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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Beavis and Butthead vs History

Or, Rook Hawkins - I'm not a historian but I play one on Youtube and Myspace. The later contains a banner wherein he claims the titles historian and ancient texts expert. Excuse my guffaw and belly laugh, but his statements on Youtube, in response to softball questions from Brian Sapient (The Sap) indicate he's not even good at pretending regarding those titles.

You can see the video here. I'll address several of his and The Sap's more foolish assertions.

One claim is that the Josephus mentions of Christ are obvious forgeries and to back this up he says a (one?) Josephus expert (who he doesn't name by the way) admits Christ wasn't mentioned before the 4th century.

Sorry little Rookie but you're very misinformed. The fact of the matter is that the current consensus among scholars is that even without later Christian interpolations, Josephus did indeed mention Christ. I covered this here, when another skeptic tried to say much the same on this matter.

The problem with little Rookie's claim on this point is that it does nothing to express to the viewer that his position goes against the current consensus. He presents nothing of this or data/arguments as to why this minority view should be accepted. One can see a more in depth treatment of the matter of Josephus here, that amounts to much more than the mere strutting propaganda from this "historian" on youtube.

Even sillier would be The Sap saying that a coin bearing one's name would be sufficient to prove to him they existed. When it comes to Christ though, they both have no problem rejecting the New Testament which is closer to the time of Christ than other ancient documents are to the people they mention and who actual historians do not doubt existed. We also have the apostle Paul writing within 20 years of the crucifixion to churches previously established and his encouraging them to remember what they'd been taught. This criteria they use would require rejecting standard historical methods of study and is merely preening skepticism inconsistently applied.

The rest of his drivel would just be droppings from Earl Doherty, one of the few fringe scholars who believe Jesus was just a myth. He's dealt with in detail here, here, here with part II here and another article here.

The (ir)rationals shallow as they are, have at least one talent. They provide numerous opportunities for noting their errors and silly self-referential claim to credentials, as in, historian, ancient text expert etc. A good example would be this post and another I'll reference later. I don't always agree with Frank's style but these post are instructive regarding the (ir)rationals. This first one is about a debate Matt Slick had with Kelly of the (ir)rationals. My brief comment there:

Ok, listened to the whole thing. As someone else already noted - Mithra!? Talk about being misinformed. Her case for considering the Gospels as just stories is based on the copycat yadda ya that's been shown time and again to be much ado about nothing. Then she talks about "contradictions" in the Bible? Geez

It's good that he was so respectful to her. And while I can understand The Sap wanting to help, just due to chivalry, he should set up a talk himself and see how it goes, and without Little Rookie piping in.

Her performance, bad as it was and comparable to the flop of Cameron and Comfort, was actually exceeded by the incredibly inaccurate description of the debate that someone stated on the (ir)rationals forum as revealed by a Google search. As I stated in the comments to that post:

My Google search using "matt slick rational responders"

turned up this link

and text:

Matt Slick, was as "slick" as possible in this broadcast ducking and jiving, slinging insults, ...

but the link doesn't work

Having heard the debate, I have to conclude that whoever said that is nothing but a liar or so completely deluded they can't distinguish their imagination from reality.

But listen to the debate yourself and be sure to read the comments at that post, especially those by piotr. A small excerpt:

Brian has said that each member of RRS has a specialization. Kelly's claimed expertise is in philosophy and theology. I suppose that is true in the same way that history is Rook Hawkins' area of expertise. It appears that RRS subscribes to its own private and self-referential benchmarks of scholarship, intellect and erudition.

In this manner RRS is less an activist group and champion of rationality than a role-playing society. Within the make-believe world of RRS, Kelly has "Philosophy Knowledge 10" and Rook Hawkins has "History Knowledge 16". Each member has a character sheet, the RRS enterprise is the adventure and the campaigns are played out in the regulated environment of the RRS fora and show.

The second post here is about The Sap trying to justify his horrendous statement regarding his mom.

Again, take the time to watch his video, you may initially be impressed with their referencing a Psychology expert. That won't last long, once you see what piotr has to say about the matter. Make sure you read all of his comments. A small taste, after a very thorough take down.

I'm finding it hard to believe that Kelly, Brian or toddangst have any education beyond high school. Where on earth did toddangst get his psychology degrees from? How can a doctoral student in psychology not know the difference between CBT and REBT?

The Sap and Little Rookie may be good at unintentionally reminding one of two mentally addled heavy metal twits, but Historian? Ancient Documents Expert?



Filed under: Religion -- Christianity -- Apologetics

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