18 September 2011

Absurdities in the Bible: An analysis by book

Now that I've completed another revision of the SAB, I thought I'd get back to everyone's favorite subject: Bible statistics.

One of the categories in the SAB is absurdities, and the current list has a total of 2165, which is more than any other biblical category. The list changes all the time, though, as I find more fun stuff in the Bible. But if I wait until it's finished to do an analysis, an analysis will never get done.

Now I'm sure you often ask yourself the question, "Which book in the Bible is the most absurd?" We all do. It can make you crazier than a Tea Party presidential candidate if you're not careful.

So let's try to answer it. We can begin by plotting the total number of absurdities in each book of the Bible versus the number of verses in the book. Here's the resulting graph.

The graph tells us a few things right away.

  1. Leviticus has the most absurdities (158).

  2. There are three books that have an unusual number of absurdities for their sizes. Two high (Revelation and Leviticus) and one low (Psalms).

  3. The number of absurdities increases with the number of verses in a more or less linear fashion. (The line on the graph is the zero intercept least squares regression model for the data after removing the three outliers.
    y = 0.0651 x, R2 = 0.9049.)

Since I knew some of you would ask for it, I repeated the analysis for each testament separately. Here's the graph for the Old.
(Model, outliers excluded: y = 0.0617 x, R2 = 0.8934)

And here's the New.
(Model, outlier excluded: y = 0.0770 x, R2 = 0.9622)

The separate models are similar to each other and to the combined model. The same outliers are present and the coefficients are of nearly equal magnitude. So that leaves us with this:

  1. Leviticus is the most absurd book in the Old Testament and Revelation is in the New. And the book of Psalms seems abnormally normal for such a large biblical book.

  2. Generally we can expect to find about 6.5 absurdities in each 100 verses of the Bible.

OK. But which book is the weirdest? Leviticus or Revelation?

Well, here are their numbers.

Absurdities Verses Absurdities per 100 verses
Leviticus 158 859 18.4
Revelation 94 404 23.3

So I guess I'd go with Revelation.


Andrew Hall said...

I love the numerical breakdown you did. Nice job.

JustJoeP said...

Amanita muscaria are not uncommon on Patmos, so it is easy to see how and why the effects of the mushrooms found their way into 'scripture'.

nazani said...

For those interested in contradictions, I suggest getting a book called a "concordance." I'm sure there's one online. You'll find all the most basic disagreements, such as where Jesus was born, plus some you may not be aware of.

skanksta said...

"Everyone's favourite subject - bible statistics!"

My poor sides, lol - MORE STATISTICS PLEASE :)u

Adam said...

Can we please see the same data on a log-log plot? There's lots of clustering in the lower values of both axes...