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Old 05-01-2001, 12:58 PM   #11
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The dearth of substantive presentation no doubt accounts for the lack of substantive responses.

Michael
 
Old 05-01-2001, 01:01 PM   #12
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
The dearth of substantive presentation no doubt accounts for the lack of substantive responses.

Michael
</font>
Easily said.
 
Old 05-01-2001, 01:17 PM   #13
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Easily said. </font>
and hard to refute.

It's not clear why you think anyone "believes" anything about history. There's lots of historical revisionism going on, and when new evidence or arguments show up, historians evaluate them, and change their opinions if called for. If someone came up with new evidence or a new interpretation showing that Julius Caesar was not assassinated, and the evidence was convincing, historians would eventually accept that.

Is there any piece of evidence or argument that would make you change your beliefs? Perhaps an early copy of Mark with a preface: "This is my treatment for the new play I want to stage. I took a little bit of Homer, some stuff from the Jewish scriptures, and I added some good scenes, so Jesus is a real man instead of the spirit that those Christians worship. It should be a big hit."
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Old 05-01-2001, 01:18 PM   #14
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Layman, I hope you'll come back the thread on what facts about Jesus life are well supported historically.

In it, we have been discussing a short list of things that we collectively consider historically probable. A couple of posts ago in this thread, you said:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Many skeptics have said that the events of Jesus's life (if he even existed at all) are poorly supported by historical evidence. But when you show them that his life is as, if not more, supported than that of most other commonly accepted historical events, they readily and quickly admit that they are willing to doubt even the most widely accepted of historical accounts. </font>
That he existed at all is a claim that it seems to me most people would grant as historically probable, the Mythers notwithstanding. However, when you say that the events of his life are as well supported historically as many other accepted facts, I'm left rather uncertain which specific events you are referring to.

There are many historical figures that I accept while at the same time understanding that much of what is said about them is myth. I think that it is well established that Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, and George Washington existed, but it is a valuable exercise to ask ourselves what we truly know about each of them. Without a doubt, for each of those figures there are "facts" commonly held to be true that have been romanticized into myth.

You have at no point suggested that all or even most nontheists feel this way, and I congratulate you on that. Your tone makes me wonder if that's what you wish to imply, but it is very hard to read intent on these boards so I'll not jump to that conclusion.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Many skeptics are willing to flush down the toilet the study of history so long as it damages religion.</font>
I can accept that this is true. The opposite:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Many Christians are willing to flush down the toilet the study of history so long as it advances Christianity.</font>
is probably true too.

"Many people" will abuse scholarship in self-serving ways. So what? I hope you'll return to the other thread and share your thoughts about what we do have a historical basis for believing.

Bookman
 
Old 05-01-2001, 01:25 PM   #15
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:
[B] and hard to refute.

It's not clear why you think anyone "believes" anything about history. There's lots of historical revisionism going on, and when new evidence or arguments show up, historians evaluate them, and change their opinions if called for. If someone came up with new evidence or a new interpretation showing that Julius Caesar was not assassinated, and the evidence was convincing, historians would eventually accept that. </font>
Are you saying that no one, in fact, does believe anything about history? If so you are flat wrong, and simply further demonstrating my point. Should I produce a hundred quotes from historians asserting that they beleive various historical events occurred to show how silly your statement is?

But should I take your statement to mean that you don't believe anything about history? This is an entirely different premise than doubting that "anyone" believes anything.

So did you believe that Lucy was one of our ancestors? Was that belief unreasonable or justified? Even though its now subject to revision in light of new discoveries.

As the above questions demonstrate, your manner of justifying "belief" goes too far. Even science is subject to changes, new theories, and revisionism. Claiming that there may be some future discovery that will disprove the current consensus is hardly a powerful argument. Are you going to suspend your belief in gravity because some theory may come along later to disprove it?

 
Old 05-01-2001, 01:30 PM   #16
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
The dearth of substantive presentation no doubt accounts for the lack of substantive responses.

Michael
</font>
LOL!!!

Since it's never stopped you before, give it your best shot Michael. I have offered sources. There are lots more out there. Dig around a little, or just accept that we don't really know how Julius died. That would be consistent of you at least (if not also totally daft, but what the hey right?).

Thanks Michael, your post here (and point, whatever it might have been) was very amusing.

Nomad
 
Old 05-01-2001, 01:37 PM   #17
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> There are many historical figures that I accept while at the same time understanding that much of what is said about them is myth. I think that it is well established that Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, and George Washington existed, but it is a valuable exercise to ask ourselves what we truly know about each of them. Without a doubt, for each of those figures there are
"facts" commonly held to be true that have been romanticized into myth.

You have at no point suggested that all or even most nontheists feel this way, and I congratulate you on that. Your tone makes me wonder if that's what you wish to imply, but it is very hard to read intent on these boards so I'll not jump to that conclusion. </font>
Not jumping to that conclusion would be very wise. There remains an ongoing debate between Doherty and his admirers and the theists. They do indeed assert, beyond all scholastic consensus, that Jesus did not exist.

I have never, and would never, assert that all nontheists reject the existence of Jesus. Quite the contrary, in fact. But it remains that a disporportionate number of skeptics on this board do seem to take the idea seriously.
 
Old 05-01-2001, 02:15 PM   #18
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Are you saying that no one, in fact, does believe anything about history? If so you are flat wrong, and simply further demonstrating my point. Should I produce a hundred quotes from historians asserting that they beleive various historical events occurred to show how silly your statement is?

But should I take your statement to mean that you don't believe anything about history? This is an entirely different premise than doubting that "anyone" believes anything.

So did you believe that Lucy was one of our ancestors? Was that belief unreasonable or justified? Even though its now subject to revision in light of new discoveries.

As the above questions demonstrate, your manner of justifying "belief" goes too far. Even science is subject to changes, new theories, and revisionism. Claiming that there may be some future discovery that will disprove the current consensus is hardly a powerful argument. Are you going to suspend your belief in gravity because some theory may come along later to disprove it?

</font>
Layman - it appears you do not appreciate the scientific method. What you are describing is in fact how scientists operate - every belief is tentative, always subject to further revision in the light of more evidence. This is part of the reason why scientists are not very good at arguing for themselves.

Of course, after a while evidence may become overwhelming, as it is for gravity, or evolution. Or events may force scientists to take action on theories that seem to work, such as global warming. But even there, there is room for revising details.

Scientists or historians may "believe " something happened, meaning that they think the evidence points that way, and it's a reasonable hypothesis, and the best explanation.

But find me some historians who "believe" that some remote historical event happened the same way a Christian believes in Christ.
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Old 05-01-2001, 02:27 PM   #19
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:
But find me some historians who "believe" that some remote historical event happened the same way a Christian believes in Christ.</font>
How about you start finding me some historians who agree with Doherty?

It is humorous that you, a fan of Doherty, accuse me of not appreciating the scientific method. The whole point of this thread has been that skeptics do not appreciate the study of history. And every skeptic response just confirms that point.

In what way did I demonstrate my lack of appreciation for the scientific method? I believe I was quite clear that there is always a strand of uncertainty, but I maintained that such strands do not preclude justified belief.

You will have to explain this last statement to me. Are you saying that I can not find a historian who believes in Christ as a Christian? I can find many. Are you saying that I cannot find historians who believe in historical other historical events the same way I, as a Christian, believe in Christ? No, and I would not expect to. My faith in Christ is not just a product of my study of history. It is a present reality.

But that is not what Nomad was arguing for, nor was it the source of my frustration. We were specifically discussing the nonextraordinary claims bout Jesus' life, which so many skeptics claim are unsupported.
So I don't know why you even bring up this last statement, expect it seems to be the pattern of many skeptics to retreat to that mantra anytime they start losing a debate about history.




 
Old 05-01-2001, 02:36 PM   #20
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
How about you start finding me some historians who agree with Doherty?

It is humorous that you, a fan of Doherty, accuse me of not appreciating the scientific method. The whole point of this thread has been that skeptics do not appreciate the study of history. And every skeptic response just confirms that point.
</font>
(emphasis mine)

If you could, please be more judicious with your application of that particular broad brush. I consider myself a skeptic, and I don't think that that sweeping generalization applies to me.
Thanks!
Bookman

P.S. This request is personal, and has nothing to do with my status as a moderator.

[This message has been edited by Bookman (edited May 01, 2001).]
 
 

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