Why Scientists Should Be Agnostic: Or, Why Lawrence Krauss Is Still a Windbag

A few months ago, one of us (okay, Andrew), referred to the esteemed physicist and public intellectual Lawrence Krauss as “a windbag.”

One of us (Michael) can attest that Andrew is among the kindest, most thoughtful people he knows. So what raised Andrew’s ire? Krauss, Arizona State University’s Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and the Director of the Origins Project, had publicly dismissed religion as a mix of vague hopes and fears, “hanging on for its evidence by mere shreds of emotional and ideological spaghetti.” 

We founded The Cubit with a simple maxim: to be skeptical of the dogmatic rhetoric that plagues religion and science debates—on both sides. Krauss’s brand of scientific triumphalism, which reduces religion to an ideological strawman, is silly, lazy, hackneyed, and boring. Peddling a bigoted ideology, we think, qualifies you for windbag status.

After reading Krauss’s latest piece for The New Yorker‘s website, “All Scientists Should Be Militant Atheists,” it’s clear that Krauss remains a windbag as he continues to promote an extremist, incoherent view of science and religion. Which is a shame, because among all his breezy posturing is the kernel of a very good point. 

Krauss is upset about Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk whose decision to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples has set off a national firestorm (and a number of incisive RD articles). Krauss points out, correctly, that if we allow Davis to use her political station to interfere with government conduct that violates her religious beliefs, we’d also need to extend this privilege to other religious fundamentalists and whatever beliefs they claim to sincerely hold (a point he unfortunately makes using Islam as an example, reinforcing accusations that New Atheists disproportionately pick on Islam). 

In Krauss’s analysis, the hardest part of living in a pluralist democracy is that we have different, and sometimes competing values of the sacred. Like any good secularist, Krauss argues that the solution is to bracket our private beliefs when we’re working on behalf of the public, a logic he extends to science (where, he argues, nothing is sacred):

No ideas, religious or otherwise, get a free pass. The notion that some idea or concept is beyond question or attack is anathema to the entire scientific undertaking. This commitment to open questioning is deeply tied to the fact that science is an atheistic enterprise.

Krauss is right to draw the connection between science and the concept of a secular public square. Both emerged around the same period in history, and both aim to establish certain fundamentals by rounding out the particularities of individual belief.

Just as a government clerk must bracket her personal beliefs to avoid imposing her values onto others, so too must the scientist set aside personal religious beliefs when conducting an experiment. So far so good.

But when Krauss suggests that principled science and atheism go hand-in-hand, and that scientists should join him in ridiculing religious dogma, he’s far less convincing. In fact, Krauss unwittingly pulls a Kim Davis, evangelizing his own ideology in the name of so-called fairness.

Rather than a sensible refutation of an anti-pluralist stance, “All Scientists Should Be Militant Atheists,” amounts to a credal scrawl–a patchwork of arguments, ideas and anecdotes that’s redolent more of a bitter sensibility than a coherent thesis. In one bizarre example, Krauss attempts to connect free inquiry, atheism, and speaking out in the name of science. Noting first that “[s]cientists have an obligation not to lie about the natural world,” he chastises those who “remain silent rather than pointing out contradictions between science and religious doctrine.” It’s not enough to work in the lab, apparently—scientists must also be in the business of smashing idols. Krauss never explains exactly why scientists should take the time to “refer to the fact that religion and science are often in conflict” and to “ridicule religious dogma,” but he is convinced that this would be a valuable undertaking.

Krauss then characterizes half a millennium of human history in terms that would make even the most triumphalist of patriot preachers blush: “five hundred years of science have liberated humanity from the shackles of enforced ignorance.” Of course, we can’t thank science alone for the Enlightenment (debts are owed to economics, philosophy, and inter-religious tolerance just the same), not to mention the fact that we don’t exactly live in an age of blissful technoscientific Jetsons-esque harmony.

We agree with Krauss when he argues that “science holds that no idea is sacred,” (though we must acknowledge that science is a human endeavor, so it seldom lives up to its highest ideals). Scientific inquiry shouldn’t privilege any particular system of ideals or values. No fact is safe, no theory transcendent. But Krauss breaks this very rule by making Science itself sacred. “Science,” with a capital S, is a monolithic, positivist conception of science commonly peddled by New Atheists. Where science is ultimately value neutral, “Science” is normative—hailed as liberatory, progressive, and inherently godless. For Krauss, we ought to evangelize on behalf of Science because it can liberate humanity if it wins out in its cosmic battle against Religion. 

It’s telling that Krauss doesn’t call for agnosticism, but instead “militant atheism.”  However tongue-in-cheek the phrase may seem, it points to a significant aspect of Krauss’s argument. Krauss isn’t saying, “leave your sacred out of my science.” He’s saying, “here’s my sacred, which all of you should likewise hold sacred.” If this strategy sounds familiar, it’s because this is the same tactic deployed by Kim Davis.

Pluralism isn’t about forcing everyone to share your political and religious views. It’s about setting up the conditions for different worldviews and communities to occupy a space productively alongside each other. That’s why Kim Davis is wrong to deny marriage licenses to couples in Kentucky, and that’s why Krauss is wrong to suggest that atheism—militant or otherwise—is the only appropriate position for scientists. 

We don’t need more militant thinkers in science or in public life. We simply need anyone willing to participate in critical self-reflection about the limits of their worldviews, whether they be a Christian scientist, an atheist, a Muslim, a “none,” or a Christian Scientist. Otherwise, we’d be talking at length about little of value: the definition of a windbag.

Also on The Cubit:  New Atheism Produces Another Curiously Uncurious Science v. Religion Book

196 Comments

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That makes sense, but I have to wonder about the last part where your list includes “Christian Scientist”. Aren’t Christian Scientists anti-science, anti-Christian, and anti-reality?

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    “…though we must acknowledge that science is a human endeavor, so it seldom lives up to its highest ideals.” – Andrew and Michael

    Funny, I always say the same thing about religion.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    But it has unlimited flexibility.

  • indigosalmon@gmail.com' ObscurelyAgnostic says:

    Thanks for reminding us that Science (vs science) is for some idealogues and zealots like Krauss also a religion …

  • NSquarticsurface@gmail.com' hilbert90 says:

    “a point he unfortunately makes using Islam as an example, reinforcing accusations that New Atheists disproportionately pick on Islam”

    Since this is just a throwaway parenthetical, you may want to edit to the article to delete it.

    One: it doesn’t “reinforce accusations.” If anything, it reinforces the perception that they pick on Islam.

    Two, and more important: New Atheists are consistently derided for picking on Christianity the most, not Islam. The linked article is about Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric, which is a far different thing than disproportionately picking on Islam.

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    Actually, Krauss’ article seems to me to be a wake up call to scientists (and other non-religious people) that tiptoeing around religious sensibilities is not working, and uses the attack on Planned Parenthood and the Kim Davis Show as examples of where catering to these religious sensibilities has gotten us. He basically is telling you that the scientific community has had to be Religiously Correct (RC instead of PC) in the past when dealing with the non-scientific community and this has been a disservice to BOTH communities. (This article by Andrew and Michael is another fine example.)

    “Science,” by the way is neither sacred nor sacrosanct, it is a methodology for exploring the world around us, a process, if you will. The authors apparently can’t comprehend the idea that “scientific integrity” does not automatically equate to “sacred,” which says more about their worldview than it does anything else.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I can tell you why, on non-scientific bases, why Kim Davis is wrong to act as she is and can make religious arguments as to why she is wrong, using the definitely non-scientific concept of justice. Where, using science, does Larry Krauss find an argument that what Kim Davis is doing is wrong and that, in fact, it is wrong to discriminate against LGBT folk. Science, since science is what scientists consider to be science at any given time, held that “homosexuality” was a psychological disorder and the scientific establishment dealing in such stuff supported the legal discrimination against gay folk for well into my life time.

    Lawrence Krauss made a bold claim that black holes couldn’t form about eight years ago, I think he expected it to make him a celebrity and it didn’t. He took the neo-atheist route to fame and attention, fortune and influence. As recently as 2006 he said something different,

    ““The Earth isn’t 6,000 years old,” he said. “The Kennewick man was not a Umatilla Indian.” But whether there really is some kind of supernatural being – Dr. Krauss said he was a nonbeliever* – is a question unanswerable by theology, philosophy or even science. “Science does not make it impossible to believe in God,” Dr. Krauss insisted. “We should recognize that fact and live with it and stop being so pompous about it.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/21/science/21belief.html?ei=5090&en=1248e2f606e1e138&ex=1321765200&pagewanted=print&_r=0

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Why don’t you look it up, google is your friend, sometimes. I did and apparently there are a number of working scientists who are members of the Christian Science Church. As to being anti-reality and the atheist nay-men choir here, don’t get me started.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Good plan. I don’t want to get you started.

  • chris@east20thst.net' cmbennett01 says:

    Lawrence Krause has made it abundantly clear that although he has no use for it religious belief does not prevent someone from being a scientist or embracing scientific knowledge. That does not mean that they are compatible. Tje fundamental principles underlying science are opposed to those of theology. There is no faith based science. You can go to church on Sunday but you can’t bring God to the lab with you on Monday. When scientists, violate that premise they are liable to error so when you are being a scientist you are obliged to be an atheist. The popular animosity for Krause has more to with the fact that he tells people that he personally has no use for their religion The vitriol with which purportedly reasonable people respond to that is a pretty good argument fod jis claim that the religious claim special exemption from criticism of their sincerely held religious beliefs

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Oh, well, you’re going about it all the wrong way, then.

  • chris@east20thst.net' cmbennett01 says:

    Lawrence Krauss made no such claim that black holes do not exist. Krauss along with others came up with a mathematical model of a black hole in which an event horizon does not form. The event horizon by the way is by definition observable. This was in response to the apparent paradox where a block hole would evaporate due to Hawking radiation.
    If you would like to demonstrate how silly and ridiculous Krauss is you might want to avoid the topic of physics.

  • chris@east20thst.net' cmbennett01 says:

    A common response from people who have no desire to understand how science works. And by the way, it does work.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Oh yeah? The AAAS’s Sciencemagazine apparently got it wrong

    “Physicist Lawrence Krauss and Case Western Reserve colleagues think they have found the answer to the paradox. In a paper accepted for publication in Physical Review D, they have constructed a lengthy mathematical formula that shows, in effect, black holes can’t form at all. The key involves the relativistic effect of time, Krauss explains. As Einstein demonstrated in his Theory of General Relativity, a passenger inside a spaceship traveling toward a black hole would feel the ship accelerating, while an outside observer would see the ship slow down. When the ship reached the event horizon, it would appear to stop, staying there forever and never falling in toward oblivion. In effect, Krauss says, time effectively stops at that point, meaning time is infinite for black holes. If black holes radiate away their mass over time, as Hawking showed, then they should evaporate before they even form, Krauss says. It would be like pouring water into a glass that has no bottom. In essence, physicists have been arguing over a trick question for 40 years.

    Asked why then the universe nevertheless seems to be full of black holes, Krauss replies, “How do you know they’re black holes?” No one has actually seen a black hole, he says, and anything with a tremendous amount of gravity–such as the supermassive remnants of stars–could exert effects similar to those researchers have blamed on black holes. “All of our calculations suggest this is quite plausible,” Krauss says.”

    Phil Berardelli, June 21, 2007

    I don’t see any way to misunderstand what he said back then, it wasn’t the only place I read it.

  • pyannoutsos@yahoo.co.uk' pyx says:

    He has single handedly advanced our knowledge of the origins of the universe further than what the bible or Quran has been able to do for millennia

  • chris@east20thst.net' cmbennett01 says:

    Did you read it or just cut and paste? He did not say they don’t exist. He said that they may not be what you think they are. An idea that many besides Krauss agree with. Your attempt to ridicule an accomplished physicist over a theory you clearly do not understand accomplishes nothing other than making you look ridiculous.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    A small black hole will dissolve. A black hole that radiates away will end in a large explosion. If a tiny black hole is created by the large hadron collider it will blow up in a very tiny explosion. and so could never be a danger. When a neutron star collapses into a black hole, it is large enough to live for trillions of years.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    And you’ve seen this? Apparently Larry Krauss didn’t think so in 2007, can you document that he’s changed his position?

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Oh, I see, they exist, they just don’t form. Apparently he believes they aren’t not only what most people think of, he also believed they aren’t black holes. What else that doesn’t form, nonetheless exists?

    How is posting quotes of what Larry Krauss said in 2007 ridiculing him?

    While what he said in the article has its absurd, not to mention self-contradictory features, I am not mocking his ideas about black holes not forming, I have no idea if that’s true or not.

  • indigosalmon@gmail.com' ObscurelyAgnostic says:

    The author of the post made the case, not me — so you’re OK with Krauss’ intolerant attitude towards theists?

  • pierre@pierrechartier.com' PierreCh says:

    You founded Cubit “to be skeptical of the dogmatic rhetoric…” and you fault Kraus for ridiculing dogma. What a blasted hypocrite. Pluralism demands that we tolerate the vacuous claims made by an infinity of superstitions. Mocking is not forcing people to change their minds, but it forces them to renounce the delusion that everybody shares their lunacy. You can challenge my beliefs, and whenever they are stupid, say so, but be honest enough to be ready to support your position.

  • gr_muscle@yahoo.com' Rico says:

    The author makes a lot of other mistakes as well.

  • gr_muscle@yahoo.com' Rico says:

    Indeed. “skeptical of the dogmatic rhetoric”; what a load of crap

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You are a bigot and have more in common with Kim Davis than you would ever admit.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Check out what they said when people were worried about Cern. Even if a small black hole was created it would immediately break apart, and with the mass of only a few subatomic particles it couldn’t be a danger. Check out what he said. I am sure you must have misinterpreted something.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Well, big deal, that’s not the issue. Bobby Fischer did more for the game of chess than the Bible did, that didn’t make him any kind of an expert on the issues under discussion.

    And that’s if the line of cosmological speculation Krauss engages is is right, which is still an open question disputed in science. And if it isn’t today, just wait, there have been more disposed of “origins of the universe” in cosmology than there have been in those scriptures. Your phrase, using the plural “origins” is a dead giveaway of that fact. There was only one origin of the UNIverse, not more than one. Science has yet to identify, securely, exactly what that origin was, yet you use that as a standard of measuring quality of arguments entirely outside of that dispute.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    If you’re sure I’m misinterpreting what Krauss said in 2007, surely you can point out just what that is and why it is a misinterpretation. You obviously can’t do that.

  • urbansrjohn@gmail.com' Liberate Tuteme says:

    (I.M.O.) – Krauss is intolerant of dogma that is contrary to accurately falsified hypothesis’. Religion has been falsified on many accounts. More accurately, religion is intolerant and useless so far as to prove anything true or false. Theists cannot accept proven truth because of their belief system; ergo, Krauss dismissed the belief system… The “attitude” is not intolerant, it is sensible if we want to make any real progress as a species. So, you’re OK with the human species being stymied because of theists’ intolerant attitude towards truth?

  • janhoi@hotmail.com' Janhoi Mccallum says:

    Lawrence Krauss is a windbag. People who are stupid enough to hold up Kim Davis as representative of all religion or religious people just show how intellectually lazy they’re being. For every Kim Davis figure out there for instance you can find a Martin Luther King Jr or Archbishop Desmond Tutu figure who refute the lazy caricatures that people like Krauss peddle to their fan club which act more like a cult that swallows everything he says as gold(hmmmm…..kinda like a religion).

    Not to mention the religious people in science itself……and the religious clerics themselves. Like Father George Lemaitre….Catholic Priest who founded the Big Bang theory. Or Guy Consolmagno the Jesuit Priest at the Vatican Observatory of Science and Pope Francis’s astronomer who last year won the Carl Sagan Award. Or the Pontifical Academy of Sciences which has produced over 50 Nobel prize winners in Physics and Chemistry.

    So this sort of Lazy New Atheism we are seeing from people like Dawkins and Krauss is really getting old.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I was just explaining what happens when a black hole dissolves.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    As observed, where?

  • indigosalmon@gmail.com' ObscurelyAgnostic says:

    You’re painting with WAY too broad a brush, brother! … there are many millions of liberal theists like me for whom the “point” of religion is not its empirical truth — its a moral guide for our inchoate humanity/consciousness … by your reasoning we should also dismiss Dostoevsky’s novels or Aesop’s fables too?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    A mini black hole hasn’t been observed, but it is one thing that Cern would really like to see in their collisions because they would love to study it and see it dissolve and see the spray of particles that come out.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I think his point is science has advanced our knowledge of the origin of the universe, but scripture has only set it backwards.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    We know how black holes form. A heavy star at the end of its life can collapse into a neutron star. If its gravity is strong enough to overwhelm the strong force forming the neutrons, it continues to collapse towards a point, and forms a black hole.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Oh, we do, unobserved, undocumented in the natural universe, we “know” that without that kind of evidence. Just like they used to “know” that the motions of the planets were governed by epicycles and epigones and other things that made theoretical sense of what they couldn’t account for, otherwise. I suppose we also “know” there are jillions of universes which, from everything we do know, today, we will never be able to access.

    I love the “we’re all about the evidence” folk who are so sure they’re right that they figure THEY don’t really need evidence to “know” things.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You don’t know that until you can actually account for the one and only origin of the universe.

    Your statement, though, only shows that you are remarkably ignorant of the history of modern cosmology. When Fr. Georges Lemaitre proposed the big bang, complete with the concept of a singularity, etc. the idea was successfully resisted for about three to four decades because the atheist cosmologists and physicists didn’t like the implication that that aspect of Genesis was right. As late as the 1990s one of the major figures of scientistic materialism, John Maddox, was condemning the idea because of its possible religious implications, the same reason that atheists invented those jillions of universes, the greatest and ultimate violation of, among other things, the principle of parsimony, Occam’s razor, and the need for science to be verifiable in the observable, natural universe. Atheists would seem to have set back cosmology more than religious folk did during that epoch and they may turn out to inhibit the future as they insist on inventing ever more things that can’t really be science.

    Atheists are, if anything, worse with historical fact than they are with logic.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Get back to me when that observation has been observed, until then, black holes have not be observed and, therefore, are not verified, never mind the attempt to dissect them and tell us all about what happens inside them, which, considering what they’re claimed to be, I wouldn’t bet on any of that being a. observable, b. testable. c. nearly right.

  • ssmit129@uottawa.ca' Shawn Smith says:

    There is zero evidence to support the claims of atheism.

  • emilyk04@gmail.com' Fired, Aren't I says:

    …yes? your point being? The article doesn’t deny this.

  • emilyk04@gmail.com' Fired, Aren't I says:

    Apparently you missed the part where they differentiated “science” and “Science” (capital S).

    I don’t see the article defending any religious sensitivities, just pointing out New Atheism isn’t as divorced from the religiosity it abhors as it thinks it is.

  • emilyk04@gmail.com' Fired, Aren't I says:

    Apparently you missed the part of the comment (and article) where “Science” and “science” are different things based on one’s attitude toward them.

  • urbansrjohn@gmail.com' Liberate Tuteme says:

    Not broad, very specific, with tangible proof… Not meant as insulting, but merely educational.

    Morals do not come from theist belief. The moral argument has been conceded as false many times by bishops, cardinals, etc. Consider that theist belief may stem from evolution.

    Progressive theists are atheist towards constructs of their own faith. (ie: “church doesn’t view the Bible as a history or science textbook”). This was/is not always so. Take another step and apply the same progressive attitude towards the entirety of “religion”.

    The two points do not correlate. Dostoevsky’s novels and Aesop’s fables do not require the reader to viciously murder their kin for disbelief as the Bible does or ruthlessly stone someone to death as the Koran does. Do you contest this point of religious dogma, or agree that disbelievers should be killed? If the argument stems from belief in an ever-shrinking influence of falsifiable “moral clarity”, then the problem should take care of itself, in time.

    Conform belief to evidence of the natural world. Do not manipulate evidence to fit a theist belief.

  • urbansrjohn@gmail.com' Liberate Tuteme says:

    Cute! Very Cute!

  • chris@east20thst.net' cmbennett01 says:

    “Science” along with “Scientism” are tu quoque inventions of the purveyors of “Science Studies” in unholy alliance with that other branch of the “reality is a narrative” school, the pushers of ID. What scientists do is science. Science is neither a religion nor is it a narrative.

  • indigosalmon@gmail.com' ObscurelyAgnostic says:

    I have not and am not arguing that “morals come only from theist belief” … but since you bring it up, I will argue that morals don’t come only from science or reason … and I’m arguing that Christianity as a whole shouldn’t be judged on the beliefs and behavior of its fundamentalists — and I’m pretty sure even the fundies don’t agree their unbelieving kin should be “viciously murdered” LOL … further, both “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the Gospel of Mark can and are understood by millions of rational people as moral literature/allegory … above all I’m arguing for absolute freedom of conscience as to how and where individuals ground their personal morality …

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    “I don’t see the article defending any religious sensitivities, just
    pointing out New Atheism isn’t as divorced from the religiosity it
    abhors as it thinks it is.” – firedarenti

    Of course you don’t. And of course it is…to you. That was my point and so I am not surprised you missed it. Religious people tend to see religious motivations everywhere, including where there are none. Krauss is indeed looking for a pluralistic society, but one in which there can be a free exchange of ideas and questions. Because without that, THE SOCIETY IS NEITHER FREE, NOR PLURALISTIC. You can debate this idea, or the authors could, but instead they (and you) choose to take Krauss to task for not being nice enough in his delivery (I believe “windbag” is the term they used).

    The authors get close when they say:

    “Pluralism isn’t about forcing everyone to share your political and religious views. It’s about setting up the conditions for different worldviews and communities to occupy a space productively alongside each other.” – the article above

    I am just curious how they intend to accomplish this without a free and open exchange of ideas, as Krauss is espousing.

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    That it’s funny they say the same thing about science that I say about religion. And I never said they denied anything.

    I thought my statement stood on its own, but apparently you need some special notes so you can understand it. Let me know if I use too many big words or difficult sentences.

  • urbansrjohn@gmail.com' Liberate Tuteme says:

    To quote you: “[the Bible] [is] above all a moral guide to and for our inchoate humanity/consciousness”.

    With each response, you are contradicting your previous argument and failing to address the counterpoints brought to you.

    When an argument fails, let it fail. Move on to what is proven true or deny what is proven false. The spiral of grabbing for more crumbling logic will, in the end, prove to be a fruitless endeavor.

    I don’t know what you do for a living, but you remind me of a preacher I knew as a child. He, too, eventually came to the same conclusion and became an English Teacher. It was a better use of his time.

  • chris@east20thst.net' cmbennett01 says:

    So your theory is that Krauss and Dawkins fail to acknowledge the contributions of religious people in science or other ares of society. Except Krauss mentions Lemaitre in pretty much every talk I have every seen him give. Maybe your theory is flawed.

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    “You are a bigot and have more in common with Kim Davis than you would ever admit.” – Camera Obscura

    All that from a single paragraph? Wow, you must a psychic.

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    “Atheists are, if anything, worse with historical fact than they are with logic.” – Camera Obscura

    We will all have a good laugh together when I bring this up years from now after your deconversion.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    One of the features of their deficiency is that they’re convinced they are brilliant.
    I notice you didn’t refute anything I said about the history of recent cosmology, which refutes what your buddy and Larry Krauss said.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Not psychic, there’s nothing mysterious about being able to figure out that bigots like you guys and Kim Davis have bigotry in common.

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    The fact that you think I am buddies with anyone on this page or that I even kept up with your conversation shows how little you know about me.

    I also note that you didn’t refute your deconversion and you and me laughing about your statement over a couple of beers…say 5 years from now?

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I don’t drink, I am personally opposed to drinking. That won’t change in the next five years.

    “Deconversion”, what are you talking about?

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    Well, if you don’t drink, I will have to do the drinking for both of us!

    Google it.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Yeah, why don’t you do the whole thing without me.

  • emilyk04@gmail.com' Fired, Aren't I says:

    The accusations “Scientism” are unsupported and in fact refuted in public statements by Krauss and the other New Atheists.

    ..except that they’re not, as evidenced by their own writings.

  • emilyk04@gmail.com' Fired, Aren't I says:

    Krauss is espousing people only exchange the “correct” and “proper” ideas, the ones he considers valid. That’s not how a free exchange works, and doing so is just as unbecoming to anti-theism and atheism as it is to theists.

    Which the article rather eloquently points out.

  • emilyk04@gmail.com' Fired, Aren't I says:

    Let me know if I use too many big words or difficult sentences.

    That’s alright; you seem to be out of ideas since you’re resorting to ad hominem.

  • indigosalmon@gmail.com' ObscurelyAgnostic says:

    It won’t be worth continuing our discussion if you’re going to willfully take my words out of context — what I wrote was, “the progressive church doesn’t view the Bible as a history or science textbook — it’s above all a moral guide to and for our inchoate humanity/consciousness” … I don’t presume to tell you or anyone what your moral guide should be — respectfully, what gives you the right to tell me what mine (or anyone else’s) should be?

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Science and religion are antipodal. Science questions itself till it winnows out the mistakes. So it is an ongoing process. Religion touts is “non mutability” though really it does mutate and split off like a cancer…waring with itself. And in so doing saves the rest of us from a huge army of like thinkers to force the rest of us to goose step with them as Holy Soldiers.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    I’m afraid as a moral guide it is quite hideous. Dashing babies brains? Slaughtering all the people and animals in Canaan before the Jews took over?

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Curiously that before the Big Bang, the Steady State theory held and was called Biblical as well. So they can take either one and claim it to be of theological origin? That is quite the scam to do that.

    Atheists are just human and science was critical in accepting it till facts supported it. And the microwave background radiation was predicted and later found. Piltdown Man skull was reexamined and found to be a forgery. Doesn’t happen too much in religious circles because they have different values.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Insults mean no more coherent discussion. Best to end it there.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Agnostics don’t know it all and side with the religionists by default.
    Atheists don’t know it all either, but have found no deities hiding or obvious. They don’t default to religionists at all.

  • janhoi@hotmail.com' Janhoi Mccallum says:

    He does mention Lemaitre on occasions. And then falls back into the intellectually lazy position of holding up people like Kim Davis as representative of religious people or religion in general. Which is really dumb. Someone like him should know better.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I have never, once, read the Steady State theory of the universe being called “Biblical,” it is certainly not compatible with the first sentence, chapter or book of The Bible or with any theological understanding arising from that book which I’ve ever read of or heard of. Which is why it was favored by materialists and atheists such as Bertrand Russell and John Maddox and a line of atheist cosmologists who seem to pretty much run that field of speculation. My theory is that you just made that up as so much internet information is just made up for clearly polemical purposes, and, I don’t hesitate to say, there is no group more prone to doing that than the online atheists. Give me the quotes to the effect that a Steady State universe is compatible with the Hebrew Bible, central to the Jewish and Christian and, to an extent, Islamic religions.

    As to the idea that religions don’t reexamine ideas, that is clearly absurd as well. Just for one tiny, little example, there was this thing called The Protestant Reformation which reexamined and changed a good many religious ideas, and the reformers kept reexamining ideas and a myriad of different churches formed, and still form due to reexamination of ideas and disagreements over them.

    You can either have one argument or the other, you can argue that religion is static and frozen into an unchanging monolith and therefore is invalid or that there are myriads of different ideas about the topic, with vastly and varying ideas about it and therefore is invalid. You can’t pretend one on one occasion and the other on another occasion is the truth, not if you care about the truth which, I also don’t hesitate to point out, is of no real value in the materialism that Larry Krauss seems to believe in, the truth has no transcendent value in materialism and a lie is as good as the truth if it gets you what you want.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Science was invented by religious people, many of its major figures, many of its major figures, were religious, many of them deeply religious. To say that science and religion are antipodal is a statement that could only be made in total ignorance of the history and even present state of science, which resides in the minds of scientists, many of whom quite easily and productively contain science in their one and only mind. The idea that religion and science form two, non-overlapping magisteria or are in some way inevitably hostile to each other is a denial of a reality that is as real as the biography of Copernicus who was encouraged to publish his theory by bishops, cardinals and at least one Pope and whose book was dedicated to Paul III. The many people who claim the church was, from the star, opposed to his sun-centered model only prove they never read even the beginning of his Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies because he includes his dedication and an account of the clerics who encouraged him, especially the encouragement of Cardinal Nicolaus Schonberg and Bishop Tidemann Giese. Galileo read that because he talked about the encouragement of them and other clerics and Popes to Copernicus to publish in his letter to the Archduchess of Tuscany. And that’s only one of the founders of modern science, all of whom were professing Christians, some of them quite seriously professing Christians.

    The theory that religion and science are incompatible is ahistorical and logical nonsense and an expression of a common ignorance and bigotry.

    “Religion touts is “non mutability” Where do you find the quotes to back that up?

  • indigosalmon@gmail.com' ObscurelyAgnostic says:

    They don’t call it the Old Testament for nothing … 😉

  • ssmit129@uottawa.ca' Shawn Smith says:

    This was a well written article in response to Lawrence Krauss.

  • judithmax@comcast.net' Judith Maxfield says:

    Guess your a Trump follower with your unbelievable rudeness and self importance. This article is about people like you in case you missed it.

  • judithmax@comcast.net' Judith Maxfield says:

    Thank you for clearing up some of the personalization and lazy thinking here on RD. I see the new atheists and the hard right religionists coming from the same boiling pot of selfi certitude.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    So religion isn’t set in stone? It can change itself after all? Who knew?

    Many started out being religious, became less so or not at all. Still 60% of scientists aren’t religious, 40% are. (1960 and 2000) Fortunately human minds can compartmentalize. The science we have today isn’t a worship of the Great Creator any more. You should know that.

    But then science is incompatible with religion. They run differently. Certainly more so now than 500 years ago. You need to get with the times of today.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Yet Jesus came to affirm it and call it still valid. Read your Bible with a critical eye.

  • indigosalmon@gmail.com' ObscurelyAgnostic says:

    My main point in this thread has been that we ALL read the Bible with a highly subjective so-called ‘critical eye’ … atheists and theists alike emphasize or ignore the parts of the Bible they don’t find congenial to their agenda or ideology or politics or worldview … I’m admitting I do that every time I crack the pages of scripture — can you make the same admission?

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    If science were incompatible with religion it would be impossible for Copernicus, Galileo, Steno, Volta, Galvani, Dalton, Faraday, etc. to have produced monumentally significant science in the one and only mind that each of them possessed which contained both religion and science. None of the scientists of today who are religious could have produced science in their one and only mind, the vast majority of humanity which accepts science but who are not scientists would accept science if that were true. Even those who work, successfully, in science but who are creationists and climate change deniers embody the compatibility of science and religion.

    Your belief is a superstition disproved by that history and that fact about science, today. You are denying something which is certainly a fact as much as most of the science that scientists accept. Your being able to produce atheist-scientists does nothing to change that fact. Atheists online are some of the more superstitious people I encounter.

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    It was never a discussion to begin with.

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    “Guess your a Trump follower with your unbelievable rudeness…” – Judith Maxfield

    What does this even mean? Are you implying “Trump followers” are all rude or that they individually achieve a high levels of rudeness?

    And yes, I don’t disagree that I am rude at times. Condescending, abrupt, and antagonistic. Happy, joyful, and playful, as well.

    However, this time I made a simple statement of wonder, expressing a bit of humor and firedarenti asked me for the point…which was right there in the sentence. Which apparently at least four other people understood or pretended to understand by upvoting the statement.

    So I obliged firedarenti by explaining it while insulting their intelligence. And now Judith Maxfield seems to feel the need to weigh in and scold me, as well. All this over a single remark, said partly in jest.

    That statement must have really pissed you guys off. Good to know for the future.

  • whiskyjack1@gmail.com' Whiskyjack says:

    I know that George Lemaitre proposed an initial singularity, but he was not the first to do so. That honor belongs to Alexander Friedman, who suggested an expanding universe five years earlier, in 1922. Lemaitre likely did not know of Friedmann’s work, since Friedmann published in Russian.

  • whiskyjack1@gmail.com' Whiskyjack says:

    Copernicus’s book was welcomed by the Church because it provided an easier way to perform calendrical calculations that were important for scheduling religious observances. His book was published after his death only after Osiander had added a preface that emphasized that the model was not necessarily true, but useful for calculation.
    You are correct that many of the earlier scientists were also religious. That is not surprising given that education had been exclusively under religious control for well over a thousand years, and that to challenge religion could lead to dire consequences. I do not doubt that many of the early prominent “scientists” (to use an anachronism) were also true believers. Nonetheless, those that held heterodox views, like Newton’s anti-Trinitarianism, kept them to themselves for fear of reprisal or persecution.

  • emilyk04@gmail.com' Fired, Aren't I says:

    My thoughts exactly. Not that New Atheists are really that interested in discussion; they largely just want to talk at you and shame.

  • judithmax@comcast.net' Judith Maxfield says:

    I am frustrated that many comments here are snarky and frankly, boring, boring, boring. I like Rd because I am interested in other opinions, not name calling and the putdowns, which is the boring part I don’t want or need it . We already have way to much of that in our culture and it gets us no where except people get to spout off. Its much ado about nothing and does not move the conversation forward. However, thank you for responding. BTW: RD is about religious views – I hope – also anything that challenges or sheds a new light on culture as well. We’ve dropped the meaning of civility, exchanging it for extreme individualism. This isn’t the world’s style, just exclusive for the U.S. Trump leads the way.

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    “I am frustrated that many comments here are snarky and frankly, boring, boring, boring. I like Rd because I am interested in other opinions, not name calling and the putdowns…” – Judith Maxfield

    “Guess your a Trump follower with your unbelievable rudeness and self importance.” – Judith Maxfield

    We all do it, like you did, above. It’s ok. I am not upset in the least, even though I find Trump to be a windbag who has parlayed his rudeness and abruptness into a TV personality. I would normally be offended at being lumped in with the mouth-breathers, but I actually laughed out loud when I read your line, it sounded like something my very religious family would say to me.

    So while you and I might disagree on some issues and snipe a bit at each other, rarely do I try to deliberately hurt someone’s feelings.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    His book would have been published a lot earlier if he had listened to Cardinal Schoenberg, Bishop Tidemann and the other clerics, some of them in the Vatican who were encouraging him to publish. The reform of the calendar – which the Pope had also hired him to work on – was accomplished by that time. They understood what he was saying in the book about the earth circling the sun, they were obviously mathematically accomplished to the extent that they understood his arguments, as Galileo pointed out, as well. You are practicing historical revisionism of the atheist kind.

    You also follow a line of historical myth that assigns the role of a scientist to the likes of Giordano Bruno when he was not a scientist and it is unlikely in the extreme that his pushing a sun-centered universe had anything to do with his execution, he was almost certainly tried for religious heresy on issues that had nothing to do with that. At the time Bruno was executed there was no ban on teaching the Copernican system. He adopted the idea because it fit in with his weird neo-pagan religious ideas, not because he was an atheist. In a side line, the pope who did come down hard on Galileo – for mocking him, not for writing a book presenting the Copernican system – was the last of the Humanist popes who had far less knowledge of mathematics than some of his predecessors. Or is there some other line of atheist myth of persecution of early science you refer to.

    On the other hand, during the atheist-beloved French Revolution, as I recall they murdered six prominent scientists and in the anti-religious Stalin regime, they murdered a lot more scientists, especially around the Lysenko affair. Atheism with political power has proven to be far more dangerous to the lives of scientists than religion has. But, then, atheism with political power has been entirely more accomplished at killing people for failure to conform to the required thinking.

    Newton’s anti-trinitarianism was mostly a professional liability as the English establishment insisted on fidelity to Anglicanism, he was a profoundly convinced Christian and entirely wrapped up in scriptures. He was also one of the three greatest scientists in history. His skepticism of the doctrine of the trintiy doesn’t make him safe for neo-atheist argument. And there is a long, long line of both those who invented science and practiced it, from the late middle-ages till today who contain both religion and science in their one and only mind, occasionally some of the scientists saying their religious thinking being a help to their science. You are in no position to second-guess them about their own experience which they obviously know better than anyone else.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I have never seen his name mentioned by those who opposed the Big Bang model of cosmology, they mentioned Lemaitre and, implied, if not stated that he was trying to sneak religion into science, which is pretty funny as they were insisting on imposing atheism on science in pretty much the same way Larry Krauss is.

    You don’t have to take my word for that, you know, you can go read “Down With The Big Bang” by the ideological totalitarian, John Maddox, the former editor of Nature.

  • whiskyjack1@gmail.com' Whiskyjack says:

    You are right about Bruno. He was a wild metaphysical and theological speculator who was evidently a serial plagiarizer, as well. That being said, wild metaphysical speculation, whether regarding the nature of Jesus, the virginity of Mary, or the plurality of worlds is no basis for a barbaric execution. Please note that I was not the one to mention Bruno. He’s no hero of mine.
    I disagree that a person can be both a Christian and an anti-Trinitarian. If you are anti-Trinitarian, you cannot believe in the divinity of Jesus. That, in my understanding, is a pretty foundational Christian belief. Knowledge of, or in some cases obsession with the scriptures is no guarantee that one is a Christian. Just ask any Jew.

  • Why should they be agnostic?

    It’s not as if anyone is agnostic about unicorns or orcs.

    A lack of any evidence or good reason for P is a reason to think not-P. It’s not a reason to be agnostic about P.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    What you think about what Newton believed makes no difference, no more than what you think what Joseph Priestley thought, the definition of their religious belief is theirs to make. Both of them considered themselves to be Christians, as, in fact, Unitarians pretty much all did until later in the 19th century.

    You said, “those that held heterodox views, like Newton’s anti-Trinitarianism, kept them to themselves for fear of reprisal or persecution.” list the scientists who were persecuted in that way. I can name scientists who were murdered by atheist regimes for ideological non-conformity, such as Nikolai Vavilov and Georgi Karpechenko, who was actually shot by firing squad for not towing the ideological line. And there are those like Laviosier who and the other French scientists murdered by those towering lights of the soi disant “Enlightenment”. I can’t remember who it was who remarked that it took but a second to cut his head off but it would take a century to grow another like it, perhaps Priestley.

    The atheist propaganda about the persecution of science by the Christian religion is mostly urban myth and folk lore. Even the common received wisdom about the trial of Galileo is full to the brim of counterfactual nonsense passed on as dogmatic faith among the faithless. His “persecution” was so extensive, the suppression of his science so complete that he managed to write and publish his major work, The Discourse on Two New Sciences, while he was suffering under house arrest in a palace arranged by some of the members of the Inquisition who tried him and who lobbied for a comfortable confinement. As I recall he was so oppressed he was even allowed to go to Florence to see his eye doctor, receive visitors and conduct an extensive correspondence.
    He was never in any danger of being tortured or executed and he and everyone involved in the trial knew it. The irony is that his greatest opponents weren’t in the church, it was in the universities where the old, scholastic Ptolemaic system reigned and the entrenched, self-interested faculties whose entire expertise lay in their mastery of its lore were horrified that their science would suddenly be thrown out the window and they’d either have to learn the new astronomy or they’d likely not have jobs. They are the ones he complained to Kepler about who wouldn’t look into the telescope, not the Cardinals you see in 19th and 20th century paintings and costume dramas.

  • mark.hadden1986@gmail.com' Rudiger Hamsworth says:

    People like Krauss and Dawkins have dedicated their lives to not just scientific research but making it available and understandable to lay people such as our selves. To describe them as intellectually lazy because of a comment they made is just ridiculous and suggests you know very little about them, I would say you are the lazy one.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Different people have different ideas as to what constitutes Christianity, notably, Jesus didn’t talk about founding a new religion, he was considered and, from all of the evidence, considered himself a Jew as did all of his chosen followers and just about all of those mentioned in the Bible as being his followers. Christianity was distinguished from Judaism after his death. Not only Newton but Jospeh Priestley considered themselves Christians, though in Priestley’s case he was a professed Unitarian. It is pretty much the case that just about all Unitarians considered themselves to be Christians until well into the 19th century. I’m struck by what Jesus said, that to be his follower consisted of doing the will of God, of loving God and your neighbor as yourself. He didn’t mention the trinity or the Virgin Birth.

    I think your final remark is rather odd, if you look at the Jewish scriptures, you’ll find that they deal rather continually with the difficulty of the Hebrew people in following The Law and the disastrous results when their failure to follow their professed beliefs. There isn’t anything exclusive to those who profess Christianity in failing to follow their profession of faith, it is a fairly common trait of human beings. If it is meant to be some assignment of antisemitism to Christians, well, the Pagan Greeks and Romans, not to mention other, various national groups in the Eastern Mediterranean region, hated the Hebrew people and, later, Jews, before the birth of Jesus. A form of the blood libel was current among Greeks from before the Common era. One of whom is mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures. There is at least one reference in the early writings of Christians that a form of the blood libel was made against Christians by Romans.

    Considering the fact that the central figure of Christianity was a Jew, documented as a Jew in the Gospels and other books of the Christian Bible, considering that Bible includes the Hebrew Bible, Christian antisemitism is irrational and more rationally considered a corruption of Christianity, perhaps a holdover of pagan thinking, than anything compatible with even the minimal definition of Christianity.

  • indigosalmon@gmail.com' ObscurelyAgnostic says:

    Not sure why my response to you here isn’t showing up in the Disqus app — but it does show on the RD website …

  • judithmax@comcast.net' Judith Maxfield says:

    A sincere question: What does it take from one to be a peacemaker or an agent of change?

  • dkeane123@comcast.net' DKeane123 says:

    I’d love to have a quote – I read that article, and I don’t see him campaigning for censorship or thought crime. I believe he is espousing a policy where scientists stop biting their lips when it comes to not treading on the hurt feelings of religious “sensibilities”. I’m a geologist, and there are SO many topics that constantly challenged by the religious that there really should be more of us out there campaigning for our work.

  • dkeane123@comcast.net' DKeane123 says:

    Said two men communicating across the globe in an instant (with a potential audience of a billion?).

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    Sincere answer: It depends on the circumstances involved, does it not? One situation might require one type of response or action, where the same response in another situation could be disastrous.

    Are you implying there is a single response that will cover every situation?

  • truktyre@hotmail.com' Craptacular says:

    “My thoughts exactly. Not that New Atheists are really that interested in
    discussion; they largely just want to talk at you and shame.” – firedarenti

    So your response to ad hominem is…more ad hominem? How very….New Atheist of you? (Or is it ok when you do it? Because you don’t have to follow the same definition of hypocrisy as the rest of us…maybe it’s some sort of religious freedom thing?)

  • judithmax@comcast.net' Judith Maxfield says:

    Not really. Just curious. I do believe there is a starting point we all can try – for most cases. Where does it start?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Science questions and winnows out mistakes. Religion has faith in its mistakes, and keeps them alive through apologetics.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Once Christianity had the political power, scientists had to be religious if they wanted to continue their work.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    What do the atheists online say about you?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    People like Kim Davis and Huckabee do pretty well represent evangelical Christianity. Progressive Christians are smarter than that, and you can’t pin them down about what they believe. They are a moving target.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    SUGGESTION
    Everyone is doing a great job in this comments section, but you might want to consider, sometimes you can be in total disagreement with someone’s response, but there is no way to improve on it. You can just leave it stand, because it does such a great job of speaking for itself.
    NFQ

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I don’t repeat false witness. Not even about me.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Oh, does that mean that, today, under secularism scientists have to tow that line and that accounts for why 60% poll as being non-religious?

    I’ve read Galileo, Copernicus, Steno, Volta, …. Eddington and up to religious scientists of today who write about their beliefs, if you think they are lying, produce the evidence that shows they are. The evidence they left by their own writing and their conduct in life is that their religious belief was sincere, you are just lying in order to claim people for your ideology when they didn’t want any part of your ideology.

  • dkeane123@comcast.net' DKeane123 says:

    Define how bigot meets that post?

  • dkeane123@comcast.net' DKeane123 says:

    Did he say she represented all religious people?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    If they believe in Jesus then they are lying or deceiving themselves because the Bible shows there was no actual Jesus.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Capital S is Christian Scientist which is a denomination that believes reality isn’t real, so no blood transfusions for their children because disease is an illusion that they treat with mind power.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Capital S is for Christian Scientist. A denomination that believes reality isn’t real, so no blood transfusions for their children because disease is an illusion that they treat with mind power.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Give it time.

  • emilyk04@gmail.com' Fired, Aren't I says:

    Nope, he differentiated “Science” with “Christian Science.”

  • janhoi@hotmail.com' Janhoi Mccallum says:

    They are good scientists, and Intellectually Lazy when it comes to their attacks on religion by saying we’re all like Kim Davis. I don’t care how great a Scientist you are. If you lump every Christian in the same boat as Kim Davis that is an idiotic and lazy thing to do. Period. And I have watched their lectures and read their books(like the God Delusion) and I can say that especially Krauss…..who is a brilliant Scientist can be a self righteous prick when it comes to people who doesn’t hold the ideas he does on the question of Theism v Atheism…..which isn’t a Scientific one.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    He said “Christian Scientist”. I think he must have meant the denomination because that makes the sentence cleverly constructed and pretty cool.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    He is a scientist who also has personal opinions, and he is living in a world long dominated by self righteous Christian pricks.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    History does make it impossible to believe in Jesus. We are a Christian nation, so when Jesus goes religion goes with it.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    We’ve been through this before. Almost every single person who has the academic background to study the matter of the historicity of Jesus, seriously, accepts the reality of the person of Jesus. It’s people who don’t have that but who are passed off as having the backgrounds they don’t, like the idiotic Richard Carrier, who assert that Jesus was a myth.

    You guys have been trying to get rid of Jesus for centuries and the effort has only lost credibility as your venues of denial have been answered.

    I think that the reason atheists hate Jesus is because they are selfish and hate the teachings of Jesus that they have to share and they have to be nice and they have to do things they don’t want to do because they’re selfish. That’s the long and the short of it. All else is fill.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    1. even if there was no Jesus and no God the historical fact is that science was invented by religious people, most of them believing in God and Jesus, so your argument fails on that count. 2. there are devoutly religious scientists, some like Newton and Faraday some of the greatest and most productive minds containing both religion and science without any harm to their science, whatsoever – PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins couldn’t dream of producing science as significant as what they and other religious scientists have produced, so your argument fails on that count, as well. 3. There have been some religious scientists who credit their religion as a help to their scientific thinking, I had a big argument with PZ when he slammed a Yale scientist for making that statement, whose CV and publication history makes PZ look like a little fish in a smaller pond. Your argument goes down for the third and last time on that one. 4. There are religious people who are not scientists but whose religious thinking is positively influenced by their reading of science. Just to hand the anvil to your sinking straw-man.

    Science and religion are entirely compatible and, by the reports of some scientists and religious believers co-exist productively.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    If those scientists are believing in Jesus, then they are believing something obviously false, and believing it only to be following the groupthink. Of course this is easier to see now than it was in the past.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    According to the Bible, in the middle of the first century there was the Christianity of Paul about a heavenly Christ who Christians of that day were finding in the old testament, and in their visions and other theology. That Christianity was about the preaching and ideas of a man, Paul. Then in the later part of the first century, they started writing the gospel Jesus books, each one adding to the story that was told by the earlier one. In the second century, Jesus was an all powerful Man God superhero as recorded in the last gospel.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You keep telling yourself that.

    In today’s atheism there is a Darwin who had nothing to do with eugenics when before WWII everyone’s Darwin was the original inspiration of eugenics. Including the Darwin of his children and everyone else who knew the man.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I remember that kind of history as presented by Mr. Peabody during the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.

    I notice you didn’t address any of the points I made about the existence of religious scientists not only damaging but disproving your contentions about the incompatibility of science and religion. You’re doing the atheist-troll-two-step.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I don’t think any of those scientists would argue Jesus is real in the face of the evidence he is not. A few scientists might be Christian believers, but they can’t argue for it beyond the usual faith and apologetics.

  • johnhagele@yahoo.com' Diomedes says:

    Actually, they’ve dedicated their lives to beating up strawmen for $$$. Science is a convenient excuse for beefing up their superiority complexes and pseudo-intellectualism. Dawkins hasn’t published anything worth reading in his field in years, and his books on religion are laughingstocks in theology and religious studies departments across the world.

  • johnhagele@yahoo.com' Diomedes says:

    Jesus Mythicism? Please stop talking about facts or science because clearly you are incapable of understanding either.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Christianity is based on the gospel story of Jesus of Nazareth, which was written and expanded on in the last third of the first century, and backdated to the first third of that century. In the middle of the century, you have the record of the Christianity of Paul that knows nothing of the gospel stories. It is a Christianity that Paul saw in visions, and found in old testament scriptures applied to Christ. The gospel stories were not known in the time of Paul, so they were later inventions.

  • johnhagele@yahoo.com' Diomedes says:

    Nope. While the Gospels we currently have were written at a later date, textual evidence shows that Matthew, Luke, and Mark all draw on a proto-Gospel believed to be from the sayings of the historical Jesus (this hypothetical document is known as “Q” to Biblical scholars). Paul may not have had the actual Gospels that make up the modern Bible in front of him, but he didn’t need them as he was writing in a time shortly after Jesus lived and had come into contact with people who had known Jesus while he’d been alive (namely, the apostles Peter and James, whom Paul met in Jerusalem). Many of the Gospel stories (with the exception of John) were very much known during the time of Paul, we simply have no written record because they were being transmitted orally at the time (most early Christians would have been illiterate Jewish peasants with no need or ability to write down Jesus’ sayings). Once Christianity began spreading to the literate, Greek-speaking Gentile population (in large part, due to the efforts of Paul), these stories were written down into what we now know as the Gospels.

    But don’t let actual scholarship get in the way of your ideology though 😉

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The issue is in the middle of your explanation. What is now called the oral record at the time was not known to Paul. He is our source for writings about pre-gospel Christianity, and his Christianity is different. What he says about his thinking and his sermons were later turned into the sayings of Jesus. If Christianity in that day was based on Q or based on the oral traditions, Paul would have known them, and they would have been reflected in his writings. If you step back and just look at the picture it becomes clear. Christianity was evolving, and after the time of Paul they turned this Christ myth into the story of a man, and dated it back to the beginning of the century. Then each new gospel added to the story, and it finally evolved into the Christianity we see today.

  • johnhagele@yahoo.com' Diomedes says:

    Again, just no. Yes, Paul had his own distinct Christology, which differed from that of the earlier Jewish Christians (who saw Jesus merely as the Jewish Messiah). The fact that Paul’s teachings supplanted the teachings of the earlier Christians has to do with Paul’s literacy and Paul’s preaching to the Gentiles. The earliest Christians (led by Christ’s apostles) were not interested in converting the masses, they were concerned only with spreading the message of Jesus to the Jewish community; Paul believed that the message of Jesus was for the world, and so worked to convert people outside of Judea and the diaspora, with his converts eventually outnumbering the original Jewish Christians. Your theory further falls apart in the fact that Paul’s writings do tell us about earlier, non-Pauline Christianity; because he clearly states that he was actively persecuting them for the Roman authorities before his conversion experience. And once again, Paul explicitly references his meetings with other members of the early Church in Jerusalem.
    Furthermore, the idea that Paul or anyone else simply invented Jesus whole-cloth and then filled in the blanks of the past makes no sense. Whether you want to admit it or not, there was a prophet named Jesus (well, Joshua is more likely) who was stirring shit up in Roman Judea around 30 CE and got executed for it and had a following spring up around him that eventually ended up becoming Christianity. I’m sorry if you’re fragile anti-theist brain can’t handle that any religion has a historical basis, but that’s the way it is. Ask any historian or scholar of religion who studies the period and they will tell you as much. Jesus Mythicism is pseudo-intellectual trash.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    There were many preachers and prophets from that period, and many of them named Jesus or Joshua. None of the New Testament books are about them. Paul’s Christianity was about the Christ he found in old testament scriptures, and saw in a vision. His writings were about his teachings, and not some first century prophet. The gospels were written about a Jesus who walked on water, and turned water to wine, and who blocked the sun for hours across he earth when he died, and who spoke the words of Hillel and other early preachers. They were fiction, and written later and postdated to create their Jesus. So they were not about any actual man from the beginning of the first century, but about a fictional man they were inventing. Acts was a work of fiction. Revelation was written later, and is supposed to have a ghost writer. So none of the books in the Bible are about an actual early first century man.

  • driefonteinen@gmail.com' Michael Long says:

    All agnostics are also either atheists or theists.

  • colkoch@yahoo.com' colkoch says:

    I noticed that as well.

  • mark.hadden1986@gmail.com' Rudiger Hamsworth says:

    Creationists havn’t published anything worth reading ever. The entire concept is a laughing stock! If you want to play a credibility game then you sir have picked the wrong side.

  • mark.hadden1986@gmail.com' Rudiger Hamsworth says:

    I find they try their best not to be offensive but I can understand their frustration when they have devoted their life to a field of Science constantly under attack by people who cannt even define the word theory. They are much more polite than I would be.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    It may not be fair to lump all the creationists together. Those who first came up with the creation theory that was recorded in the Bible would probably be thrilled if they were given the chance to learn about evolution and genetics, and would be some of the first to reject their older theories and accept the science. They were just born too soon to have that opportunity.

  • Bryan.Safe@gmail.com' Bryan says:

    Nobody said she is representative of all religious people.

    Wait, except the religious people that hold her up as a shining example of some sort of martyr worthy of admiration. Or the numerous conservative and religious political candidates standing beside her.

    Which is what makes her such a good example. She is everything that is wrong with religion in government, conveniently packaged up for us, and yet defended by politicians.

  • Bryan.Safe@gmail.com' Bryan says:

    Thank you! Just because it doesn’t definitively *prove* not-P, doesn’t mean that not-P and P are equally likely.

  • jcf1899@gmail.com' JCF says:

    Outstanding piece. Fundies, either theist OR atheist: BLECH!!! }-0<<<

  • jcf1899@gmail.com' JCF says:

    Just what I always wanted to be: a target. >:-/ While I do try to take up my cross daily, that doesn’t mean you (anti-theists) HAVE TO provide the nails! (proverbially speaking)

  • jcf1899@gmail.com' JCF says:

    “What scientists do is science.”

    We’re not talking about what scientists DO (the “Count, Measure & Weigh” part). We’re talking about their taking raw data and jumping to WILDLY overextended conclusions about “What’s Impossible” (a transcendant salvific will, which we may call Capital “L” Love. Or by some, the “G” word).

    “SCIENCE says There’s Certainly No…!!!1!1!”: THAT is the problem.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Isn’t that the point of taking up a cross? You want people to nail you?

  • chris@east20thst.net' cmbennett01 says:

    No, the problem is making uninformed statements about what scientist say.
    Scientists say, “There is no empirical evidence to support … ” If and when that changes they say “There is some evidence to suggest… ” If the evidence is overwhelming they say “This is the best theory we have to date.” It is the province of theologians, philosophers and economists of the Austrian school to make statements about absolute truth without any empirical evidence to back it up.

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    I am agnostic about orcs. Unicorns I know to be an oppressive construct.

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    Lol, what?

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    What is it you have trouble comprehending? I thought I was quite clear here.
    Let me try it again.

    Agnostics say they can’t say whether deities exist. They don’t have all information. They give the benefit of the doubt to the idea of gods existing.
    Atheists say proof has to be given to show such entities as deities exist. One doesn’t need to know everything to do so.
    Does that help?

    What do you find humorous in it?

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Usually can check if ones comments have value as proven truth over mere opinions.

  • pyannoutsos@yahoo.co.uk' pyx says:

    In science having questions that are unanswered is a good thing. Where as religion , answers that aren’t allowed to be questioned is it’s corner stone. Which do you think is the best avenue to truth?

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    If you think you aren’t allowed to question things in religion, you know nothing about religion. Who’s going to stop you from questioning anything?

    There is no group of people who flip out faster when you question what they say than atheists. Go on some atheist dominated website, like Religion Dispatches and say what atheists hold to be unsayable, such as that Darwin was the inspiration of eugenics and watch the furor.

    Atheists have to be some of the most dishonest people when it comes to talking about religion.

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    I find it hilarious that you think to be agnostic is to “side with religionists by default,” whatever that means, and I find it especially hilarious because literally every atheist I’ve ever met has tried to convince me that “atheist” actually means “agnostic.” Whatever. Have fun not defaulting. I’m sure it’s because you’re very objective, rational, and evidence-based in all things.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Religion is about humans dealing with the baggage of human logic. You have to get beyond that.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    ” earlier Jewish Christians (who saw Jesus merely as the Jewish Messiah)”

    So in earlier Christianity there was no gospel Jesus, and nothing of any of the gospel stories. I guess that supports the idea that the gospels were a later invention, after the time of Paul.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That sounds like your certitude calling all other certitudes a boiling pot.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I think the big question for religion has to be Jesus. You have a biblical gospel record that is different from the earlier Christian record of Paul, but tries to put Jesus in an earlier time period. Shifting the order of the books creates an illusion where people see everything from a colored perspective and think it is true because it says it is true. Religion was much easier in those days.

  • judithmax@comcast.net' Judith Maxfield says:

    ????????????????????????????

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I guess the question is what do you mean by lazy thinking? Does that mean thinking other than the way you think?

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You’re going over something that was first written about centuries ago, it has not abolished the vast majority acceptance that Jesus and Paul were real people, that has been under intensive attack by atheists since at least the 18th century and by neo-pagans from before that and nothing anyone has come up with has debunked the fact that Jesus was a real person whose teachings we know from the Gospels and other sources.

    You have to rely on the ignorance of the ignorant and bigoted to peddle that line, it disappears when the evidence is looked at in the absence of ignorance and bigotry and an ideological need to deny what’s there.

  • judithmax@comcast.net' Judith Maxfield says:

    No. That is not my own certitude. It is a position until I see a better one. Its an open question of who are we anyway. Its about reactive responses with no depth: lack of cohesiveness, reflection, personal attacks rather than discussing the subject at hand, wanting to shut down or distract rather than honestly engage, i.e. sandbagging, pretending to take part, but killing the conversation through a side snipe.
    To me, lazy thinking is usually a reactive condition in place of some reflective and developed attempt to go beyond the first impulse of what one thinks they hear or see. The choice of language is also very much a part of the message, (it describes the messenger.
    This is my thinking on this subject because I am interested in language as part of how evolve a more peaceful society.
    Congress is the opposite of what I am talking about. We Americans can be fast and loud talkers so we can win and shut down the Other. I am a senior now and can see, wonder about how we’ve changed due to technology in communication. Do we always believe the first thing as true that runs through our brain?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The teachings of Jesus are from the gospels, and they were written after the fact, and borrowed from other sources like Hillel. The earlier writings were from Paul, and they talk of the teachings of Paul, not Jesus. Some of Paul may have also been borrowed to become teachings of Jesus in the gospels. It is no longer so totally accepted that Jesus was a real person. Christianity evolved from earlier Jewish concepts, and became the Christ centered religion of Paul based on pieces they found in the old testament, and ultimately was changed into the gospel story after the time of Paul. It is not about a carpenter from Nazareth who had a following, and eventually became the Christian religion. It is time for the world to grow beyond the traditions created by the Roman church.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Technically using the word as is agnostic means without knowledge. Different from what it has come to be for those who think Atheist is too “harsh” to use as a personal identifier.

    Agnostics sit on the fence. They defer not to deities because they could be out there somewhere, but to the fact of without omniscience they don’t know every little thing. And to them a god can hide in that. Atheists say prove it. That is the difference. Maybe if you stop laughing long enough you might understand.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Unicorns are created by humans going way back. Orcs are a story creature.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    People should have the freedom to believe what they want. Only as long as it isn’t used against others. Stalin & Mao already tried it with the Iron Heel too keep their own secular version of a religion going. Communism as it was practiced was the methadone of the masses in place of Christianity or Islam etc.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    What makes you think that Hillel was unknown to Jesus? What makes you think that there is anything odd that two Jews living in roughly the same place at roughly the same time would have not had similar ideas about the Jewish scriptures.

    The rest of this is, as well, atheist boilerplate none of which is a. unknown to people who have read and studied the Gospels and other books of the Second Testament, b. unusual for sources of information about people who lived in the classical period. For a Jewish peasant of no political or social status, who was executed as a criminal by the Romans who, no doubt, cared less about him than a pack animal kept by the Romans for their use, the amount of information about Jesus is pretty astonishing. You simply don’t know what you’re talking about, relying on people who have an ideological ax to grind and a career in atheist propaganda to promote who, also, don’t know what they’re talking about.

    As I’ve pointed out here, before, even the atheists’ favorite real New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, has told them, like it or not, Jesus was a real person. The ridiculous speculations of Richard Carrier and Joseph Atwill ( who even Carrier and PZ Myers deride) are no different from the absurd notions of the French atheists of the late 18th century and the entirely made up forgeries pushed by Moncure Conway – still being pushed by the atheism industry, are not going to convince anyone who isn’t willing and enthusiastic buyers of that lie which you push non-stop.

    The real reason atheists hate Jesus is because he was an economic radical whose teachings require doing to the least among us as we would do to God, to do unto others as we would have them do to us, to give aid to the least among us. That’s a campaign that began with the upper classes in Europe who hated being required to give charity, it is what atheism has in common with pseud-Christianity.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That astonishing amount of information about Jesus is astonishing in what it says, with walking on water, turning water to wine, raising Lazarus from the dead. That Lazarus example is also astonishing in that it is only in the last gospel written. Here it is the most incredible miracle Jesus performed, and the writers of the 3 earlier gospels never heard of it, and Paul never heard of it, but of course he never heard of anything from the gospels. The most likely explanation is nobody in the first century ever heard of it because it wasn’t made up until the very end, or maybe even into the second century when John was written. The astonishing amount of astonishing information isn’t quite so astonishing any more when you see it is just made up, and expanded on from decade to decade.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Do you hold that Augustus Caesar is a myth because he is supposed to have been the product of a god breeding with a human woman?

    I wouldn’t say that the resurrection of Lazarus was the most astonishing thing Jesus ever did, his teaching to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, to do to the least among us what we would do to God, to give away all of our money to those who won’t pay it back….. are all far more astonishing. His dying as a criminal and refusal to take political power here are, certainly, far more extraordinary in the contemporary Roman or Jewish conception of what such a Messiah was supposed to do.

    In every way the assertions about Jesus in the Gospels, what he is said to have taught, what he did when he wasn’t performing what are considered miracles is far more astonishing.

    Me, I’m far more astonished that Socrates seems to have never met anyone who could really present more than a token opposition to the nonsense he quite often spouted. But, then, I’ve got the credulousness of the Jesus mythicists as an example of how even modern standards of historical, textual, literary scholarship can be pushed aside to deny historical reality.

    Your denial of that reality isn’t much different from the FOX climate change deniers or the old line creationists.

    I wasn’t there, I have no idea if Lazarus rose from the dead, there is no evidence to test on that count. Neither can the Virgin Birth nor the Resurrection of Jesus be tested with science, they are held to be unique events in the history of mankind, they can’t be compared to any other birth or death scientifically. You can disbelieve them if you want to, that’s not a matter of scientific confirmation, it is your preference. To pretend those can be scientifically evaluated proves as much about an ignorance of science as anything.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Oh, and, by the way, because a book has one untrue thing in it does nothing to prove that the rest of it is not true. Any of the myriad of atheist books, some of them quite classic, that get the trial of Galileo wrong, the Scopes trial wrong, the burning of Bruno or the myriad of those which lie about the religious thinking of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln etc. would be completely debunked by your standard. Pretty much the entire Prometheus bookshelf would have to be refiled as “myth” if that were the case.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Nobody today believes Agustus Caesar is the product of a god breeding with a human woman. If everyone believed that, it might make it seem more likely that he was a myth.

    The issue is not that Lazarus was the most remarkable miracle in the gospels. The issue is nobody else knew about it until the very end of writing the gospels when it was finally made up. And that demonstrates, these things were made up. You might be impressed by the astonishing amount of facts about Jesus, but the fact is it was actually fictions about Jesus.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I’ll bet you there were people at the time who believed Augustus Ceasar was the product of a god breeding with a human woman.

    How do you know no one knew about the resurrection of Lazarus before it was recorded in the Gospel of John? All of the scholars I’m aware of believe the authors of the Gospels relied on other, no longer available material. It is not shocking that the non-synoptic Gospel of John would have material in it that the others don’t. Even the accused semi-atheist scholar John Dominic Crossan said that single attribution was no guarantee of inauthenticity.

    You mistake atheist hype with fact, that’s practically a uniform habit of atheists who can’t seem to distinguish between what they’d like to be the case and what is the case. In the case of the fact that Jesus was a real person, they have to deny what is obvious to all of the real scholars of the subject, even those who don’t believe in the miracles, like Crossan and those who don’t even believe in God like Ehrman.

    Atheists have to deny the reality of Jesus because they can’t deal with a message as powerful as his. A message which has entirely more persuasive power, as can be seen in the massive defection from atheism of children of atheists, 70% of whom abandon the atheism they were brought up in. Considering how nasty so many atheists are, it’s no wonder their children suspect there’s more to life than the emotionally stultifying and intellectually vapid dead end that materialism is.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    It seems unlikely to me that there was a man and preacher named Jesus, and oral traditions about his life were passed down through the generations, and the Christian religion developed based on these traditions, and the first written record of this religion (Paul) somehow didn’t have access to these traditions, and then later the traditions were written into a series of gospels, each one adding more to the story of the previous one, and then finally the last one was written, and it had access to the oral tradition of the most amazing miracle of all of raising Lazarus from the dead after he was rotting for 3 days, and this tradition somehow skipped over all the earlier writers of Christian traditions. I think the simpler explanation is they were making these things up, and the writer of the gospel of John wanted a more impressive Jesus, so he added more impressive pieces to his gospel.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    And, let em guess, this is entirely unrelated to your being an atheist who is hostile to Christianity and religion in general.

    The simpler explanation. You mean like the “simpler” explanation that in addition to our one universe we can know there are jillions of other universes that we don’t know, in some forms of that speculation, being created in their myriads as we act, each of the possible variations of that action being expressed in its own universe in order that the finely tuned constants of this universe not imply the reality of God the Creator When it comes to the “simpler” atheism is, very much a sometimes thing.

    The notion that the “simpler” explanation is to be favored is a rule of thumb in logical argument, it has no real virtue in history where what is “simpler” is seldom an objective determination. And you even apply that idea in a totally self-serving way. The simplest explanation of why there are four canonical Gospels and a large number of other writings dealing with the reality of Jesus is that there was a person named Jesus who those Gospels are talking about. That is especially true in that the Messiah who is described in them is nothing like the Messiah who was expected and certainly nothing like an imperial Roman would have thought up. Yet the current line of neo-atheist nonsense is that he’s the creation of the Roman establishment to control the lower classes of people, which worked so well that they tried to eradicate Christianity, off and on, for the next few centuries. Aside from the fact that the Gospel of Jesus is about as opposite to the thinking of the Imperial Roman establishment as could be imagined. If you have money give it to someone who won’t pay you back? It is harder for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle? Rich men going to hell for letting a beggar starve on their doorstep as the beggar is taken into heaven? In a society where slavery was rampant and slaves could be killed with impunity by their owners, not to mention peasants with no economic value to any Roman. Really, we’re supposed to believe the man who said those things is an invention of the Roman imperial establishment to further the goals of the empire.

    Atheists don’t believe it is a sin to tell a lie, they lie more than any other group pretending to be on the left.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The Jesus myth is still based on the fact that the gospels were written in the last third of the first century, and they backdate their Jesus to the first third of the century. In the middle of the century is the Christian writings of Paul, and he didn’t know anything of the gospel story. This means the story came from later, so it must have been all made up.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Your dating is certainly not true of all the Gospels and there are other texts that are far earlier than that. The original sources that Mark, Matthew and Luke have in common would have had to have been earlier than any of them, as well as any sources for John which are independent of those. The genuine epistles of Paul, the epistle of James are older than Mark. No credible New Testament scholar denies they are far earlier than your date for the Gospels.

    You wouldn’t believe that Jesus existed if they could produce a notarized birth certificate naming God as the father, you are a birther like the folks who are still questioning Obama’s citizenship, you don’t accept it because you don’t want it to be true, there is no more to it than that and you will believe anything that allows you to pretend your denial is fact.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The earlier works that the gospels are based on are speculation, and the problem still is Paul didn’t know any of the gospel stories when he wrote. That means the earlier sources basically didn’t exist, and the early record of Christianity is still Paul that doesn’t have any gospel info. Mark was the first gospel, and Mark was a source for Matthew and then Luke. There was obviously copying going on, plus adjustments so the story could better reflect the wishes of the writer of the day. No matter how much apologetics is used, we still have a gospel record not reflected in earlier Christianity.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Your contention that Paul didn’t know what those who knew Jesus said about him is speculation. His letters aren’t Gospels, they are pastoral letters.

    The fact that the synoptic Gospels share information is strong evidence that they shared a source which we don’t have, as of now. It is a logical conclusion not a speculation. You don’t have any idea what is or isn’t a reflection of earlier Christianity except for what is found in the epistles and Gospels and Acts, it is the primary documentary evidence and it has been studied extensively. The almost uniform conclusion of those who have studied that record, extensively, in the oldest available forms with other relevant evidence is that Jesus was a real person who lived approximately when he is supposed to have lived who was executed by the Romans on a cross and whose followers say rose from the dead. Many of the events and sayings in the Bible are also held to be authentic.

    Your ideological line is not held by legitimate scholars of the evidence, it is a clear and obvious line which is motivated by ideology, not an interest in the truth.

    Neo-atheism is pushing that line very hard, I suspect some of the junk is financed by computer jillionaire atheists who like to pretend they’ve got some kind of expertise in areas they know nothing about though they know they hate Christianity and Christians, which is what most of it boils down to.

    Christianity isn’t going away, neo-atheism is more likely to fade as the fad gives way in the face of atheist obnoxiousness.

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    Thanks, I don’t need the etymology lesson. This article is about the best attitude for a researcher. To me the evidence suggests that it isn’t the kind of tribal fundamentalism that makes sweeping nonsensical generalizations based on preferred identifiers. What on earth do you mean by “defer”? I haven’t deferred all day. But I have tried very consciously not to pretend to know things that I don’t know.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The fact that the synoptic Gospels share information is strong evidence that they shared a source which we don’t have

    It actually looks more like the later ones copied from the earlier ones.

    It is a logical conclusion not a speculation.

    It is apologetics, the art of saying what might convince the believers.

    Jesus was a real person who lived approximately when he is supposed to have lived who was executed by the Romans on a cross and whose followers say rose from the dead.

    You don’t have any idea what is or isn’t a reflection of earlier Christianity except for what is found in the epistles and Gospels and Acts

    When you think about it, none of the books of the New Testament could be about a man who lived at the beginning of the century. Paul’s books are about the spiritual Christ Jesus that he found in old testament scriptures, and saw in visions, and Paul wrote about Paul’s thoughts and deeds and preachings. The gospels were written later, and were about the magic man who was born under a miraculous star, and who worked many miracles and walked on water, and who died causing the sun to disappear from the whole world for hours, and graves to open up and saints to walk out of their graves, and who also preached sermons that sound like they were copied from other first century Jewish preachers. This is not a story that came from an actual man from Nazareth. Other new testament books were obvious fiction in the style of the day, or crazy speculations about end times. There probably was prophets from Israel named Jesus born near the beginning of the century, but no New Testament books are about any of those guys. Christianity is based on a myth.

    Many of the events and sayings in the Bible are also held to be authentic.

    Nowdays scholars can see many of the events are obviously fiction. The approach of faith is to assume anything that is not totally wrong is still truth.

    Maybe it is all fiction, but given the last couple thousand years of history it will take a while for people to accept that.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I would like to know which actual scholars of the New Testament you base your contention on in the first case.

    You either don’t know what the meaning of “apologetics” is or, more likely, anything that doesn’t conform to your nullifidian stand would be called “apologetics” by you.

    The rest of what you say is sheer garbage, I suspect based on such “scholars” as Atwill, Carrier and others who are nothing like real scholars of the topic.

    Atheists have been peddling these lies for going on four centuries and they are still lies. When the present crop of Jesus mythicists have been refuted, again, they will still be peddling the same lies because they don’t believe it is a sin to tell a lie, so they lie.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    As far as I know, scholars don’t understand the issue, or don’t care about it. This is based only on the Bible. When you read it, you can see none of the books of the Bible are talking about an actual man named Jesus who lived in Israel at the beginning of the first century. Those books are about Paul and his development of a Christianity, or about the magical man of myth. There certainly was preachers in Israel named Jesus, but none of the books of the New Testament were written about any of those men. If you want to understand Christianity, that has to be the starting point.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I think the issue is all in your atheist head. If you think there is much of any internal issue of the Gospels that has gone unnoticed by the most minute of microscopic of examinations in the past fifteen hundred years, you, literally, don’t know what you’re talking about.

    The dismissal of any scholarship by religious people is one of the more clueless aspects of bigotry of atheists. I didn’t think atheists were so frequently bigoted to that extent until I read the thinking of many, many atheists online and in the neo-atheist fad of the past decade. Reading what atheists think, in large numbers, is what turned me into an opponent of atheism and, even more so, the materialism which is the religion of most atheists.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    What do those studying Christianity for fifteen hundred years say about the account of the sun going dark over the whole world for a period of hours, and the graves of the saints opening up and the saints being seen coming back to life and walking the streets?

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You tell me. If you think that the frequently encountered hyperbole found in classical era literature is a disqualification you’re going to have to do without a lot of stuff. As for it happening, I don’t know, I wasn’t there, I don’t find it especially relevant to following the teachings of Jesus, no matter how OC atheists go over it. The fact is you don’t like Christianity because it has moral requirements to do things you don’t like, like giving money to the poor and stuff like that, that’s what’s really behind the invective spouting brand of atheism you spew.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I think it is because the New Testament is fiction. I do see some progress being made. Instead of just accepting it as God’s word, now people are more likely to say “I don’t know, I wasn’t there.”

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Same here unless I must defer to an expert.

    Have you ever actually spoken with an Agnostic? Studied their writings?
    Have any idea what differentiates an Agnostic from an Atheist?

    The best attitude for a researcher is like for a detective. Don’t hold to preconceived unproven ideas. Go where the evidence sends you. Be objective as in no emotional attachments to what you are studying.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You really are extremely ignorant of what religious people think and have thought about the scriptures, you, like all neo-atheists, insist that all religious people have always been Biblical fundamentalists when that is a fairly modern phenomenon. I was never raised to be a fundamentalist, it was never a part of the religious tradition I was raised in.

    I absolutely believe Jesus said that what you do to the least among you you do to God, to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, etc. which is what I think is important. I also believe that Jesus was more than just a prophet. What more I believe I don’t have any interest in telling you, just now.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I have lived among Christians my whole life, and I believe I do understand how they think. In America the Christian world is now (finally) splitting down the middle, and along political lines. The evangelical side basically believes everything they are told to believe by the religion. They believe in heaven and hell, and the Trinity, and the name of Jesus gets you salvation, and that means heaven or even the Rapture. They also believe in Satan the Devil, and even Republican candidates will sometimes talk about things like that.

    The progressive side of Christianity is more unsure of all of those things. Belief in the heaven and hell, and the Trinity, and any of that stuff becomes optional. They have a kind of flexibility where anything you try to bring up, they don’t necessarily believe that, or don’t think you have to believe in it. The one thing they believe is the Golden Rule, and they basically follow the path of Secular Humanism. They used to kind of support the fundamentalist evangelicals as brothers in Christ even if they were not so extreme, but those fundamentalists are now so far off the deep end that the progressive Christians are starting to see the need to somehow make a total split. I wish them luck. I think over time their optional beliefs will slowly fade away, and some day they might even come to understand the name “Christianity” itself is really just a crutch. and they no longer need it.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I’ve lived among Christians my whole life and you are so blinded by your ideological hatred of Christians that you think Christians fit into your bigoted framing of them.

    “Secular Humanism” is a religion that refuses to accept it is a religion, set up by atheists as a cover for the anti-human and incoherent materialist scientism that is what it really is. “Humanists” in large numbers have both set up humans on a pedestal as they strip them of significance, not to mention a soul, of freedom of thought and free will, and, in the hard cases, consciousness, turning human beings and all other life into material objects there for the use of the more powerful, against their own – non-existent – will. “Secular Humanism” as originally bumbled into by previous generations has become an extension of the rabid anti-Christian, anti-religious personality of Corliss Lamont and his ilk, as Lamont was probably the last Stalinist in the United States, it doesn’t surprise me that he promoted that vision of humanity with a PR cover of some mild as margarine unctuousness. It is rather got the flavor of a 1950s ad campaign to it, when you look at it honestly.

    I used to buy some of that PR and I figured the “Humanists” with the faces of John Dewey and Bertrand Russell and the such as mascots were something like humanitarians but their basic character is really hatred of most people motivated by an arrogant belief in their own superiority. And I didn’t get that by pretending to know what they were but by reading them and drawing the logical conclusions of what they claimed to believe, themselves, to their logical ends.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I was just talking about the current secular humanism here in America which seems to be a reaction to the dehumanism of Christianity.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You clearly don’t bother reading “the current secular humanism here in America” because they’re the ones who are doing exactly what I said they have done, including everything which is an inescapable conclusion if you begin with materialism, scientism and atheism.

    Christianity holds that people are beings made in the image of God who have a right to be treated equally and a moral obligation to treat all others as well as they would like to be treated. Christians have an obligation to treat the least among us, the destitute, the hated, the discriminated against, the inconveniently and expensively ill and those who are imprisoned as we would treat God. And, to top it all off, that people are immortal souls which transcend the conditions of material objects and are rightly destined for eternal happiness with God.

    “Secular Humanism” holds that people are objects who have none of those as an absolute attribute, replacing nonsense like rights as a social construct and ridiculous schemes of “mutual aid” cooked up in the wake of Darwinist assertions that the fittest should survive and the weaker ones die. None of which is, actually, science but is Malthusian economics in the guise of biology. “Humanism” is part of the radical devaluation of human beings and all other life so it can be pretended to fit into a materialist framing, it is a dishonest PR campaign to dupe the rubes into accepting atheism.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The immortal soul spending eternity with God is the bait and switch leading back to the problem of Jesus and belief in the name of Jesus gets you into heaven. Jesus can’t save anyone because he is a myth, and we see that in the New Testament. We still have the issue of the gospel story developed in the last third of the century, and it was still unknown in the middle of the century where we have a written record of Christianity from Paul. The later gospel stories were unknown, so they are fiction. They are not about a real man. With no gospel Jesus you are back to the drawing board over salvation and eternal happiness, and the world is advancing beyond the myths, so there is no way that can be reconstructed.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You can’t deal with the fact that “Secular Humanism” is the ultimate bait and switch because the “humans” that it presents is a lump of chemicals with no transcendent meaning different from any other lump of chemicals, “Humanism” is the most dehumanizing of all frauds.

    Your assertions state your opinions and atheist lore in the forms of fact when they are anything from the rankest of speculation to the baldest of lies. But, since there is no real thing as a sin in atheism, a lie is as good as the truth for atheists, especially if it will get them what they want.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    All of that might not mean anything of importance. What is important is the damage that Christianity is currently causing to us here in America, and that is why it is so important to start looking for some way to move beyond Christianity and start dealing with reality.

  • kevhurls@facebook.com' kev hurls says:

    NEWSFALSH: Scientists “should be agnostic” WHEN DOING SCIENCE. Mature, adult people command more than one psychology. Being single-minded is so…right-wingerd. (d’oh!)

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The question we are dealing with here is what does a better job of teaching us about God? Theology or science?

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    Practically everyone I know is agnostic.

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