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Will camel discovery break the Bible's back?
Camels, shown here in the Liwa desert outside Abu Dhabi, are the subject of a surprising new discovery.
February 11th, 2014
01:56 PM ET

Will camel discovery break the Bible's back?

Opinion by Joel Baden, special to CNN

(CNN) - It’s been a rough 2014 for the book of Genesis.

First a Noah’s Ark discovery raised a flood of questions, then there was the much-hyped debate over life’s origins between Bill Nye the Science Guy and creationist Ken Ham.

And now this: a scientific report establishing that camels, the basic mode of transportation for the biblical patriarchs, weren’t domesticated in Israel until hundreds of years after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are said to have wandered the earth.

Using radiocarbon dating of camel bones that showed signs of having carried heavy loads, Israeli archaeologists have dated the earliest domesticated camels to the end of the 10th century BCE.

But according to the traditional biblical chronology, the patriarchs were schlepping around Canaan on camels over a millennium earlier, all the way back in 2100 BCE

Taken on its own, this may seem a rather minor problem.

After all, this is Genesis, in which some people live to be 900 years old (hello, Methuselah), all of humanity emerges from Babylon, and the Dead Sea is created from the backward glance of Lot’s wife. (Not to mention the six-day creation story and the stuffing of all land animals on a single boat.)

How important could camels really be?

For those who believe the Bible to be fundamentally true, this is hardly going to change any minds. For those who believe it to be entirely false, this is surely not the most damning piece of evidence.

What the camels in Genesis reveal, in fact, has nothing to do with the “truth” of the biblical story at all.

Instead, the presence of these camels in the story highlights, in a very clear way, the essential humanity of the biblical writers: like the best authors, they simply wrote about what they knew.

The patriarchs are depicted as nomadic, never settling for long in one place, but moving constantly from location to location throughout Israel (and beyond).

An ancient Israelite, wanting to tell the story of the wandering of his ethnic and national ancestors, would have naturally looked to the nomadic peoples around him as models. And indeed, throughout the Bible camels are commonly associated with those tribes who lived in the desert: Midianites, Ishmaelites, Amalekites, Kedemites.

The biblical authors simply transplanted the nomadic standards of their time into the distant past.

There is nothing deceptive about this. They weren’t trying to trick anyone. They imagined, quite reasonably, that the past was, fundamentally, like their present.

They had no real alternative. In ancient Israel, in the period when the Bible was written (which ranges, conservatively, from the 10th to the third century BCE), no one had any way of knowing that camels had not always been domesticated pack animals. After all, we didn’t know that for sure until this past week.

Without any evidence to the contrary, it is perfectly natural to assume that things have always been the way that they are now. Today we have more information about the past than any other moment in history. In ancient Israel, they had virtually none.

And yet we still fall victim to this basic, very human, historical fallacy.

It has been suggested that this anachronism in the biblical text is akin to importing semitrailers into the medieval period. But this is a level of ridiculousness too far.

I would suggest that it is more similar to describing a medieval Italian as enjoying pasta with tomato sauce. How many people, even today, know that tomatoes only came to Italy from South America in the 16th century?

The camels in Genesis may be “wrong,” but they are not a “mistake.” We all imagine the past to the best of our knowledge, the biblical authors included.

The lasting lesson of the camel controversy, such as it is, is a simple one: no writing, not even the Bible, is timeless or without context. Views of the past are contingent on both what we know and how we know it.

The Bible is a historical record, but it tells us just as much, if not more, about the people who wrote it as it does about the people they wrote about.

Since the stories of the Bible remain so central to who we are as a culture, even today (and even for those who dismiss it), it seems entirely fitting that we should be equally interested in the ancient people who composed them.

Despite their lack of historical knowledge — and, equally, because of it — they, more than the characters in the Bible, are our true cultural ancestors.

Joel S. Baden is the author of "The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero" and an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Creationism • Evolution • Judaism • Middle East • Opinion

soundoff (3,276 Responses)
  1. Salero21

    Bad, very, very bad choice of the CNN Belief Blog administrators/editor to select WordPress to manage the Logins to the Blog.

    WordPress articles/pics/post are not accepted in some other websites that I participate. Worst yet atheists who are extremely hypocritical and compulsive liars, already have used my moniker for their evil and perverse purposes. Which proves beyond any reasonable doubt what I've been saying all along, that they're very dishonest, thieves and internet vandals.

    Which is more evidence on top of more Evidence of the Total stupidity of atheism/evolution/idolatry cult.

    February 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      "Bad, very, very bad choice" because they are "not accepted in some other websites that I participate" Waaaah waaah wah waaah waah, waah waaah waaah wah, thhhpppp!

      You are too funny 🙂

      February 12, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
      • Salero21

        And you're proof/evidence of the Total stupidity of atheism/evolution/idolatry pot smoking crowd!! 😉 😀

        February 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • joey3467

          You must be an atheist then.

          February 13, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
    • Salero21

      Especially when CNN already had a Login button with Disqus which does not allows to change your registered name/brand to another like that. Allowing users to "borrow" someone else's moniker. Of course that's "standard" practice of dishonest thieves atheists and some "scientists", academics and many people in general among the populace.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Wow! The misery you must live...I feel bad for you, I can't imagine having so much hate in my heart.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
    • jonathanlk

      So my advice is you should come to America and learn from our great diversity that not only are there many acceptable beliefs and religions in this world there are many non-religious philosophies and viewpoints that are not the same as your own. You stand to learn a great deal. If you are a Christian, have you ever realized that you yourself might be an Atheist in the eyes of all who profess faith in other gods than yours. Are all gods and deities good in your eyes and better than none at all? Here in America we have freedom of religion, even freedom from religion if we choose, and freedom of speech. It is wonderful for everyone, believers and non-beleivers alike. If we respect each other's freedoms and behave responsibly, then we in turn deserve the right to these freedoms, and have no reason to fear one another as we go about our straight, legal, and honest businesses.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
      • agolf70

        the freedom of religion is not a wise concept And there is one savior.

        1 Timothy 2:5 ►

        For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,

        February 12, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Geez, are the nurses on a shift change? I left you something to read yesterday...it almost screamed your name.

          February 12, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • agolf70

          time to cut and paste my friend. hook me up.

          February 12, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • bostontola

          adolf70,
          You have a number of choices given your desire to live in a Christian theocracy, a few:
          1. Lead a revolution.
          2. Draft a number of amendments to the Consti.tution, and work to get them through the process.
          3. Move to a Christian theocracy.
          I'm sure there are other possibilities as well.
          Good luck.

          February 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
  2. neverbeenhappieratheist

    "History is written by the victors.” – Winston Churchill

    Which is why you should never trust a book over actual archeological bone and fossil evidence. It would be like always taking the word of the last person to see someone alive as factual evidence of their demise. "Yeah, Larry said he was there, Jim just took the rifle and swung it around behind him and shot himself in the back, so, case closed I guess..."

    February 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
    • agolf70

      Job 21:3

      "Bear with me that I may speak; Then after I have spoken, you may mock.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        ...said Larry while frantically trying to wipe the gun powder residue from his hands...

        February 12, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • agolf70

          luke 22
          [49] When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" [50] And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

          [51] But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.

          [52] Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? [53] Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour - when darkness reigns."

          [54] Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest.

          February 12, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
  3. agolf70

    no this means nothing. ancients used animals for all kinds of stuff. this guy is a helpless molester of the Word of God.

    "The biblical authors simply transplanted the nomadic standards of their time into the distant past.

    There is nothing deceptive about this. They weren’t trying to trick anyone. They imagined, quite reasonably, that the past was, fundamentally, like their present.

    They had no real alternative"

    listen to this narrative

    2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’[a]

    4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even enough ground to set his foot on. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’[b] 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circ.umcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circu.mcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

    9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.

    11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.

    17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly increased. 18 Then ‘a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.’[c] 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our ancestors by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.

    20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child.[d] For three months he was cared for by his family. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

    23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’

    27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’[e] 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

    30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’[f] Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.

    33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’[g]

    35 “This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness.

    37 “This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’[h] 38 He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us.

    39 “But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’[i] 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and reveled in what their own hands had made. 42 But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets:

    “‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
    forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
    43 You have taken up the tabernacle of Molek
    and the star of your god Rephan,
    the idols you made to worship.
    Therefore I will send you into exile’[j] beyond Babylon.

    44 “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.[k] 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.

    48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:

    49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool.
    What kind of house will you build for me?
    says the Lord.
    Or where will my resting place be?
    50 Has not my hand made all these things?’[l]

    51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncirc.umcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!

    February 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
    • agolf70

      12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses

      Acts 6

      Proverbs 19:9 – A false witness shall not be unpunished, and [he that] speaketh lies shall perish.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        "A false witness shall not be unpunished" Well that doesn't bode well for you Austin... that burny place has got a spot waiting for you...

        February 12, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • agolf70

          what have i lied about?

          Christ is God, and He is risen.

          1 Timothy 2:5 ►

          For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,

          February 12, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
  4. jonathanlk

    We can only say we have no evidence beyond hearsay which really isn't reliable at all, like with much of the rest of the Bible, or when you listen to women chatting on their cell phones making up stories out of thin air. And in addition, you can't tell me definitively that the yellow, black, and white striped 1000 year old, and 100 foot tall polka dotted vampire lady in black stockings isn't alive and doesn't exist, speaking perfect English even though she has never visited our planet, on the dark side of the moon, and has never been seen by the golden crown of creation, god's highest achievement, man, who dwelleths at the very epi-center of the universe, surrounded on all four sides by the heavenly spheres and angels, and overseen by god in heaven bless her extensive gold threaded wardrobe. Faith reasoning has taught us we can believe anything we want, and so we do, anything at all. I even believe everybody agrees with me and that I am always right, and in the very face of much contradictory evidence, facts, and despite a complete lack of any kind of hard scientific evidence. All you need is a little faith reasoning. Thanks – J

    February 12, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
    • ausphor

      J
      Without a plea for cash and an address to send it to, your faith reasoning and the undisputed fact that you are always right, makes you a failure as a religious hustler, not that that's a bad thing.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
  5. abigchocoholic

    Bible writers wrote what they knew, which was pretty impressive given the generation but is barbaric and simplistic and laughably ignorant by today's standards.

    Let's just hope we look as bad today to our decedents 2000 years from now as the bible writers look to us.

    February 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      They will call us iPod couch people.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
      • jonathanlk

        They won't want to believe they evolved from people like us with hair and big mouths! Ugh! No way!

        February 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
      • Akira

        I sincerely hope not.

        February 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • Salero21

          Hey look who's here the great Akira from Vivid studios!! 😀 Was it hard at the office today?

          February 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      I think we each have our part in leaving some form of legacy, it's how you live your life that says what effect that legacy has. If we last another 2 millennial, I'm sure we'd be as humorous to them as their stories are to us. Even if christianity disappears, something will pop in and takes it's place regardless of how silly it may be.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        It could be some form of atheism. Richard Dawkins style of atheism rose and fell dramatically. But illustrated such silliness can come outside traditional religious setting.

        February 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Humans are well known for terrific story telling.

          February 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It seems like we have evolved into creatures that treasure myths and legends. It is part of being a human being.

          February 12, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
  6. Doc Vestibule

    If I had a camel, I would camel in the morning.
    I would camel in the evening.
    All over the Promised Land.

    February 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LOL... I don't think that's what P-P & M had in mind for their song

      February 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
      • ausphor

        Lucifer
        Pete Seeger and Lee Hats recorded by the Weavers In 1950, P, P & M, well after the fact check with your goodie two shoes twin.

        February 12, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
        • ausphor

          Lee Hays, not Hats, stubby fingers and other parts....

          February 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • kudlak

      Sounds like a cigarette ad. 🙂

      February 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        If that was the case it would read:

        If I had a camel, I would camel in the morning.
        Then I would camel in the mid morning.
        Then I would camel in the late morning.
        I would camel at noon.
        I would camel in the early afternoon.
        I would camel in the afternoon.
        I would camel in the late afternoon.
        I would camel in the evening.
        I would camel while I stand.
        I would camel in bed.
        All over the Promised Land...

        February 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
  7. actorforchrist

    Interesting, then, that the Tall Halaf site near the southern border of Turkey in Syria features among its relics a stone tablet in which is carved the picture of a camel with a rider atop. The tablet is dated to around 3000 B. C., quite a bit earlier than the dating of Abraham at 1800 B. C.

    February 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
    • bostontola

      We know that camels were used at least 5000 years ago in Persia also. But there is no record of their use in Egypt until about 2500 years ago (and they were very good record keepers).

      February 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
  8. averagejoe7six

    Looking for answers is always better than assuming them, right? That's the fundemental difference between science and faith. I also think there's a lack of respect for scientists. Especially by those that don't think highly of science [as they use their computers/cell phones]. For some reason, science is 'ok' until it touches God. But also consider this: if you cannot fix your own car, can you really tell the mechanic what to do, or how to do it? Scientists have jobs, people. Jobs. So if you like the idea of someone telling you how to do your job, when they have never done anything in the field, then keep up with your comments about 'scientists don't know what they're talking about' while you can't even back-up your computer.

    February 12, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
    • bostontola

      Well said, thanks.

      February 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
      • averagejoe7six

        Some people need to be reminded that scientists are people that put in the long hours to come to a conclusion. They don't have the luxury to say, "God told me....". They actually need facts to back stuff up. It's admirable. And if you disagree, then put your facts where your mouth is.

        February 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
    • Salero21

      In your fanatical belief you like all atheist as*sume that believers, christians and in general people who believe there is a God in Heaven are not at all scientists, mechanics, technicians, doctors in all fields etc. etc. You failed to research and look for answers, therefore you failed yet again. That's one more piece of evidence of the Total stupidity of atheism!! 😉

      February 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
      • averagejoe7six

        Never said that. Looks like you would like to pigeon-hole me inhto that sterotype, tho....

        February 12, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
  9. Salero21

    Always remember and never forget that atheism is Total stupidity. 😉 It's a Fanatical Cultist like "belief system" in which some "scientists" play the part of "Priests" and gurus.

    February 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      feeble trolling.

      February 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
      • Salero21

        Can't disprove or refute what I said huh?

        February 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Salero: seems to me Jesus spent a lot more time slamming people on the religious right (people like me) for not getting it than those on the left (from whom – for the most part – he didn't expect more).

          February 12, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
  10. Vic

    ♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰ ♰ ♰

    February 12, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Hail Satan... ^o)

      February 12, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Voldemort is Lord

      February 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
    • new-man

      Jesus is Lord of my life, because in Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (The very life of God).

      "God's purpose through Jesus Christ is to deify the nature of man and thus forever make him like unto Christ, not only in outward appearance or habits of life but in nature and substance and content; in spirit and soul, and body like the Son of God."

      February 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Religion: the word of man trying to convince other men that it is the word of God

        February 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • new-man

          you've obviously been convinced of Lucifer's existence – I guess that's something to be said about your religion.

          February 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          You obviously can't distinguish a play on words with multiple meanings... 😎

          February 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • new-man

          I distinguish very well.
          As the saying goes, many a truths have been told in jests.
          As the Bible says: out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

          Something to meditate on 🙂

          February 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • igaftr

          new man
          So if I mention Sponge Bob, to you that means I think he exists?

          February 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      My friends 4 year old says you're wrong...Thor is God according to her.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Thor is the god of war and thunder... but Odin is the All-Father and the most powerful of the Aesir

        February 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Yes and she knows it but she has her Thor Happy Dance. She's also a huge fan of all that is science.

          February 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        If Thor genuinely looks like Chris Hemsworth, he can come to my house and lay his hammer down anytime.

        February 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
    • abigchocoholic

      Praise Allah.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • kudlak

      Vic
      That's a bold claim, like saying that nothing cleans clothes quite like Tide, but can you prove that to those of us who don't just believe everything we're told?

      February 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
  11. bostontola

    I couldn't find any bible verse that said Abraham used camels as pack animals. In that time, camels were used for their milk. This story has been used by media to create a firestorm and the the scientists are the ones whose credibility is brought into question (even though it's the media making claims).

    February 12, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Is this really creating a firestorm? I thought it was just a stupid data-poor article about camels...

      February 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
      • bostontola

        I did check the headlines in other news sources, they are also overblowing this with incendiary headlines. Check it out for yourself.

        February 12, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Good point.

      You are going to disappoint some of the resident atheists, though. A few have been LOLing and cheering like they just won the lottery. Lets break it to them gently.

      February 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
    • Salero21

      That's right!

      There is nothing in the text that says they were riding or loading the camels though is very possible. There is no way to match our current roman/solar calendar with theirs to make reliable historical statements like that. Owning camels was part of being rich then a clear sign of wealth. In addition to milk they used their skins and furs etc., but then again this is just one more piece of evidence of the fanatical and Total stupidity of atheism.

      February 12, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
      • bostontola

        Fanatical. Pot meet kettle.

        February 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • Salero21

          Ok fanatic of the Team that at the end wins!!! And if WE WIN... you loose... your soul. 😦

          February 12, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          It's lose not loose troll... and there is no such thing as a soul

          February 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
    • Robert

      The word “camel(s)” appears 23 times in 21 verses in the book of Genesis. The first book of the Bible declares that camels existed in Egypt during the time of Abraham (12:14-17), in Palestine in the days Isaac (24:63), in Padan Aram while Jacob was working for Laban (30:43), and were owned by the Midianites during the time Joseph was sold into Egyptian slavery (37:25,36).

      February 12, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        You have WAY to much time on your hands my friend...

        February 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
      • kenyamitchell

        That verse doesn't say anything about camels. It says "cattle." Which version of the bible are you reading?

        February 12, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
    • Akira

      I agree, bostontola. This article just seems like the author wanted some "ah HA!" talking point...it really proves nothing at all one way or another, IMO.

      February 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
      • new-man

        I've read 3 articles of Mr. Baden so far, and all 3 have been totally disappointing. I will say, he does understand media manipulation – throw in a small piece of fact, surrounded by extremely wild, stupid, and embellished speculations that would be embarrassing if he had any integrity.
        However, I guarantee his next piece will be much of the same.

        February 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
    • Steven

      Genesis 24:63-65
      King James Version (KJV)

      63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.

      64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.

      Genesis 24:63-65
      New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      63 Isaac went out to [a]meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. 64 Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel

      February 12, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
    • Russ

      I need to give credit where credit is due:
      I am pleasantly surprised by the balance in most of these comments.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
  12. formcritic

    So – checking our data – a scientist finds an animal that may or may not have been "load bearing." He cannot find any other "load bearing" bones.
    Therefore:,
    1) No camels anywhere were ever used as pack animals.

    2) No one, anywhere have ever ridden a camel.

    3) Any account anywhere of people using domesticated camels before Time X be incorrect.

    We are not talking about data. We are talking about a lack of data.

    Without entering into a religious discussion – keeping our conversation only about archaeology and bones – these conclusions are preposterous.

    February 12, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • formcritic

      Yes, I notice a couple of words got left out in the edit.

      February 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Yes and the ancient petroglyphs depicting domesticated camels are a forgeries. Because 2 archaeologists have proven them false.

      February 12, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
    • Salero21

      Yes they are very preposterous!!

      And just one more piece of Evidence/proof on top of mountains of evidence, of the Total stupidity of atheism/evolution/idolatry. The equipment & methods of the so called "carbon dating" are man made, therefore arbitrary and as reliable as the men who made them. The method of course, can't take into account God's power to Accelerate & Decelerate any & all processes in Creation as needed to advance or promote the well being of Creation.

      Since God Created, He can also "manipulate" (for lack of another word) His Creation. He can make all sorts of Adjustments, re-Create, re-construct, fix, repair, do away with everything, pulverize it, vaporize it and make like if never ever was in existence. He God, can throw it all away and burn it to the point of non-existence forever and ever. He is going to do that Next!! THANKS GOD ALMIGHTY!!!

      February 12, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
  13. Doris

    Someone recently posted here something from answersingenesis.org. You know, I know a lot of decent, hard-working Christians, but this young-earth belief is, as they say, willful stupidity/ignorance/charlatanism or some combo of the three. Such crazy beliefs/agenda just confuse youngsters when it's completely unnecessary. I think for some, it's more an agenda and about profit.

    In the recent Ham/Bill Nye debate, Mr Ham referenced Andrew Snelling a few times. Snelling has worked for the same organization that Mr Ham worked for (the Institute for Creation Research) touting the young-earth view. People should know that while working for that organization, Dr Snelling, who received his credentials as a geologist dating rocks at billions of years old, also sold his consulting services to organizations such as the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

    One article about this dichotomous behavior from Dr Snelling has asked "Will the Real Dr Snelling Please Stand Up?"

    Dr Alex Ritchie wrote in his article Flood geology: a house built on sand:

    "If any geologist were to be caught salting a deposit, falsifying results or engaging in other forms of behaviour likely to bring his/her discipline into disrepute, they would be promptly dealt with by their peers.

    In my opinion it is equally abhorrent for anyone claiming to be a professional geoscientist to indulge in deliberately misleading and deceptive conduct aimed directly at lay audiences and especially at young people."

    Evidently, for the right price, Dr Snelling will sell the young-earth creationists and their listeners what they want to hear.

    February 12, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
    • robertbeliefblogginbrown

      Doris,
      I know and love several people who wholeheartedly believe in young earth creation. They are good intelligent people, they just aren’t scientists or science minded. I’m comfortable admitting that I don’t know what happened in ancient unrecorded history.

      This site seems to support old earth creation, but they have good info on all sides of the issue.
      http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/creationmodels.html

      February 12, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
      • bostontola

        robert,
        I would trust Dr. Francis Collins before a bunch of non-scientists regarding scientific questions. Dr. Collins is a devout Christian and a very accomplished scientist, doctor, and administrator.

        February 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • robertbeliefblogginbrown

          Thanks, I had never heard of him before. I also checked out the org he started, biologos. Interesting stuff on the website. Thanks again.

          February 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
  14. wallacebillingham

    So using radio carbon dating they found camel bones that were from the 10th century BC, OK how does this prove anything about if camels were domesticated much earlier or not? The Bible states that Camels were in use domestically in 21st century BC, how common are bones from any animal to be found from over 4,000 years ago? There are examples of domesticated camels used in middle bronze age cylinder seals in Mesopotamia from the 18th and 19th century BC. So if they were used domestically in the same region that Abraham was from in the same time and place that Abraham lived, and we know that from art from the time period, how do radio carbon dated bones prove anything?

    If I look in my closet I can find a football from 1978, so I guess there was no football prior to 1978 because that is the oldest one I can find right?

    February 12, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Read more carefully. They dated the bones, but that isn't how they know they were domesticated camels.

      The bones are the earliest found that show signs of the animal having been a "load bearing" animal, a sign of domestication.

      February 12, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      logic fail

      February 12, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
    • realityyyyyyy

      And camels or no camels, there were no patriarchs to ride them. See p. 1 for added details.

      February 12, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
  15. cruciblethorn

    Looking at the universe and saying there is no God is the equivalent of looking at a beautiful painting and saying there was no artist.

    February 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      why?

      February 12, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Looking at the nigh unfathomable complexity and vastness of the Universe and assuming that an anthropocentric Creator made it all just so that we can exist as His favoured objects is akin to Adam's puddle believing the hole he finds himself in was made just to have him in it.

      February 12, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        You realize that went right over his head right?

        February 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Even if that were true, which I don't necessarily agree with, evidence of a creator god is not in any way, shape or form evidence for any specific god.

      February 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
    • bostontola

      Mathematicians have developed relatively simple algorithms that automatically create images many find beautiful. There is no artist in that case.

      Saying there is a God is equivalent to saying that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit.

      February 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
      • new-man

        who wrote the program for the algorithm?

        February 12, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Deep Thinker

          February 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • bostontola

          A mathematician. There are many cases where the mathematician said he had no idea what would come out of it.

          February 12, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      So which artist created these amazing designs?

      http://www.wimp.com/risingtone/

      February 12, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
    • druffmaul

      Looking at the universe and saying "a magical invisible wizard who lives in the sky made it" is the equivalent of looking at a beautiful painting and saying "a magical invisible wizard who lives in the sky made it."

      February 12, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        nice. 🙂

        February 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
    • abigchocoholic

      Looking at your God and saying there is no maker of your God is the same thing as looking at the universe and saying there is no maker.

      February 12, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
  16. Tim R

    How many nonbelievers found this study to be accurate? — 100%

    How many Christians found this study to be inaccurate? — 100%

    February 12, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
    • Tim R

      There you have it, this study had zero, nada, zilch, nil, zippo effect on the veracity of the Genesis account in The Bible!

      February 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
      • Tim R

        That would not be complete without this –> 🙂

        February 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Archaeology is not an exact science. The study is more of a hypothesis being generated than a fact being declared.

      February 12, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
      • jasoncdanforth

        Archaeology is underpinned by chemistry, geology, and radiology, which are very much exact sciences. What you're thinking of is anthropology.

        February 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Archaeology is a subfield of anthropology. In addition to some science, it also relies on history, geography, ethnology, and linguistics to reinforce its theories. It is not an exact science.

          February 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
      • kudlak

        Archaeology is like all those CSI sciences that are used to determine the guilt of an accused. It's possible that the DNA could be wrong, or that the reenactment models could be off, but in the absence of any actual eyewitness (and even that testimony is not as reliable as once assumed) testimony to an event it is the best we have to go on, right? Otherwise, we have to give equal credence to the Ancient Aliens buffs with their wild ideas, correct?

        TTFN Good talks! 🙂

        February 12, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
  17. Vic

    I have noticed so many "usernames" as "handles" since the changeover by the CNN Belief Blog. The "wordpress" software sets your "username" as your "public handle" by default when you create a new account. You can change that through your account settings.

    Go to Settings, Public Profile, and then change your Public Display Name.

    February 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      I meant to thank you the other day. We knew XP support was ceasing this year but hadn't heard a date. I think it's time to learn some Linux. 🙂

      February 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
  18. That Bald Dude

    Best way to get someone to disbelieve the Bible: let them read it in its entirety, not the passages cherry-picked by their church's spokesmen.

    February 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      are you "THAT" bald dude from 2 Kings 2:23?

      2 Kings 2:23
      Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.

      February 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • jasoncdanforth

        Well, that escalated quickly...

        February 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      My church doesn't have spokesmen cherry picking verses. 😦

      We openly discuss all the verses. Even the difficult ones. We are free to question and disagree with them.

      February 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
  19. cruciblethorn

    Let us not forget that atheists have their own religion and god, it is known as the Singularity, something they have never seen, nor can prove but believe in wholeheartedly.

    February 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      yeah keep trying that one if it makes you feel better.

      atheism is a religion like NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.

      February 12, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
      • mopizzle11

        So are you agreeing that you see Singularity as god?
        What is this Singularity anyway?

        February 12, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          there is no god.

          February 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • bostontola

          If an atheist states, "there is no god", then how could they regard a singularity as a god?

          February 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • mopizzle11

          Any link to what the singularity he is talking about is?

          February 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • bostontola

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singularity_function

          February 12, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Atheism is a negative statement that describes only what one does NOT believe.
      "A" = lack of.
      "Theism" = belief in gods.
      "A" + "Theism" = lack of belief in gods.
      It is akin to calling the singer in a band the "a-instrumentalist" – the term is technically correct, but it says nothing about what they actually do.

      Not all atheists believe in "The Singularity", just as not all theists believe in The Trinity.
      If someone describes themselves as "apolitical", do you still consider them to be conservative or liberal?
      If your doctor says that you're asymptomatic, do you think it is a sign of disease? Which one?

      February 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • s4ty41987

      god taught us to love each other and not fight like morons in His name. you guys who say you believe in god and say these mean things to other and mock others opinions are not true believers. first try to respect your fellow human before going around talking about god and religion with the little knowledge you mightve gained from here and there. may god forgive your imbecile behaviour.

      February 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      There are no gods

      February 12, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
      • s4ty41987

        Peace is a form of god my friend. If not believing in god brings you peace, then that's what you should believe in as even that thought includes god in it. no point in fighting or arguing over it. If you read most of these comments, you will realize my point that people who say they dont believe in god cant say it with out using god's name in their thoughts and comments. Hence they find peace though god by thinkign that they do not believe in Him or that He dosent exist.

        February 12, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Thank you for your idiotic opinion...

          February 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • s4ty41987

          you dont even know me and your calling my opinion idiotic. thats real mature.

          February 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • Alias

          Saying we find peace through a god by thinking we don't believe in him can fairly be called idiotic

          February 12, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
  20. cruciblethorn

    Science can't even get the date of Sunset Crater right let alone the rest of creation. I'm amused at how much faith people put in theoretical science, that can't prove anything except by falsifying facts with conjecture. Sadly, atheists are like detectives who "twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." I've also laughed at how little you all know about Biblical history yet claim to be experts in your "truth it isn't real." Two sites you people need to read, learn and get un-indoctrinated.

    http://www.newgeology.us/presentation32.html

    http://www.oocities.org/earthage/radiometricdating.html

    February 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      yep. because science has overwhelming evidence but doesn't quite have all the exact details yet, it's much more likely that some sky magician cast his magic spells and made it all happen in 6 days. sure.

      February 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • cruciblethorn

        Refute the science, if you can.

        February 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          There is no need to refute the science...the Singularity is all powerful sovereign, you cannot disprove the Singularity....LOL

          February 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Creationism is not science... so there is nothing to refute

          February 12, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.