Fact Checking Politics and History

I constantly tell my students that the skills they learn in my classes are transferable, and so even if they are not especially interested in the subject matter, the things they learn to do are applicable to other areas of life. As we near the end of this election season, I am struck by how [Read More…]

Consensus is Part of the Scholarly Method

An article in Real Clear Science highlighted that consensus-building is part of the scientific method. Alex Bezerow writes: I like to imagine the scientific method as resembling the solar system. The planets, traveling in perfect orbits, represent the pillars of the scientific method: Observations, hypotheses, predictions/experiments, and continuous refinements. What holds all of this together — [Read More…]

Skepticism and Consensus

“Nevertheless the opinion of experts, when it is unanimous, must be accepted by non-experts as more likely to be right than the opposite opinion. The scepticism that I advocate amounts only to this: (1) that when the experts are agreed, the opposite opinion cannot be held to be certain; (2) that when they are not [Read More…]

A Blog-Based Consensus?

Andrew Bernhard has shared his analysis of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, showing the likelihood that the forger used Mike Grondin’s online interlinear of the Gospel of Thomas, on both Mark Goodacre’s and Bart Ehrman’s blogs. What struck me most was his reference to there appearing to be a consensus on the matter among scholars. [Read More…]

Sources and Silliness

Matt Emerson wrote a blog post about source criticism, much of which he finds problematic. The post concludes with the following questions: First, if the 1) methods, 2) assumptions, 3) conclusions, and 4)philosophical underpinnings of the seminal works for both of these theories are questioned by virtually all contemporary biblical scholarship, why do we still refer to them as if they represent scholarly [Read More…]

The Historical Consensus About Jesus

A commenter on the blog made the assertion that scholars are somehow deferring to popular opinion when it comes to the existence of Jesus. The suggestion is so ludicrous that I thought I had best address it, and am sharing it here as well. Here’s what I wrote: The notion of being “unbiased” is naive. We [Read More…]

The Doctor Who Kills

I thought of other titles for this post, but the fact that it manages to include “Doctor Who” in a sense other than as the title of the TV show, while being about that TV show, made me opt for this one. (Does anyone else regularly mistake articles about a doctor who did something, as [Read More…]

Consensus Radio

Greg Brahe, host of Inspiring Doubt, is going to have Richard Carrier on his show today, with the aim of telling him that he is wrong! The show will be broadcast live on YouTube at 6pm today (Eastern Time, I believe). Here is the blurb for it: I invited Dr Carrier to appear on Inspiring Doubt to [Read More…]

Galileo was Wrong (Richard Carrier and Arguing from Consensus)

Richard Carrier has posted on arguments from consensus on his blog. It is, like most of his posts, unnecessarily long to make the point that it seeks to. Carrier suggests that laypeople can and should evaluate the arguments of experts, even with respect to the consensus. That seems to me strikingly odd – if laypeople [Read More…]

Historical Jesus, Mythicism, and Miracles around the Blogosphere

Hemant Mehta explains his view on the historical Jesus, miracles, and what the implications are for atheism: Interestingly, even Neil Godfrey agrees with Mehta on one point, that if you aren’t an expert in the field of historical Jesus studies, then it is better to be agnostic about it rather than hold firmly to a [Read More…]