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Daniel_Humphries comments on Fake Justification - Less Wrong

40 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 01 November 2007 03:57AM

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Comment author: Daniel_Humphries 01 November 2007 07:05:14AM 1 point [-]

Eliezer:

A nice, clear explanation of Fake Justification. Thanks.

I would chime in with the others that the perceived literary value of the Bible is not (generally) a Fake Justification. It is a great work; it must be judged on its own merits (that is to say... for what it is "trying" to be, and for the time period it is composed in). Literature is a human endeavor, and literature can have immense value qua literature if it teaches us about humans in a unique, effective, and compelling way. It doesn't have a classical story arc to it, like the Lord of the Rings, but that's not reason enough to disregard it. (Though a lack of hobbitses might be compelling).

Judging ancient works by modern standards is a Freshman Comp 101 mistake. The Iliad is not only great because it is old and famous. It is also just plain great.

But, of course this doesn't take away from your larger point in the slightest. Insofar as "The Bible is Great Literature!!" is done as a sort of back-justification when the religious claims of the Bible are acknowledged to be false, it is faulty.

Topo: What? I don't understand you at all.