As I announced a few weeks ago on this blog, Robert Marks and I have been collaborating on some papers on the mathematical foundations of ID at the Evolutionary Informatics Lab (these papers are currently under review with mainstream peer-reviewed journals):
We have also just finished a paper debunking the statistics of James Cameron et al. (go to www.jesusfamilytomb.org), who have claimed both in a documentary on the Discovery Channel and in a book titled The Jesus Family Tomb that the pattern of names in a tomb found outside Jerusalem matches names in Jesus’ family so closely that it is highly probable that this is in fact the family tomb of the New Testament Jesus. Since “Jesus son of Joseph” is buried there, this would indicate that Jesus himself is buried there. The implication that the Resurrection is a hoax is immediate.
Prof. Marks and I show that the statistics cited by the Jesus Family Tomb people are bogus. See our paper at
For MATLAB programs that run the numbers, go to
This work is tangentially relevant to our discussions at UD about intelligent design because the Jesus Family Tomb people are claiming to show that small enough probabilities demonstrate that Jesus is buried outside Jerusalem. Prof. Marks and I show that the probabilities really aren’t that bad. In light of the probability arguments that keep being made for and against evolution — the most notable recent case being in Michael Behe’s Edge of Evolution — the arguments we make in our “Jesus Tomb Math” paper will have a familiar ring.
Question: You think any of the skeptic societies might be interested in highlighting this work debunking the Jesus Family Tomb people? I’ll give 10 to 1 odds that they won’t. Indeed, how many skeptics now believe that we’ve found the tomb of Jesus? And to think that until just recently the skeptics didn’t even think that Jesus existed (go here).