My answer to the question Is the New Testament significantly corrupted from its originally intended form? was deleted today by a mod. The comments section is locked because of this, so I turn to meta. The reason given for deletion was:

Having checked the given sources, none of them are either appropriate (e.g. refer to the actual claim at all) or reliable (e.g. Answer in genesis is not considered a reliable source on the bible, since they have an obvious CoI). Removing, flag when fixed with proper references.

I gave my answer using multiple sources--citing relevant and reputable sources on the topic--to support my answer. So, then... why does skeptics.SE not recognize reputable sources on the Bible? Does that not sound like a fair question? It probably isn't, but that's what's being conveyed with this deletion. Answers in Genesis, along with other sources I cited, claim themselves to be (at a minimum) sources which are pro-Bible, and (at most) hold themselves (and are held by the communities they serve) to be reputable. They also quite typically cite multiple references themselves, allowing for further inspection (I think this is usually the idea given to support Wikipedia articles on this site).

So I ask, how is this an appropriate mode for deletion? Please consider this especially in light of the answer given here for How do I know that the information posted in this site is reliable? and the related posts below.

Related Posts

  • Please don't make this deletion personal though. A post notice warning you of the pending deletion has been on it for a month. Multiple moderators did not remove the post notice, even after reviewing flags. An explanatory comment was left, including advice on how to fix the answer. If you want to complain about my moderation, please use the contact form below. If you want advice on how to fix your answer, then ask away, but please clarify your question.
    – Sklivvz
    Jun 8 '16 at 23:05
  • @Sklivvz it's not personal. The post notice went up early on and I addressed it rather quickly (as viewable in the edit history). I added references where I thought they were needed--no explicit requests were made, just a flag displayed (so, which explanatory comment are you referencing?). Later I also added an update section which, as seen in the comments and by the five upvotes the answer received, addressed those concerns presented in the comments.
    – tniles
    Jun 8 '16 at 23:52
  • I was referring specifically to "So I ask, how is this an appropriate mode for deletion?". I interpret it as a criticism of my moderation, not a request for clarification.
    – Sklivvz
    Jun 8 '16 at 23:58
  • @Sklivvz I am not seeking to complain about anyone on this site, but it is very noticeable that anything tagged along the lines of "Bible", "Religion", "Creation", and "Young Earth Creationism" has a severe community Conflict of Interest (COI) here on skeptics. Here are a few other examples: meta.skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/1686/…, the comments here skeptics.stackexchange.com/a/1441/32747, and meta.skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/3600/….
    – tniles
    Jun 8 '16 at 23:58
  • Stop attacking me or this community. If you do not like how we collectively run the site, then you are free to go elsewhere. If you instead want to participate, please do so constructively. For example, improve your answer :-)
    – Sklivvz
    Jun 9 '16 at 0:08
  • At the very least, the definition of reputable sources needs to be addressed. Using the reference above (meta.skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/132/…) shows how there currently is no objective definition for this community on such topics, even though your deletion comments call into question the sources used (and their reliability).
    – tniles
    Jun 9 '16 at 0:15
  • @Sklivvz sorry you're taking it that way (I really do want this to be constructive). I think this site has something to offer everyone (that's part of why I joined, of course!). :-) I am trying to participate well, and trying to encourage others to do the same. I reference history involving users such as ipavlic and fredsbend because their experiences are valid datapoints in this discussion. Here on the StackExchange websites the user base is scientists/researchers and programmers/devs of various backgrounds. There will be COI but it needs to be addressed appropriately.
    – tniles
    Jun 9 '16 at 0:20

Answers in Genesis is not a reputable source. We know that for certain for topics like evolution, there are plenty of posts on this site and others that show this.

A random website is not a reliable source, and Answers in Genesis is actually worse than a random website as we know of plenty of wrong claims made on that site. It's a website that is well-known to be wrong on many aspects of evolution, and I think it is reasonable to be skeptical about posts on other topics on that site as well.

  • Technical point: it is a reliable source on creationism, it does show reliably the creationist standpoint (which is what I think you mean when you say "worse than random"). I think I used them as a reference in one of my answers.
    – Sklivvz
    Jun 9 '16 at 10:57
  • Thanks, although I'm hoping you can elaborate. Sklivvz's comment here hits the nail on the head: they are a reliable source for some topics, even if it doesn't agree with someone's worldview. This gets back to what I'm driving at: What sources are acceptable on topics which (historically) cull bias and COI? For example, this recognized community wiki has no specification for sources on scientific and religious interfaces, yet this site is full of such questions (reviewing available tags).
    – tniles
    Jun 15 '16 at 17:40
  • @tniles09 no link farming, that will get you in trouble.
    – Sklivvz
    Jun 15 '16 at 23:56
  • @Sklivvz, really? I don't think providing multiple links to example sources quite qualifies as link farming. But here you go, I'll trim it back and provide less examples.
    – tniles
    Jun 16 '16 at 0:11
  • [[Comment, with no links at all]] For example, I doubt it would change things if I migrated my references from AiG to CARM, correct? Or for that matter, any sources coming from scientists and researchers who don't agree with "evolution as fact"? Is material from philosophers such as Peter Kusso or geologists such as Casey Luskin similarly unacceptable to this community?
    – tniles
    Jun 21 '16 at 16:37

Your answer contains a lot of text, but the actual answer you give is only contained in the first paragraph:

Yes, we have manuscript evidence of the New Testament originals. They are physically spread out in multiple libraries (e.g. Chester Beatty, American theological seminaries and university libraries such as Duke and Princeton) and private collections

This part has no references to support it, no links or otherwise. Nor it is clear whether it answers the question at all. What do you mean by "originals"?

There are then a few speculative paragraphs which should be removed -- it might be interesting why people don't like the bible but it's not what's being asked. These contains the links to Answers in Genesis, etc. The paragraphs and links have nothing to do with the question being answered and for that reason they are not appropriate.

Furthermore, you give two more links to the Codex Sinaiticus, which they both claim to be the oldest copy of the New Testament. As you will notice, Wikipedia says clearly that

The codex is an Alexandrian text-type manuscript written in the 4th century

So it's certainly not an "original". Four hundred years are a very long time, twenty generations.

Then you generally send the reader in the direction of McDowell and his books, none of which is an appropriate reference. To fix this part, find specific quotations in the books that answer the question, check their references; if everything works out, add a citation and report pages and sub references to your answer.

Finally you added an update, "answering" comments and providing no further references. None of that is actually appropriate on Skeptics. This is a Q&A site and is different from a forum. It's only appropriate to user your answer to ...answer the question and specifically we do not encourage debates, opinions, speculations, follow ups or long threads.

In conclusion, I think there are a few potentially salvageable bits in your answer: the first paragraph and the one about McDowell. They require some work on your part, though. If you provide reliable references that the texts we have are "original" and remove everything else, I think your answer will be better, stronger and more appropriate for the site.

  • And yet my answer received multiple upvotes. Why would this community of skeptics vote it up if they weren't satisfied, especially if references were inappropriate or lacking? To appeal to the Codex Sinaiticus as a stronger reference would be to overlook the stronger evidence of the Manuscript Evidence and Textual Criticism of those manuscripts themselves.
    – tniles
    Jun 9 '16 at 0:05
  • Technically tniles said "manuscript evidence of the New Testament originals" not that we actually have originals. It's weasel words, but not strictly speaking false. I'm on the fence myself about the deletion of this one. I disagree with tniles worldview, and I think the burden of proof is on him, but I am inclined to think that particular answer is one that we should let the votes decide. Jun 9 '16 at 17:50
  • @called2voyage unreferenced answers might be deleted even if otherwise correct. I don't have an opinion on the truthfulness of his answer. He needs to support it with better evidence because no evidence is provided. We never let the votes decide on questions the have no evidence (we have deleted unreferenced answers at +100 votes and undeleted, but referenced answers at -10!)
    – Sklivvz
    Jun 9 '16 at 19:50
  • 1
    @Sklivvz I guess I disagree that it was unreferenced then. Jun 9 '16 at 19:51

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