Sunday, 14 October 2012

Bible interpretation translation guide

Do you sometimes suspect that you’re not properly understanding the Bible commentary that you’re reading?  Fear not, for now you can use Raskolnikov’s Bible Interpretation Translation Guide® to navigate other people’s theological titbits.

‘You can make the Bible say anything you want’
Translation: ‘I don’t read the Bible’

‘The Bible isn’t a textbook on ___’
‘I would like to ignore what the Bible has to say about ___’

‘The author did not have a modern understanding of ___’
‘I would like to ignore what the Bible has to say about ___’

‘A few isolated passages seem to suggest ___’
‘The Bible clearly teaches ___, but I don’t agree with ___ so it can’t be teaching ___ really’

‘In the light of what the Bible has to say about ___, we cannot take this passage at face value’
‘In the light of parts of the Bible that I like, I will not take parts of the Bible that I don’t like at face value’

See here

‘The author was constrained by the culture in which he was living’
‘Inspiration of scripture? Pah!’

‘This is mysterious’
‘This is unwelcome’

This guide is to be taken with a pinch of salt. I do not want to suggest that every time anyone says something like one of these quotations in bold, they must be pulling the hermeneutical move that follows it. You will undoubtedly be able to find a situations where, for instance, someone says that the Bible is not a textbook on some subject and is not only dead right (the Bible isn’t a textbook on anything, IMO) but also making a valid point.  And some things are genuinely mysterious.  With that caveat, though, I get wary whenever I hear entries in this guide.

Any suggested additions to the guide?

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Nobel Peace Prize has lost its very last shred of credibility

I’ve complained twice before about the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s choice of Nobel Peace Prize recipient, but this year they really have sunk to an unprecedented low.  I won’t make any comment on their choices in future because they don’t merit the attention.

European Union wins Nobel Peace Prize (Reuters)

As I said in my previous complaints, I do believe that the prize has just become a vehicle for making tedious ‘liberal’ political points; however, as the Spectator points out, this time the committee has actually surpassed itself and managed to cause mirth at both the right and the left ends of the mainstream political spectrum.  Congratulations.

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister of Information 2001-2003, on the USADA reasoned decision in the Lance Armstrong case

[This is] a one-sided hatchet job – a taxpayer-funded tabloid piece rehashing old, disproved, unreliable allegations based largely on axe-grinders, serial perjurers, coerced testimony, sweetheart deals and threat-induced stories.

Sean Breen, Armstrong’s lawyer, made the following announcement about the state of the Iraq War in May 2003:


There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never! […] I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad. […] They're not even [within] 100 miles [of Baghdad]. They are not in any place. They hold no place in Iraq. This is an illusion ... they are trying to sell to the others an illusion. […] I blame Al-Jazeera - they are marketing for the Americans!

Oh no, wait! I may have them the wrong way around.

The USADA reasoned decision (or at least a summary of it) can be found online here.  I don’t need to quote or summarise anything from the actual documents because the sports media are doing a pretty good job of it themselves.  But if you want to go to the source, I recommend beginning with the affidavits of Jonathan Vaughters and George Hincapie (under ‘Appendices and Supporting Materials’).

Thursday, 4 October 2012

What Floyd Landis is not allowed to say

Courtesy of cyclingnews:

Article two of the verdict goes into quite specific detail as to what Landis is not allowed to say about the UCI in the future, noting that it is forbidden for him to say that the UCI, McQuaid and Verbruggen “have concealed cases of doping, received money for doing so, have accepted money from Lance Armstrong to conceal a doping case, have protected certain racing cyclists, concealed cases of doping, have engaged in manipulation, particularly of tests and races, have hesitated and delayed publishing the results of a positive test on Alberto Contador, have accepted bribes, are corrupt, are terrorists, have no regard for the rules, load the dice, are fools, do not have a genuine desire to restore discipline to cycling, are full of shit, are clowns, their words are worthless, are liars, are no different to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, or to make any similar other allegations of that kind.”

See also this and this, however.  Legally, the judgement is a victory for the UCI, but will the verdict change anyone’s mind about the organisation?  When their case against Paul Kimmage to court things could go very differently indeed.