of the white nile, Juok is the god(4)
-- Fans of West Africa(4)
-- Togo-land, West Africa(4)
* Greece
- Prometheus made men out of clay(7)
7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.


The specific dates of origin of these stories are unknown but with the serendipitous mutation of the FOXP2 gene in the isolated population of sub-Saharan Africa about 70,000 years ago, and with the necessity of that gene for language(8), it may be that the story of making humans from clay (as well as other trans-cultural themes in folklore) originated with language.

The Following are various versions from all parts of the world of Man Made from earth or stone, and/or breathed life into them. The latest time of the arrival of the original population can be estimated using the dates of fossil evidence and genetic graphing.

Approximate timeline of origins of cultures that contain humans made of earth or clay as folklore (rounded off)(9,4)
~60000 BCE
* Kumis, Arakan Chittagong India,
* Korkus, India, the god Shiva or Mahadeo,
* Khasis of Assam,
* Mundas, Chota Nagpur, Singbonga the god
* Santals of Bengal, Thakur Jiu asked the god Malin Budhi

~50000 BCE - Indonesia
* Australia - Pund-Jel around Melbourne Australia
* Melanesian legend, Mota, Qat the hero
* Malekula, New Hebrides, Bokor the god,
* Toradjas of central Celebes, i Lai the god, i Ndara the god asked Kombengi the god to make them
* Mihahassa, north Celebes Wailan Wangko and Wangi gods,

* Dyaks of Sakarran in British Borneo, Two large birds made man or the God Salampandai
* Nias, Sumatra, sing a song in couplets like Hebrew poetry, Luo Zaho the god,
* Bila-an, Mindanao, Philippine islands, Melu the god,
* Bagobos, South-Eastern Mindanao, Diwata the God,
* Noo-hoo-roa, kei, Dooadlera the god,

* Pelew Islanders

~40,000 BCE - Eurasain Steppes
* Cheremis of Russia, Finnish people,
* Nui, Netherland Island, Ellice Islands, Aulialia the god

~20,000 BCE - North America
* Eskimo and Indians From Alaska to Paraguay,
* Eskimo of point Barrow, the spirit A Se Lu
* Acagchemem Indians of California the god Chinigchinich
* Maidu Indians of California the god earth-initiate
* The Hopi or Moqui Indians Arizona Huruing Wuhti the god,

* Pima Indians, Arizona,
* Michoacans of Mexico, the god Tucapacha,
* Peruvian Indians,

* Lengua Indians of Paraguay, God in the form of a beetle

THE GARDEN OF EDEN
8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

* The Story of the Garden of Eden shares elements with the Enuma Elish such as the Following.
- Enki and Ninhursag
-- Seduction with fruit
-- The eating of trees brings a curse consisting of the withholding of life

- Gilgamesh and the Huluppu Tree
-- Tree with Serpent (combined with a demon)

- The Myth of Adapa(10) has some of the same elements as the Garden of Eden Story combined. A list follows.
-- Son is semi-divine, has characteristics of God.
-- The son has done something wrong,
-- The son must answer to the God (Anu) for his misdeeds,
-- God the father warns him not to eat anything or he will die
-- A woman gives him something to eat which could potentially be deadly
-- Because of his choice he doesn't get eternal life and is not allowed to stay in the nice place

--- Excerpt: A summary of the Myth of Adapa from sacred-texts.com follows(2).
"[Summary: Adapa, or perhaps Adamu, son of Ea, had recieved from his father, the god Ea, wisdom, but not eternal life. He was a semi-divine being and was the wise man and priest of the temple of Ea at Eridu, which he provided with the ritual bread and water. In the exercise of this duty he carried on fishing upon the Persian Gulf. When Adapa was fishing one day on a smooth sea, the south wind rose suddenly and overturned his boat, so that the was thrown into the sea. Angered by the mishap, he broke the wings of the south wind so that for seven days it could not blow the sea's coolness over the hot land. Anu calls Adapa to account for this misdeed, and his father Ea warns him as to what should befall him. He tells him how to fool Tammuz and Gishzida, who will meet him at the gate of heaven. Ea cautions him not to eat or drink anything in heaven, as Ea fears that the food and drink of death will be set before Adapa. However, the food and drink of eternal life are set before him instead, and Adapa's over-caution deprives him of immortality. He has to return to Earth instead.]"
9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

* Bible with sources revealed discusses the the literary device of 'wordplay' in the form of puns. Gihon is similar to the Hebrew word Gehon which is "belly" an obvious reference to the snake that will crawl on its belly. Pishon has the same root has the same root letters as Nephesh which means "a living being". Euphrates appears in the same verse as pishon and creates "you shall eat dust". Tigris as a the combination of two words becomes "his hand and take". Adam is a play on the word for ground. Eve's semitic root is snake and a play on the word "sly" (in reference to the snake) appears later as the humans are naked.

* Only the Tigris and Euphrates have ever been close together. The Gihon and the Pishon are in a different area of that region. The author either mixed up the rivers accidentally or did it on purpose to enable the use of wordplay in the story.
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.

-- Pishon was in Havilah which is commonly thought to be in Yemen(11), at the southern end of the Arabian peninsula,
11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.
12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)

* Kush is in Africa where the Sudan is today(12).
13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.

* The Tigris and Euphrates are in modern day Iraq which was ancient Mesopotamia(13).
14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

* In Near eastern myths, humans served the Gods(14). Though the Hebrews represetation of Gods relationship is noticeably different, in this case Adam was to take care of the domain of the garden of Eden. Here God wants Adam to be the caretaker of the Garden.
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

* Something to eat that will cause you to die is a shared element with Mesopotamian myth of Adapa
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

* Adam needed a helper to maintain the Garden.
18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs [a] and closed up the place with flesh.

And that brings us to Eve being made from Adams Rib.

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Quick Reference to material in the sources. For the Quick References, Wikipedia is used liberally because while academics don't consider Wikipedia definitive or acceptable as a source they do consider it generally good enough for quick reference. Please do not confuse quick references with the sources. The sources are where the majority of information came from.

Quick References
1. Creation Myths
2. Enuma Elish Text online
3. Science of Breath
4. Folklore in the Old Testament, Vol. 1 Online
5. Kingu blood mixed with clay
6. Khnum
7. Prometheus
8. FOXP2
9. National Geographic Genographic Project
9a. Man made to serve Gods
10. The Myth of Adapa
11. Havilah
12. Gihon
13. Tigris and Euphrates
14. Man made to serve Gods

SOURCES
1. Human Prehistory and First Civilizations, The Teaching Company
2. Story of Human Language
3. Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World, The Teaching Company
4. The Bible With Sources Revealed
5. The Book of Genesis, The Teaching Company
6. Great Figures of the Old Testament, The Teaching Company.
7. Alan Dundees Holy writ as oral lit
8. National Geographic Genographic Project
9. Folklore in the Old Testament, Vol. 1 Online, Sir James G. Frazer