Repeated, ignorant Creationist/ID arguments: A solution

Posted: April 25, 2008 in Atheism, Evolution, Religion
Tags: , ,

One of the things that annoys me about the whole Theory of Evolution & Creationism/ID topic that Creationists and ID proponents always repeat the same old silly arguments. You know the sort I mean; appeals to a misunderstanding of the Laws of Thermodynamics, the ‘which is easier to believe’ fallacy and so on. Of course, if you fail to address these rather silly claims then they take at as some sort of victory in a way that can often seem like a war of attrition.

Maybe it is time for those of us who are actually somewhat aware of the evidence and facts to save ourselves some trouble. Perhaps we should start a collection of these tired old arguments and place a rebuttal underneath, so all we need do is copy and paste. You see someone bring out the ol’ (and rather silly) “the Grand Canyon was formed in a global flood” line, you just copy and paste the rebuttal instead of wasting time typing up a unique reply each and every time. I’ll try to start some off, people can just add more in the comments section.

The Laws of Thermodynamics/Entropy make the Theory of Evolution impossible

Appeal to a misunderstanding of the Laws of Thermodynamics. These laws apply to what is known as closed systems, which organic life certainly is not. A person can refute this argument simply by looking in a mirror; you were once a much simpler form of life and have since changed into a much more complex one. If this argument were true, you would never have become more than a small puddle of liquid and maybe not even that. To state it another way, overall entropy can increase in a closed system and undoubtedly will yet there is nothing stopping localised pockets (such as planets, galaxies and so on) becoming more ordered.

Which is Easier to believe? A creator being or that your ancestors will monkeys/rodents/jellyfish?

Just because you find something easier to believe, it does not make it true. Primitive man believed such things as the Sun was pushed along the sky by a giant Dung Beetle or that Demons caused mental illness. Why? Simply because it was easier for them and it was what they could comprehend. Likewise, I might believe that my car is run through the power of Leprechauns because I do not have a full understanding of automotive mechanics but that does not make it true.

No Transitional Fossils have ever been found.

It could be argued that every fossil ever found is a transitionary fossil, since it belongs to a species that was once one species and is continuing on to be another species. Examples of found transitionary fossils (apart from human remains) include Haasiophis terrasanctus, Pachyrhachis, Mososaurs, Pezosiren portelli, Runcaria and Halkiera just to name a few. The fossil record of whale evolution is also rather complete, including the movement of the blow-hole and the recession of hind legs.

Evolution has never been observed.

Evolution has been observed many times across many different species. Evolution happens with a lot of little changes over almost geological amounts of time. You could never expect, for example, a dog turn into a horse in a labratory. That being said, new species have been observed and verified. A new species of mosquito evolved from an old one in the London Underground, The apple maggot fly, Faeroe Island House mouse, Goatsbeard Wildflowers and so on. The examples of new species emerging are many indeed.

Evolution is not science as it can not be observed, falsified and/or measured.

Evolution has been observed many times across a wide number of species and forms of life; from bacteria changing to better resist drugs and new environments, insects developing and losing physical attributes, the different breeds of dogs and general genetic change that can be seen all the time. Evolution can falsified very simply; Darwin himself even penned things would destroy his theory if they were ever found. Such finds include such things as irreducible complexity and (as the old saying goes) rabbit fossils in the pre-cambian.

Evolution is only a theory.

The Theory of Evolution is a scientific theory, which is somewhat different to how the term ‘theory’ is often used in wider society. In science, the term refers to “a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena” to put it rather simply. Scientific theories need to meet certain criteria to be considered as such; being observable, testable and so on. Scientific theories must undergo rigorous testing and verification which is what the Theory of Evolution has passed time and again. There is no ‘heirachy of truth’, a scientific theory is not worth less than a ‘law’.

UPDATE

Please note that I’ve start up the ‘arguments response’ page (just take a look at the top of this page for the tab).

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Comments
  1. scaryreasoner says:

    Great idea.

    Behold:

    Talk origins Index to Creationist Claims:

    http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/

  2. Matt says:

    Yes, I considered that.
    However, talkorigins tends to use words above two syllables a fair bit so it could very easily go over the heads of many a creationist.

  3. thewordofme says:

    Matt,

    Great idea, and you are right about the ‘over two syllables’.
    Thanks for the visit and comments on my site 🙂

  4. markii says:

    i really like this one: http://richarddawkins.net/viewarchive,

    those logged in can vote for the best arguments, thus taking the better ones to the top, still giving you access to other ideas as well. what do you think?

  5. Matt says:

    I like the content but I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of the design of Dawkins’ site.

    I think you meant the following URL as well:
    http://richarddawkins.net/archive,page1,All,All,Reason,Debate-Points

  6. markii says:

    das correct, das da one. 🙂

  7. rltjs says:

    because there were things that threaded genetic line that we called dog or cat today, while another has threaded the line that we call man today. And its wishful thinking, mere idealism, for dog or cat and man to be thinking it or he should be something else, why this and not that. ha ha.

  8. Matt says:

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say there, sorry.

  9. AV says:

    Do I have BabelFish/deBabelFish everything for you, Matt?

    He said:

    We passed those classified by thing which the person today is called to the line, but as for us being to have the fact that it passes to the thing heredity line which the dog or the cat today was called. And that for the dog you desire or of he is thought, you think, the cat and the person why this and that something which is not other ones you express simply idealism and, start and are. Ha ha

    Capiche?

  10. ozatheist says:

    a good idea Matt,
    it would be nice once you had a collection of them, to post them as a standalone page; and/or as a pdf file we could print out.

    A printed out sheet would be handy for people like me with hopeless memory recall. When debating face-to-face just whip the sheet out and hand it to the poor deluded sod.

    a bit like this 34 Arguments
    (note the pdf and print link)

    By the way, I’ve asked August if I can host a copy of his document, and his previous one, 21 Arguments, on my site, I’d be happy to do the same for your Matt,

  11. Matt says:

    I’ll just have to see how it goes and how many contributions I get, heh.

  12. ozatheist says:

    I forgot to add

    you’ve been spotted

  13. Chris says:

    I salute your initiative. Indeed – talkorigins is not written with the ‘regular guy’ in mind. In fact – I would argue that it is not written even with your typical college graduate in mind – if he is not a science major!!! So Matt – that material would not go ONLY over the heads of creationists – but over the heads of most people without considerable training in science (at least that is my opinion and I have a non-science PhD).

    You initiative will help (of course) the creationists too. Since now they have a place to go with the answers to their objections.

    I think that you would definitely have to expand on the answers that you give on this page. I understand that this is what you intend to do.

    On this point: [ ” Evolution is not science as it can not be observed, falsified and/or measured.

    Evolution has been observed many times across a wide number of species and forms of life; from bacteria changing to better resist drugs and new environments, insects developing and losing physical attributes, the different breeds of dogs and general genetic change that can be seen all the time. “]

    I assume that the creationists would argue that “microevolution” has been observed and not “macroevolution.” Now – it is fairly logical to say that small changes eventually lead to big(er) changes. However – that does NOT mean that those have been OBSERVED. How would you respond to that?

    Blessings,
    Chris

  14. Jens says:

    E vol u tion

    4 syllables! I think we may have found the problem folks. ID folks are simply unable to understand the basic word we use to identify our position, let alone the explanation.

    After all Creationism was probably dropped because it was so hard to say/understand by the leity. Much easier to go with a two syllable acronym like ID.

  15. Lucy Lowe says:

    This is a FABULOUS post, and I don’t use the f-word lightly…Not the one in the line above anyway. Thanks so much for posting!

  16. Rod says:

    because we are what we are – thinking creatures. Long time ago we didn’t read and write. We picked fruits, we turned rocks to catch, we dug roots, whatever to fill our tummies. Tomorrow maybe we’ll turn on-off lights and tvs only by mind power. and they are simple gradual changes called evolution

    Let’s go back to us, thinking creatures. Yeah we cannot leave without morality. That’s why we are called thinking man. Sapiens.

  17. Rod says:

    evolution? Something got to the Finish line first and incidentally it is us and we should be glad about that. That’s how simple it is I think. And no fuss, since it’s us, so we do something about it. And yes, man is not eat-sleep-eat again-propagate thing. we must be more than that on this planet.

  18. Matt says:

    I have absolutely no idea what you are trying to say. I assume English is a second language?

  19. Matt:

    “Evolution happens with a lot of little changes over almost geological amounts of time”

    I’m curious… Have you heard of the “Cambrian Explosion” that took place approximately 540billion years ago?

  20. Matt says:

    540 Billion years ago?
    The Earth wasn’t even around then, it wasn’t even around 54 Billion years ago. Neither was the Universe.

    I have to assume you mean 540 Million years.

    540 million years sure sounds like a geological timescale to me.

    Try here for more information: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC300.html

  21. Matt:

    Yes it is 540million not billion (typo). Thanks for spending your post on pointing out my typographical error.In doing this you haven’t really given me an explanation, instead you link me to some site that does a poor job at explaining what this explosion means, by taking differences in pre-existing life forms and running with it, leaving many empty gaps to fill.

    The problem that the Cambrian Explosion poses for the Darwinist is this, as Dr. Wells , who specializes in cellular and vertebrate evolution(Also a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute) states,”…the record shows: there were some jellyfish, sponges and worms prior to the Cambrian, although there’s no evidence to support Darwin’s theory of a long history of gradual divergence.” He goes on to say, these animals were fundamentally different in body plans (compared to those prior), appear fully developed with no transitions, and did this abruptly at the beginning of the explosion, contrary to the time needed in Darwin’s model.

  22. Matt says:

    You didn’t ask for an explanation of the Cambrian explosion. You asked if I had ever heard of it.

    I’m trying to work out what your actual question or argument is at this time.

    I notice you quote Wells from the Discovery Institute. Not really all that good, I’m afraid. You see, the DI is a well known den of ignorance (with a liberal dash of dishonesty thrown in for good measure) as I have shown on this blog before. Many others have also shown this. Not exactly what you’d call a good source.

    As for Wells… well (hm, is that a pun) better men than I (and those with more time) have already discredited his usual ramblings. Again, from good ol’ talkorigins:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/iconob.html
    Specifically his various mistakes about the Cambrian Explosion:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/iconob.html#cambrian-explosion

  23. […] sick and tired of all us Creation/ID types and the stuff we say, so Mike got the bright idea to compile a list of the arguments he thinks are silly and then they could put […]

  24. Sirius says:

    brooksrobinson,

    What the incomparable Matt-with-big-apple-in-mouth is trying to do here is compile a list. He’s not here to answer questions.That would require thought and he’s much too busy eating that apple to do that. I mean, look at that apple… It’s whopping HUGE! What he’s trying to do instead is to create a variation of a pulp protest: a ginormous laundry list intended to overwhelm and intimidate [dare I say, cow] the opposition into silence so they an go on unchallenged and unthinking. The list is perfect! It’s not even just a list: it’s a LIST of LISTS. The man’s an apple-eatin’ enius! And the beauty of it is none of the content on this list of lists is even actually his, so he doesn’t have to bother thinking out [or through] this stuff for himself. He can let Dawkins, TalkOrigins and other people [by his own admission “better people,” especially since the’re actually doing the thinking] who aren’t eating big apples do the thinking for him! Then when some big-mouthed, big-brained Creationist/ID comes down the pike with a response to his pathetic blubberings, he can send them to the ATHEIST LIST OF LISTS and never be bothered with real thought again.

    Of course, it might backfire. Someone could figure out that you’re just dodging the argument. A Creationist/ID guy [or gal] might decide it would be a really cool idea to make their own LIST OF LISTS! Whoa. That would be bad, dude, cuz then we’d have to, like, think again and try to, um, figure out which LIST OF LISTS was more reasonable.

    You are an artful dodger, Mike. Enjoy that apple.

    –Sirius Knott

  25. Matt says:

    Wow. You seem to be making all sorts of assumptions there, aren’t you?

    The reason for the list? I think that is presented quite clearly for all to see; the same old, debunked ignorant arguments keep coming up time and again. Why should we waste time typing out corrections and such when copying/pasting responses is a lot easier, hm?

    So instead of simply making yourself look rather foolish through your masterful act of groundless assumption making, how about you try pointing out where I may be wrong in my responses? That way you might actually serve some sort of constructive purpose.

    I am also not sure who this ‘Mike’ person you’re referring to is, either.

  26. Sirius says:

    Like it matters what your name is with that apple in your mouth.

    Here’s my point: You’re being a sodding hypocrite, mate.

    You’re asking me to point out where you’re wrong, but YOU and that apple of yours are just going to send us a list. Then we’re going to send you a li,st. And what happens next?

    No dialogue. Because no one’s really listening. They’re just sending form responses. Be a part of the dialogue not the problem, Matt.

    Oh, and I believe my comments were confined to your equivocation, so I’m done here. For now. I’ve responded to every argument you’ve bothered with on my blog. You’re the one who was dodging a question, mate.

    –Siriu Knott

  27. Matt says:

    What apple are you referring to? It seems you’re using some sort of metaphor or analogy I haven’t encountered before.

    Yes, I am asking you to point out where I’m wrong. And yes, if you use an old argument I am going to cut and paste a response. Why? Because I (and apparently quite a few others) are sick and tired of answering questions which would be answerable by anyone who has even the most basic understanding of science. If you have an actual serious question or matter to raise which has not been asked and answered many times before, then yes … you’re going to get a serious response.

    You’ve responded? You made a claim that the resurrection of jesus happened and is historical fact. Without backing that up with any sort of credible references … or any references, actually. Now not only have you so far in your comments here managed to portray yourself as horribly silly and ignorant but you also seem to fail horribly at understanding logic.

    Think on it this way; if the resurrection of jesus from the dead WAS historical fact then pretty much everyone would go “OMG! He rose from the dead!” and instantly convert. If credible evidence of it was presented, and I have yet to see any despite some research into the area, then I would instantly convert to Christianity because … hey, that would fall under the category of extraordinary evidence.

    As for not responding to your last comment on your blog. No, I did not respond. Why? Because there is a certain benchmark that certain people reach and when they do, you just know they’re not interested in rational discussion or an exchange of ideas. You hit that benchmark with that ‘resurrection of jesus is historical fact’ malarkey. From long experience I’ve learned that when someone starts spouting unverified silliness such as that, it’s time to simply walk away from the above ‘not interested in rational discussion’ reasons.

    But walk away if you like. The invitation stands to come and try to improve on the statements/responses I give above. That would be helpful, spouting off insults and derogatory remarks certainly is not and tends to do nothing but portray you as an ignorant person vainly trying to hide that particular attribute.

  28. Matt:

    I do not think you’ve researched the resurrection of Jesus. Many liberal skeptical scholars will not dispute his resurrection. In fact its held to be the most reliably accurate action of Jesus. 500 witnesses converted to Christianity, his disciples converted, despite not believing in him in that way, prior to his death. If there was no resurrection, the Jews would of stifled Christianity in its path by simply pointing to the grave. Instead they used the “disciples stole the body” bit. Which no skeptic today uses that argument because the lack of evidence. If you’d like me to elaborate on this subject, shoot me an email at Spectrert1 at hotmail dot com

  29. Matt says:

    Again, you make claims without actually backing them up in any way what-so-ever.

    You also seem to be confusing a lot of things. What the most likely thing about jesus is/was? Probably that he existed in the first place, which many seem to doubt anyhow. There is no verifiable evidence for the resurrection that I have seen – and yes, I have looked into the matter myself. All I have found thus far is some accounts written many years later and none by any actual witnesses, certainly no one who could be classified as being an objective observer.

    I am afraid you will have to try a lot harder than that.

  30. Matt:
    I already said I would, shoot me an email.

  31. Sirius says:

    I’m taking Apple* Matt’s way out.

    Answer this: http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/hyperbole-gone-mad/

    Now see what a good idea this was.

    Speaking of links, I DID provide reasons for my belief in the resurrection of Christ Jesus: http://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2008/02/06/resurrection-apologetics/

    Now, you’ve made a really absurd assertion that I really must comment on. You said, concerning a historical happening [Jesus’ resurrection] that if it were confirmed as a fact that everyone would automatically believe it and there would be no debate. You seem to have as little understanding of reason and history as you claim I lack in scientific understanding. Allow me to educate:

    History happened in the past. [Got a grip on that I hope]. This means we have to sift through past testimonies and evidences to ascertain whether something actually happened or not. If we’re being honest about our investigation, we will use the same statndards to judge the historicity of Jesus, his life, death etc as we would to determine whether Abraham Lincoln lived and died. If it seems reasonable and plausible, we may dub it a fact, but lacking a time machine, we simply have to take it on faith. A reasonable faith.

    Since there is an element of faith inherent in the acceptance of historical facts, there is also a volitional aspect to them: you can choose to accept or deny them. Even with a considerable weight of evidences, you are not required to believe them.

    Reason follows the same route. A weight of evidence does not demand acceptance. You can choose to disbelieve despite the evidence. Famous court cases have shown that a hunch against the evidence sometimes proves true when later evidence is uncovered.

    Having said that, the weight of evidences I have provided for the resurrection are quite reasonable. In fact, they’re more reasonable than the alternative. But you can choose to accept this historical fact or not.

    If you do reject it though, perhaps it ought to be an informed objection rather than an appeal to everybody thinks so.

    –Sirius Knott

    * The apple is in your little avatar, mate!

  32. Sirius says:

    Oh, and I did get bored enough to answer these 6 objections to the arguments you say Creationist/ID proponents make:

    http://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/warning-thoughtless-atheists-are-organizing-for-ignorance/#comment-531

    Keep it real,bro.

    –Sirius Knott

  33. Matt says:

    Brooks: I think one of the last things I want is to give you my email address. There is nothing you can do on email which you can not do here.

    Sirius: Your ‘objections’ display a deep misunderstanding of not only science but also the points I have made. I’ll go over them quickly:

    1) It’s all about information. If the creationist understanding of the laws of thermodynamics was correct, we’d never gain the order/information needed for the human body to ever develop.

    2) Yes. It has been offered as an argument. I have personally seen it several times on various blogs.

    3) You give no actual argument in refutation, instead falling to a rather empty “I can’t believe” statement with nothing to back it up.

    4) Relies on complete misunderstanding of difference between so called micro and macro evolution. Of which there is extremely little recognised by science.

    5) This supposed refutation just ignores several facts altogether. As stated, two centuries ago it was laid out what discoveries would blow the Theory out of the water and none of these things (or anything else, for that matter) has yet to be found. And no, we have not found Irreducible Complexity – every case brought forth of it has been found to be false. You’re obviously not keeping up with any sort of research.

    6) No, there is no real heirachy of truth in science, at least not as you seem to understand it. A law is not any more true than a Scientific Theory. That being said, a Theory is innately better than a hypotheses or conjecture because it has stood up to rigorous testing and verification – which the Theory of Evolution has.

    You really have to try a lot harder than that. And I mean a LOT.

  34. Matt says:

    First link: Again, better people than me have destroyed pretty much all those arguments before. The commentators in that thread also seem to have taken a pretty good shot at it from a quick look.

    I’m just seeing the same old tired chestnuts … arguments from morality, cosmology, incredibility and so on. Pretty much all of which could be applied to any sort of deity and not the specific Yahweh/Judeo christian one you seem to favour somewhat heavily. They also, generally speaking, presuppose the existence of a deity through silly ol’ “god of the gaps” logic.

    The weight of evidence you have provided for the supposed resurrection is far from reasonable. There’s an old principle which calls for extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. You’ve made an extraordinary claim but failed to produce any extraordinary (or even ordinary, for that matter) evidence. You claim someone rose from the dead (and not near death but actual death state), something which has never before happened in human history. There is no precedent for it, which makes it extraordinary.
    Now the only actual evidence you produce is new testament accounts … written many years later and with a large degree of bias … and a short list of historians, who were also born many years later and were basically repeating what they had heard through word of mouth.
    That doesn’t cut it, not by a long shot.

    DoubtingThomas seems to have done a reasonable job to quickly highlight the rather large flaws in your logic anyhow, so I don’t think repeating them here will do much good.

    As for my avatar, it is not an apple. It is the top of an umbrella. It seems you are as ignorant of pop culture as you are of science and intellectual honesty.

  35. AV says:

    There’s an old principle which calls for extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims.

    But that’s just your liberal atheist Darwinist materialist bias showing through, Matt. Why can’t you make equal time for the old principle which calls for underwhelming evidence for extraordinary claims? 🙂

  36. Matt:

    You don’t want to give me your email? The reason I’d rather do this over email is the comment box is confined, and it’d be a more one on one discussion. If you don’t want to email me, listing the objections you have come across to lead you to believe Jesus did not exist, or raised from the dead, I have to assume one thing… you are not willing to even consider the evidence, but would rather stay locked up on Frank Zindlers ill studied theory, that Jesus did not live. However this is not mainstream Biblical scholarship, Atheist or Theist. So I’d have to consider that your research consisted of going over to Doubting Thomas’ blog and poking around there.

  37. AV says:

    If you don’t want to email me, listing the objections you have come across to lead you to believe Jesus did not exist, or raised from the dead, I have to assume one thing… you are not willing to even consider the evidence,

    Or you might simply assume that Matt doesn’t want to give a complete stranger his email address. The assumption you choose to make is a complete nonsequitur: particularly in view of the fact that he’s happy to debate you here. (By way of analogy, it does not necessarily follow, from the fact that you are employing a cheap shaming tactic in an attempt to elicit Matt’s email address, that you are a cyberstalker.)

  38. AV:
    That is not the case, I prefer to debate one on one to keep knuckle heads from inserting side issues that get the topic off tract. Also it makes it more difficult to deal with the issues when you have to cycle through a dozen comments or so to get to the comment your trying to refute.

    If one is worried about cyberstalking, then one should not bother with a blog online. I would also not be surprised if he has a myspace/facebook either.

  39. Matt says:

    I actually have studied the Bible and the history is supposedly covers quite a bit. Not only did I have a religious upbringing and attended multiple religious private schools, I actually took an objective look at the topic independently as well.
    So your little strawman argument is rather gone bye bye.

    But if you wish to debate the matter here, feel free.

  40. Matt:

    I doubt you took an objective approach to the work. Not because we differ on opinions, but for the simple fact of your claim that Jesus doubted Jesus existed. Very few Biblical scholars uphold to that claim, this includes skeptics.The ultra-Liberal Jesus Seminar, whose methods are often ridiculed by many scholars, never came to the conclusion “Jesus never lived.” They still upheld Jesus lived, while throwing out a majority of what he said or did, attributing it to exaggerations and legends.

    I’m curious what evidence you use to back up your claim that he possibly never lived and many hold to this? My evidence for his existence is, the gospels, Paul’s letters, Church creeds predating the gospels, historical texts outside the Bible, the fact there was a belief system claiming his existence within two years of his death. If he did not exist the Jews would have stifled the Jesus movement early on, by simply saying he did not exist. Instead you find them labeling him a sorcerer leading Jews astray.

  41. Matt says:

    I have never said that Jesus never existed. I have stated numerous time now and in the past that chances are that he did exist. As did hundreds of other self labelled/proclaimed messiahs at the time. What I said was that there is no evidence for his supposed divinity/miracles/resurrection.

    Gospels: Contradictory and obviously biased texts. Not evidence.
    Paul’s letters: Again, obviously biased since he was spending his time trying to drum up support for the fledging faith.
    Creeds: You may as well try to use Viking legends to support the existence of Thor. Circular logic.
    Historical texts: None of which actually give any evidence for the resurrection, just that the man known as Jesus lived. Even some of those can be highly dubious.
    Existence of belief system: Circular logic, the faith existed because a man existed, the man existed because a faith existed. Likewise, look at modern times where religions and belief systems can form when the founder is still alive (RE: scientology).

  42. Matt:

    You eluded to the fact that he did not exist “which many seem to doubt anyhow.” Despite that confusion on my part, the majority of scholars believed he at least walked the earth.
    -Simply saying the gospels are contradictory does not make it so, show me the evidence. Also show me a historical account that isn’t contradictory in minor descriptions. You maybe surprised to find none(review Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps from both Roman and Carthaginian documents, by using your standard we could not believe Hannibal crossed the Alps). Most of what anyone writes is biased to some degree. The bias argument does not work in history, for most of what we read from history is a biased point of view from the author. Analyze the historicity of whats taking place, before you decide on whether the authors biases have completely overshadowed the work. Also consider what the disciples would have gained by presenting a biased view of Jesus. They were tortured, flogged many times, and eventually killed in very brutal ways. Seems a little bit extreme for something that was a hoax or fake. Note, theres a difference between dying for an established faith system years later, then dying for something that you claimed to have witnessed but really did not.
    – Consider Paul’s life,he once killed Christians, then out of the blue he becomes one of them… not to mention hes a Jewish Pharisee.
    -Creeds, I’m talking about the creed in 1Cor.15 that predates the gospels themselves. The creed Paul received early on in his conversion, that dates within two years of Jesus’ death if not closer. The creed just simply establishes a belief that he was resurrected and his divinity, before the gospel accounts were written. It also points to an established “gospel” prior to the four we have now (this is considered the Q source).
    -Historical texts,I will readily admit none specifically record a real life account of the resurrection. They do however, back up the reliability of the gospels and what they say about things, such as people, places, and Jesus being a teacher that was crucified.
    -My existence statement was based off of the “some held that Jesus did not exist,”statement. It is not a circular argument, my point was, if Jesus did not exist, the Jews who persecuted Christians early on, surely would have wrote something against his existance. Instead you find statements like, he was a sorcerer leading Israel astray.
    You thus far haven’t given any evidence to support your claims. You have just made assertions on what you believe of the gospels.

  43. Matt says:

    The contradictions in the gospels are many. For ease of reference, I’ll take a few from the skepticsannotatedbible.com:
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/apostles.html
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/appear.html
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/ascend.html
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/ask.html
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/baptize.html
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/before_birth.html

    And that is part a very, very small selection of gospel contradictions. And it is quite common in historical texts to see things which don’t quite match up with other accounts, but it is another thing entirely to have accounts which say the complete opposite … as you can find in the gospels.

    And let’s not even get into the rather silly historical accuracies like the supposed killing of all children under two years of age as written down in Matthew.

    The fact that one man converted to one belief system to another? That proves … well, nothing. History is absolutely chock full of such examples and right across a whole different number of religions/faiths. Yes, even in the modern day with people converting to and from scientology, buddhism, islam and so on.

    Existence of a creed proves nothing, only that someone believed some religious faith or another. Not that the faith in question is true. Trying set the creed up as evidence for the faith itself is classic circular logic in that one can not be true without the other. Religions are terribly easy thing to set up and establish, afterall. Look at the various cults, sects and so on in the modern day. Heck, one loon even set up scientology as a money making scheme and now it’s a notable little empire in it’s own right, despite it being a whole load of various types of silly bollocks.

    Historical texts indicate (and do notice that term, it is not the say as ‘prove’) that a man called Jesus walked around, said some stuff and got executed. Of course, considering how common the name Jesus was at the time and the rather high execution rates of such people … not terribly surprising.

    No one is really debating if Jesus existed or not. And, really, it really is something of a moot point. Proclaimed messiahs were a dime a dozen back in that time and quite a lot of them had supposed miracles associated with them … but none of them, including Jesus, actually has any evidence of having divine/supernatural powers. That is the point.
    To phrase it another way; I can very easily prove that various Pharaohs existed but I can not prove that he had magic powers of any sort, despite the claim they were living gods.

    Evidence? I don’t actually need to provide any since the burden of proof is on you, the person who is making the claim that Jesus existed and had funky sky father type magical powers. All I need to do is point out that the standard of evidence brought out for such claims is so far very, very underwhelming and really could be labelled as non-existent.

  44. Matt:
    -First contradictory link shows the lack of understanding of the source. It is interesting to note that Thaddeus (Aramaic in origin) means to confess or praise, and Judas(a more Romanized or Greek form of Judah)-which is translated from the Hebrew name Judah, means the praise of the Lord or confessor. In other words the first two gospels used another variation of the name in comparison to the last two gospels.

    -The second link is not a contradiction either. Matthew does not cover what happens inside the house.He probably picked up right after the house and outside. Luke records them in the house then going out of the house and then Jesus ascending into heaven.Mark records them in the house, Jesus doing the speech, and then ascending into heaven. There is no contradiction, what we had was various points of view on what was happening. No historian would take that as flat out contradictions that would interfere with the truth of the documents.

    -Apparently the author of the site failed to do his homework, John 20:26 does not record the ascension of Jesus into heaven, but his proving to Thomas he is who he says he is. With Mark there is a lapse of time in between verses 14 and verses 15 this is clear based off of Jesus ascending outside and not inside the house. Some Biblical scholars also note that Mark 16:9-20 are not in the earliest manuscripts and doubt it may have been added later. Some even pointed out that this manuscript is not from Mark at all, based on vocabulary differences. As for Luke its clear hes giving a summary, because Acts was authored by Luke and was part 2 of his letter to Theolophilus(Acts 1:1).

    -Third is not a contradiction. Peter never continued to pursue the issue. Jesus said Where I am going you cannot follow. Peter never pressed to find out where he is going that he cannot follow. He simply then asks why cannot I not follow. Jesus was clearly eluding to the fact the disciples never really asked exactly where he was going, because if they have, they would not be grieving (Since hes going to heaven).

    -This is hardly a contradiction at all. It is appealing to the Greek grammar. In Greek grammar, words are usually placed in order of prominence(in this case Jesus) rather then a specific sequence.

    -The final “contradiction” is not one at all. It gives no indication that they have always lived in Bethlehem. If your this picky with your history my friend, you might as well throw out every encyclopedia, history book, or any reference made to any sort of history, especially that of antiquity.

    You’ve presented me with no good arguments that bring the gospels into question. Which is why I do not think you’ve objectively examined the true scholarly work of the Bible as you claimed.

    “And let’s not even get into the rather silly historical accuracies like the supposed killing of all children under two years of age as written down in Matthew.”
    Considering the size of Bethlehem, a village estimated with 800 people at the time of Jesus. Think how many babies under the age of 2 there would have been… Not many. Its interesting to note, that Herod was a brutal ruler, killing even his own family members who got in his way. Its possible an incident killing 10 or so babies would not of been that big of a deal. Especially considering what other situations were taking place during this time period and the speed of news travel. (Its interesting to note, many average German citizens did not know what exactly was taking place just outside their towns in Nazi execution camps until after the Allied invasion).

    -Paul converting proves nothing? This shows your lack of knowledge of 2nd Temple Judaism, and its emphasis on Monotheism. No other Jewish “Messiah” or hero was ever venerated as much as Jesus was prior to him. Even concepts closely associated with God, such as his Word, or Wisdom, where never worshiped. Here we have a Messiah, one after many Messiah’s, that is not only venerated more then the other Messiah’s ever were, but is worshiped as God. Therefore something must of happened to convince these hardcore Monotheistic Jews, that Jesus was worth the floggings and the torturous deaths, and more then just the previous rebel leaders slain by the Roman authority.

    The debate on whether Jesus existed was over after your first response saying you did not say that. I already explained it was a misunderstanding of what you typed previously.

    I gave my burden of proof. You’ve given nothing to counter. The gospels should be considered reliable until proven false by five reasons, as outlined by Dr. William Lane Craig:
    1. There was insufficient time for legendary influences to block out historical facts. 2. The gospels are not analogous to folk tales or contemporary “urban legends”(tales that don’t deal with historical individuals). 3. The Jewish transmission of sacred text was highly developed and reliable. 4. There were significant restraints on the embellishment of traditions about Jesus(the presence of eyewitnesses and the apostle’s supervision). 5. The gospel writers have a proven track record of historical reliability(This is backed up over and over again by archaeological digs).

    The burden of proof is therefore on you to provide evidence that gives good reason to not trust the Bible.

  45. -“This is hardly a contradiction at all. It is appealing to the Greek grammar. In Greek grammar, words are usually placed in order of prominence(in this case Jesus) rather then a specific sequence.”

    This is in reference to the link on baptizing

  46. Matt says:

    Oh, you will have to try a lot harder than that, my friend.
    As I said, that is only part a small sample of the inconsistencies found in the gospel. Shall I try a few more, hm?

    How about the different genealogies listed? How about how one book says the family lived in Bethlehem, another says they travelled there for a census? Even the time of the birth is different in various books, one saying that he was born during the reign of Herod while another (as mentioned) directly links it to that census … which happened ten years after Herod croaked it.

    Throw in the book of John and things get really whacky. Well, I’d type all those out but a quick reference check shows me that wikipedia already has a few listed for your reading pleasure.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alleged_inconsistencies_in_the_Bible#Synoptics_and_the_Gospel_of_John

    And let’s throw in a few more, just for laughs.
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/sin.html
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/gods.html
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/love.html
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/lot_righteous.html

    I suggest taking a look at the following page, it contains dozens of contradictions. Quite a few which have not been defended yet.
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_book.html

    And yes, I have studied the Bible. As I said, I grew up with and it was part of the expectations at my educational institutions from about the age of eight. Yes, I know the Bible pretty well and when I was first exposed to it I accepted it (as did everyone else at the school, indoctrination tends to do that). Of course, later in life … that is when I took an objective look at it and found it to be all sorts of inaccuracies and contradictions from start to finish.
    Do not presume to know my background or my knowledge base, it does little but portray as being someone vainly trying to grasp at straws.

    And no, Paul’s conversion proves nothing. As I said, history is full of such examples. People not worth much at all get worshipped as god/jesus/zeus every day … even in the modern day. Of course, unlike 2000 years ago, we seem to be much better at spotting the conmen, loonies and deluded. Not perfect, certainly, but much better.

    The only ‘proof’ you have offered so far has been allusions basically historical texts which say someone called Jesus lived and got executed … yes, chances are that is correct but still is not certain.
    … And the Bible. The Bible is not historically accurate and is written with some pretty solid bias involved. It has no more authority over history than runes carved by Vikings talking about the grand power of Odin or cave paintings by Australian Aboriginals talking about the Great Spirits.

    Craig? Great, someone from the Discovery Institute … a real bastion of intellectual honesty there. And Craig is an authority figure on what is and isn’t historically accurate because?

    And you really don’t seem to be understanding the concept of ‘Burden of Proof’ either. You’ve given no independent evidence for the divinity/resurrection of Jesus. Not one little thing. Not even the remains of a crumb of a morsel.

    To put what you have given so far into a modern equivalent which you might better understand. Let’s see… Change the religion in question from Christianity to Scientology. Now let’s do the hypothetical that the only written account of Scientolotgy was the book ‘Dianetics’. Historically we can say that Hubbard existed, walked around and did some (dubious and probably quite illegal, but that’s beside the point for this topic) stuff. The only written account comes only from Hubbards/Scientology’s point of view. And that is exactly what you’re trying to pass off as proof here, so it is not nearly enough.

    Now, of course, if the resurrection had happened, if the sky had really gone completely dark (as the NT mentions) and so on … then it would have been independently written about. But no such accounts exist.

  47. Matt:
    -There is no presumption of your background. You’ve already succeeding in telling me how your “objective study” went. All these contradictions you raise can be easily be explained, as I demonstrated before. This only leads me to the conclusion, also because you rely on a “skeptics” Bible to point out these “contradictions”, that you did not study the works of true Biblical scholarship. If you had, you would know that these “contradictions” can be explained once you take the theology, context, and original language into account. Considering how easily some of these can be explained, like the multiple gods one, you must have been a sleep during your time of religion. I will not continue to provide loads of comments to ill researched “lists of lists of contradictions.” Give me something to truly bite on.

    -The genealogies listed are not a contradictions, but done on purpose for a specific reason. Two reasons I’ve read on this, 1. Matthew was showing Jesus’ relation to David and his heirs and legally registered ancestors(for that Jewish crowd he was writing for). While Luke is going all the way back to Adam taking in all the ancestors. Reason 2. Matthew is just doing Josephs ancestors since he’s Jesus’ legal guardian, where as Luke is doing Mary’s because of the Virgin Birth (In Luke, he rights, “he was son, so it was thought, of Joseph”).

    -Craig is not part of the Discovery Institute, nor was he ever.

    -The burden of proof is on you. You fail to understand how historians work. This lack of understanding is shown in how you expect the Bible to fit some mold that you created( and until we make it fit it won’t fit), that no document from history would ever fit, especially that of antiquity. Yet at the same time you’ll accept the history of many without question.The gospels are historically and archaeologically backed up, therefore you must present good reason and evidence as to why we should not take the gospels, and you have failed to do so thus far.

    “And that is exactly what you’re trying to pass off as proof here, so it is not nearly enough.”
    -No its not, your failed misconceptions of the gospels is the reason why you can’t accept them as historical documents. Dianetics is not a historical document but their religious book, developed by Hubbard for that specific purpose. The New Testament was not written for the specific reason of being made into a holy book. They were letters written to the early church’s, dealing with specific issues going on during that time period and they presuppose this belief of a resurrection without even appealing to the gospels. The gospels were written for various reasons as well. Matthew is written with a Jewish flavor to it, perhaps to reveal the Messiah as the one Moses predicted in Deuteronomy to the surrounding Jews. Luke is a letter to a specific person, compiling up what happened in the beginning, to what is happening currently in the church(Acts is the second part of his letter). In other words they were not written for the intention of being part of a holy book. That was done a hundred or so years later.

    -“if the sky had really gone completely dark (as the NT mentions)”- Your forgetting the letter from Thallus who lived around 50sAD,”On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and rocks were rent by earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down.” as copied down by Julius Africanus in 221AD.

    Again, until you truly give me something that is not a Red Harrin argument, on why we should not take the Gospels as history, they stand as historically true and tested documents.

  48. Matt says:

    Yes, there were presumptions. You have presumed that I have not reached my conclusions through objective research even though I started from a PoV which was favourable to the Bible. Through research I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s actually full of bollocks.

    Concession about contradictions accepted. Come on, some of the contradictions are so unbelievably stupid, it’s remarkable anyone can even try to defend them.

    And you haven’t even tried to address the historical inaccuracies yet.

    Craig is listed as a Fellow of the Discovery Institute. That makes him a part of it.

    No, the burden of proof is the one of trying to pass evidence off as credible or making claims … which is you. If you don’t understand that simple concept then you have no actual place trying to debate anything.
    All I’m doing is having the Bible set against the same standards as any other historical text and pointing out that it was written by people trying to sell a myth/legend as truth.

    You’re right that Dianetics is not a historical document and a religious based book (to an extent) but that goes exactly the same for the Bible. The Bible was written as a religious text and certain can not be used as a historical record – for one reason, the historical events depicted in it (especially the OT) are known to be wrong. Secondly, the bias by the authors was tremendous indeed.

    Thallus, hm? You need to do better research. It’s commonly held that he was horribly mistaken. For ease of reference I’ll do a quick copy/paste from ol’ Wikipedia:
    “No other author who mentions Thallus before Syncellus makes any mention of Thallus’ supposed reference to the darkness. Some would expect Christians to make a great deal of such a reference on the part of a well-known chronographer and historian if it supported Christian belief. Africanus may here be in error or Thallus may have only put forth the idea that the darkness that Christians claimed occurred at the death of Jesus was a normal eclipse of the Sun, perhaps referring to the eclipse of the Sun that occurred in AD 29.”

    And, of course, astronomers have worked out the celestial movements of the time and unless the sun and moon suddenly magically shifted their places, an eclipse was simply impossible.

    You also haven’t answered why there is conflict between the timing of Jesus’ birth or why such a killing of infants was never recorded. Well, you did make a shot at that last one but it was rather weak. One of the gospel authors was clearly wrong, though it seems most scholars think it was Luke and that particular account. But then, all it takes is one mistake or error to through the whole credibility thing out the window, doesn’t it?

  49. Matt:
    -Once again, you have already made clear to me how you engaged with the evidence. Going off the sources you’ve given me, it wasn’t true objective research. All these objections to the Bible you’ve thrown out to me, have generally been from those who A. Don’t understand Christian Theology, B. Have not studied the Bible in its original languages, and C. Rip verses out of context, and also(as some did on your links) did not finish the statement or sentence that was written out. Quit telling yourself your an objective writer/researcher… your actions speak louder then words.

    -You will find what seems to be contradictions in everything Matt. If you doubt me, do a true research project on anything historical, especially that of antiquity. The little contradictions do not cover the main subject matter of the gospels, which is Jesus was born of a virgin, in Bethlehem, he performed miracles and preached about the coming kingdom of God, was crucified aans would never set a mold like you have done with the gospels.

    -The Bible in general, has not been proven wrong. This shows your true lack of study and engagement with the material. Much of what we know about many various empires and kingdoms come from the Bible. This or a source is confirmed by using the Bible. However with that being said, this does not mean there are not difficulties that we do not understand or have yet to discover.

    -You have yet to present to me anything against the historicity of the gospels. The names, the places, and the regions are all backed up by geographers, historians, and archaeologist. Since it has already been backed up and affirmed, it is thus your burden to prove the claims of many scholars wrong.

    -William Lane Craig is a contributor article wise, and thats all, he doesn’t even link them or list them on his websites. However I do not see what him being a contributor to the Discovery Institute has to do with my quoting him. If your trying to imply you don’t take sources that are Christian or from that site, then you’ve only shown to me once again how nonobjective your approach is.

    -“the historical events depicted in it (especially the OT) are known to be wrong. Secondly, the bias by the authors was tremendous indeed.”
    What is known to be wrong? You have not shown me anything that is known to be wrong. Once again, enough with with the bias argument, almost everything that has been recorded generally has a bias towards the author’s point of view, or what he personally believes. This does not make those recordings found throughout history, or the Bible false.

    -Nice objective work by going to wikipedia. Let me help you out with this one. Why it is important to note Thallus’ claim, taken from his third book of histories, is because he wasn’t attributing the eclipse to Jesus. He believed it was an eclipse of the sun. Julius Africanus was dismissing that it was just a mere eclipse, but a direct result of the crucifixion do to the date of this eclipse, that Thallus recorded. Tertullian wrote the same thing about an eclipse, but instead describes it as a “cosmic” and “world” event. Phlegon a Greek author from Caria, wrote in a chronology in around 137AD, “reported that in the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad(33 AD) there was the greatest eclipse of the sun, it became night in the 6th hour of the day and there was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea.”

    -You never presented me with a conflict to Jesus’ birth. I answered your account to why it wasn’t recorded, you just didn’t like the response. If there is an order to kill babies in a small obscure village in the country side of Israel, how many babies do you honestly think there were? Also considering that Herod the Great was a mad man who killed relatives, and countless other people who stood in his way, this would have been business as usual for Herod. Considering the time also, news did not travel fast, and there were more pressing issues to write about. If it did not happen, considering the gospels were written only 50-55years(and perhaps only a few years after Jesus’ death if the Q source contained that narrative) after, there would have been people alive who could have refuted those events.

    “But then, all it takes is one mistake or error to through the whole credibility thing out the window, doesn’t it?”
    -Once again if we studied history under your standards we would be left with empty history books, because everything written in history has contradictions, differing data, or added personal biases. If your going to refute the history of the gospels, your going to have to do better then the easily explainable arguments you gave me.

  50. Matt says:

    What I am getting from you is that since I have not reached the same conclusions as you, it could not possibly have been objective research that I have done. How interesting.

    which is Jesus was born of a virgin

    No evidence for it. Biology also tends to disagree with you there.

    he performed miracles

    Definitely no evidence for that, only religious texts which don’t count.

    You have yet to present to me anything against the historicity of the gospels. The names, the places, and the regions are all backed up by geographers, historians, and archaeologist.

    A lot has. But a lot has also been proven wrong. Let’s start with one incident in particular shall we? The Exodus from Egypt. Pretty much a complete sham from start to finish.
    Would have left Egypt in complete ruin and it’s enemies would have conquered it in an instant. No record of death of a Pharaoh in such a manner. No evidence of basically a mobile city going through the desert, etc etc.

    Or the Tower of Babel. Again, a complete sham and quite impossible no matter how you approach it.

    Some people try to pass such tales off as fables and such but that requires human subjectivity to enter into things. And the very instant you do that, the supposed perfection of the text goes bye-bye.

    Anyone who associates themselves with the Discovery Institute (and being listed as a Fellow does that) also, by default, associates them with their reputation and practices. To say the reputation of the DI is low would truly be an understatement and their practices ranges from the hopelessly dishonest to the intellectually lazy. And, again, he has no authority to be citing standards for what and what does not make things historically accurate.

    The eclipse of the sun? It didn’t take place when Jesus was nailed up. We know that. How? Because the movement of the sun and moon have been worked out to that time (and considerably earlier). There was an eclipse sometime about 29AD which is a few years off the crucifixion.

    You just do not seem to be getting it, do you? You’re making an extraordinary claim and are utterly failing to bring up the extraordinary evidence to support it. Having one one-sided account does not even come close to cutting it.

    Especially a one sided text that got censored and changed quite severely throughout the centuries, from people throwing out entire gospels to some really bad translations. Just look at the most commonly used version of the Bible today, translated from hebrew to greek to latin to (or was it from latin to greek? Tsk, I don’t quite recall) english. While the translation has slowly gotten better over time, it is still really rather bad.

    And yes, that does make it different to other historical events. Why? Because while kind of cool, they’re not extraordinary. We know armies have marched all over and conquered places, so it’s not all that uncommon and thus the level of evidence needed to prove that a certain army conquered a certain country is less for something which is otherwise unprecedented … which is what you’re trying to say happened.

    I’ll sum up your evidence for you, shall I?
    One religious text that has been edited and badly translated and the credibility of which ranges from debatable to highly dubious, depending on who you ask.
    And … well, nothing else.

    And you want that to back up your extraordinary claims? No, not nearly enough.

  51. Matt:
    That is false, I do not think this of you because you have different conclusions. I think this of you because of your lack of substance to your arguments.

    -I wouldn’t expect you to take the Virgin birth as fact .I was merely pointing out what the gospels link together as main subjects of their writings, giving an example to what historians would examine, that would keep the gospels from contradicting themselves. Also your response to the Virgin Birth is clearly a naturalistic bias you have towards the Bible. Thank you for proving my point in the last entry correct, most writers will insert their own bias’s.

    -The Jewish Talmud has Jesus performing magic, and Josephus reports Jesus doing the same. They did not dispute that something unnatural took place, but attributed it to evil magic. Even one of the most skeptical scholars of the 20th century, Rudolf Bultmann, could not deny some miracles took place(Jesus,p.159).

    -“The Exodus from Egypt. Pretty much a complete sham from start to finish.” This seems like an odd way to build up onto why the gospels are false, by attacking events that did not take place in the gospels. With that being said,the History channel had a special on the exodus. It was even from a naturalist point of view to(same guy who did a special on finding Jesus’ burial box), trying to give scientific answers to the plagues and such. The discovery’s were interesting, such as ancient Greek inscriptions depicting a man with a staff and an army drowning, a large stone found in the desert near the Reed and Red Sea’s, that depicts a picture, in ancient pictograph writing, of the drowning of the army scene, and they mapped a few mountains that could be Mt.Sini. With this being said, they never once disputed that the exodus took place.

    -The Tower of babel being a sham?You must have forgotten about the Ziggurats that are located in that region.

    -Dr.Craig has posted like 5 articles on that site. Hardly considering him a member(especially considering many other authors seem to have put their life’s work on that site). He’s however posted over 100 articles in these journals, The Journal of Philosophy, New Testament Studies, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, and British Journal for Philosophy of Science. All of these are very reputable. Calling him lazy because of one site that is a collection of works by many various researchers, shows an extreme bias of who you select as your source.Dr. Craig seems to be your straw man.

    -“The eclipse of the sun? It didn’t take place when Jesus was nailed up.” Thats the point Julius Africanus was making, that this was not your typical eclipse. However since it was recorded by a few non-Christian sources, and science says there was no eclipse during that time based off of the sun/lunar patterns, one must conclude one thing (this might be hard for you to accept), the “Supernatural.” Thanks for proving supernaturalism and miracles for me.

    -“Especially a one sided text that got censored and changed quite severely throughout the centuries, from people throwing out entire gospels to some really bad translations” I’ve already given you this quote, but Bruce Metzger states that, what we have today of the New Testament, is 99.5% accurate. Its also interesting to note, that if we took the writings of the first 200years of the church fathers after the apostles, we could create the whole New Testament, with their quoting and citing (So we really don’t even need the 27000 copies we’ve found). About the throwing out of whole gospels, I’m curious… have you read those? I’ve read excerpts and they defiantly paint a very different picture then the theology of the 4 gospels, Christianity, and Judaism. Hence why they were thrown out.

    I’m still waiting for something that absolutely will make the Four Gospels untrustworthy. Meanwhile you may want to bite on this guys book(The Resurrection of Jesus), one of todays leading Jewish theologians, Pinchas Lapide, declared himself convinced Jesus was raised from the dead. Keep in mind Jews do not believe Jesus was from God or the Messiah, and deny that Jesus rose from the dead (They were the first skeptics of this)

  52. Matt:
    P.S. Lapide still doesn’t hold Jesus as the Messiah since his find, but he did elevate his view of Jesus to a precursor to the Messiah.

  53. Matt says:

    Lack of substance? Gee, contradictions, historical inaccuracies and general lack of independent accounts. Sounds like substance to me.

    You’re falling into the same logical trap that many people fall for in your apparent support of the accuracy of the Bible. You’ve come to the conclusion, for whatever reason, that the Bible is accurate and true and then looked for things to support that assumption. Proponents of creationism and intelligent design also tend to go down this particular path which is unfortunate.
    The question should, for example, never be “why shouldn’t you trust the bible” but instead be “why SHOULD you trust it.”

    Just because accounts depict the same events does not make them true, especially when it comes to religious beliefs. For example, the Australian Aboriginals (whose records far predate jewish or christian texts) share of a lot of the same Dream Time legends across numerous tribes. Just because they’re repeated does not make them true.

    Naturalistic bias? Interesting and telling statement. It reveals you’re prepared to accept things for which there is no evidence and ignore evidence which strongly indicates otherwise. In this particular case, there is not one example of a virgin birth verified in all of human history and no evidence for this one taking place either … yet you’re willing to accept it. That’s not following evidence, that’s nothing but faith and faith is not evidence.

    The OT has Egyptians performing magic but I don’t think anyone could seriously claim magic is real.
    Rudolf Bultmann? He was a theologian, therefore not exactly starting from an objective viewpoint was he? You want scepticism? You turn to your nearest agnostic, atheist or scientist.

    No, the Exodus didn’t take place and not just for the reasons I listed (and which you utterly failed to refute). And yes, it is relevant since the OT and NT are rather closely linked. The NT rather heavily relies on the OT in a lot of places for it’s authority, prophecies and so on. In short, the NT can’t be accurate if the OT isn’t.

    And no, the Tower of Babel didn’t happen either. The world’s languages certainly weren’t magiced into different forms since we have a pretty comprehensive record in regard to the evolution of the various human languages on record (which is actually quite fascinating research, it makes for a good read).
    Then again, this is the same text that tells us such wonderful things such as hares chew cud.

    At this point I do have to ask what particular form of christian are you? Otherwise this discussion may turn silly. Young Earth Creationist? Apologist?

    Dr Craig my strawman? Not at all. It was you who attempted to set him up as some form of authority on what is and isn’t historically accurate. I just showed that his associations indicate that he isn’t to be trusted as face value.

    The eclipse. Again, the only source that says that great darkness descended at the crucifixion is the Bible. No one else really mentions it … same say Thallus (who was the only non-christian source you’ve cited so far) did but it’s much more commonly held that Africanus was mistaken when quoting Thallus about it.
    Your statement about ‘proving miracles’ is also telling in that you’re once again more than ready to accept things without evidence. If such a thing had happened, if an eclipse did occur then … we’ll, the Earth as we know it would be destroyed about now due to the sudden shift in cosmic bodies.

    Yes, entire gospels were thrown out precisely for why you mentioned. They painted an entirely different picture of what happened. In short, they weren’t convenient and were tossed out. They raised too many questions. When you get events such as that, it raises huge red flags about accuracy and credibility.

  54. Sirius says:

    AV, brooksrobinson, et cetera.

    It has been my experience that anyone who comes out of an argument with me and is still convinced of their position afterwards simply wasn’t listening. I suggest that our efforts would be better spent on those who weren’t sticking their fingers in their ears, singing, “Lalalalala! I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!”

    Matt is a perfect example of a low level cheerleader darwinist. He has only 5 tactics. He is frankly proven himself to be no longer worth the effort.

    1. He offers up cliches and dogma [He never thinks it out for himself]
    2. He offers generalities [because he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about. Deep matters would cause him to have to dig and that might result in heretical thoughts!]
    3. He appeals to better men and higher powers [like talkorigins and dawkins.he does not stop to think that if he put some thought into things that he might be better for it!]
    4. He never, ever, EVER answers your questions. He only demands that you answer his.
    5. And he calls you ignorant for not believing as he does!

    to reiterate:

    1. regurgitates dogma
    2. offers generalities
    3. appeals to authority
    4. dodges questions
    5. calls you ignorant for your competing viewpoint

    Matt is a cautionary tale, ladies and gentlemen. Christians, theists and Design advocates, do not let this become you! Do the research. Think it out. Be honest.

    Now, I do wish to thank you for pointing out that I have not yet answered Doubting Thomas. I had quite forgotten! I’m sure you weren’t suggesting that a lack of a response suggests an inability to do so. I shall remedy this in the near future.

    You responded to my rebuttal with two sentence responses. I respond in kind: Did you give that much thought? Didn’t think so.

    Then you suggest that I’d have to do a lot harder than what I did. [Indeed your faith is strong!]

    But what I did was demonstrate that you have offered up straw men of these arguments and that it is YOU who do not understand them. Why should you bother? Better men than you have made up their minds and you shall throw your unthinking lot in with them!

    It is clear that nothing can shake your faith, Matt.

    “THERE IS NO SCIENCE BUT NATURALISM AND DARWIN IS ITS PROPHET!”

    pathetic. I will no longer waste my time with someone who doesn’t bother with independent thought, who only bleats what they tell him to. You are further proof that an intelligent atheist is only an oxymoron.

    –Sirius Knott

  55. Matt:

    Let us summed up thus far about this discussion.

    -You’ still have failed to give me any reason as to why we should not take the gospels as historical documents. The Talmud and Josephus give a Jewish point of view, but heres the similarities you can sum up with the gospels and these two sources, he was Jewish, he was a Rabbi, he taught things that did not sit well with the priests, he used magic or did wonderful feats, and he was crucified on passover. Those events are verified by external sources.

    -Why should we trust the Bible? I’m not asking you to flat out accept Jesus as your savior, but what I do request is that you do not throw blind assertions that the gospels cannot be trusted as historical documents. Accepting them as historically accurate does not mean you have to accept miracles and resurrections. Once you figure this out we can move on from discussing the historicity of the gospels.

    -You clearly have a naturalistic bias. You came in this discussion with preconceived notions that the Bible is false because it has miracles and resurrections. This is evident in the lack of substance to your arguments to why the gospels are false.

    -The fact that you don’t accept theologian views shows your bias as well. Another flaw in your argument is you seem to imply skeptics can only be atheist’s and agnostics. Rudolf Bultmann, is indeed a skeptic and clearly tried to destroy the historicity of the gospels. He was really only willing to accept one thing, and that is the resurrection of Christ.

    -“You want skepticism? You turn to your nearest agnostic, atheist or scientist.” Just turning to them for arguments, would present a biased argument against No different then a biased argument coming from a Christian theologian. You are very hypocritical on what your willing to accept. You say that I’m using sources with bias’s, then you say that I can only use skeptics that are atheists and agnostics (which have a bias just in the opposite direction).

    -The show did not dispute that the exodus did not happen. They had ancient stones found showing various pictographs of the events of the exodus. However just because the Egyptians did not record it does not mean it did not happen. Perhaps they were embarrassed, like the Assyrians were at the siege of Jerusalem. In the Assyrian annals, it talks about the cities were razed by the Assyrians in Israel, and their army laid sieged to Jerusalem and how they were going to destroy them. They mention how the Hebrews try and bribe them to leave with gold and such(recorded in the Bible), then the account falls silent. However, it picks up awhile later, with the king boasting how they leveled the cities of Israel, and boasted how they could if they wanted to destroy Israel and Jerusalem, but they spared them. On the other side, the Bible depicts God destroying the army and forcing them to retreat, obvious contradiction there. Resolution, Herodotus records how he heard rumors in Egypt about how the mighty Assyrian army was forced to retreat by rats chewing on their bows and spreading disease. The point of this is, they could have be embarrassed to mention that their slaves ran out on them, just as the Assyrians used their biases to make light of the situation. One thing the Bible does differently then other ancient histories, is it seems to ignore the pride one would have of their kings and nations, by writing embarrassing events that took place. Its also interesting to note, theres really only one mention of Hebrews in Egyptian writings anyways. This is interesting because, the Egyptians had a brief alliance with the Hebrews, also they both existed side by side to each other during the same time frame.

    -Considering the earliest records that we have of humans communicating dates back to around 5000BC, it would be only speculation on how various languages developed.

    -What I am has no bearing on this conversation. You’ve already succeeded in making this silly, by refusing to give me good reasons as to why we should not accept the gospels, and relying on an ill researched skeptics Bible.

    -Dr. Craig is a reliable source, 4(I counted this time) articles by him(which are all taken from his books and writings) does not make him a regular member of this organization. Heres also what the DI says about its fellows: “Not all of the scientists and other scholars identified as Fellows receive funding from the Institute. A scientist or other scholar may be recognized as a Fellow simply because he or she does relevant work related to the research program of the Institute.”

    “I just showed that his associations indicate that he isn’t to be trusted as face value.”-You’ve showed nothing, you just refuted one researcher I used earlier and used that as your bases to judge Dr. Craig. He also makes no mentions of association with them. In other words as the DI quote says, they liked his work and posted it.

    -“The eclipse. Again, the only source that says that great darkness descended at the crucifixion is the Bible”- As I said earlier, the only people assuming there was an eclipse at the time of the crucifixion is Thallus( a pagan). Your assuming the event was an eclipse.

    -“who was the only non-christian source you’ve cited so far” Phlegon was a Greek pagan author. The point I’m making is, let me try and go slow for you. IF SCIENCE SAYS THAT THERE WAS NO ECLIPSE DURING THE TIME OF THE CRUCIFIXION, YET WE HAVE EVEN PAGAN AUTHORS WRITING ABOUT THIS EVENT. THERE MUST BE ANOTHER EXPLANATION, OTHER THEN AN ECLIPSE, FOR WHY THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION BECAME DARK ENOUGH TO SEE STARS AT THIS TIME.

    -“They painted an entirely different picture of what happened. In short, they weren’t convenient and were tossed out. They raised too many questions. When you get events such as that, it raises huge red flags about accuracy and credibility.”
    False, if this is the case then you may as well throw out what we know of Alexander the Great, legends began to show up 100years after his biographies were written down. The legendary accounts everyones always accusing the gospels of containing, ya those are actually in the gospels that are thrown out, which is why they are thrown out. If you think the material in the gospels is not believable, then you would defiantly find nothing of truth in the gnostic gospels.

    The conclusion, you really have no idea what your talking about.

  56. Matt says:

    Sirius: Concession accepted. Have a nice life. I think the most telling part is where you state It has been my experience that anyone who comes out of an argument with me and is still convinced of their position afterwards simply wasn’t listening. That is very, very telling about your particular mindset.

    Brook: You have so far failed to give any extraordinary evidence, which is the standard for such things, for your extraordinary claims. You haven’t even yet met your burden of proof and I can still pick large holes in the NT (and even more so in the OT). It is certainly not a matter why shouldn’t we follow the NT, it is still a matter of why should we.

    Accepting them as historically accurate does not mean you have to accept miracles and resurrections.

    Completely contradictory since that is exactly what the NT states happened. If you have accept the NT as historically accurate then you have to automatically accept miracles happened, since the NT presents them as historical fact.

    Naturalistic bias? Quite possibly, actually. I demand evidence for things, I do not believe in things for which there is no evidence, such as biblical tales. In such things I much more closely follow the scientific method … which is the only research method so far found by humanity that actually delivers results and is logically feasible.

    Agnostics are not biased, which is both their particular strength and weakness. They simply refuse to commit to either side, they’re really about as unbiased as you can possibly get on such a topic. They are the middle ground.

    The problem isn’t with the Egyptians not recording the Exodus, the problem is that if the exodus had happened then certain other things would have happened which clearly didn’t.
    * Egypt didn’t fall into economic ruin, which would have lasted for many years.
    * Egypt didn’t fall into social ruin, which would have lasted for many years.
    * No other nation, even those hostile to Egypt, recorded such an event and it is hard to miss that many people going off on a permanent walk.
    * No other nation, even those hostile to Egypt, used the perfect opportunity to sweep in and take over the suddenly hopelessly weakened country.

    Considering the earliest records that we have of humans communicating dates back to around 5000BC, it would be only speculation on how various languages developed.

    Guess you’ve never heard of the Australian Aboriginals then, who have forms of communication (cave paintings. yes, that’s how they told stories and shared information with other tribes) dating well over 40,000 years ago. And yeah, we are pretty sure how language developed. And all studies show that it didn’t suddenly get magiced into existence in one place and time. The development of the Australian Aboriginal dialects and languages is itself actually quite an interesting field of study.

    I’ve given plenty of reasons not to follow the bible. Contradictions which have never been defended, historical inaccuracies stretching from the start of the OT right up to the NT. The heavy editing and censorship that’s happened with such wonderful tea partys as the Council of Nicea.

    And no, you still have not explained that massacre of children thing by Herod, despite some rather weak attempts. You do need to realise that Herod’s deeds were rather carefully chronicled and that much lesser evil deeds are recorded … yet for some reason, this one seems to escape all notice.

    Let’s, just for fun, throw in a few more contradictions shall we?
    There’s the different accounts of the death of Judas.
    The matter who carried Jesus’ cross through the streets.
    How many criminals taunted Jesus on the cross.
    The matter of three different versions of Jesus’ last words.
    The time when some women rocked up the tomb, was it night or day?
    The whole account of what they saw at the tomb also differs from book to book, which is somewhat odd.

    Eclipse. Then what else could have caused that darkness and why didn’t anyone else talk about it, hm?
    It’s commonly held that the darkness was caused by an eclipse since it is the only event which describes what happened. So that leaves us with a choice or two. Either the scientists are wrong and the eclipse happened … hmm, no. Been checked and rechecked. Nothing happened, which fits since there’s no actual evidence of it … yes, that fits. Or third, another type of event happened which caused this supposed darkness … of which there is no actual evidence and it happened through an unknown and untestable mechanism … um, no.

    Instead, Andrew White noted how while similar occurrences are noted to have happened in considerably more remote regions, such was never noted to have happened in Judea. Odd that.

    Sticking with recorded history and the examination of it. Let’s take a quick look at Josephus who is widely regarded as “the best historian the hebrews produced”. Do you know what he has to say on the matter of miracles, Jesus, darkness in the middle of the day and the other assorted claims? Well, absolutely nothing. Odd that.

    Likewise, it seems that respected historians who lived at the same time as Jesus have absolutely nothing to say on the matter. As Robert Ingersoll notes, there are in existence the works of over 60 historians and chroniclers who lived between 10 and 100 and they make no mention at all of any such strange events as mentioned in the NT.

    My own conclusion is that you’re basing your beliefs on faulty logic, like so many others. You’ve reached a conclusion and looked for evidence to support it, no matter how flimsy. Instead you should look at the evidence and form conclusions from it (which is really the only logical way of reaching proper answers).

  57. Matt:

    -This debate is over with. Your continuing failure to apply the critiques historians go by in their research is evident, and since you cannot grasp this concept, it is a waste of time discussing this with you. To note once again, if you apply the critiques your going by(I mean the skeptical Bible is using since thats all you’ve been doing) to any other documents of history, especially that of antiquity, you will find yourself with an empty history book. No historical document of antiquity could hold up to your critique.

    -“Completely contradictory since that is exactly what the NT states happened” Not the case(I’m going to play devils advocate) if the writers truly thought that Jesus was performing miracles, when he was really doing slight of hand tricks, they would put what they thought. Note, ancient Greeks believed the gods were punishing them when natural disasters came. By the same standard your using, we could not take those incidents at face value because everyone knows the mythological gods of Greece do not exist.

    -“Guess you’ve never heard of the Australian Aboriginals then, who have forms of communication (cave paintings. yes, that’s how they told stories and shared information with other tribes) dating well over 40,000 years ago” Drawing cave paintings is hardly evidence of an actual language (though I do not doubt that they had one). Take any ancient history class and you will learn written history only dates back to 5000BCish.

    -“Contradictions which have never been defended, historical inaccuracies stretching from the start of the OT right up to the NT. The heavy editing and censorship that’s happened with such wonderful tea partys as the Council of Nicea.”
    -I refuted the first list, and refuse to refute the other lists simply because its the same thing over and over again. A lack of engaging with the texts, false contexts, lack of original language usage, and in your case, lack of applying true objective historical critiques.

    -“Then what else could have caused that darkness and why didn’t anyone else talk about it, hm?” So two pagan sources are not good enough for ya? I wish I knew what methodology you go by in judging what historical sources are acceptable and what isn’t. At first its, “you gave me Christian writers”, once I pointed out Phlegon wasn’t Christian, its why didn’t more write about this. Let me answer that for you, WHO KNOWS! Many well known historians such as Tacitus focused on political issues and things of that nature. Maybe more did write about the darkness, but those documents were lost. Maybe others did not think of it as anything more then a standard eclipse( Thallus thought so). Four sources mentioning the darkness is enough to grant it a possible event (Study the biographies(only 2 that are “original” if you will) of Alexander the Great, perhaps you’ll start a blog on *A*Alexanderism when you realize they were written 400years after he existed, yet are considered accurate).

    “Do you know what he has to say on the matter of miracles, Jesus, darkness in the middle of the day and the other assorted claims? Well, absolutely nothing. Odd that.”-Your information is completely false. Try Antiquities ch.18 and ch.20.

    My faulty logic? You’ve only presented Red Harrins, nothing actually worth biting that discredits the gospels. The gospels provide unbiased and embarrassing information. The gospels are supported by outside sources. It is supported by archeology, and geography. You have used faulty logic in how you’ve engaged the information. You presented yourself as one who has truly studied the material, but the lack of substance to all your arguments has shown otherwise. The only argument with substance that you’ve presented and worth my time actually diving into was your Exodus argument, and that has no relevance to the gospels. We’re arguing the historicity of the gospels, not the theological issues like, whether or not the Bible is inspired by God, or whether or not the Bible is one continuous link. Like I said earlier I consider this debate over until you truly accept the critiques historians(secular as well) apply to any ancient writing.

  58. Matt says:

    Concession accepted. Such a pity that you were never able to grasp the concept that your extraordinary claims required extraordinary evidence, as I explained multiple times.
    And yes, people performing unprecedented miracles do require a great deal more evidence than merely someone conquering somewhere else.

    The NT presents Jesus’ acts as miracles, that can not be denied. You’re asking that the NT be regarded as a historical text which would then mean those miracles would also have to be regarded as historical fact … when there is no evidence of them at all.

    Yes, Australian Aboriginals had a language, thankyou. Dozens of them, spread over the continent.

    Alexander the Great is a false comparison, as I have explained before. While he did some great stuff, none of it was truly extraordinary and thus what is needed for his particular case is less than something which is extraordinary. Also, you can tell a lot about what happened with that particular character from the ramifications of his actions.

    What’s ‘red harrins’? I assume you mean ‘red herrings’, seems you’re as ignorant of logic/debating terms as you are of concepts such as burden of proof.

    And yes, your faulty logic. You, like most creationists and ID proponents, approach the subject the completely the wrong way (as I’ve pointed out numerous times now). You want to trust in the Bible and look for evidence to support it. Which can only lead to faulty reasoning.

    Common/certain parts of the NT are supported by archaeology and other studies, yes. No one is denying that but what ISN’T support are the actual important bits that people use as the basis of their faith. As I pointed out, there is a crapload of evidence for the existence of L Ron Hubbard (famed con artist) but there is none for the powers he was proclaimed to have had – and it’s exactly the same with the NT. Yes, there probably was a guy called Jesus who walked around and talked about stuff … not many people would deny that. However, there is ZERO evidence for the resurrection or any other miracles and quite a bit to say otherwise.

  59. Matt:
    Far from a concession, I will welcome a dialog once you throw away your nonobjective biases and embrace the historical methodology and not that of the physical or biological sciences.

  60. Matt says:

    You’re more than welcome to return but first you best comprehend the concepts of Burden of Proof including Extraordinary Evidence.

  61. Healyhatman says:

    You need to update your list with a section on the Cambrian Explosion. It’s really NOT THAT HARD PEOPLE.

    BEFORE the Cambrian Explosion? Soft-bodied animals. Slow, boring. HARDER TO FOSSILISE! That’s it. The Cambrian Explosion is an APPARENT explosion. It only looks like an explosion because animals left fossils more readily afterwards. And they “exploded” because of the additional benefit provided by a exo-skeletal system.

    Added to that is the presence of significant amounts of oxygen in the water / atmosphere which helped fuel growth and BAM! Cambrian Explosion.

    The Cambrian Explosion is not some form of “evolutionists worst nightmare” it’s just another interesting event in the geological record.

  62. Matt says:

    Ah, that is an idiotic and ignorant argument that is often brought up indeed!

    I shall attend to that when I have the time.

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