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Old 03-11-2001, 08:47 PM   #21
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Same question I gave to rodahi. What evidence do you have for Secret Mark?
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Irrelevant. The question on the table is not whether I, sentinel00, or anyone else has evidence for Secret Mark.

The question is why you felt justified in poisoning the well and declaring Mr. Smith to be deceitful, without sufficient corroborating evidence.


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I accused Smith of spreading bullshit.
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No, you did not. You accused them of bullshitting someone. When someone "bullshits" someone, they are deliberately spreading bogus or trumped-up claims, and they are hoping to get away with their deceit and not get caught.

So I ask you again: why do you feel secure in accusing Smith of doing this?

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For that matter, so are Crossan and Koester for giving this bit of work any credence.
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Compounding your original mistake by maligning more individuals does not justify the original act, Nomad.

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I am asking for evidence, not conjecture, especially when the motives of those involved is so blatant.
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Again you claim that the motives are blatant, yet provide no proof of what those motives are. Why is that?


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Show us what you've got, then we can have something to talk about.
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Uh, clue phone, Nomad. You're the one who claimed that Morris was bullshitting people, and that he had blatant, agenda-building motives. You claimed first here. He who asserts first, proves first.
 
Old 03-11-2001, 08:56 PM   #22
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Interestingly I am asking for the same thing here. I am not interested in what Morton Smith or anyone else thought.
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Oh, please. They are not the same at all.

In the Newman thread you chastise skeptics for (allegedly) taking the 2nd-hand Newman quote at face value, without looking at the original.

In the Smith case, there is another 2nd-hand quotation. And you freely admit that there is no original material to go on. But instead of withholding final opinion until you do obtain such original material from Smith, what do you do? You jump right to the "summary judgement" part of the "trial". You feel perfectly free to shoot from the hip and accuse Smith of bullshitting peopleand agenda-building scholarship.

It's only your own momentous ego that prevents you from admitting the obvious partisanship here.

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Since there is no original material to go on, and I am the sceptic here, I am waiting for someone to produce something to look at. The request is the same on both threads.
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The request may be the same, but your reaction and activity is not the same at all.

It's called hypocrisy, Nomad.
 
Old 03-11-2001, 09:15 PM   #23
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Actually, since sentinel offered the quote without criticism, as had Sagan, the issue was central.
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Patently untrue.

1. The Sagan/Newman quote was only one part of a large quote from Sagan, and its use was tangential to the thrust of the entire thread. A review of the thread topic shows that the main theme of the Sagan quote was the lack of a place (or need) for faith in science. That point did not depend upon the Newman quote, and Sagan could have made his point without even using the Cohen/Newman quotation. Because of that fact, it is clear that the Newman quote was not (as you falsely claim) central to the argument.

2. Sentinel00, anonymite, Single Dad(as well as several others) freely admitted that no one (specifically including Newman) should be quoted out of context. This, regardless of which side of the skeptic/theist debate they are on. I'll borrow from Jesse's post here:

"One of their own?" Why should it matter to me whether Sagan misrepresented Cardinal Newman or not? Sagan said a lot of silly things. But there's no "double standard" here, we're not all members of a secret skeptic's club or something--why do you expect people to leap into a debate that they know nothing about? If pressed I'm sure everyone here would be happy to acknowledge that Sagan may have been wrong.

That admission, of course, removed your last excuse for not addressing the real points of that thread. Yet in spite of that, you continued to ride your hobbyhorse.

Here; let me help you again with the appropriate terminology:

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quib∑ble
quib∑ble (kwÓbĻel) verb, intransitive
quib∑bled, quib∑bling, quib∑bles
1. To evade the truth or importance of an issue by raising trivial distinctions and objections.
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One final note: why is it you have never retracted your errors about the Chinese bird/dinosaur (Archaeoraptor liaoningensis)?

 
Old 03-11-2001, 09:59 PM   #24
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:

Nomad: Same question I gave to rodahi. What evidence do you have for Secret Mark?

Omnedon1: Irrelevant. The question on the table is not whether I, sentinel00, or anyone else has evidence for Secret Mark.</font>
Translation: You don't have anything to support any of Smith's claims. Thank you. I knew you didn't, but I was unsure if you would admit it.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The question is why you felt justified in poisoning the well and declaring Mr. Smith to be deceitful, without sufficient corroborating evidence.</font>
Because neither Smith, nor anyone else alive has any supporting evidence for this document. In the absense of such evidence, well, it smells real bad. Perhaps bullshit was a strong choice of words. What would you call it?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Uh, clue phone, Nomad. You're the one who claimed that Morris was bullshitting people, and that he had blatant, agenda-building motives. You claimed first here. He who asserts first, proves first.</font>
You mean prove that a man offered a scholarly paper on a document for which neither he nor anyone else has ever produced any co-oberating evidence? And did this help to get his career started and to blossom? Yep. So it looks like his desire (dare I say agenda?) to get recognition worked. Too bad he never could offer concrete textual proofs of his claims though, or maybe more scholars would have taken them seriously.

Now, what do you have?

Nomad

P.S. Do you still have faith in Sagan's ability to talk about what Christians like Newman believe? Your answer could go a very long ways towards helping me know if you can be convinced of anything on this question, or regarding Smith's findings.
 
Old 03-11-2001, 10:11 PM   #25
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Cool

I see you are still having problems following this discussion Omnedon. So I will continue to try and help you.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:

Nomad: Interestingly I am asking for the same thing here. I am not interested in what Morton Smith or anyone else thought.

Omnedon1: They are not the same at all.</font>
We are going to follow your "logic" closely here, then see where you fell down.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">In the Newman thread you chastise skeptics for (allegedly) taking the 2nd-hand Newman quote at face value, without looking at the original.</font>
Check.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">In the Smith case, there is another 2nd-hand quotation. And you freely admit that there is no original material to go on. But instead of withholding final opinion until you do obtain such original material from Smith, what do you do?</font>
First, Smith is dead. Second, he and his supporters have built this house of cards, and no, there is no evidence, so yes, we are talking about a 2nd hand report or quotation. Since the quotation is from Smith (and now from any future investigator), we are left with NOTHING TO LOOK AT.

I hope that is clear now.

So, if and when something emerges that people can actually examine, the best we can say is that we have no evidence for Secret Mark. The worst we can say is that it was forged. Akenson says it is forged, others (like Raymond Brown) have been more charitable, but do not think it is a part of Mark.

Given the fame and fortune it brought to Smith, perhaps we should call it dumb luck that he stumbled upon this find.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> You jump right to the "summary judgement" part of the "trial". You feel perfectly free to shoot from the hip and accuse Smith of bullshitting peopleand agenda-building scholarship.</font>
Perhaps if anyone ever got to see any actual evidence for Secret Mark, then I would be more charitable. But up to this point, I have had no patience with this nonsense, and just as I am sick of seeing atheists blithly slander Christians (as Morris did with Newman), I am tired of listening to others talk about this great "discovery" as if it had any merit.

As I asked in my original post, if a conservative or orthodox Christian scholar had made a similar discovery based on an equal amount of absent evidence, what would the sceptics be saying?

I guess if I saw some consistency and less hypocracy from the sceptic camp, I would be more forgiving here.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">It's only your own momentous ego that prevents you from admitting the obvious partisanship here.</font>
Yes, well, I never claimed to be short changed in the ego department... but momentous? You flatter me.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: Since there is no original material to go on, and I am the sceptic here, I am waiting for someone to produce something to look at. The request is the same on both threads.

Omnedon1: The request may be the same, but your reaction and activity is not the same at all.</font>
Whatever. Give me some evidence (on either thread about either subject), and then I can look at it. So far we have Sagan looking naive, and Smith perpetuating a hoax. And in the case of true scholarship, neither action is viewed kindly (even if the defence is ignorance). After all, if a scholar wants to attach his name to something, he should be checking his facts first, especially before going to publication.

Nomad


[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited March 11, 2001).]
 
Old 03-12-2001, 12:04 AM   #26
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Translation: You don't have anything to support any of Smith's claims. Thank you. I knew you didn't, but I was unsure if you would admit it.
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If that is an example of your "translation" skills, it is no wonder you are such a bad apologist.

Let me state this clearly: I don't need any evidence. Zero. Zip. Nada. Why? Because I made no claims. The only person who needs evidence is the person making a claim.

All I have done is to simply challenge your assertions about Smith's behavior and character, because the evidence you have shown is far out of proportion to the crime of which you are charging him.

So let's see your evidence for bullshitting (deceit), and agenda-building. Let's see some incriminating text from a personal letter, a memoir, a research note, or something from Smith that indicates he was engaged in driving agendas and would stoop to doing what you have accused him of.

Again: The only person who needs evidence is the person making a claim - in this case, you.

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Because neither Smith, nor anyone else alive has any supporting evidence for this document.
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Really? And you know this how, exactly?
Merely because YOU could not find any evidence for it?

The fact remains that in all other respects, Smith enjoys integrity of character and a very good reputation as a careful scholar. In other words, Smith enjoys the "benefit of the doubt" until such time as you present conclusive evidence otherwise.


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In the absense of such evidence, well, it smells real bad.
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Correction: in the absence of your personal ability to find evidence, and since you've decided not to research it directly with Smith's work, you think it smells bad.

Do you have any evidence, even from a different subject matter, that suggests Smith would be capable of the kind of intellectual or scholarly dishonesty that you have accused him of here?

Tell you what; forget dishonesty or agenda-building for a moment. Do you have any evidence that suggests that Smith was even sloppy, or careless, in his work?

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Perhaps bullshit was a strong choice of words. What would you call it?
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I would have merely noted it as very strange, and let it go at that. You were, after all, dealing with a 2nd-hand quotation, and not primary text.

How about saying something like, "it just looks funny, and we don't know what happened here" as a way to summarize it? Such a statement encapsulates all your misgivings about the authenticity of Secret Mark, without the rush to summary judgment.
 
Old 03-12-2001, 12:08 AM   #27
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I see you are still having problems following this discussion Omnedon. So I will continue to try and help you.
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Ah, the ad hominems. I wondered how long before you would start.

In any event, if I ever were having problems, it is highly unlikely you would be able to detect it, nor are you of sufficient skill to correct me.


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In the Smith case, there is another 2nd-hand quotation. And you freely admit that there is no original material to go on. But instead of withholding final opinion until you do obtain such original material from Smith, what do you do?
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First, Smith is dead.
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Irrelevant. So is Sagan. That does not prevent us from peering into the man's thinking, even after he has passed away.

I am not talking about directly talking with a dead man, Nomad. Get real.

Just as we look into what the Founding Fathers were thinking by consulting their memoirs and the Federalist Papers, we can likewise find out what someone's opinions were, by consulting other things they may have written.


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Second, he and his supporters have built this house of cards, and no, there is no evidence, so yes, we are talking about a 2nd hand report or quotation. Since the quotation is from Smith (and now from any future investigator), we are left with NOTHING TO LOOK AT.

I hope that is clear now.
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Oh, yes. Here's what is clear to me:
[list=1][*] Smith is, by all accounts, an honest scholar and a straightforward individual.[*] Another person (claiming to be quoting him) indicates that Smith is taking a rather controversial position, one that would be out of character for Smith, in any other context. ATTN NOMAD: That is the first yellow flag.[*] If Smith did take such a position, then there may very well be some fact out there, some unknown item, that swayed Smith. The evidence, as you have said, is incomplete. The character of the man in question suggests that he is not known to take flights of unwarranted fancy. ATTN NOMAD: That is the second yellow flag.[/list=a]

TO SUMMARIZE
The question has NEVER been "is there proof for Secret Mark"; that is how your logic fell down, Nomad.

The question is whether or not Smith actually took this position without cause, and (given the paucity of evidence) were you justified in how you characterized him.

Based upon (1) and (2) above, the honest scholar would be unwilling to conclude that Smith did so. And because of (3), the honest scholar would suspend judgment and file the incident away in the "interesting, but weird" category without engaging in character assassination.


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I guess if I saw some consistency and less hypocracy from the sceptic camp, I would be more forgiving here.
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You complain about the (alleged) behavior of skeptics.

But then you engage in the same behavior.

Smooth move, Einstein.


 
Old 03-12-2001, 06:34 AM   #28
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Originally posted by rodahi:
Nomad: Bottom line, we have no original, what we do have are photos of an 18th Century document with no external support from earlier MSS or quotations from the early Fathers, including Clement of Alexandria. If Smith did not create this particular document, then he certainly used it to full advantage, but not by employing actual textual criticism as much as agenda building.

rodahi: I am not sure what you mean by "agenda building." Would you mind explaining?


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Yes. Morton Smith is the only person to have ever seen this particular document in its original form. The need to discover something new and unique is well known in NT scholarship, and Smith's "discovery" of this particular document ensured his fame and guaranteed that he would be noticed. Thus, even before he had received his doctoral thesis, he had the perfect vehicle for scholastic stardom.

1. Your initial statement is incorrect. Others have seen the original document. The problem is it has been misplaced. By the way, what is wrong with using color photographs of the letter?
2. If you really believe Morton Smith had an "agenda," why do you think he waited almost fifteen years before publishing his "discovery?" Couldn't he have secured "fame" much sooner, if that had been his true objective?
3. You seem to have ruled out the possibility that he actually did what he said he did and found what he said he found. Where is your evidence to the contrary?

Now, rather than telling us about just how honest Smith was, perhaps you could offer exactly how much evidence he and his supporters have to promote Secret Mark. It certainly looks like a lot less than we would have from the original authors from the actual Canonicals (actually it looks a lot closer to zero evidence, but I am feeling charitable). So let's see what you've got.

1. Morton Smith had the reputation as an honest, competent scholar. This is a well-known fact. I provided evidence of this with the Jacob Neusner quote in my previous posting. If you have evidence to the contrary, present it.
2. Your analogy is a false one. No one knows who wrote much of the New Testament. We know perfectly well who Morton Smith was.


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Nomad: Given Smith's motives, and the paucity of supporting evidence for his arguments, I think Secret Mark belongs in the world of legends (perhaps alongside the Gospel of Peter, but at least there we have more to look at), and I am especially grateful that it was a non-Christian scholar that called Smith and his supporters on this "document" and its worth.
rodahi: What do you believe were Smith's "motives?"


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I believe Smith was motivated by the desire to be the first to discover something truly new about the Gospels, and in particular about the historical Jesus.

Please present evidence to support your belief.


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Nomad: If, on the other hand, you think that there is good evidence to refute Akenson and other sceptics about Secret Mark, then I would be interested in seeing it.
rodahi: I am not really sure what to make of "Secret Mark" itself, but I see no good reason to question the integrity of Morton Smith. No one to my knowledge has presented evidence demonstrating that Smith has ever been dishonest in any of his scholarly endeavors or that he has been anything less than meticulous in his documentation.


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You did not answer my question. How about we concede his good character for the moment, and just look at the evidence. We can then decide just how good that evidence is, and base our belief accordingly.

I see no good reason NOT to concede Morton Smith's "good character." See how many people you can find that say he was anything but honest.

That is how it's done in these sceptical parts right?

That is how it should be done everywhere.

You also said:
(actually it looks a lot closer to zero evidence, but I am feeling charitable)

Be advised that this is the type of remark that is considered condescending and amateurish. It adds nothing to the discussion.

rodahi





[This message has been edited by rodahi (edited March 12, 2001).]
 
Old 03-12-2001, 08:18 AM   #29
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Akido7, we had an exhange earlier in this thread about the "rediscovery" of Secret Mark. After contacting Wieland Willker, I found out that this is not the case.

According to Willker, the Secret Mark MS is still missing. The "new" photographs mentioned by the article in "The fourth R" means "never seen before". Apparently, the article mentions that these color pictures were taken around 1977!

So much for a "rediscovery"...

Nomad and the others seem to already know this fact.

I have to agree with Nomad and say that I've read several scholars that presented Smith's work in a questionable light. Unfortunately, I can't remember what authors, but I assure you they are reputable.

It seems to me the ones that take Secret Mark the most serious are Crossan, Koester, and some of the Jesus Seminar. Does anyone know about how closely they worked with Smith while he was alive? I'm sure they would promote the view that he was a respectable scholar because they use his work.

I also agree with Nomad that there is quite enough motive. Combine that with all the strangeness surrounding Secret Mark and one has to at least question Smith's integrity.

Someone wondered why Smith would have taken 15 years to "publish the discovery"...

Actually, I wonder that myself. Could it be that he was writing his book in a secretive and exclusive fashion? Why did he take so long?

Something's fishy with the whole thing!

Ish

[This message has been edited by Ish (edited March 12, 2001).]
 
Old 03-12-2001, 08:47 AM   #30
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:
Akido7, we had an exhange earlier in this thread about the "rediscovery" of Secret Mark. After contacting Wieland Willker, I found out that this is not the case.

According to Willker, the Secret Mark MS is still missing. The "new" photographs mentioned by the article in "The fourth R" means "never seen before". Apparently, the article mentions that these color pictures were taken around 1977!

So much for a "rediscovery"...

Nomad and the others seem to already know this fact.

I have to agree with Nomad and say that I've read several scholars that presented Smith's work in a questionable light. Unfortunately, I can't remember what authors, but I assure you they are reputable.

It seems to me the ones that take Secret Mark the most serious are Crossan, Koester, and some of the Jesus Seminar. Does anyone know about how closely they worked with Smith while he was alive? I'm sure they would promote the view that he was a respectable scholar because they use his work.

I also agree with Nomad that there is quite enough motive. Combine that with all the strangeness surrounding Secret Mark and one has to at least question Smith's integrity.

Someone wondered why Smith would have taken 15 years to "publish the discovery"...

Actually, I wonder that myself. Could it be that he was writing his book in a secretive and exclusive fashion? Why did he take so long?

Something's fishy with the whole thing!

Ish

[This message has been edited by Ish (edited March 12, 2001).]
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If you have evidence demonstrating that Morton Smith has done ANYTHING dishonest, then present it. Otherwise, you have no grounds for questioning Smith's integrity or motivation.

rodahi
 
 

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