From: Brian Holtz []
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 7:28 AM
Subject: RE: A question re: Turkel response
D: Whenever possible, I try to conduct my own research and reach my own conclusions rather than rely on the opinions of others.

BH: Open Encyclopedia Britannica to any random page.  Can you personally defend the assertions thereon?

D: Why should I have to?

To demonstrate which of two possibilities is the case: that you don't know very much, or that you cannot do "your own research" to re-verify all the things you think you know.
D: The question should be can YOU defend the assertions of your own source?
What I care about is whether the assertions I believe are well-defended. When something I believe is part of the settled academic consensus, I don't very much care to personally do the defending, since it's already been done so well.
BH: Have you checked the sources, visited the sites, examined the artifacts, rerun the experiments, duplicated the observations, and confirmed the calculations?

D: That level of research is not necessary in order to obtain an understanding of the relevant information sufficient to allow a rational conclusion for most subjects.

Ah, so you do in fact "rely on the opinion of others", and are just questioning the opinion I rely on in this case. QED.
I acknowledged that we must sometimes rely on the opinions of experts.
Your "experts" were about subjects requiring advanced training (in languages or mathematics). My point is about re-verifying everything that doesn't require -- or up to the point of requiring -- advanced training.
However, I am not so naive as to embrace the logical fallacy of an appeal to the majority. The truth is not determined by a vote.
Truth is about consistency with the largest majority of the evidence, and part of the evidence is the aggregate output of the academic process (as distinct from the opinions of the rabble). Facile mentions of the bandwagon fallacy cannot magically make irrelevant the accumulated body of human scholarship.
Rather than simply accept the consensus, I ask what the basis is for that consensus.
Again: you either don't know very much, or cannot re-verify the consensus you accept for all the things you think you know.
I wonder if they explain why they chose to ignore Luke's date for his birth (i.e. 6A.D.)?
They discuss the conflicting evidence and conclude: "There is also historical evidence of a census carried out about 8 BC. With all of this in mind, many sources estimate the year of birth as 7-6 BC."
The vast majority of scholars conclude
"The truth is not determined by a vote."
that the historical Jesus, assuming one existed, was most likely born in Nazareth.
(Could Nazareth have been considered part of the Roman province of Judaea?)  They note: According to a very old, reliable tradition, the village of Nazareth [..] was the hometown, and then certainly also the birthplace, of the 'Nazarene'".
 Like I said, you need better sources.
Despite uncertainity over when/where Jesus was born, "the vast majority of scholars" conclude that he was born.
BH: 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.

D: If you rely on the EB for your information, I'm not sure you'll know if that happens.<bg>

I of course do not rely only on EB, any more than you simply and uncritically believe whatever you were told by the last book you read on any given subject -- e.g. Jesus' ahistoricity.
D: According to scholars, a single individual wrote several of the letters attributed to Paul.

B: 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.

D: Actually, none of the letters attributed to Paul are anonymous

By 'anonymous' I was contrasting your "single individual [..] attributed to Paul" with Paul of Tarsus. (I also note your "according to scholars" invocation, above.)
and you did not specify that you were referring to the Paul described in Acts.
If you don't know that "Paul of Tarsus" refers to the Paul described in Acts, then there is little point in continuing this discussion.
The historicity of Acts in general is debated by scholars and no one can credibly claim it to be entirely reliable
Evasion. Scholars indeed debate the historicity of Acts, and deny it is "entirely reliable", but they nevertheless agree that it refers to a historical person who is the author of the core Pauline letters. Do you or Doherty dispute that identification? Do you claim that everything Acts says about Paul is ahistorical?
D: I do consider it dishonest when Behe asserts that science has no idea how several complex biological systems could have evolved gradually.
If you're going to accuse someone of dishonesty, then type a quotation mark, paste something dishonest he wrote, then type another quotation mark. I don't agree with it, but the paraphrase you give here could easily be defended as an honest (though contentious) assertion about the admittedly incomplete status of biology.
Either Behe is deliberately lying in order to support his argument from personal ignorance or his research skills are at a 3rd grade level.
"Deliberately lying" or "3rd grade level"?  If this is your standard for evaluating the work of someone generally accepted to be a serious scholar, then it's clear who around here has the deficit in research and critical thinking skills.  :-) 
The website Talk.Origins has several pages that have collected examples of research Behe claims in his book does not exist
That you and I and disagree with a vague and generalized and contentious conclusion by Behe -- quoted without any context -- simply does not count as an instance of Behe "deliberately lying". Sorry, try again.
Good critiques of Johnson, who manages to be wrong without lying as far as I can tell<g>,
No documented lies by Johnson, either?  Thanks for playing, please enjoy a copy of our home game. :-)