'Junk DNA' Intelligent Design Religion

ENCODE foe Dan Graur isn’t sure if Jesus existed

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Do readers remember Evolutionary bioinformaticist Dan Graur who was so upset about the ENCODE findings (very little junk DNA) that he just wasn’t going to “do politeness” on the topic any more?

Here he is again, at Twitter:

Why do scientists continue to use BC (before Christ) and AD (anno Domini, the year of our Lord). We know very little about Mr. Jesus; we are not even sure he existed. Scientists should use BCE (before the current or common era) and CE.

Wow. Dr. Graur should get out more. Only crackpots argue that Jesus did not exist. The real issues are around his status and the reliability of the documents concerning his life and ministry. There is less evidence for the existence of Socrates but no one gets all skeptical about him.

From the responses:

Jonathan McLatchie:

How much have you read in the field of New Testament scholarship? The evidence for the historicity of Jesus is just staggering, and this is reflected by the scholarly consensus to this effect.

David Klinghoffer:

How juvenile. The The ignorant bumptiousness here is remarkable from someone who thinks his views as a scientist merit respect. I myself have often used BCE and CE rather than BC and AD, by the way. As a Jew, I’m ambivalent about it.

Both usages, of course, signify a historical watershed. Can’t hide that by changing the abbreviations.

Graur had best go back to dissing ENCODE researchers. At least it is a field he knows.

25 Replies to “ENCODE foe Dan Graur isn’t sure if Jesus existed

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    I think it’s possible that there was an itinerant preacher whom we now call Jesus who ministered in the regions of the Middle East referred to in the Bible but the evidence for him is thin. As to his being the Son of God, that is a matter of faith.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    Not very good strategy.

    With the genome, Graur is in the position of arguing for the older and “more certain” part, saying in effect “Nobody disagrees about the constant part of the genome, but we shouldn’t accept the variable part until we have more agreement.”

    Now he jumps into an unnecessary argument, taking the opposite side of the certain/uncertain boundary. Everyone, including competing religions, is certain that Jesus was a hugely important teacher and prophet. That’s the constant side. The variable side is whether he was a Messiah or a semi-god or just a prophet.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Atheists not only deny the existence of Jesus, the Son of God, but Atheists also, first and foremost, deny the existence of God the Father.

    Obviously you cannot have a Son of God if you do not first have God the Father to start with. You, as an atheist, might concede that a man existed who falsely imagined that he was the Son of God, but as to there ever actually being a Son of God, who performed miracles of healing and rose from the dead, well that possibility is simply ruled out from the get go by the Atheist’s denial of the reality of God the Father.

    But what is interesting in their denial that God the Father really exists is that, in the Atheist’s denial of the existence of God the Father, the atheist, in the end, also ends up denying that he himself actually exists as a real person.

    Which is to say, if God the Father does not actually exist as a real person then the atheist himself does not actually exist as a real person.

    You don’t have to take my word for it. Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, states that, “the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.”

    The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness – Steven Pinker – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.
    http://www.academia.edu/279485.....sciousness

    And Alexander Rosenberg, Professor of Philosophy at Duke University, stated that, “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion,”

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.,,,
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    And at the 23:33 minute mark of the following debate, Richard Dawkins, who needs no introduction, agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that: “consciousness is an illusion”. A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.

    Richard Dawkins, Rowan Williams, Anthony Kenny: “Human Beings & Ultimate Origin” Debate
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    The denial that they really exist as real persons is an interesting denial from Atheists since, as Rene Descartes pointed out, the fact that we really exist as real persons is, by far, the most certain thing we can possibly know about reality.

    In his ‘method of doubt’, Rene Descartes, (i.e. “I think therefore I am!”), found that he could doubt the existence of all things, but he found that he could not doubt the fact that he existed in order to do the doubting in the first place. As Descartes explained, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt….”

    Method of Doubt
    Excerpt: “Reason now leads me to think that I should hold back my assent from opinions which are not completely certain and indubitable just as carefully as I do from those which are patently false. So, for the purpose of rejecting all my opinions, it will be enough if I find in each of them at least some reason for doubt. (AT 7:18, CSM 2:12)
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes-epistemology/#MethDoub

    Cogito, ergo sum
    Cogito, ergo sum[a] is a Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am”.[b] The phrase originally appeared in French as je pense, donc je suis in his Discourse on the Method, so as to reach a wider audience than Latin would have allowed.[1] It appeared in Latin in his later Principles of Philosophy. As Descartes explained, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt….” A fuller version, articulated by Antoine Léonard Thomas, aptly captures Descartes’s intent: dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum (“I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”).[c][d] The concept is also sometimes known as the cogito.[2]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogito,_ergo_sum

    And from the conclusion that he could only be certain of the fact that he really existed to do the doubting in the first place, Rene Descartes then went on to use that conclusion from his ‘method of doubt’ as a starting point to then argue for the existence of God.

    René Descartes (1596—1650)
    Excerpt:
    5. God
    a. The Causal Arguments
    At the beginning of the Third Meditation only “I exist” and “I am a thinking thing” are beyond doubt and are, therefore, absolutely certain. From these intuitively grasped, absolutely certain truths, Descartes now goes on to deduce the existence of something other than himself, namely God.
    https://www.iep.utm.edu/descarte/#SH4a

    Yet Atheists insanely deny this most certain thing, (i.e. “I exist” and “I am a thinking thing”), that we can possibly know about reality and claim that we are merely neuronal illusions and that we, therefore, do not really exist as real people.

    The reason why atheists are forced to, self refutingly, (in the deepest sense of being a self-refuting argument), claim that they do not really exist as real people, but that they are merely neuronal illusions, is because the entire concept of personhood is an abstract and immaterial concept that is simply irreducible to the ‘bottom up’ materialistic explanations of Darwinists.

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? Dr. Dennis Bonnette – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    The claim that our sense of self, that is to say, our subjective conscious experience, is just a neuronal illusion is simply insane. As David Bentley Hart states in the following article, “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”

    The Illusionist – Daniel Dennett’s latest book marks five decades of majestic failure to explain consciousness. – 2017
    Excerpt: “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”
    – David Bentley Hart
    https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-illusionist

    By definition, illusions are NOT reality but are a merely distortions that pervert our true perceptions about reality.

    So why in blue blazes should anyone care what these neuronal illusions, i.e. Darwinian Atheists, have to say about reality?,, Much less what these supposed neuronal illusions have to say about God the Father and/or about Jesus, i.e. God the Son? By their very own definition of their very own self as merely being neuronal illusions, they have simply disqualified themselves from ever having anything meaningful to say about reality.

    So the Darwinian Atheist finds himself in quite the logical conundrum. In order for him to have anything meaningful to say about reality the atheist is forced to admit that he really exists as a real person, but for him to admit that he really exists as a real person is for him to admit that God must also necessary exist as a real person so as to be able ground the entire concept of ‘personhood’ in the first place.

    Supplemental notes:

    Putting together all the lines of evidence from quantum mechanics, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff)
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff), then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    And here are eight intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that show that consciousness must precede material reality: 1. Double Slit experiment, 2. Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, 3. Recent confirmation of the Wigner’s friend thought experiment, 4. Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, 5. Leggett’s Inequalities, 6. Quantum Zeno effect, 7. Quantum Information theory, 8. Recent closing of the ‘Freedom of Choice’ loophole.

    Related quotes from the founders of Quantum mechanics

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    – Max Planck (1858–1947), one of the primary founders of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    – Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.?

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    Verse:

    Exodus 3:14
    And God said unto Moses, “I Am That I Am.” And He said, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, ‘I Am hath sent me unto you.’”

    John 8:58
    “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    Jesus is the most documented person in ancient times in terms of people who wrote about him and when these current copies of documents arose. The methodology to support this is called textual criticism.

    See Alpha series video #2 – start at 9:45 into video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeJYOSuHZw4

    itinerant preacher

    Yes, but one who changed the world more than any other individual. One solitary life:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC2vHke_dvo

    Criticize/mock as you wish but these are true.

    Basis for Christianity:

    1 there is a God

    2 Jesus is God or at very least was sent by God

    3 Jesus started a religion.

    Part (1) is heavily supported by ID. Parts (2) and (3) have nothing to do with ID but somehow keeps showing up on UD. The key part is (2). Is Jesus God or sent by God? But ID has nothing to do with this.

  5. 5
    ET says:

    BCE and CE are subjective and meaningless. The people living during BCE thought it was the CE. And it was to them. So what was the alleged scientific demarcation criteria between BCE and CE? Anyone?

  6. 6
    KRock says:

    I wonder if this lunatic thinks the same of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and the many other ancient philosophers and authors that we know even less about?

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    Is Jesus God or sent by God? But ID has nothing to do with this.

    True, but I think the ID methodology could be applied to Jesus’ miracles and resurrection.
    It can certainly be done for something like the Shroud of Turin.

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    I think the ID methodology could be applied to Jesus’ miracles and resurrection.
    It can certainly be done for something like the Shroud of Turin.

    I’m not sure about the miracles and resurrection since there is no physical evidence to examine. However, the Shroud of Turin is definitely an example of the application of science to a physical event.

    Aside: the best source for the Shroud is

    https://www.shroud.com

    My wife and I have been to Turin and have seen the Shroud and spent a lot of time years ago reading about it.

    Also the painting of Guadalupe has some unusual characteristics. But it has been less scrutinized than the Shroud.

    The cloak survived 17th century floods in Mexico City and was undamaged by a bomb explosion. The colors have not faded over time and the cactus cloth remains intact although such material typically lasts fewer than 20 years.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    News, one thing is common to all of this, hyperskepticism, often [arbitrarily] selective. The selective part is due to a pattern of inverse cherry picking, where one exerts a double standard to reject what one wishes to disbelieve. The real focal point, then, is not whether there is sufficient historiographical warrant to accept that Jesus of Nazareth existed . . . there is far more than enough, look up the minimal facts discussion; but, instead, why so many are so threatened by his credible existence. Similarly, at this point, the living cell has in it complex, alphanumeric, 4-state coded information that expresses algorithms. That’s language involved in goal-directed stepwise processes, compelling evidence of design. So, why do so many so stridently dismiss that, too? The answer is, again, hyperskepticism. Hyperskepticism that in ever so many cases is quite plainly connected to possibilities these folks seemingly are desperate to lock out, the shadow of a Divine foot on the door step. That speaks volumes. KF

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    My wife and I have been to Turin and have seen the Shroud and spent a lot of time years ago reading about it.

    That is a rare and great chance. They only exhibit it every certain number of years. I would love to see it myself.

    The cloak survived 17th century floods in Mexico City and was undamaged by a bomb explosion. The colors have not faded over time and the cactus cloth remains intact although such material typically lasts fewer than 20 years.

    I think the ID inference can be used. The colors are not from paint – as if each fiber is colored and it hasn’t faded. It was also exposed to all sorts of weather conditions for years before they finally sealed it off. It’s one of those things that a sincere atheist should look at with an open mind.

  11. 11
    EDTA says:

    BCE stands for “Before Christ’s Era”, and CE stands for “Christ’s Era”. Plain and simple. And it makes people mad when you read them in the unabbreviated form, but I don’t care. 😎

  12. 12
    Viola Lee says:

    No, BCE stands for “Before the Common Era”

    The letters CE or BCE in conjunction with a year mean after or before year 1.

    CE is an abbreviation for Common Era.
    BCE is short for Before Common Era.
    The Common Era begins with year 1 in the Gregorian calendar.

    Instead of AD and BC
    CE and BCE are used in exactly the same way as the traditional abbreviations AD and BC.

    AD is short for Anno Domini,
    Latin for year of the Lord.
    BC is an abbreviation of Before Christ.
    Because AD and BC hold religious (Christian) connotations, many prefer to use the more modern and neutral CE and BCE to indicate if a year is before or after year 1.

    According to the international standard for calendar dates, ISO 8601, both systems are acceptable.

    Source

  13. 13
    EDTA says:

    Viola Lee,

    I knew that. My version is intended as a jab at secularism, by corrupting _it_ back to a Christian meaning. I suspect that for any abbreviation secularists can come up with, I can come up with a newer Christianized meaning. So far, every time I’ve told a Christian about “Christ’s Era” and so on, they love it! And so do I.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, what event marks the watershed synthesis that formed Western Civ as we inherited it?

  15. 15
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EDTA – add me to that list. I love it. Someone came up with the whole CE thing as a Christ-phobic secularization which distorts the whole thing and is absurd, as usual. The good news is that there’s nothing official about the CE indicator, so “Christ’s Era” actually makes more sense. The Gregorian calendar is a Christian system. It’s “Common” because that’s what everyone in Western Christendom used.

  16. 16
    Viola Lee says:

    Why should people all over the world that are not Christians (Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, non-religious people, etc) want to use “in the year of our lord” when Christ is not their lord? This calendar is used world-wide, not just in Western Christendom, so a system that is religiously neutral is more appropriate for many. As the source I quoted says, both system are officially supported, so use AD if you wish, but CE is also officially correct: “According to the international standard for calendar dates, ISO 8601, both systems are acceptable.”

  17. 17
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    so a system that is religiously neutral is more appropriate for many.

    🙂 All the “religiously neutral” systems are religious . I know people who worship maths(a kind of golden calf) because they replaced the real God with man made “values”.

  18. 18
    Viola Lee says:

    I just mean “religiously neutral” in the sense of not favoring one religion over another.

  19. 19
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    I just mean “religiously neutral” in the sense of not favoring one religion over another.

    Give us an example of a system that is “religiously neutral”.

  20. 20
    Viola Lee says:

    CE and BCE is a religiously neutral designation for dates, as it doesn’t refer to any particular religion.

  21. 21
    Silver Asiatic says:

    It seeks to deny the origin of the calendar and the reason for marking year 1 for what it is – so it’s not religiously neutral.

  22. 22
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    CE and BCE is a religiously neutral designation for dates, as it doesn’t refer to any particular religion.

    Nope, is referring to atheist/materialist religion . I’m not atheist so why should I hear atheist religion terms and not Christian religion terms if I live in a space that have 5% religious atheists and 70% religious Christians?

  23. 23
    jerry says:

    Like it or not the world uses the calendar set up by the Christians. First, by Dionysius who replaced the Roman Diocletian system in year 532 (his calculation based on his estimate of the birth of Christ.) Bede in 731 introduced the BC designation to the AD system to account for years before Christ.

    Charlemagne then formalized it for his empire. In 1582 Pope Gregory introduced the current calendar. But it took almost 200 years for it to be accepted in all of Europe. The rest of the world mainly uses the Gregorian calendar and Dionysius‘s year determination even if it was off by a couple years from Christ’s birth.

    https://www.livescience.com/45510-anno-domini.html

    My guess it will change someday based on who is currently ruling the world.

  24. 24
    Viola Lee says:

    Same ol’ same ol’, I see. Over and out.

  25. 25
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    Same ol’ same ol’, I see. Over and out

    That’s an majestic argument. You won.

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