8 Lessons Learned from the Minimal Facts Argument

8 Lessons Learned from the Minimal Facts Argument August 14, 2017

We’ve made it through Gary Habermas’s minimal facts argument from The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (dismantled here). As we catch our breath, let’s sift through the debris to identify the poor arguments and lessons learned. Some will be familiar, but I hope that a few will help crystalize errors about which you hadn’t been fully aware. These are both problems to avoid in our own arguments and errors to find in others’.

1. It’s a story

I can’t count the number of times that “It’s just a story!” went through my mind as I read this book. For example, Habermas says:

Surely the disciples did have some kind of experience (p. 128).

Yeah, in the story. That doesn’t make it history.

All we can start with is that it’s a story. We have lots of stories—about Alexander the Great and about John Henry. About George Washington and about Merlin the magician. Which are history and which are not?

It’s not like we have security-camera evidence documenting the gospel story. The default position for this and indeed for all supernatural stories is that it is not history. Only with overwhelming evidence can we conclude otherwise.

2. The natural trumps the supernatural

A plausible natural explanation always beats a supernatural explanation.

Habermas seems to have no idea how profoundly crazy his claim of a supernatural creator of the universe is. My response to his claim: like who? To whom can we compare this creator so we can ground Habermas’s claim in something we already accept?

There is no universally accepted supernatural creator of the universe. There isn’t even a single supernatural claim that’s universally accepted. (By “universally accepted,” I’m thinking of something like “germs cause some disease.”)

[The resurrection] is the only plausible explanation that accounts for [the historical data] (p. 141)

Habermas’s claim doesn’t look like anything that either science or society has accepted. What it does look like is all the other religions that Habermas himself rejects. He nonchalantly tosses out his supernatural explanation with unjustified confidence without even acknowledging that it’s a startling claim. To him, I suppose it isn’t. The objective outside observer doesn’t share that view, and if that’s part of his audience, he needs to recast his argument.

3. Avoid straw man arguments

The minimal facts argument is only effective when presented to someone who is eager to accept the resurrection or who has thought little about how historical claims are weighed. See the earlier post to see that evaluation, but we can probably agree that you must respond to your opponents’ best arguments, not caricatures of them.

4. “Given the story up to this point …”

A common argument for the historicity of a Bible story begins by demanding that we take the story up to a certain point as a given. For example, “Given the Jesus story up through the crucifixion, how do you explain the empty tomb?” (The challenge is often abbreviated as “How do you explain the empty tomb?” with the story assumption taken for granted.)

No, it’s a story! You can’t prove that one part of a story is correct by appealing to another part of the same story. This is the yellow brick road problem (“Of course there’s an Emerald City. Where else would the yellow brick road go to?”). Only when you have historical evidence do you have an argument.

The apologist might argue that “Jesus was crucified” is hardly a remarkable claim and assume that as a starting point. But that’s like demanding, “Oh, c’mon—surely you can give me ‘Dorothy went into her house during a tornado.’ Lots of people have done that.” No, the whole thing stands as a unit. Picking apart a legend and demanding that the commonplace bits must be history (without actually providing the evidence) doesn’t work.

Given the empty tomb, the immensely large rock, Jesus being dead, and the guards ensuring that he was put in dead and no one took the body as historical facts, then we can consider the resurrection. But those are big givens, which I won’t grant. Just because the gospels sort of say that doesn’t make it history.

To be concluded with four more lessons learned in part 2.

At Lourdes, you see plenty of crutches
but no wooden legs.
— John Dominic Crossan

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 2/26/14.)

Photo credit: Keene Public Library

 


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  • jamesparson

    I like this one: “A plausible natural explanation always beats a supernatural explanation.”

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e5c060c450e3f8f7539f927e482286d073e4e7a80443912af2980f377cb11128.jpg

    • Supernatural explanations are great, provided that they explain things better than the naturalistic explanation.

      • jamesparson

        If one of those happens, let me know. 🙂

        • Chuck Johnson

          Don’t laugh.
          It might happen.

          But then, when we look closer, that supernatural explanation will (almost magically) transform itself into just another natural explanation. Looking closer and discovering more does the trick.

        • jamesparson

          It is more likely that I will the lottery jackpot too.

        • Chuck Johnson

          There are people who are presently treating quantum effects and other leading-edge science as if it were magic or some other kind of permanently unexplainable phenomenon.

          The (apparent) magic resolves into science as additional discoveries are made.

        • Michael Neville

          Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. In this particular case, we can replace technology with science.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Yes, I had Clarke in mind when I wrote this.

        • Michael Neville

          To extend the metaphor even further, years ago everything was magic. Thunder was Thor beating mountains with his hammer, earthquakes were caused by the giant fish Namazu thrashing around, winds were the four (or more) wind gods blowing. Now these magical beings have been changed to naturalistic explanations. As Greta Christina notes, many supernatural explanations have been superseded by natural explanations, but never once has a natural explanation been replaced by a supernatural cause or explanation.

      • Kevin K

        I lost a stick of butter the other day. I was ready to blame the ghosts in the house … and then my dog threw up and I found the empty wrapper on the floor.

        • Greg G.

          Why can’t the proponents of the supernatural realms ever produce evidence in their favor that is as convincing as dog vomit is for evidence against their position?

        • Kevin K

          It was all buttery slippery, too!

        • Greg G.

          I can’t believe it’s not butter!

    • Michael Neville

      It’s just Occam’s Razor in action.

    • Lark62

      AND your explanation must account for all of the data, not just the one piece out of thousands that looks funky in isolation.

  • eric

    I’m willing to grant some end-of-the-world preacher named Jesus was crucified by the Romans for the simple reason that there were (AIUI) lots of such preachers running around first century Judea and the Romans were pretty brutal with their punishments. I don’t require much more than hearsay evidence for that because it’s a very ordinary claim. Just like if some acquaintance of mine tells me they were mugged in a 7-11, I wouldn’t demand video proof of it, I’d just accept it. Sure they could be lying (and would easily get away with fooling me given my low bar for acceptance), but its a fairly ordinary claim, so I don’t feel compelled to ask for any stronger support.

    Now if said acquaintance tells me the mugger flew away on a winged horse, I’m going to demand lots of evidence. That is not an ordinary claim. And I’m going to get a lot less charitable about believing even the ordinary bits of their story. And that’s pretty much exactly how I see the gospel accounts. Hearsay evidence some holy man was killed by the Romans? Ok sure. No problem. You don’t need to document it extensively before I’ll accept that. You tell me he rose from the dead? Now we’re into flying mugger territory. You’d better come up with something really good to get me to accept that.

    • smrnda

      A comparison I use is athletic feats. If someone told me they could squat 230kg, that’s believable, but it isn’t like people don’t inflate accomplishments. If I heard this as a third hand account of “John from the gym” who apparently did this, I’m going to be a bit more skeptical. How much inflation from John to person 2 to person 3 to me? We’re certainly not putting any records in the record books based on reports that like.

      • Michael Neville

        In Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men In a Boat there’s the story that the men visiting a pub where a very large trout is mounted on the wall. A regular at the pub tells them how he caught that trout after an epic struggle. He leaves and another regular says that regular A told them a bunch of lies and he’s the one who really caught the trout. Another regular says that no, he’s the one who caught it. Finally the men tell the barman about how everyone in the pub caught the trout. The barman laughs and points out that it would be silly for someone to put a trophy fish on his pub’s wall, then tells the story about how he caught it. Finally one of the men takes the trout off the wall to examine it and drops it. It turns out the trout was plaster.

        Whenever I hear or read about revelations I think about plaster trout.

        Incidentally Three Men In a Boat was published in the 1880s and is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. The humor isn’t dated at all.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Unfortunately for Jerome K. Jerome, his double name reminds me of Humbert Humbert.
          Thanks, Nabokov.

        • Michael Neville

          His parents had no imagination when it came to picking names.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      I’m willing to grant some end-of-the-world preacher named Jesus was
      crucified by the Romans for the simple reason that there were (AIUI)
      lots of such preachers running around first century Judea and the Romans
      were pretty brutal with their punishments.

      I’m not. I’m willing to grant that it is plausible, but I do not grant that it is true, or demonstrated. As a perfeshunal scientist I try to keep close track of my assumptions, because letting them go unexamined can come back to bite you.

      • TheNuszAbides

        “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.”

    • skl

      That all sounds reasonable.

      But what’s unreasonable, to me, is for other skeptics to act
      like Christians’ religion should be reasonable, when the Christians, as well as
      the Jews’ before them, apparently always acknowledged that their
      religion was un-reasonable (i.e. super-natural).
      Their religions were always “flying mugger territory” to
      begin with. But it’s like skeptics are expecting Judaism and Christianity
      to be something they’re not and never said they were.

      One other thing, about the likelihood of lots of similar
      preachers running around first century Judea –
      I was doing some reading and the bible seems to acknowledge
      the same thing. See Acts chapter 5 towards the end – Theudas and Judas.

      • Otto

        What about the many Christians that claim their religion IS perfectly reasonable? Is it ok to address those claims?

        • skl

          They no doubt have claims for the unreasonable/supernatural that
          they consider reasonable. And of course it’s ok to address them. Knock yourself out, but you won’t get anywhere most of the time. They have a bias to finding the claims reasonable, and you and others don’t.

          Whatever their reasonable arguments might be, one of them
          might pertain to the many preachers mentioned earlier. They might say for instance that few if any followed Theudas and Judas after their deaths, but many continued to follow or believe in Jesus, so maybe there was something extraordinary about him.

        • Greg G.

          The “Theudas and Judas” argument undercuts your claim. http://disq.us/p/1ldn6rr

        • skl

          You may choose to think your “Theudas and Judas argument” undercuts their claim and they may choose to think it doesn’t.
          One thing seems fairly certain, and that is that no one
          apparently was writing about how large the followers of Theudas and Judas had grown by 90 A.D. or 900 A.D.

        • Joe

          One thing seems fairly certain, and that is that no one
          apparently was writing about how large the followers of Theudas and Judas had grown by 90 A.D. or 900 A.D.

          Doesn’t mean there weren’t any followers. Or that they weren’t greater in number.

          See, Christian apologetics cut both ways.

        • Greg G.

          They didn’t have a Paul evangelizing throughout the Roman Empire and utilizing their mail system. So when the Romans sacked Judea, any followers they had would have been devastated.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          One thing seems fairly certain, and that is that no one apparently was writing about how large the followers of Theudas and Judas had grown by 90 A.D. or 900 A.D.

          So what? Your David Koreshes and Jim Joneses are lost and forgotten, but every so often you get a Joseph Smith or a Mohammed. Does not prove anything about the truth of your religion, nor its scriptures.

        • Otto

          My point is they don’t always acknowledge their religion is unreasonable.

          >>>”They might say for instance that few if any followed Theudas and Judas after their deaths, but many continued to follow or believe in Jesus, so maybe there was something extraordinary about him.”

          Never heard that one.

        • TheNuszAbides

          My point is they don’t always acknowledge their religion is unreasonable.

          funny how either way, skl plays the “why do you even bother” card.

        • Otto

          Yep…makes me wonder why he bothers…hmmm

          me thinks he doth protests to much

      • Greg G.

        If theists are going to proclaim that their religion is true, then it should be true.

        One other thing, about the likelihood of lots of similar
        preachers running around first century Judea –
        I was doing some reading and the bible seems to acknowledge
        the same thing. See Acts chapter 5 towards the end – Theudas and Judas.

        The author of Acts (we’ll assume Luke) was getting his information from Josephus. There is nothing wrong with using his writings like an encyclopedia but Luke seems to have taken information somewhat at random from Josephus to create stories. Theudas is mentioned in Antiquities of the Jews 20.5.1 and the sons of Judas the Galilean, along with a recap of the exploits of Judas that can also be found in Antiquities of the Jews 18, are mentioned in Antiquities of the Jews 20.5.2, so it looks like Luke got the information from Gamaliel’s speech on that subject from Josephus. He has Gamaliel referring to something that happened about 30 years earlier (Judas the Galilean) and to something that would happen about ten years in the future (Theudas).

        That means that Luke didn’t know of any such preachers running around from 10 AD to 40 AD. If anything, that is evidence that there probably weren’t many preachers running around first century Judea.

        A better example for you would be Acts 21:38 that mentions “the Egyptian, who before these days stirred up to sedition and led out into the wilderness the four thousand men of the Assassins”. The Egyptian, who led a multitude to the Mount of Olives, and is discussed in Antiquities of the Jews 20.8.6 as an example of “imposters and deceivers who led multitudes into the wilderness”. The Sicarii are the Assassins which are described a few times by Josephus including Antiquities of the Jews 20.8.10, but they are definitely not associated with the Egyptian. But these events would be after 50 AD.

        Josephus suggests that there were many “imposters and deceivers” in the antebellum first century but Luke can only name the same three and the sicarii that Josephus named.

        • Tommy

          Which means that Josephus is the primary if not sole source of information of 1st century Judea to the author of Acts…

        • Greg G.

          There is Euripides Bacchae items in there like the “kick at the goads” idiom said by Dionysus, the Greek God, but has Jesus quoting him in the third account of Paul’s incident on the road to Damascus. There are older writings with that phrase but the two Deus ex machina prison breaks seem to be taken from the Bacchae so other quotes of the idiom are less likely. Plato and Epimenides are quoted, too. I think Paul’s itinerary is based on his letters but he filled in the gaps with fiction. The account of Paul taking over and giving orders during the shipwreck might come from a play or adventure story lost to time. Most of the shipwreck story comes from Josephus account of his shipwreck. They swam to shore on the same island and passed through the same port, Puteoli, in Italy. Josephus mentioned that there were religious leaders being sent to trial in Rome, which is the role Paul was in.

          Those are the ones that come to mind most easily.

        • Tommy

          Yes, but I was talking specifically about Josephus’ works on the historical/political reality of 1st century Judea being the sole or primary source of info for the author of Acts on 1st century Judea. If I’m not mistaken, Josephs’ works were sponsored by Flavian and written to a very high and specific audience. Who was the author to get a copy on such works?

        • Michael Neville

          There were libraries scattered throughout the Roman Empire. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for a library in or near Judea to have a copy of Josephus since he was writing about local matters. Caesarea probably had a library.

        • Tommy

          Yes, but why assumed the gospels and acts were written in the East?

        • Greg G.

          That’s a good question. Maybe Luke had access to Theophilus’ library.

          In Who Wrote the Gospels , Randal Helms figures that Luke was a well-to-do widow who had lost a son.

      • eric

        when the Christians, as well as the Jews’ before them, apparently always acknowledged that their religion was un-reasonable (i.e. super-natural).

        What are you talking about? Philosopher/theologians like Plantinga make their living claiming Christianity is a reasonable belief. Putting relevant search terms into google returns the top three hits as books defending Christianity as rational. “Rational Faith” (two different books by this title! Though one has an additional subtitle) and “A Well Reasoned Faith.” William Lane Craig weighed in with “Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics.” Then you’ve got all the ID creationists, whose entire schtick is claiming that its reasonable to believe that the sudden placing of fully formed animals on earth is more reasonable than evolution. Googling again, I see there are two different blog sites called “Rational Faith” (rationalfaith.com and rationalfaiths.com), one called rationalchristianity.net, and even an NPR commentary from 2013 about how faith can be rational. Meanwhile, reasonablefaith.org even has a twitter feed. And a you tube channel!

        It’s all over the place. Sure some Christians may acknowledge their faith’s nonrationality (and even see it as superior because it doesn’t depend on evidence etc.). But your assertion about Christians in general, and particularly your emphasis on “always”, is utterly wrong.

        • skl

          What I am talking about is as I further explained to Otto:
          “They no doubt have claims for the unreasonable/supernatural that
          they consider reasonable. And of course it’s ok to address them. Knock yourself out, but you won’t get anywhere most of the time. They have a bias to finding the claims reasonable, and you
          and others don’t.”

        • eric

          That’s a complete non-sequitur. If you’re right and they consider a supernatural claim reasonable, they’re still going to say their faith is reasonable. They aren’t going to “always acknowledge” that their faith is unreasonable in that case either.

          Can’t you just admit your first contention was wrong? They do not always acknowledge that their faith is unreasonable.

        • skl

          My first post is fine as is.

          Christians, as well as the Jews’ before them, apparently always
          acknowledged that their religion was super-natural.
          Their faith is based on incredible unnatural unreasonable things like men parting seas and walking on water and rising from the dead, etc.
          They have their reasons for believing such unreasonable things. Many reject those reasons. And so it will likely always be.

        • Greg G.

          But 2000 years ago, they considered the divine to be natural. They hadn’t contrived the supernatural realm. Dreams and drugs with paths to the divine.

    • Ctharrot

      By my reckoning, most theists also take roughly this same Bayesian approach when assessing supernatural claims, provided the claims are from someone else’s religious tradition.

      “Hearsay evidence some zealous warlord named Mohammed conquerd large swathes of the Arabian peninsula? Ok sure. No problem. You don’t need to document it extensively before I’ll accept that. You tell me he rode through the air on a winged horse? Now we’re into flying mugger territory.”

    • TheNuszAbides

      it took a rather embarrassing length of time for me to even come up with an explanatory hypothesis for the ‘satanic panic’ over fantasy roleplaying. (it was in full swing at mum’s church in my elementary school days, so I started playing D&D et al. later than I otherwise would have via my circle of friends; I was a bit too young, and too close to both sides of the action, to sort out a rational excuse for either. I knew I wasn’t developing any interest in, y’know, literal devil-worship, but neither was I about to present a case defending these games against the censorship of that community. Mostly I’m lucky I didn’t end up going to school with and staying over at the houses of my Sunday School compatriots, or I don’t know when the next wedge between me and general gullibility would have presented itself.)
      after i’d spent some years away from regular church attendance, playing way too many games [from an academic achievement standpoint] and hobby/armchair/formal study of mythology, performing arts, psychology, and rhetoric, it finally dawned on me that the threat was only ‘satanic’ in the most abstract, bait-and-switch sense: those games are just one more avenue [re]discovering how easy and unexceptional it is to construct compelling, high-stakes narratives. People conditioned to reflexively devalue all ideas that aren’t co-opted/sanitized for their in-group … well, Habermas’s prose is dripping with that attitude.

  • sandy

    If Jesus was god and really wanted to send a message, wouldn’t he have stuck around after his resurrection to continue his preaching and message? Wouldn’t that have been the most convincing way of communicating to humans that his message was real and heed his words about heaven and hell and how to live your life? There would be no doubt or guessing as to who he was. And continue to do this ALL over the world on all continents and perhaps forever. Just keep on living and preaching to get humans to live a life the way he/god would like you to live. Why the hide and seek game and mystery? Answer of course is because none of it is real.

    • Ficino

      It was pointed out on another blog, I forget which one now, that most conservative Christians don’t seem to care about Jesus’ teachings at all. Core parts of those teachings seem to have zero effect. What they care about is what they think Jesus did for them by taking away sin and all that.

      • adam

        “What they care about is what they think Jesus did for them by taking away sin and all that.”

        So what they REALLY care about is being free from the consequences of choices THEY MAKE.
        They literally believe that they can get away with murder.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c5445e273728092c84dc583a4e5d5b4272a1e62c42654b930aa001a7c5c86900.png

        • Tommy

          If Christianity were such that Jesus had no teachings or sermons but just died for their sins, then most if not all Christians would remain Christians.
          If Christianity were such that Jesus had teachings and sermons but didn’t die for their sins, then most Christians would never have become Christians.

        • MR

          If Christianity were such that Jesus had no teachings or sermons but just died for their sins so they could live forever in heaven, then most if not all Christians would remain Christians.
          If Christianity were such that Jesus had teachings and sermons but didn’t die for their sins so they could live forever in heaven, then most Christians would never have become Christians.

          FTFY. Because if the end result wasn’t that they get to live forever in heaven, who the fuck would care?

        • TheNuszAbides

          the tiny few who actually make an effort to give coherent reasons for pro-social behavior.

        • Michael Neville
      • TheNuszAbides

        Keeping It Simple [&] Stupid.

    • Joe

      It’s not like he would be scared of being killed if he was recaptured, is it?

      • TheNuszAbides

        well, that’s fodder for the early Doctrine Debate!(TM) of Just How Mortal He Was — y’know, the part that almost no average-over-time individual worshiper is likely to have ever pondered, let alone given a toss about.
        plus the whole apologetic about the [Bad Weekend For Your Sins] being [Actually Quite Unpleasant Because He Wasn’t Used To Being All Mortal And Stuff]

        • Joe

          Another poster here (sadly I forget who) brought that up once. What would happen if the Romans recaptured Jesus and crucified him a second time?

          The whole story just makes no sense.

    • TheNuszAbides

      this long wait, per the OEC retcon of Creation Week, is just a washroom break so he could get some of that gucky mortality out from under his fingernails.

  • smrnda

    On supernatural stuff.

    There are people who are into the supernatural. I’ve met at least one person who was a devoted believer in ghosts and spirits. It turns out that a number of places are rumored to be haunted which attract people seeking evidence, and many find it. Somehow I’m not really persuaded.

    • TheNuszAbides

      folks love a good story.

      • smrnda

        I also find that many places encourage these stories as they can be good for tourism.

  • An underlying problem is that when their weak arguments are challenged, Christians tend to fall back on another strategy: “But I KNOW it to be true”, “I’ve felt God’s presence in my life”, etc. Subjective experience is used as evidence. And if we’re not convinced? It’s because the Holy Spirit has revealed the truth to them but we common mortals are unable to see the “simple, beautiful truth”… What can you do?

    • Michael Neville

      Personal experience and personal revelation are true for that person. Others may or may not accept the truth depending on their thoughts and experiences.

      • But then they assume that “true for them” also means “true for everyone but they’re just to arrogant / blind / sinful etc. to see it”.

        • Benny S.

          Also an influence on everyone else, as Dana Carvey’s Church Lady used to say: “Could it be….. Satan???”

        • I didn’t know that character, I’ll have to check it out! 🙂

        • Greg G.

          I hope you can find them all. Church Lady was great.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Personal experience and personal revelation are true for that person.

        Sorry, no. That is a bastardization of the word true. I call this the “argument from limited vocabulary.” There are other words you could use that would convey the concept with causing damage to our language. e.g.
        “Personal experience and personal revelation are convincing for that person.”

      • Tommy

        Those are called opinions. 😉

      • TheNuszAbides

        i’d merely say they ring true. some ‘witnesses’ will double down against any lack of uncritical acceptance, some will more or less admit the anecdotal-emotional bias and own their preference without being hard-whatevered about it. addiction to certainty [and/or allergy to ambiguity] is a separate beast AFAICT.

    • Dannorth

      That’s why at that point they can be stumped, if reasonably sincere, with a question like if we were to ask if a person of another faith would justify their faiith with the same argument..

    • Kevin K

      Of course, Argument from Personal Experience doesn’t work, because if then their god would have to be the one-and-only source of such things. Which the people who have had “personal experiences” with Hare Krishna, the Heaven’s Gate cult, est, $cientology, et al, can tell you is not the case.

      If there is 1 god, then everyone would have 1 experience in 1 way. Not the same experience involving multiple gods and no-gods.

  • RichardSRussell

    Yes, Christianity does have all the answers! It’s been around for 2000 years now, has heard every conceivable question, and has had plenty of time to come up with responses to each and every one of them. You cannot imagine a question that Christians don’t have an answer to. Some of them are even correct.

    • TheNuszAbides

      … Some of them are even correct.

      not for lack of atrocious excuses!

  • Kevin K

    The conversion of “literal” truths to “metaphorical” truths is probably the number one argument against the bible as history. If you’re recounting the crossing of the Delaware by George Washington, there are literal, actual, historical truths you can find, and you can distinguish those truths from later hagiography. For example, the iconic painting is purest bullshit — that section of the Delaware is shallow and quite incapable of making “waves” as shown. There are no “metaphorical” truths to be had here. Washington was fighting a war. The enemy was on the other side of the river. He commandeered some boats, crossed his troops, and surprised the enemy. Where’s the “metaphor” in that?

    With the bible, every time some “literal” fact is proven to be wrong, it’s instantly proclaimed to be a “metaphor”. Suddenly, a claimed fact like the withering of a fig tree becomes a metaphor for the state of Israel. Well, OK then. But then it was a metaphor at the beginning, meaning it was never a factual event and the entire proposition is fiction from end-to-end, absent definitive proof otherwise in the form of contemporaneous eyewitness accounts or other evidence that would satisfy a skeptical third party.

    • epeeist

      The conversion of “literal” truths to “metaphorical” truths is probably the number one argument against the bible as history.

      The thing is, if one takes a correspondence view of truth then there are no “metaphorical truths” since they do not correspond to the facts.

      You might get away with a coherence theory of truth, but given the number of inconsistencies in the bible this is doubtful. And as Bertrand Russell noted, it is perfectly possible to have a completely consistent fairy tale.

      • Michael Neville

        Novelists, screen writers and playwrights work diligently to produce consistent fiction. Some are better than others and the best write some very convincing fiction. For instance Terry Pratchett’s Feet of Clay and Going Postal are quite consistent.

  • Otto

    I would like to ask any Christian who think the Habermas minimal facts for the resurrection is compelling if a similar set of facts was presented about a situation that happened today… would they come to the same conclusions?

  • Doubting Thomas

    A plausible natural explanation always beats a supernatural explanation.

    Hell, an implausible natural explanation always beats a supernatural explanation.

    Just look at the historical score card:

    Implausible natural explanation shown to be correct: Lots and lots

    Any supernatural explanation shown to be correct: Zero.

    • TheNuszAbides

      cue “But [Christians invented]/[Christianity promoted] science!”
      ignoring the non-Christian exceptions, the anti-scientific exceptions, perfectly plausible compartmentalization of [stated] beliefs and [focused] rational investigation, etc.

      as an idle aside, were there any Enlightenment luminaries who claimed that deists invented science? and some ~Interfaith~ crews might fancy a similar proprietary claim on behalf of theists particular or general …

  • Paul

    “It’s not like we have security-camera evidence documenting the gospel
    story. ”

    Well, it’s not like we have security-camera evidence for life coming from non-life or life evolving from a single common ancestor either. I guess those are just stories – cleverly devised myths.

    “The default position for this and indeed for all supernatural
    stories is that it is not history.”

    I suspect that is your default position because of your worldview.

    “Only with overwhelming evidence can
    we conclude otherwise.”

    You have the evidence. We all the exact same evidence. In fact, they are the disciples’ eyewitness accounts. Another term for eyewitness testimony is direct evidence. But you are interpreting the evidence a different way because of your worldview.

    • Michael Neville

      You’re right, we interpret evidence according to our world views. We accept what the evidence tells us, even if we have philosophical objections to those interpretations. You examine the evidence through a “does this match 2500 year old myths some godbothers have decided supersede reality” filter and reject that evidence which doesn’t pass the your ideological filter. We don’t discriminate about what evidence tells us. You discard evidence if it doesn’t match what others have told you is pleasing to a magic sky pixie.

    • Greg G.

      Another term for eyewitness testimony is direct evidence. But you are interpreting the evidence a different way because of your worldview.

      We interpret evidence because we understand evidence. You think eyewitness testimony is direct evidence. Eyewitness testimony is the least direct and least reliable evidence there is. Even the ancient Bible authors realized that so they required two or three witnesses to corroborate them.

      Deuteronomy 17:6 (NRSV)6 On the evidence of two or three witnesses the death sentence shall be executed; a person must not be put to death on the evidence of only one witness.

      Deuteronomy 19:15 (NRSV)Law concerning Witnesses15 A single witness shall not suffice to convict a person of any crime or wrongdoing in connection with any offense that may be committed. Only on the evidence of two or three witnesses shall a charge be sustained.

      2 Corinthians 13:1 (NRSV)1 This is the third time I am coming to you. “Any charge must be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

      But the ancient authors had no idea how to find hard evidence that is not immediately obvious but more powerful in its implications.

      You have the evidence. We all the exact same evidence. In fact, they are the disciples’ eyewitness accounts.

      We have no eyewitness accounts. The gospel accounts are fictional stories derived the mythical literature of the day. The epistles do not tell about a preacher/teacher not are they filled with teachings. Pretty much all they tell us is derived from the Old Testament not from eyewitness testimony from the first century.

      We use real evidence to understand reality. You use imaginary evidence to support your imaginary fantasies.

      • Paul

        Eyewitness testimony IS direct evidence. Pick up a law book.

        There was more than one eyewitness. There were the 12 disciples, Then there were the people that were healed by Jesus. There were those that saw him crucified. There were the 500 that saw him after the resurrection. All of them were eyewitnesses.

        “We have no eyewitness accounts. The gospel accounts are fictional stories derived the mythical literature of the day. The epistles do not tell about a preacher/teacher not are they filled with teachings. Pretty much all they tell us is derived from the Old Testament not from eyewitness testimony from the first century.”

        That is how you are interpreting the evidence through your worldview lens.

        • Greg G.

          You are correct and I was wrong about eyewitness testimony being direct evidence.

          There was more than one eyewitness. There were the 12 disciples, Then there were the people that were healed by Jesus. There were those that saw him crucified. There were the 500 that saw him after the resurrection. All of them were eyewitnesses.

          You do not have that eyewitness testimony. You would have testimony from non-eyewitnesses of hearsay evidence of eyewitness testimony but Paul is only saying they read about those things in the Old Testament.

          In 1 Corinthians 15:3a, we read, “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received.”

          Paul received the information from reading the scriptures.

          Galatians 1:12
          … I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation…

          Romans 16:25-26
          … the revelation of the mystery… through the prophetic writings…

          We can confirm this by noting that everything Paul says about Jesus can be found in the Old Testament. He had no information of a first century Jesus.

          Then in 1 Corinthians 15:3b, we read, “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,”

          According to what scriptures? The gospels weren’t written yet. Paul means the Old Testament scriptures.

          Isaiah 53:5 (NRSV)But he was wounded for our transgressions,    crushed for our iniquities;upon him was the punishment that made us whole,    and by his bruises we are healed.

          1 Corinthians 15:4a says, “and that he was buried,” which is also in the scriptures:

          Isaiah 53:9 (NRSV)They made his grave with the wicked    and his tomb with the rich,although he had done no violence,    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

          1 Corinthians 15:4a says, “and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,”

          That scripture would be:

          Hosea 6:2 (NRSV)  After two days he will revive us;    on the third day he will raise us up,    that we may live before him.

          In Romans 9:25-26, Paul cites Hosea and quotes from two verses. In Romans 9:29, Paul cites Isaiah while quoting and alluding to several verses in Isaiah in the surrounding passages. So we know Paul was capable of quoting from Isaiah and Hosea together.

          Paul never saw Jesus but he used the same word (“optanomai”) for all of the “appeared to” instances in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 that he used for his own “appeared to” so he didn’t think their “appeared to” was any different than his own. In 2 Corinthians 11:4-6 and 12:11, Paul insists his knowledge is not inferior to the knowledge of the “super-apostles”. That would be a ridiculous claim if he knew the “super-apostles” actually met Jesus.

        • al kimeea

          I notice Paul didn’t respond to your comment. People with his worldview always avoid the evidence.

        • adam

          “Eyewitness testimony IS direct evidence.”

          But you have none.
          You have STORIES

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b8e21f4f245797969c0947a765da8794c812826b9b5e6d1a040a884b1ee550af.jpg

        • Paul

          “But you have none.
          You have STORIES”

          And that would be your interpretation of the evidence based on your worldview. Why do you have such a hard time understanding this?

        • adam

          “And that would be your interpretation of the evidence based on your worldview.”

          What evidence?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8638fdedfe8fad3b245ca0981085794967c878d6bfba020d03d8b426a1c98936.jpg

          “Why do you have such a hard time understanding this?”

          Because it is merely a STORY.
          And most parts are just old rehashed story elements.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d8dc416612bbbd6243c461cfe2a6d4ee55f709d3183f0ea3f8770d4d4a294121.jpg

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/784d8199f09dff075b2d3ecc7333f0de5901857775bf803c837cc5f630ff0a3e.jpg

        • Otto

          >>>”There were the 500 that saw him after the resurrection. ”

          You mean there was one guy (who wasn’t there) that claimed there was 500 witnesses…

        • MNb

          Law is not science. Thanks for confirming that you reject the scientific method.
          Not that second hand testimonies like the ones from the Gospels would be allowed in court.

        • smrnda

          ‘Eyewitness testimony IS direct evidence. Pick up a law book.’

          Evidence from cognitive psychology tells us that eyewitness testimony is much less reliably than thought, and in many ways, the both the law and instructions read to people in courts does not take this scientific evidence into account.

    • adam

      ” In fact, they are the disciples’ eyewitness accounts.”

      But there are no disciples’ eyewitness accounts.

      There are ONLY stories.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fb4704343876725a21851b3d98421cb54aacc77e7dd6dd0e20c6ac3d7b38de3a.jpg

      • Paul

        More assumptions and straw man arguments from “adam”. It’s evident that he is interpreting the evidence through his own worldview.

        • MNb

          Yup. When I interpret the evidence (flowers blossoming beautifully in my backyard) the way you interpet it I conclude that unobservable fairies tending them. I also conclude that little unobservable demons are running your computer.
          The problem is not that you interpret the evidence differently; the problem is that your interpretation is a) unreliable and b) way too often just denies the evidence.

        • adam

          “More assumptions and straw man arguments from “adam”.”

          What strawman?

          “It’s evident that he is interpreting the evidence through his own worldview.”

          Yes, of course, just like YOU ARE:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/62da10177de8c12d9feedf1a0ff3d448ed929feef887a1192640edb3a8a15953.jpg

    • Well, it’s not like we have security-camera evidence for life coming from non-life or life evolving from a single common ancestor either.

      Let’s stick with the naturalistic explanations, which have been the winners in previous contests with supernatural explanations.

      “The default position for this and indeed for all supernatural
      stories is that it is not history.”
      I suspect that is your default position because of your worldview.

      No, I back the winner. Only one approach has the results.

      You have the evidence. We all the exact same evidence. In fact, they are the disciples’ eyewitness accounts.

      How interesting—I wrote a post today on that very subject.

    • Joe

      In fact, they are the disciples’ eyewitness accounts.

      Where are the eyewitness accounts located, exactly?

    • Mark Dowd

      Even first-hand, eyewitness testimony is horrible. Second-hand testimony is called hearsay and is not even allowed in courtrooms.

  • Paul

    “No, it’s a story! You can’t prove that one part of a story is
    correct by appealing to another part of the same story. This is the
    yellow brick road problem (“Of course there’s an Emerald City. Where
    else would the yellow brick road go to?”) Only when you have historical
    evidence do you have an argument.”

    You can’t prove that the cleverly devised myth of universal common descent is true, simply because of specialization. Yes, things change over time, but that doesn’t mean everything came from a common ancestor. You might say “But of course it does! How else did we get here!” The problem is that you don’t have any historical evidence to support that argument.

    • Michael Neville

      There’s literally tons of evidence to support evolution. Your ignorance and incredulity aren’t evidence of anything except your ignorance and incredulity.

      Instead of attacking evolution, why don’t you creationists (“intelligent design” is just creationism repackaged for legal reasons) support creationism? Show us the massive evidence that supports GODDIDIT. Explain how GODDIDIT answers questions like why do my cat and I both suffer from arthritis in our hips or one strain of Richard Lenski’s E coli got the ability to digest citrate.

      • Paul

        “There’s literally tons of evidence to support evolution.”

        Yet you didn’t provide a single one. But here’s what you don’t seem to understand: We all have the exact same evidence. We all live in the same universe and the same galaxy. We live on the same planet. We see the same mountains, rivers, valleys, plants, animals, insects, etc. We have the same written historical records. The evidence is EXACTLY the same. The difference is how one interprets the evidence. Evidence is always interpreted through ones worldview.

        Regarding bacteria and citrate:
        https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/mutations/hijacking-good-science-lenskis-bacteria-support-creation/

        Regarding arthritis and other forms of suffering:
        https://answersingenesis.org/suffering/why-does-gods-creation-include-death-and-suffering/
        (Spoiler alert: The answer to this one is not “God did it.”)

        • Michael Neville

          I’m an accountant, not a biologist, so I’m not the one you should be asking for evidence. If you really wanted evidence, then there are numerous websites like Talk Origins which will give it to you. But someone who gives links to AIG isn’t interested in evidence. You want to push a religious agenda based on a literal interpretation of 2500 year old myths some Hebrew priests stole from the Babylonians.

          I do not accept “The Fall™” as an explanation for anything. That’s just one of the myths I referred to in the above paragraph. If you can show “The Fall™” actually happened then we can discuss it. But normally I only discuss fiction with people who know we’re discussing fiction. Since you think “The Fall™” isn’t fiction then I won’t bother.

          The difference is how one interprets the evidence. Evidence is always interpreted through ones worldview.

          Your interpretation is based on a literal reading of myths written by people who didn’t know where the Sun went at night. My interpretation is based on reality. Your worldview derives from superstition, mine does not. Personally I’ve never found mythology to be that interesting, you have a different opinion.

        • Paul

          “I’m an accountant, not a biologist, so I’m not the one you should be asking for evidence.”

          You missed the point. I wasn’t actually asking for evidence even though you said there was plenty of it. My point was that all evidence is interpreted. And of course it’s grounded in reality. I’ll repeat:
          “We all have the exact same evidence. We all live in the same universe and the same galaxy. We live on the same planet. We see the same mountains, rivers, valleys, plants, animals, insects, etc. We have the same written historical records. The evidence is EXACTLY the same.”

          Because of your worldview, you are viewing historical evidence as superstition.

        • adam

          “Because of your worldview, you are viewing historical evidence as superstition.”

          Not us:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04570f3531aa4e675333fdcce29973e95d6ad5b518125333d607badb96b99c03.png

        • Mark Dowd

          Do you have a graphic for everything? Not complaining, just wondering.

        • adam

          No, of course not, but I do find them very, very effective in getting my points across.

          BTW, I do have a collection of more than 2000 currently.

        • Greg G.

          I think he has multiple graphics for everything.

        • MNb

          And creationist interpretation of evidence is by definition not scientific; it’s often antiscientific. Both Ol’Hambo and the IDiots from Seattle reject the scientific method. The first has documented it on his website; the latter on the Wedge Document linked to above.

        • Michael Neville

          Genesis is not historical. As I’ve said before, it’s a couple of creation myths Hebrew priests stole from the Babylonians. To show it’s non-historicity, compare Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis, you’ll find two different stories. So which one is true?

          Because of your worldview, you think that myths are historical, that superstition supersedes science, and the magic sky pixie is real. Because of my worldview, I know that all of those things are nonsense believed in by deluded, incredulous idiots like you.

        • Mark Dowd

          An amazing discovery! Evidence requires interpretation! Why didn’t anyone think of that before!

          Now let’s figure out which interpretations result in consistent and sensible ideas, and which result in idiodic chaos. Go ahead, take your time.

          I will also note that from an epistemological standpoint, a “scorched Earth” argument like this is not an attempt to win. You are not making your own position stronger, but trying to drag the opposing view down to your level.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Now let’s figure out which interpretations result in consistent and sensible ideas

          Better yet, let’s see which can make accurate predictions.

          This is the factor creationists have no concept of. They act like exploration is perpetually locked into a hindsight position, but this isn’t the case.

          Whether something “explains” a set of data is virtually useless, there are literally an infinite number of possibilities. Instead, it is predictability that is the hallmark of a viable theory. On this front, ID fails in every way imaginable.

          One other thing, even if Paul disagrees, the fact that evolution makes accurate predictions is still a data point that must be accounted for in his model. Without said accounting, then ID is less explanatory and evolution becomes the better model even by Paul’s flawed standard.

        • Greg G.

          Regarding bacteria and citrate:
          https://answersingenesis.or

          The author counts any suppression of an inhibitor as a loss of information without considering whether it is a novel way to suppress it. He is an IDiot grasping at straws.

          Regarding arthritis and other forms of suffering:
          https://answersingenesis.or

          The page has the following in an offset:

          JESUS CLEARLY LOVED LAZARUS AND HIS GRIEVING FAMILY, BUT HE WAS ABLE TO SEE A PURPOSE TO SUFFERING THAT THEY COULD NOT SEE. [my bolding]

          If suffering achieves a purpose, then it is logically possible to achieve that purpose. If it is logically possible to achieve that purpose, then even the weak definition of omnipotence says the omnipotence can also achieve that purpose without suffering doing it, which makes the suffering unnecessary.

          Therefore, all suffering is unnecessary so it does not explain the existence of suffering at all.

          You can either say that God is not powerful enough to prevent suffering or God has chosen for sentient beings to suffer unnecessarily which makes God a sadist. Is your God weak or just ruthlessly mean?

          I don’t blame God at all for suffering for the same reason I am no longer mad at Santa Claus for not bringing me a pony when I was 5. I now realize neither are real.

        • adam
        • Paul

          I guess “adam” doesn’t understand the difference between evidence and the interpretation of evidence.

        • adam
        • adam
        • MNb

          “The difference is how one interprets the evidence.”
          An argument that both IDiots and other creacrappers (like Ol’Hambo from Kentucky) use. Thanks for confirming that IDiocy is creacrap just fine.

          PS: another confirmation is that you link to both the website of the IDiots from Seattle and the website of Ol’Hambo. The only two differences are that the latter uses Scripture as “scientific evidence” and thinks the Earth is 6000 years old. These are not significant enough to put them in two different main categories – what they have in common is way more relevant.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Here we go again….
          https://youtu.be/Jw0MLJJJbqc

        • MNb

          Sorry, I’m a bad listener (I vastly prefer reading) and certainly in the non-native language English.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Doh! I meant to reply to Paul. Sorry about that. ☺

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Here we go again….
          https://youtu.be/Jw0MLJJJbqc

      • Paul

        “(“intelligent design” is just creationism repackaged for legal reasons)”

        That’s not true. That’s a common misconception about intelligent design. I suggest you try to educate yourself on this topic so you don’t get any more egg on your face.
        http://www.discovery.org/id/faqs/#questionsAboutIntelligentDesign

        • Greg G.

          Here is the Wedge Document which was foundational to ID.
          https://ncse.com/creationism/general/wedge-document

          It will be next year will be twenty years since the document was published. They are nowhere near the Twenty Year Goals. They haven’t even approached their Five Year Goals. The main reason is:

          “Phase I is the essential component of everything that comes afterward. Without solid scholarship, research and argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade.”

          The research has not gotten them anywhere so now all they are reduced to attempts “attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade.”

        • Otto

          LOL…The Discovery Institute….good one…

        • adam
        • Paul

          Another straw man argument, adam. Do you every put things into your own words instead of using graphics you found on the Internet?

        • adam

          “Another straw man argument, adam.”

          Nope, just another IDiot unsupported claim from you.

          “Do you every put things into your own words instead of using graphics you found on the Internet?”

          Not every, but I guess ad hominem is the Very Best that your Faith provides for you to debate with.

        • adam
        • Paul

          Nice straw man argument. Query: Why can’t adam put things in his own words?

        • adam

          adam can, why can’t Paul be honest?

        • adam

          What’s straw man about it?

          “Query: Why can’t adam put things in his own words?”
          adam can.

          Why does Paul have to LIE?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/15ca0861e39343c39684a19ac9ceddd9534f334c6757b32dc5e2772146b00297.jpg

        • Mark Dowd

          Shorter ID: The problem of life is too harder, so let’s make it harder.

        • adam

          Harder and completely unable to understand.

          God only brings in nonfalsibility, and adds nothing else to the conversation.

        • epeeist

          That’s not true. That’s a common misconception about intelligent design.

          Tell that to the cdesign proponentsists.

        • MNb

          It’s totally true. Creationism consists of three points:

          1. Evolution is false, no matter how;
          2. God of the Gaps, ie science fails on some point hence god;
          3. Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy.

          The IDiots from Seattle totally qualify on all three points and hence are creationists.
          But we already know you’re a liar, so when you say MN has egg on his face it means he’s totally fine.

        • Michael Neville

          ID was invented by a lawyer named Philip Johnson in part to get around the Constitutional prohibition of teaching religious mythology in American public schools. The Discovery Institute even admits they’re creationists. Disco Toot VP John West said:

          Ball State ought to be careful. I think their mishandling of this could turn into a much bigger deal. Certainly, we are not going away. The speech code against intelligent design is vague and too broad and may not be being applied evenhandedly. We determined through public documents one science class is covering intelligent design in order to bash it. If they allow that, it’s tantamount to state endorsement of an anti-religious view. [emphasis added]

          This is an explicit admission by that ID is a religious point of view, for “bashing it” is “tantamount” to being “anti-religious.”

          William Dembski has said that ID is religious:

          Dembski states in his book Design Inference that the nature of the intelligent designer cannot be inferred from intelligent design and suggests that the designer, if one is even necessary for design inference, may or may not be “the God of Scripture.” In December 2007 Dembski told Focus on the Family, “I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.

          Highlighting these mutually exclusive claims about the designer, Dembski, despite having said that the intelligent designer or designers could be any god or gods, or even space aliens, has also said that “intelligent design should be understood as the evidence that God has placed in nature to show that the physical world is the product of intelligence and not simply the result of mindless material forces” and that “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” [emphasis added]

        • MNb

          Btw Paulie, the DiscoTute you link to didn’t even start as a creationist outfit. It can be found on their own site (my apologies for linking to their crap):

          http://www.discovery.org/a/2190

          “Founded in 1990, the Institute is a national, non-profit, non-partisan policy and research organization, headquartered in Seattle, WA. It has programs on a variety of issues, including regional transportation development, economics and technology policy, legal reform, and bioethics.”

          Only five years later, when this guy

          http://www.nndb.com/people/374/000058200/

          decided that he had too much money and liked to sponsor a bunch of clowns the DiscoTute went for IDiocy. They do it for the money (and Ahmanson’s money has been good); but it seems that inward cash flow is declining. Casey Luskin (aka the Attack Gerbil) has quit.
          In the end their only concern is to keep their sponsors happy. Think of that the next time you link to their crap.

          For Ol’Hambo of Kentucky something similar applies. I bet the Gay Wooden Box

          https://i0.wp.com/freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/files/2017/07/rainbowark.jpg?ssl=1

          above all serves as Ol’Hambo’s retirement fund, given his shenanigans to evade taxes.
          You should reread Matth. 21:12 to find out what Jesus would have done with those fakers.

        • Michael Neville

          Nice to see the Gay Ark.

        • TheNuszAbides

          egg all over the precious face of ID, sorry. or are you going to play your dim-witted “interpretation” card again?

        • Mark Dowd

          Kitzmiller vs Dover School District (or Board, IDK).

          It’s definitely not a misconception. The Discovery Institute got caught with their pants down.

    • eric

      While agreeing with Michael Neville and MnB about the evidence, I’ll also point out that you’re misunderstanding how science works. Science is inductive. It doesn’t prove things in the strict philosophical sense of proof. What it does is develop provisional explanations that can always (in theory) be overturned by future evidence.

      So yes, it’s always possible there is some other non-evolutionary theory/explanation we haven’t discovered yet that is (a) fully consistent with current observations and (b) does a better job of explaining observations we haven’t yet made. What we can say based on current evidence, however, is that all of the creationist ideas considered to date are either (a) nonscientific or (b) less consistent with the evidence. So however provisional you think evolution is, as an explanation it’s still better than them.

    • adam

      “You can’t prove that the cleverly devised myth of universal common descent is true, simply because of specialization.”

      Because it isnt a myth, DUH!

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1c55e3055fbaa0d2894e33afdb875d1346cfb559c4cd84f8ea97adb857b705bb.jpg

    • Otto

      Common descent is the best current explanation. That could change with more information. Someone could find information that would completely undermine evolutionary theory…but if that would happen you and others would still have all you work ahead of you. Disproving evolution does not make ID or Creationism correct by default.

      When the Discovery Institute actually discovers something you be sure to let us know.

      • Joe

        Someone could find information that would completely undermine evolutionary theory.

        That’s why I’m puzzled that creationists don’t even seem to be looking.

        • Otto

          No need to look if you can just make shit up.

        • TheNuszAbides

          flogging their sponsors’ dead, dead horse.

        • Kevin K

          They seem to be applying the same metric to the return of Jesus to Earth. Any day now … 2000 years later and still waiting.

      • Kevin K

        Not sure any single point of information is going to overturn the literally millions upon millions of data points in favor the modern evolutionary synthesis. We’re way past that turning point. Even a fossil bunny in the Cambrian would be viewed as either a fraud or evidence that time travel is real…it wouldn’t overturn common descent.

        Any more than additional information (facts) would undermine the fact that nuclear fusion powers the sun, or that Lyssavirus causes rabies.

        • Otto

          I agree, I was just willing to hypothetically concede the point to show how hollow his argument was.

    • adam
    • Joe

      Unrelated to the topic at hand, and to the Bible in general.

      If you’re interested, there are ways to demonstrate universal common descent is the best explanation for the facts we have.

    • Michael Behe in the seminal Darwin’s Black Box accepts common descent, for what it’s worth.

      And, of course, it’s the consensus view of the scientists who understand the evidence. But you don’t care about that, I’m guessing?

      • TheNuszAbides

        he’s got Righteous Underdog Scientists on his team, why would they need some filthy godless consensus? Yahwehjesus is too cool for consensus.

    • Lerk!

      “You can’t prove that the cleverly devised myth of universal common descent is true, simply because of specialization.”

      You’re right, you can’t prove it simply because of speciation (I’m assuming that spell-check changed that to “specialization” in your reply). It’s possible that life started more than once and that there are two or more original ancestors. But I suspect that DNA evidence rules that out.

    • Mark Dowd

      There is other evidence for common descent, like the universality of the specific DNA->protein mapping that all life uses. I could go into more detail, but there’s no point I think.

      Pick up The Anscentor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins. It’s one of the most fantastic books I’ve ever read.

    • Kevin K

      Um…yes we do. It’s called “DNA”.