Thursday, May 26, 2016

New Atheist Vs, Real Historian

I found an interesting exchange between  some New atheists and Historian from Cambridge who is a Christian James Hannam., Hannam wrote Genesis of Science (God's Scientists in UK, same book). The exchange is not intellectually interesting but it showed the depth brain washing among New atheism, this known nothing arguing with a real historian, The blog is that of I am Skeptical who argued with me on this blog as few weeks ago. He starts out criticizing VictoryReppert (philosopher) for lauding Hannam's book.

It is amusing to see Christian apologists like Victor Reppert seize upon any any article they find on the internet that appeals to their confirmation bias.  One topic that Christians have been touchy about is the idea that the church played a large role in the suppression if intellectual pursuit during the historical period known as the Dark Ages.  If you're a Christian apologist, you'd rather believe that there was no such thing as the Dark Ages.  You'd rather believe that intellectual endeavors flourished under the benevolent leadership of the church, and life for the average citizen was just peachy.  There is no shortage of revisionist literature that supports this.  In his customary manner, Victor has uncritically latched onto a review of James Hannam's book God's Philosophers that supports this notion.
I told Hannam about it and he commented.

  1. ReplyDelete
  • JamesMay 25, 2016 at 1:18 PM
    1. Joe was kind enough to alert me to this discussion. As you mention my book, perhaps I might be permitted to comment. I'd be the first to admit that God's Philosophers is far from perfect, but it is pretty close to the mainstream of history of medieval science. It was also, I am proud to say, shortlisted for some major prizes back when it came out including the Royal Society Science Book Prize (which so upset Charles Freeman) and the British Society for the History of Science book prize. Neither the Royal Society nor the BSHS are notable hotbeds of Christian apologetics.

      I responded to Charles's review at length at the time so won't rehash all that. You can follow the link in his piece if you'd like to read my response. However, I am happy to respond to any specific points you'd like to raise. I note you talk about the Renaissance as when science broke free. However, the story of the modern scientific tradition starts way back in the 10th century. In 1000AD the Pope himself, Gerbert, was one of Europe's most renowned mathematicians and inventors.

      The question that needs an answer, if you don't want to give Christianity an ounce of credit, is why modern science arose in a society dominated by Christianity, rather than ancient Greece or China or anywhere else? And is it sensible to treat the Christian worldview as irrelevant or detrimental to modern science when it was shared by pretty much every scientific pioneer until Laplace?

      Best wishes


  • Replies

    1. James,

      I think the history of science goes back to before the rise of Christianity. I don't deny that the church had some role in science during the middle ages, and it is obvious that the first modern scientists in Europe had to be Christians, because everyone was. But it was only when people started to challenge church dogma that science had a chance to flourish. Many Christians give far too much credit to Christianity. You can spin it in a way that seems to support that notion, but I think the big picture is pretty clear. Scientific progress was largely curtailed when the church came to dominate society in Europe, and it re-emerged when church domination declined.

    1. Delete
    4. Thanks. A couple of points to consider:

      I presume you begin the history of science with Thales and the pre-Socratics. But scientific progress in the ancient world was glacially slow in the ancient world. We find isolated geniuses like Aristotle and Archimedes but their work was rarely taken forward. Experiments hardly existed. One example: Aristotle says heavy objects fall faster than light ones. It take thirty seconds to show this isn't true (say with a dessert spoon and teaspoon). Yet five hundred years later Hero of Alexandria, supposedly a practical man, was saying exactly the same thing. The first recorded instance of someone saying Aristotle was wrong on this was John Philoponus in the sixth century. He was a Christian.

      You might also note that many of the scientific pioneers of the sixteenth century onwards were extremely religious. Johannes Kepler breaks into spontaneous prayer in his scientific works. Andrew Cunningham, a Cambridge professor of history of science, describes Newton as 'the most religious man of the seventeenth century.' His friend Robert Boyle was not far behind. Rene Descartes based his entire philosophy on the existence of God. I could go on, but you get the picture. These were not men rejecting Christianity, but embracing it wholeheartedly.

      Best wishes


    5. "some role..." it had a huge role. I wrote two papers on it.
      - Yes, the main role played by the church was to suppress it. This tradition goes all the way back to Tertullian, whose ban on anatomical investigations lasted for a millennium.

      The major scientists were devout. Newton and Boyle were highly committed with strong spiritual tendencies in their private lives,.
      - Some of them were openly devout (as everyone was required to be) but privately non-religious, or at least much less devout than they appeared. Newton was an Arian heretic, by the way.

      when was that? who in particular and what church dogma? Let's see you substantiate that. what dogma was challenged at Cahtre? That was one of the centers of scientific learning
      - Come on, Joe. Copernicus and Galileo challenged the dogma of geocentrism, and their works were banned by the church. But they (and others like them) opened the door for real science to proceed. At Chartre, people learned scholasticism and Aristotelian natural philosophy. I'm not aware of any significant scientific advances that came from there.

      You don't know history, Christianity built western civilization. Political institution, moral values, science philosophy the whole of the church is rooted in Christian thought,
      - The Romans built western civilization. The Christians presided over its ruin.

      that's the party line, show me names, dates, events, break it down prove your bull shit. you are just regurgitating what atheist socialization has brain washed you to think
      - You are regurgitating your own party line, Joe.
    6. James,

      I'm no historian, but I understand that Greek natural philosophy was not heavily oriented toward experimentation, and particularly for Aristotle, whose influence was strong in Europe in the late middle ages. That's one of the reasons scientific development was so slow. Medieval Europeans were slow to move away from Aristotle's views, while the Arabic world began to adopt a more modern scientific methodology. It seems reasonable to give more credit to the Muslim world for fostering early scientific development.

      While it is true that post-middle age scientists in Europe were Christians, it is also true that they adopted methods and ideas from outside the Christian community, and it was their willingness to defy church dogma that made them great scientists. And let's not forget the fact that as science came into its own, and started to explain things that were once in the realm of religious belief, the religious views of the scientists began to change, too.
    7. You are quite right to say that Greek science wasn't very empirical. Nor really was Muslim science although a few figures did do some simple experiments, especially in optics.

      So where did the experimental method come from. Here's Rene Descartes:

      'Since there were countless ways that God could have organised the universe, experiment alone can teach us which way he actually chose in preference to all the others.'

      What Rene is getting at here is what historians call voluntarism or God's freedom. God was believed to have created the world to follow fixed laws, but he could chose any laws he liked. Unlike Aristotle, who thought the laws of nature were strictly logical and could be figured out by thinking very hard about them, Christian scientists said that to determine God's choices, you had to do experiments. This is one of the central reasons that historians think experimental science arose in a Christian society. That is not to say only Christians could believe in a God with creative freedom, but in practice, they were the ones who used that idea to justify experiment.

      You mention scientists defying church dogma. Of course there is the paradigmatic case of Galileo, but historians now consider that to be as much about egos and power politics as dogma. After all, what does it actually matter to Christianity that the earth orbits the sun and not the other way around? Other examples of scientists defying dogma with scientific conclusions are few and far between. Perhaps you could point me towards some? I hardly think you can write off the science of the Middle Ages on the basis of a single clash in the 1630s.

      Best wishes

    8. Other examples of scientists defying dogma with scientific conclusions are few and far between. Perhaps you could point me towards some? I hardly think you can write off the science of the Middle Ages on the basis of a single clash in the 1630s.

      How about this?

      This includes many of the names that Christians proudly claim as examples of the Christian origins of science.

    Hannam hasn't responded yet. I'll venture my own answer. First of all IM
    S is quoting Wikipedia in talking about a list of banned books by the catholic church. Of Course Giadoreno Bruno is on it. So is John Locke and a lot of other famous people. Wiki is not a scholarly source and quoting that article against a real historian is just stupid. But even so the fact that famous people like Locke are on the list shows how ineffective it was. It didn't really lead to keeping these ideas down it just means the church didn't like them. I could also play the Protestant card and say hey that mean old Catholic church,. I[m not a Catholic so my guys are not to blame. Neither side has a monopoly on jerks. I don't thinks it's taking way from the truth of the Gospel to admit that there have been Christians who were oppressive and stupid.

    I am betting James answer by saying that that list falls far short of being what he demanded which is list of would be scientists persecuted by Christians for doing science. The sources quoted by IMS and his friends are not very good. He is decades behind understanding where modern historians currently are in thinking ab out this rise of science and it's relationship with Christianity. Historians don't think in terms of periods as much, They don't think of the Renaissance as a period but as movement, They don['t guy into the atheist narrative of Renaissance as be awaking the evil dark age of religion.

    To pick up a couple of Points James did not address:

    "some role..." it had a huge role. I wrote two papers on it. - Yes, the main role played by the church was to suppress it. This tradition goes all the way back to Tertullian, whose ban on anatomical investigations lasted for a millennium.
    That's begging the question since Hannam's entire book is arguing they did not,. Terullian was not a ruler. His reasons for opposing anatomical research was not to stop science. How many people doing it then understand why they were doing it?

    The major scientists were devout. Newton and Boyle were highly committed with strong spiritual tendencies in their private lives,.
    - Some of them were openly devout (as everyone was required to be) but privately non-religious, or at least much less devout than they appeared. Newton was an Arian heretic, by the way.
    That nonsense. The major one's he thinks were not devout were. Newton was extremely devout. this guy has not read his privates papers and I have. I doubt that he's read a biography. Newton was major part of my dissertation  I know well he was devout. Being Aryan doesn't change that. no reason why Aryans could not be devout. They still believed in God so they could be. Newton should be an embarrassment to atheists except atheists are just anti-Christian.

    when was that? who in particular and what church dogma? Let's see you substantiate that. what dogma was challenged at Chartre? That was one of the centers of scientific learning
    - Come on, Joe. Copernicus and Galileo challenged the dogma of geocentrism, and their works were banned by the church. But they (and others like them) opened the door for real science to proceed. At Chartre, people learned scholasticism and Aristotelian natural philosophy. I'm not aware of any significant scientific advances that came from there.
    Copernicus and Galileo were not at Charter which is in France not Italy, .James answered those two. your ignorance about Chartres  (not Charter) is so telling. It was a cathedral;  it was also a major center of scientific alarming.

    You don't know history, Christianity built western civilization. Political institution, moral values, science philosophy the whole of the church is rooted in Christian thought,
    - The Romans built western civilization. The Christians presided over its ruin.
    No they did not, that is extremely ignorant. They lost it. they feel;  by the time they fell they were Christian. Remember Constantine?

    that's the party line, show me names, dates, events, break it down prove your bull shit. you are just regurgitating what atheist socialization has brain washed you to think
    - You are regurgitating your own party line, Joe.Delete
    wrong I'm discussion what I learned in  in graduate school a secular ,a secular program taught atheist professors. some of them were.

    A couple of book I recommend:

    Peter Burke, The Renaissance. New York: McMillian, secon d ed. 1997 (first puboished1964).

    David C. Lindberg and Ronald Numbers, God and Nature: Historical Essays On they Encounter Between Christianity and Science.University of California Press; Early Printing edition (April 29, 1986)

    James Hannam, Genesis of Science: How The Christian Middle Ages Launched The Scientific Revolution, Regnery Publishing; 1st edition (March 22, 2011)

      Of course he is not a historian. I'll be dealing with this more in depth next week on Metacrock's blog.

    I'll also keep you posted on Hannam's answers.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    Austin Cline doesn't understand miracles

    Talking head and profession know all Austin Cline (Saturday February 7, 2009) weighs in on the question of miracles:
    Austin Cline

    Both religious and paranormal beliefs are consistently defended by references to so-called "miracles" — events which are so improbable that they simply must have been caused by supernatural or paranormal forces. Believer categorically deny that a purely natural explanation for the events is even possible. The problem is, these "miracles" are often not so improbable after all. To understand why, we just need to know a little math and statistics — subjects which too few people understand well.

    quoing Cilne here

    In Scientific American Michael Shermer wrote:

    [A] principle of probability called the Law of Large Numbers shows that an event with a low probability of occurrence in a small number of trials has a high probability of occurrence in a large number of trials. ... In the case of death premonitions, suppose that you know of 10 people a year who die and that you think about each of those people once a year. One year contains 105,120 five-minute intervals during which you might think about each of the 10 people, a probability of one out of 10,512--certainly an improbable event.

    Yet there are 295 million Americans. Assume, for the sake of our calculation, that they think like you. That makes 1/10,512 X 295,000,000 = 28,063 people a year, or 77 people a day for whom this improbable premonition becomes probable. With the well-known cognitive phenomenon of confirmation bias firmly in force (where we notice the hits and ignore the misses in support of our favorite beliefs), if just a couple of these people recount their miraculous tales in a public forum (next on Oprah!), the paranormal seems vindicated. In fact, they are merely demonstrating the laws of probability writ large.

    But of course he hasn't given us any examples. this is nothing more than a straw man argument. He's only dealing with one kind of claim. I notice that this is generally true of all of his bs. He just sets up straw man arguments, claims that a significant enough number of christians fall for whatever it is so they it's worth picking on, then attacks his straw man as though it represents a valid position argued by those he wishes to ridicule.

    In a review of Debunked! [physicist Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton] invoked "Littlewood's Law of Miracles" (John Littlewood was a University of Cambridge mathematician): "In the course of any normal person's life, miracles happen at a rate of roughly one per month." Dyson explains that "during the time that we are awake and actively engaged in living our lives, roughly for eight hours each day, we see and hear things happening at a rate of about one per second. So the total number of events that happen to us is about thirty thousand per day, or about a million per month. With few exceptions, these events are not miracles because they are insignificant. The chance of a miracle is about one per million events. Therefore we should expect about one miracle to happen, on the average, every month."

    Quantifying the rate of miracles is an extremely stupid mission. So many times people are assuming that God is some automatic force that has to obey a set of laws that it can't violate. When we consider that God has a will and a consciousness and doesn't have to do anything we expect "him" to, ever, there may not miracles at all for a century and then one a second for a year and none of a decade and they twenty in the next century and so on. It's a totally foolish to try and predict a rate of miracles.

    It almost goes without saying that many bad, poorly reasoned, and unfounded beliefs would not exist if it were not for widespread ignorance — in particular ignorance of science and math. If people were more knowledgeable and better thinkers, they wouldn’t fall for every hokey idea that comes along. Maybe if the above information is spread around a bit, some people will be spared from perpetuating bad beliefs.

    He should know about poorly reasoned arguments, since like this one, most of his are.The preceding paragraph for example, plays upon the informal fallacy of guilt by association. It works like this, some miracle claims work by the fallacious method in the straw man example, therefore, since that involves the idea of miracles, then anything that involves the idea of miracles is automatically also invalid.

    Then again, maybe not. So many of these beliefs are comforting in various ways, so it could very well be that even exposure to mathematics and scientific facts won't cause very many to seriously reconsider their beliefs. People don't change their minds easily once they have a personal investment in some ideology. I doubt it would hurt, though, so it's probably a good idea for atheists to familiarize themselves first with these issues.

    Maybe it could be that some people have actually seen miracles, so they are convinced because they have seen them? No, that can't be it. Why if that were the case then Austin's little smug ideology of supiriority would be wrong. That can't be because Austin went to an Ivy league school and he knows everything. Why's he's a profession know all! He must be right because the universe would be broken if he wasn't.

    Unfortunately, math and statistics aren't exactly easy subjects — they aren't simple to learn and they certainly aren't simply to explain to people, especially online. It would probably be a good idea to come up with methods to educate people at least a little bit about these subjects, given how important they are. Can you think of any ways to better explain to people some of the math and statistics necessary to counter false ideas about what is and is not genuinely improbable? Maybe some analogies which help make these large numbers more readily comprehensible?

    Unfortunately a lot of people don't' want to beileve. So they just refuse to believe anything that contradicts their little ideology. Let's notice that he doesn't use any examples. He doesn't demonstrate the level of documentation for any argument about miracles. He's merely assuming that the only real proof is the comforting nature and the wild statistically variation. But what he's missing of course is straight out empirical proof, which does exist. For example the diagnostic committee for medical evidence at Lourdes doesn't go by statistics in this sense. They go on a case by case basis. The statistical probability of remission does come into it, but only to the extent that a case in an area where the probability of recovery is 0% and the patient recovers are people assumed to be recovered. This is because with 0% recovery is assumed to be impossible.

    one such example is the lungs of Charles Anne.Anne was a young seminary student in the early part of the twentieth century. He developed a case of TB of a kind that left his lungs as ravaged as those of a coal miner with black lung. He was on his death bed and wasn't expected to live. He prayed to the woman who was to become St. Therese of Lisieux (this prayer and its' answer was the second "miracle" that put her over the top for sainthood). The next morning his lungs were good as new. He literally grew back a pair of lungs overnight. This is impossible. You can subject it to statistics: the probability is 0. It's never happened, in all of recorded history. More importantly, there are good reasons to suppose it can't happen; it's impossible. It violates our understanding of the law of nature. For this reason there is more of a barrier to accepting this than just improbability.

    All the miracles at Lourdes, both the 66 official miracles the church as so declared and the 2,500 "remarkable cases" that just barely missed making it. The total number is 6,500 cures from Lourdes, most of them coming before the committee was established so they cannot be considered as "official." This is the total number claimed. The following was written by men on Doxa, but my research was from the Marian Library newsletter:

    The Lourdes Medical Bureau and the International Bureau hold Symposia and conferences at which medical experts of all kinds present papers on the data of the miracle claims. Both philosophical and medical questions are addressed. The papers of top academic quality and the discussions are very important. There is a very interesting section on the Marian Newsletter site about this, it is well worth reading, but we cannot go into that here. I urge the reader to click on that link and consider all that is said. One of the major issues addressed is the meaning of miracles. The Catholic church does not regard miracles as proof of the existence of God, rather, it understands them as a message, a sign form God, and the Pope has declared that miracles are a call to prayer and to seek God. In light of this realization, I present a few examples of healing from Lourdes:

    the part of the verification process in which the claims are subjected to scientific scrutiny involves strict rulesand the requirement of the best medical evidence.


    The paradox of human miracle assessment is that the only way to discern whether a phenomenon is supernatural is by having trained rationalists testify that it outstrips their training. Since most wonders admitted by the modern church are medical cures, it consults with doctors. Di Ruberto has access to a pool of 60 - "We've got all the medical branches covered," says his colleague, Dr. Ennio Ensoli - and assigns each purported miracle to two specialists on the vanquished ailment.

    They apply criteria established in the 1700s by Pope Benedict XIV: among them, that the disease was serious; that there was objective proof of its existence; that other treatments failed; and that the cure was rapid and lasting. Any one can be a stumbling block. Pain, explains Ensoli, means little: "Someone might say he feels bad, but how do you measure that?" Leukemia remissions are not considered until they have lasted a decade. A cure attributable to human effort, however prayed for, is insufficient. "Sometimes we have cases that you could call exceptional, but that's not enough." says Ensoli. "Exceptional doesn't mean inexplicable."

    "Inexplicable," or inspiegabile, is the happy label that Di Ruberto, the doctors and several other clerics in the Vatican's "medical conference" give to a case if it survives their scrutiny. It then passes to a panel of theologians, who must determine whether the inexplicable resulted from prayer. If so, the miracle is usually approved by a caucus of Cardinals and the Pope.

    Some find the process all too rigorous. Says Father Paolino Rossi, whose job, in effect, is lobbying for would-be saints from his own Capuchin order: "It's pretty disappointing when you work for years and years and then see the miracle get rejected." But others suggest it could be stricter still.

    There is another major miracle-validating body in the Catholic world: the International Medical Committee for the shrine at Lourdes. Since miracles at Lourdes are all ascribed to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, it is not caught up in the saint-making process, which some believe the Pope has running overtime. Roger Pilon, the head of Lourdes' committee, notes that he and his colleagues have not approved a miracle since 1989, while the Vatican recommended 12 in 1994 alone. "Are we too severe?" he wonders out loud. "Are they really using the same criteria?"

    Reported by Greg Burke/Lourdes
    Copyright 1995 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

    There is a lot more involved here than just the assumption of probability of some event that seems comforting and then seems not to happen much. Like most atheists Cline is just cheating himself out of a wonderful life in order to feel superior to some group and thus flatter his ego.

    Sunday, May 22, 2016

    circualr reasoning at the heart of naturalism

    pie charts from Pew study

    I have always contended that naturalism, the idea that the natural world is all there, is based upon circular reasoning. It works like this, all evidence for anything beyond the nature is discounted on the premise that there can't be anything beyond the natural. Then the idea that there can't be anything beyond the natural is supported by the "fact" that there is no proof for anything beyond it. But the only reason there is no proof is because it's already been ruled out by the assumption which is nothing more than begging the question. Even when empirical evidence is presented it doesn't matter because the skeptics just poo poo the evidence based upon the question begging assumptions.

    The initial context is that I had given an exposition on the making of the Gospels in which I said they are redacted. But he said I'm white washing it becuase I don't say that redaction = being totally false lies garbage ect.

    Here's how this played out on CARM the other day. this could actually be a textbook case.

    Dale on carm
    Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post

    why would it be whitewashing if I say the whole is redacted?

    It’s whitewashing because you are obviously trying to downplay the zombies of matthew 27 because it obviously didn’t happen.

    Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
    If I am saying much more than [that]


    Remember that this started when I simply requested, in a thread about archaeological evidence for Jesus, that I be informed should any contemporary chronicles recording the zombie incident turn up. It seems like a perfectly reasonable request to me. You certainly wouldn’t be so agitated about it if there was any such evidence.

    Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
    since you don't know anything about theology or textual criticism you don't know anything about liberal belief so what exactly am I gullible about? Why would you think that, not knowing anything about my beliefs?

    The only thing I claimed to know about your beliefs was that you weren’t a fundie which is evident from your writing. You don’t need any degrees in theology or specialist knowledge in textual criticism to confidently say that if, and again I say if, somebody believes that the dead have climbed out of their graves and walked into Jerusalem then they are definitely far too gullible for their own good.

    Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post

    how do you know it was an eclipse? that's ruled out by the time year.

    I don’t know anything about it except that an eclipse is a far more likely explanation for any alleged darkness at noon.

    Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post

    look at the circular nature of your reasoning. I say "maybe they did talk about it but we don't have the records because we don' have a lot or records, here's a reason to think maybe that's true because talk about this other thing (darkness at noon)." So you decide that means they talk about one and not the other. what part of "we don't' have records" can you not understand?
    (in other words I'm saying because they talked aobut the darnkess at noon there's a chance they talked about the resurrectees but we just don't have the records).

    What part of the absurdity of trying to assert that alleged traces of historical records noting an eclipse is evidence in support of a truly sensational extraordinary event which went unremarked upon do you not understand.

    (Of course I didn't use the one as evidence of the other, just as an example of something atheits always say we don' thave (record of the darkenss) but we actaully do have it, and due to the time of year of Passover it would not have been a eclipse}.

    Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post

    cant you see how illogical and chaotic your thinking is?

    what does it mean to be "telling" If something is not "evidence? what does "telling" mean apart from evidence? It can be telling if your bigoted and your willing to let the lack of evidence feed your suspicions> It can be "telling" if you are obsessed with hate and the evidence in everything.

    Alleged traces of historical records noting an eclipse but a truly sensational extraordinary event which went unremarked upon! Read that again…a truly sensational extraordinary event which nobody but author of the Book of Matthew made a record of. I acknowledge, again, that absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence. But the fact that there is nothing is perfectly in keeping with the obvious conclusion that this ridiculous zombie incident didn’t happen in the first place. Your charges of bigotry and hatred as being my problem here are equally ridiculous. You really must try and remain calm when confronted by people who aren’t cowed by your presumption that everybody must agree with you.

    Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
    I bet you pride yourself on being open minded. it's really sad how self deceived we can be.

    I don’t necessarily think it’s a matter of pride but I do consider myself open minded but not to the point that my brains are going to fall out.

    you haven't said anything is wrong wtih the evidence. you just assume it can't be true a prori. I did point out thee is evdience of the darkness and it can't be an eclipse


    Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    fun with atheist's exuses for getting the body past the guards

     photo stoning_zpsrure0bht.jpg
    are these guys going to scare

      photo hqdefault_zpszbfm8cgy.jpg
    These guys?

    This is what went on in the comment section at the /secular Outpost blog. Bradly Bowin was doing one of his anti -resurrection things. I brought up Gospel of Peter as the second source documenting the guards . What follows is just a fraction of the absurd excuses he made up. They are all ridiculous this shows the lengths to which  atheists will go to, in order to deny the resurrection.
    Brad: A. There were NO GUARDS at the tomb, ever; this was just an apologetic legend.
    Meta: that is just gainsaying the evidence, Gpete shows us an early tradition not dependent upon the synoptic.
    B. The guards came to the tomb AFTER the tomb was discovered to be empty.
    The Romans couldn't be that incompetent if they tried, They would have discharged the body into the keeping of the guards before they buried it.
    C. The guards fell asleep.

    Penalty was death for sleeping on duty, Besides how could Rome conquer the world with guars that sleep on duty?
    D. Some followers of Jesus made a loud noises (yelling and shouting) in another part of the site to temporarily distract the guards
    That's ridicules, they conquered the world with guards who fall for stupid tricks like one finds on "I love Lucy" or a bug bunny cartoon, why didn't;t they just have Peter dress like a woman and lead them away with their eyes bugging out,.
    E. They bribed the guards.

    Why would the guards take a bribe when they couldn't explain the missing body? That would also be death. If they got death for sleeping on duty don't you  kind of think taking a bribe would also not sit well with the commander?
    F. They threatened the guards.

    You really think the Romans conquered the world with a bunch of guards who could be threatened into leaving their post, which would mean death, by a bunch of fisherman?
    G. They overpowered the guards.

    Ditto, man guy thinks Roman soldiers were just card board cut outs.
    H. They drugged the guards.

    How did they get them to take it?
    I. The women had sex with the guards to distract them.

    But it was really Bugs Bunny in disguise right? This ultra holy group that's based upon a religious zeal is going to ask their women to have sex with the guards? Like an adult version of I Love Lucy.
    J. One follower of Jesus put on makeup and pretended to be the ghost of Jesus, and frightened the guards.

    ahahhqhaahjahhahahahaahahhahahahhaha this guy watched too many cartoons as a kid

    K. The guards were stationed at the WRONG TOMB.

    Maybe they conquered the wrong country. They really had their sights on Sweden but took a wrong turn at  Düsseldorf.
    L. The guards were temporarily called away to help capture a group of anti-Roman Jewish rebels.

    why would they do that? as though they didn't hve enough guards. They had enough to put down the rebellion of 66
    M. One of the followers of Jesus got into a fight with the guards, was arrested, and the guards temporarily left the tomb unguarded to take the arrested person to a prison or garrison in Jerusalem.

    they would not leave their posts, they would kill him, that's what they are there for. these not Motny Python Romans.
    N. A whole groups of Jesus' followers got into a fight with the guards, they were all arrested, and the guards temporarily left the tomb unguarded to take the arrested people to a prison or garrison in Jerusalem.

    hhahhahahahahthat's the same stupid plan he's just breaking it into stages to make it look like more options. why didn't he say 2 of them got in a fight next scenario, three of them got into  a fight, then four then five then six
    O. There was no body in the tomb when the guards arrived, so there was no reason to guard the tomb, and they left.

    It might work  on the Life of Brain

    P. There were NO GUARDS at the tomb they went to, because they went to the WRONG TOMB.

    I think he said that already
    Q. Jesus survived crucifixion and began yelling for help from inside the tomb, and this frightened the guards, who thought Jesus was a ghost or demon.
    R. Jesus had an identical twin, who came to the tomb dressed as Jesus and made up to look like he had been injured and crucified. This identical twin pretended to be Jesus and frightened the guards, who thought the twin was the ghost of Jesus.

    (tune of the Patty Duke Show theme)
    Here's Jesus whose been most everywhere
    from Jerusalem to Bethany square
    but Christ has only seen the sights
    a boy can see from Nazareth heights
    what a crazy pair
    bt they are messiahs
    but they're Messiahs. Identical messiahs
    they heal alike they teach alike
    some times they transubstantiate alike
     you could lose your mind' when messiahs are two of a kind.

    I think get the hang of it, make up your own answers, enjoy the stupidity,
    S. Jesus' identical twin was the dead body inside the tomb, and Jesus himself showed up at the tomb to pay his respects to his dead brother, but the guards recognized Jesus and became frightened, thinking that Jesus was a ghost.
    T. A person who was a Jesus look-alike but not Jesus' identical twin was the dead body in the tomb, and Jesus himself showed up to inquire about the man who was mistaken for Jesus and crucified, but the guards recognized Jesus and became frightened, thinking that Jesus was a ghost.
    U. A person who did not look like Jesus and who was not his identical twin had been mistaken for Jesus and was crucified, and that man was the dead body in the tomb, and Jesus himself showed up to inquire about the man who was mistaken for Jesus and crucified, but the guards recognized Jesus and became frightened, thinking that Jesus was a ghost.
    V. Jesus identical twin was the body in the tomb, but the identical twin had survived crucifixion and began yelling for help from inside the tomb, and this frightened the guards, who thought the man inside the tomb was a ghost or demon.
    W. Somone persuaded the guards that they were stationed at the Wrong Tomb, and the guards moved to another tomb, which was actually a Wrong Tomb.
    X. Someone persuaded the guards that Jesus had risen from the dead, and the guards left the tomb because they believed that Jesus body was no longer in the tomb.
    etc., etc.

     copies of Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna edited by Kenneth J. Howell, Four Witnesses, the Early Church in Her Own Words by Rod Bennett, When the Church was Young by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, and The Case for Jesus by Brant Pitre, and read them through cover to cover. You'll find ample information presented therein - enough to convince the stoutest skeptic with a genuinely open mind.


    Sunday, May 15, 2016

    Chruistianity has as many answers as you can raise questions


    Edward Babinksi is some kind of atheist evangelist. He describes himself as Agnostic denies being an atheist, but he is clearly helping the atheist cause. He's an evangelist for deconversion. His passion is spreading the same disillusionment with faith that he must feel. He's a former born again evangelist. He is not to my knowledge famous although he may be well known  on the net., He wrote book. I met him on Secular Outpost and he wanted me to read his article, "Christianity raises as many intellectual and historical questions as it claims to answer," certain to would really open my eyes.[1] I read it, I wont say I'm not impressed because he's clearly thought a lot and has been really digging to find reasons to justify his jumping ship. I wont answer all of it, at least not immediately be cause it's too long but I would like deal with part of it. I will say this he seems totally keyed im to the level  the fundamentalist, the creationist. I wonder if he even knows about liberal theology I', guessing he would approach it with the prejudices of his fundie days. A lot of his effort seems to be directed at creationists.

    He opens wioth an observation about an atheist buzz word "confirmation bias." "The question Christian apologists should ponder is the degree of confirmation bias of the Gospel writers who chose their oral and written sources to produce a life of Jesus." Of course he doesn't have any confirmation bias. He just has to rationalize rejecting Christ and going to hell.  Jot that I believe that but I'm sure his former belief system had that as the bottom line it can't help but be in the back of his mind someplace. Then he moves on to a long rambling meandering romp though fundie land,

    Also if the authors themselves were part of a sect who believed in the soon coming final judgment of the world (as it appears they were, see here) that might be taken as an extra reason to try and make their Lord appear that much more significant--the final actions and teachings of the final prophet, final messiah to beat all other revelations and messiahs.

    Of course that works both ways, to follow Jesus they had tov give up everything including family, religion, livelihood and place in the community. Now that might be a reason to embellish but it is also  a reason to think they already had to see Jesus that way to want to follow him. The problem with that kind of argument is he's trying to psychologize people with no expertise and without meeting them. Those same kind of snap popular diagnosis can be turned on him. From that point he tries a strange ploy, arbitrarily picking out a model to which he  compares the gospels to and then of course picking one totally different.

    And comparing the Gospels with say, the works of an ancient historian like Herodotus, please note: Herodotus challenges conventional legend; the gospels make no challenges.Herodotus names sources; the gospels do not. Herodotus weighs evidence; gospels do not.Event in Herodotusʼs city; Gospel accounts not in authorʼs city.Herodotus consciously wrote history; Markʼs Gospel is more akin to a hagiographic bios.
    There's  lot wrong with that aside from the incomprehensible sentence. Why Herodotus? The two are writing for totally different reasons. He says Gospels are like faith biographies they are, so what? why shouldn't they be? Herodotus was trying to demythologize mythology and turn into history, The gospels were not attempts at writing history, They are sermonic they were written for the edification of the communities in which they were written and they were written to pass on the testimony of the witnesses. One might think if the Bible is inspired it should prove everything, that depends upon your view of inspiration. The gospel were written for people who lived with those who were there when Jesus taught, They were not trying to prove anything, They were trying  There were no history historicism amd historiography so why expect the Gospels to be like the pioneering Herodotus? Different culture writing for different reasons.

    And speaking of crucial writings we lack from the first century (as well as the writings we DO possess, see further below)...We do not have anything written directly by Jesus himself or any of his original disciples (I think even Michael Licona admits that the evidence that Jesusʼs earliest apostles penned any of the Gospels remains questionable, nor have Bauckhamʼs arguments for apostolic authorship based on “inclusio” taken the scholarly world by storm. His scholarly reviewers have pointed out all the questions he is still begging).
    We don't need anything written directly by Jesus. The Jews had an oral culture, they knew how to memorize the words of  teachers and spit them back with great accuracy. [2] Babinksi's view of Biblical authorship is quite outmoded. Scholars no longer think of the gospels as produced by a single author. They were the product of redaction involving many editors and oral tradition. In effect the gospels were the products of whole communities., There is no reason why the authors  must be the name sakes for the books to be inspired and no reason why they had to be by apostles to be by eye witnesses. [3] There is a lot of good evidence that the Gospels were by eye witnesses. One of the most interesting arguments is made by Buckham in Jesus and the Eye Witnesses.He arguesthat the way the Gospels are written they are pointing to eyewitnesses all over the each gospel. He has a formula that proves it. For example Zachias who climbed in the fig tree to see Jesus. Why is he named? Because he lived in the community wnd one of the witnesses testifying. I can't the atheists mocking but read the book. It's a strong argument. [4]

    Nor do we have any written responses to Jesus from the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, or teachers of the law. Nor any from Ananias, Caiaphas, Herod or Pilate about the events we find in the gospels.(The absence of such writings even led to some early Christians forging a document titled The Gospel of Nicodemus, featuring the Acts of Pilate!). Nor do we have a single casual letter from anyone mentioning their first hand experience of having gone to see and hear Jesus of Nazareth

    Now he says that like it's some kind of disproof.  As though the we would just naturally have all that stuff if any of that was real., Then there was no Pilate, there were no Pharisees,  or that proves Jesus didn't exist we would have that if he did. That is foolish, We have the materials we have an accident of history, We hardly have anything from the first century.From the 50s and 60s A.D., Blaiklock tells us: "Bookends set a foot apart on this desk where I write would enclose the works from these significant years." [5] We certainly do have extra biblical corroboration that Jesus existed. Atheists kick up a lot of BS about the TF being a forgery, while the vast majority of scholars disagree.[6] The Majority of historians accept Jesus historicity, Out takes from Talmud also prove Jesus existed.[7] He's making an argument from silence. evidence for Jesus existence is overwhelming. Real historians do not base the existence of individuals in history on statements by people who knew them That is a phony standard historians don't use and it would lead to a ridiculous infinite regress. Who would vouch for the vouchers? who would vouch for the vouchers of the vouchers? There is a huge amount of evidence for the historicity  of Jesus.[8] Several lines of convergence of historical sources make for high probability. As Luke Timothy Johnson  tells us:

    ...the character of the Gospel narratives does not allow a fully satisfying reconstruction of Jesus ministry. Nevertheless certain fundamental points when taken together with confirming lines of convergence from outside testimony and non-narrative New Testament evidence, can be regarded as historical with a high degree of probability.Even the most cirtical historian can confiently assert that a Jew named Jesus worked as a teacher and wonder-worker in Palestine during the reign of Tiberius, was exicuted by crucifiction under the prefect Pontius Pilate, and continued to have followers after his death. These assertions are not mathematically or metaphysically certain, for certainty is not within the reach of history. But they enjoy a very high level of probability. [9]

    "Nor do we have anything written by the Apostle Paul before he converted telling us about the church he was persecuting (Badoinski)." Why do we need it? What is his hidden assumption in making that argument? Just another argument from silence, a trivial matter that he can use to pile up "unanswered questions,? "We don't know what Paul's favorite color was."

    Jesus always had the last word over his opponents in the gospel accounts. His victory in debate is assured since his followers are writing such tales, like when Plato wrote Socratesʼ dialogues. But genuine debates in religion usually do not end so neatly with the opposite side having no further reply. It would be nice to know what his first century opponents said in response to Jesus, in their own words.

    So of course that means Jesus was just a dumb ass who went around losing arguments an why people anyone followed him is a total mystery. It's not hard for a remarkable person to win a lot of arguments., Obviously he had something on the ball that's not to believe. If that' the kind of bid deal this guy's case is based up he had want to lose his faith pretty badly.

    The Jews of Jesusʼs day believed in Yahweh and that he does miracles, and they knew their Old Testament prophecies, and yet an overwhelming number of them did not believe Jesus was the Messiah or anointed one, nor that he was raised from the dead by Yahweh. So Christianity didnʼt take by storm the very land where Jesus was seen and heard directly by people, but instead it had to reach out to the Greco-Roman world for converts.

    Is that really the case? is it really so that it was spreading among the Jews and that's why they ha to open the mission to the gentiles? Of course it couldn't be that Jesus told them to go out and preach to the nations. Of course not if that were true then God would  be real we can't have that, He tries to turn the notion that some didn't believe into an argument against the truth of the Gospel that's extremely fallacious. By that same logic atheism is 3% of world population so tahini itself proves it's false. In fact the Gospel spread among the Jews like wildfire and it was taken to the gentiles because it was spread through the diaspora. [10] By that logic Donald Trump will be a great president because he was so popular. Regan was a great President. Some od us Democrats know better. That argument is truth by acceptance of the masses that can't be right,

    Even Paulʼs missions to Jews in the Greco-Roman world didnʼt raise as many converts as among Hellenists. So why should we believe if many of his fellow Jews who saw Jesus and heard him preach didnʼt? The city of Jerusalem was not converted. Christianity remained a small Jewish sect, one of many, until such tales reached the ears of Greco-Romans.

    More fallacious reasoning he's assuming the majority of people saw Jesus they did not have big football stadiums They had polices for crowd was five thousand, he has no idea what percentage of people who heard Jesus speak actually believed in him.

    There are other things we donʼt have but would like to. We donʼt have the correspondence from Chloeʼs household in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:11) telling us of their church disputes, especially concerning the resurrection that Paul responded to. Nor do we have their response to Paulʼs first letter which forced him to defend his apostleship, since they questioned it afterward (2 Corinthians). Nor do we know what Paul meant when he said some of the Corinthians and Galatians had accepted a “Jesus other than the Jesus we preached” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4) or a “different gospel” (Galatians 1:6-8). What we do know is that the sectarian side that wins a debate writes the history of that debate and chooses which books to include in their sacred writings.

    First of all he doesn't actually explain why those are important things to know. Sure we would like to know them and they would elucidate the faith but why does not knowing them create a crisis of faith or disprove the faith? The real argument he's making is that there must have been a real Christianity we don't have access to because the other faction won, The faction that won doesn't really represent the true faith, or the majority, There must have been Christians withy very different beliefs,  This guy really thinks like a fundamentalist. All of the arguments he[s made so far assume fundie concepts. The argument he's making is pretty convoluted, and fallacious. It's a variant of argument from silence. He's what we don't have is more telling than what we do have. it[s like the people who say there must have been other books of the Bible that disprove Jesus the church burned them, The proof: we don't have them.

    We donʼt even have one legitimate Old Testament prophecy that specifically refers to Jesusʼs resurrection. Nor do we have any convincing present day confirmations that God works miracles like virgin births, resurrections (or ascensions into heaven) in todayʼs world, something that would be of critical importance to historians when assessing these claims.

    The kicker is the term "legitimate" because what is that? Any evidence that disproves his view is not legitimate and for that reason. Isiah 53 very clearly proves Messiah was to rise from the dead: "he will be cut off from the living" then "he will he will see the light of life.(v9,11) [11] More importantly Messiah was expected to raise all of fallen Israel on the last day. Messiah controlled life and death. That's why the graves opened in Matthew it was like saying this Messiah's signature. Yes it is an embellishment who cares? the point is it points to the role of Messiah in the mass resurrection of all of Israel. Thus Paul calls Jesus the fist fruits of the dead.That means there doesn't have to be a prophesy about Messiah raising himself, , it's still part of the role of Messiah. It still points to Jesus' identity ass Messiah. [12]

    Finally, Talmudic writings proves that the Jesus story fits the prophesies as the were understood by Jews of Jesus day.; Yes those expectations changed in the decades after AD70. The passages in the OT as understood in the Talmud fit Jesus far better than anyone else and they fit him perfectly.[13]

    What we have at best are second-hand or more testimonies filtered through the gospel writers. With the possible exception of Paul who claimed to have experienced the resurrected Jesus in what is surely a visionary experience (so we read in Acts 26:19, cf. II Cor. 12:1-6; Rev. 1:10-3:21--although he didnʼt actually see Jesus, Acts 9:4-8; 22:7-11; 26:13-14), everything else we are told comes second hand.

    That Just goes back to his misconception about the nature of Gospel writing, which I've already discussed above. The community was the author and the communities were full of eye witnesses, they moved into communities and had goods in common and devoted themselves daily to study of scriptures. What were they doing? They were working out the details of the faith, the witnesses were telling the story under controlled  conditions in front of the community so everyone would know. [14]That's why they wrote the Gospels to encapsulate the oral traditions they had been preserving. Oral tradition was not wild rumors floating about but was a highly effective means of preserving a tradition, [15] Just like the bards they memorized and recited the whole Iliad orally for centuries and passed it word for word before it was written.
    And considering WHAT WRITINGS WE DO POSSESS (dare I saw what “God” has preserved for us) FROM THE FIRST CENTURY (as if God could not preserve writings any more confounding for your average Christian apologist), those INCLUDE the Dead Sea Scrolls which raise questions as to orthodox Christian interpretations of Jesusʼs motivation and mission, since the Dead Sea Scrolls composed by that scribal community prove they were a community of apocalyptic cultists preparing for the worldʼs final judgment.

    He's still right in the center of that fundamentalist mind set. All of his arguments are basic upon the assumption of verbal plenary inspiration that is the engine that drives fundamentalist. He was an evangelist before, You can't be an agnostic and be militating for others to give up faith, he's clearly just switched from one side to the other but that means he's still a book end,. He needs to break out of that whole mind set and learn to think of God in new ways.,

    The Dead Sea Scrolls include OT writings, but also inter-testamental writings like the book of Enoch, as well as books written by the scroll community such as the Book of the Wars of Sons of Light and Darkness (about the worldʼs final battle and supernatural judgment), the Melchizadek Scroll (about a divinely appointed figure that would appear in the heavens soon to judge the earth), and commentaries on OT writings in which the members of that community found clues to the soon coming final judgment. Even their community laws and ascetic practices were meant to keep them pure in preparation for the soon coming supernatural judgment of the people of earth, which only adds credence to the view that Jesus of Nazareth may very well have been the leader of an apocalyptic movement with similar failed expectations.

    Yes, yes early church was a cult ,welcome to sociology class. That doesn't disprove the mission of Christ to redeem the world All that proves is that God works though humans and their imperfect institutions, and that moral laws of social science have come validity but can still point to a higher reality. I recommend reading The Trace of God: a Rational Warrant for Belief by your truly, Joseph Hinman. I'm not just saying this to plug my book (well that had crossed my mind). Three arguments for God backed by a couple of hundred studies from peer reviewed journals, studies in psychology proving the validity of religious experience, No they are not done by Christians, they are in secular publication's. These are about mystical experience. That will introduce you to a new way for thinking about God. I don't say much about Christianity in that book so a couple of other books to read: Theology of Hope by Jurgen Moltmann, Dynamics of faith and History of Christian Thought by Paul Tillich. These are not little apologetics book. This is the real thing, liberal theology,


    [1] Edward Babinski, "Christianity raises as many intellectual and historical questions as it claims to answer,"Scrivenings ,June 2015, blog, URL:
    accessed 5/8/16 (all quotes from Badinski are from this article)

    [2] Stephen Neil, The Interpretation of the New Testament: 1861-1961, London: University of Oxford Press, 1964, 250
    see also my page on community as author (p2) for a lot more sources on oral tradition

    [3] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Writings of  The New Testament: An Interpretation.Philedelpia: Fortress Press, 1989, 114-117

    see also my article on Religious  A Piriori, "Community as Author part 1"

    [4] Richard Bauckham, Jesus and The Eye Witnesses: The Gospels as Eye Witness Testimony.  Eerdmans, 2008, 39.

    [5]  Blaik.MM - Blaiklock, E. M. Jesus Christ: Man or Myth? Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984.

    [6] Joseph Hinman, "Secular and Jewish Historiamns:Josephus part1," The Religious A Priori, Online resource URL accessed 5/15/16

    [7] David Instone-Brewer, "Jesus of Nazareth's Trail in Sanhedrin 43a," PDF, pre publication copy

    [8]Louis H Feldman,  Josephus and Modern Scholarship. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1984.  684-91

    see also my Josephus pages on  RAP

    [9]  Luke Timothy Johnson, The Real Jesus, San Francisco: Harper, 1996,p.121

    [10] Johnson, Writings..., op cit, 117

    [11]  see my page on RAP, "suffering Servant is Messiah."
    red the whole page and follow the argument
    see all of my Isaiah 53 pages

    [12] Alfred Edersheim, Life and times of Jesus the Messiah,vol I, New York: Lomgmans 1907

    there are online versions, this Christian classics  etherial library

    [13] Ibid "List of Passages Messianically Applied"  Vol II, 710
    there are 450 passage the Talmud says are of Messiah and the spell out the Jesus story.

    see also my page summarizing Edersheime's Talmudic passages

    [14] my community as author page

    [15] B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans* (eds.), Authenticating the Activities of Jesus NTTS, 28.2; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1998, 55