Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Atheists Come Under Fire for Bias and Misrepresentation

Historical Evidence

The New Atheists are the fundies of the atheist movement (I call them "Dawkies" or Dawkamentalists). They are so full of zealotry and so hate that they have been making making blunders. President Obama appointed a man who headed the genome project, Collins, and who is a Christian. Harris attacked him as an ID (which he is not) and tried to imply that his credentials are not good, that's he biased, even though he is world renounced for his work on the genome project. Scientists are now bombarding Harris with statements to the effect that Hariss himself is a bigot. This is recorded on a fine blog which I link to on Metacrock called: The Faithful Progressive.

The Same blog also deals with the New Atheist record on Jesus mythers.

The historical record does not support many of the assumptions behind the arguments of the new atheists. For example, they are in astonishing error about the historical evidence about whether Jesus ever existed and seem unaware of mainstream historical scholarship undertaken at non-sectarian public universities. Christopher Hitchens writes about the "highly questionable' existence of Jesus. Both Dawkins and Harris also buy into gross misrepresentation of the status of historical record on the life of Jesus.

My own view is that both the historical and the spiritual Jesus have much to offer to contemporary life. But whether one is a believer or not, there is a clear consensus that Jesus was a real historical figure.

With one or two exceptions, scholars in the fields of biblical studies and history agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee who was regarded as a healer, was baptized by John the Baptist, was accused of sedition against the Roman Empire, and on the orders of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Jesus existed.

The New Testament describes Jesus’ path of preaching, his death under Pontius Pilate, and ultimately his resurrection. Skeptics often ask, however, whether Jesus’ mere existence can be confirmed by non-Biblical sources. Certainly it is irrefutable that the principle sources for describing the historical Jesus are the Canonical Gospels, as well as John and other books from the New Testament. Roman publications of Jesus’ era, however, do provide evidence of his existence.

He also links to a video on You Tube by John Dickson who takes the Mythers to talk on several points where they get it totally wrong.

First Dawkins uses G.A.Wells as an example of his statament that major scholar are still debating the existence of Jesus. Wells of course while formerly the major myther is not even credentialed in the field. Dawkins using Wells is a perfect example of the informal fallacy unnecessary appeal to Authority, his only credentials are in German, the teaching thereof. What even Dickson misses is the fact that Wells changed his mind is not longer a myther at all. This was some years ago so Dawkins is actually presenting false evidence. Dickson goes on to quote really historical scholars saying there is no debate about Jesus existence, he's accepted as historical fact.

There are a couple of other issues that Dickson goes into. The statement by Mythers that Jews weren't crucified or that if they were they were not buried in individual tombs so there would be no tomb of Jesus. Dickson quotes several examples showing that thousands of Jews were crucified in Jesus' time. What he misses is an example of Josephus who had his friends taken off the cross and buried in special tombs so they would not profane the holy day, which is exactly the situation Jesus' followers were faced with.

In part 2 Dickson quotes a classic scholar:

The documentary evidence that Jesus existed is simply overwhelming, says Prof. Graeme Clarke, who is a very well known classics scholar (and also an atheist). He knows of no qualified scholar who disputes it. Here's the full quote: "Frankly, I know of no ancient historian/biblical historian who would have a twinge of doubt about the existence of a Jesus Christ--the documentary evidence is simply overwhelming."

The more zeal than brains approach, which I'm sure they copied from the Christian fundies, is backfiring as more and more people are getting tired of the propaganda and the slip shod approach.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

typo check:
Francis Collins is world RENOWNED, though as you say, some of the New Atheists are also trying to renounce him all over the world :)