Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Final Response to Bobby Turk... I mean JP Holding.

In some cases I'm going to simply list Holding's responses, as they speak for themselves and do not warrant rebuttal.

Here's what I wrote in my last response to Holding:

Holding also said that he "never said" that the majority of Biblical scholars were out to discredit the Bible. Well, he damn well should've said it. If it is true that

1) Bias is solely (or at least primarily) driving the late-date thesis.

2) The late-date thesis is accepted by most scholars (Which is true, see here).

Then it follows that most scholars are accepting the late-date thesis because of bias.

He responded:

Nick, how hard do you work to become this much of a dumbass? Is Daniel the whole Bible? Maybe in your version. But anyway, go look up “non sequitur”. “Bias” isn’t always conscious. In fact I’d guess it usually isn’t. That’s why I never connect the dots, boy, and why you shouldn’t either, not even with those crayons of yours.

I also wrote:
But why the hell would most Biblical Scholars be interested in debunking the Bible? Doesn't make sense.

And Holding responded:

Of course it does. They can still have jobs. What’s wrong? Can’t get out of that Burger King mentality?

Holding originally wrote that Richard Dawkins' book The Blind Watchmaker relied primarily on a circular argument to support evolution (obviously it happened, because we are here). I responded that this was a load of horse shit and that Dawkins provides plenty of evidence for evolution and even argues that evolution is the only known (ultimate) explanation for complexity. Holding is now trying to backpedal. He's implicitly admitting that Dawkins does argue for evolution but "does a poor job in the process". Well, that is nothing but a bitch move to get around the fact that you, Mr. Holding, were wrong as could be about Dawkins' book. It doesn't matter if you don't like how Dawkins argued for evolution, what matters is that his writings do NOT rely on blatant circular reasoning. Anyone who doubts this ought to just pick up a copy of The Blind Watchmaker. Now, if you read it carefully you ought to see how Holding fucked up its message big time. And the fact that Holding isn't able to comprehend such an easy read ought to stop you from trusting him as a self-proclaimed "professional researcher" and moreover it ought to stop every one of his fans from thinking that he has the expertise to sift through complex and scholarly writings on the Bible and on Ancient History. He's no more trustworthy on these topics than is "Dr." Kent Hovind is about Biology.

If you'll recall from my first post on Holding, I wrote the following:

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.' SOURCE

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.

Holding tried to say that this wasn't at all analgous to the risen Jesus because no one said Jesus was invisible. But Holding, in his stupidity, missed the entire point that was laid out right there in front of him: that different cultures have different ideas about what constitutes reality. Holding responded:

That’s nice. It’s still totally inapplicable to anything I have written. Pilch is still only talking about the core apostolic group, not conversions by Roman Joe in Corinth, same as I am.

Whoosh! The point went right over Holding's head. You see, Holding somehow thinks that prospective converts to early Christianity would have somehow switched to an enlightenment view of the world when it came to Christianity and demanded hardcore scientific evidence for Jesus' resurrection. He has no proof that they would have done this, and so it is completely reasonable for me to assume that the prospective converts would have accepted the other types of "evidence" for xtianity, which we already know that they accepted: visions, dreams, sincere testimony from others who had visions or dreams of Jesus, finding alleged prophecies of Jesus in Jewish scripture, and so on. And as a matter of fact, I'm dead certain that whatever it was that caused the Corinthians to convert, it wasn't any empirical evidence of the miraculous:

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor. 1:22-24).

Right there is the implicit denial of Christianity having any powerful evidence of the miraculous on its side.

In my last response to Holding I wrote:

Now, I understand that you argue that things like the empty tomb would be checked. If Jesus' rotten body was still in the tomb (or if there were people who actually knew the full details of the events surrounding Jesus' death), and it was actually somehow available for viewing (or the witnesses were available for questioning), then it still might not have made a difference to ALL prospective converts. Christians would have dismissed this: 'Oh yes, that's a trick of Satan' or 'That isn't really Jesus, just someone who looks like him that the Romans placed there in the tomb to trick you'.

He responded:

Are you a former fundy or something? That “Satan did it” gig is a modern shebang. And the “oh its someone else” gig would have been reflected in the historical record as an argument in need of refuting, like the stolen body bit in Matthew and later church writers. Didn’t your mommy ever tell you that you can just pull speculations out of your bum and expect anything but ridicule and laughter?

Irrelevant. One need not buy the idea that the Christians said 'Satan did it' in order to understand that they would have vehemently denied whatever disconfirming evidence came their way. It's called Cognitive Dissonance. Here's just one example of the phenomenon: The cults of John Frum are composed of South Pacific villagers whose ancestors (somehow) got the idea that an American soldier John Frum would one day return from America and bring all the great riches to their people that the Americans enjoyed. Decades after the cult began, John Frum still has not returned to the natives with any cargo, but his followers are not deterred, because nothing could deter them. In 1943 Maj. Samuel Patten set out to convince the islanders that the American forces had absolutely nothing to do with John Frum; that the American forces were never intending to bring the natives endless supplies of cargo as Frum had allegedly promised. The natives, shockingly enough (from a rational perspective), did not believe the Major, and have continued their religion to this day. (Source).

Now, would some account of their denial be preserved? Maybe, maybe not. I don't know, did the John Frum cults ever keep a record of Major Patten and how they responded to him?

Anyway, I think it's about time to end the conversation with Holding. He was exposed for the shitty quack researcher he is. On to bigger and better things.

1 comment:

Steven Carr said...

And the “oh its someone else” gig would have been reflected in the historical record as an argument in need of refuting, like the stolen body bit in Matthew and later church writers.


Holding thinks the first response to any counterargument should be to refute it, rather than examine it to see if it is true.