Sunday, 8 July 2007

A Ready Defence - Josh McDowell

I came across this blog entry a while back.

This came up in conversation;

psiloiordinary Says:
May 15th, 2007 at 5:44 am
Thanks Hans,

So you have some way of judging which supernatural claims to believe.

How do you decide?

Hans Mast Says:
May 15th, 2007 at 5:58 am
The Bible.

I have verified in my own experience that its claims are true.

psiloiordinary Says:
May 15th, 2007 at 6:02 am
Interesting.

What do you mean? Tell us more.

Hans Mast Says:
May 15th, 2007 at 6:36 am
God’s Spirit makes us sure that we are his children.
(Romans 8:16 CEV)

I have no doubt that Christ dwells in me. I not only have a close relationship with Him, but He also has done many miracles in my life. One, for instance, is this one (starting at sentence “After that we went back to Elijah’s cave for the evening.”).

Other ones include dirty shirts miraculously becoming clean for choir programs, having a friend that was unable to speak because her throat was so bad being able to sing a solo on recording day, etc.

Just tonight I was searching for my wallet. I searched for nearly 20 minutes. Finally I stopped and prayed that God would help me find it. I had searched the floor near my bed 4 times already, but after I prayed, I looked again by my bed and found it within 15 seconds.

Don’t try to tell me that it is a psychological matter. I am well aware of the tendency of engaging in the subconscious fallacy of remembering only the times something works and not the times it doesn’t, etc. I watch out for that in my life and I am quite skeptical of many supernatural claims. I would guess 99% of supernatural claims to be fakes.

I graduated from high school at age 16 with honors and a 97.73% grade average. I am not a person that accepts orthodoxy blindly. I challenge it instantly via the wide array of data available to me via technology.

psiloiordinary Says:
May 15th, 2007 at 6:52 am
So how do you decide which things to believe and which things not to believe?

Hans Mast Says:
May 15th, 2007 at 9:14 am
At the most basic level? Reason and probability.

Since I have used reason and probability to determine that the Bible is true, I use it as my basis to determine truth. I have found it to be reliable in the past throughout history, even when man thought it false.

If you look at the shape of the earth, the scientific consensus was that the earth was flat, but the Bible (Isaiah 40:22) said all along that it was round.

It has been proven accurate many times in archeology.

It has been proven many times in prophecies it containing coming true.

Many of these things are exhaustively documented in the following books:
A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell
The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell
The Historical Reliability of the Gospels by Craig L. Blomberg
The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

The evidence is all there. What’s stopping most people is ignorance, blind faith in the scientific establishment, or a lack of willingness to examine the evidence because of what they might find. You owe it to yourself to look into it.

I will buy some of those books and have them sent to you if you promise me to read them and send them to me after you are done with them. I can tell you are man who wants to know truth and then will passionately ensure that that truth gets out.
psiloiordinary Says:
May 16th, 2007 at 10:00 am
Hi Hans,

I sent you a reply yesterday but it doesn’t show on the blog - I’m not sure why.

I am pleased to see you listing reason as part of your thought process, it’s a favourite of mine.

I don’t give out my personal address on the web. How about you reading “The Blind Watchmaker” and I will read one of your your recommendations, then we can compare notes?

Please can you tell me how your selected your particular religion? I am aware that other religions claim just as much evidence in their favour as does your own.

Did you try a few and pick out Christianity?

Thanks,

Hans Mast Says:
May 19th, 2007 at 4:25 am
It probably got nabbed by my spam filter. Weird.

I would love to read The Blind Watchmaker. Drop me an email at hansmast at hansmast dot com and we’ll exchange addresses.

My parents were Christians.

So here we go. Swallowing my misgivings about funding fundy book sales, by rationalising that "just one book won't hurt", and balancing this with the fact that a creationist is going to read a scientific classic in return I will now throw myself into "A Ready Defence".

The first chapter simply gives you all the benefits Josh feels he got from converting. This is the logical fallacy called "The argument from benefit." i.e. this doesn't make what he believes true - there are very good psychological evidence that all kinds of "known to be false" false beliefs make us feel better. Josh gives us no actual evidence in this chapter to confirm his belief is true.

Of course in passing I should also note that the followers of every other religion out there make exactly the same claims as Josh does for his. I assume that Josh would not accept these kind of statements from them as evidence that their god was real.

Chapter 2; He sets it up this way "The only reason the bible can be relevant today, as well as at all other times, is if it is true.". Just to be clear, he is arguing from the premise that if the bible is relevant then it is true.

Clearly this is a false premise as well as an unsupported assertion. For example I can write true things which are not relevant (many would point to my blog as primae facia evidence of this) and we can all make up "relevant" lies. So I must admit this particular chapter of evidence rather lost me at this point. I just kept thinking that even if he did go on to convince me that the bible is relevant today then so what? What would that prove anyway?

Well actually he is now asks if the bible itself "gives evidence" that it is from god? Again basic circular logic that kids start to pick each other up on by the tome they attend primary school. Disappointing, who is going to be convinced by this?

Now he loses me completely with this reality shaker; "Where the bible speaks on matters of science it does so with simple yet correct terms devoid of absurdities."

I think this is utter tosh.

I could write a whole blog just on this one topic but instead here are just a few holes in his assertion;
  • the bird's blood cure for leprosy - pretty ludicrous and whilst I am not aware of any medical trials I am fairly sure even Hans and Josh must accept that it won't work.
  • the fact that the moon is created as a separate light in the sky - we now know it shines with light reflected from the sun
  • the flood story (McDowell actually quotes this as an example in his favour) - Where did all the water come from? If the answer is "shazzam" then that is certainly not devoid of absurdities.
Don't even mention the age of the earth and evolution!

Anyway - lets soldier on to chapter 3.

Chapter 3; The uniqueness of the bible. The author now lists loads of things about the bible's continuity. When you read them they are just a list of who wrote different bits of it, over what time frames (not all independently verifiable), in different times and places. The author then recounts how these facts alone converted a book salesman who called at his house one day.

My observations about this evidence would be; "The facts don't show continuity and anyway the text contradicts itself too much."

Again I will restrain myself and just quote a couple of examples, just little things like;
  • Should we kill gays or just banish them? Which is it? You need to know to avoid an eternity of torture you know - guess wrong and its the lake of fire for you.
  • How about not the not killing bit in the commandments (either version) versus "blessed shall be they who smash their [god's enemies] babies on the rocks"?
Next we get claims of the bible's uniqueness of circulation. Again I am left asking how this proves anything? We are left to guess because the author doesn't say. If we are to judge veracity by popularity then why doesn't the fact that non-christians outnumber christians in the world at large prove something?

Next we get lists of lots of other things about the bible as if they proved something - agnever get an explanation of how or why these things prove anything. Things like "Survival", "Translation", "Teaching", "Influence".

His conclusion states that this doesn't prove it is the word of god but that it is unique - again I ask "so what?" - this blog is unique. He then quotes an unnamed authority figure "a professor" commenting that clever people know that "the Bible has the truth in it.".

- - -

Time out

Hans - this really is very childish stuff - is there a particular part of this book you found persuasive? Could I skip to that bit?

Oh well, a deal is a deal and I will read the whole thing if you insist but I sure hope it picks up a bit.

- - -

Duty gets the better of me and I soldier on again . . .

Chapter 4; Who decided what went into the bible? Rather than repeat his "evidence" he has made things slightly easier for me here by giving us an actual conclusion.
"It is as though a handful of people in an auditorium are given the same message to spread to everyone else in the auditorium. Every person has the freedom to verify with others what the true, original message was. Under these circumstances, one would expect that those who wanted to get the message right certainly could."
I will just list the logical errors in this little analogy and some ways in which it fails by not being a true or fair analogy in very important ways.
  • You would have to remove the original tellers of the message from the auditorium after they gave their message. They did actually die you know, and the first document he quotes (i.e. date of the copy/whisper is 850AD re the New Testament)
  • You would also have to have everyone else primed to disseminate other competing messages, some very similar to the message itself e.g. Mithras, other sects and religions etc. and others very different.
Have you ever played Chinese whispers? I have. I did it when running training courses in communication skills. One thing I learned is that whilst the output message is very unpredictable, if you play the game enough times with the same initial message then you start to notice commonalities among the wrong messages. It seems that the human mind ear combination seems to be good at moulding things according to its own tastes.

Also please note that the original message givers are no longer around, and many other messages are also being passionately attested to at this time.

Josh has elsewhere claimed that the bible is true because it has been printed the most times. It would appear that in his imaginary auditorium, the true message was similarly taken to be the most common message. Full stop end of thought. When you take my point above into account you realise that the original message has very little chance at all of being the answer judged to be the most popular.

Josh also makes some other huge assumptions right here when he says; "those who wanted to get the message right".

First of all he only "knows" that "those" (i.e. his priests) actually wanted to get it right because they said so. How does he know this is true?

Furthermore he does not even consider that people of the time would have been involved in the power struggles and political machinations of the day. These factors could easily have lead to them distorting the message deliberately, or even subconsciously to suit their own ends. How can we tell if this did happen? We can't. He offers no evidence regarding this at all.

Secondly, you can't judge the accuracy of a claim based upon the self claimed desire for truth of those giving the message. So what if A said he really really wanted to find the truth and B only really wanted to. It does not automatically follow that A is right and B is wrong.

From what I can see in the contents section of this book this chapter is fairly fundamental to his whole case.

If he can't persuade me that everything in the bible is an accurate account of what happened and that nothing true was left out, and that no possible human bias either intentional or not has influenced the contents, then any arguments he makes based upon those contents melt away like clouds in the sun.

Guess what? N0 I am not persuaded of any of these things - the author barely seems to have made a serious attempt.

He lists things he found persuasive and tells me of other folks who found them persuasive. He never even mentions anything other than very simplistic objections to his arguments. Perhaps he hasn't heard them? I doubt it. He leaves logical holes all over the place and doesn't even attempt to address them.

Before I get accused of making vague negative value judgements I would like to point out that clear examples of these faults and short comings are given above and I can throw more into the pot if you require.

I am going to post this now and let Hans know it is here.

I have only read 4 out of 60 sections but it would appear from the contents section that the rest of the book builds upon the foundation laid in the first few chapters.

Hans let me know if there are other bits of this book you find persuasive and why - I will happily read them and give you some feedback.

11 comments:

  1. The answer to most of his arguments about Biblical history is simply to read some actual scholarship on the subject. The fact that Scriptures are very much human documents becomes rapidly apparent once you simply stop ignoring the vast majority of history and evidence surrounding them.

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  2. You are correct in stating that these things alone are not sufficient proof that Bible is the inspired word of God. However, the weight of the entire book's evidence does support that conclusion ("The Bible is the inspired Word of God.").

    If you wish to say that the deal is off, that is fine with me. I don't have an overabundance of time right now. I feel like I need to substantively respond to The Blind Watchmaker, which will take a lot of time.

    However, I think you will find that you need to take the book as a whole. The probabilities of the fulfilled prophecies indicates divine origin.

    Let me know whether you want to cancel the deal. I'm going to read The Blind Watchmaker regardless.

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  3. Hi Hans,

    My point is that I have shown why the first four chapters undermine any claim that the contents of the bible are true.

    You seem to be accepting my argument that we cannot rule out errors or deliberate fiddling with the bible contents - this is after all the main thrust of my comments.

    I explain why I think the rest of the book is therefore irrelevant here;"I have only read 4 out of 60 sections but it would appear from the contents section that the rest of the book builds upon the foundation laid in the first few chapters.

    Hans let me know if there are other bits of this book you find persuasive and why - I will happily read them and give you some feedback."

    You haven't explained why this is logically wrong.

    You have commented that I must take the book as a whole my problem is that the rest of the book uses the bibles own contents as evidence for its veracity but these first four chapters show large holes in his "evidence" that the contents are true.

    Can't you see your circular logical here?

    Also a little aside to other forms of belief I currently think are false - did you know that your response is a classic plea of the UFO and ghost brigade i.e. every single bit of evidence is systematically shown to be rubbish so they claim that we should take it all as a whole but adding up lots of zero's equals zero.

    How can stuff written in the prophecies in the bible prove anything when we don't know they are true, were written when and by who and with what motives they claim to have been written?.

    If you agree that the first 4 chapters don't prove the contents are free of bias, errors and downright fibs then how can you use these contents to prove their own truth.

    Kids spot the error in this kind of thinking.

    Hans I asked you a question here;"Hans let me know if there are other bits of this book you find persuasive and why - I will happily read them and give you some feedback."

    What I was driving at was if there are other bits of proof that the bible is true which don't themselves depend upon an assumption that the bible is true. If there are I will be happy to read them, but from looking at the contents section I can't see any.

    If you want me to read the rest I will do so - however the review is likely to consist of "these chapters quote proofs which the first four chapters have refuted."

    I am happy to keep up the deal and publish your review on my blog - you said you had read 112 pages a little while back.

    Will you publish mine on yours as originally agreed?

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  4. I think that this is an interesting project - even if it is unlikely to sway any beliefs of opinions.

    I recently read "Evidence of Christianity" by William Paley (not the book about watches on heaths) which can be downloaded from http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/14780.

    When Paley wrote his works he could only structure his case based on scripture and his view of how early Christians behaved. The book is very interesting but it was written with the assumption that a Creator existed. This demonstrated to me that a believer will find arguments that support his case, and dismiss those that don't. People with a scientific worldview are also resistant to changing their views (they're only human after all) but will usually be convinced by sufficient verifiable evidence.

    My prediciton is that Hans Mast (who sounds like a nice person) will be resistant to the underlying message of the Blind Watchmaker because he is already convinced that his God interferes beneficially with daily life (in answers to prayer etc). My question to him would be "What about those times when bad things happen, despite prayer?".

    I'll not go off into arguments about the problems of pain and suffering for fear of threadjacking, but I would ask Psiloiordinary and Hans to read their books critically, but without the all too human response "this book conflicts with what I know to be true, therefore it is rubbish". A tough task for us all I fear.

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  5. Thanks for this input Discovered Joys. You are right in that my own unjustifiable assumption of empiricism is that I need evidence to believe something. However I am well aware of this bias of mine and will defend it on the basis that empiricism seems to work.

    Hans seemed to be saying he was a Christian for empirical reasons. He cited this book as providing proof of his god and his pet "scientific" theories. So far I find the evidence severely lacking.

    I don't think I have said "this book conflicts with what I know to be true, therefore it is rubbish" I think that I have given examples and reasons for why this book does not prove anything about the bible. Please correct me if you think this is not the case.

    Hans does seem nice, although his blog posting asking for people to pray with him for an earthquake or other act of god to destroy the Buddhist temples in his part of the world does rather contradict his manners.

    I suggested to him that praying for an overnight cure for all cancer in the world would prove his god exists just as effectively but in a more positive way but he hasn't answered that suggestion.

    When Hans quotes finding his wallet and putting it down to god then he would seem to be cruising on the outskirts of reality city and heading out in open country.

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  6. The first chapter simply gives you all the benefits Josh feels he got from converting. This is the logical fallacy called "The argument from benefit." i.e. this doesn't make what he believes true - there are very good psychological evidence that all kinds of "known to be false" false beliefs make us feel better. Josh gives us no actual evidence in this chapter to confirm his belief is true.

    You are engaging in a logical fallacy. That logical fallacy is saying that testimonials are not an indication of the quality of the product.

    Of course in passing I should also note that the followers of every other religion out there make exactly the same claims as Josh does for his. I assume that Josh would not accept these kind of statements from them as evidence that their god was real.

    No, actually they don't. Check it out rather than speculating about it.

    Chapter 2; He sets it up this way "The only reason the bible can be relevant today, as well as at all other times, is if it is true.". Just to be clear, he is arguing from the premise that if the bible is relevant then it is true.

    That is not the case, as clearly shown by the quote*. He is simply saying that if it is not true, it is irrelevant. There are some that would like to say that the Bible isn't true, but it's a nice psychological crutch. He is saying that it is useless if it is not true.

    Well actually he is now asks if the bible itself "gives evidence" that it is from god? Again basic circular logic that kids start to pick each other up on by the tome they attend primary school. Disappointing, who is going to be convinced by this?

    You need to work on some basic logical reasoning and reading comprehension. If the contents of a book are shown to be demonstrably false, then obviously it is not from God. However, if a book is shown to be true--not only in stating past events, but in predicting future events with 100% accuracy, then it is quite obviously very strong evidence that it is from God. Saying that the Bible provides evidence of its divine origin is not circular reasoning! That's like saying Oxygen providing evidence of itself having eight electrons and protons is circular evidence!

    Now he loses me completely with this reality shaker; "Where the bible speaks on matters of science it does so with simple yet correct terms devoid of absurdities."

    I think this is utter tosh.


    Glad to hear you acknowledging that that's your opinion.

    I could write a whole blog just on this one topic but instead here are just a few holes in his assertion;

    * the bird's blood cure for leprosy - pretty ludicrous and whilst I am not aware of any medical trials I am fairly sure even Hans and Josh must accept that it won't work.


    I haven't heard of that one, could you provide a reference? I'm guessing that it's talking about an explicitly supernatural healing rather than a scientific one.

    * the fact that the moon is created as a separate light in the sky - we now know it shines with light reflected from the sun

    That's semantics. The Bible doesn't say that it is a light source. It says it is a light. It is entirely correct to say that light comes from the moon.

    * the flood story (McDowell actually quotes this as an example in his favour) - Where did all the water come from? If the answer is "shazzam" then that is certainly not devoid of absurdities.

    The Bible says the "fountains of the deep" and the "windows of the sky". "Windows of the sky" means evaporated water in the atmosphere (it's a new discovery called rain) and the "fountains of the deep" is a new scientific discovery called aquifers (probably unleashed by gigantic seismic events; probably also included large underground rivers in karst topography).

    Don't even mention the age of the earth and evolution!

    Ok, we won't. ;-)

    Chapter 3; The uniqueness of the bible. The author now lists loads of things about the bible's continuity. When you read them they are just a list of who wrote different bits of it, over what time frames (not all independently verifiable), in different times and places. The author then recounts how these facts alone converted a book salesman who called at his house one day.

    My observations about this evidence would be; "The facts don't show continuity and anyway the text contradicts itself too much."


    Please stop pretending to know the Bible. I have studied the Bible from the age of a small child. I have just spent one and half years in Bible college. I am amazed again and again at the continuity, consistency, and non-contradictory nature of the Bible.

    If one wants to find inconsistencies in the Bible, there are many places where a superficial reading--without really studying--indicates that it seems to contradict, but most times they are quickly demolished by anyone who actually knows the Bible.

    Again I will restrain myself and just quote a couple of examples, just little things like;

    * Should we kill gays or just banish them? Which is it? You need to know to avoid an eternity of torture you know - guess wrong and its the lake of fire for you.


    Leviticus 20:13 is the Israelite civil code and prescribes the death penalty for homosexuality. I Kings 15:12, 22:46, and 23:7 are historical accounts of the Kings of Israel. Many of these Kings of Israel were very evil and did not follow the Lord. There were a few kings that did some things right, but even those Kings did not do everything right. For instance, the King mentioned in 15:12 banished the homosexuals and broke down idols, but he did not remove the high places. So we do not see conflicting laws, but rather a single law and a half-hearted and incorrect fulfillment of that law.

    * How about not the not killing bit in the commandments (either version) versus "blessed shall be they who smash their [god's enemies] babies on the rocks"?

    The Hebrew word used for "kill" in "Thou shalt not kill" has the connotation of murder. Murder does not include war.

    Next we get claims of the bible's uniqueness of circulation. Again I am left asking how this proves anything? We are left to guess because the author doesn't say. If we are to judge veracity by popularity then why doesn't the fact that non-christians outnumber christians in the world at large prove something?

    Once again, these are supporting facts, not end all proofs. The simple fact that non-Christians outnumber Christians is in itself a testimony to the truth of the Bible (Matt. 7:14).

    Next we get lists of lots of other things about the bible as if they proved something - agnever get an explanation of how or why these things prove anything. Things like "Survival", "Translation", "Teaching", "Influence".

    His conclusion states that this doesn't prove it is the word of god but that it is unique - again I ask "so what?" - this blog is unique. He then quotes an unnamed authority figure "a professor" commenting that clever people know that "the Bible has the truth in it.".


    Once again you are engaging in the fallacy of saying that since a single fact doesn't prove the point by itself, it is invalid evidence. That's like saying wind and rain are not two valid proofs that there is currently a thunderstorm raging over my head because neither, in and of themselves, prove the existence of a thunderstorm.

    * I don't have the book in front of me, so I have to go by your quotes and foggy memories. I could be wrong in what he is saying.

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  7. I might add that rejecting evidence simply because it by itself does not prove that the Bible is true is the most significant mistake you are making in your analysis.

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  8. * You would have to remove the original tellers of the message from the auditorium after they gave their message. They did actually die you know, and the first document he quotes (i.e. date of the copy/whisper is 850AD re the New Testament)

    Granted.

    * You would also have to have everyone else primed to disseminate other competing messages, some very similar to the message itself e.g. Mithras, other sects and religions etc. and others very different.

    Yes, but there was clear authority of apostleship in the early church. This apostleship was bestowed by Christ, whether when he was physically on earth or when he appeared to Paul on the Damascus road. There was a clear distinction between what was said with authority (apostles) and what was simply attempts at perversion and syncretism (without apostolic authority). Yes, you go the route of syncretism, but it was no longer Christianity and those preserving the message of Christianity did not regard it as such.

    Josh has elsewhere claimed that the bible is true because it has been printed the most times. It would appear that in his imaginary auditorium, the true message was similarly taken to be the most common message. Full stop end of thought. When you take my point above into account you realise that the original message has very little chance at all of being the answer judged to be the most popular.

    You are not only once again engaging in the logical fallacy of "discarding evidence on the basis of not by itself proving", but you are also not making sense in your last sentence. The Bible is a quite unpopular message. The whole bit about allowing someone to slap your other cheek if they hit you on one cheek is not exactly comfy, popular teaching. Indeed, the very nature of popularity militates toward a pure Bible having been preserved because it was not a warm fuzzy Bible that emerged. It was one that was difficult and counter-intuitive to follow.

    If he can't persuade me that everything in the bible is an accurate account of what happened and that nothing true was left out, and that no possible human bias either intentional or not has influenced the contents, then any arguments he makes based upon those contents melt away like clouds in the sun.

    No indeed. In fact, it is the very contents of the Bible--when juxtaposed with historical and archaeological data--that give its strongest proofs.

    He lists things he found persuasive and tells me of other folks who found them persuasive. He never even mentions anything other than very simplistic objections to his arguments. Perhaps he hasn't heard them? I doubt it. He leaves logical holes all over the place and doesn't even attempt to address them.

    I have shown that these "logical holes" were only you not taking time to fully think through what he is saying. It's easy to find lots of surface problems with what someone is saying. But that comes from lack of comprehension. It takes real work to comprehend and respond intelligently. If you really want to know the truth of the matter, ask God to show it to you as you read.

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  9. I have only read 4 out of 60 sections but it would appear from the contents section that the rest of the book builds upon the foundation laid in the first few chapters.

    Like I have said before, it's a puzzle that fits together. No piece by itself shows the complete picture.

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  10. Hans, you make accusations like this: "You are engaging in a logical fallacy. That logical fallacy is saying that testimonials are not an indication of the quality of the product."

    You can't just call something a logical fallacy and then not explain how it is or which one it is. You were already given a perfectly good reason why psychological benefits are NOT good arguments for the veracity of some belief. You offer no argument here. The logical fallacy of argument from benefit really IS an informal logical fallacy. What is your claimed logical fallacy in responding to it?

    "No, actually they don't. Check it out rather than speculating about it."

    But it has been checked out, and you're wrong. Virtually every faith and even various goofy new-age beliefs like whatever Oprah is shilling this week all feature followers with joyful tears over how wonderful their beliefs make them feel. You cannot accept this as evidence for veracity in just your pet belief system and then ignore it for all the others.

    "That is not the case, as clearly shown by the quote*. He is simply saying that if it is not true, it is irrelevant. There are some that would like to say that the Bible isn't true, but it's a nice psychological crutch. He is saying that it is useless if it is not true."

    Whether or not it is "ultimately" useless in the sense the Apostle Paul means it is one thing, but the actual issue here is whether it is functionally useless to people here on earth, so you are just engaging in a bait and switch. And it clearly IS useful for people regardless of its veracity (not least of which because so many different people believe so many different and contradictory things and yet all feel it personally and spiritually "productive").

    Again, you've offerred no coherent counter-argument here.

    "That's semantics. The Bible doesn't say that it is a light source. It says it is a light. It is entirely correct to say that light comes from the moon."

    This is a pretty good example of how sloppily you'll allow the Bible to be read and interpreted to fit a conclusion. The fact is, people who lived around the time of this story clearly DID believe, as is made plain by all sorts of other historical sources, that the moon was itself a source of light. The passage discussing this in Genesis reflects that conception quite exactly: no hint is given that it's actually a correction of the common mistaken view: that it's "REALLY" saying only that light comes from the direction of the moon because its reflected off of it. If the author of the Bible had some special insight on that, that would be MORE reason to highlight this difference and hence be more clear about it, not to simply state it in the conventional fashion so that every reader at the time would interpret it as their incorrect conception. The same is the case for the dome of the earth, the corners of the earth, and other such things. For the bible to demonstrate some special insight on these topics, it would have to say something that showed that it wasn't just repeating common beliefs of the time in pretty much the exact language of the time... but there is no evidence of this. And yet, you then want to read the passage as saying something it doesn't say and no one who wrote or originally read it would have understood it to say. With such a high degree of flexibility, you could interpret it as saying nearly anything at all.

    And so on. Just as lots and lots of really lousy arguments for a 9/11 conspiracy don't make the 9/11 Truther position any more valid, the mere fact that McDowell can make a lot of claims about the truth of the Bible is not itself very convincing, particularly when the quality of those claims is so poor. What you and McDowell are doing is basically piling countless little sloppy arguments on top of each other and then pretending that whether they make sense or not doesn't matter: look at how MANY arguments we can make, that MUST mean our conclusion is true!

    Unfortunately, the ability to make lots and lots of lousy arguments is not unique to you guys either.

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  11. Hi Hans,

    Anonymous has shown you most of your mistakes. Lets mop up the rest.

    Do you seriously claim that testimonials are evidence of the truth of the bible?

    Yes Hans the other religions do claim they are true by making the same kinds of fallacious claims - you check it out.

    No Hans you can't logically reason that the bible claiming to be the word of god proves it is the word of god. Remember that this book was recommended by you as it would prove that bible was the word of god. We haven't seen ANY yet. So an argument based upon the assumption that this is true can't be used to prove it is true. Use your 97.8% on that.

    I am glad that you are glad I have given my opinion - usual stuff in reviews you know. BTW I don't think that anyone should torture you in eternity because you don't agree with me.

    Birds blood cure for leprosy is Leviticus 14. In whose opinion is this explicitly supernatural bit of the bible whereas the flood isn't? How do you know you are right?

    The moon isn't a light - the bible says it is. Nil pointes.

    How do you know that "windows of the sky" means evaporated water?

    Hans, you are self proclaimed as being very clever. Do the maths for me and show me what volume of water is required to cover the whole earth to the depth claimed in the flood story. Tell me where it came from, how much it weighed and where it is now.

    I await your answer with interest. Oh and nothing explicitly supernatural remember.

    Hans you didn't answer me -should we kill or banish gays?

    So killing in warfare is not a sin. What counts as a war? Who has to declare it for it to count? Where does it tell you this from the bible?

    Smashing babies on rocks in warfare is not a sin? You don't seem to be sick enough to really believe this. Do you?

    Hans I haven't seen any facts which prove the bible is in-errant, not in his book and not even claimed as such by you.

    To prove something you need a chain of logic which leads from agreed premises to your conclusion. I haven;t seen a single solid link. You simply claiming that we have loads and loads of broken links and surely that counts for something is plain silly.

    Regarding the auditorium message you brush my points aside with unsupported story telling. I wanted proof Hans.

    The logical fallacy of "disregarding evidence on the basis of not by itself proving" is more commonly know as throwing out the garbage. If the evidence does prove it, the it doesn't prove it. No matter how many separate bits of evidence that don't prove you case you stack up they still don't prove it.

    Hans - go and read what "proof" means.

    BTW I have a few pages on what logical fallacies actually are (and no they are not "arguments that you don't like" )- why don't you check them out here and here?

    * yes you are wrong, I can understand why you would think he couldn't make such a daft claim, but he does.

    PS Anonymous - thank you for your eloquent input.

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