Roger_the_alien show us your arguments
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03-07-2014, 12:12 PM
Roger_the_alien show us your arguments
I invite Roger to present any arguments or evidence for Christianity.

Rules:

1. We will only deal with one point at a time. You can present as many points as you like, but we will only handle one at a time until both of us decide to move on.

2. Both of us have to apply critical thinking to any point argued about. If a point is flawed you admit it. And if a point is solid I admit it.

3. The goal is come closer to the truth about reality. Rhethorical trickery and personal attacks to seemingly win while presenting a bad argument or to derail the conversation are out of bounds.

"Newton's third law: The only way humans have ever figured out of getting somewhere is to leave something behind." - TARS, Interstellar
"Newtons drittes Gesetz: Der einzige Weg wie Menschen irgendwo hin kommen, ist der dass sie etwas zurücklassen." - TARS, Interstellar
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03-07-2014, 02:52 PM
RE: Roger_the_alien show us your arguments
I'll be the first to admit here I am no expert. I'm mainly going by what I've heard on documentaries and read online.

One of the main reasons I stuck to Christianity for as long as I did was just... Jesus. IF jesus was a real person (and from everything I have watched and read most scholars will agree he probably did exist),

1.) What really happened to his body when he died? If he was so well guarded by the Romans, how could he possibly "disappear?"

2.) Why did Christianity become so popular? If the gospels are accurate, (and much has been proven accurate) when Jesus was being crucified most of his followers were scared and left him. If not for something extremely solid and definite (the resurrection) why would so many people take such a turn and be willing to die? Surely if Jesus was a fake and they all knew it they wouldn't be willing to die for it. If they were at all unsure he was their Messiah they wouldn't be willing to die. Something big must have happened.

Also, the gospel of Mark was thought to be written only about 70 years after Jesus' death, which doesn't allow time for him to be turned into myth and forgotten. Wouldn't the people of the time that knew of him by hearing stories passed down from their mothers and fathers have called bullshit if the things written in Mark weren't true?

I understand these are all IF situations. IF Jesus was even a real person, IF the gospels are true accounts... but I would like to hear some of your explanations for these happenings.
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05-07-2014, 03:45 AM (This post was last modified: 05-07-2014 01:54 PM by therealJim.)
RE: Roger_the_alien show us your arguments
(03-07-2014 02:52 PM)Roger_the_alien Wrote:  1.) What really happened to his body when he died? If he was so well guarded by the Romans, how could he possibly "disappear?"

Let's assume that there was a Jesus of Nazareth (as far as I am aware there currently seems to be a consensus among the scholars that such a person existed):
How do you know what happened to his body when he died? That it was supposedly closely guarded by the Romans? What is your source?

If you rely solely on the bible then I have to inform you that that book is filled with so many contradictions as to make useless as a source (imho).
For examples see this video with the historian Bart Ehrman.




Furthermore the bible has been copied, edited, translated for centuries making it even less useful as a source. Plus the original texts of the gospels are as far as I know all lost, and their original authors unknown.

And the bible has been promoted as a good source by the followers of Jesus, while those who seriously study history have found many of it's claims false. For example, ask a knowledgeable geologist at a real university (things like Jerry Falwells Liberty "University" don't count) and they can show you beyond any reasonable doubt that no worldwide flood like the one in the story about Noah ever occurred on earth.
On the other hand Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health and an evangelical christian, has publicly rejected Young Earth creationism and intelligent design due to the evidence for evolution and an earth that is billions of years old.

So which is of the two is more credible? The stories about Jesus in the bible or the theory of evolution? Should we rely solely on sources provided by the advocates for any given position? Are they trustworthy, especially if they insist that they are right no matter what? Or if they try to twist or ignore facts that are uncomfortable?

Or is it better to listen to someone who is willing to change his/her mind if presented good reasons to do so?

How about if we let the evidence tell us?

(03-07-2014 02:52 PM)Roger_the_alien Wrote:  2.) Why did Christianity become so popular? If the gospels are accurate, (and much has been proven accurate) when Jesus was being crucified most of his followers were scared and left him. If not for something extremely solid and definite (the resurrection) why would so many people take such a turn and be willing to die? Surely if Jesus was a fake and they all knew it they wouldn't be willing to die for it. If they were at all unsure he was their Messiah they wouldn't be willing to die. Something big must have happened.

On the accuracy of the gospels see above.

First:
Truth is not a popularity contest. Whether a lot of people, or even a lot of experts on a subject matter, think something bears no weight when the facts say otherwise.

To give you an example, the German meteorologist Alfred Wegener was the first to come up with the idea of continental drift, a fundamental building block in modern geology, in 1911. At the time this theory was massively opposed by the geologists of the day. But when new observations made in the 1950ies and 60ies vindicated Wegeners idea, the geologists realized he had been right and changed their opinions.

For a short discussion see here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Wege...ift_theory

Second:
People follow all kinds of groups or ideas honestly and seriously, even to the point where they are willing to die for them. Examples include members of Al-Qaeda, Scientology, the Peoples Temple (who committed mass suicide in November 1978 in Guyana), or the Heaven's Gaters.

However, like I mentioned, that doesn't mean that their views are factually correct. If anything it only demonstrates that they think they are right.

The actual psychological processes and reasons why people follow ideas, up to such an extreme degree, are quite well understood today.
For an introduction into this topic, I suggest you take a look a the following two books:
"The Age of Propaganda" by Elliot Aronson and Anthony Pratkanis
A very good primer on the subject of persuasion - that is how people come to do certain things or accept certain ideas - with a chapter near the end on how cults systematically use those principles and techniques to gain and keep members.

"Cults in our midst" by Margaret Thaler Singer
The chapters in "Brain washing [...] and Thought reform", "Recruiting new members" and both on "Persuasion techniques" will give you an idea how people can be manipulated into believing things that aren't so.

Also religions not only persuade people, but we are also prone to it by nature, due to the way our brain works. For more on this see here:









(03-07-2014 02:52 PM)Roger_the_alien Wrote:  Also, the gospel of Mark was thought to be written only about 70 years after Jesus' death, which doesn't allow time for him to be turned into myth and forgotten. Wouldn't the people of the time that knew of him by hearing stories passed down from their mothers and fathers have called bullshit if the things written in Mark weren't true?

You are mistaken. Have you ever played the game of telephone in school?

What happens to the story told to the first person over the course of just a couple dozen retellings, in the space of less than an hour? It changes to the point where it becomes unrecognizeable. That is because human eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.

Doubt me? Good. Want more evidence, that is independent of me? Great. Here it is:



If you doubt her, google her name and study her scientific papers for methodological flaws.

So let's face it:
70 years is more than enough time for what might have been a factually correct retelling turn into something completely different.

Also, as I mentioned before, we do not know who wrote any of the original texts of the gospels. Their identities are lost. And I don't know about you, but to me a omnipotent being could do a massively better job at providing solid evidence than that (a book of which many original texts are lost and their authors unknown).

I mean, even we humans can do better than that, i.e. the pyramids of Gizeh which are more than twice as old as any of the texts in the New Testament.

"Newton's third law: The only way humans have ever figured out of getting somewhere is to leave something behind." - TARS, Interstellar
"Newtons drittes Gesetz: Der einzige Weg wie Menschen irgendwo hin kommen, ist der dass sie etwas zurücklassen." - TARS, Interstellar
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16-07-2014, 11:33 AM
RE: Roger_the_alien show us your arguments
To the Moderators:
Please keep this thread open for another couple of days.

Roger will soon come up with a reply.

Thank You.

"Newton's third law: The only way humans have ever figured out of getting somewhere is to leave something behind." - TARS, Interstellar
"Newtons drittes Gesetz: Der einzige Weg wie Menschen irgendwo hin kommen, ist der dass sie etwas zurücklassen." - TARS, Interstellar
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24-07-2014, 11:33 AM
RE: Roger_the_alien show us your arguments
Sorry it took me so long! Things got a little crazy around here, I haven't really had much time to sit and come up with my argument. There are still a few things I wanted to say but I can't find my references so those will have to wait, but for now here is what I have... And the first video is the only one I have watched so far. I'll start on the others in my spare time.

So basically christian scientists say one thing and atheistic scientists say something different. how do you know which to believe? When you hear each side both sounds compelling and accurate... how do we really know which side is telling the truth? Of course if you're an atheist you're going to believe that side, and visa versa with Christians.

I'd like to see some real evidence, not just people talking about things. I don't know who these people are, on either side, so how do I know the "evidence" they're reporting to me is the truth?

In the first video, the guy contradicts himself when talking about the discrepancies in the gospels. No two accounts of the same event will be exactly the same. He says at the beginning of the video the story should be mainly the same but not seem to be
collaborated. When pointing out all of the discrepancies in the gospels it's like he expects that every date and time should be exactly the same... if that were the case he would call it a collaboration and would still dismiss it as false.

And I still have no reasonable answer as to what could have happened to Jesus' body. Whether or not the gospels are 100% accurate, which he proved that of course they aren't cause each one contains contradictions... but the most basic of facts is that Jesus was a real person, who caused such an uproar he was crucified. Someone of such importance had to have had some type of guard or something, that much is common sense. How his body could disappear is still a mystery to me.
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02-08-2014, 04:49 AM (This post was last modified: 02-08-2014 04:55 AM by therealJim.)
RE: Roger_the_alien show us your arguments
So if I get you right, the two points are:

a. Jesus was crucified and his body disappeared later on and so far we lack a reasonable explanation for the latter, although his tomb was probably guarded.

b. How can we judge whether different claims by different scientists are accurate.

To a.:
I personally don't know the details of Jesus life. I repeat that I do accept the notion that there actually was a human being named Jesus of Nazareth. If you want to go into details, I recommend that you ask someone who is knowledgeable in these matters, i.e. goodwithoutgod. What I can do is explain my approach to the claims:

First:
The only source I am aware of to make those claims is the bible. And it is also the only source I know of to present evidence for it.
This combination is a bit unfortunate, although far from highly problematic. Ideally I would want evidence coming from multiple sources, that are independent of those making the claim. Which is one the reasons why scientific articles, at least in the high-quality research magazines, are reviewed by independent, anonymous experts on the subject, before publication (this is called the peer-review process) for errors or limitations that would render it useless.
So there a slight problem, but for the exercise I will grant you the claims.

Second:
The bible to me is useless as a source of evidence, due to the facts mentioned in my first reply (post #3).

Now to be fair, you are right that eyewitness accounts - which is the only evidence the bible offers - are of course never exactly the same. However that is precisely the point I was trying to make. Eyewitness testimony is so unreliable that it is almost next to harmful as a source of evidence. If you read my response to your statement about the gospel of Mark being accurate enough, and especially when you watch the video with Elizabeth Loftus, you will see the evidence for my claim.
So this for me is a quite a kicker. Note though, that as I mentioned my knowledge here is very, very limited. So if you can present other credible evidence from other sources, or show me that my conclusions are wrong, then I am happy to reexamine this.
So for the sake of argument, let's say that your claims are still valid.

Third:
Occam's razor. I'll give you it's versions from Newton and Bertrand Russell first and then I will apply it to the claims:
"We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. Therefore, to the same natural effects we must, so far as possible, assign the same causes."
- Isaac Newton

"Whenever possible, substitute constructions out of known entities for inferences to unknown entities."
- Bertrand Russell
(the sources for both quotes can be found on the wikipedia page)

The basic idea behind this is that, when there are two or more explanations for any event or fact, and there is too little evidence to favor any particular one of them, then simplest one is most likely to be correct. It should therefore be preferred. Note that given sufficient evidence a more complicated explanation may be correct.
So given your claims off the top of my head, I can think of two explanations:
1. Jesus body was removed by god in some form or fashion.
2. Jesus body was removed by his followers.

When I apply Occam's razor, I have to prefer explanation 2 over 1.

This simply because explanation 1 requires an extra entity, Jahweh, to be possible.

Also the is no credible evidence I am aware of for the existence of any deity at all, while I think there is sufficient evidence form human behaviour to make explanation 2 realistic. For example Nazi propagandists thought about destroying all evidence of Hitlers body after his death, so that they could turn into a kind of supernatural being sent by divine providence.
So not only does explanation 1 need one more entity. The existence of such an entity also seems highly unlikely, while the is evidence that cases of the latter can actually occur.

This to me puts the case of the ressurection of Jesus of Nazareth to rest, until credible evidence for it comes along.


Now to b.:
To be honest, in many cases we can't. Because it is currently physically impossible for any human being, to be aware of all of the evidence and especially whether it is credible and it's possible interpretations. This is even true for the experts in narrow fields of study, i.e. no single oncologist can read all research papers on the topic of cancer.
Also most scientific research today requires lots study to learn only the fundamentals that enable one to comprehend it.
We may one day be able to be aware and understand all evidence when scientific progress allows us to physically connect with computers, who alread can read and interpret all necessary research published (the IBM computer "Watson" for example does support oncologists by doing exactly this).

On the plus side, you don't need to know all available evidence. Because not all evidence is equally solid. Experiments for one can be poorly or well designed and / or conducted. And a single study with an interesting result is still barely solid, because the results may be purely accidental, even if the researchers did everything right.
So a single study is interesting but not yet very solid. It has to be confirmed many times over by independent researchers repeating the experiment / making the same observations to become solid. For that we have the tool of meta-analysis.
Finally when something (a fact or an explanation for any number of facts) is (hopefully) very solid, then after a long debate in and lots of research by the part of the scientific community concerned with it, it becomes the general consensus - that is the overwhelming majority of the scientific community supports it.

And even then explanations for facts are tested again and again whenever there is a plausible reason to do so. And only when an explanation has withstood those tests many, many, many times over it is really solid (examples of this last case are: the general theory of relativity; the theories of evolution, gravity, germs, quantum physics [the ugliest and - ironically - arguably most solid scientific theory of all] and gravity]). However no scientific theory (= explanation for a given set of facts) is ever proven to 100% certainty (with exception of stuff in mathematics).

So when somebody does make a claim, we can ask a few questions to assess how solid it is:
- What is your evidence? (However you may not be able to understand it, once you leave behind the basics in carrying out scientific experiments.)
- Do you have independent confirmation by other experts in the field?
- Has your claim reached the status of general consensus among the relevant researchers?
- If the answer to the last question is yes, how long has it been so and how often has it been tested since reaching this status?

Of course this implies that the person you are asking is honest with you. Which is why a single experiment doesn't mean much. Because not only could the results be a statiscal artifact, the could also be forged (an example is the so called "Schön scandal").

And now to the cool stuff:
You don't need be just a defenseless consumer of information, hoping to stumble across the right ressources. The basics of how to think scientifically and how to expose nonsense, can be learned by anyone but those severely mentally impaired, empowering you to see through obvious bullshit Thumbsup.
A good starting place is Skepticism 101 by Michael Shermer
either online (here
or as a set of audio lectures (here, wait until it goes on sale),
and his baloney detection kit (here).

To maximize the integration of this knowledge into your ability to think clearly in everyday life, I recommend you use the technique of self-explanation.
Two good sources on it are:
a) Roy, M. & Chi, M.T.H. (2005). Self-explanation in a multi-media context, pages 5-17
b) Fonseca, B. & Chi, M.T.H. (2011). The self-explanation effect: A constructive learning activity
Both can be downloaded here for free.

"Newton's third law: The only way humans have ever figured out of getting somewhere is to leave something behind." - TARS, Interstellar
"Newtons drittes Gesetz: Der einzige Weg wie Menschen irgendwo hin kommen, ist der dass sie etwas zurücklassen." - TARS, Interstellar
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09-08-2014, 05:48 PM
RE: Roger_the_alien show us your arguments
Closing thread. If Roger the Alien returns contact a mod to reopen.

The sun rises in the West and the bird shits on the coffeetable.


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