Shamed By You Knowing Science?

Scott Bailey included this image in a recent post:

One thing that struck me about it is that, if you don’t actually know English, you might not realize just how unsuitable a teacher the person who placed the advertisement is.

Something similar is the case with science, and Biblical studies, and history, and many other subjects. There was another image circulating recently which quoted the question some people think is an objection to evolution, “If humans evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?” and then asked whether it is more likely that (1) all the scientists in the world are involved in a conspiracy, (2) it never occurred to any of them to notice that there are still monkeys, or (3) you weren’t paying enough attention in your high school science classes to realize that the question itself reflects a significant  degree of ignorance. The answer is obvious to most people.

If you were looking for a science tutor and knew the basics, you might know what to look for in a good tutor. But if you don’t know much if anything, you might fall for a young-earth creationist who, to the scientifically literate, sounds like the guy in the ad. But to you it might seem like he is simply a kind-hearted teacher offering you a great opportunity to learn.

The same applies to Biblical studies. There are plenty of people who have given credence to people and sources which, to an academic in my own field, sounds like the guy in the ad. That includes people across the spectrum, from conservative Christian inerrantists to mythicists who think that Jesus is just Horus with a makeover.

You need to know something in order to spot frauds and charlatans. If you don’t, then failing to proceed with caution may only result in your compounding your ignorance.

  • susanburns

    Dr. McGrath, it seems to me as if you haven’t noticed there are still monkeys. While the evidence is overwhelming (to me) of an historical Jesus, the mythical similarities need to be addressed. You can’t just pretend there are no monkeys. If evolutionary theory is to be accepted, then it needs to be accepted. Everything evolves, including ritualized behavior.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      It doesn’t sound to me as though you understand why “There are still monkeys” is not an objection to evolution. But I confess that your point was obscure.

      • susanburns

        And the mythical similarities of Jesus to Horus is not an objection to an historical Jesus. I understand why there are still monkeys. I also understand why there are remnants of more ancient ritual behavior in the NT.

        • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

          What be these similarities?

          • susanburns

            It’s not only Horus but also Dionysus, Tammuz, Krishna, etc. Similar myths surround many gods of ANE. Just google horus and Jesus.

            • AramMcLean

              Watching you try and make a point is fascinating.

            • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

              You didn’t answer my question.

              • susanburns

                Don’t you have a googler?

                • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

                  I am not obligated to do your research for you.

                  • susanburns

                    It’s not research. It is copy and paste.

                    • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

                      I’m not obligated to make any part of your argument for you.

                    • susanburns

                      Since I am sure you already know what these similarities are I am suspicious of your motives for asking. I do not trust you and I am obviously not going to do what you say.

                    • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

                      Congratulations; you just lost an argument before it started.

                    • susanburns

                      I just clicked on your website and am very intrigued. I will return there and read more closely. You are obviously well versed in the mythical similarities and so your disingenuous response leaves me wary of your ulterior motives. There can be no honest debate with someone who holds a hidden agenda.

        • AramMcLean

          There probably was a street preacher named Jesus running around Israel back in the day. There were a lot of loons prophesying end times back then. (Much like now.) But all the mythical stuff added to his story after he was unexpectedly crucified was very much taken from other myths which had been incorporated into the Jewish Bible over the centuries. The writers of the New Testament filled in the blanks, so to speak, fulfilling prophecies left and right with an irresponsible zealot-powered artistic license which continues to hold the world captive today. I suggest you read The Evolution of God if you’d like to actually have your preconceived notions challenged.

          http://www.evolutionofgod.net/

          I don’t agree with everything Mr Wright supposes, but it sure does beat reading Christian apologetics beating the same old dead horse over and over.

    • Jeeter

      Humans didn’t descend from monkeys at all. We share a common ancestor with apes, the closest relative being the chimpanzee. Why are there still chimpanzees you ask? We didn’t directly descend from chimpanzees, we only share a COMMON ancestor.

      • susanburns

        This was Dr. McGrath’s analogy not mine. I would never ask why there are still chimpanzees. However, I would like to know why humans do not have traces of the PtERV1 retrovirus in our DNA when it is common to all other primates. But this is probably more of a geography question.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          It was not my analogy. Did you read the post? Here’s a link to the image I was referring to: http://www.reddit.com/tb/1cxw8h

          • susanburns

            You did compare people who did not believe in evolution with mythicists – both being ignorant of information only available to people in academia. I simply furthered your comparison by using monkeys in place of Horus rituals. Both are remnants of earlier phases of evolution. The presence of monkeys does not mean evolution does not exist and the presence of Horus rituals does not mean Jesus did not exist. We can parse primate genome for information of human evolution. We can also parse horus ritual for information on historical Jesus. Eliminating the similarities gives us a clearer picture of what is unique. The PtERV1 virus is not present in the human genome while it is in every other primate. This is valuable information and maybe why humans are not immune to HIV. It also gives us clues to the environment of the first humans.Why not do the same with Horus myth? Denying similarities between Horus and Jesus is like denying similarities between monkeys (or chimpanzees) and humans. Everything evolves including ritual behavior. If we are using evolution as a working theory then let’s use it. I just expanded a bit on your analogy.

  • http://caveat1ector.wordpress.com/ Hydroxonium

    Nice article, and I thought the advertisement was a brilliant scheme to attract the ignorant “fishes” into the scammer’s “net”.


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