Scientific Biblical Studies – Current Articles

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The Life Foundations Nexus







Copyright July 30, 2005 4:23 PM CST

By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti




Note that this is our first draft of this article.  Therefore, there may be levels of abstraction and degrees of abstrusity that still place this article well beyond the understanding of the ordinary person.  Either way, this article will be difficult for most people to comprehend.




One of the innovations of Biblical Textual Calculus is “inductive textual calculus.”  First, however, we must talk about “probabilistic textual induction,” one of our other innovations.  Probabilistic textual induction says:


The more facts you have supporting a textual conclusion (a conclusion regarding the nature of a text) the more likely the textual conclusion is true.


This means that if you have 10,000 facts supporting a textual conclusion it is more likely the conclusion is true than if you had only 100 facts supporting the textual conclusion.  Note, however, that either way you have only achieved “a likelihood of truth.”  You have not achieved “objective certainty” (100% certainty).  The term “objective certainty” refers to an objective (nonmental, real-world) status of actual, physical entities, NOT to a person’s mental state of certainty relative to some fact or facts regarding one or more ancient, biblical, manuscript texts.


In order to achieve universally accepted objective certainty, it was necessary that we exclude human judgement, including our own, from the inferential processes that generated the objectively certain conclusions.  Had we included human judgement, we would have, of course, reached the same conclusions since there was so much supporting evidence.  However, the inclusion of our personal judgement would have “contaminated” the inferential processes.  The conclusions would, therefore, have been invalidated as “universal principles.”  We could still have used the conclusions as “local principles,” of course.  Universal principles are those that cannot be refuted by anyone.  Local principles are those accepted by one or more but not by all.


All inductively based conclusions fall short of objective certainty.  We, however, needed inductively based conclusions that did not fall short of objective certainty.  So, we asked ourselves, “How do we free ourselves from the limitations of induction?”  Well, what is the cause of these limitations?  The cause is the finite nature of the amount of data involved in inductions.  Therefore, if we could expand the amount of data involved in inductions to an infinite quantity, we would eliminate the limitations of induction.


This, of course, created two seemingly insurmountable obstacles:


1.      How do we generate an infinite amount of data?


2.      Once we have generated an infinite amount of data, how do we process this data in a finite amount of time?


It turned out we had to answer the second question first.  We were led into considering mathematical calculus.  This is because mathematical calculus can take FINITE amounts of data and derive conclusions effectively (to be more precise, transitively [3 > 2, 2 > 1, à 3 > 1]) based on an INFINITE amount of data.  Mathematical calculus allows you to effectively perform an infinite number of computations in a finite amount of time.  We did not invent mathematical calculus. 


The animated graphic below will hopefully illustrate somewhat how all of this is possible.  The graphic is a visualization of concepts underlying mathematical (integral) calculus.  By creating an infinite number of rectangles you can determine with objective certainty (100% certainty) the amount of space under the curved line (the red curve).  Mathematical calculus includes a formula that can determine the sum of all of the rectangles WHEN THE NUMBER OF RECTANGLES IS INFINITE.  Notice how the number in the upper right corner of the graphic gets closer to the actual space under the curved line as the number of rectangles is increased.


The graphic takes a few seconds to load.






















This led us to the notion of “textual rectangles.”  If we had an infinite number of “textual rectangles” for every “sentence” (linguistic element) in the Bible, we would effectively (transitively) have the infinite amount of data needed to perform an induction that would produce objective certainty (100% certainty).  The process of using an effectively infinite amount of textual data to produce inductively based conclusions having objective certainty is what we call “inductive textual calculus.”  Here is our formal definition of “inductive textual calculus”:


Inductive textual calculus is the process of using an effectively (to be more precise, transitively [3 > 2, 2 > 1, à 3 > 1]) infinite amount of textual data to produce inductively based, textual conclusions having objective certainty.


Note that the ITC (inductive textual calculus) process does NOT require an INFIINTE mount of data to arrive at an “INFINITE-quantity-data-based conclusion.”  This fact overcame the obstacle of the need to generate an infinite amount of data.  This, however, did not eliminate the need for the utilization of a vast amount of data.




Technical Footnote:  There are a few who believe that mathematical calculus does not operate perfectly in the real world.  This is true.  However, modern computers dynamically adjust for these imperfections.  This is demonstrated every time a space shuttle takes off from a NASA launch pad and successfully makes it into orbit and then, again, later, by the successful return of the space shuttle to earth.