Adolf Von Harnack, 1851-1930
Major liberal Bible scholar
This is a statement by a troll on a Message board:
In reply to this post by jimbo
Last edited by Metacrock : Today at 03:06 PM .
Fact is, "exegesis" was developed and honed just to thwart such attacks as mine. They are just specious explanations that ARE NOT BIBLICAL! THAT IS NOT WHAT IT SAYS, FOLKS! It is what it says and not just when it is convenient for your position! I don't fall for that "commentary" BS! I now well how to read and interpret things for myself, including the Bible! What we have here is the phenonenon described in the book WHEN PROPHCY FAILS. Read it!
I realize that this guy does not represent all atheists. But I have seen many other atheists reflect this same idea. In fact the whole concept of the "Courtier's reply." This response shows such extreme ignorance. He thinks textual criticism was made up to answer atheists. That's so excessively stupid. Textual criticism of the Bible goes back well before there were any atheists to speak of (Renaissance). If one has to attach a conspiratorial reason to its existence it would be morel likely to have been invented as a means of thwarting faith in the Bible. This just has no sense of history, he knows nothing about the topic he's discussing. Textual criticism is a tool of liberal theology and liberals are perceived as "non believing." That's a wrong perception but that's the way they are seen by fundamentalists.
Atheists are always coming up with little gimmicks. Anytime you trump them with real knowledge they get up set and find a gimmick. The Jesus myth theory was such a gimmick. Jesus was such a compelling figure and there is some decent evidence he rose from the dead, so to counter that they just pretend he never existed, and give it a little name and make up some pseudo intelligent sounding crap pertaining to it. The "default" and the "extraordinary evidence credo" these are all gimmicks atheists made up and they are passed off as pseudo official sounding quasi logical tactics that in actuality mean nothing.
The latest is the Courtier's reply. This is it:
I recently referred to the "Courtier's Reply", a term invented by PZ Myers to rebut the claims of believers who insist that their superstitious beliefs are ever so much more sophisticated than the simple version that Dawkins attacks.
PZ's response deserves much more publicity because it goes to the heart of the debate between rationalism and supersition. I'm going to post his original Courtier's Reply below (without permission, but I'm sure he'll understand) but before doing so I need to remind everyone about the original fairy tale [The Emperor's New Clothes]
This is a statement by a reductionist scientism king. Larry Moran is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He's on a blog called Sand Walk.
So What this courtier's reply is saying is that if the skeptic says stupid things about theology and demonstrates that he knows nothing about it and the theist says "O your criticism is invalid because you don't understand what you are criticizing" then all the atheist has to do is say "that's the courtiers reply" and the theist is supposed to go "O my God, I've violated a law of logic!" and give up and stop believing in God. But in realty it's into a log of logic, I never heard it in a logic class.It's not in a logic text book, and the meaning of it is silly. I'ts just saying 'You can't point out my ignorance of theology because I will not allow theology to have any kind of validity or importance and religious people may not not any sort of human dignity." That's all it's saying. It's nothing more than anti-intellectual stupidity.
Sanders lauds PZ Myers's version of the tactic,Here is Myers statement about it:
The Courtier's Reply
by PZ Myers
I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all. He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive arguments of his fellow countryman, Lord D. T. Mawkscribbler, who famously pointed out that the Emperor would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable polyester, but must, I say must, wear undergarments of the finest silk.
Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.
Personally, I suspect that perhaps the Emperor might not be fully clothed — how else to explain the apparent sloth of the staff at the palace laundry — but, well, everyone else does seem to go on about his clothes, and this Dawkins fellow is such a rude upstart who lacks the wit of my elegant circumlocutions, that, while unable to deal with the substance of his accusations, I should at least chide him for his very bad form.
Until Dawkins has trained in the shops of Paris and Milan, until he has learned to tell the difference between a ruffled flounce and a puffy pantaloon, we should all pretend he has not spoken out against the Emperor's taste. His training in biology may give him the ability to recognize dangling genitalia when he sees it, but it has not taught him the proper appreciation of Imaginary Fabrics.
In other words, knowledge of theological subjects is just plain bull shit and it doesn't matter if Dawkins doesn't understand it because it's not worth understanding. So it's not valid criticism of him to say that. Except the problem is, if he understood theology he would see that his criticisms are wrong. The criticisms he makes are almost always about fundamentalists views. Since he refuses to accept that there are other non fundamentalist types of theology, when you point it out he just says O that's ridiculous because all theology is crap so it doesn't matter--but if he knew that he might not make the criticisms becasue they don't apply. But it's not worthing knowing that. he's just reasoning in a cirlce.
Here's his logic:
Him: religion is evil superstiion because fundies believe X
Liberal: we don't beileve x
him: that doesn't matter becasue religion is all crap no matter what. so even if you don't believe the thing I say is crap you still your own crap that must be stupid because you are religious. I know it's stupid because religion is stupid. Of course that's based on the stuff that you don't believe but that doesn't matter.
Narrow minded anti-intellectual brinkman ship in a most unsophisticated manner.
A very emotionally immature atheist tried this on me recently. Here's how it went.
Brent: All religious people believe in big man in the sky.
Me: process theology doesn't believe in big man in the sky
Brent: that's nonsesne all religous people do so they mustt.
Me; you clearly don't know enoguh about theology to say that
Brent: Courteiers reply! Courtiers' replay!
Like some magic king'x X that's suppossed to mean something. Clearly it's stupid because they are only trying to dodge the fact that their criticisms are based upon things they don't understand and that don't apply. Its' an attempt to hide their ignorance. They are committing an informal fallacy with the use of this gimmick. It's called "ipsie dixit." It means "truth by stipulation." They are saying in effect "I simply stipulate that I will not allow you to have knowledge. AT this point on your knowledge is now void becasue I declare to be so, since it's religion and religion is stupid."
Again their reasoning is quite circular since the reasons they would give for reducing religion to superstition don't' apply to modern sophisticated theology, but the fact that it can be labeled "theology" and they don't even know what that means, they stipulate that it must be stupid. So even though their reasons don't apply they just demand that they must do so any way.
Again they are merely stipulating truth and insisting they are right without any just reasons. It's idiotic to try and criticize a whole field you know nothing about. To make up for appalling ignorance they imply a third rate gimmick that is actually made up of two informal fallacies: ipsie dixit and circular reasoning.
This anti-intellectual tendency is not confined to this one tactic. The new tactick, which I have noticed for a few years now, is to deny any sort of discipline of scholarship that has developed within the theological community. So any self defense that a believer could make is automatically suspect and wrong merely becasue it is theological. But then one wonders how the skeptics knowledge that theology is all bull shit could ever have developed in the first place? When we consider the history of Biblical scholarship it becomes clear that the atheists are merely arguing in a circle.
The history of scholarship shows us that it was not invented in answer to pressing atheist attacks on the bible. There was no body of talented intelligent atheists pressing for a logical reading of the bible in the days before modern Biblical scholarship. Modern scholarship grew out of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment in answer to the re-birth of classical learning and the advancement of scientific knowledge. One of the first modern textual critics was Erasmus. Erasmus, who live din Rotterdam in the Northern Renaissance, never had a body of atheists to contend with. The major scholars who created modern Biblical scholarship in the 19th century were arch liberals and practically skeptics themselves, such as Von Harnack. So clearly scholarship is a trick to protect the bible from the "brilliant, Penetrating analysis" of these arrogant know nothing who are too lazy to read a couple of books.
This tendency in atheism, the revenge of the trolls shows the true intellectual bankruptcy of Dawkamentalism. They are actually spitting on their own roots when they say since, since modern skepticism and modern Biblical scholarship both grew out of Renaissance humanism. Clearly so when they don't even know that just ten years ago their predecessors on atheist boards (secular web for example) lauded liberal Bible scholars such as John Dominick Crosson. They will quote the Jesus seminary guys without even know these are Bible scholars, this is the product of Biblical scholarship.