Jesus never existed (video)
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15-12-2015, 12:16 AM
RE: Jesus never existed (video)
(14-12-2015 09:31 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  I'm sensing a pattern. You seem to be adept at finding fault with everyone else, yet unable to understand when your own issues are pointed out.
If you have something substantial to say in response to my previous post, feel free to let me know. Anything else will be ignored. Drinking Beverage

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15-12-2015, 07:46 PM (This post was last modified: 15-12-2015 08:29 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Jesus never existed (video)
(14-12-2015 03:02 PM)Vosur Wrote:  I don't think that I misrepresented you.

You absolutely misrepresented what I said, in an attempt to twist it into your "reduction ad absurdum".
I said ONE thing about ONE person, specifically resulting from HIS individual responses, and his Fundamentalist history which I think came from HIS particular past.
YOU generalized it, and not only mischaracterized what I said, you applied it in a general way that I never did. THAT is misrepresentation. I never said what you said I said.

Quote:They are all biased to the point of being unreliable because they are religious" and, in the case of Bucky Ball, "They're biased even if they're atheists if they were religious at any point in their life"

-- is not something I ever said, either in the plural, or even a singular general case. I said I felt ONE person was biased.
Yes. You misrepresented what I said.

Quote:Here's an example of someone who is currently 30 years old, was a Christian from ages 13 to 23 and deconverted at 24.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - + + + + + + + + + + - - - - - - -

+ (years in which person Y was religious)
- (years in which person X was not religious)
green (views are colored)
red (views are not colored)
You can change the value for + as much as you like in this illustration, it won't affect the end result. In other words, it doesn't matter at what point in their life someone was religious, they will always end up with colored views because the 'coloration' allegedly lasts forever. If, as you say, I was simply generalizing your statements about Ehrman when I applied them to other people, then you should be able to explain what exactly it is about Ehrman's past that makes him such a unique snowflake. Why doesn't the rationale behind your claims about him apply to anyone else with a religious past?

Great. So say you. I neither know nor care about your little diagrams. Your point is what ? It has NOTHING to do with what this thread is about.
I was talking about ONE example of one person. If you need to run with YOUR personal concepts, great, but don't try to pretend that has anything to do with what I was saying.
Don't tell me what I said or meant.

The POINT here was, that "consensus" has never been demonstrated.
You provided no evidence for it, and the fact is, that a group which is comprised mostly of believers, employed by institutions that would fire them if they wrote about the question in an objective way,
or came to the wrong conclusions, is not a legitimate "consensus" of historicity, and also they have an inherent conflict of interest. If there is a "consensus" of believers on historicity, it's irrelevant and suspect.

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15-12-2015, 10:08 PM
RE: Jesus never existed (video)
(15-12-2015 07:46 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  The POINT here was, that "consensus" has never been demonstrated.

In all seriousness, how would you get the consensus view? Not being a scholar, how would I find that out? Are there scholarly organizations, journals, and whatnot?

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16-12-2015, 02:14 AM
RE: Jesus never existed (video)
(15-12-2015 07:46 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(14-12-2015 03:02 PM)Vosur Wrote:  I don't think that I misrepresented you.

You absolutely misrepresented what I said, in an attempt to twist it into your "reduction ad absurdum".
I said ONE thing about ONE person, specifically resulting from HIS individual responses, and his Fundamentalist history which I think came from HIS particular past.
YOU generalized it, and not only mischaracterized what I said, you applied it in a general way that I never did. THAT is misrepresentation. I never said what you said I said.

Quote:They are all biased to the point of being unreliable because they are religious" and, in the case of Bucky Ball, "They're biased even if they're atheists if they were religious at any point in their life"

-- is not something I ever said, either in the plural, or even a singular general case. I said I felt ONE person was biased.
Yes. You misrepresented what I said.

Quote:Here's an example of someone who is currently 30 years old, was a Christian from ages 13 to 23 and deconverted at 24.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - + + + + + + + + + + - - - - - - -

+ (years in which person Y was religious)
- (years in which person X was not religious)
green (views are colored)
red (views are not colored)
You can change the value for + as much as you like in this illustration, it won't affect the end result. In other words, it doesn't matter at what point in their life someone was religious, they will always end up with colored views because the 'coloration' allegedly lasts forever. If, as you say, I was simply generalizing your statements about Ehrman when I applied them to other people, then you should be able to explain what exactly it is about Ehrman's past that makes him such a unique snowflake. Why doesn't the rationale behind your claims about him apply to anyone else with a religious past?

Great. So say you. I neither know nor care about your little diagrams. Your point is what ? It has NOTHING to do with what this thread is about.
I was talking about ONE example of one person. If you need to run with YOUR personal concepts, great, but don't try to pretend that has anything to do with what I was saying.
Don't tell me what I said or meant.
You didn't answer my question. Why does your statement not apply to anyone but Bart Ehrman? What is it about his past that is so unique that he is the only irreligious person to be biased for the rest of his life? It's obvious that the rationale behind your claims makes them applicable to more than one person.

(15-12-2015 07:46 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  The POINT here was, that "consensus" has never been demonstrated.
You provided no evidence for it, and the fact is, that a group which is comprised mostly of believers, employed by institutions that would fire them if they wrote about the question in an objective way,
or came to the wrong conclusions, is not a legitimate "consensus" of historicity, and also they have an inherent conflict of interest. If there is a "consensus" of believers on historicity, it's irrelevant and suspect.
Sorry Bucky, but given that I'm not an expert on the subject myself, I'll take the statements of several prominent atheist scholars (Bart Ehrman, Robert Price, etc.) about the existence of a consensus over the opinions of an anonymous guy on the Internet.

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16-12-2015, 04:51 AM (This post was last modified: 16-12-2015 05:09 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Jesus never existed (video)
(16-12-2015 02:14 AM)Vosur Wrote:  You didn't answer my question. Why does your statement not apply to anyone but Bart Ehrman? What is it about his past that is so unique that he is the only irreligious person to be biased for the rest of his life? It's obvious that the rationale behind your claims makes them applicable to more than one person.

I have no answer to that question. (Actually you have no *question*). You made a statement, putting words in my mouth I never said. I don't make generalizations about people I don't know. If YOU choose to make generalization from a statement I make about ONE person, knock yourself out, but at least be honest enough to own your own statement, and not claim that's what I said. The ONLY reason I said anything about Ehrman is because I have heard him speak on the subject, and felt he's never really entertained the question of non-historicity, and he stopped answering Carrier's questions on the subject when pushed.

(16-12-2015 02:14 AM)Vosur Wrote:  Sorry Bucky, but given that I'm not an expert on the subject myself, I'll take the statements of several prominent atheist scholars (Bart Ehrman, Robert Price, etc.) about the existence of a consensus over the opinions of an anonymous guy on the Internet.

Don't be sorry. I could care less what you do or think.
I have shown why there is no such thing as a *valid* consensus on the subject. I have also shown why it's not important, whether Jesus existed or not. The Jesus of the gospels is a total myth.
The *point* is valid, not who makes it. Nice try at invalidating it. You don't have to be an "expert" on the subject to see why mostly religious people, employed by religious institutions might be biased.

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16-12-2015, 05:05 AM (This post was last modified: 16-12-2015 05:16 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Jesus never existed (video)
(15-12-2015 10:08 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  
(15-12-2015 07:46 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  The POINT here was, that "consensus" has never been demonstrated.

In all seriousness, how would you get the consensus view? Not being a scholar, how would I find that out? Are there scholarly organizations, journals, and whatnot?

I don't know. Which IS partly, the point. In order for me to take it seriously, I would want to know who was included, what they hold as religious beliefs, and where they WORK ... I would want those with a conflict of interest (beliefs and employment) to recuse themselves. There is no valid "consensus" group. No one can possibly think that someone at Biola or Liberty University or any Fundamentalist Bible College or Roman Catholic school, or seminary would have their contracts renewed, would not be dismissed, or be offered a position who seriously, publically said they questioned the historicity of Jesus. They are not free to state what they really think. They are "occupationally obligated".

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16-12-2015, 06:27 AM
RE: Jesus never existed (video)
Not taking sides on this debate that's been going on since page 1. But perhaps some resources could be given that refute or support the idea that there's a consensus among experts about the historicity of Jesus.

Is there really a consensus of scholars on historical facts about Jesus?

Like I said, I'm not taking sides. In fact, showing a consensus doesn't prove much. Because the next step would be to find out how such experts came to their conclusions and whether they can be considered fallacious or not.

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16-12-2015, 06:35 AM
RE: Jesus never existed (video)
(16-12-2015 05:05 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(15-12-2015 10:08 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  In all seriousness, how would you get the consensus view? Not being a scholar, how would I find that out? Are there scholarly organizations, journals, and whatnot?

I don't know. Which IS partly, the point. In order for me to take it seriously, I would want to know who was included, what they hold as religious beliefs, and where they WORK ... I would want those with a conflict of interest (beliefs and employment) to recuse themselves. There is no valid "consensus" group. No one can possibly think that someone at Biola or Liberty University or any Fundamentalist Bible College or Roman Catholic school, or seminary would have their contracts renewed, would not be dismissed, or be offered a position who seriously, publically said they questioned the historicity of Jesus. They are not free to state what they really think. They are "occupationally obligated".

Thanks! That was pretty much what I understood "consensus" to be.

You are right about the conflict of interests. Money, religion, job status, ego, etc. Who said it, why did they say it and who paid them to say it. Any conflict of interest will seriously compromise a position.

Here is what Wikipedia says:

wikipedia

Quote:Scientific consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity.

Consensus is normally achieved through communication at conferences, the publication process, replication (reproducible results by others), and peer review. These lead to a situation in which those within the discipline can often recognize such a consensus where it exists, but communicating to outsiders that consensus has been reached can be difficult, because the 'normal' debates through which science progresses may seem to outsiders as contestation. On occasion, scientific institutes issue position statements intended to communicate a summary of the science from the "inside" to the "outside" of the scientific community. In cases where there is little controversy regarding the subject under study, establishing what the consensus is can be quite straightforward.

Scientific consensus may be invoked in popular or political debate on subjects that are controversial within the public sphere but which may not be controversial within the scientific community, such as evolution or the claimed linkage of MMR vaccinations and autism.

It is my perception that until recently most biblical scholars, and especially vocal, public biblical scholars, were oriented/biased towards religion. Thus the belief that Jesus was an historical figure was the consensus, but it was not one supported by scientific or historic evidence.

I definitely think that consensus is changing. Carrier, Price and the others make a compelling case.

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16-12-2015, 06:48 AM
RE: Jesus never existed (video)
Trusting Expert Consensus

I unfortunately don't have good data on the opinions of Biblical scholars, but I'm going to talk about it because it's an area I know a lot about (particularly historical Jesus research), and there's an important point to be made here about how non-experts can decide whether the opinions of experts are trustworthy.

The point is a rather obvious one: Christian apologists like William Lane Craig often cite the (alleged) consensus of Biblical scholarship in support of their arguments, but even if the basic claims were true, it wouldn't be to find that Biblical scholars tend to have views favorable to Christianity (and Judaism) because Biblical scholars are overwhelmingly Christians and Jews. Biblical scholars tend to get their degrees from seminaries rather than secular academic departments. Atheist Biblical scholar Jacques Berlinerblau once estimated that at a typical meeting of a thousand members of the Society for Biblical Literature, you'd find only a couple dozen atheists (I'm not sure if he meant to include people like Bart Ehrman, who identifies as an agnostic).

Non-believing Biblical scholars tend to be former believers who deconverted in part due to their studies; this is true of Bart Ehrman, Gerd Lüdemann, Michael Goulder, and Robert M. Price. Jacques Berlinerblau is an exception to the "former believers" rule. Hector Avalos is also a partial exception (his interest in the subject stems from his time a teen evangelist, but he deconverted before starting his graduate studies). I e-mailed Berlinerblau about this once, and he could think of one other scholar in the field who he didn't think had ever been a believer, but confirmed that such people are extraordinarily rare.

This doesn't mean that outside the few dozen atheists and agnostics, Biblical scholars are all going to agree with William Lane Craig, because there are also plenty of liberal Christians like John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg in Biblical scholarship. It does mean that if it did turn out that most Biblical scholars had views favorable to (traditional) Christianity, it wouldn't mean much because it would be no more surprising that finding out that Muslim scholars tend to have views favorable to Islam. It's the Crossans and the Borgs that are surprising (regardless of the exact liberal Christian / conservative Christian breakdown).

This common-sense argument in terms of what is and isn't surprising is reinforced by a Bayesian analysis: if the opinions of a group of experts can be predicted using information that isn't relevant to whether or not their opinions are true, knowing what their opinions are gives you no information on the claims in question. It's important to distinguish this heuristic from post hoc explaining away of expert opinions you don't like: conservative Christians often propose unflattering explanations for the opinions of the Crossans and the Ehrmans, but it's unlikely that they could have predicted their opinions using information not relevant to whether their opinions are right.

So far, I probably haven't said anything that would surprise the average member of LessWrong: of course Jesus didn't perform any miracles or rise from the dead. So let's tackle a slightly harder question: was there a historical Jesus at all? Or, to put it somewhat more precisely: can Christianity be traced back to the followers of a single Jewish preacher who was executed by the Roman authorities in Palestine in the first half of the first century A.D.?

That Christian scholars think Jesus existed isn't surprising. Even Crossan has his own version of the historical Jesus, as a wise teacher who's palatable to liberal churchgoers, that he wants to sell. Knowing the opinions of Crossan et al. may be slightly informative, since since many liberal Christian and Jewish scholars seem to have reconciled themselves to there being no historical Moses, so the fact that they haven't gone that route with Jesus may give us some information. But looking at the opinions of non-believing scholars specifically will be more informative.

Though we don't have survey data because non-believing Biblical scholars are so rare, and scholars who doubt Jesus' historicity even rarer, we can make an estimate. Richard Carrier (a historical Jesus skeptic with a PhD in history from Columbia University) recently listed Arthur Droge, Kurt Noll, and Thomas Thompson as people who "agree historicity agnosticism is warranted," in addition to listing Thomas Brodie, Robert M. Price, and himself as being "even more certain historicity is doubtful." Because historicity skeptics are so rare, and because Carrier knows the debate so well, this list is probably exhaustive at least as far as publicly expressed views are concerned.

There are a number of difficulties here. First, it's unclear whether Berlinerblau's "two dozen" estimate includes agnostics. Second, categorizing Carrier's list of skeptics gets tricky in a few cases. Robert M. Price is a non-believer who's officially agnostic on whether Jesus existed, but he's written a lot about the issue and is quite confident agnosticism is the right view, justifying his inclusion on the "more certain" list. Brodie has apparently tried to argue he can be a good Catholic while rejecting the idea of a historical Jesus (which, as I've already noted, is a position some people have already taken on Moses). Noll describes himself as "theistic off the job and professionally agnostic."

Finally, Brodie has apparently been convinced there was no historical Jesus since the 1970s, but until recently was keeping quiet about it (for fear of the professional repercussions?) That raises the question of whether there might be other skeptics out there still in the closet. Still, I'd venture that probably at least 75% (Carrier's 6 divided by Berlinerblau's 24) of non-religious scholars with relevant expertise are at least fairly confident Jesus existed. Much of the remainder would be agnostic rather than full-blown mythicists. That would be strong, but not overwhelming, support for historicity.

Having read both defenses of historicity by people like Ehrman, and critiques by Robert M. Price and Earl Doherty (who's an amateur, but has Carrier's endorsement), my impression is that even ignoring head counts the historicists have the better of the argument. But Carrier has said he doesn't expect most scholars to agree with him without having seen his research and arguments. He'll be presenting those in a book which is slated for release early next year. I think the book probably won't persuade many people, but I don't think Carrier's approach is necessarily foolish. It's possible Carrier has some decisive evidence that other people just don't have access to, yet.

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16-12-2015, 09:39 AM
RE: Jesus never existed (video)
(16-12-2015 04:51 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  I have no answer to that question. (Actually you have no *question*).
The question is right there, pal. Just because you refuse to answer it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. I asked you twice already, I'm not going to bother a third time. The fact that you continuously refuse to answer it is an answer in and of itself.

(16-12-2015 04:51 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  You made a statement, putting words in my mouth I never said. I don't make generalizations about people I don't know.
Hahaha! That's a good one, Bucky. How can you even say that with a straight face? Did you already forget the part where you said that 99% of religious scholars never bothered to question the historicity of Christ (I noticed your edit, btw)? Laugh out load

(16-12-2015 04:51 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  If YOU choose to make generalization from a statement I make about ONE person, knock yourself out, but at least be honest enough to own your own statement, and not claim that's what I said. The ONLY reason I said anything about Ehrman is because I have heard him speak on the subject, and felt he's never really entertained the question of non-historicity, and he stopped answering Carrier's questions on the subject when pushed.
There's no reason to pretend being obtuse. Unless you're saying that you didn't put any thought in your statement before you made it, there obviously was some sort of reasoning going on in your head that made you think that Bart Ehrman, because of his religious past, would never be able to look at the historicity of Christ in an unbiased way. My question as to what part of Bart Ehrman's past makes him uniquely biased for the rest of his life (as opposed to other scholars with a religious past) is a very valid one and the fact that you don't want to answer it speaks volumes in favor of my point. If there were nothing unique about his past, then your statement would apply to anyone with a similar religious background, would it not?

(16-12-2015 04:51 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Don't be sorry. I could care less what you do or think.
I have shown why there is no such thing as a *valid* consensus on the subject. I have also shown why it's not important, whether Jesus existed or not. The Jesus of the gospels is a total myth.
The *point* is valid, not who makes it. Nice try at invalidating it. You don't have to be an "expert" on the subject to see why mostly religious people, employed by religious institutions might be biased.
Here's another deliciously ironic statement. Did you already forget that you're the one who tried to invalidate decades of scholarship by hundreds of Biblical scholars (the consensus in the academic community of Bible scholars) not by showing the flaws in their arguments, but by lazily dismissing their research out-of-hand on the basis that they're religious people who are employed by religious institutions? Laughat

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