Evidence from Ancient Texts

How do we know things about the past? Whether in history or in the natural sciences, it involves working with surviving data and using deductive reasoning and logical inference.

Dennis Venema has been blogging about “Genomes as Ancient Texts.” In the latest installment, he provides diagrams illustrating how scientists deduce that two organisms are related in a particular way. Here’s one example:

Anyone from my own area of expertise who has studied textual criticism will recognize the line of argument and appreciate its force. Sharing a single “typo” does not prove anything, since human make the same typos regularly. But when one manuscript reproduces most or all of the transcription errors in another, it becomes most likely that the latter copied from the former.

Click through to read the rest of Vennema’s post. And I recommend circulating it to people you may know who do not understand what the evidence for evolution is and why it is so persuasive.

"This is also clearly right. Jesus' siblings do not play a narrative role in Luke's ..."

Earl Doherty as Christian Reformer
"Actually, if we follow the "Josephus" line of argument above them Luke not naming them ..."

Earl Doherty as Christian Reformer
"Some might think it odd that Luke doesn't identify James as being Jesus' brother, but ..."

Earl Doherty as Christian Reformer
"Hi Vinny, I think you're kind of making my point for me.If Josephus is right ..."

Earl Doherty as Christian Reformer

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Brian P.

    What would happen to a population if its genome could not be affected by natural selection over generations? What would happen to a text if it can not be adapted? Is hermeneutics something akin to a text’s phenotype? To borrow a concept from Dennett, can an intentional stance be taken toward a text and/or its characters within?

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    Thanks for referring to this article. It is very helpful!