Thursday, December 31, 2009

On JP Holding

The following essay is one which I have seriously considered NOT writing. For one thing, this essay about someone who may not deserve my attention, but moreover, writing this essay might be taken as me "stooping" to JP Holding's level. I don't see it that way. I'm like George Carlin when he dealt with hecklers at his shows: I'm shredding Holding at his own game.

If you don't know who JP Holding is, I'll explain in a moment. But for now, here are some quotes to show you what kind of a person he is:

(Holding said this in response to an Amazon Commenter):

"Speculation has it that you have intimate relations with farm animals. I guess that wasn't much fun because you're here posting comments. See? Isn't that great?"

In response to a web-forum member:

"And you? You’re nothing but a sanctimonious ant with delusions of your own grandeur; you’re nothing but a modern day Hugh waving your swollen member around and knocking people over with it or else disgusting everyone by pointing to it and shouting to everyone to look at it."

In response to another person:

"Well, that's Crybaby's fault. He's an expert manipulator, and all I did was make him eat his own upchuck."

I can understand that Holding might get upset and say things like this on occasion (I can be a little testy when certain people make foolish comments on my blog), but believe me, this kind of verbal sewage is pretty typical from Holding. He says this kind of thing CONSTANTLY.

Who is JP Holding? He is an Christian apologist who mainly works through the internet, insulting his opponents and writing illogical and pseudohistorical garbage to defend his faith. You know all those crazy Jesus mythicists who think Jesus was based on a sun god? Holding is the other extreme. If you took someone with the mindset of a really cranky Jesus mythicist and somehow got him to become a passionate and devoted Christian fanatic, and gave him a douchebag goatee (see the picture below) then you'd have JP Holding. Same bad, biased thought patterns. Same biased, shoddy research and arrogance.

Although Holding has only a degree in library science, he feels very confident writing (EXTENSIVELY) about historical, biblical, philosophical and theological issues while constantly making arguments from authority and questioning the expertise of real scholars who happen to hold views that he doesn't agree with (see here). Holding also wrote a book called 'The Impossible Faith' which inspired a certain JohnnySkeptic to hire Richard Carrier to rebut the entire book (which is now itself a book: Not the Impossible Faith).

Now, to be fair, he actually has made a good point relevant to the argument from authority, and one that I am going to use freely to annhilate him later on. Holding said (in reference to Jesus Mythicists):

The critic may say:
"Just because a consensus of historians say that the Jesus-myth is wrong does not mean that it is wrong. The historians could be wrong. They could also be biased. Since this subject is dominated by theological agendas and philosophical presuppositions, a scholarly consensus does not constitute evidence for the existence of Jesus."
Yes, this is actually the core of many arguments made in favor of the "Jesus-myth": Behind every historian there is a conspiracy, a bias, or some gross error of judgment...
Of course, it is
possible that all of the professional historians (even those with no religious interest!) are biased or wrong, while proponents of the 'Jesus-myth' are the objective ones. And yes, a consensus does not equate with evidence. But a consensus on any historical question is usually based on evidence which is analyzed by those who are recognized as authoritative in their field, and therefore may be taken at their word.

Let's take this point to its logical conclusion: If those outside scholarship ought to accept the majority opinion of scholars, then Holding had better be ready to admit that the Book of Daniel is a second-century forgery and not a prophetic writing (which he doesn't), or he at least ought not find fault in outsiders who simply take the scholarly majority at their word. Look at what he says in his essay on the book of Daniel:

The whole problem of the dating of Daniel really has nothing to do with evidence. The reason the Maccabeean theory was proposed was because of a prior philosophical belief that fulfilled prophecy can not happen.

Yeah, the majority of Biblical scholars are all out to discredit the Bible. Riiight... : D

Holding also reveals to us what an uncomprehending dumbass he is when he said, in his article about Evolution:

I draw from The Blind Watchmaker. The work as a whole runs upon a premise of an immensely begged question (evolution must have taken place, because here we are).

Actually, if you read the Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins not only provides extensive evidence that evolution occurred, but he also argues that it is the only known (satisfactory) explanation for why we are here. The fact that Holding feels so comfortable accusing an esteemed Oxford Biologist of committing such a gigantic, blatant error of elementary logic ought to raise a red flag: Holding is a former prison librarian. Holding, here's some advice: before you open your big mouth about anyone, anyone at all, you had better thoroughly study what they write and if necessary ask someone smarter than you about these issues. You're not an intellectual, or a scholar, or even a bright guy, and writing things like this only shows what a dumbfuck you are.

And now we can leapfrog over to a recent dispute I've had with Holding. First I need to laydown some backround: As you can tell from this post, Holding has a big mouth and makes quite a number of enemies. It just so happens that one of the enemies Holding made (JohnnySkeptic) was well-off financially, and so when Holding wrote up an argument ('The Impossible Faith') Johnny decided to hire a professional historian (Richard Carrier) to respond to Holding's drivel. Da-Da-Daaaaan. I might be tempted to feel sorry for Holding... if he wasn't such an asshole. I mean, most internet apologists (like him) are harmless idiots with emotional problems that they solve by turning to Christianity and insulting atheists (who may or may not be more qualified/intellectual than them) to make themselves feel better. Those apologists seldom have to worry about the sheer terror that Holding faced with Carrier. I mean, hiring Carrier to rebut Holding was like using a nuclear missle to kill a squirrel. When Johnny agreed to pay Carrier for this job, Holding's ass became grass and Carrier proceeded to mercilessly mow him down, light a fire on the lawn, and sow the ground with salt. Listen to what Holding said about Carrier in a comment on amazon:

[T]here's not much confidence to be placed in a guy who took 10 years to get his doctorate, loses his debates badly, and is a proven quack when it comes to Greek.

For the right effect, just picture Holding lying on the floor, beating his fists on the groung and blubbering those words in tears. In fact, if one can recall Holding's responses to Carrier (which have now disappeared from his website) you'll know that he compared Carrier to a hired gun sent to assassinate him. Out of all Holding's rhetoric, I think that bit comes close to revealing how Holding really feels. Holding admittedly wrote his essay to respond to the claims of those who think the early Christians were a bunch of suckers. Holding has major emotional investments in Christianity, and it hurts him to see atheists making statements that are (in my view and probably also in Holding's) mean-spirited and uncharitable to the early Christians. So Holding wanted to devise an argument that no internet infidel could match, and something that would prove once and for all that his faith was not in vain. And to have a professional infidel hired to tear his argument to pieces pushed Holding over the edge. Again, behind the rhetoric and bullshit, JP Holding is a human being, and one with feelings.

Of course, that fact doesn't excuse Holding anymore than it excuses criminals from crimes they committed because they were mistreated and had to lash out at society. Nor was the situation unjust: I've seen Holding be just as mean-spirited and insensitive towards the Mormons. Doesn't feel so good when it happens to you, does it, Holding? Cry me a river.

One more thing: Back when Holding had first posted his little essay 'The Impossible Faith' he actually ridiculed a 20 year old college student, Chris Hallquist, for suggesting that first century Judeans probably didn't have identical (or even near identical) standards or ideas about what constitutes 'evidence' that we 21st Century Americans do. Well, I've done some research and have proven that Holding was dead fucking wrong. If you read chapter 6 of The Social Settings of Jesus and the Gospels edited by Bruce Malina (Holding's hero whom he refers to and generally grovels before constantly) you'll find out that different cultures do indeed have very different ideas about what forms of experience (sensual, dreams, imaginings) constitute valid information in the real world. In fact, I sent Dr. Pilch the following email about his chapter:

Hi Dr. Pilch, I read some of your work. When you say that the people of Jesus' cultural contexts lived under a different consensus reality, it reminded me of something:

In the congo some of the locals have reported an animal, Mokele-mbembe, which is described as looking like an apatosaurus. Apparently a researcher traveled to the congo and asked a local villager:

'There's something I'd really like to know. Have you seen Mokele-mbembe?' 'What a stupid question,' said Doubla [the villager], looking genuinely surprised, stopping with the water-bottle halfway to his lips. 'Mokele-mbembe is not an animal like a gorilla or a python. . . . It doesn't appear to people. It is an animal of mystery. It exists because we imagine it. But to see it--never. You don't see it.'
It seems to me like this is a good illustration of how consensus reality can differ from culture to culture: Apparently in this culture, imaginings and daydreams are considered valid ways to learn about reality just as much as more "scientific" types of observation are considered to be valid ways of learning about reality are considered to be in the West.

Would you agree?

In fact he did agree with me, and if you don't believe me maybe you should go to his webpage yourself and ask him. Now, if you read Pilch's chapter, as you can online for free, you'll realize that this has dramatic implications for the supposed post-resurrection encounters with Jesus and on how dreams/strong gut feelings/imaginings/altered states of consciousness in general could have EASILY given the first Christians the conviction that Jesus had been raised. All of this is well documented social science. The fact that Holding was outwitted and outresearched by someone more than a decade his junior just speaks volumes. And remember, Pilch is not some crank scholar. He's employed at Georgetown University and has contributed to volumes edited by Holding's favorite scholar, Bruce Melina. Nor is he some atheist trying to cook up wild excuses to avoid the terrible fate of admitting that Christianity is true: He happens to be a devout Catholic, as I found out in our email exchange.

Now, I know what I've written is going to really stir some people up. I hope it does. I hope Holding's followers stop uncritically trusting his judgement and start thinking for themselves. I hope they read every criticism they can find of him, and I hope they bring it to his attention and demand answers. And the answer that will be given for this essay will be something like the following: Nick Covington is a coward! He won't come and debate me, the great James Patrick Holding, on theology web. And I have a response to that: On theologyweb Holding is given preferrential treatment: He's allowed to curse (calling Doug Shaver 'Dougie Dumbass') and be incredibly nasty to others, while anyone who does the same to him is penalized (I had a post altered and was given a warning on theology web for calling Holding a 'dishonest fag' after I had it up to here with his bullshit evasions). Holding is not acting brave by challenging me to debate in a place where I'll be treated badly and cat-called by his followers. And for him to call anyone else a coward for not coming to debate him there is a great example of how he projects his own identity onto others. Holding is nothing but a quaking, quivering piss-pants coward who is too chickenshit to show up on a more neutral territory and debate me. In fact, if he wants to debate anywhere that is more neutral towards both of us (like, I'd be glad too. But I just know he won't. C'mon James, show me up. Show the world you're not a big stinking wuss.

And with that, I want to conclude this article with the following: Anytime you see anyone anywhere reference JP Holding or his website tektonics, shame them thoroughly for not checking their sources send them over here. If they don't realize what an unreliable little bastard he is, then they aren't worth your time. Hopefully this will draw a few members of Holding's cult away from donating money to his sorry organization. Holding is NOT the guy you want representing Christianity on any level: his scholarship (if it can be called that) SUCKS, and he's all-around a very rotten individual. Don't support him financially or otherwise, and discourage others from doing so. He's only doing a huge disservice to your faith.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top Ten Creationist Arguments

PS: Not all of these are Creationist arguments, some of them are just idiot arguments you hear from Christians.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Random Blog

Watch this video:

Also, there's a new documentary about Jack Chick: God's Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick. Has anyone seen it? If so leave a comment describing it.

Plus, check out Daylight Atheism's ongoing series that debunks Lee Strobel's 'Case for a Creator' book. The series is great, its just too bad that he didn't write the series until half a decade after the book was released. You know, Lee Strobel's books really take me back: long before I became an atheist, I remember briefly finding his book 'Case for a Creator' convincing.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Best Answers to Two Common Creationist Claims

A while back Pharyngula had a contest: the winner was whoever gave the best refutation of two common creationist questions:

1. Was evolution a significant and essential factor in guiding Nazi thought?

2. Can natural processes produce an increase in complexity?

Click on the link above to read the winning answers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How I Would Debate William Lane Craig

Most of you probably know who William Lane Craig is: He is, by far, the greatest Christian debater in the world. Now, in writing this post I am not saying that I have the ability to debate Craig. Maybe if I was given 25+ years of nonstop public debating I could. But I am NOT up to such a task now. I do, however, have some thoughts on how one might go about beating William Lane Craig in a debate:

1. Mess with Craig's mind. When you give your opening presentation, steal some of Craig's oft-used debating lines. For instance, Craig will often state that his opponent has the burden of destroying all of his arguments and then building a case for atheism. He does this because he wants to saddle his opponent with a burden that they might not be able to meet in the time given. I say you give him a taste of his own medicine: Give several arguments for the nonexistence of God (the problem of evil, unbelief, etc.) then tell the audience that Craig has the burden of destroying all of your arguments and building a positive case for the existence of God. Memorize the exact words he uses in his debates and then state those same lines, in the same tone of voice, only replacing certain bits of it to suit your own ends, as illustrated above. I have a feeling that this kind of tactic would leave Craig speechless, at least momentarily. Plus, it would be totally funny.

2. Prepare brief but devastating responses to Craig's usual "five facts" case, write them down, and use them in the debate. It'll be a lot easier, and it will mean that you won't have to spend a lot of time rebutting Craig's case, so you can spend more time launching arguments for atheism. This won't be hard: Rebut Craig's Kalam Argument by noting that a being who "acts" outside of time is incoherent and unintelligible. For Craig's resurrection argument, note what Gregory Dawes explained in Theism and Explanation: for theistic explanations to be valid, they must show that the event in question is probable given God's existence. You can turn this argument on its head by finding passages in the old testament that show how God doesn't care for false prophets. Then you construct an evil twin of Craig's argument by presenting five facts that show Jesus predicted the end of the world in his generation. That won't be hard to do, just read books like the following: The Apocalyptic Jesus: A Debate, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, this blog post, and also read some of the contrived Christian responses to this stuff so that you can destroy them and note how contrived they are (make Craig explain all the facts with one hypothesis, as he demands of opponents of his resurrection arguments).

3. Watch a lot of debates that Craig has had, and try to find the inconsistencies so often present in his reasoning so that you can expose them for all the world to see, if they come up in the debate.

4. Read this blog post.

5. Have at least twenty live debates under your belt before you debate Craig, and preferrably you ought to have won most or all of them. Read Craig's work, watch as many of his debates online as you can. Basically, just get to know how he argues and be prepared to argue well yourself.

And that's about it. Craig has won nearly every debate he's been in, although his debate with Shelley Kagan on godless ethics did NOT go well, his debate with Paul Draper didn't go well, and... I'm not sure if I know anyone else who has fared well against the almighty Craig. It certainly is not because it is impossible. Indeed, I think anyone can tell from what I've written here that it is totally possible for an atheist to blow Craig out of the water and strip his "five-facts" case naked.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009


I'm having an online written debate with a Christian. I'd appreciate it if you would register and, when the debate is done, vote a winner. Don't vote for me unless you honestly feel like I presented the better arguments and defended my arguments better than my opponent. Here it is:

Until next time...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guess What Came in the Mail

Yesterday I got something very special in the mail: A signed copy of Origin of Species from Ray Comfort. Comfort had advertised the free copies of the book on his blog a while back, so I shot him an email and requested one. Now I've got the book. I was thinking I'd sell it. If you're interested, just shoot me an email at ncovington89 AT (Remove spaces and replace 'AT' with @). And yes, I will sign the book also if I'd you like me too. If you want the book, just send me an email with an offer (all offers will be considered, so don't be shy!).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Everybody Wins

I have any idea. What would you say if I told you about a way that you could support your favorite skeptical/atheist authors and bring their ideas to a larger audience? You'd want to do it right? Well, here's the idea: Go to your local public library and request that they order some of the following books:

Sense & Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism by Richard Carrier

The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond The Grave Edited by Robert Price and Jeffrey Lowder

The Counter-Creationism Handbook by Mark Isaak

Why I Became an Atheist by John Loftus

Incredible Shrinking Son of Man by Robert M. Price

Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary by Kenneth Daniels

godless by Dan Barker

Atheism Explained by David Ramsay Steele

The Case Against Christianity by Michael Martin

A lot of libraries now allow you to request books from their websites. If so, you don't even have to make a trip to the library. But think about it: If the library purchases one or more of these books, then you've just provided the author with some financial support (which some, but not all of them, need), the book will be at the library for many years to come, ensuring that many people will read it and be influenced by it, and you're helping the library by suggesting some very interesting books that people will want to read! Everybody wins.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bob Price Speaks At Skepticon

Dr. Bob Price, editor of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond The Grave and author of The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man (both awesome and entertaining books that all skeptics interested in New Testament studies should read) gave a talk at Skepticon that is well worth watching:

Also See Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Study Refutes Old Creationist Argument

A new study has shown that entropy (or thermodyamic disorder) actually creates orderly and complex crystals.

This ought to be the final proof that the creationist argument from entropy is FALSE. Their argument goes something like this:

Evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that everything tends toward disorder, while evolutionists claim that throughout history life has become more orderly. Therefore, the Second Law disproves evolution.

I refuted this argument as follows on page 120 of my book, Atheism and Naturalism:

This totally misunderstands what ‘disorder’ in the thermodynamic sense is. Thermodynamic ‘Disorder’ is simply energy that is not available for use. Evolution does not violate this law because usable energy is supplied to living things by the sun.

Now it looks like we all have something easy to point to to totally blow the creationist argument out of the water and show that they are fundamentally wrong in their interpretation of 'entropy'.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Richard Carrier Speaks on the History of Jesus

Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

Also, an Arab website interviewed Richard Carrier about Metaphysical Naturalism, Islam, Jesus, and more. Well worth a read.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Blog You Ought to Check Out

Sweet Scandalous Skeptic. You may remember that I poster her award-winning essay "Good Without God" a while back. She's also posted an essay by her son, Scooter the Skeptic, which has to be one of the all-time best skeptical kid-written essays.

Also: Capital City Free Press

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Justin Martyr and Pagan Parallels to Jesus

A few days ago I watched this video (see below). It attempts to explain something that the early Christian Apologist Justin Martyr said. You see, Justin was living in the second century, and he made a pretty damning statement about Christianity (which you'll see in the video). He points out that Christianity has quite a bit of specifics in common with older pagan religions. So the Christian in the video counters this by saying (basically): "Oh sure, he said it, but he only said it to show that the Romans were being inconsistent for NOT punishing other religous groups who believed the same type of stuff."

I might point out that it doesn't really matter why Justin said what he said, it only matters that he said it. If he said that Christianity had a lot in common with older religions (so much so that he attributes this to demons counterfeiting Christianity in advance) then why he said that DOES NOT MATTER. He still said it.

So the guy made this video goes on to give another quote from Justin Martyr that I think is worth addressing:

"[W]hatever we assert in conformity with what has been taught us by Christ, and by the prophets who preceeded him, are alone true, and are older than all the writers who have existed..."

So is Justin saying that Christianity is older than all these pagan poets (the 'writers')? Yes and No. Justin seems to be saying that the Old Testament prophets are older than the pagan poets. He is probably not saying that Jesus predates the pagan poets, because in chapter 23 of Justin's First Apology he says that before Jesus became a man among men, demons influenced the pagan poets to imitate Old Testament prophecies as having already happened to a pagan deity. So Justin realized that the pagan parallels needed an explanation, and he did the best he could to give one. That tells us something right there: If the parallels were not signifigant, he would not have needed to explain them. One could argue that Justin was wrong about these parallels needing an explanation, but look again at the parallels Justin cites in chapters 21-23 of his Apology (linked above) and you tell me if those parallels are insignificant nothings.

Also, there are several reasons Justin Martyr's explanation will not work. First, it smacks of special pleading because in any other case we would simply say that Christians borrowed this stuff from the pagans. Second, a lot of the stuff about Jesus that Justin thinks the Jews prophesied actually weren't: The Old Testament does not predict that the messiah would be born of a virgin, or that the messiah would be the literal son of God, that he would suffer a miserable death, be resurrected, heal the lame or blind, etc.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Just a Reminder

I published a review of Charles Darwin's classic Origin of Species at DB Skeptic. Check it out and comment!

How Could Creationism Not Be Dishonest?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Want This Debate

Here's a post from the blog Panda's Thumb about a debate between ID proponents Stephen Meyer and Richard Sternberg and scientists Don Prothero and Michael Shermer. Sounds like Prothero really slammed the ID side. If anyone has the audio or video of this debate, I WANT IT. Seriously, if you can give me the web address to where I can listen to the audio or video of this debate, I would be much appreciative.


Update: Found the debate on this youtube channel. Just look at the most recently uploaded videos.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tee Hee

Apparently Stan Guffey, the guy whom Ray Comfort plagiarized from, is now considering legal action over this whole ordeal. I think he should go for it. Ray Comfort knew that what he was doing was wrong, and he deserves to face justice for it. Furthermore, I would find it highly insulting and degrading if something I wrote was plagiarized and then used in a creationist writing full of lies and distortions.

I emailed Guffey after I wrote my now-infamous post. So, I wonder: Did I do that?

Climate Change A Hoax?

I haven't had time to check the info in this video YET, however, I encourage others to do so, and furthermore, I think the argument presented against Global Warming being a conspiracy (because of the difficulties and implausibilities the video author explained) in and of itself conclusively disproves the notion that this is a big conspiracy.

Why Christianity Needs to Die

Apparently Rick Warren, the smiling imbecile pastor behind that awful book "The Purpose Driven Life" (BTW, Here's a much better book,The Reason Driven Life by Dr. Robert M. Price) cannot bring himself to condemn a Uganda law that would put homosexuals in prison for life (and in some cases it would put them to death).

I know quite a few Christians on the internet who are not opposed to putting homosexuals to death. People who think this way aren't just run-of-the-mill idiots like Ray Comfort, but people I know on internet forums who are otherwise intelligent. They've simply accepted the Bible as the accurate word of God. And the result is dangerous bigotry. This is just one reason Christianity, in the long run, must perish for the well-being of our species.

Friday, December 4, 2009

How Did You Learn About Sex?

A Signed Origin

The folks from Skepticon are auctioning off a special signed copy of Ray Comfort's Edition of Origin of Species. PZ Myers, Dan Barker, Rebecca Watson, Joe Nickell, Richard Carrier, DJ Grothe, and JT Eberhard all signed it. Richard Carrier even wrote "Plagiarist!" under Ray Comfort's name, which I thought was funny. I was also kind of proud since I was the one who uncovered the big scandal of Ray Comfort's plagiarism. Here's a picture of the signed page:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

God Takes Care of Children and Fools

This is so silly:

The Gospel of Luke records that, as he was dying on the cross, Jesus showed his boundless mercy by praying for his killers this way: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

Not so fast, say contributors to the Conservative Bible Project.

The project, an online effort to create a Bible suitable for contemporary conservative sensibilities, claims Jesus' quote is a disputed addition abetted by liberal biblical scholars, even if it appears in some form in almost every translation of the Bible.

The project's authors argue that contemporary scholars have inserted liberal views and ahistorical passages into the Bible, turning Jesus into little more than a well-meaning social worker with a store of watered-down platitudes.

I've sometimes wondered if Conservatism was being fueled by Fundamentalism. But this indicates that (in some cases, at least) it's the other way around: Fundamentalism is being fueled by Conservatism. In other words, conservative politics don't always come from religion, sometimes religion is hijacked and altered to suit the needs of conservative politics. The article continues:

Contributors to the project aren't arguing on ideological grounds alone. The discussion forum on the site is full of discourse on Greek grammar, along with arguments long familiar to Biblical scholars about the history of certain passages.

Take the famous passage from Luke: the Conservative Bible Project omits it not only because it's "a favorite of liberals," but because there's some dispute over its authenticity, based on the manuscripts it appears in.

Professor Timothy Paul Jones said while some early Greek manuscripts omit Jesus' words, others include them.

"There are so many factors to consider when looking at that, but here it gets boiled down to 'liberals put it in,'" he said. "You've got people who are doing this who have probably never looked at an actual ancient manuscript."

Amen to that. The project is very transparent: It's a bunch of dogmatic conservative self-declared-expert idiots using the bible as means to an end for their ideology. Moving on:

The Bible's roots in a dizzying variety of ancient manuscripts require a lifetime of dedication to master, said the Rev. Frank Matera, a professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and a former president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America.
"There's a little Italian proverb, 'Every translator is a traitor,'" Matera said. "Most Bible translations are usually done by a group of scholars, precisely so they can balance out each other. It's not something that everybody can do."

Exactly. Where do these people get off thinking that their amateur bible knowledge is sufficient to do something that takes a team of experts who have studied the stuff for decades?

I'm glad that people like Matera and Jones are taking a stand against this stuff. Timothy Paul Jones is someone I confess to having a guarded admiration for. His book, Conspiracies and the Cross, is excellent. In a very conversational tone, Jones explains why so many popular folk theories about Jesus (that he married Mary Magdalene, for example) are just dead wrong. It is truly a great skeptical work. His reasoning throughout the book is, with few exceptions, spot on. Anyway, I just wanted to mention that. Stay Rational, folks.

Rebecca Watson Talk @Skepticon

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Review of 'Signature in the Cell'

Here's an interesting (and critical) review of 'Signature in the Cell', a book by ID proponent Stephen C. Meyer.