Atheism Darwinist rhetorical tactics Science, worldview issues/foundations and society

Jeff Shallit: “Surely the right analogy is Santa Claus to Jesus Christ. Both are mythical figures . . . ” — spectacular Fail at History 101

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I just now noticed the above clip by Mr Shallit, who by making such a sophomoric blunder,  thereby disqualifies himself from being taken seriously.

I suggest that he spends a bit over an hour with this 101 level video:

[vimeo 17960119]

U/D: GeoffR gives  useful link to a Peter Williams Lecture, also:

[youtube r5Ylt1pBMm8]

U/D Oct 16: This video lecture by Habermas on the minimal facts issue is even more pivotal:

[youtube ay_Db4RwZ_M]

(For more I suggest here on, which inter alia addresses the minimal facts held to be well grounded by an absolute majority of relevant scholars to an overwhelming one regarding Jesus of Nazareth. Also, the video course here and onwards.)

We need to ask serious questions about the level of thought of skeptics unwilling to do enough investigation to recognise that Jesus of Nazareth, called Christ by his followers, is one of the best documented historical figures of C1 Palestine. END

PS: Mr Shallit also needs to think very carefully indeed about accusing millions of people who are more aware of the facts than he is, about being parents who “indoctrinate” children concerning Jesus. Such a hostile and even accusatory choice of words is ill-becoming, especially in a case where the assertion of Jesus being a mythical character comparable to the Chimney-climbing, North Pole- dwelling, reindeer pulled sleigh- riding Santa Claus of modern legend is easily seen to be demonstrably ill-founded.

49 Replies to “Jeff Shallit: “Surely the right analogy is Santa Claus to Jesus Christ. Both are mythical figures . . . ” — spectacular Fail at History 101

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Double face-palm!

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Shallit elicits a lot of double face palms KF. It makes it all the more amusing that he considers himself to be one of the great intellects of our time.

  3. 3
    william spearshake says:

    Before anyone jumps all over me, I think that a rabbi existed who may fit the description of JC. But agreeing that he existed is not the same as saying that he is god.

    There are plenty of chronological discrepancies in the biblical story. But, leaving that aside, what else do you have?

    And, while you are at it, you can explain how UD is a supporter for ID without being religiously based.

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    WS @ 3:

    Premise 1: X supports ID theory and argues for it.
    Premise 2: X is a Christian and discusses it.
    Conclusion: ID theory is religiously based.

    Now I ask you, does the conclusion follow logically from the premises?

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    WS: Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ is simply not in the same ontological or epistemological category as the Mythical North Pole dwelling Santa. To describe him as such and to accuse millions of parents of indoctrination is an outrage and a reflection of utter intellectual bankruptcy and want of basic broughtupcy. If you want to debate the warrant for theological claims concerning Jesus which have been taught by eyewitnesses in C1 and have been preserved on record since that is a different matter, one that you can take up here on if you wish; I will simply say that the common g you used speaks telling volumes and point you here on on that topic; the implied dismissal in that lower case letter you so cleverly used is by no means a well grounded view and its context of enabling Shallit in his dismissing those who beg to differ as “indoctrinating” helpless children should call for an apology. Concerning Mr Shallit, to puff up oneself sophomorically and dismiss Jesus in the same breath as Santa, is utterly inexcusable. KF

  6. 6
    Barry Arrington says:

    Prediction: WS will evade and deflect rather than answer the question in comment 4.

  7. 7
    Mung says:

    The truth doesn’t matter to these people, and why should it? But should they ever be falsely accused of something, God help us.

  8. 8
    william spearshake says:

    Barry: “Prediction: WS will evade and deflect rather than answer the question in comment 4”

    Why? That obviously is not a logical conclusion. But your logical statements (false) were drafted to be a trap (lawyer?). Given that ID didn’t surface until Creationism was ruled a religion, and since it encompasses everything from 6000 year earth creationists, to evolutionary theists, and since most authors and most supportive commenters are theists (ie, Christian) I stand my my previous claim.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    WS, your characterisation of the history of modern design theory based on propagandistic myths is demonstrably wrong. In the 70’s as pointed out, the significance of FSCO/I was emerging per Orgel and Wicken etc. By 1982, lifelong agnostic Sir Fred Hoyle — at about the time when his testimony in Arkansas was being used to dismiss Young Earth Creationism in New Scientist etc [I read this at the time] — was already going to print about cosmological intelligent design. In 1984 — three years before the 1987 rulings you allude to — Thaxton et al published The Mystery of Life’s Origin, the first technical ID book. By 1985 – 6, Denton published Evolution, a Theory in Crisis. The myths of Dover c 2005 are demonstrably false. And, in fact, you did a slight concession then diverted to a strawman caricature that more than takes it back, driven by propaganda claims unwisely allowed into a ruling by an ill-advised Judge. Let’s just say that someone who thought Inherit the Wind was even near to history, was not firing on all cylinders. Time to rethink WS. Especially given the context set by the OP which you have yet to cogently address on the merits. Remember, that includes in effect an insinuation of mass child abuse by Christian parents, based on foolishly equating Jesus to the North Pole dwelling Santa of modern legends. KF

    PS: How would you take it if I were to motive monger on evident atheism as if such suffices to dismiss claims about science by atheists? I suggest to you that a basic respect and regard for truth would lead one to correct the sort of sophomoric error Shallit has made and that motive mongering and accusations on propagandistic well poisoning myths on the origins of design theory are destructively fallacious and reflective of bias and hostility verging on bigotry. The design inference FYI stands or falls not on theology but the inductive logic argument that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as cause. The ongoing case in point is showing how the objections to this are falling apart.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    Barry Arrington says:

    Good for you WS. The context of your question in 2 was KF was discussing a religion matter, and it appeared that on that basis alone you asked your question.

    Now I understand the basis of your belief that ID is religiously based. The essence of your belief is a cynical and uncharitable refusal to take people at their word. OK, you are entitled to be cynical and uncharitable. No law against that.

  12. 12
    Graham2 says:


    Blasphemy crosses the line. Graham2 is no longer with us.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, actually, mainly a history matter. I find it astonishing that supposedly educated and responsible people can imagine and publicly announce as though it is indubitable, that Jesus of Nazareth, called Christ by his followers, is mythical comparable to Santa. Those who do so discredit themselves. I can understand disputing the resurrection of Jesus or the like, and arguing over the reality of God, but the bare historical fact is not reasonably open to serious-minded dispute. And the lame point that one can find gaps or apparent difficulties across the four biographies so can dismiss their core substance simply reflects a failure to understand reasonable use of historical sources [btw cf here on that as well as the already linked on the minimal facts methods]. It is increasingly clear that the sort of hyperskepticism we are seeing here is ill-founded and sophomoric. KF

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    G2: You mean THIS court case (the link is to the note keyed to from my handle which comes up for every comment I have ever made at UD, this is hardly an evasion . . .), that cannot stand serious scrutiny on the merits but is waved as an increasingly tattered flag as though it is definitive because it reinforces prejudices? And, I think you need to rethink your evident hostility to theism, to the Judaeo-Christian worldview, to adherents, and linked motive mongering. The matter in the OP is a historical blunder of epic proportions. You cannot seem to bring yourself to acknowledge that and face it, instead enabling attempts to change the subject. That speaks volumes. As does your refusal to acknowledge what any number of design thinkers openly accept per inductive logic: if key signs of design as cause such as FSCO/I can be overturned by credible counter-example the ID project fails. If you have such, bring them forth — the challenge I issued was it two years back now is still open. I will host such a cogent case right here at UD. But the absence of that simple, direct and devastating reply after so long means I am not holding my breath. And, well-poisoning motive mongering and using words like “religion” as epithets, is not an answer on the merits. Where, let us remember, the Op context is an invidious false accusation of “indoctrination” against millions of parents for the thought crime of raising their Children in their Christian faith . . . which speaks volumes. KF

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    WS has apparently never heard of the genetic fallacy. Or simply doesn’t care if his reasoning relies on fallacies.

  16. 16
    william spearshake says:

    Barry @11: “Now I understand the basis of your belief that ID is religiously based. The essence of your belief is a cynical and uncharitable refusal to take people at their word. OK, you are entitled to be cynical and uncharitable. No law against that.”

    Followed almost immediately by:

    Barry: “Blasphemy crosses the line. Graham2 is no longer with us.” (your bolder text, not mine).

    I guess there is a law against it. It has been nice knowing you G2.

    So, Barry, please explain to me again how my view that ID is a religious doctrine is “cynical and uncharitable “?

  17. 17
    Upright BiPed says:

    So, Barry, please explain to me again how my view that ID is a religious doctrine is “cynical and uncharitable “?

    ID is design detection. End.

    Can you explain the religious supposition in semiosis, translation, or irreducible complexity?

    You’ll answer your own question.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    WS: I think I missed what would be a trollish incivility matter. And, you have made a rather self-serving summary of what you have done in the above. I suggest you examine my response at 9 to your ill founded, loaded assertions and insinuations in 8, as well as the actual online text of TMLO as linked. KF

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    UB, add to that, in the statement that the only actually observed cause of FSCO/I is design. KF

    PS: I notice, the thread is being slid away from the focal issue, a revealing historical blunder joined to a grievous insinuation against millions of people.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    I know that Jesus Christ is really real because I have personally witnessed ‘small’ miracles in my life when I have called on Him, especially during rough periods during my life. Here is one such time.

    Hebrews 4:12
    For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

    Strange But True
    It was in the summer of 1993, I was down and out in Ft. Myers, Florida. This was about the second year that I was homeless. I was staying at the Salvation Army in Ft. Myers working temporary day labor and paying 8 bucks a night to stay at the homeless shelter. Once again I had come up with yet another grand plan to defeat the destructive desires for drinking and using that had kept me broke and bound to the homeless street life. I was going to read the Bible cover to cover. Surely, this would cure me once and for all of my destructive desires. Every night before I would go to sleep I made sure that I would read though at least 30 minutes worth of the Bible. This was done in my bunk in the open dormitory of the salvation army. Well, after about a month or 6 weeks of reading in this fashion, I was getting pretty far into the Bible and had pretty much established myself, among the guys staying in the dorm with me, as some sort of Jesus Freak. One evening a man, who like me wasn’t fairing to well in this world, comes up to my bunk, as I was reading the Bible, and angrily says this to me, “Where Is God? Just Where Is God? If I knew where God was my life would be alright.” Calmly I told him the truth “Well I know that it may sound strange to you, but sometimes when I really need it, God seems to speak directly to me from the Bible, giving me guidance and comfort, and I believe that He may speak directly to you since you seem to be in a pretty bad spot.” Then I closed the Bible and handed it to him. Then he asks me “Do you mean like this?” and he just randomly flips the Bible open, but instead of gently reading the first words his eyes landed on, as I thought he would do, he went and stabbed his finger down onto the page that the Bible had fell open to. Then, he looks over to me and asks me “Like That?” I nervously said, in spite of my reservations of the brazenness of his act, “I guess that will work.”. Well his brazenness paid off for his finger landed right on top of Job 23:3 which says “Oh, that I knew where I might find God, that I might come to His seat!”, (In fact that entire passage in Job 23 was related to his situation), Well, needless to say, we both were in awe about God revealing Himself to him in the ‘Living Word’ that clearly, so we went to the chaplain of the Salvation Army and got him his very own Bible. Let me end this testimony by saying that I believe God speaks to all people in many different ways. Don’t be upset if God doesn’t speak in this certain way to you. He very well could be speaking to you in special ways that He doesn’t speak to other people in. He could speak through your dreams, or visions, or He could speak to you through other people. He could be in that still small, intuitive, voice that speaks warnings to you every so often and could express His feelings and guidance to you, or etc… etc…. Here are some examples of the different ways God speaks into different people’s lives (usually during times a person is coping with the death of a loved one):

    (GodWinks) SQuire Rushnell & daughter of Emmett Kelly on FOX & FRIENDS 6/16/13
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....9xPfNtbrqw

    Dr. Janis Amatuzio author of FOREVER OURS – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtnywJHLrLY

    One of John Lennox´s Great Personal Stories Told to Harvard Students – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh0M0EG2jKY

    The point I’m trying to make clear is this. I’m firmly convinced that God does indeed desire to speak to each and every one of us, His children! BUT, we have to open our minds up enough to allow the possibility that God, the Father of all creation, might actually care enough for each of us, His children, to actually want to speak intimately to each of us from time to time. Think about it. What parent doesn’t talk personally to each and every one of their very own children every once in a while? It would be a very uncaring parent who did not ‘get personal’ every once in a while with each and every one of their children. How much more is this to be expected of God who loved us so much that he suffered the penalty of death for us so that we could always be with Him forever?
    Moreover, I truly believe it is a very powerful thing to have the Lord speak into our lives, more powerful than we can possibly understand right now. My reasoning for this belief is this: “He who speaks living words into the voids of our life, Is the very same One who spoke living words into the void of the night”
    supplemental notes:

    My new book is finished! It’s a Miracle! – Eric Metaxas
    Excerpt: Have you ever wondered what a miracle is, or why miracles happen — or how miracles can change your life? What a coincidence — or is it a miracle? — because I’ve written a NEW book titled Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life! The book will be launched on Oct. 28th (2014) at a special Socrates in the City event with our first ever guest host, none other than TV legend and Emmy Award-winning talk show host, Mr. Dick Cavett! He will interview me on the subject of miracles — but the event will be simulcast so anyone can watch it.
    http://www.ericmetaxas.com/blo.....a-miracle/

    Craig Keener- Miracles Symposium – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn73J9A0SnU

    Dr. Craig Keener, author of “Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts” discusses in this web series some of the accounts of people being raised from the dead and people being healed of sicknesses from around the world. – video playlist
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....fOqOmxOyU=

    Mother Teresa was a nun whom I consider to have ‘walked in miracles’. At the 19:00 minute mark of the following video you can catch a glimpse of the remarkable trust in God that this little woman of giant faith constantly walked in during her missionary work to the poorest of the poor:

    Mary Poplin – Life Lessons from Mother Teresa – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeNIOyF0sjU

    Verse and Music:

    Isaiah 45:18-19
    For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain’; I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

    Evanescence – Bring Me To Life
    Lyric: ‘Only You are the living among the dead”
    http://vimeo.com/38692431

  21. 21
    Upright BiPed says:

    I’m waiting Bogart, what is the religious doctrine involved in observations of semiosis or irreducible complexity.

    Point out the details.

  22. 22
    william spearshake says:

    UB, the fact that someone gets banned from UD, the self appointed arbiter of ID, for blasphemy tells the entire story. Barry could have said that G2 was banned for abusive language, or swearing, or wearing white after labour day. But he said that G2 was banned for blasphemy. What does that mean? Criticizing god? Taking his name in vain? Eating meat on Friday?

  23. 23
    Upright BiPed says:

    Bogart,

    Your comment is that ID is a religious doctrine.

    You said: “please explain to me again how my view that ID is a religious doctrine is “cynical and uncharitable?”

    I am not asking about someone else’s actions, or someone else’s comments, or anything else. I am asking you to support your own statements. See the distinction?

    What religious doctrine is involved in the observations of semiosis or irreducible complexity.

  24. 24
    Barb says:

    Mohandas Gandhi stated that he loved Christ but did not like Christians. Napoleon Bonaparte and Malcolm Muggeridge also spoke of Christ. If he never existed, then who are they talking about? Why would they allude to a mythical figure to make their points?

    The reference work The Historians’ History of the World observed: “The historical result of [Jesus’] activities was more momentous, even from a strictly secular standpoint, than the deeds of any other character of history. A new era, recognised by the chief civilisations of the world, dates from his birth.”

    Please, Mr. Shallit, explain why our current calendar is based on the supposed birth date of a mythical figure.

    An editorial in the Wall Street Journal dated December 2002 stated: “Science Can’t Ignore Jesus.” Its writer concluded: “Most scholars, barring the stray atheist, have already accepted Jesus of Nazareth as a historical person.” Are you that stray atheist, Mr. Shallit?

    Note what others have stated about Jesus Christ:

    “It would require much exotic calculation, however, to deny that the single most powerful figure—not merely in these two millenniums but in all human history—has been Jesus of Nazareth.”—Reynolds Price, American writer and Bible scholar.

    “A man who was completely innocent offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.”—Mohandas K. Gandhi, political and spiritual leader of India.

    “As a child, I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.”—Albert Einstein, German-born scientist.

    “Jesus Christ, to me, is the outstanding personality of all time, all history, both as Son of God and as Son of Man. Everything He ever said or did has value for us today, and that is something you can say of no other man, alive or dead.”—Sholem Asch, Polish-born essayist as quoted in Christian Herald; italics theirs.

    “For thirty five years of my life I was, in the proper acceptation of the word, nihilist, a man who believed in nothing. Five years ago my faith came to me. I believed in the doctrine of Jesus Christ and my whole life underwent a sudden transformation.”—Count Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist and philosopher.

    “[Jesus’] life is the most influential ever lived on this planet and its effect continues to mount.”—Kenneth Scott Latourette, American historian and author.

    “Shall we suppose the evangelic history a mere fiction? Indeed, my friend, it bears not the marks of fiction. On the contrary, the history of Socrates, which nobody presumes to doubt, is not so well attested as that of Jesus Christ.”—Jean-Jacques Rousseau, French philosopher.

    Please explain, Mr. Shallit, why all these people–from scientists to philosophers–spoke so eloquently about a mythical figure. Or admit that you were completely, utterly, stupidly wrong in comparing a historical personage (Jesus) with a fictitious character (Santa).

  25. 25
    Upright BiPed says:

    Bogart,

    If you are unable to demonstrate the religious doctrine involved in the observations of semiosis and/or irreducible complexity, but see those observations as being separate from religious doctrine, then why don’t you just say so? It would simply seem to be a more defensible position in the absence of being able to articulate the religious doctrine involved in those observations. Why would you resist adopting a more defensible position?

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    Since some people get their feathers all ruffled whenever Christianity is brought up on UD, instead of quote-unquote “science’, I would like to point out a couple of facts. First I would like to point out that it was the Christian worldview, and that worldview alone, that brought modern science to a sustainable maturity,,,

    The Threat to the Scientific Method that Explains the Spate of Fraudulent Science Publications – Calvin Beisner | Jul 23, 2014
    Excerpt: It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview (which holds, among other things, that a personal, rational God designed a rational universe to be understood and controlled by rational persons made in His image) and the Biblical ethic (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing.
    As such diverse historians and philosophers of science as Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Duhem, Loren Eiseley, Rodney Stark, and many others have observed, and as I pointed out in two of my talks at the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC), science—not an occasional flash of insight here and there, but a systematic, programmatic, ongoing way of studying and controlling the world—arose only once in history, and only in one place: medieval Europe, once known as “Christendom,” where that Biblical worldview reigned supreme. That is no accident. Science could not have arisen without that worldview.
    http://townhall.com/columnists...../page/full
    Several other resources backing up this claim are available, such as Thomas Woods, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, and Christopher Dawson.

    A Short List Of The Christian Founders Of Modern Science
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/wgcs_toc.htm

    Founders of Modern Science Who Believe in GOD – Tihomir Dimitrov – (pg. 222)
    http://www.academia.edu/273960.....OD_Journal

    Second, besides providing the necessary epistemological basis in which modern science could be born and flourish, I maintain that Jesus Christ personally brings resolution to the most enigmatic mystery currently in modern science. Namely, I hold that the resurrection of Christ provides an empirically backed ‘unification’ of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics/Special Relativity, i.e. Quantum Electro-Dynamics (QED), into the much sought after ‘theory of everything’.

    Special Relativity, General Relativity, Heaven and Hell
    Excerpt: Moreover, as would be expected if General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics/Special Relativity (QED) were truly unified in the resurrection of Christ from death, the image on the shroud is found to be formed by a quantum process. The image was not formed by a ‘classical’ process::

    The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008
    Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril.,,,
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_4cQ7MXq8bLkoFLYW0kq3Xq-Hkc3c7r-gTk0DYJQFSg/edit

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life (Jesus) – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    Supplemental notes,

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video
    https://vimeo.com/92387853

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
    Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Verse and Music;

    Colossians 1: 15-20
    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell, and having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself — by Him, I say, whether they be things on earth or things in heaven.

    “Alive” – Natalie Grant – music
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AFpgzjRD44

  27. 27
    AVS says:

    So because the scientific method as we know it today arose from a society dominated by religion, this means that science “could not have arisen without that worldview?”
    I don’t think logic works like that.

  28. 28
    william spearshake says:

    UB: “Your comment is that ID is a religious doctrine.
    You said: “please explain to me again how my view that ID is a religious doctrine is “cynical and uncharitable?”
    I am not asking about someone else’s actions, or someone else’s comments, or anything else. I am asking you to support your own statements. See the distinction?
    What religious doctrine is involved in the observations of semiosis or irreducible complexity.

    UB, I was asking Barry this question. The moderator of UD, the web site that claims to support the scientific endeavour of ID. The same web site that recently banned someone for blasphemy. Even the worst lawyer in the world could rest their case on these Truths.

  29. 29
    Barry Arrington says:

    WS logic: Barry bans a troll for an extremely offensive post that transcends all bounds of decency. Ergo ID is a religious project. Teach you logic like that in grad school did they? You should ask for a refund.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    WS:

    Pardon, but as thread owner, given the significance and potential dangers of what is on the table I need to call this thread back to focus.

    Kindly, note what this post is about, by taking a moment to actually look at the OP.

    Yet another atheistical champion of science has shown the disregard to credible evidence to dismiss Jesus of Nazareth as a key historical figure by crudely, dismissively comparing him to Santa living at the North pole, as a myth.

    Worse, he then immediately used the highly loaded words that children were being indoctrinated [by their parents] to believe in Jesus in the same way that children are fooled to believe in Santa. In a day, when leading New Atheists, so-called, have stated on record that to raise up your children in the Judaeo-Christian faith is child abuse, that is a toxic and false invidious accusation against millions . . . with the suggestion of state action to back it up.

    FYI, the first step is thus a serious breach of duties of care to evidence, accuracy, fairness and truth.

    Indeed, it manifests a sophomoric arrogance and failure to do homework before spouting off dismissively, that go straight to character and basic credibility.

    After this, no-one with good sense will take Mr Shallit at his word on any serious matter. At least, on anything beyond, the sky is blue.

    But the second is far more serious.

    Mr Shallit has promoted a toxic, ill-founded accusation undermining of the rights of parents, based on a blatant failure to do duties of care to get facts straight first. (Including, the facts on why the Christian faith pivots on the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth and why on the testimony of 500 core witnesses — not one of whom could be turned in the teeth of dungeon, fire, sword and worse — Christians hold that Jesus of Nazareth’s death by crucifixion was not just another case of justice subverted and miscarried by a governor failing to defend justice, but was salvific and spiritually transforming, underscored by his resurrection from the dead three days later with 500 witnesses, in fulfillment of then centuries-old inscripturated prophecies and promises in the name of the God of the Hebraic tradition. As well as the facts and reasoning on which Christians are theists. Yes, you may wish to dispute facts, reasoning and living testimony of millions down to today, but kindly have the basic broughtupcy and respect to admit History 101 facts and to recognise that it is an outrage to insinuate that to raise one’s children in a great and positive spiritual tradition is tantamount to false indoctrination and abuse of children.)

    The underlying notions and attitudes seem to be all too widespread among many atheists and fellow-travellers. With implications that could contribute to undermining of justice.

    That needs to be faced and addressed, soberly.

    Instead, from get-go, you have sought to divert focus and make further ill-founded accusations. Starting with motive-mongering and mischaracterising the founding history of modern design thought in science.

    When that was corrected and when your attention was drawn to such, by me as thread owner, you have willfully ignored it. That means, you are demonstrably willing to speak with disregard to truth, in hopes of gaining an advantage. Not good.

    Similarly, when UB and others including me, have pointed out the core commitment and pivotal issue regarding what design theory is about, you have insisted on mischaracterisations.

    I repeat, the core design thought commitment is that on abundant empirical evidence and scientific induction, certain empirical observables such as FSCO/I (which as a term is summarised from Wicken’s 1979 remarks) are reliable signs of design. A point that is backed by the needle in haystack search analysis you have been making but little progress in addressing in other threads.

    There is an underlying pattern of ignorance clung to in the teeth of correction, attitude problems, false and toxic accusations that cumulatively speak volumes.

    There is enabling of behaviour that tends to create a climate supportive of injustice to Christian parents, their children and the tax-payers who give good money to support sound education but who are increasingly short-changed as ideologues seize control of schools to push fashionable secularist notions and agendas.

    To the point where people evidently can get away with gross failings of History 101, so long as they can plaster across those who object what in their hands is an epithet: religion.

    Sorry, the ugly bigotry is showing.

    It is high time to face that and correct it.

    KF

  31. 31
    Steve Alten says:

    Barry: ” Barry bans a troll for an extremely offensive post that transcends all bounds of decency.”

    But referring to it as blasphemy?

  32. 32
    ronvanwegen says:

    May I humbly suggest banning be graded. That is, banned for a time unless there is a public apology and recognition of the error. Banned for a longer time if the offense is repeated and of course banned for all time if absolutely necessary. Even murderers and rapists don’t always get life sentences!

  33. 33
    Upright BiPed says:

    Bogart,

    UB: Your comment is that ID is a religious doctrine.

    You said: “please explain to me again how my view that ID is a religious doctrine is “cynical and uncharitable?”

    I am not asking about someone else’s actions, or someone else’s comments, or anything else. I am asking you to support your own statements. See the distinction?

    What religious doctrine is involved in the observations of semiosis or irreducible complexity.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Bogart: I was asking Barry this question. The moderator of UD, the web site that claims to support the scientific endeavour of ID. The same web site that recently banned someone for blasphemy. Even the worst lawyer in the world could rest their case on these Truths.

    Again, I was not asking you about anything but your statement that “ID is a religious doctrine”. I completely understand your desire – need – to ignore this question at all costs. You cannot demonstrate a religious doctrine in the methods of ID.

    Your statement is therefore false on its face – and it doesn’t matter one whit why you said it.

  34. 34
    Barry Arrington says:

    Steve @ 31. Are you suggesting that a blasphamous statement cannot be an “extremely offensive post that transcends all bounds of decency”?

    If not, I do not understand your post.

  35. 35
    tjguy says:

    Given that ID didn’t surface until Creationism was ruled a religion, and since it encompasses everything from 6000 year earth creationists, to evolutionary theists, and since most authors and most supportive commenters are theists (ie, Christian) I stand my my previous claim.

    WS, I am a creationist. Creationism is different than ID, in spite of your insinuations and claims to the contrary.

    True, all creationists can be said to fit in the larger ID tent, but that is only because creationists believe in a Creator God who not only designed, but made the universe. Similarities end there though. IDers will tell you that and creationists will tell you that too.

    When it comes to opposing Naturalism and Materialism and the scientific beliefs/interpretations/conclusions that are deduced from that worldview, we end up on the same team which is why you have some creationists posting on this sight. In this case, we have a common foe, but there are a lot of areas where we disagree.

    IDers, for the most part believe in the Big Bang, but creationists do not. And most of them deny the global flood, but this is a very important part of creationism.

    Neither IDers or Creationists are anti-science. We just have a problem with the Materialistic bias seen in historical science where the scientific method is limited.

    So if you reject the views and papers of scientists who believe in God simply because they look at a cell and see evidence for design and are open to that Designer being supernatural, that’s just stupid!

    You can play your games and try and shut them out of science and ridicule them and do whatever you want, but in the end, it is you who are losing out. It is your own personal bias against God that causes you to take that position. If you look deep down in your heart and are honest, isn’t it true that you don’t want there to be evidence for God?

    Look at the cell. We find therein the most advanced information processing, storage, and retrieval system in the world. Even we rational humans have not been able to understand it. Can you explain how that came about using the weapons in your arsenal of Materialism? – (random mutations, natural selection, & whatever else you want to throw in the mix)

    No. All you can do is say “Maybe this”, “Could have been this”, “Perhaps that”, etc. But real scientific evidence is missing. Of course we cannot give real scientific evidence that it couldn’t have happened either. Neither side can run an experiment and show how it came into being. This is the limitation of historical science that we all face. So, you look at the facts, and having rejected any role for God from the beginning, you believe by faith that it had to have come about by totally natural processes and you go to work trying to prove that.

    Creationists start with the opposite belief – that God actually did create it and they look for evidence to support that belief.

    IDers, even though the believe in God, claim to start from a neutral point and first see what the evidence says before making a conclusion either way. I believe their conclusion is very logical.

    Computer code, machines that encode and decode the information stored therein, thousands of seemingly irreducibly complex machines/systems/organs, etc., volumes and volumes of complex specified information itself, complexity that boggles the mind that we haven’t even yet been able to comprehend, multiple codes, some of which overlap – meaning that one change in the code can simultaneously effect multiple things!(how could that evolve?)

    Once you have experimental evidence that can show that these things actually can evolve, come back and talk to us.

    You may think it is silly to see these things as evidence for design, but based on what we do know about life, most rational people see design as the common sense answer. To get them to believe it all happened by chance, you will need some hard evidence, as opposed to writing us off simply because we have religious beliefs. You do too. It is just that your worldview does not include God. A religion is really nothing more than a worldview through which we process the information we have. You just try and claim that our worldview is inferior to yours because we believe in a supernatural being. That idea itself is a deduction from your own worldview which you cannot prove, but take by faith.

    We know you have lots of stories to explain where the moon came from, where DNA came from, where our consciousness came from, how the zebra got it’s stripes, where life came from, where sex came from, how multi-celled organisms evolved, etc etc etc, but no matter how plausible sounding they may be, they need to be testable and falsifiable to be real science.

    Most IDers are Christians, that is true, but that does not automatically mean that their scientific work is wrong. Most scientists are atheists. But that does not automatically mean their scientific work is wrong either. (Although it does mean that their interpretation of their data is always filtered through their worldview and colored by it.)

    This cannot be helped. There is no such thing as a free fact. All facts must be organized and put into a framework to make sense of them. Methodological Naturalism is the framework that scientists have chosen to use. For everyday experimental science where we can use the scientific method, that is fine, but when it comes to origin of life issues, huge questions arise because we cannot verify our belief that it all happened naturally. You just assume it did and force fit all your data into that mold. If it doesn’t fit, you expect that sometime in the future you will figure it out. That belief is fine to hold, but it is not science.

    For us, the evidence seems to point to the involvement of Intelligence.

    If you want to believe that you are nothing more than mechanical robot in the form of a big bag of chemicals that has no free will, or ability to think freely but whose thoughts are simply brain secretions resulting from chemical reactions taking place in the brain, fine. If that makes sense to you, it must be because you have no choice in the matter. Perhaps there really are some among us who have evolved ape brains.

    But Bill, in the end, we all have to choose what we believe in.

    If you want to continue to believe in your typewriter banging monkey god of Chance and call it science, that’s fine. It’s your choice – really – in spite of what you think about your brain.

    If you think the evidence falls on the side of human beings as automated robots run by chemicals and that consciousness is just a figment of our imagination, fine. Believe what you want.

    In reality Bill, we all have faith. We all are religious, atheists and Christians included, in the sense of believing metaphysical things that we cannot prove.

    Couching your beliefs in “science” to try to mask the emptiness of them is a great strategy.

    Ridiculing our beliefs because they include the supernatural and outlawing them from science is great strategy(as long as you are not concerned about truth)

    This approach seems to be able to give your beliefs the appearance of authority. It’s a good strategy, but it doesn’t change the facts or the fact that we all need to exercise faith in these matters.

    Just don’t expect everyone to bow to the same god as you. It doesn’t make sense to many of us.

  36. 36
    mahuna says:

    1. You can’t use a questionable document as proof of claims that appear only in that document.
    2. It has been widely accepted among actual biblical scholars, rather than mere religionists, since the mid-19th century that there is no proof of a historical Jesus. And nothing that has surfaced in the last 150 years has changed that.
    3. Santa Claus is perhaps a stretch, but Jesus of Nazareth can be compared to King Arthur, except we have several independent sources for King Arthur.
    4. Unless you find the logic of Peter Pan compelling (I do believe in fairies, I do believe in fairies…), the logic for “Historical Jesus” just isn’t there.
    5. See Ehrman’s “Forgery” and Gandy’s “The Jesus Mysteries”. Oh, you might also read The Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Saint Thecla, which are both accepted as being older than the canonical gospels.
    6. The video, which I gave up on after only a few minutes, is about how a couple people FEEL about the storybook Jesus. One of the documents recovered from the Fuhrer Bunker in Berlin in 1945 was a letter from Magda Goebbels to her 16-year old son who was not with her in the bunker because he was at the front fighting Russians. Magda explains that she is giving the younger children poison before she and Josef kill themselves because she cannot stand the idea that the children would grow up in a world without Hitler… Never confuse feelings with logic.

  37. 37
    butifnot says:

    What’s funny is that Santa comes on Christmas – the worldwide Holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus.

  38. 38
    Starbuck says:

    I find the silence of Philo on Jesus perplexing. It’s also similarly weird that Dio Cassius is silent on Kochba ( who was supposedly the leader of a jewish revolt) when writing about said revolt.

    http://www.livius.org/ja-jn/jewish_wars/bk05.html

  39. 39
    Barry Arrington says:

    mahuna @ 36:

    It has been widely accepted among actual biblical scholars, rather than mere religionists, since the mid-19th century that there is no proof of a historical Jesus. And nothing that has surfaced in the last 150 years has changed that.

    This statement is simply false. It is true that in the 1800’s a movement to deny the historical Jesus began. That movement ran out of steam a long time ago. It collapsed under the weight of its own implausibility, and no one takes it seriously anymore. It is astounding that you believe it is still a viable movement.

  40. 40

    This is the video people need to see regarding the New Testament. Summarizes a bunch of scholarship over the past 15 years most people don’t know about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5Ylt1pBMm8

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    Mahuna:

    Did you take time to actually look at the 101 level vid in the OP [just as a no- need- to- wade- through- text intro]?

    Had you done so, I think you would have seen reason to revise your comfortable but completely outdated dismissals.

    If you want more, as a first step I again suggest read and respond to what you can find here on in context, noting especially the discussion of minimal facts and the table of alternatives in light of several key facts.

    In terms of epistemology and logic, I suggest to you that the mere casting of skeptical doubts is not enough to impeach sources and dismiss them. And, did you take time to address the cluster of none points from NON-Christian C1 to v. early C2 sources, and the picture they paint?

    BTW, by AD 95 – 115, 25 of 27 NT docs were being cited as authoritative and authentic in the subsequent literature. The first generally accepted surviving MSS is from c 125 AD.

    The C1 provenance of the NT is not open to serious question by sober minded scholars.

    The archaeological patterns strongly support the general picture of the times, and indeed Ac 27 is one of the key records on navigation in that time, even down to working out the sailing patterns and weather systems involved.

    As to the basic historicity of Jesus, the cumulative evidence is such that there is simply no serious doubt that he was a C1 Galilean peasant, and controversial teacher who got into fatal trouble with local and Roman elites.

    I can understand disputes on the aftermath of that, but there are exactly two serious alternatives: an unprecedented utterly convincing sustained mass hallucination or pretty much what the core 500 witnesses put on record, for many, at the cost of their lives:

    1 Cor 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles . . .

    BTW, the credible date on this creedal summary testimony is c 35 – 38 AD. It was written down c 55 AD, and that in a context where the apostle Paul simply said in effect if you doubt me, go ask the eyewitnesses.

    (AD 55 would have been in the 10 – 15 year window of safety after Gallio’s ruling in the same city, Corinth c AD 51, and before Nero’s persecution post July 18, 64 AD. Yes, it is highly credible that most witnesses were still alive then. 20 years later, that was not so, for horrific reasons.)

    I suggest you revise your beliefs on the historicity of Jesus.

    KF

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    GR, thanks, added to the OP. KF

  43. 43
    PotatoCarnivore says:

    kairosfocus: “BTW, the credible date on this creedal summary testimony is c 35 – 38 AD. It was written down c 55 AD, and that in a context where the apostle Paul simply said in effect if you doubt me, go ask the eyewitnesses.”

    And you would travel miles to check claims of this relatively insignificant cult? And it is not credible that most of them would be still there. Not credible at all.

  44. 44
    Mung says:

    PC,

    Well, let’s see. Paul travelled. And Paul wrote letters.

    And it is not credible that most of them would be still there. Not credible at all.

    Well, in that case, one might not need to travel miles to check the claims.

    Heck, who knows, maybe Paul meant some of the eyewitnesses are right there next to you. Just ask them!

    What with it not being credible, and all, that they would all still be in Judea.

    And yes, we credit you for providing the obvious refutation of your own objection.

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    PC: Are you aware that Paul wrote 1 Co 15 to Christians at Corinth, who were having disputes? That Corinth was next to a choke point for navigation, where to avoid going around the bulk of Gk lands to the S, ships were rolled across a narrow strip of land . . . making Corinth a node of navigation? That there was a lively and extensive trade from Egypt up the Levant, along Anatolia, by Greece thence to Italy etc, especially connected with the Imperial Wheat trade? That, e.g. events in Ac 27 are directly connected to the trade? So, therefore there was abundant occasion and motive to check out the majority of surviving witnesses at that time? That, by 64 AD Nero would find the number of Christians at Rome itself sufficient to pick them as false scapegoats for the July 18 fire, when he couldn’t shake suspicions that he was the culprit? (Likely, no one was responsible for arson in the case.) That, by c 110 Christianity was so widely and deeply spread that it was the subject of correspondence between the governor of Bithynia and the Emperor Trajan, over emptying the pagan temples of worshippers? In short, with all due respect, the picture you tried to paint simply does not ring true. KF

    PS: The 35 – 38 date was for instance acknowledged by Ludemann, a fairly radical critic. a key clue is the pre-pauline language, with heavy Aramaic influence, e,g. how “Peter” [derived from a Gk form] is referred to as “Kepha” the Aramaic form of a nickname that we would roughly render, Rocky.

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung, with Jerusalem being the focal centre for the Jewish Christians, it is highly likely that many of the original Christian disciples were based in Jerusalem c 55 AD [notice how many were there when Paul went there in 57 AD, the visit that led to his arrest, two years in Caesarea, and appeal that led to the trip to Rome of 59 that ended in the shipwreck at Malta reported in Ac 27]. 55 AD is the time-frame in which Paul wrote to Corinth from Ephesus, a direct sail away. KF

  47. 47
    Mung says:

    kf, add to tat the annual passover attended by Jews from far and wide. Turns out it’s PC’s objection that is not credible.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    Yup, and in fact that is what first spread Christianity, Jews present at Pentecost, and going back home with the news of Messiah. By 49 AD, Claudius seems to have had trouble in Rome with disputes among Jews over Christ, lading to the expulsion echoed in Paul’s encounter with the Jewish-Roman Christian couple Priscilla and Aquila (Priscilla was plausibly from a prominent Roman family, indicated by her name . . . ) who became business partners, sponsors and co-missionaries c 50 – 51. KF

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    Updated, I link a key Habermas vid lec on the minimal facts issue, and a vid course. KF

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