Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way. Proverbs 19:2
New fossil suggests giant ‘killer walrus’ was just a toothy fish-eater | EveryONE
The above linked article tells how an ancient walrus (the Pelagiarctos thomasi), a “killer” species, was not really so fearsome. Believed to be an apex predator, it “ripped apart birds and other marine mammals” as part of its daily feeding habit. The walrus earned apex (dominant) status in the 1980’s after a robust jawbone and sharp teeth were discovered. However the title of “killer” has been rescinded after examination of more complete fossils. An over-arching assertion made about the creature, based on a miniscule part of the whole, proved wrong. In short the walrus apparently got a bad rap.
This rush to make a determination is not limited to paleontology. In recent weeks news of an Egyptian parchment fragment spread speculation (of proof that Jesus Christ was married) across the media. In the video inserted below Karen L. King (Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard University) inferred the item does not prove or disprove Christ’s marital status. She does, however, speak about studying the fragment (at 1:10 in the video) and using words that “would be in the missing part” to make determinations about the context of the fragment. In effect making a determination about the whole based on a miniscule part—aided by a non-existent part. An assumption based on the desire to know a fact does not in turn constitute a fact.
Such conjectures do more than tilt the opinion and discussions of science and religion. In crime scene investigation this tendency to fill in the blanks starts an investigation downs a slippery slope. This has been a long-standing danger in law enforcement as well. Conjecture about crime scene evidence can start a manhunt for a killer when none exists, or convict an innocent for a crime they did not commit. This Milwaukee Journal clipping from September 10, 1941 highlights the tendency and how additional evidence revealed the truth.
I firmly believe the tenet taught in Deuteronomy 19:15 should be a basic principle in crime scene investigation. One piece of evidence (a witness) physical or otherwise does not prove guilt. Neither does it prove innocence. The wisdom, relayed to us in Proverbs 19:2 proves invaluable, no matter the context it is applied to.
Have you seen hasty judgments proven wrong after further revelation and examination? I would like to hear about your experience.