Destroying the Universe through Scientific Observation

According to Quantum mechanics, observing a system changes it. Now scientists are worried that by observing “dark energy,” we may have shortened the lifespan of the universe.

Please read that linked article. And contemplate this sentence:

Some mathematical theories suggest that, in the very beginning, there was a void that possessed energy but was devoid of substance. Then the void changed, converting energy into the hot matter of the big bang.

Sound familiar? But what is most striking in this article is how contemporary science is no longer working with conventional logical categories, how it has become as mystical and as unbounded as any theology. It is also quite culture-bound: Postmodernists do believe “we create our own reality,” so why should we not be able to deconstruct reality through our perception? This may also herald the rise of a new worldview, with affinities to Hinduism, a new monism of mind and matter. But these scientists think intelligent design is beyond the pale.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • WebMonk

    I think you’ve made a poor conclusion from an already bad article. It’s one of the dangers of non-scientistific reporters writing for the public based on a scientist’s simplification of complex studies. The reporter was obviously trying to make a sensational story headline, because the headline is totally false and is a complete mis-representation of what Krauss was saying.

    Here’s a perfect example of where the reporter totally screwed up the story. He quotes Krauss saying one thing and then interprets it to mean the exact opposite:

    [quote]
    And Prof Krauss stresses that resetting the cosmic clock was not something we have done to the universe but rather what our cosmologically observations may imply about our knowledge of the cosmic clock: “I did not mean to imply causality – namely that our measurement itself reduces the lifetime of the universe – but rather that by being able to make our measurement we may thus conclude that we may not be in the late decay stage.”

    This is not the only damage to the heavens that astronomers may have caused.
    [/quote]

  • WebMonk

    I think you’ve made a poor conclusion from an already bad article. It’s one of the dangers of non-scientistific reporters writing for the public based on a scientist’s simplification of complex studies. The reporter was obviously trying to make a sensational story headline, because the headline is totally false and is a complete mis-representation of what Krauss was saying.

    Here’s a perfect example of where the reporter totally screwed up the story. He quotes Krauss saying one thing and then interprets it to mean the exact opposite:

    [quote]
    And Prof Krauss stresses that resetting the cosmic clock was not something we have done to the universe but rather what our cosmologically observations may imply about our knowledge of the cosmic clock: “I did not mean to imply causality – namely that our measurement itself reduces the lifetime of the universe – but rather that by being able to make our measurement we may thus conclude that we may not be in the late decay stage.”

    This is not the only damage to the heavens that astronomers may have caused.
    [/quote]

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  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I have to agree with WebMonk (@1). I chuckled when I read the quote, “I did not mean to imply causality,” which clearly contradicts the implications of the article. As I understand it, it would be better to say that the very fact that we can observe parts of the universe tells us about the kind of universe we are observing.

    Also, saying that quantum mechanics teaches that “observing a system changes it” is likely to get you in trouble with a physicist. It’s true in a sense, but best restricted to use in discussing very small measurements. (E.g. in order to “see” an electron, one must fire a photon at it, thereby affecting the electron. Suffice it to say that photons do not similarly affect things visible to the naked eye to any degree you could care about.)

    However, your last paragraph hits upon an interesting idea I have seen discussed before — namely, the interaction of culture, religion, and science. I know there must be a better discussion out there, likely several good books, but I don’t know them right now. (There are also several questionable books of the past few decades, perhaps more informed about eastern philosophy than modern physics, which nonetheless attempt to combine the two.)

    Still, consider the similarities between science under Aristotle and faith under the Pope — some authoritative man said this is so, and so it is, and never you mind why he said it, because you wouldn’t understand if you tried. Then the rise of the modern scientific method and Protestantism. Suddenly, ordinary men were challenging the status quo by observing things themselves and seeing what actually was — whether in the Bible or in nature. And now, in the age of pluralism and a lack of absolutes, our latest science discusses (small) things in terms of probability, in which you can’t know everything about everything.

    Which isn’t to say I believe faith is merely a product of what a culture is capable of understanding — such a statement itself is more a product of this age, anyhow! Besides, Christianity has elements that lend itself to quantum analogies, as well. Consider that we are, at the same time, both sinner and saint, a sort of quantum superposition. Or maybe don’t.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I have to agree with WebMonk (@1). I chuckled when I read the quote, “I did not mean to imply causality,” which clearly contradicts the implications of the article. As I understand it, it would be better to say that the very fact that we can observe parts of the universe tells us about the kind of universe we are observing.

    Also, saying that quantum mechanics teaches that “observing a system changes it” is likely to get you in trouble with a physicist. It’s true in a sense, but best restricted to use in discussing very small measurements. (E.g. in order to “see” an electron, one must fire a photon at it, thereby affecting the electron. Suffice it to say that photons do not similarly affect things visible to the naked eye to any degree you could care about.)

    However, your last paragraph hits upon an interesting idea I have seen discussed before — namely, the interaction of culture, religion, and science. I know there must be a better discussion out there, likely several good books, but I don’t know them right now. (There are also several questionable books of the past few decades, perhaps more informed about eastern philosophy than modern physics, which nonetheless attempt to combine the two.)

    Still, consider the similarities between science under Aristotle and faith under the Pope — some authoritative man said this is so, and so it is, and never you mind why he said it, because you wouldn’t understand if you tried. Then the rise of the modern scientific method and Protestantism. Suddenly, ordinary men were challenging the status quo by observing things themselves and seeing what actually was — whether in the Bible or in nature. And now, in the age of pluralism and a lack of absolutes, our latest science discusses (small) things in terms of probability, in which you can’t know everything about everything.

    Which isn’t to say I believe faith is merely a product of what a culture is capable of understanding — such a statement itself is more a product of this age, anyhow! Besides, Christianity has elements that lend itself to quantum analogies, as well. Consider that we are, at the same time, both sinner and saint, a sort of quantum superposition. Or maybe don’t.

  • fwsonnek

    I hope that this is germaine to this thread. It is one of those very obvious things that is right under ones nose. I had never thought of this till I read the article exactly in this form:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/opinion/24davies.html?th&emc=th

  • fwsonnek

    I hope that this is germaine to this thread. It is one of those very obvious things that is right under ones nose. I had never thought of this till I read the article exactly in this form:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/opinion/24davies.html?th&emc=th

  • Carl Vehse

    It’s a good thing my homeowner’s insurance policy covers damage related to universal wave function collapse cause by quantum state observation.

    That and the uninsured galaxy collision option on my automobile insurance policy gives me peace of mind.

  • Carl Vehse

    It’s a good thing my homeowner’s insurance policy covers damage related to universal wave function collapse cause by quantum state observation.

    That and the uninsured galaxy collision option on my automobile insurance policy gives me peace of mind.

  • organshoes

    So ‘Look but don’t touch’ is no longer a sufficient warning in my shop?

  • organshoes

    So ‘Look but don’t touch’ is no longer a sufficient warning in my shop?

  • Michael the little boot

    The biggest difference to me between the way faith is looked at in the two positions is this: the faith in science is based on evidence that has been gathered by many people over long periods of time, verified and reverified, and is subject to revision based on testable hypotheses, whereas religious faith is based only on faith. So they are not exactly the same kind of faith. Sometimes even using the same word to describe them can be confusing.

    But I do think that practitioners in BOTH fields are too confident in what they know. I think that both of them may have a little TOO much faith in their own views being correct!

  • Michael the little boot

    The biggest difference to me between the way faith is looked at in the two positions is this: the faith in science is based on evidence that has been gathered by many people over long periods of time, verified and reverified, and is subject to revision based on testable hypotheses, whereas religious faith is based only on faith. So they are not exactly the same kind of faith. Sometimes even using the same word to describe them can be confusing.

    But I do think that practitioners in BOTH fields are too confident in what they know. I think that both of them may have a little TOO much faith in their own views being correct!

  • fwsonnek

    You are so right Michael. THAT is what that narrow discipline properly called science is all about.

    It is still amazing to me to not see all scientist question why those laws seem constant so far as we know.

    If I am a buddhist and believe that the only constant is change itself, does this “evidence gathered” contradict an essential element of my belief system then? Could I be a Buddhist AND a scientist as you describe things?

  • fwsonnek

    You are so right Michael. THAT is what that narrow discipline properly called science is all about.

    It is still amazing to me to not see all scientist question why those laws seem constant so far as we know.

    If I am a buddhist and believe that the only constant is change itself, does this “evidence gathered” contradict an essential element of my belief system then? Could I be a Buddhist AND a scientist as you describe things?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael (@7), not all hypotheses that fall under the label “science” are testable.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael (@7), not all hypotheses that fall under the label “science” are testable.

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD,

    I wasn’t aware of that. Could you give an example?

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD,

    I wasn’t aware of that. Could you give an example?

  • Michael the little boot

    Frank,

    There are some scientists that do question what you brought up. But it’s not really a scientific question. More a philosophical one. I would say that scientists who don’t entertain the question of the consistency of science aren’t actually interested in answering anything. They’re interested in observation and the data that proceeds from it. The “answers” they give are not actually answers, in their view, so much as a relating of that data (i.e., “Here’s what I looked at, here’s what I saw”).

    I think you can definitely be a buddhist and a scientist, because, if the universe is in a state of constant change, this would be observable and verifiable (in fact, it does seem to some branches of science that this is the case). As one writer put it: “The core of science is not controlled experiment or mathematical modeling; it is intellectual honesty.” By this account, anyone can be a scientist as long as they aren’t so married to their beliefs that they cannot let them go when they are no longer scientifically tenable–as opposed to those people who go looking to prove their beliefs and have to come up with increasingly elaborate harmonizations in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.

  • Michael the little boot

    Frank,

    There are some scientists that do question what you brought up. But it’s not really a scientific question. More a philosophical one. I would say that scientists who don’t entertain the question of the consistency of science aren’t actually interested in answering anything. They’re interested in observation and the data that proceeds from it. The “answers” they give are not actually answers, in their view, so much as a relating of that data (i.e., “Here’s what I looked at, here’s what I saw”).

    I think you can definitely be a buddhist and a scientist, because, if the universe is in a state of constant change, this would be observable and verifiable (in fact, it does seem to some branches of science that this is the case). As one writer put it: “The core of science is not controlled experiment or mathematical modeling; it is intellectual honesty.” By this account, anyone can be a scientist as long as they aren’t so married to their beliefs that they cannot let them go when they are no longer scientifically tenable–as opposed to those people who go looking to prove their beliefs and have to come up with increasingly elaborate harmonizations in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.

  • Carl Vehse

    As one writer put it: “The core of science is not controlled experiment or mathematical modeling; it is intellectual honesty.”

    That writer is Sam Harris, an athiest, who strongly opposes all religions, particularly Christianity. The quote has a bias.

  • Carl Vehse

    As one writer put it: “The core of science is not controlled experiment or mathematical modeling; it is intellectual honesty.”

    That writer is Sam Harris, an athiest, who strongly opposes all religions, particularly Christianity. The quote has a bias.

  • Carl Vehse

    As for science, if it is (claimed to be) a consistent system, it would be limited by Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems.

  • Carl Vehse

    As for science, if it is (claimed to be) a consistent system, it would be limited by Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems.

  • Michael the little boot

    You answer for me the very reason I did not mention the author by name. The quote is from the book Letter to a Christian Nation. Yes, Harris has bias. He opposes religion (not Christianity any more than others) and He freely admits it. But his quote is about science, not religion. Your logic is flawed. You attack the person rather than his argument.

    My understanding of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems is extremely limited. Extreme is even putting it lightly. But aren’t they about mathematics in general? I have to go back to Harris’ statement about science in answer to that. Science isn’t just about numbers.

    Of course, I’m not sure that science IS consistent. I mean, look at the problems reconciling relativity and quantum mechanics. (Correct me if I’m wrong, please. Isn’t this the problem that string theory is–inadequately, to some people’s minds–trying to address? As well as the Unified Field Theory? Experts, set me straight!)

  • Michael the little boot

    You answer for me the very reason I did not mention the author by name. The quote is from the book Letter to a Christian Nation. Yes, Harris has bias. He opposes religion (not Christianity any more than others) and He freely admits it. But his quote is about science, not religion. Your logic is flawed. You attack the person rather than his argument.

    My understanding of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems is extremely limited. Extreme is even putting it lightly. But aren’t they about mathematics in general? I have to go back to Harris’ statement about science in answer to that. Science isn’t just about numbers.

    Of course, I’m not sure that science IS consistent. I mean, look at the problems reconciling relativity and quantum mechanics. (Correct me if I’m wrong, please. Isn’t this the problem that string theory is–inadequately, to some people’s minds–trying to address? As well as the Unified Field Theory? Experts, set me straight!)

  • Paul

    The part I found most intriguing in the article referred to by Dr. Veith was in the following statement: “Our observations do not change the system so much as help determine what state we find ourselves a part of.”

    From general revelation, one can “observe” that we exist in both a state of condemnation and a state of grace. By “observing” one or the other in ourselves, do we not “determine what state we find ourselves a part of”?

    Sorry, this isn’t part of the scientific discussion going on (above), but I was taken by the idea that we can determine our own state of reality by whichever we “observe” or “keep” or “cling to.”

    As a second point, I was stirred by the theories which assert pure light/energy (in which there is no change so that there can be no measurement of space/time) being slowed to transform into matter which creates “relative” relationships (read: “relativity”) which can be measured as compared to Genesis 1 and John 1 with Christ being True God and yet incarnational while also “begotten of the Father before all worlds.” I don’t mean to ramble, but if the pure, energetic Word of God was transformed (it’s my understanding that light and energy are not changed but transformed from one to the other)…or made incarnate then that would make Christ “The Word made flesh” as well as “The Alpha and the Omega” and “without whom nothing was made that has been made” and “the firstborn of all creation” etc., etc. Word/Light/Life. To me, it’s fascinating.

  • Paul

    The part I found most intriguing in the article referred to by Dr. Veith was in the following statement: “Our observations do not change the system so much as help determine what state we find ourselves a part of.”

    From general revelation, one can “observe” that we exist in both a state of condemnation and a state of grace. By “observing” one or the other in ourselves, do we not “determine what state we find ourselves a part of”?

    Sorry, this isn’t part of the scientific discussion going on (above), but I was taken by the idea that we can determine our own state of reality by whichever we “observe” or “keep” or “cling to.”

    As a second point, I was stirred by the theories which assert pure light/energy (in which there is no change so that there can be no measurement of space/time) being slowed to transform into matter which creates “relative” relationships (read: “relativity”) which can be measured as compared to Genesis 1 and John 1 with Christ being True God and yet incarnational while also “begotten of the Father before all worlds.” I don’t mean to ramble, but if the pure, energetic Word of God was transformed (it’s my understanding that light and energy are not changed but transformed from one to the other)…or made incarnate then that would make Christ “The Word made flesh” as well as “The Alpha and the Omega” and “without whom nothing was made that has been made” and “the firstborn of all creation” etc., etc. Word/Light/Life. To me, it’s fascinating.

  • WebMonk

    I would have to disagree with Michael’s assertion earlier that religious faith is based only on faith. That’s patently false, and thousands of books (some solid, some not) have been written showing the testable, verifiable, even scientific supports of Christianity.

    Ultimately, yes, Christianity does come down to faith (that God exists). Likewise science comes down to faith (that the universe is rational). Both of these are ultimately a faith, but there are darned good reasons for each of them.

    ps. Paul, light IS energy, it’s not transformed into energy. I think you might be thinking of matter and energy. Also energy isn’t transformed into matter by slowing, but rather (as far as we can tell) by achieving a necessary ‘density’. I don’t think these details change your overall point, though.

  • WebMonk

    I would have to disagree with Michael’s assertion earlier that religious faith is based only on faith. That’s patently false, and thousands of books (some solid, some not) have been written showing the testable, verifiable, even scientific supports of Christianity.

    Ultimately, yes, Christianity does come down to faith (that God exists). Likewise science comes down to faith (that the universe is rational). Both of these are ultimately a faith, but there are darned good reasons for each of them.

    ps. Paul, light IS energy, it’s not transformed into energy. I think you might be thinking of matter and energy. Also energy isn’t transformed into matter by slowing, but rather (as far as we can tell) by achieving a necessary ‘density’. I don’t think these details change your overall point, though.

  • WebMonk

    Also, as far as the quote goes “The core of science is not controlled experiment or mathematical modeling; it is intellectual honesty,” it’s true in certain senses, but claiming that as the all-supporting “core” of science is wrong. There are a number of different quote like this one that talk about the ‘core’ or ‘underlying support’ or ‘overarching guide’ of science.

    Interestingly, none of them claim that the main base of science is mere physical investigation, but rather ‘intellectual honesty’ or ‘human activity’ or ‘desire to know’.

    Each one of them is a valid claim in the area it is meant to address, but none that I’ve ever run across have truly been all-encompassing of science.

  • WebMonk

    Also, as far as the quote goes “The core of science is not controlled experiment or mathematical modeling; it is intellectual honesty,” it’s true in certain senses, but claiming that as the all-supporting “core” of science is wrong. There are a number of different quote like this one that talk about the ‘core’ or ‘underlying support’ or ‘overarching guide’ of science.

    Interestingly, none of them claim that the main base of science is mere physical investigation, but rather ‘intellectual honesty’ or ‘human activity’ or ‘desire to know’.

    Each one of them is a valid claim in the area it is meant to address, but none that I’ve ever run across have truly been all-encompassing of science.

  • Bror Erickson

    Thank you, Webmonk!
    Christian faith is not irrational belief, as is the existential nonsense of create my own reality. There is evidence upon which our faith rests. It may be insufficient evidence for some people. But then some people don’t believe the world to be round either. And for those who would opt for Kierkegaardian faith for faith’s sake, and say that any faith that needs evidence is not faith at all, well you will be quite shocked when you meet Thomas in heaven.

  • Bror Erickson

    Thank you, Webmonk!
    Christian faith is not irrational belief, as is the existential nonsense of create my own reality. There is evidence upon which our faith rests. It may be insufficient evidence for some people. But then some people don’t believe the world to be round either. And for those who would opt for Kierkegaardian faith for faith’s sake, and say that any faith that needs evidence is not faith at all, well you will be quite shocked when you meet Thomas in heaven.

  • S Bauer

    Faith in science is, at its root, faith in the word of the scientist. Unless you yourself are making the observation and interpreting the results, you are assuming (at least), 1) that the scientist accurately observed the phenonemon; 2) that the scientist correctly related his/her observations to other data, and 3) that the scientist is not misleading you. All of this without your own personal verification of these assumptions. Yes, the science community brings a level of oversight and self-correction to the individual scientist’s work, but this verification method brings its own assumptions as well.

    Christian faith is not faith in (or based on) faith itself, but in the Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ. Why put faith in the Word of God? Why put faith in the words of Charles Darwin? Oh, his words and exposition persuade you, you say? Well, the words and exposition of Scripture persuade me. There we sit. Which is more “intellectually honest”? I believe St. Paul called it “the mystery of the Gospel”.

  • S Bauer

    Faith in science is, at its root, faith in the word of the scientist. Unless you yourself are making the observation and interpreting the results, you are assuming (at least), 1) that the scientist accurately observed the phenonemon; 2) that the scientist correctly related his/her observations to other data, and 3) that the scientist is not misleading you. All of this without your own personal verification of these assumptions. Yes, the science community brings a level of oversight and self-correction to the individual scientist’s work, but this verification method brings its own assumptions as well.

    Christian faith is not faith in (or based on) faith itself, but in the Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ. Why put faith in the Word of God? Why put faith in the words of Charles Darwin? Oh, his words and exposition persuade you, you say? Well, the words and exposition of Scripture persuade me. There we sit. Which is more “intellectually honest”? I believe St. Paul called it “the mystery of the Gospel”.

  • Bror Erickson

    S Bauer,
    We must be careful not to drive this wedge.
    But seriously you need to define here what you mean by science, It is a large umbrella. The technology that many sciences have brought about have proved the merits of science to many people. I don’t need to make all the calculations, and observations myself to drive a car, or get a heart transplant. In many cases the trust one has in science is often based on much more than the word of the scientist.

  • Bror Erickson

    S Bauer,
    We must be careful not to drive this wedge.
    But seriously you need to define here what you mean by science, It is a large umbrella. The technology that many sciences have brought about have proved the merits of science to many people. I don’t need to make all the calculations, and observations myself to drive a car, or get a heart transplant. In many cases the trust one has in science is often based on much more than the word of the scientist.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael (@10), I was thinking of any hypothesis that involves a sufficiently large or chaotic system (say, the earth), or a timescale extending before scientific observation. Certainly such hypotheses are not reproduceable, at least. You can say that all data are consistent with your hypothesis, but this only gives you correlation, not causation.

    As an example, much as I feel no reason to doubt scientists’ claims of human-caused global warming (though, as has been discussed previously, it is merely faith in those scientists’ claims, since I am in no way capable of judging these claims myself), I do not see that one could devise a test to prove that global warming is due to human actions. One cannot isolate the system enough to rule out other causes. (That said, I don’t feel that maintaining the status quo because “it may not be our fault — who can say?” is a really good response, either.)

    But even the relatively simple world of nutrition shows modern science’s shortcomings. Michael Pollan once wrote a good article about the failings of modern nutrition science, and how it is unable to take into account the many variables that form human food consumption — though theoretically reproduceable and controllable, it seems to be too chaotic a system for your basic experiment, and thus the many confusing conclusions about nutrition. (Yes, some of these are due to the usual scientific processes, many of which are poorly reported in the media, but I also think that beyond that, at a detailed level, nutrition is not reduceable to modern science’s needs.)

    Anyhow, I know this stance makes me sound anti-science, and if so, I doubt I could convince you I’m not, really. Suffice it to say that I believe scientists’ conclusions when their hypotheses involve situations that can be reduced to a single variable in controlled, reproduceable situations.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael (@10), I was thinking of any hypothesis that involves a sufficiently large or chaotic system (say, the earth), or a timescale extending before scientific observation. Certainly such hypotheses are not reproduceable, at least. You can say that all data are consistent with your hypothesis, but this only gives you correlation, not causation.

    As an example, much as I feel no reason to doubt scientists’ claims of human-caused global warming (though, as has been discussed previously, it is merely faith in those scientists’ claims, since I am in no way capable of judging these claims myself), I do not see that one could devise a test to prove that global warming is due to human actions. One cannot isolate the system enough to rule out other causes. (That said, I don’t feel that maintaining the status quo because “it may not be our fault — who can say?” is a really good response, either.)

    But even the relatively simple world of nutrition shows modern science’s shortcomings. Michael Pollan once wrote a good article about the failings of modern nutrition science, and how it is unable to take into account the many variables that form human food consumption — though theoretically reproduceable and controllable, it seems to be too chaotic a system for your basic experiment, and thus the many confusing conclusions about nutrition. (Yes, some of these are due to the usual scientific processes, many of which are poorly reported in the media, but I also think that beyond that, at a detailed level, nutrition is not reduceable to modern science’s needs.)

    Anyhow, I know this stance makes me sound anti-science, and if so, I doubt I could convince you I’m not, really. Suffice it to say that I believe scientists’ conclusions when their hypotheses involve situations that can be reduced to a single variable in controlled, reproduceable situations.

  • Michael the little boot

    WebMonk, which of these thousands of books that show my statement to be “patently false” provides a testable and verifiable argument for the existence of God? Faith in a rational universe is something that is testable in that you can devise hypotheses that make predictions and then verify that those predictions actually come true. Faith in God is not testable in this way.

    The argument we get here is circular once again. You can say that science is based on faith in order to level the playing field, but you must then support your claims. Your support is shaky at best. I can’t find any darn good reasons (other than personal experience) on which to base faith in God.

    And I wouldn’t say any “words” can really get at anything but a representation. So my statement about science is what it is. I’m not trying to literally define it. The reason I like that statement as a basis of science is that it is open, something that the dogma of both science and religion usually rule out.

    Ultimately, as I said, scientists and religious people alike are too confident in their assumptions. I just think scientists have more evidence as a basis. But that’s, of course, my opinion.

  • Michael the little boot

    WebMonk, which of these thousands of books that show my statement to be “patently false” provides a testable and verifiable argument for the existence of God? Faith in a rational universe is something that is testable in that you can devise hypotheses that make predictions and then verify that those predictions actually come true. Faith in God is not testable in this way.

    The argument we get here is circular once again. You can say that science is based on faith in order to level the playing field, but you must then support your claims. Your support is shaky at best. I can’t find any darn good reasons (other than personal experience) on which to base faith in God.

    And I wouldn’t say any “words” can really get at anything but a representation. So my statement about science is what it is. I’m not trying to literally define it. The reason I like that statement as a basis of science is that it is open, something that the dogma of both science and religion usually rule out.

    Ultimately, as I said, scientists and religious people alike are too confident in their assumptions. I just think scientists have more evidence as a basis. But that’s, of course, my opinion.

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael little boot,
    I would like to name a couple books for you. “christianity and history” by John Warrick Montgomery, and “The Defense Never Rests” By Craig Parton. (Im not sure I could name a thousand.
    But both these books go to show that according to the standards of the science of History, the New Testament account of the ressurection, does stand up. There is plenty of evidence to suggest it actually did happen.

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael little boot,
    I would like to name a couple books for you. “christianity and history” by John Warrick Montgomery, and “The Defense Never Rests” By Craig Parton. (Im not sure I could name a thousand.
    But both these books go to show that according to the standards of the science of History, the New Testament account of the ressurection, does stand up. There is plenty of evidence to suggest it actually did happen.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bror Erickson,

    If there is plenty of evidence to suggest the resurrection did happen, why do you need faith? Which is it? Is there evidence, or do you have faith? I mean, it has been suggested in these pages that faith is believing without seeing. But evidence is something that can be verified. I’m not getting it here. Is it that some faith-based ideas have evidence which supports the faith, and some ideas have no evidence, which then leads to the answer that one must have faith?

    Luckily I’m at a library. I’m going to look those books up! Hopefully we have them. One must wonder, are these books written by Christians? Because if there’s plenty of evidence for the resurrection, it’s curious that more people don’t believe in it.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bror Erickson,

    If there is plenty of evidence to suggest the resurrection did happen, why do you need faith? Which is it? Is there evidence, or do you have faith? I mean, it has been suggested in these pages that faith is believing without seeing. But evidence is something that can be verified. I’m not getting it here. Is it that some faith-based ideas have evidence which supports the faith, and some ideas have no evidence, which then leads to the answer that one must have faith?

    Luckily I’m at a library. I’m going to look those books up! Hopefully we have them. One must wonder, are these books written by Christians? Because if there’s plenty of evidence for the resurrection, it’s curious that more people don’t believe in it.

  • S Bauer

    Ahh. So did I “drive the wedge” or merely point it out?

  • S Bauer

    Ahh. So did I “drive the wedge” or merely point it out?

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael the little boot,
    Some here would also say Thomas did not have true faith. Unfortunately, Kierkegaard is still in the zeitgeist.
    There are still many things yet unseen to which Faith looks. Yet faith rests on an empty tomb for which their is evidence. Because Christ rose from the grave, we have evidence to believe he will also make good on his promises to us. I hope that clears things for you.

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael the little boot,
    Some here would also say Thomas did not have true faith. Unfortunately, Kierkegaard is still in the zeitgeist.
    There are still many things yet unseen to which Faith looks. Yet faith rests on an empty tomb for which their is evidence. Because Christ rose from the grave, we have evidence to believe he will also make good on his promises to us. I hope that clears things for you.

  • Bror Erickson

    S Bauer,
    There should be no wedge between the faith one puts in true science, and the faith one puts in Christ. You are wrong to say that it all comes down to faith in the word of God, or faith in the word of a scientist, sans evidence. You neither do justice to the Christian faith, nor the endevours of scientists with such statements.

  • Bror Erickson

    S Bauer,
    There should be no wedge between the faith one puts in true science, and the faith one puts in Christ. You are wrong to say that it all comes down to faith in the word of God, or faith in the word of a scientist, sans evidence. You neither do justice to the Christian faith, nor the endevours of scientists with such statements.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bror Erickson,

    The problem here is, once again, you have not based your faith on Jesus’ words, a claim S Bauer would like us to accept. You have based your faith on the words YOU BELIEVE TO BE Jesus’ words. How do you know this is true? There is more evidence to suggest that the gospel accounts were written by people who lived too late to have known Jesus at all, let alone to have been eyewitness to what he did and said.

    I do not put my faith in the words of Charles Darwin or anyone else. I put my faith in the work that Darwin and his successors have done in many fields of scientific inquiry (only the faith that the words are Darwin’s, because science is not correct on everything–but the scientific method will be the tool used to correct itself). But even if I did put my faith in his words, there is one clear difference: the evidence that the words presented are Darwin’s and not some other author’s trying to put words in his mouth is ample and recent. The evidence that Jesus said ANY of the things attributed to him is scant at best.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bror Erickson,

    The problem here is, once again, you have not based your faith on Jesus’ words, a claim S Bauer would like us to accept. You have based your faith on the words YOU BELIEVE TO BE Jesus’ words. How do you know this is true? There is more evidence to suggest that the gospel accounts were written by people who lived too late to have known Jesus at all, let alone to have been eyewitness to what he did and said.

    I do not put my faith in the words of Charles Darwin or anyone else. I put my faith in the work that Darwin and his successors have done in many fields of scientific inquiry (only the faith that the words are Darwin’s, because science is not correct on everything–but the scientific method will be the tool used to correct itself). But even if I did put my faith in his words, there is one clear difference: the evidence that the words presented are Darwin’s and not some other author’s trying to put words in his mouth is ample and recent. The evidence that Jesus said ANY of the things attributed to him is scant at best.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael (@24), “Is there evidence, or do you have faith?” is a false choice. For example, as has been discussed here, one can have faith in a scientist’s conclusions — for which there is ample evidence — without having access to that evidence yourself. The faith is in the scientist’s honestly and accurately conveying the evidence.

    Also, I’m wondering if you have any reply to my previous comment (@21). Hopefully it wasn’t so stupid as to not merit some response.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael (@24), “Is there evidence, or do you have faith?” is a false choice. For example, as has been discussed here, one can have faith in a scientist’s conclusions — for which there is ample evidence — without having access to that evidence yourself. The faith is in the scientist’s honestly and accurately conveying the evidence.

    Also, I’m wondering if you have any reply to my previous comment (@21). Hopefully it wasn’t so stupid as to not merit some response.

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD–

    You’re right. Thanks for pointing that out. I guess what I’m trying to get at is the false dichotomy set up by certain religious people. On the one hand, they say there is evidence for their beliefs. But they are quick to appeal to faith when there is a lack of evidence, and they act as though both stances are not mutually exclusive. I don’t understand how it can be faith in evidence on the one hand, and then faith without evidence on the other. I guess I would like to be enlightened on this front.

    Also, as to your comments @ 21, I am at work now and trying to keep up with these posts as well as my job. Apologies! Your post is far from stupid. You obviously have a much better grasp of science than I do. I’m just a layperson with a wide interest, so it is difficult for me to come up with a quick response. But I will respond.

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD–

    You’re right. Thanks for pointing that out. I guess what I’m trying to get at is the false dichotomy set up by certain religious people. On the one hand, they say there is evidence for their beliefs. But they are quick to appeal to faith when there is a lack of evidence, and they act as though both stances are not mutually exclusive. I don’t understand how it can be faith in evidence on the one hand, and then faith without evidence on the other. I guess I would like to be enlightened on this front.

    Also, as to your comments @ 21, I am at work now and trying to keep up with these posts as well as my job. Apologies! Your post is far from stupid. You obviously have a much better grasp of science than I do. I’m just a layperson with a wide interest, so it is difficult for me to come up with a quick response. But I will respond.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael (@30), I can’t speak for “certain religious people”, but myself, I would say that the evidence that undergirds my faith is a subset of my total faith. That is, I, too, believe there is evidence for my faith, but said evidence does not describe the whole of my faith.

    Perhaps it will help you to consider a situation of your own that might be similar. Think of what you believe about global warming. Is there evidence for your position? (I imagine there is.) But is there counter-evidence, evidence that offers a different explanation? (I imagine there is.) What makes you trust the evidence you do? (This is the faith I posit we have in all sources of information.) Then might you also say that there is evidence for your beliefs, but also appeal to your faith in a source’s trustworthiness? I don’t know where you stand on such things, but perhaps that resonates with you.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael (@30), I can’t speak for “certain religious people”, but myself, I would say that the evidence that undergirds my faith is a subset of my total faith. That is, I, too, believe there is evidence for my faith, but said evidence does not describe the whole of my faith.

    Perhaps it will help you to consider a situation of your own that might be similar. Think of what you believe about global warming. Is there evidence for your position? (I imagine there is.) But is there counter-evidence, evidence that offers a different explanation? (I imagine there is.) What makes you trust the evidence you do? (This is the faith I posit we have in all sources of information.) Then might you also say that there is evidence for your beliefs, but also appeal to your faith in a source’s trustworthiness? I don’t know where you stand on such things, but perhaps that resonates with you.

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD–

    Interesting. I’m not sure it does resonate with me. I don’t see that as similar at all. I am not a scientist, so I must trust science when it comes to the climate. I look at what evidence I can find and judge based on that. While there is counter-evidence, the evidence that humans are contributing to the acceleration of global warming seems to be as conclusive as it needs to be to warrant change.

    But, then, this analogy might be apt. Because, time and again, when asked what this evidence for their faith might possibly be, the faithful fall silent. This is not a challenge. I’d like to hear the evidence because I’ve never heard anything convincing. It’s like ID. The only evidence FOR ID is the (shaky) evidence AGAINST evolution. And it is just that: shaky. At best.

    As to your post at #21, I don’t really have anything to say. Your grasp of the language of science far outstrips mine. I will say that I don’t think science says anything about what happened before the universe began (although there are some obscure hypotheses like M theory). Of course an hypotheses such as that would only be provable mathematically. To some that’s proof, to others mind games.

    Another difference: I enjoy evidence as a way of talking about what we agree on in perception. I don’t think science contains the whole of life’s meaning, etc. But that’s a failing of language as much as science. Language is a tool of symbolism and not always very accurate. There may be things that are real but are not able to be accurately captured by language. Who knows? There’s probably already a study on that.

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD–

    Interesting. I’m not sure it does resonate with me. I don’t see that as similar at all. I am not a scientist, so I must trust science when it comes to the climate. I look at what evidence I can find and judge based on that. While there is counter-evidence, the evidence that humans are contributing to the acceleration of global warming seems to be as conclusive as it needs to be to warrant change.

    But, then, this analogy might be apt. Because, time and again, when asked what this evidence for their faith might possibly be, the faithful fall silent. This is not a challenge. I’d like to hear the evidence because I’ve never heard anything convincing. It’s like ID. The only evidence FOR ID is the (shaky) evidence AGAINST evolution. And it is just that: shaky. At best.

    As to your post at #21, I don’t really have anything to say. Your grasp of the language of science far outstrips mine. I will say that I don’t think science says anything about what happened before the universe began (although there are some obscure hypotheses like M theory). Of course an hypotheses such as that would only be provable mathematically. To some that’s proof, to others mind games.

    Another difference: I enjoy evidence as a way of talking about what we agree on in perception. I don’t think science contains the whole of life’s meaning, etc. But that’s a failing of language as much as science. Language is a tool of symbolism and not always very accurate. There may be things that are real but are not able to be accurately captured by language. Who knows? There’s probably already a study on that.

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael the little boot,
    i am always intrigued so, I will ask you. what evidence is there that the Gospels were written by men who lived to long after Christ to know what he said.
    In fact, I have read liberal theologians who posit this, say Bishop Spong. However, I have found them to be lacking in any real evidence for what they say.
    Most modern scholarship actually says the opposite. The accounts we have in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, were written by people who were there. Or in the case of Luke interviewed people who were there. pauls Epistles were almost certainly written by 70 a.d. The last gospel to be written, John, was probably written after the fall of the Temple. There is an early manuscript available that dates to aproximately 100 A.d. This suggests that the original was written earlier. So I have good reason to believe that the men who followed Jesus around for atleast three years, eating with him, studying with him, and so forth got his words and message right. But more than that is the empty tomb. If Jesus hadn’t risen I’d have no more reason to believe the words of Jesus than those of Moon.
    History too is a science, it has a method of inquiry as to validity of texts. When this method is applied to the manuscripts of the N.T. it turns out they hold up quite well.

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael the little boot,
    i am always intrigued so, I will ask you. what evidence is there that the Gospels were written by men who lived to long after Christ to know what he said.
    In fact, I have read liberal theologians who posit this, say Bishop Spong. However, I have found them to be lacking in any real evidence for what they say.
    Most modern scholarship actually says the opposite. The accounts we have in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, were written by people who were there. Or in the case of Luke interviewed people who were there. pauls Epistles were almost certainly written by 70 a.d. The last gospel to be written, John, was probably written after the fall of the Temple. There is an early manuscript available that dates to aproximately 100 A.d. This suggests that the original was written earlier. So I have good reason to believe that the men who followed Jesus around for atleast three years, eating with him, studying with him, and so forth got his words and message right. But more than that is the empty tomb. If Jesus hadn’t risen I’d have no more reason to believe the words of Jesus than those of Moon.
    History too is a science, it has a method of inquiry as to validity of texts. When this method is applied to the manuscripts of the N.T. it turns out they hold up quite well.

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael the little boot,
    I would like to know what books you have read on Intellegent Design to say the evidence for Id is only the evidence against evolution?
    I hate to inundate you with books. But perhaps you have access to Behe’s Book “Darwins Black Box.” I like you am not a scientist, Behe is. Neither do I have access to all the microscopes and materials it takes to study micro biology. Though my sister has a masters in it, She is now a doctor. I did however find his book to be fairly easy to read and the arguments he makes to be very plausible, and based on hard evidence. I watched him speak once at U.C. Irvine. He had the students there very upset. His term Irreducible Complexety, and how it applies equally well to a skin cell as to a mouse trap had them scrambling. Their professors were more or less silent, though they had access to the microphone. It really showed me at least how much you have to accept on faith inorder to believe in evolution. That two finches have different coloring is hardly evidence that man has the same ancestor as an ape.

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael the little boot,
    I would like to know what books you have read on Intellegent Design to say the evidence for Id is only the evidence against evolution?
    I hate to inundate you with books. But perhaps you have access to Behe’s Book “Darwins Black Box.” I like you am not a scientist, Behe is. Neither do I have access to all the microscopes and materials it takes to study micro biology. Though my sister has a masters in it, She is now a doctor. I did however find his book to be fairly easy to read and the arguments he makes to be very plausible, and based on hard evidence. I watched him speak once at U.C. Irvine. He had the students there very upset. His term Irreducible Complexety, and how it applies equally well to a skin cell as to a mouse trap had them scrambling. Their professors were more or less silent, though they had access to the microphone. It really showed me at least how much you have to accept on faith inorder to believe in evolution. That two finches have different coloring is hardly evidence that man has the same ancestor as an ape.

  • S Bauer

    Bror @ 27
    I am doing injustice to the endeavors of scientists? You yourself say there is no wedge between the faith one puts in “true” science and the faith one puts in Christ. I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. But at least I am admitting that my Christian faith is *prior* to my faith in the results of science.
    But what is “true” science? Now perhaps what you mean by “true” science is science whose results conform in some way to the Word of God and the “worldview” of the Christian faith. Most scientists would be the first to say that they are not doing that kind of “true” science at all.

    If, on the other hand, “true” science is strictly following the scientific method, then why is it that all the scientists pursuing that method keep coming up with conclusions that favor evolution rather than creationism or intelligent design? Are you saying that these scientists are inept or stupid? Or are they finding the evidence supports creation but are deliberately distorting their findings to fit into the accepted orthodoxy of the community? And then you say that I am the one doing injustice to their endeavors?

    Or could it be that there is a wedge (or an unbridgable gulf?) between the worldview they are working with and interpreting the evidence by and that of the Christian faith?

  • S Bauer

    Bror @ 27
    I am doing injustice to the endeavors of scientists? You yourself say there is no wedge between the faith one puts in “true” science and the faith one puts in Christ. I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. But at least I am admitting that my Christian faith is *prior* to my faith in the results of science.
    But what is “true” science? Now perhaps what you mean by “true” science is science whose results conform in some way to the Word of God and the “worldview” of the Christian faith. Most scientists would be the first to say that they are not doing that kind of “true” science at all.

    If, on the other hand, “true” science is strictly following the scientific method, then why is it that all the scientists pursuing that method keep coming up with conclusions that favor evolution rather than creationism or intelligent design? Are you saying that these scientists are inept or stupid? Or are they finding the evidence supports creation but are deliberately distorting their findings to fit into the accepted orthodoxy of the community? And then you say that I am the one doing injustice to their endeavors?

    Or could it be that there is a wedge (or an unbridgable gulf?) between the worldview they are working with and interpreting the evidence by and that of the Christian faith?

  • Bror Erickson

    S Bauer,
    You are saddly mistaken in the definitions you assign to me. Second, not all scientist are coming up with conclusions that favor evolution, or creation or Intellegent Design. (Here we get into interpretations of results and observations, not so much the “Science” itself.)
    There is not doubt that in the scientific community there is a worldview permeating that is contrary to the worldview of Christianity. But that worldview is not the science. In many cases people do find what they are looking for, by ingoring evidence to the contrary, and distorting results. But I think here you are making a mistake when you equate science to Evolution.
    So are you distorting faith when you make it out to be trust in someones word without evidence.
    So what do I mean by true science, Science that is observation and experimentation, and, to a certain extent, the interpretations and conclusions of the observations and experimentations. However, if I am reading a scientific journal or an article, and see faulty logic used in the interpretation of the results, I will not follow.
    So if you want to attack a worldview that is different than the worldview of Christianity. Have at it. But understand also there are many Christian scientists ( I do not mean the very unscientific religious body by that name.) That have faith in the results of their experiments the same way the have faith in Christ. It is not merely the word of one or the other that plays in the person putting their trust in science. Much of what passes for science has nothing more than the word of a Guru. I think here of Gould’s “puntuated Equallibrium” theory. But both the Christian faith, and science have much more than the word of so and so. There is also evidence. I don’t believe Newton because he says he saw an apple fall, but because I too see and apple fall.
    In the “science” of history, evidence is of a different nature, but it is still there. For intance if I found that Matthew was written in the third century, yet purports to be told by an eyewitness of the 1st century I would throw it out. However, evidence suggests that it was written in the first century.

  • Bror Erickson

    S Bauer,
    You are saddly mistaken in the definitions you assign to me. Second, not all scientist are coming up with conclusions that favor evolution, or creation or Intellegent Design. (Here we get into interpretations of results and observations, not so much the “Science” itself.)
    There is not doubt that in the scientific community there is a worldview permeating that is contrary to the worldview of Christianity. But that worldview is not the science. In many cases people do find what they are looking for, by ingoring evidence to the contrary, and distorting results. But I think here you are making a mistake when you equate science to Evolution.
    So are you distorting faith when you make it out to be trust in someones word without evidence.
    So what do I mean by true science, Science that is observation and experimentation, and, to a certain extent, the interpretations and conclusions of the observations and experimentations. However, if I am reading a scientific journal or an article, and see faulty logic used in the interpretation of the results, I will not follow.
    So if you want to attack a worldview that is different than the worldview of Christianity. Have at it. But understand also there are many Christian scientists ( I do not mean the very unscientific religious body by that name.) That have faith in the results of their experiments the same way the have faith in Christ. It is not merely the word of one or the other that plays in the person putting their trust in science. Much of what passes for science has nothing more than the word of a Guru. I think here of Gould’s “puntuated Equallibrium” theory. But both the Christian faith, and science have much more than the word of so and so. There is also evidence. I don’t believe Newton because he says he saw an apple fall, but because I too see and apple fall.
    In the “science” of history, evidence is of a different nature, but it is still there. For intance if I found that Matthew was written in the third century, yet purports to be told by an eyewitness of the 1st century I would throw it out. However, evidence suggests that it was written in the first century.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael (@32), I must admit to confusion. You say my attempted explanation (@31) doesn’t “resonate” with you, and then go on to say more or less what I’d said: “I am not a scientist, so I must trust science when it comes to the climate. I look at what evidence I can find and judge based on that.” Exactly! Evidence, and yet faith — faith in the evidence you believe in, and the ability to wisely cull that evidence from all possible “evidence”.

    The evidence of Christianity would, first and foremost, be the word of eyewitnesses to Jesus. Since they are long gone, it boils down to the transmission of his words via their words. There is also archaelogical evidence that confirms Biblical accounts. However, ultimately the core of Christianity does not come down to such evidence — to twist an earlier phrase, it correlates with Christianity, but is not its cause.

    Anyhow, I’m surprised that someone who can so confidently shoot down intelligent design or support evolution would consider my questions on science (@21) beyond his ability to answer. In fact, any discussion I would have regarding evolution would begin with my questions. For what it’s worth, though, I wasn’t talking about science and what happened before the universe began, but rather what happened after that, yet before scientific observation began. For instance, the Big Bang or evolution — how do you test such a hypothesis? What (faith-like) assumptions give rise to such theories?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael (@32), I must admit to confusion. You say my attempted explanation (@31) doesn’t “resonate” with you, and then go on to say more or less what I’d said: “I am not a scientist, so I must trust science when it comes to the climate. I look at what evidence I can find and judge based on that.” Exactly! Evidence, and yet faith — faith in the evidence you believe in, and the ability to wisely cull that evidence from all possible “evidence”.

    The evidence of Christianity would, first and foremost, be the word of eyewitnesses to Jesus. Since they are long gone, it boils down to the transmission of his words via their words. There is also archaelogical evidence that confirms Biblical accounts. However, ultimately the core of Christianity does not come down to such evidence — to twist an earlier phrase, it correlates with Christianity, but is not its cause.

    Anyhow, I’m surprised that someone who can so confidently shoot down intelligent design or support evolution would consider my questions on science (@21) beyond his ability to answer. In fact, any discussion I would have regarding evolution would begin with my questions. For what it’s worth, though, I wasn’t talking about science and what happened before the universe began, but rather what happened after that, yet before scientific observation began. For instance, the Big Bang or evolution — how do you test such a hypothesis? What (faith-like) assumptions give rise to such theories?

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD (above), yeah, it was late, and I think I got away from myself. Lost my own point. Which really wasn’t much anyway, but I’ll try to get it back. I was trying to say I put my trust in the scientist and his/her expertise. But I don’t find there are any experts in faith that I can trust on the subject of…FAITH! Not faith in science, which, as I said, I think is the wrong term. I trust science. But faith, when it comes to faith in Jesus, God, ID, etc, is based only on faith.

    It is based on the words of supposed eyewitnesses. What is your evidence for that? If someone gave me a book that said the things about Jesus that the Gospels (sometimes) say, and then told me they believed it based on reading it in this one book only, I wouldn’t know what to say. When I want to know something about a subject, I don’t just read one book. I don’t just read four books. I read what is available that I have time to read. And if that takes me years, cool. I don’t have a deadline for learning. I also have no need for answers. I just enjoy learning things that change the way I think. But you’ve got the answers all in one compilation of several books–except that the only witness you can produce as to the authenticity of the books are the books themselves.

    I say this and once again ask that the ample evidence for the death and resurrection of Jesus be presented. I believe there is more reason to trust the scientists who say there is NO SUCH THING as Global Warming than there is to trust the most learned theologian about God, because the evidence in the former case has been obtained through rigorous science, whereas the latter is an opinion. That opinion may be steeped in years of education in the scripture of choice as well as the theological literature. It may have decades behind the pulpit or spent locked in debate about every last detail of the religion. But it lacks the compelling evidence to which one can point. It is, to quote the bard, sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Where is the archaeological evidence? Even at the Christian college I attended they debunked much of the supposed evidence. Can you point me to the literature? I’m seriously interested. Was the research done by a wide variety of people–Christian and non? In other words, was it checked and rechecked and shown to be the case time and again? In the literature and films I was shown in college about the subject (and I apologize that I cannot remember the names so as to include them in order to appear credible) the research was done by large teams at different times corroborating the finds.

    And that’s the difference between faith in faith and trust in science, to me. I trust that the multiple individuals involved in separately confirming or refuting evidence can be checks and balances on each other. I recognize that this is not always the case. At the same time, if science is wrong, I lose no ground. I simply say “Ah, I was wrong! So, what do they think now? Is it interesting to me as well?” Because I don’t hang my eternal hat on whether science is correct or not. It just seems to provide a more compelling idea for me than any religion at this point.

    As for your comments @ 21…I have not read much about chaotic systems. But since you goad, I will try. Let me start off by saying I do not assume you are anti-science. You have a point of view you’ve obviously thought about and about which you’ve clearly done research.

    There are some ways I am aware of to test whether the “Big Bang” theory (a misnomer if there ever was one) was a probable cause of the beginning of our universe. Scientists actually made predictions about the universe based on the Big Bang Theory that we have since been able to observe: the expansion of the universe, the cosmic microwave background radiation, cosmological red shift, the combination and distribution of galaxies. There is more than ample evidence to confirm these.

    At the same time, accepting the evidence requires trust. There are ways of arriving at trust. One can look over the other works of the scientists in question. Are they honest? Rigorous? Do they stand up to scrutiny? If their theories are refuted, do they own up to it, do they work harder to come up with ways to refute the refutation, or do they simply say “I am not wrong”? This is, or course, an acceptance, but it is not a blind acceptance. And I posit that, while religion itself may not be an irrational choice, once that choice is made the religious tend to defend their views to the point of becoming irrational.

    One cannot isolate the parts of the system enough to prove Global Warming, but one does not have to because seeing the earth as a whole is essential to solving the problem. This is how they’ve come up with their evidence. Experimentation involves mathematical modeling as much as any other practical tool. Not only do they gather the evidence from the system itself–such as drilling at the ice caps and checking the core samples to see what the earth was like at different times–they extrapolate from their findings to make mathematical predictions that we can also verify. (It may take years to do that, however, which is part of the reason for the urgency: if their predictions are correct, by the time we find out that they made the right judgment it may be too late. It seems the evidence is compelling enough to begin making changes.)

    I think nutrition is a bad example of a field that is fairly free to make balanced judgments. The special interest groups–pharmaceutical companies, food production corporations–fund so much research that it is hard to tell whether that is the cause of the confusion, or if it is the science that is culpable. It could also be that it’s just an incredibly young field.

    You said “Suffice it to say that I believe scientists’ conclusions when their hypotheses involve situations that can be reduced to a single variable in controlled, reproduceable situations.” Wow. You’ve effectively limited all of science. So why then, in a system as complex as a triune God with a bunch of angels and a demigod Satan that are in control over this whole–not uncomplex itself–universe, do you not only NOT need evidence, but accept blind faith?

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD (above), yeah, it was late, and I think I got away from myself. Lost my own point. Which really wasn’t much anyway, but I’ll try to get it back. I was trying to say I put my trust in the scientist and his/her expertise. But I don’t find there are any experts in faith that I can trust on the subject of…FAITH! Not faith in science, which, as I said, I think is the wrong term. I trust science. But faith, when it comes to faith in Jesus, God, ID, etc, is based only on faith.

    It is based on the words of supposed eyewitnesses. What is your evidence for that? If someone gave me a book that said the things about Jesus that the Gospels (sometimes) say, and then told me they believed it based on reading it in this one book only, I wouldn’t know what to say. When I want to know something about a subject, I don’t just read one book. I don’t just read four books. I read what is available that I have time to read. And if that takes me years, cool. I don’t have a deadline for learning. I also have no need for answers. I just enjoy learning things that change the way I think. But you’ve got the answers all in one compilation of several books–except that the only witness you can produce as to the authenticity of the books are the books themselves.

    I say this and once again ask that the ample evidence for the death and resurrection of Jesus be presented. I believe there is more reason to trust the scientists who say there is NO SUCH THING as Global Warming than there is to trust the most learned theologian about God, because the evidence in the former case has been obtained through rigorous science, whereas the latter is an opinion. That opinion may be steeped in years of education in the scripture of choice as well as the theological literature. It may have decades behind the pulpit or spent locked in debate about every last detail of the religion. But it lacks the compelling evidence to which one can point. It is, to quote the bard, sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Where is the archaeological evidence? Even at the Christian college I attended they debunked much of the supposed evidence. Can you point me to the literature? I’m seriously interested. Was the research done by a wide variety of people–Christian and non? In other words, was it checked and rechecked and shown to be the case time and again? In the literature and films I was shown in college about the subject (and I apologize that I cannot remember the names so as to include them in order to appear credible) the research was done by large teams at different times corroborating the finds.

    And that’s the difference between faith in faith and trust in science, to me. I trust that the multiple individuals involved in separately confirming or refuting evidence can be checks and balances on each other. I recognize that this is not always the case. At the same time, if science is wrong, I lose no ground. I simply say “Ah, I was wrong! So, what do they think now? Is it interesting to me as well?” Because I don’t hang my eternal hat on whether science is correct or not. It just seems to provide a more compelling idea for me than any religion at this point.

    As for your comments @ 21…I have not read much about chaotic systems. But since you goad, I will try. Let me start off by saying I do not assume you are anti-science. You have a point of view you’ve obviously thought about and about which you’ve clearly done research.

    There are some ways I am aware of to test whether the “Big Bang” theory (a misnomer if there ever was one) was a probable cause of the beginning of our universe. Scientists actually made predictions about the universe based on the Big Bang Theory that we have since been able to observe: the expansion of the universe, the cosmic microwave background radiation, cosmological red shift, the combination and distribution of galaxies. There is more than ample evidence to confirm these.

    At the same time, accepting the evidence requires trust. There are ways of arriving at trust. One can look over the other works of the scientists in question. Are they honest? Rigorous? Do they stand up to scrutiny? If their theories are refuted, do they own up to it, do they work harder to come up with ways to refute the refutation, or do they simply say “I am not wrong”? This is, or course, an acceptance, but it is not a blind acceptance. And I posit that, while religion itself may not be an irrational choice, once that choice is made the religious tend to defend their views to the point of becoming irrational.

    One cannot isolate the parts of the system enough to prove Global Warming, but one does not have to because seeing the earth as a whole is essential to solving the problem. This is how they’ve come up with their evidence. Experimentation involves mathematical modeling as much as any other practical tool. Not only do they gather the evidence from the system itself–such as drilling at the ice caps and checking the core samples to see what the earth was like at different times–they extrapolate from their findings to make mathematical predictions that we can also verify. (It may take years to do that, however, which is part of the reason for the urgency: if their predictions are correct, by the time we find out that they made the right judgment it may be too late. It seems the evidence is compelling enough to begin making changes.)

    I think nutrition is a bad example of a field that is fairly free to make balanced judgments. The special interest groups–pharmaceutical companies, food production corporations–fund so much research that it is hard to tell whether that is the cause of the confusion, or if it is the science that is culpable. It could also be that it’s just an incredibly young field.

    You said “Suffice it to say that I believe scientists’ conclusions when their hypotheses involve situations that can be reduced to a single variable in controlled, reproduceable situations.” Wow. You’ve effectively limited all of science. So why then, in a system as complex as a triune God with a bunch of angels and a demigod Satan that are in control over this whole–not uncomplex itself–universe, do you not only NOT need evidence, but accept blind faith?

  • WebMonk

    Michael – if you are seriously questioning how we can trust that the deeds and words of Jesus have accurately been passed on to us, you just haven’t done any studying on your own on this topic. I think you’re repeating things you’ve heard others say.

    As has been said above – we have the actual, physical documents of the entire New Testament within 70 years of Jesus’ death. Heck, there are even a couple of partials that linguistic scientists are pretty sure are autographs of the Apostles.

    You’re obviously pretty interested in science, and you are knowledgeable on it, but it seems you aren’t aware of linguistic sciences that work with just as much accuracy as chemistry. These historical sciences all testify that the New Testament we have today is something like 99.99% accurate to the original autographs.

    Why trust those autographs are true? Because the facts contained in them are backed up and confirmed by dozens of other historical documents. There are documents, by non-Christians, confirming the accuracy of the Gospels. There is even a significant “evidence of silence” – Christianity was heavily persecuted and maligned from the very beginning, but there are no documents from that time pointing out any errors.

    Not everything is provable, heaven for one, but those who speak of heaven are able to be proved truthful in many other areas. Those areas are not independent of what they say about heaven, and so we have a very good reason to have faith in heaven. Christianity is not a blind faith, it is a faith for very good reasons.

    I love your statement:
    “At the same time, accepting the evidence requires trust. There are ways of arriving at trust. One can look over the other works of the scientists in question. Are they honest? Rigorous? Do they stand up to scrutiny? If their theories are refuted, do they own up to it, do they work harder to come up with ways to refute the refutation, or do they simply say “I am not wrong”? This is, or course, an acceptance, but it is not a blind acceptance.”

    This is the EXACT same sort of faith/trust we have – like your acceptance of astrophysicists’ statements of stars and galaxies, our acceptance of Christianity is not a blind acceptance.

    I don’t know if you’re in to heavy research, and if so, I can give you those too, but some light introductory books which talk about the reasons for the Christian faith are:

    More Than a Carpenter
    The Case For Christ
    New Evidence That Demands A Verdict
    (There’s ‘Evidence That Demands A Verdict’ too)

    None of these provide all the in-depth support which can be given to back them up, but that support does exist. These are easy-reader versions and don’t try to rigorously show all the background support. That support exists, but in heavy, somewhat boring research books.

  • WebMonk

    Michael – if you are seriously questioning how we can trust that the deeds and words of Jesus have accurately been passed on to us, you just haven’t done any studying on your own on this topic. I think you’re repeating things you’ve heard others say.

    As has been said above – we have the actual, physical documents of the entire New Testament within 70 years of Jesus’ death. Heck, there are even a couple of partials that linguistic scientists are pretty sure are autographs of the Apostles.

    You’re obviously pretty interested in science, and you are knowledgeable on it, but it seems you aren’t aware of linguistic sciences that work with just as much accuracy as chemistry. These historical sciences all testify that the New Testament we have today is something like 99.99% accurate to the original autographs.

    Why trust those autographs are true? Because the facts contained in them are backed up and confirmed by dozens of other historical documents. There are documents, by non-Christians, confirming the accuracy of the Gospels. There is even a significant “evidence of silence” – Christianity was heavily persecuted and maligned from the very beginning, but there are no documents from that time pointing out any errors.

    Not everything is provable, heaven for one, but those who speak of heaven are able to be proved truthful in many other areas. Those areas are not independent of what they say about heaven, and so we have a very good reason to have faith in heaven. Christianity is not a blind faith, it is a faith for very good reasons.

    I love your statement:
    “At the same time, accepting the evidence requires trust. There are ways of arriving at trust. One can look over the other works of the scientists in question. Are they honest? Rigorous? Do they stand up to scrutiny? If their theories are refuted, do they own up to it, do they work harder to come up with ways to refute the refutation, or do they simply say “I am not wrong”? This is, or course, an acceptance, but it is not a blind acceptance.”

    This is the EXACT same sort of faith/trust we have – like your acceptance of astrophysicists’ statements of stars and galaxies, our acceptance of Christianity is not a blind acceptance.

    I don’t know if you’re in to heavy research, and if so, I can give you those too, but some light introductory books which talk about the reasons for the Christian faith are:

    More Than a Carpenter
    The Case For Christ
    New Evidence That Demands A Verdict
    (There’s ‘Evidence That Demands A Verdict’ too)

    None of these provide all the in-depth support which can be given to back them up, but that support does exist. These are easy-reader versions and don’t try to rigorously show all the background support. That support exists, but in heavy, somewhat boring research books.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bror Erickson @ 33,

    Have you read anyone other than Spong? How about Raymond E. Brown, a conservative scholar (though not an inerrantist)? He put the dates as follows: Mark: 68–73 CE; Matthew: 70–100; Luke: 80–100; John: 90–110 (however, most scholars conclude that John was written in stages by many people, so one date may not be an accurate view). If the average life expectancy of a man back then (since women lived much shorter lives, and half of men that survived birth probably didn’t make it past twelve) was 20-30, it’s hard to see how these dates would add up to authorship by the men to whom the books are attributed. Every one of them would need to live to a ripe old age to have written those books, even assuming they were ten-fifteen years younger than Jesus. And that’s trusting a conservative, Catholic scholar. (It’s also the majority view among scholars.)

    There may be a scrap of a manuscript. In fact, I think that’s all there is! And that dates to the second century, if I’m not mistaken. Which would not preclude the above dates. Also, not even the Biblical accounts agree as to an exact period of time Jesus was with the apostles. To deny that is to deny your own scripture.

    “But more than that is the empty tomb.”

    Really? Once again, where? Can you point to it? Are you, once again, referring to the book whose only material source of credibility is itself? Claiming the empty tomb does not lend it credence. It would have to be born out by some evidence.

    “History too is a science, it has a method of inquiry as to validity of texts. When this method is applied to the manuscripts of the N.T. it turns out they hold up quite well.”

    Absolutely. Textual criticism, historical criticism. But this is still a highly disputed area of archaeology. There is hardly what could be called consensus. I’d love for you actually to back up what you say here.

    I have read Behe. His arguments are more than widely disputed. They are almost universally panned. I imagine the professors were silent so as not to promote the myth that there is a “controversy” between ID and evolution by natural selection. One is religion without scientific evidence, the other is strict science. There is actually ample evidence that we share a common ancestor with apes. Not only the fossil evidence, which is not always reliable (although we do have fossil evidence of intermediate species, contrary to what ID proponents would like one to believe), but the overwhelming genetic evidence.

    I don’t know what your sister having a masters’ degree in microbiology has to do with anything.

    Behe’s appeal to irreducible complexity has mostly to do with things like the bacterial flagellum, 40 of the 42 proteins of which can be found in other bacteria to be doing other things, or the eye, which is even more ridiculous. As has been stated many times by smarter men, the obviousness of the benefits half an eye would offer a creature–as opposed to no eye at all–cannot be overstated. In fact, just the ability to distinguish between light and dark would provide a huge advantage.

    In order to believe in evolution, as I stated before to tODD, one must trust scientists and the scientific method, which is not the same as having blind faith. Having evidence is not the same as creating the appearance of evidence in order to continue to believe what you want in the face of refutation.

    “That two finches have different coloring is hardly evidence that man has the same ancestor as an ape.”

    Thank you. You are correct. The reality is much more complex. Go to the library and ask the reference librarian “do you have any books on evolution?” If you’re open, you’ll be overwhelmed by the list of titles you’ll receive.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bror Erickson @ 33,

    Have you read anyone other than Spong? How about Raymond E. Brown, a conservative scholar (though not an inerrantist)? He put the dates as follows: Mark: 68–73 CE; Matthew: 70–100; Luke: 80–100; John: 90–110 (however, most scholars conclude that John was written in stages by many people, so one date may not be an accurate view). If the average life expectancy of a man back then (since women lived much shorter lives, and half of men that survived birth probably didn’t make it past twelve) was 20-30, it’s hard to see how these dates would add up to authorship by the men to whom the books are attributed. Every one of them would need to live to a ripe old age to have written those books, even assuming they were ten-fifteen years younger than Jesus. And that’s trusting a conservative, Catholic scholar. (It’s also the majority view among scholars.)

    There may be a scrap of a manuscript. In fact, I think that’s all there is! And that dates to the second century, if I’m not mistaken. Which would not preclude the above dates. Also, not even the Biblical accounts agree as to an exact period of time Jesus was with the apostles. To deny that is to deny your own scripture.

    “But more than that is the empty tomb.”

    Really? Once again, where? Can you point to it? Are you, once again, referring to the book whose only material source of credibility is itself? Claiming the empty tomb does not lend it credence. It would have to be born out by some evidence.

    “History too is a science, it has a method of inquiry as to validity of texts. When this method is applied to the manuscripts of the N.T. it turns out they hold up quite well.”

    Absolutely. Textual criticism, historical criticism. But this is still a highly disputed area of archaeology. There is hardly what could be called consensus. I’d love for you actually to back up what you say here.

    I have read Behe. His arguments are more than widely disputed. They are almost universally panned. I imagine the professors were silent so as not to promote the myth that there is a “controversy” between ID and evolution by natural selection. One is religion without scientific evidence, the other is strict science. There is actually ample evidence that we share a common ancestor with apes. Not only the fossil evidence, which is not always reliable (although we do have fossil evidence of intermediate species, contrary to what ID proponents would like one to believe), but the overwhelming genetic evidence.

    I don’t know what your sister having a masters’ degree in microbiology has to do with anything.

    Behe’s appeal to irreducible complexity has mostly to do with things like the bacterial flagellum, 40 of the 42 proteins of which can be found in other bacteria to be doing other things, or the eye, which is even more ridiculous. As has been stated many times by smarter men, the obviousness of the benefits half an eye would offer a creature–as opposed to no eye at all–cannot be overstated. In fact, just the ability to distinguish between light and dark would provide a huge advantage.

    In order to believe in evolution, as I stated before to tODD, one must trust scientists and the scientific method, which is not the same as having blind faith. Having evidence is not the same as creating the appearance of evidence in order to continue to believe what you want in the face of refutation.

    “That two finches have different coloring is hardly evidence that man has the same ancestor as an ape.”

    Thank you. You are correct. The reality is much more complex. Go to the library and ask the reference librarian “do you have any books on evolution?” If you’re open, you’ll be overwhelmed by the list of titles you’ll receive.

  • Michael the little boot

    WebMonk @ 39,

    What you are alleging is so absolutely far from true that I cannot conjure the words to describe how far from true it is. I am stupefied. You can claim that there is evidence all you want, but if you don’t GIVE ANY–other than to say that everyone of the scholars agrees (without naming any of the scholars or SUPPORTING your statements)–you’re just whistling in the dark. You tell me I’m only quoting others, and then you give me unsupported statements and tell me to read some books? Books by Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel? If I was inclined to be insulted I would be so.

    But this kind of circular logic–once again appealing to the Bible, then only to unnamed “scholars” and other sources apparently so convincing that they need not actually be mentioned–doesn’t merit taking offense.

    (Aside: I hope the scholars to which you referred are not actually McDowell and Strobel, neither of whom are scholars; nor is either credible in any field outside the infinitesimally sub-marginal “discipline” of Christian Apologetics.)

    We don’t have the original autographs or anything near them. Where are they? In which museum or university? I mean, if you’ve got ‘em squirreled away somewhere, let’s have ‘em! That would be a major historical find. Any true scientist, in search of what IS, would be happy to know we had the original documents. Scientists, you see, are not generally interested in proving what they believe. They’re just interested in finding out what they can find out. If you can show them these manuscripts, you would be a hero.

    But you can’t. Because they do not exist. And since they don’t exist, your claim that “These historical sciences all testify that the New Testament we have today is something like 99.99% accurate to the original autographs,” is not only wildly overstated, but completely false. Except it’s a good trick, because it’s not falsifiable.

    And that’s what religion likes to do: play tricks. By appealing to the “original autographs”–even though you more than imply they exist–you create a logic-free zone for yourself. They don’t have to exist in order for you to be right, because you can always appeal to the fact that we can’t know. I mean, that would be a flip-flop, but you could pull it off. You’ve got more than enough support from others here to do it. And I wouldn’t be able to PROVE they aren’t 99.99% accurate to the “originals,” by which you would claim victory.

    But you can’t appeal to a non-existent source. So produce the originals or be silent.

    I don’t trust that the Bible is accurate because it is demonstrably NOT accurate. I don’t trust that the other books of the time have anything other than a similar worldview (i.e., they are so limited by the things they did not know–like the theory of gravitation, or the theory of evolution, or about DNA–and so could not make accurate predictions), and therefore cannot be as accurate in describing reality as modern methods.

    There is nothing from back then to refute the Bible? I don’t think anyone was worrying about writing critiques of little circulating scrolls. They thought they would kill all of the Christians. Most non-Christians then probably didn’t even know about the writings. What need would they have had to know? The soldiers were doing the hunting and killing.

    Your logic is fallacious. You appeal to a non-existent manuscript and to two unqualified authorities. I am very much into heavy research, as I have said many times. So gimme the list. I want everything you’ve got. All the books, articles, anything you can tell me. Including the location of these alleged original autographs.

  • Michael the little boot

    WebMonk @ 39,

    What you are alleging is so absolutely far from true that I cannot conjure the words to describe how far from true it is. I am stupefied. You can claim that there is evidence all you want, but if you don’t GIVE ANY–other than to say that everyone of the scholars agrees (without naming any of the scholars or SUPPORTING your statements)–you’re just whistling in the dark. You tell me I’m only quoting others, and then you give me unsupported statements and tell me to read some books? Books by Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel? If I was inclined to be insulted I would be so.

    But this kind of circular logic–once again appealing to the Bible, then only to unnamed “scholars” and other sources apparently so convincing that they need not actually be mentioned–doesn’t merit taking offense.

    (Aside: I hope the scholars to which you referred are not actually McDowell and Strobel, neither of whom are scholars; nor is either credible in any field outside the infinitesimally sub-marginal “discipline” of Christian Apologetics.)

    We don’t have the original autographs or anything near them. Where are they? In which museum or university? I mean, if you’ve got ‘em squirreled away somewhere, let’s have ‘em! That would be a major historical find. Any true scientist, in search of what IS, would be happy to know we had the original documents. Scientists, you see, are not generally interested in proving what they believe. They’re just interested in finding out what they can find out. If you can show them these manuscripts, you would be a hero.

    But you can’t. Because they do not exist. And since they don’t exist, your claim that “These historical sciences all testify that the New Testament we have today is something like 99.99% accurate to the original autographs,” is not only wildly overstated, but completely false. Except it’s a good trick, because it’s not falsifiable.

    And that’s what religion likes to do: play tricks. By appealing to the “original autographs”–even though you more than imply they exist–you create a logic-free zone for yourself. They don’t have to exist in order for you to be right, because you can always appeal to the fact that we can’t know. I mean, that would be a flip-flop, but you could pull it off. You’ve got more than enough support from others here to do it. And I wouldn’t be able to PROVE they aren’t 99.99% accurate to the “originals,” by which you would claim victory.

    But you can’t appeal to a non-existent source. So produce the originals or be silent.

    I don’t trust that the Bible is accurate because it is demonstrably NOT accurate. I don’t trust that the other books of the time have anything other than a similar worldview (i.e., they are so limited by the things they did not know–like the theory of gravitation, or the theory of evolution, or about DNA–and so could not make accurate predictions), and therefore cannot be as accurate in describing reality as modern methods.

    There is nothing from back then to refute the Bible? I don’t think anyone was worrying about writing critiques of little circulating scrolls. They thought they would kill all of the Christians. Most non-Christians then probably didn’t even know about the writings. What need would they have had to know? The soldiers were doing the hunting and killing.

    Your logic is fallacious. You appeal to a non-existent manuscript and to two unqualified authorities. I am very much into heavy research, as I have said many times. So gimme the list. I want everything you’ve got. All the books, articles, anything you can tell me. Including the location of these alleged original autographs.

  • WebMonk

    Dude, what you are alleging is so absolutely far from true that I cannot conjure the words to describe how far from true it is. You’re “into heavy research”, huh? You don’t sound like it by making blanket statements on topics that you’ve never studied.

    For the books, did I not tell you that they are coffee-table quality? I told you that, yet you accuse me of trying to pass them off as scholarly works??? They aren’t, but they’re a place to start for beginners – which you are. McDowell’s “Evidence” isn’t a scholarly treatise, but rather a compilation of scholarly material and is accurate in what it states. They all list their scholarly supports which are good continuations for those interested in deeper research. I’m not about to re-type all their sources for you, but one I thought was good is “A General Introduction to the Bible” (Geisler and Nix) – definitely scholarly, but still readable by laymen.

    I think I just noticed something in my previous post that might cause confusion. It was my train-of-thought typing that didn’t get put down quite right. “we have the actual, physical documents of the entire New Testament within 70 years of Jesus’ death.” That might sound like I’m saying we have full documents that were written in 100AD, and if it sounds like that I’m sorry – that’s not what I intended. We have documents of what was written within 70 years (most likely within 30 years) after Jesus’ death. We have a copy of the entire NT (Chester Beatty Papyri) which has been dated to before 200AD. There are numerous earlier partials from which we can recreate the entire NT (Lukan papyrus[90-110AD], John Ryland Museum’s St John papyrus[130AD], and many more).

    The fragments that MIGHT be autographs are of the Gospels and you can check out “Eyewitness to Jesus” and “The Jesus Papyrus” by Thiede. These are books by the researcher who studied the possible autographs.

    You don’t think anyone was interested in writing critiques of the letters? Try again. They did, but they were not “exposès” but rather condemnations and quite a bit of name-calling. Much later, there are some poor alternate claims (Gospel of Thomas for one), but none of these are considered to be truthful even by purely secular scholars. But the argument of silence is a side issue – the Bible can stand as reliable without it.

    We’ve given you a starting point if you’re interested in actually looking into the issue. Once you’re actually familiar with the topic, THEN you can start trying to debunk it if you can. Just claiming that there’s nothing to support the Bible is nothing more than saying “I’m right” but giving no reason. Go find some reasons why all the Biblical supports are wrong.

  • WebMonk

    Dude, what you are alleging is so absolutely far from true that I cannot conjure the words to describe how far from true it is. You’re “into heavy research”, huh? You don’t sound like it by making blanket statements on topics that you’ve never studied.

    For the books, did I not tell you that they are coffee-table quality? I told you that, yet you accuse me of trying to pass them off as scholarly works??? They aren’t, but they’re a place to start for beginners – which you are. McDowell’s “Evidence” isn’t a scholarly treatise, but rather a compilation of scholarly material and is accurate in what it states. They all list their scholarly supports which are good continuations for those interested in deeper research. I’m not about to re-type all their sources for you, but one I thought was good is “A General Introduction to the Bible” (Geisler and Nix) – definitely scholarly, but still readable by laymen.

    I think I just noticed something in my previous post that might cause confusion. It was my train-of-thought typing that didn’t get put down quite right. “we have the actual, physical documents of the entire New Testament within 70 years of Jesus’ death.” That might sound like I’m saying we have full documents that were written in 100AD, and if it sounds like that I’m sorry – that’s not what I intended. We have documents of what was written within 70 years (most likely within 30 years) after Jesus’ death. We have a copy of the entire NT (Chester Beatty Papyri) which has been dated to before 200AD. There are numerous earlier partials from which we can recreate the entire NT (Lukan papyrus[90-110AD], John Ryland Museum’s St John papyrus[130AD], and many more).

    The fragments that MIGHT be autographs are of the Gospels and you can check out “Eyewitness to Jesus” and “The Jesus Papyrus” by Thiede. These are books by the researcher who studied the possible autographs.

    You don’t think anyone was interested in writing critiques of the letters? Try again. They did, but they were not “exposès” but rather condemnations and quite a bit of name-calling. Much later, there are some poor alternate claims (Gospel of Thomas for one), but none of these are considered to be truthful even by purely secular scholars. But the argument of silence is a side issue – the Bible can stand as reliable without it.

    We’ve given you a starting point if you’re interested in actually looking into the issue. Once you’re actually familiar with the topic, THEN you can start trying to debunk it if you can. Just claiming that there’s nothing to support the Bible is nothing more than saying “I’m right” but giving no reason. Go find some reasons why all the Biblical supports are wrong.

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael the little boot,
    I’m enjoyig this conversation. I like how you appeal to Brown’s Scholarship, and then debunk the Scholarship saying “Absolutely. Textual criticism, historical criticism. But this is still a highly disputed area of archaeology. There is hardly what could be called consensus. I’d love for you actually to back up what you say here”

    So which is it are you going to go with it, or not. I don’t agree with Browns conclusions. Those that date Matthew to after 70 A.D. Normally, do so because the destruction of the temple is mentioned in a prophecy. If it was written before 70 A.D then it would prove prophecy to be true, and make Christ more than a nice little teacher of morals. It is also circular reasoning at it’s best.
    To say that the disciples could not have lived beyond 20 to 30 years after Christ’s death assuming they were fifteen when He died. Is nonesense! Sure the average life expectancy may have been thirty, but I don’t think there is any way of really knowing that. Many of Christ’s extra Biblical historical contemporaries lived longer then fifty. Why is it not possible that Matthew, and John did too? Mary the mother of Christ was at the cross, If Jesus was thirty she had to be about 45 at the time.
    We ourselves even today have run into people that life well beyond the “average.” When you factor infant mortality into the who equation the results become very skewed. But normally when a person was able to live past adolescence they were expected to live quite a long time, barring death in war, or falling off a horse.
    After all the air was cleaner, people excersized more out of necessity, and generally ate better out of necessity too (better meaning nutritionally better), and smoking hadn’t been invented yet.
    Oh, and 2nd century is another way of saying 100 A.D. If it is not the original, than It must have been written before then. What “evidence” do you have that John was written by successive authors?
    So can I point to the Empty tomb? Yes at least figuratively. Can you point to the body of Christ, his skeleton anything?

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael the little boot,
    I’m enjoyig this conversation. I like how you appeal to Brown’s Scholarship, and then debunk the Scholarship saying “Absolutely. Textual criticism, historical criticism. But this is still a highly disputed area of archaeology. There is hardly what could be called consensus. I’d love for you actually to back up what you say here”

    So which is it are you going to go with it, or not. I don’t agree with Browns conclusions. Those that date Matthew to after 70 A.D. Normally, do so because the destruction of the temple is mentioned in a prophecy. If it was written before 70 A.D then it would prove prophecy to be true, and make Christ more than a nice little teacher of morals. It is also circular reasoning at it’s best.
    To say that the disciples could not have lived beyond 20 to 30 years after Christ’s death assuming they were fifteen when He died. Is nonesense! Sure the average life expectancy may have been thirty, but I don’t think there is any way of really knowing that. Many of Christ’s extra Biblical historical contemporaries lived longer then fifty. Why is it not possible that Matthew, and John did too? Mary the mother of Christ was at the cross, If Jesus was thirty she had to be about 45 at the time.
    We ourselves even today have run into people that life well beyond the “average.” When you factor infant mortality into the who equation the results become very skewed. But normally when a person was able to live past adolescence they were expected to live quite a long time, barring death in war, or falling off a horse.
    After all the air was cleaner, people excersized more out of necessity, and generally ate better out of necessity too (better meaning nutritionally better), and smoking hadn’t been invented yet.
    Oh, and 2nd century is another way of saying 100 A.D. If it is not the original, than It must have been written before then. What “evidence” do you have that John was written by successive authors?
    So can I point to the Empty tomb? Yes at least figuratively. Can you point to the body of Christ, his skeleton anything?

  • S Bauer

    Bror, I apologize for sounding like I was attributing definitions to you that you, in fact, are not working with. I was trying to throw out some approaches that immediately came to mind in an attempt to understand where you are coming from. I could have written more clearly. And I do not think I was equating science with evolution. I was using evolution as an example of where following the scientific method does not guarantee that presuppositions will not determine the conclusions reached.

    I appreciate you clarifying what you think for me: “So what do I mean by true science, Science that is observation and experimentation, and, to a certain extent, the interpretations and conclusions of the observations and experimentations. However, if I am reading a scientific journal or an article, and see faulty logic used in the interpretation of the results, I will not follow.”

    The phrase, “to a certain extent” is the crux of the whole problem. Where does one “draw the line”? I disagree with the idea that faulty logic is the thing that leads science to take the evidence down false paths. Sure, that happens in many instances. But even impeccable logic will lead to false conclusions given false premises. You have mentioned Behe as a scientist I am assuming you would consider practicing “true science”. One of Behe’s principle arguments against evolutionary theory is “irreducible complexity”. But Richard Dawkins in “The Blind Watchmaker” explains the development of “irreducible complexity” in evolutionary terms. I have worked over his argument several times and have not yet been able to find a flaw in his logic. If you or anyone else can point it out to me, I’d appreciate it.

    I also disagree that faith in the results of science is the same as the faith one has in Christ, both resting on humanly determined evidence, if that is what you are saying. But I don’t have time to go into that right now.

  • S Bauer

    Bror, I apologize for sounding like I was attributing definitions to you that you, in fact, are not working with. I was trying to throw out some approaches that immediately came to mind in an attempt to understand where you are coming from. I could have written more clearly. And I do not think I was equating science with evolution. I was using evolution as an example of where following the scientific method does not guarantee that presuppositions will not determine the conclusions reached.

    I appreciate you clarifying what you think for me: “So what do I mean by true science, Science that is observation and experimentation, and, to a certain extent, the interpretations and conclusions of the observations and experimentations. However, if I am reading a scientific journal or an article, and see faulty logic used in the interpretation of the results, I will not follow.”

    The phrase, “to a certain extent” is the crux of the whole problem. Where does one “draw the line”? I disagree with the idea that faulty logic is the thing that leads science to take the evidence down false paths. Sure, that happens in many instances. But even impeccable logic will lead to false conclusions given false premises. You have mentioned Behe as a scientist I am assuming you would consider practicing “true science”. One of Behe’s principle arguments against evolutionary theory is “irreducible complexity”. But Richard Dawkins in “The Blind Watchmaker” explains the development of “irreducible complexity” in evolutionary terms. I have worked over his argument several times and have not yet been able to find a flaw in his logic. If you or anyone else can point it out to me, I’d appreciate it.

    I also disagree that faith in the results of science is the same as the faith one has in Christ, both resting on humanly determined evidence, if that is what you are saying. But I don’t have time to go into that right now.

  • Bror Erickson

    S Bauer,
    Maybe at the next District whatever we’ll have to get a beer together. Ther is always so much to read, and read and read, but I’ll have to go and get Dawkins book.
    I will say though that part and parcel of logic challenging premesis. no doubt given the false premises will lead even with otherwise good logice to faulty conclusions. One needs to ask why this premise and not another one. This often is where you see bias sneek in the door.

  • Bror Erickson

    S Bauer,
    Maybe at the next District whatever we’ll have to get a beer together. Ther is always so much to read, and read and read, but I’ll have to go and get Dawkins book.
    I will say though that part and parcel of logic challenging premesis. no doubt given the false premises will lead even with otherwise good logice to faulty conclusions. One needs to ask why this premise and not another one. This often is where you see bias sneek in the door.

  • WebMonk

    SBauer, it’s been a while since I’ve read “The Blind Watchmaker” and it’s on loan to someone at the moment, so I can’t quote you chapter and verse.

    In my opinion, the biggest hole in his set of arguments is that he never tells how his beginning came around. There are other holes later on, but his beginnings problem is the foundational one. He takes as a given that a self-replicating cell/organism formed, and then he goes from there.

    The problem is that even the simplest of self-replicating organisms that are THEORETICALLY possible are still vastly too complex to arise from chance. Even viri – the simplest “life” – is orders of magnitude more complex than the theoretical organisms. It’s even debatable whether or not a virus is alive. The simplest cells which can be considered alive (bacteria) are orders of magnitude more complex than a virus.

    That MASSIVE jump from goop to a cell has to be made all at once, and is impossible to create even in laboratories with our best technology today. Forget about it happening in a puddle of goo somewhere. Comparatively, the mutational development of a light-sensitive cell to a complete eye is simple.

    Logically he puts together a fairly coherent picture – it’s just when his picture is compared to a full set of science that it falls apart. I had a staunchly goop-to-human, non-Christian professor who railed against Dawkins as a stupid ass. The profs problem was that Dawkins put together a book so full of scientific problems that Christians were able to pick it apart too easily and it gave us a false sense of accomplishment.

    Interestingly, when I talked with him about it, he was very straight-forward with the fact that as far as biologists know now, it’s impossible for life to come from non-living matter. When I asked him how life then came about, his response was to shrug and say that even though he didn’t know exactly how it happened, it must have, because there’s no other possible explanation.

  • WebMonk

    SBauer, it’s been a while since I’ve read “The Blind Watchmaker” and it’s on loan to someone at the moment, so I can’t quote you chapter and verse.

    In my opinion, the biggest hole in his set of arguments is that he never tells how his beginning came around. There are other holes later on, but his beginnings problem is the foundational one. He takes as a given that a self-replicating cell/organism formed, and then he goes from there.

    The problem is that even the simplest of self-replicating organisms that are THEORETICALLY possible are still vastly too complex to arise from chance. Even viri – the simplest “life” – is orders of magnitude more complex than the theoretical organisms. It’s even debatable whether or not a virus is alive. The simplest cells which can be considered alive (bacteria) are orders of magnitude more complex than a virus.

    That MASSIVE jump from goop to a cell has to be made all at once, and is impossible to create even in laboratories with our best technology today. Forget about it happening in a puddle of goo somewhere. Comparatively, the mutational development of a light-sensitive cell to a complete eye is simple.

    Logically he puts together a fairly coherent picture – it’s just when his picture is compared to a full set of science that it falls apart. I had a staunchly goop-to-human, non-Christian professor who railed against Dawkins as a stupid ass. The profs problem was that Dawkins put together a book so full of scientific problems that Christians were able to pick it apart too easily and it gave us a false sense of accomplishment.

    Interestingly, when I talked with him about it, he was very straight-forward with the fact that as far as biologists know now, it’s impossible for life to come from non-living matter. When I asked him how life then came about, his response was to shrug and say that even though he didn’t know exactly how it happened, it must have, because there’s no other possible explanation.

  • Michael the little boot

    WebMonk @ 42,

    I don’t make blanket statements on subjects I’ve never studied. And this subject is more than a little known to me. First, I spent my childhood–from three years old on–in church two to three times a week, and did so until I was twenty-one. I’ve read the Bible through more than once. I’ve read “Evidence.” I’ve read “More than a Carpenter.” The study of exactly this subject was a huge part of my college degree, and I continue to study. Thanks for assuming, though.

    Apologies, however. You did say the works were coffee table books. But what else was I supposed to think? You appealed to scholars yet named not one. I just happened to know the authors of those books, so I injected them into the conversation. You’ve included a couple now. We’ll get to them.

    McDowell does include works of Christian scholarship. The problem with this, though, is that it is not subject to peer review. It has no checks and balances. If you’re not a Christian, you can’t play. But none of the findings by Evangelical Bible scholars hold up against scrutiny, and they are not the accepted majority view. They are actually extremely liberal: there is more “reading between the lines” in Christian scholarship than in mainstream Biblical criticism. For example, how many times have you heard the separate stories of Judas’ death told as ONE story? And it doesn’t say that in the Bible. It tells two different versions.

    Norman Geisler is more than biased in his opinion. He believes the Bible to be inerrant. The scholars to which I refer have no ax to grind other than finding out, to the best of current abilities, what is true. Most date the books in a moderate way. Geisler undershoots–by years at least–the dates for the gospels. It would seem he looks for what he wants to find, then makes the “evidence” fit the hypothesis, which is not honest at all.

    The Chester Beatty Papyri have been dated to the third century, not before; and it is hardly a collection of the entire NT. It is a group of some whole books, but mostly portions from others. The fragment held by the John Ryland museum is indeed dated to 150. This doesn’t prove anything about your early dates. The majority view has all of the gospels written before 150. If you could point me to literature about the Lukan papyri, that’d be great. I haven’t heard of them and can find nothing on them in the library or online.

    Thiede’s view has been widely disputed. He also endorsed the theory that the Titulus Crucis is a portion of the original cross, even after it was scientifically discovered (and published in a peer-reviewed journal) that the artifact was created sometime between the late tenth and early twelfth centuries. You have yet to mention a scholar who is accepted in mainstream modern scholarship.

    The Bible has as much credibility outside itself as an historical record as any bit of name-calling. It has none. It is its’ only reference other than the bogus scholars who claim to be able to prove its’ inerrancy. It’s science has been disproved as has the agreement of much within it.

    Your argument about silence is not the case. There has not been silence. First, Christianity was persecuted by the state, so there is nothing but inane garbage like “Christians are cannibals!” and the like. Then, in a complete flip-flop, Christianity becomes the state religion. From that point on and for centuries open criticism of the church was illegal, punishable by death in some places as the church spread beyond the Roman Empire. From which brave souls would you expect the opposition to come? Of course, it did come from some later, like Galileo. And when it finally became permissible to say negative things about the church, the floodgates opened and have not yet shut to the learned men and women who continuously shoot holes in the inerrancy hypothesis.

    The gospel of Thomas is just an alternate view, not seen as “untruthful” by secular scholars, but as another text to analyze critically.

    And you ended with “Go find some reasons why all the Biblical supports are wrong.” This is an appeal to ignorance (an affliction that seems to be going around this blog like a virus). You cannot prove your side of an argument by saying that I cannot disprove it. That is fallacious. You are the believer. The burden of proof is on you. I think I’ve more than shown that I HAVE studied. I have also demonstrated that you have no authorities to which you can appeal that have a shred of credibility outside a small group who are pushing the inerrancy agenda–even years after it has been completely discredited. It seems that YOU have not looked at all the data.

  • Michael the little boot

    WebMonk @ 42,

    I don’t make blanket statements on subjects I’ve never studied. And this subject is more than a little known to me. First, I spent my childhood–from three years old on–in church two to three times a week, and did so until I was twenty-one. I’ve read the Bible through more than once. I’ve read “Evidence.” I’ve read “More than a Carpenter.” The study of exactly this subject was a huge part of my college degree, and I continue to study. Thanks for assuming, though.

    Apologies, however. You did say the works were coffee table books. But what else was I supposed to think? You appealed to scholars yet named not one. I just happened to know the authors of those books, so I injected them into the conversation. You’ve included a couple now. We’ll get to them.

    McDowell does include works of Christian scholarship. The problem with this, though, is that it is not subject to peer review. It has no checks and balances. If you’re not a Christian, you can’t play. But none of the findings by Evangelical Bible scholars hold up against scrutiny, and they are not the accepted majority view. They are actually extremely liberal: there is more “reading between the lines” in Christian scholarship than in mainstream Biblical criticism. For example, how many times have you heard the separate stories of Judas’ death told as ONE story? And it doesn’t say that in the Bible. It tells two different versions.

    Norman Geisler is more than biased in his opinion. He believes the Bible to be inerrant. The scholars to which I refer have no ax to grind other than finding out, to the best of current abilities, what is true. Most date the books in a moderate way. Geisler undershoots–by years at least–the dates for the gospels. It would seem he looks for what he wants to find, then makes the “evidence” fit the hypothesis, which is not honest at all.

    The Chester Beatty Papyri have been dated to the third century, not before; and it is hardly a collection of the entire NT. It is a group of some whole books, but mostly portions from others. The fragment held by the John Ryland museum is indeed dated to 150. This doesn’t prove anything about your early dates. The majority view has all of the gospels written before 150. If you could point me to literature about the Lukan papyri, that’d be great. I haven’t heard of them and can find nothing on them in the library or online.

    Thiede’s view has been widely disputed. He also endorsed the theory that the Titulus Crucis is a portion of the original cross, even after it was scientifically discovered (and published in a peer-reviewed journal) that the artifact was created sometime between the late tenth and early twelfth centuries. You have yet to mention a scholar who is accepted in mainstream modern scholarship.

    The Bible has as much credibility outside itself as an historical record as any bit of name-calling. It has none. It is its’ only reference other than the bogus scholars who claim to be able to prove its’ inerrancy. It’s science has been disproved as has the agreement of much within it.

    Your argument about silence is not the case. There has not been silence. First, Christianity was persecuted by the state, so there is nothing but inane garbage like “Christians are cannibals!” and the like. Then, in a complete flip-flop, Christianity becomes the state religion. From that point on and for centuries open criticism of the church was illegal, punishable by death in some places as the church spread beyond the Roman Empire. From which brave souls would you expect the opposition to come? Of course, it did come from some later, like Galileo. And when it finally became permissible to say negative things about the church, the floodgates opened and have not yet shut to the learned men and women who continuously shoot holes in the inerrancy hypothesis.

    The gospel of Thomas is just an alternate view, not seen as “untruthful” by secular scholars, but as another text to analyze critically.

    And you ended with “Go find some reasons why all the Biblical supports are wrong.” This is an appeal to ignorance (an affliction that seems to be going around this blog like a virus). You cannot prove your side of an argument by saying that I cannot disprove it. That is fallacious. You are the believer. The burden of proof is on you. I think I’ve more than shown that I HAVE studied. I have also demonstrated that you have no authorities to which you can appeal that have a shred of credibility outside a small group who are pushing the inerrancy agenda–even years after it has been completely discredited. It seems that YOU have not looked at all the data.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bror Erickson,

    I’m sorry. I was unclear. What I was trying to say is this: the dating of the papyri we actually have is still a work in progress. We continue to make new finds. The
    earliest we have is, as I said, a fragment of John from the second century. No credible source has been able to prove a document to be earlier.

    The majority of scholars use more than just the year of the temple’s destruction to date Matthew and the other gospels. There is the evidence for Mark having been written first. Textual critics agree that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source, which would put it by the late 60′s, early 70′s. Then there is the time between the two gospels to allow for the development of the theology. The temple and the writings of Ignatius give Matthew its’ general time frame, but there are the above reasons that it falls somewhere between them. It is not a circular argument at all.

    You should read that other conversation in its’ entirety, like I suggested there. You’d see I don’t think Jesus is a nice little teacher of morals.

    I didn’t say the disciples COULDN’T have lived beyond thirty. I said life expectancy was 20-30. They could have lived past that. Most people didn’t. And these were not rich guys, right? They didn’t have access to the best stuff. By “Jesus’ extra-Biblical contemporaries” are you referring to famous historical figures from the time? Because this is mainly royalty and aristocracy, the rich, who had access to the best food, water and medicine. Average people were not “expected” to live quite a long time, although they sometimes did. I’m just saying there’s no evidence to believe they did, especially since war, falling off a horse, eating a bad mushroom, were all ways to die, among many, many others.

    Was Mary at the cross? The Bible says so. Any OTHER source?

    People did not eat better. They ate excrement. They did not have the kind of hygiene we have now. Cleaner water and air don’t help you when you eat rotten food, although it is not the case that the water supply was necessarily cleaner. Smoking hadn’t been invented in the middle east (though it had in North America), but they still burned all sorts of things that created smoke, and they invariably breathed that in.

    Earliest date for the gospel manuscript we have (the fragment of John) is 150. Not 100. Once again, textual critics say that John has a three-layered text, with an original taking accounts from the general Jesus story, a second written by a single author who used additional sources, then an edited version that we know today.

    “So can I point to the Empty tomb? Yes at least figuratively.”

    Which is, of course, not actually pointing to it.

    “Can you point to the body of Christ, his skeleton anything?”

    Dude, that’s your second appeal to ignorance today! You cannot prove your point by saying I can’t disprove it. I DON’T believe Jesus is God or was resurrected. I don’t have to prove he DIDN’T rise from the dead, because I’m not claiming anything. But you believe it. Once again, the burden of proof is on you.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bror Erickson,

    I’m sorry. I was unclear. What I was trying to say is this: the dating of the papyri we actually have is still a work in progress. We continue to make new finds. The
    earliest we have is, as I said, a fragment of John from the second century. No credible source has been able to prove a document to be earlier.

    The majority of scholars use more than just the year of the temple’s destruction to date Matthew and the other gospels. There is the evidence for Mark having been written first. Textual critics agree that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source, which would put it by the late 60′s, early 70′s. Then there is the time between the two gospels to allow for the development of the theology. The temple and the writings of Ignatius give Matthew its’ general time frame, but there are the above reasons that it falls somewhere between them. It is not a circular argument at all.

    You should read that other conversation in its’ entirety, like I suggested there. You’d see I don’t think Jesus is a nice little teacher of morals.

    I didn’t say the disciples COULDN’T have lived beyond thirty. I said life expectancy was 20-30. They could have lived past that. Most people didn’t. And these were not rich guys, right? They didn’t have access to the best stuff. By “Jesus’ extra-Biblical contemporaries” are you referring to famous historical figures from the time? Because this is mainly royalty and aristocracy, the rich, who had access to the best food, water and medicine. Average people were not “expected” to live quite a long time, although they sometimes did. I’m just saying there’s no evidence to believe they did, especially since war, falling off a horse, eating a bad mushroom, were all ways to die, among many, many others.

    Was Mary at the cross? The Bible says so. Any OTHER source?

    People did not eat better. They ate excrement. They did not have the kind of hygiene we have now. Cleaner water and air don’t help you when you eat rotten food, although it is not the case that the water supply was necessarily cleaner. Smoking hadn’t been invented in the middle east (though it had in North America), but they still burned all sorts of things that created smoke, and they invariably breathed that in.

    Earliest date for the gospel manuscript we have (the fragment of John) is 150. Not 100. Once again, textual critics say that John has a three-layered text, with an original taking accounts from the general Jesus story, a second written by a single author who used additional sources, then an edited version that we know today.

    “So can I point to the Empty tomb? Yes at least figuratively.”

    Which is, of course, not actually pointing to it.

    “Can you point to the body of Christ, his skeleton anything?”

    Dude, that’s your second appeal to ignorance today! You cannot prove your point by saying I can’t disprove it. I DON’T believe Jesus is God or was resurrected. I don’t have to prove he DIDN’T rise from the dead, because I’m not claiming anything. But you believe it. Once again, the burden of proof is on you.

  • WebMonk

    These are not “appeals to ignorance”, as you like to claim. Ironically, it doesn’t seem that you know what an appeal to ignorance is.

    An appeal to ignorance is saying “We don’t know, so you can’t prove I’m wrong.”

    What we’ve both said is “Here is evidence, and until you prove it wrong, we’re sticking with it.” You come back saying “Your evidence is weak.” We can argue all day about the strength and weakness of the evidence, but the fact is that it is still there. You haven’t brought any opposing evidence that the Bible was originally made up, or that it was drastically changed.

    All you’ve ever said here, is that the evidence we cite isn’t as strong as we think it is. That’s a LONG way from you presenting any opposite evidence. We have evidence (though it be weak in your eyes), but you have nothing. It’s easy to criticize things, but to provide proof of your own side…?

    Where is your evidence that everything recorded in the Bible was made up? Where is your evidence that the Bible has changed in some dramatic way?

    Forgive my butting in on the Michael/Bror conversation. The avg life span was 20-30 years, with men on the higher side. You guys are missing the idea of “average” though. Even with the average death at 20-30, there was still 43% that lived older than 30 and 17.6% that lived beyond 50. Having someone live beyond 50 wasn’t rare. The childhood mortality rates tend to throw off the “average death age.” THOSE WHO LIVED TO 15, ON AVG, LIVED TO 50. These numbers are from Bagnall, Frier, and Parkin – all top-of-the-field people.

  • WebMonk

    These are not “appeals to ignorance”, as you like to claim. Ironically, it doesn’t seem that you know what an appeal to ignorance is.

    An appeal to ignorance is saying “We don’t know, so you can’t prove I’m wrong.”

    What we’ve both said is “Here is evidence, and until you prove it wrong, we’re sticking with it.” You come back saying “Your evidence is weak.” We can argue all day about the strength and weakness of the evidence, but the fact is that it is still there. You haven’t brought any opposing evidence that the Bible was originally made up, or that it was drastically changed.

    All you’ve ever said here, is that the evidence we cite isn’t as strong as we think it is. That’s a LONG way from you presenting any opposite evidence. We have evidence (though it be weak in your eyes), but you have nothing. It’s easy to criticize things, but to provide proof of your own side…?

    Where is your evidence that everything recorded in the Bible was made up? Where is your evidence that the Bible has changed in some dramatic way?

    Forgive my butting in on the Michael/Bror conversation. The avg life span was 20-30 years, with men on the higher side. You guys are missing the idea of “average” though. Even with the average death at 20-30, there was still 43% that lived older than 30 and 17.6% that lived beyond 50. Having someone live beyond 50 wasn’t rare. The childhood mortality rates tend to throw off the “average death age.” THOSE WHO LIVED TO 15, ON AVG, LIVED TO 50. These numbers are from Bagnall, Frier, and Parkin – all top-of-the-field people.

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael,
    i’m going to make this very blunt. I am not going to go to the other thread and read it. We are starting a new conversation here or none at all. Quite frankly I’m in the office on my day off because I have better and more important things to do than read 80 some posts, most very long, and unenlightning.
    Did I say you thought Jesus was a nice little teacher of morals? No.
    no i will quote you in your response to Webmonk. “You have yet to mention a scholar who is accepted in mainstream modern scholarship.

    The Bible has as much credibility outside itself as an historical record as any bit of name-calling.”
    First, why should we accept mainstream scholarship on this if we see faulty logic there. maybe we should look at the scholars for their own merit. What is their assumption to begin with, what are there conclusions how did they arive at those. Like how do you arive at the conclusion people didn’t live past 30? I don’t think this was rare at all. I’ve met many people in my day (i used to live in Africa) who had bad hygiene, not the best diet, and even smoked, rarerly seen a doctor and have lived to be in their 60′s. I once visited a woman in a nursing home, who though she was going blind, was 120 and still incontrol of her faculties. She spent most of her youth in a one room cabin. The disciples ate excrement? I’m thinking this is not allowed in the kosher laws, but you would know. I don’t know where you get this information.
    Much of modern Scholarship you say believes Matthew and Luke used Mark. But you don’t question it. I do I want to know why they came up with that. I actually think their accounts of events would be closer together then, and there would not be the supposed discrepencies that there are. That is they would have followed Marks timelines, and narration much more closely. As it is you see three very different accounts talking about the same basic set of events. Yet, some include events not included in others. Show the same sermon being given in another place (not very unlikely for anyone having been in the ministry more than a year.) And so on. And though it all you do hear a voice of harmony. Like witnesses on stand in court. If they all agreed perfectly their testimony is thrown out.
    The Bible has no more crediblity outside itself than name calling? Come now. It records persons and events that are known to have happened. It describes life as it was known to be. It takes place in cities and towns that are known to be there. many of the events and people tt mentions, which were thought to be wrong have since then been shown to be correct.
    Not that archeology will ever prove or be able to prove the Bible to be true. It has often shown it to be correct, where it was thought to be wrong.

  • Bror Erickson

    Michael,
    i’m going to make this very blunt. I am not going to go to the other thread and read it. We are starting a new conversation here or none at all. Quite frankly I’m in the office on my day off because I have better and more important things to do than read 80 some posts, most very long, and unenlightning.
    Did I say you thought Jesus was a nice little teacher of morals? No.
    no i will quote you in your response to Webmonk. “You have yet to mention a scholar who is accepted in mainstream modern scholarship.

    The Bible has as much credibility outside itself as an historical record as any bit of name-calling.”
    First, why should we accept mainstream scholarship on this if we see faulty logic there. maybe we should look at the scholars for their own merit. What is their assumption to begin with, what are there conclusions how did they arive at those. Like how do you arive at the conclusion people didn’t live past 30? I don’t think this was rare at all. I’ve met many people in my day (i used to live in Africa) who had bad hygiene, not the best diet, and even smoked, rarerly seen a doctor and have lived to be in their 60′s. I once visited a woman in a nursing home, who though she was going blind, was 120 and still incontrol of her faculties. She spent most of her youth in a one room cabin. The disciples ate excrement? I’m thinking this is not allowed in the kosher laws, but you would know. I don’t know where you get this information.
    Much of modern Scholarship you say believes Matthew and Luke used Mark. But you don’t question it. I do I want to know why they came up with that. I actually think their accounts of events would be closer together then, and there would not be the supposed discrepencies that there are. That is they would have followed Marks timelines, and narration much more closely. As it is you see three very different accounts talking about the same basic set of events. Yet, some include events not included in others. Show the same sermon being given in another place (not very unlikely for anyone having been in the ministry more than a year.) And so on. And though it all you do hear a voice of harmony. Like witnesses on stand in court. If they all agreed perfectly their testimony is thrown out.
    The Bible has no more crediblity outside itself than name calling? Come now. It records persons and events that are known to have happened. It describes life as it was known to be. It takes place in cities and towns that are known to be there. many of the events and people tt mentions, which were thought to be wrong have since then been shown to be correct.
    Not that archeology will ever prove or be able to prove the Bible to be true. It has often shown it to be correct, where it was thought to be wrong.

  • Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    Thanks for the citation. You said what I was trying to say much more succinctly, and I dare say better.

  • Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    Thanks for the citation. You said what I was trying to say much more succinctly, and I dare say better.

  • WebMonk

    As a final note – unless something dramatically new comes into the conversation, I’m probably going to be bowing out after today. I’m going to be gone for a while, and my Internet connectivity is going to be sparse.

  • WebMonk

    As a final note – unless something dramatically new comes into the conversation, I’m probably going to be bowing out after today. I’m going to be gone for a while, and my Internet connectivity is going to be sparse.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    The idea of shortening the life of the universe makes me think of Arthur C. Clarke’s 1953 short story “The Nine Billion Names of God.” In this story, Buddhist monks in a monastery believe that if they write all nine billion combinations of letters in their alphabet that could be the names of God, the universe will have fulfilled its purpose and cease to exist. They work at this for some time, but then they purchase a computer to complete the task. When the final page prints, the stars in the night sky start disappearing.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    The idea of shortening the life of the universe makes me think of Arthur C. Clarke’s 1953 short story “The Nine Billion Names of God.” In this story, Buddhist monks in a monastery believe that if they write all nine billion combinations of letters in their alphabet that could be the names of God, the universe will have fulfilled its purpose and cease to exist. They work at this for some time, but then they purchase a computer to complete the task. When the final page prints, the stars in the night sky start disappearing.

  • WebMonk

    That’s hilarious!!! I’m gonna have to read that!

  • WebMonk

    That’s hilarious!!! I’m gonna have to read that!

  • Michael the little boot

    WebMonk–

    Turns out that YOU don’t know what an appeal to ignorance is. Look it up in any basic logic text. An appeal to ignorance IS what you said. It is ALSO saying “you can’t disprove what I’m saying, so YOU must be wrong.” The opposite of what you said. Both are definitions of an appeal to ignorance. It’s right there in Hurley’s A Concise introduction to Logic. This is at best two-hundred level stuff.

    You said “We can argue all day about the strength and weakness of the evidence, but the fact is that it is still there. You haven’t brought any opposing evidence that the Bible was originally made up, or that it was drastically changed.” Once again, for a person who is quick to point out that I don’t understand basic logic, you don’t seem to understand that since you are claiming the thing, the burden of proof is on you to PROVE it, not on me to DISPROVE it.

    “All you’ve ever said here, is that the evidence we cite isn’t as strong as we think it is. That’s a LONG way from you presenting any opposite evidence.” Actually, I have given you my data. It’s all up there for you to read. I’m not going to reiterate it again if you didn’t want to read it the first time.

    “Where is your evidence that everything recorded in the Bible was made up? Where is your evidence that the Bible has changed in some dramatic way?” Um, let’s see. I don’t have evidence that EVERYTHING in the Bible was made up, but I do have enough. The earth was not created in six days. The sun does not revolve around us. The heavens are not contained in the sky. These are all things we have come to understand through the slow process of finding evidence, checking it and rechecking it and then checking it again. These ideas are common understandings today, much as the theory of gravitation. Of course, you can choose not to accept it. But you can’t say it’s on the basis of credible evidence. You want to believe what you want to believe. Not that I’ll get you to admit that. And, as I’ve stated and restated, the burden of proof is on you.

    I never said that NO ONE lived past thirty. But if 17.6% lived to be 50, that’s still not a high likelihood. I’m just saying you’re hanging your hat on 18%. That’s low probability where I come from. I’ll have to check your findings on whether if you lived past 15 you were likely to make it to 50. I only found in my research that if you lived past 12 you were likely to make it to about 38. Still a very thin margin when we’re talking about the dates that are widely accepted for the writing of the four gospels.

  • Michael the little boot

    WebMonk–

    Turns out that YOU don’t know what an appeal to ignorance is. Look it up in any basic logic text. An appeal to ignorance IS what you said. It is ALSO saying “you can’t disprove what I’m saying, so YOU must be wrong.” The opposite of what you said. Both are definitions of an appeal to ignorance. It’s right there in Hurley’s A Concise introduction to Logic. This is at best two-hundred level stuff.

    You said “We can argue all day about the strength and weakness of the evidence, but the fact is that it is still there. You haven’t brought any opposing evidence that the Bible was originally made up, or that it was drastically changed.” Once again, for a person who is quick to point out that I don’t understand basic logic, you don’t seem to understand that since you are claiming the thing, the burden of proof is on you to PROVE it, not on me to DISPROVE it.

    “All you’ve ever said here, is that the evidence we cite isn’t as strong as we think it is. That’s a LONG way from you presenting any opposite evidence.” Actually, I have given you my data. It’s all up there for you to read. I’m not going to reiterate it again if you didn’t want to read it the first time.

    “Where is your evidence that everything recorded in the Bible was made up? Where is your evidence that the Bible has changed in some dramatic way?” Um, let’s see. I don’t have evidence that EVERYTHING in the Bible was made up, but I do have enough. The earth was not created in six days. The sun does not revolve around us. The heavens are not contained in the sky. These are all things we have come to understand through the slow process of finding evidence, checking it and rechecking it and then checking it again. These ideas are common understandings today, much as the theory of gravitation. Of course, you can choose not to accept it. But you can’t say it’s on the basis of credible evidence. You want to believe what you want to believe. Not that I’ll get you to admit that. And, as I’ve stated and restated, the burden of proof is on you.

    I never said that NO ONE lived past thirty. But if 17.6% lived to be 50, that’s still not a high likelihood. I’m just saying you’re hanging your hat on 18%. That’s low probability where I come from. I’ll have to check your findings on whether if you lived past 15 you were likely to make it to 50. I only found in my research that if you lived past 12 you were likely to make it to about 38. Still a very thin margin when we’re talking about the dates that are widely accepted for the writing of the four gospels.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bror Erickson–

    After this post I am not going to respond to you anymore. You are the most disrespectful person I’ve come across here, and that includes Paul A. Siems. I’ll give you that this isn’t the same thread as on the YHWH, etc. page, but seriously. You want to bash my arguments, but you don’t have all the facts. At least acknowledge that (and I mean more than just admitting you didn’t read what I wrote).

    Mainstream scholarship is logically faulty only if you are trying to reconcile it with a book that is obviously unscientific. Go up to #55 and read what I said to WebMonk about the evidence against the Bible. I actually present it. You say there is evidence for it and leave it at that. And the burden of proof is on you, not me!

    I never arrived at the conclusion that no one lived past thirty. I do understand the word average and what it means. It doesn’t mean that 18% is a high rate. It’s still likely that they didn’t live as long as they would have needed to live in order to have written the books on the dates given by most moderate scholars. It’s funny you argue this, and then also argue for the early dates. You only need the dates to be closer to when Jesus likely lived so that it is probable the authors to which the books are attributed could have written them. But you are arguing both sides. You sound confused.

    Besides, all of the people you quote from live today. Back then you had a very good chance of dying by being KILLED (especially if you were a man). Even many parts of the third world are better off today than people were back then. Many diseases from which people died in the past had to do with bad hygiene, in addition to bad food, water, proximity to other animals of different species. And I’m not saying they ate fecies like you eat a sandwich. But it is found widely in meals today in tribal communities because of the fact that they don’t really accept the connection between excrement and disease. Many tribal people still think disease and death is a punishment from God for sinning. At least you acknowledge that I have a working understanding of the dietary laws, though. Wonders never cease.

    Much of modern scholarship about the gospels says Matthew and Luke used Mark as a SOURCE, as well as the Q document (most probably a cousin to the gospel of Thomas). The discrepancies between the books exist because they didn’t always quote the same things. It is also understood that they did not just use those two books as sources, but extrapolated, as writers are wont to do. They weren’t working together on their gospels, more than likely. They weren’t trying to agree or disagree. I don’t see three very different accounts, and I never said that. But they don’t always agree. As I said, what about the two almost COMPLETELY different views of Judas’ death? Granted one comes in Acts, but that is widely regarded as Luke Part II. They only agree on the Field of Blood, but not on how Judas died, nor on how the field was aqcuired.

    I’m not talking about parts of the gospels that give sermons in more than one place. But you said before that there was agreement. Now you say there is “harmony” but not total agreement. Just sounds to me like you’re changing your story.

    The Bible records persons and events that were known to have happened. Sure. So does the HBO series Rome, or the new film Elizabeth: the Golden Age. Simply including events that are corroborated elsewhere and people who were known to have existed doesn’t mean they are reliable other than that. Since there is no proof either way it is just as likely that those historical figures and events were included to lend creedence to the stories. Most of the stories about Spider-man happen in New York, a real place. That’s the weakest argument you’ve given yet.

    “Not that archeology will ever prove or be able to prove the Bible to be true. It has often shown it to be correct, where it was thought to be wrong.”

    Once again you make claims you don’t back up. If archaeology will never prove or be able to prove the Bible is true, why do you appeal to it as a source? You can’t claim it as a source AND discount it. You have also not given support for your claim that it has shown the Bible to be correct where it was thought to be wrong.

    But all of this doesn’t really matter, because you can say whatever you want now. The only person I’ve encountered here really willing to see the similarities of their views and mine is Frank Sonnek. But he’s gay, so you probably throw him out, too. Unless that’s one of the parts you choose to see figuratively.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bror Erickson–

    After this post I am not going to respond to you anymore. You are the most disrespectful person I’ve come across here, and that includes Paul A. Siems. I’ll give you that this isn’t the same thread as on the YHWH, etc. page, but seriously. You want to bash my arguments, but you don’t have all the facts. At least acknowledge that (and I mean more than just admitting you didn’t read what I wrote).

    Mainstream scholarship is logically faulty only if you are trying to reconcile it with a book that is obviously unscientific. Go up to #55 and read what I said to WebMonk about the evidence against the Bible. I actually present it. You say there is evidence for it and leave it at that. And the burden of proof is on you, not me!

    I never arrived at the conclusion that no one lived past thirty. I do understand the word average and what it means. It doesn’t mean that 18% is a high rate. It’s still likely that they didn’t live as long as they would have needed to live in order to have written the books on the dates given by most moderate scholars. It’s funny you argue this, and then also argue for the early dates. You only need the dates to be closer to when Jesus likely lived so that it is probable the authors to which the books are attributed could have written them. But you are arguing both sides. You sound confused.

    Besides, all of the people you quote from live today. Back then you had a very good chance of dying by being KILLED (especially if you were a man). Even many parts of the third world are better off today than people were back then. Many diseases from which people died in the past had to do with bad hygiene, in addition to bad food, water, proximity to other animals of different species. And I’m not saying they ate fecies like you eat a sandwich. But it is found widely in meals today in tribal communities because of the fact that they don’t really accept the connection between excrement and disease. Many tribal people still think disease and death is a punishment from God for sinning. At least you acknowledge that I have a working understanding of the dietary laws, though. Wonders never cease.

    Much of modern scholarship about the gospels says Matthew and Luke used Mark as a SOURCE, as well as the Q document (most probably a cousin to the gospel of Thomas). The discrepancies between the books exist because they didn’t always quote the same things. It is also understood that they did not just use those two books as sources, but extrapolated, as writers are wont to do. They weren’t working together on their gospels, more than likely. They weren’t trying to agree or disagree. I don’t see three very different accounts, and I never said that. But they don’t always agree. As I said, what about the two almost COMPLETELY different views of Judas’ death? Granted one comes in Acts, but that is widely regarded as Luke Part II. They only agree on the Field of Blood, but not on how Judas died, nor on how the field was aqcuired.

    I’m not talking about parts of the gospels that give sermons in more than one place. But you said before that there was agreement. Now you say there is “harmony” but not total agreement. Just sounds to me like you’re changing your story.

    The Bible records persons and events that were known to have happened. Sure. So does the HBO series Rome, or the new film Elizabeth: the Golden Age. Simply including events that are corroborated elsewhere and people who were known to have existed doesn’t mean they are reliable other than that. Since there is no proof either way it is just as likely that those historical figures and events were included to lend creedence to the stories. Most of the stories about Spider-man happen in New York, a real place. That’s the weakest argument you’ve given yet.

    “Not that archeology will ever prove or be able to prove the Bible to be true. It has often shown it to be correct, where it was thought to be wrong.”

    Once again you make claims you don’t back up. If archaeology will never prove or be able to prove the Bible is true, why do you appeal to it as a source? You can’t claim it as a source AND discount it. You have also not given support for your claim that it has shown the Bible to be correct where it was thought to be wrong.

    But all of this doesn’t really matter, because you can say whatever you want now. The only person I’ve encountered here really willing to see the similarities of their views and mine is Frank Sonnek. But he’s gay, so you probably throw him out, too. Unless that’s one of the parts you choose to see figuratively.

  • WebMonk

    “The earth was not created in six days. The sun does not revolve around us. The heavens are not contained in the sky.”

    Have you never heard of poetic speech? We still use the word “sunset” even though we know full well it doesn’t go around the earth. Is God not allowed to do the same? The Bible isn’t a textbook dedicated to giving a scientifically accurate depiction of events. Mostly it describes events by appearance, and sometimes by effect. As far as the six days creation, this is an area of debate between Christians about whether Genesis is supposed to be taken literally or poetically. I’m not about to start another conversation in this string discussing the pros and cons of that because we would lose site of our current topic. Stick around, it’s come up before, and will probably come up again.

    We aren’t using either form of an appeal to ignorance. We’re not saying “you can’t disprove what I’m saying, so YOU must be wrong,” either. We’re saying “Here is evidence, and until you prove it wrong, we’re sticking with it.” You seem to be trying to prove us wrong, but you’re only criticizing our evidence, not bringing counter-evidence.

    I went back through all your posts and I couldn’t find anything you’ve put forward as evidence.

    #38 said you had a class that debunked the archaeological evidence, but you don’t explain in what way.

    #40 you say the copies we have are older than what we think, but 1) that still isn’t proof that the copies are wrong or made up, and 2) Brown’s scholarship is highly regarded, but he came at it with an assumption that the Bible was written late. His late-writing claims have been pretty well disproven by the fragments of the gospels that are verifiably older than when he says is possible.

    Yes, the Gospels are compilations, Luke states that at the beginning, and that doesn’t mean they’re false. Since Brown began, the dates of when the earliest copies of the Gospels were first written has been moved successively earlier. The currently accepted dates (by the majority archaeological community, not just by Christians) estimate all of them written before 100AD. We don’t have entire books from that early, but we do have fragments from the first century, showing that the later copies are indeed accurate copies.

    Those are the ONLY two places (really only one place – #38) you’ve made particular claims of evidence (no evidence itself) that would disprove the Bible.

    The place I got the age figures is http://www.utexas.edu/depts/classics/documents/Life.html

    Adios y’all!

  • WebMonk

    “The earth was not created in six days. The sun does not revolve around us. The heavens are not contained in the sky.”

    Have you never heard of poetic speech? We still use the word “sunset” even though we know full well it doesn’t go around the earth. Is God not allowed to do the same? The Bible isn’t a textbook dedicated to giving a scientifically accurate depiction of events. Mostly it describes events by appearance, and sometimes by effect. As far as the six days creation, this is an area of debate between Christians about whether Genesis is supposed to be taken literally or poetically. I’m not about to start another conversation in this string discussing the pros and cons of that because we would lose site of our current topic. Stick around, it’s come up before, and will probably come up again.

    We aren’t using either form of an appeal to ignorance. We’re not saying “you can’t disprove what I’m saying, so YOU must be wrong,” either. We’re saying “Here is evidence, and until you prove it wrong, we’re sticking with it.” You seem to be trying to prove us wrong, but you’re only criticizing our evidence, not bringing counter-evidence.

    I went back through all your posts and I couldn’t find anything you’ve put forward as evidence.

    #38 said you had a class that debunked the archaeological evidence, but you don’t explain in what way.

    #40 you say the copies we have are older than what we think, but 1) that still isn’t proof that the copies are wrong or made up, and 2) Brown’s scholarship is highly regarded, but he came at it with an assumption that the Bible was written late. His late-writing claims have been pretty well disproven by the fragments of the gospels that are verifiably older than when he says is possible.

    Yes, the Gospels are compilations, Luke states that at the beginning, and that doesn’t mean they’re false. Since Brown began, the dates of when the earliest copies of the Gospels were first written has been moved successively earlier. The currently accepted dates (by the majority archaeological community, not just by Christians) estimate all of them written before 100AD. We don’t have entire books from that early, but we do have fragments from the first century, showing that the later copies are indeed accurate copies.

    Those are the ONLY two places (really only one place – #38) you’ve made particular claims of evidence (no evidence itself) that would disprove the Bible.

    The place I got the age figures is http://www.utexas.edu/depts/classics/documents/Life.html

    Adios y’all!

  • Michael the little boot

    WebMonk–

    I offered evidence as a kindness. I don’t have to because you are the one alleging that there is evidence for the Bible. You don’t actually offer evidence. You just say we have manuscripts that prove what you’re saying. I’d ask you to give examples if you were still here.

    You HAVE used the appeal to ignorance. What you allege (Here is evidence, and until you prove it wrong, we’re sticking with it) is not what you say. Here’s what you said: “Just claiming that there’s nothing to support the Bible is nothing more than saying ‘I’m right’ but giving no reason. Go find some reasons why all the Biblical supports are wrong.” And here is Erickson: “Can you point to the body of Christ, his skeleton anything?” These are appeals to ignorance because both of you say that my calling your claims into question is invalid since I give no evidence (which I actually do, more so than just the examples you give, but you’ve left anyway, so I’m not going to retype them). Once again, for the last time: IT IS NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY TO GIVE PROOF AGAINST WHAT YOU ARE ALLEGING; RATHER IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. And, since I have given some evidence, I’ve actually gone beyond my duty here. The agreed upon idea at play is that “someone who asserts an affirmative must prove it.” You have asserted an affirmative and offered nothing but your ideas. Here’s more from reference.com (a legit, online encyclopedia):

    “Outside a legal context, ‘burden of proof’ means that someone suggesting a new theory or stating a claim must provide evidence to support it: it is not sufficient to say ‘you can’t disprove this.’ Specifically, when anyone is making a bold claim, it is not someone else’s responsibility to disprove the claim, but is rather the responsibility of the person who is making the bold claim to prove it.” And “The less reasonable a statement seems, the more proof it requires.”

    My claim that the Bible is not reliable historically or scientifically is not a bold claim but a reasonable one, since people do not rise from the dead (after three days), people do not walk on water, people do not float up into the clouds. THESE are actually the bold claims! And you offer nothing compelling to back up these bold claims, except to tell me I have no evidence against the Bible. I am calling your statements into question, because you have made the unreasonable statements, and you offer nothing but unsubstantiated claims and conjecture as proof.

    I’ve actually made claims of evidence to refute Behe, to show why Mark is probable to have been the first canonical gospel written, to demonstrate why Matthew was probably written later than 70. And I’ve just skimmed my posts above to come up with those.

    Apologies if I was unclear about what I meant by compilations. I was referring to the compilations that compared the three synoptic gospels, from which we get the word synopsis. It had been discussed widely–beginning as early as the fourth century by Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea–that the first three gospels share a connection. And I’m only off on your “all the gospels were written before 100 AD (AD being a VERY insulting term)” with John, and then just by ten years. But what I quote is the majority view, although I admit not the only view.

    I don’t think you expect me to list ALL of the scholars that view it this way. I thought mentioning a leading scholar was good evidence, and I have found nowhere that he is discredited by new manuscript fragments. The earliest fragment we have is the Johanine fragment dated to 150 CE (although the figure is rounded to the nearest 50 years, which would mean it could be between 125 and 175, which doesn’t preclude the majority dates at all). The earliest complete copy of the New Testament dates to the 4th century, according to Bart D. Ehrman, widely considered among non-literalist scholars to be a foremost expert on textual criticism. There are no fragments that I can find any evidence of before the round 150 figure. I’d like to know whom you are quoting here.

    There’s a fine list of dates at

    http://www.skypoint.com/members/waltzmn/ManuscriptsPapyri.html (sorry, I got no code skillz),

    as well as at

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_Testament_papyri

    along with dates and comments. There is bibliographic info at each site as well.

  • Michael the little boot

    WebMonk–

    I offered evidence as a kindness. I don’t have to because you are the one alleging that there is evidence for the Bible. You don’t actually offer evidence. You just say we have manuscripts that prove what you’re saying. I’d ask you to give examples if you were still here.

    You HAVE used the appeal to ignorance. What you allege (Here is evidence, and until you prove it wrong, we’re sticking with it) is not what you say. Here’s what you said: “Just claiming that there’s nothing to support the Bible is nothing more than saying ‘I’m right’ but giving no reason. Go find some reasons why all the Biblical supports are wrong.” And here is Erickson: “Can you point to the body of Christ, his skeleton anything?” These are appeals to ignorance because both of you say that my calling your claims into question is invalid since I give no evidence (which I actually do, more so than just the examples you give, but you’ve left anyway, so I’m not going to retype them). Once again, for the last time: IT IS NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY TO GIVE PROOF AGAINST WHAT YOU ARE ALLEGING; RATHER IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. And, since I have given some evidence, I’ve actually gone beyond my duty here. The agreed upon idea at play is that “someone who asserts an affirmative must prove it.” You have asserted an affirmative and offered nothing but your ideas. Here’s more from reference.com (a legit, online encyclopedia):

    “Outside a legal context, ‘burden of proof’ means that someone suggesting a new theory or stating a claim must provide evidence to support it: it is not sufficient to say ‘you can’t disprove this.’ Specifically, when anyone is making a bold claim, it is not someone else’s responsibility to disprove the claim, but is rather the responsibility of the person who is making the bold claim to prove it.” And “The less reasonable a statement seems, the more proof it requires.”

    My claim that the Bible is not reliable historically or scientifically is not a bold claim but a reasonable one, since people do not rise from the dead (after three days), people do not walk on water, people do not float up into the clouds. THESE are actually the bold claims! And you offer nothing compelling to back up these bold claims, except to tell me I have no evidence against the Bible. I am calling your statements into question, because you have made the unreasonable statements, and you offer nothing but unsubstantiated claims and conjecture as proof.

    I’ve actually made claims of evidence to refute Behe, to show why Mark is probable to have been the first canonical gospel written, to demonstrate why Matthew was probably written later than 70. And I’ve just skimmed my posts above to come up with those.

    Apologies if I was unclear about what I meant by compilations. I was referring to the compilations that compared the three synoptic gospels, from which we get the word synopsis. It had been discussed widely–beginning as early as the fourth century by Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea–that the first three gospels share a connection. And I’m only off on your “all the gospels were written before 100 AD (AD being a VERY insulting term)” with John, and then just by ten years. But what I quote is the majority view, although I admit not the only view.

    I don’t think you expect me to list ALL of the scholars that view it this way. I thought mentioning a leading scholar was good evidence, and I have found nowhere that he is discredited by new manuscript fragments. The earliest fragment we have is the Johanine fragment dated to 150 CE (although the figure is rounded to the nearest 50 years, which would mean it could be between 125 and 175, which doesn’t preclude the majority dates at all). The earliest complete copy of the New Testament dates to the 4th century, according to Bart D. Ehrman, widely considered among non-literalist scholars to be a foremost expert on textual criticism. There are no fragments that I can find any evidence of before the round 150 figure. I’d like to know whom you are quoting here.

    There’s a fine list of dates at

    http://www.skypoint.com/members/waltzmn/ManuscriptsPapyri.html (sorry, I got no code skillz),

    as well as at

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_Testament_papyri

    along with dates and comments. There is bibliographic info at each site as well.

  • Bror Erickson

    michael the little boot,
    Wow who is being rude, here?
    Frank Sonnek is one whom I consider to be a good friend. You should know that. Maybe, I have been a little rude towards you. Tone is often lost in print. I have found almost every one of your posts to be equally rude as anything I have written. (Possibly I read a condescending attitude into your posts.) It is also why at first I did not bother talking to you at all, and only came into the fray at the request of our good friend Frank.
    That I argue for both an early date to the gospels, and that the disciples quite possibly lived later than thirty is reasonable. That I only need one is possibly true. But then I would think the disciples had to live longer than thirty to even write the Gospels in 50-60 A.D.
    Sighting one scholar, an appeal to authority, is not going to work here. You like to appeal to “authorities.” I don’t I like to see their work, and how they came to their conclusions.
    No people don’t rise from the dead everyday, or walk on water, or go to the moon. Some won’t be convinced of the last one either. I heard there was a soundstage in Hollywood.
    I have maintained agreement, I would never maintain perfect agreement, you read that into it. There is sufficient agreement (harmony), for their testimonies to stand in the court of reason.
    In Luke judas hangs himself, In Acts he bursts open headlong. Possibly after they cut him down and his swollen body hits the ground.

  • Bror Erickson

    michael the little boot,
    Wow who is being rude, here?
    Frank Sonnek is one whom I consider to be a good friend. You should know that. Maybe, I have been a little rude towards you. Tone is often lost in print. I have found almost every one of your posts to be equally rude as anything I have written. (Possibly I read a condescending attitude into your posts.) It is also why at first I did not bother talking to you at all, and only came into the fray at the request of our good friend Frank.
    That I argue for both an early date to the gospels, and that the disciples quite possibly lived later than thirty is reasonable. That I only need one is possibly true. But then I would think the disciples had to live longer than thirty to even write the Gospels in 50-60 A.D.
    Sighting one scholar, an appeal to authority, is not going to work here. You like to appeal to “authorities.” I don’t I like to see their work, and how they came to their conclusions.
    No people don’t rise from the dead everyday, or walk on water, or go to the moon. Some won’t be convinced of the last one either. I heard there was a soundstage in Hollywood.
    I have maintained agreement, I would never maintain perfect agreement, you read that into it. There is sufficient agreement (harmony), for their testimonies to stand in the court of reason.
    In Luke judas hangs himself, In Acts he bursts open headlong. Possibly after they cut him down and his swollen body hits the ground.

  • Michael the little boot

    I know I said I wouldn’t respond, but this is too good.

    “In Luke judas hangs himself, In Acts he bursts open headlong. Possibly after they cut him down and his swollen body hits the ground.”

    This is exactly the kind of slapdash harmonization to which I was referring. You can’t say things like “possibly” and think it holds up. If it’s not in the text, it’s just speculation. Look at both stories. And there are more inconsistencies than that.

    And the disciples most likely didn’t write the gospels. The majority view–once again I’ll quote Bart Ehrman–is that they were written later and attributed to no one. The titles “According to Mark,” etc., were all added later.

    I’m done with posting here, though. It’s clear your eternal salvation hangs on all of this. I’ll leave you to it, then. I have no interest in debating with people who only want to prove what they think, rather than to learn. I learned all of the things I’ve said here just by looking, because my only interest is to know what our best conclusions are on any given subject. All of the answers you guys gave here were the canned “answers” I was told to give (back when I went to church) when people asked these questions, too. Guess church hasn’t changed too much since I was a kid!

  • Michael the little boot

    I know I said I wouldn’t respond, but this is too good.

    “In Luke judas hangs himself, In Acts he bursts open headlong. Possibly after they cut him down and his swollen body hits the ground.”

    This is exactly the kind of slapdash harmonization to which I was referring. You can’t say things like “possibly” and think it holds up. If it’s not in the text, it’s just speculation. Look at both stories. And there are more inconsistencies than that.

    And the disciples most likely didn’t write the gospels. The majority view–once again I’ll quote Bart Ehrman–is that they were written later and attributed to no one. The titles “According to Mark,” etc., were all added later.

    I’m done with posting here, though. It’s clear your eternal salvation hangs on all of this. I’ll leave you to it, then. I have no interest in debating with people who only want to prove what they think, rather than to learn. I learned all of the things I’ve said here just by looking, because my only interest is to know what our best conclusions are on any given subject. All of the answers you guys gave here were the canned “answers” I was told to give (back when I went to church) when people asked these questions, too. Guess church hasn’t changed too much since I was a kid!

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael, this conversation long ago exceeded my ability to follow its every point, but I can’t believe you excoriate Bror for saying “possibly” and then go on to speculate with words like “most likely” and “majority view” on how the gospels came about. By your own logic, you can’t think that such views hold up. As you say, if it’s not in the text, it’s just speculation.

    And you’re right, what Bror gave was speculation. I don’t think he’d disagree with that. But you’re asserting that the two passages are in conflict, and in response Bror speculated on one scenario that would give rise to two seemingly contradictory descriptions. And then you got upset with him for doing so. I don’t get it.

    I’m sure such a question only shows how naive I am, but I do have to wonder what your thoughts are on why the many people who had a hand in making up the stories of the Bible never bothered to correct any of these glaring mistakes that you see. Please answer without using any canned answers that non-believers have used for years.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Michael, this conversation long ago exceeded my ability to follow its every point, but I can’t believe you excoriate Bror for saying “possibly” and then go on to speculate with words like “most likely” and “majority view” on how the gospels came about. By your own logic, you can’t think that such views hold up. As you say, if it’s not in the text, it’s just speculation.

    And you’re right, what Bror gave was speculation. I don’t think he’d disagree with that. But you’re asserting that the two passages are in conflict, and in response Bror speculated on one scenario that would give rise to two seemingly contradictory descriptions. And then you got upset with him for doing so. I don’t get it.

    I’m sure such a question only shows how naive I am, but I do have to wonder what your thoughts are on why the many people who had a hand in making up the stories of the Bible never bothered to correct any of these glaring mistakes that you see. Please answer without using any canned answers that non-believers have used for years.

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD–

    I use terms like that because I’m NOT the one saying things can be sure. You guys are the ones who are sure. How can you be sure of a speculative story that you must connect by making things up? The ideas Bror uses here MAY be correct. But they’re speculative, and that’s what I’m talking about. I’m just calling your certainty into question.

    But I’m done now. You aren’t going to listen. No one is, because you all have a vested interest in NOT seeing things from another perspective. I understand it’s because you see your eternal soul wrapped up in this. That’s why I’m bowing out. This isn’t going anywhere for either of us, it seems.

    Say what you will. I’m tired of this, and it sounds like you are too. We’re just going back and forth now, having a contest, and I’m not into contests. I’m not any more willing to listen to you than you are to me. The only difference is I actually entertained the ideas you are talking about for almost seventeen years. So I’ve lived both sides. I’m assuming here that you have not. I admit that I’m assuming because you may have, and I could most definitely be wrong. I’m just not interested in talking about this anymore.

    You all want me to give evidence. I’ve given some and been roundly rejected, because you don’t agree with my evidence, not because my evidence doesn’t add up. You’ve even accused me of not giving any! So this is obviously not a debate. I’m, of course, in the minority here, and I’ve done my best to stay in it. But being the only one is difficult, especially if one loses interest, which I have. So talk on without me. Or don’t. Call this weakness. Or whatever. I’m out.

  • Michael the little boot

    tODD–

    I use terms like that because I’m NOT the one saying things can be sure. You guys are the ones who are sure. How can you be sure of a speculative story that you must connect by making things up? The ideas Bror uses here MAY be correct. But they’re speculative, and that’s what I’m talking about. I’m just calling your certainty into question.

    But I’m done now. You aren’t going to listen. No one is, because you all have a vested interest in NOT seeing things from another perspective. I understand it’s because you see your eternal soul wrapped up in this. That’s why I’m bowing out. This isn’t going anywhere for either of us, it seems.

    Say what you will. I’m tired of this, and it sounds like you are too. We’re just going back and forth now, having a contest, and I’m not into contests. I’m not any more willing to listen to you than you are to me. The only difference is I actually entertained the ideas you are talking about for almost seventeen years. So I’ve lived both sides. I’m assuming here that you have not. I admit that I’m assuming because you may have, and I could most definitely be wrong. I’m just not interested in talking about this anymore.

    You all want me to give evidence. I’ve given some and been roundly rejected, because you don’t agree with my evidence, not because my evidence doesn’t add up. You’ve even accused me of not giving any! So this is obviously not a debate. I’m, of course, in the minority here, and I’ve done my best to stay in it. But being the only one is difficult, especially if one loses interest, which I have. So talk on without me. Or don’t. Call this weakness. Or whatever. I’m out.


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