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Old 04-06-2001, 10:07 AM   #11
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"You win the giant "missing the point" award. DennisMcD refutes the claim that the evidence for Jesus is just as good as the evidence for Caesar. Your attack on peripheral trivialities shows the weakness of your position."

Well, since my position was never that we have more evidence for Ceasar than for Jesus, then I don't see how you can classify it as weak. "Nonexistent," rather than "weak," would be a better way to describe that position as it relates to me. He as much as admitted that I have never made any such claim.

The missing the point award, therefore, goes to you and he for thinking that this point is somehow significant.

Besides, he proceeded to make various completely unsupported factual assertions and points of comparison. Your characterization of the discussion does nothing to help Dennis PROVE any of what he asserted. If you want to contribute, however, and, for example, demonstrate that there are no contradictions in the accounts of Ceasar's assasination, or deliniates the independent sources as to that assasination, please do.


[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 06, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 06, 2001).]
 
Old 04-06-2001, 10:10 AM   #12
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"This is a intellectually dishonest interpretation of DennisMcD's argument, made no less fraudulent by your attempted discalimer. He is not setting the standard higher for Jesus, Rather, DennisMcD demonstrates that the evidence for Jesus does not meet the evidentiary standard set by theists themselves (e.g. Nomad): the evidence for Caesar."

Talk about being intellectually, or just flat out, dishonest, where did Nomad say that the evidentiary standard for establishing historical events had to meet or exceed that of Ceasar? And, since he expressly included ME in his opening salvo, where did I make any such claim regarding Ceasar and establishing historical events?



[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 06, 2001).]
 
Old 04-06-2001, 10:17 AM   #13
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Look at the date of the post. AD, Anno Domine. "In the year of our Lord".

 
Old 04-06-2001, 10:21 AM   #14
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Bede: "Could you prove for us that Caesar's writings were actually by him and are not an example of pseudpigraphica? The same with Cicero."

SD: "DennisMcD cites independent attestation and corroboration through physical evidence."

Actually, I did not notice that he mentioned an independent attestation and/or corroboration through physical evidence that Ceasar wrote Gallic Wars, or anything else for that matter. Nor did he do so for Cicero.

Your statement is completely unrelated to Bede's questions.
 
Old 04-06-2001, 01:48 PM   #15
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I think now is a good time to step back and see where we are, for I agree with SingleDad that we are getting into peripheral trivialities.

First, we seem to be getting into the old radical Christian skepticism mode here. How do we know that that is Caesar's bust? You haven't provided evidence that Cicero actually wrote what you claim he wrote.

Gentlemen, that's a two-edged sword you're dealing with here. One of the impressions I got from Nomad and Layman was that they were using normal historical research methods to make their claims. Now, how historians come to the conclusions that Caesar or Cicero wrote what they did I don't know. I don't make the claim I'm a historian. Perhaps my confidence in their conclusions is incorrect. But if we can't know that Caesar or Cicero, well-known and discussed figures in their lifetimes, wrote what they did how are we supposed to evaluate the sources of an obscure Jewish religious leader whose name doesn't even appear in a single document for 20 years after his death?

If you're going to claim that the sources for historic documents is unknowable, then the notion that we can rely on the testimonies of Jesus blows up in your face. And I'm perfectly comfortable with that. I'm amazed you'd even want to make that suggestion.

Second, the purpose of this thread is to demonstrate that there are far more evidence for Caesar's life than Jesus's. The actual cause of either of their death's isn't really relevant, so there's no real point in discussing that further (though, for the record, I see no reason not to believe a man named Jesus was crucified. The rest of the story, however, is highly questionable). I haven't seen anything that has even broached the subject of this thread. To remind everyone:
  • There are far more information about Caesar than Jesus. Our information about Jesus is limited to four slim volumes and a brief, controversial passage in Josephus. On the other hand, Caesar's commentaries alone run to eleven volume if I'm not mistaken and Cicero's output, I believe, was much greater than that. And those are only two of the many I mentioned.
  • The works involving Caesar were clearly independent. Of the Christian source, only John could be argued to be independent, and even that claim is questionable.
  • The Christian gospels were clearly works of propaganda. Any bias that exists in the works about Caesar is balanced by other sources (such as Cicero) that were often in opposition.

Layman also seems worked up by my suggestion that it is inconsistent to accept fantastic tales in one ancient document but not another. His claim appears to be that if "people still believe it" the fantastic claim must be given credit.

But once again, he is being inconsistent, if not obtuse. If his standard is that we can evaluate fantastic claims based on whether they are still believed, then we must accept the claim that Mohammed received the Koran from the angel Gabriel. Or that Joseph Smith found a tablet from God called the Book of Mormon. Or any of the claims made by the Hindu religion, among others.

Which is really why I don't need to show that your approach to the Bible is uncritical, Layman. You provide that for me. No historian approaches a ancient document without a bit of a jaundiced eye. For example, Michael Grant, the historian I'm relying on in this thread, has this to say about Caesar:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Specific self-criticism, not unnaturally, fails to find a place [in Caesar's writings]. Indeed, when things went wrong, as they did at Gergovia (52), Caesar is at pains to point out that the military rebuff was caused not by any fault of his own but by the hasty, disobediant actions of junior officers...We have no means of telling whether this diagnosis of the defeat is corect. It may, instead, conceal some miscalculation on the part of Caesar himself, which he found it preferable to blame on his subordinates.
Ancient Historians, p. 189
</font>
or this about Plutarch
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Some of his biographies, however, are much more reliable than others. Independent sources have shown that the Life of Solon contains quite a lot of good material. Cimon is much better at chronology than some of the others. Nicias is basically sound, because it is founded on Thucydides. The biography of Phocion...is engrossing, but highly unreliable. Nearly all the Lives contain any number of historical mistakes.
page 326
</font>
And no one credits any fantastic event written anywhere outside of religious documents.

Your insistance that the Bible is reliable, without any discussion of where it falls short (such as Grant does above), is more than enough demonstration of your willingness to take it at face value.

If you'd like to show me wrong, simply show us where the Bible makes mistakes and where you discussed them. There sure are enough of them.



[This message has been edited by DennisMcD (edited April 06, 2001).]
 
Old 04-06-2001, 01:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Talk about being intellectually, or just flat out, dishonest, where did Nomad say that the evidentiary standard for establishing historical events had to meet or exceed that of Ceasar? And, since he expressly included ME in his opening salvo, where did I make any such claim regarding Ceasar and establishing historical events?
</font>
Layman, it is totally irrelevant whether you or Nomad made any claim at all about any historical figure (though I've provided a quote that shows Nomad had). It is my thesis in this thread that, if you compare what we know about the sources for Caesar to what we know about the sources for Jesus, the evidence for Jesus is very weak indeed. It is a thesis that has yet to be challenged. Don't you think people are noticing this? Or do you agree with me that the evidence for Jesus is weak?

BTW: I may not be able to post for a while. I will be back for responses, however.




[This message has been edited by DennisMcD (edited April 06, 2001).]
 
Old 04-06-2001, 02:22 PM   #17
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Yes, let us step back and examine where we are.

You began by arguing that Nomad and I are wrong by asserting that we have more evidence for the existence of Ceasar than we do for the existence of Jesus.

You quickly admit that I have never made such a claim and agreed with you that we have more evidence for the existence of Ceasar than we do for the existence of Jesus.

You then provide a quote from Nomad that focuses on the execution of Jesus and the assasination of Ceasar. I think he might have a point on that one, and you begin making some rather strong factual assertions and characterizations of the evidence.

Now, you say you don't want to get into that.

So, where we are is that you have used up a good deal of bandwidth in order to refute an argument that no one has made (Nomad can correct me, and defend himself, if he disagrees with me.). You have just provided the classic example of a "straw man" argument.

Moreover, you then missed Bede's use of saracasm as he asked you to prove Ceasar wrote X, or that his bust really relfected his appearance. You have admitted that you cannot answer these questoins (do you take it on faith?), but what is worse is that you actually think Bede was questioning these things. He was not. He was demonstrating how absurd many skepitic's characterizations of the evidence for Jesus is.

And you finally descend into the complete mischaracterization of what I said. I never said that something is true merely because people still believe it. You specifically asked me why I don't believe the god-claim of Ceasar, I responded by listing a few reasons. One of which is that no one worships Ceasar anymore. I think that it is most likely a necessary, but not sufficient, element of a god-claim that your revelation is enduring. So the mere fact that people still believe certain things does not render them true, but it does render false claims to Godhood and divine revelation is no one beleives those claims today.

So, you have still failed to demonstrate that my approach is to take the Bible at face value. You may suspect that is my personal motivation (untrue), but even if it was, I have never offered arguments based on that assumption. Rather, I have put forth substantial defenses of those aspects of the New Testament that I have assert are true. Rather than deal with those, you attack me for holding a position that you now seem to admit I do not hold. And you further try and pigeonhole me as not being critical enough of the Bible. However, that attack does nothing to invalidate my offers of proof, which you have declined to discuss in detail. Nor does it establish that I take the Bible at face value. And it certainly does not argue that I would ever expect anyone else to take the Bible at face value.

But, in the interests of establishing some good-faith, I will say that the most blatant problem in the New Testament is the chronologies, especially before the Passion Narrative. I will also say that I'm not who sure wrote 2 Peter or Hebrews. I admit that Matthew did not write the Gospel of Matthew. And believe that the Gospel of John may have been written by a disciple other than one of the "Twelve" who resided in Jerusalem.

 
Old 04-06-2001, 02:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by DennisMcD:
[B]
Quote:
Originally posted by Layman:
Talk about being intellectually, or just flat out, dishonest, where did Nomad say that the evidentiary standard for establishing historical events had to meet or exceed that of Ceasar? And, since he expressly included ME in his opening salvo, where did I make any such claim regarding Ceasar and establishing historical events?
</font>
Layman, it is totally irrelevant whether you or Nomad made any claim at all about any historical figure (though I've provided a quote that shows Nomad had). It is my thesis in this thread that, if you compare what we know about the sources for Caesar to what we know about the sources for Jesus, the evidence for Jesus is very weak indeed. It is a thesis that has yet to be challenged. Don't you think people are noticing this? Or do you agree with me that the evidence for Jesus is weak?

BTW: I may not be able to post for a while. I will be back for responses, however.
Actually, I believe it is highly relevent because I was rebuttin SD's mischaracterization of the theists' position. And it does relate to your point. You are arguing that because we don't have the equivalent amount and type of evidence for Jesus that we do for Ceasar, that the evidence for Jesus is "weak." This is a logical fallacy. The conclusion does not follow from the premises.

It is also a continuation of the seeming abandonment of the skeptics of actually discussing the historical evidence regarding Jesus and instead trying to make points by discussing the evidence for Ceasar (irrelevent) or the evidence from 1200 years of Chinese alchemey (even more irrelevant), and pretending that if Jesus has anything less (or, perhaps, different), it is "weak."

Amusing, but pathetic.

 
Old 04-06-2001, 04:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
...one reason I reject the god-claims of Ceasar is that he stayed dead. Are there accounts of his resurrection?</font>
Julius Caesar, Act IV, scene 3.
Brutus: "Who comes here?
I think it is the weakness of mine eyes
That shapes this monstrous apparition.
It comes upon me. Art thou any thing?
Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil,
That mak'st my blood cold and my hair to stare?
Speak to me what thou art."
Ghost of Caesar: "Thy evil spirit, Brutus."

Granted, not a contemporary to the event. (A near-contemporary, however, of the infallible AV1611 Bible!)

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Layman:
Do Romans still worship him to this day?</font>
And if they did, would that be enough for you to do so as well? If all the Romans jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?

McD, you forgot one other point of comparison:

5. Sources from before Caesar and Jesus lived.

Caesar: None that I know of.
Jesus: Like, the whole Old Testament, dude! Just like Matthew says! "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" -- just like Our Lord Immanuel, er, Jesus!
 
Old 04-06-2001, 05:01 PM   #20
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I'll Just butt on in.....

Layman: And you finally descend into the complete mischaracterization of what I said. I never said that something is true merely because people still believe it. You specifically asked me why I don't believe the god-claim of Ceasar, I responded by listing a few reasons. One of which is that no one worships Ceasar anymore.

I'm having a hard time figuring out how this works. A claim is false merely because no one believes in it anymore, but even if they do believe in it, it doesn't make it true? Hmm. The idea that truth relies on what people believe or don't believe seems quite strange.

I think that it is most likely a necessary, but not sufficient, element of a god-claim that your revelation is enduring. So the mere fact that people still believe certain things does not render them true, but it does render false claims to Godhood and divine revelation is no one beleives those claims today.

Why does it make it "most likely" to be false? Is this a known logical principle? I'm really confused about how non-belief makes things false or even more likely to be false. You'll have to explain this more clearly.

Layman: Actually, I believe it is highly relevent because I was rebuttin SD's mischaracterization of the theists' position. And it does relate to your point. You are arguing that because we don't have the equivalent amount and type of evidence for Jesus that we do for Ceasar, that the evidence for Jesus is "weak." This is a logical fallacy. The conclusion does not follow from the premises.

Actually I don't see McD has done this....

McD: Jesus's narrative, which unlike Caesar's was written as propaganda, contains numerous contradictions (what Jesus said on the cross, who was there, who came to his tomb, who was there in his tomb) and fantastic events (earthquakes, darkness, angels, resurrections) that are lacking in Caesar's. Moreover, the sources for Jesus's execution were clearly not independent, while the sources for Caesar's are. Finally, the sources for Caesar's execution are well-known historical figures; we can only guess who the gospel writers were.

Ceasar may be in here, but the propaganda, contradictions, fantastics events (unsupported), lack of independence, and anonymity of the writers seem to serve as McD's argument that the evidence is "weak". Its not just a comparison to Ceasar.

McD: Our information about Jesus is limited to four slim volumes and a brief, controversial passage in Josephus.

This would seem to be another argument for "weakness" concerning Jesus, again, independent of anything to do with Ceasar. Whether McD's arguments are true is another matter, but it seems clear he did not commit the logical fallacy you accuse him of.

 
 

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