As for " a vast number of factual errors" [in the
bible], who can really prove that it was a factual error -
I can, watch closely... Leviticus 11:13-19...
And these you shall detest among the birds;
they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the
bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon of any
kind, every raven of any kind, the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea
gull, the hawk of any kind, the little owl, the cormorant, the
short-eared owl, the barn owl, the tawny owl, the carrion vulture,
the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the
Okay-cokey, are you ready?...In the above verse, The Bible
clearly states that bats are birds. Bats 100% definitely aren't
birds. The Bible is wrong. QED
Piece of cake.
If you want to disprove the Bible, you're going to have to try a
little harder, Elfgirl.
Of course you are correct that according to the contemporary
understanding of the English word "bird," bats are not birds, but
rather mammals. This is based on a decision to classify
living beings in a particular way: cold-blooded animals with
feathers are classified as "birds," and warm-blooded animals with
hair or fur are classified as "mammals." This is a very
legitimate, logical way to classify different living beings.
However, it is no less legitimate to classify beings in a different
way. For example, one may decide to call all beings that fly
"birds," and all those that walk on four legs "quadrapeds."
Or, it is no less legitimate to divide all living beings into two
large groups: those that have ears and those that don't.
Contemporary scientists have agreed on certain standard
classifications, and for good reasons; from a philosophical
standpoint, one system of classification is not truly more
"correct" than any other.
More important than all this, however, is the necessity to
examine the Bible text in its original language, in this case,
Hebrew. The Hebrew word that you translate as "bird" is
oaf, which is derived from the verb l'ofef, to
fly. The more common word for bird is tsipor.
Thus, a literal translation of the verse you quote would be:
And these you shall detest among the
the eagle, the vulture...the bat.
The author (or Author) of Leviticus never called a bat a bird
(probably because he/He knew that it is in many ways very different
than a bird); rather, he called it a "flyer," because--as you and I
know--a bat can fly.