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Old 04-06-2001, 05:21 PM   #21
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"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."

You have never heard of a necessary, but not sufficient, element?

I was speaking of claims of divine revelation. If someone claims to be God, then, if their claim is true, I would expect it to be enduring. Thus, on the other hand, if their claim is not enduring, then I am dismissive of it.

I never said that a claim is true simply because it is enduring. I explictly stated that such a fact would be be insufficient to establish the truth of the enduring belief.

And your attempt to salvage Dennis' thesis is admirable for its loyalty, but belied by his own claim. The central thrust of his thesis is a comparison of the evidence for Jesus to the evidence for Ceasar. Indeed, SingleDad jumped in to say that Dennis was responding to theists' claims Ceasar WAS the standard of proof, and BY that standard had proven us wrong:

SingleDad: "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."

SingleDad completely mischaracterized Nomad's position, but at least he recognized what Dennis' argument actually way.

Indeed, Dennis actually backed off of his attempt to delve into a real discussion of alleged contradictions and source material, and reiterated his focus:

Dennis: "[T]the purpose of this thread is to demonstrate that there are far more evidence for Caesar's life than Jesus's."

You may think there are better arguments to be made against Christianity, and I would agree with you completely, but it is obvious that this one has failed in its underlying premise: that failure to have as much evidence as Ceasar for the existence of Jesus renders the evidence for Jesus "weak."
 
Old 04-06-2001, 05:42 PM   #22
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:

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.
</font>
Stop right there - the post from Nomad claiming that we have more evidence for Jesus than other ancient personages was copied into this thread. This is not a straw man - it is a claim that Nomad and other apologists make all the time.
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
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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.
...
</font>
You have the habit of referring to your proofs in other threads. Could you point me to your "substantial defense"? You claim that you do not take the Bible at face value, but you certainly give it a high presumption of accuracy. I think this is the crux of the disagreement between apologists and the rest of us, and I have never seen any convincing justification for this.
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Old 04-06-2001, 05:59 PM   #23
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"Stop right there - the post from Nomad claiming that we have more evidence for Jesus than other ancient personages was copied into
this thread. This is not a straw man - it is a claim that Nomad and other apologists make all the time."

I believe a fair reading of the Nomad quote has to do with the assasination of Ceasar, not just the existence of Ceasar. I attempted to engage Dennis on this and he refused, retreating back to the existence arguments.

"You have the habit of referring to your proofs in other threads. Could you point me to your "substantial defense"? You claim that you do not take the Bible at face value, but you certainly give it a high presumption of accuracy. I think this is the crux of the disagreement between apologists and the rest of us, and I have never seen any convincing justification for this."

This will be my 429th post. And now you and Dennis come along and say that all I have done is presume the Bible is correct. You don't make this allegation in any of the threads I have started (about Jesus the miracle worker, the Gospel of John, Pau's references to Jesus, the Roman Church, the "other" Jewish miracle workers, my response to Michael's alchemy article, the Epistle of the Hebrews, Paul's belief in the Bodily Resurrection of Christ, the Roman Church). Instead, someone starts a brand new thread, makes the accusation, and I'm supposed to prove I haven't done this? And when I ask him, or anyone, to back up that statement, no one does.

So, why not start by showing where I have asked anyone on this board to take something as true in the Bible based on my alleged presumption? That was the charge that was leveled at me, and Dennis has refused to back it up by offering examples.
 
Old 04-06-2001, 08:51 PM   #24
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Layman: Would you like a little cheese with your whine?
 
Old 04-06-2001, 10:30 PM   #25
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You have never heard of a necessary, but not sufficient, element?

I was speaking of claims of divine revelation. If someone claims to be God, then, if their claim is true, I would expect it to be enduring. Thus, on the other hand, if their claim is not enduring, then I am dismissive of it.


But you were not discussing whether someone's claim is enduring. You spoke of peoples (your) belief in a particular claim. Claims, as long as they are recorded and preserved, "endure" from the moment they are made. There are many claims of different Gods and faiths older (more enduring) than Christian God claims.

If the endurance of people's belief in a claim means something, then Hindu beliefs or Zorastrian beliefs (there a still a few around) hold superior ground to any Christian beliefs. If this is your argument, I am still at a loss to understand why mere belief has any impact on what is true.

I never said that a claim is true simply because it is enduring. I explictly stated that such a fact would be be insufficient to establish the truth of the enduring belief.

Yes I know. Thats why I asked the question: "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?" I am more concerned with your argument that lack of belief can make a claim false, more likely to be false, or belief can make a claim more likely to be true.

According to the latest figures that I am familiar with, there are about 2 billion Christians in the world. The means there are 4 billion people with which Christian claims have [i]not[/i} endured. Perhaps this would provide evidence that Christian claims are less likely to be true.

And your attempt to salvage Dennis' thesis is admirable for its loyalty, but belied by his own claim. The central thrust of his thesis is a comparison of the evidence for Jesus to the evidence for Ceasar. Indeed, SingleDad jumped in to say that Dennis was responding to theists' claims Ceasar WAS the standard of proof, and BY that standard had proven us wrong:

Well I don't really know who Dennis is, so it'd be hard for me to have "loyalty" towards him. In any case my point that refutes your argument that McD fell into a logical fallacy still stands. He has at least given argument, independent of Ceasar, that attempts to argue for "weakness" concerning claims for Jesus. The merit of those arguments is another debate.

As for his orginal accusation, you could be right there. I haven't taken the time to comb through your posts to see if he could have reasonably reached the specific conclusion that he did. I will say that there is a typical mantra that is repeated by many apologists that boasts of the socalled evidence concerning Jesus and the claims made about him.

You may think there are better arguments to be made against Christianity, and I would agree with you completely, but it is obvious that this one has failed in its underlying premise: that failure to have as much evidence as Ceasar for the existence of Jesus renders the evidence for Jesus "weak."

Sorry, but as I pointed out, he does make some arguments that have nothing to do with a comparison to Ceasar.
 
Old 04-07-2001, 01:32 PM   #26
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SingleDad:
Layman: Would you like a little cheese with your whine?</font>
How about a little honesty from the moderator?
 
Old 04-07-2001, 02:30 PM   #27
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Grumpy: 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!


The Tanakh DOES NOT mention Jesus anywhere, Dude! How much of it have you read? Have you fallen for Christian propaganda?

rodahi

[This message has been edited by rodahi (edited April 07, 2001).]
 
Old 04-07-2001, 02:34 PM   #28
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quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by SingleDad:
Layman: Would you like a little cheese with your whine?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Layman: How about a little honesty from the moderator?

I am the active moderator of this board. If you have evidence that I have been dishonest, then present it. You not only whine, but you make false accusations.

rodahi




[This message has been edited by rodahi (edited April 07, 2001).]
 
Old 04-07-2001, 02:46 PM   #29
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by DennisMcD:
[B]Over in other threads, theists like Nomad and Layman are disingenously dispensing the notion that the life of Jesus is one of the best attested in all of history, as compared to other figures of the ancient world. I won't claim to be a historian, but as a history buff this is clearly errant nonsense. To illustrate, let's compare the sources of information of, say, Jesus and Julius Caesar -- both in terms of quantity and quality. It'll be clear that Nomad really ought to do his homework before making claims that doesn't survive the light of a simple afternoon of research at my university library.

1. Sources from the time Caesar and Jesus lived.

There are three sources about Caesar from written sources that date from his lifetime. The first is Caesar's own writings. He wrote voluminously about his campaigns in Gaul and about the Civil War.

But, of course, Caesar certainly slanted his writings to fit his agenda. Fortunately for us, Cicero's writings have also survived. Cicero was a political opponent of Caesar and his writings about his opponent was often caustic -- but in general, the facts of Caesar's writings are confirmed in Cicero. Hence, we can feel confident that we know the basic, major events of Caesar's life.

Finally, there is an anonymous history of Caesar's African campaign.

Jesus: None

The evidence for Caesar is clearly superior here.

2. Sources from writings written after their subject's death, but by people who were alive at the of their subject's life.

Caesar: There are two. Sallust was a member of Caesar's faction who wisely retired after the assassination. Livy was a teenager when Caesar was killed. Unfortunately, Livy's work on Caesar didn't survive until today, though fragments do exist.

Jesus: It is possible that the people who wrote the New Testament were alive and aware of their subject, but it is hardly a proven fact. Paul was certainly alive at the same time Jesus was, but I'm not aware of any evidence he knew of Jesus before his death. And the gospels are even less clear. The generally accepted earliest date of Mark's gospel is the 70's, and the other gospels were written even later than that. And while Caesar, Cicero, Livy and Sallust were well-known figures of their time, it isn't clear at all who the gospel writers were. It is possible that they were eye-witness accounts -- but unlike Caesar's sources, we can't be sure of that. Nor do we have any evidence to believe, as we will see, that they were telling the truth.

Clearly, the sources for Caesar are far superior for those of Jesus.

3. Later historians

Caesar: Historians who at least mentioned Caesar, if not entire biographies of Caesar, include Tacitus, Plutarch, Suetonius, and Dio Cassius. Much of what they wrote can be compared to earlier sources to verify they wrote accurately about their subject. And they had access to materials -- such as the historians Pollio and Livy -- that we do not. (Note: I'm not claiming everything they wrote was correct; merely that much of what they wrote was. Modern historians, unlike Nomad and Layman, do not take everything at face value.)

Jesus: gets a very short passage in Josephus that provides little information and that even most Christian historians admit was later tampered with, if not outright fabricated.

Once again, the sources for Caesar are much stronger.

4. Archeology

Caesar: We have numerous busts of Caesar, coins minted in his honor, and ruins dating from his time in areas he conquered --like Gaul -- that support the claims made for Caesar. And these are only the ones I am aware of; I suspect a real historian could cite more archeological evidence.

Jesus: Not a thing.

Caesar wins again.

A related issue is the reliability of the sources. For example, are the sources independent of each other? This is clearly so with Caesar. As I mentioned earlier, Caesar and Cicero were openly antagonistic of each other, and had opposing political positions.

The gospels, on the other hand, were clearly dependent on each other. Of the 661 verses in Mark, 606 of them appeared in Matthew either verbatim or with additions. Luke is a similar story, and John derived from similar traditions. Where Layman gets his "multiple attestations" is unknown.

A further reason to doubt the veracity of the biblical account is that these writers had an obvious motive for stretching the truth about Jesus: what they were writing was theological propaganda, not historical facts. The evidence is in the narrative themselves. Mark doesn't mention the birth narrative at all, and his resurrection story is simple and straightforward. Matthew and Luke, on the other hand, weave complicated and contradictory stories complete with virgin births, choruses of angels, visits from magi, massacres of innocents, visitations from the grave, just to mention a few of the absurdities. Yet stories of Caesar's godlike status -- yes, he was proclaimed a god in his own lifetime -- are dismissed, rightfully so, as propaganda. If we do so for Caesar, why do we not do the same for Jesus?

The simple fact is that Nomad and Layman are simply being credulous when they claim that the evidence for anything Jesus supposively said or did is a historic fact. Compared to the sources of information we have for Caesar, the evidence for Jesus's life is anemic. When you consider the sources, it becomes unbelievable. There is no reason to accept their viewpoint at all.
[B]</font>
Dennis,

Your argument and supporting evidence are good enough to convince reasonable, intelligent people. However, no argument, no matter how well presented and regardless of how much evidence you support it with, will convince Christian apologists who have closed their minds to anything but their own dogmatic beliefs. They are not interested in FACTS. They are not interested in solid, verifiable evidence. They are not interested in being reasonable. The best you can hope for is to convince those who have not made up their mind, and there should be SOME among our readers.

rodahi

 
Old 04-07-2001, 03:08 PM   #30
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Not you Rodahi. SingleDad mischaracterized Nomad's opinion.
 
 

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