From: Brian Holtz []
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 8:32 AM
Subject: RE: A question re: Turkel response
Whenever possible, I try to conduct my own research and reach my own conclusions rather than rely on the opinions of others. In highly technical matters (e.g. ancient languages, advanced quantum physics), of course, that can't always be done and I have to trust the consensus of experts. Generally, however, I don't like accepting conclusions I cannot personally defend.
Open Encyclopedia Britannica to any random page.  Can you personally defend the assertions thereon?  Have you checked the sources, visited the sites, examined the artifacts, rerun the experiments, duplicated the observations, and confirmed the calculations?

I am confident that the peer-reviewed secular academic marketplace of ideas converges reliably toward truth, and I don't delude myself that I could ever replicate even a tiny fraction of the empirical investigation that underlies human knowledge.

Exactly when and where does the EB assert Jesus was born?
"in Judaea about 6 BC and died by crucifixion about AD 30".
Those great historical records called the Gospels give mutually exclusive accounts. You need better sources.
If I have to choose between Earl Doherty and the consensus of academic historians, I know which I'll choose.  If Doherty is right, the consensus will support him soon enough.
BH: If we discovered some new epistle that made odd statements about Paul, would you suddenly doubt Paul's historicity?

D: SOMEBODY wrote those letters..

BH: I'll take your non-answer to my question as a "no".

D: It isn't a "non-answer" but my attempt to show that your question makes no sense. According to scholars, a single individual wrote several of the letters attributed to Paul. That alone is FAR more evidence for Paul's historical existence than we have for Jesus so it is simply silly to try to draw an analogy.

I didn't ask about the historicity merely of the anonymous author of the core Pauline letters.  I asked about the historicity of the Paul of Tarsus described in Acts.
The fact is, whether mythical or historical, the evidence relevant to Jesus is unique.
Jesus and Paul are of course significantly different; but that hardly makes my analogy "silly".
BH: I admire Carrier immensely, buthe's technically not a professor.

D: Why not?

See I'm sure Carrier will be a professor soon after he completes his doctorate, but for now he's an "instructor".
Have you actually read any of the creationist arguments put forth by their leaders?
I've read some of Behe and Johnson, for example.
They are replete with quotes deliberately taken out of context, repeated misquotes, and outright false statements. And that doesn't even touch on the fake credentials those nutjobs claim! The amount of dishonesty on the part of creationists was probably the biggest shock I received once I began trying to improve my understanding of the subject.
What's the most egregious example of "dishonesty" by the most prominent Intelligent Design scholar (e.g. Behe) that you can document?
Duane Gish, for example, has had the author of a text he repeatedly misquotes in his lectures publicly correct him yet he was heard at the very next lecture misquoting the exact same thing. That is deliberate falsehood and it is not uncommon in creationist texts.
I've never heard of Gish, and you've documented nothing here. There are plenty of atheist "nutjobs" too, so I'm only interested in "dishonesty" by first-rate Intelligent Design scholars.
Questioning the sincerity of one's opponents is legitimate if evidence exists of intentional duplicity and that evidence is plentiful.
If "intentional duplicity" is "plentiful" in top-tier ID scholarship, then you should have no trouble citing an instance of it. I'm not interested in the transgressions of random "nutjob" polemicists and non-scholars. Rather, I'm interested in comparing the best arguments of each side -- that's how I "conduct my own research and reach my own conclusions".