Chronology of Jesus Evidence

30 – 33 CE Jesus died per the Gospels.
34 – Nothing
35 – Nothing
36 – Nothing
37 – Nothing
38 – Nothing
39 – Nothing
40 – Nothing
41 – Nothing
42 – Nothing
43 – Nothing
44 – Nothing
45 – Nothing
46 – Nothing
47 – Nothing. Philo of Alexandria dies this year. He was a leader of a large Jewish community in Alexandria. He spent time in Jerusalem where he had connections with the royal house of Judaea. He had family ties to the House of Herod. Philo wrote over 800,000 words about the Jewish religion and commentaries on politics. Despite all this, he knows and writes nothing of Christians or Jesus.
48 – Nothing
49 – Nothing
50 – Nothing
51 – Nothing
52 – Nothing
53 – Nothing
54 – Nothing
55 – (23-25 years after Jesus’ death) 1 Corinthians estimated to be written at this date by Paul (no mention of any of Jesus deeds/events as known from the Gospels/Acts. Paul never saw Jesus before he supposedly lived… only after he had risen in visions. Not one thing from an earthly life of Jesus. Not one quote from Jesus.
56 – Nothing
58 – Nothing
59 – Nothing
60 – Nothing
61 – Nothing
62 – Nothing
63 – Nothing
64 – Nothing
65 – Nothing. Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Younger) dies this year. He lived in Rome, worked under Nero and wrote about many topics including religion. He never mentions a multitude of Christians in Rome or Jesus. In the 4th century… Christians embarrassed by the lack of historical evidence for Jesus… forge letters between Seneca and Paul. During his life, Seneca wrote about his brother, Junius Annaeus Gallio, being in Achaia. Seneca’s writings would be available to the anonymous author of Luke when he wrote Acts 18:12. Inserting Paul into actual history. Seneca the Younger also wrote of eclipses and earthquakes, but fails to mentions the darkness that covered “all the land” or the earthquakes mentioned in the Gospels.
66 – Nothing
67 – Nothing
68 – Nothing
69 – First Epistle of Clement is assumed to be written in the 90s by an anonymous author, however there is no justification of that date. No mention of an earthly Jesus or any quotes from him. Apparently had no knowledge of the Gospels. Nothing in the writing contradicts an earlier dating. Dating in the 60s would make more sense based on what was actually written in it.
70 – (40 years after Jesus’ death) Mark estimated to be written at this date by an anonymous author. Earliest complete manuscript is from the 4th century. These end at Mark 16:8. There is no post resurrection Jesus in the early copies. The majority of scholars believe this to be the original ending. Early Church Fathers Eusebius and Jerome confirm 16:8 is the ending.
71 – Nothing
72 – Nothing
73 – Nothing
74 – Nothing
75 – Nothing
76 – Nothing
77 – Nothing
78 – Nothing
79 – Nothing
80 – (50 years after Jesus’ death) Matthew estimated to be written at this date by an anonymous author
81 – Nothing
82 – Nothing
83 – Nothing
84 – Nothing
85 – Nothing
86 – Nothing
87 – Nothing
88 – Nothing
89 – Nothing
90 – (60 years after Jesus’ death) Luke/Acts estimated to be written by an anonymous author. Earliest fragments are from the 3rd Century. Earliest full manuscript from the 4th century.
91 – Nothing
92 – Nothing
93 – (63 years after Jesus death) Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews estimated to be written, includes two references to the biblical Jesus Christ: Books 18 and 20. Most consider the larger entry to be a Christian interpolation most likely by Eusebius. Josephus’ was born several years after Gospel Jesus’ death. Even if the entry is genuine, it was written after the availability of Mark/Luke/Acts. The stories were spreading and Josephus doesn’t name the source of information. This can’t be shown to be independent of the Gospels as historical evidence of Jesus.
94 – Nothing
95 – Nothing
96 – Nothing
97 – Nothing
98 – Nothing
99 – Nothing
100 – (70 years after Jesus’ death) John Written estimated to be written at this date by anonymous author. Earliest manuscript scrap found dates to sometime between 117 CE and 138 CE.
101 – Nothing
102 – Nothing
103 – Nothing
104 – Nothing
105 – Nothing
106 – Nothing
107 – Nothing
108 – Nothing
109 – Nothing
110 – Nothing
111 – Nothing
112 – Pliny the Younger (in Turkey) writes a letter to Emperor Trajan talking about trials of suspected Christians who appeared before him as a result of anonymous accusations and asks for the Emperor’s guidance on how they should be treated. He calls the Christian belief a “depraved, excessive superstition.” He also speaks of Christians recanting their beliefs, blaspheming Jesus’ name, and worshiping other gods when threatened with punishment. Trajan’s reply indicates Christians were not sought out or tracked down by imperial orders, and that persecutions were local and sporadic. Nothing about an historic Jesus. None of this information is independent of Christians or their knowledge of the Gospels.
113 – Nothing
114 – Nothing
115 – Nothing
116 – (83 years after Jesus death) Tacitus’ Annals estimated to be written at this date referred to ‘Chrestus’ and his execution by Pontius Pilate (book 15, chapter 44). Sources are not named, this Chrestus could possibly be someone else since Chrestus was a common name at the time. Even if this is Jesus… what was Tacitus’ source? Most likely Christians at the time or his friend Pliny the Younger. Tacitus was born over a decade after Gospel Jesus’ death. Not like he could go and verify, nor would he waste so much time on a such a trivial passage.  It wouldn’t be far out to think that Christians told Pliny about the Gospels, then Pliny told Tacitus, and Tacitus wrote it down. We can’t verify Tacitus’ information comes from any source independent of the Gospels.
117 – Nothing
118 – Nothing
119 – Nothing
120 – Nothing
121 – Nothing
122 – Suetonius writes the Lives of the Twelve Caesars. “Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.”

Apologetics Use of Simon Greenleaf – Lying for Jesus

The meme seen below displays a common apologetic claim.

The basics of it are:

Greenleaf was an agnostic, some say atheist, who believed the resurrection of Jesus Christ was either a hoax or a myth.  No stranger to truth, and to the proof of the truth, Greenleaf was a principal founder of the Harvard Law School and a world-renowned expert on evidence. Challenged by one of his students one day to “consider the evidence” for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Greenleaf set out to disprove it, but ended up concluding that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was indeed fact, not fiction.  Being a man of conviction and reason, and in accordance with his conclusions, Greenleaf converted from Agnosticism to Christianity.

Greenleaf was not an atheist or agnostic or Jew that converted to Christianity by the evidence for the resurrection. He was livelong, active member of the Episcopal Church. He set out to “prove” what he already believed to be true. There is no evidence that he was challenged by his students. While there are elements of truth to the story, the major points which make this a compelling argument for some apologist are not true.
Greenleaf was on the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Maine of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1827.
(see here) His book was published in 1846.

Not very agnostic/atheist of him.

Just more lying for Jesus. Or at least repeating a lie.

Proverbs 13:5

greenleaf

The Birth of Scientific Creationism and Flood Geology

Some Christians are mistaken and think that the Young Earth Creationism as expressed by Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries International, the Institute for Creation Research and other groups is as old as the Bible itself. This is not true. The modern Young Earth Creationist (YEC) movement stems from a very different source at a very different time.

The modern YEC movement was spawned by a vision of Ellen White (1827-1915).ellenwhite

While viciously attacked as a false prophet by some Christians, (link 1, link 2) she is lauded as the co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church established in 1863. Seventh-day Adventists believe she was inspired by God as a prophet.

“One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.” – From “28 Fundamental Beliefs”

Modern young earth creationism can be traced back to one of White’s visions concerning the Global Flood as described in Chapter 8 of her book, “The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets.”

“The entire surface of the earth was changed at the Flood…As the waters began to subside, the hills and mountains were surrounded by a vast turbid sea. Everywhere were strewn the dead bodies of men and beasts. The Lord would not permit these to remain to decompose and pollute the air, therefore He made of the earth a vast burial ground. A violent wind which was caused to blow for the purpose of drying up the waters, moved them with great force, in some instances even carrying away the tops of the mountains and heaping up trees, rocks, and earth above the bodies of the dead…

At this time immense forests were buried. These have since been changed to coal, forming
the extensive coal beds that now exist and yielding large quantities of oil.”

Her science denial was not based on any evidence, other than her reading of the Bible and visions.

“We need to guard continually against those books which contain sophistry in regard to geology and other branches of science… [T]hey need to be carefully sifted from every trace of infidel suggestions… It is a mistake to put into the hands of the youth books that perplex and confuse them.”

Her vision of the flood got widely dispersed due to the work of Seventh-day Adventist George McCready Price (1870 -1963). GeorgeMcCreadyPricePrice took the words of his prophetess seriously.

“Geology cannot tell us the age of such fossils; only the Bible can.” – George McCready Price

McCready first knew of a young earth, then set out to prove it. He taught himself geology in order to refute evolution and the current findings of geology. In 1902 he self published a booklet called “Outline of Modern Science and Modern Christianity,” where he laid out his “Flood Geology” arguments. In 1906 he produced another book titled, “Illogical Geology: The Weakest Point in the Evolution Theory.”

Price’s ideas were never taken seriously by practicing geologists. However, during the time of Price’s anti-science propaganda publishing, the Christian Fundamentalism movement was emerging and had found a an enemy with Evolution. The fundamentalists started to embrace Price’s work as it’s flood geology also targeted evolution. Even though many of the Fundamentalist had no problem with an old earth or non-literal interpretation of Genesis, the ammunition provided by Price’s flood geology brought the two camps together.

According to The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism,

“In the 1930s a group of mostly Seventh Day Adventists founded the Deluge Geological Society (DGS) while in the 1940s a second group, mostly Baptists associated with Wheaton College, founded the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA). The ASA focused on the interplay of Christianity and science whereas the DGS sought to bring interpretations of the geological record into accord with a strict Biblical interpretation.

The ASA and DGS merged briefly in the 1940s but ultimately split largely after a talk given by a young ASA member, J. Lawrence Kulp. Kulp studied C14 dating methods with Urey at Chicago and then set up the second C14 lab in the country at Columbia University. On the basis of emerging C14 results, Kulp told the combined group in 1949 that there was no escaping an interpretation of great antiquity for the human race. The result was a permanent rift. In the 1950s Ph.D. hydrologist and fundamentalist, Henry M. Morris, and broadly educated seminarian and Bible teacher, John C. Whitcomb, Jr., joined forces. They updated many of the ideas of George McCready Price’s New Geology (1923) to produce The Genesis Flood (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961). Morris believed the ASA “was too permeated with evolution ever to be reclaimed.” He and eight like-minded individuals, including Ph.D. biologist Duane Gish, met in 1961 with the purpose of founding a new group based on the philosophy and ideas of the book. Out of this nucleus came the Creation Research Society (CRS) in 1963 and the scientific creationist movement.

Largely under the influence of Morris and Gish, the CRS has grown into a national and international network of organizations with links to the parent Institute for Creation Research (ICR).”

While the above does not account for the entire history of Creation “science” it does give a brief overview of its origins.

Here are some key happenings in the movement.

* 1890 – Ellen White’s visions unleashed in The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets

* 1902 – Price (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) published Outline of Modern Science and Modern Christianity

* 1906 – Price (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) published Illogical Geology: The Weakest Point in the Evolution Theory

* 1911 – Price (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) published God’s Two Books: Plain facts about evolution, geology, and the Bible

* 1923 – Price (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) published New Geology

* 1924 – Yale geologist Schuchert’s review of The New Geology for the magazine Science stated that Price was “harboring a geological nightmare”

* March 21, 1925 – The Butler Act (Tennessee Anti-Evolution Act, better known as the Tennessee Monkey Law) passed into Tennessee law prohibiting public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of man‘s origin. Named after John W. Butler (A Democrat farmer and great admirer of Christian Fundamentalist, William Jennings Bryan) who stated later, “I didn’t know anything about evolution… I’d read in the papers that boys and girls were coming home from school and telling their fathers and mothers that the Bible was all nonsense.”and “I never had any idea my bill would make a fuss. I just thought it would become a law, and that everybody would abide by it and that we wouldn’t hear any more of evolution in Tennessee.”

* May 5, 1925 –  (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) George Price’s crazy geology was popularized during the Scopes Trial . A Tennessee high school science teacher, agreed to be tried for violating the Butler Act. Scopes, who had substituted for the regular biology teacher, was charged on May 5, 1925, with teaching evolution from a chapter in Civic Biology, a textbook by George William Hunter, that described the theory of evolution, race and eugenics. The case was prosecuted by Christian Fundamentalist, Democrat, prohibitionist, William Jennings Bryan (not a scientist) he used arguments heavily from George Price’s works. Even though Bryan “not only read the Mosaic “days” as geological “ages” but allowed for the possibility of organic evolution—so long as it did not impinge on the supernatural origin of Adam and Eve.” He wasn’t a Young Earth Creationist. Bryan had appealed to Price for assistance, but Price was busy teaching in England. Price advised Bryan to avoid science during the trial if possible. During the trial, defense counsel Clarence Darrow, sneered “You mentioned Price because he is the only human being in the world so far as you know that signs his name as a geologist that believes like you do . . . every scientist in this country knows [he] is a mountebank and a pretender and not a geologist at all.”

*1941 – University-trained conservative evangelical scientists founded the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) “flood geologists” thought this society would provide a receptive forum for their conclusions. It did not.

*1951 – Ken Ham is born.

* 1961 – Whitcomb (Theologian) and Morris (Civil Engineer) publish The Genesis Flood. (an updating of (self taught geologist/Seventh-day Adventist) Price’s work)

* 1969 – The ASA Journal published a highly critical commentary of The Genesis Flood by J. R. van der Fliert, a Dutch Reformed geologist at the Free University of Amsterdam, who called Whitcomb and Morris “pseudo-scientific” pretenders.

* May 18, 1967 – Butler Act repealed in Tennessee after 42 years of science censorship in the state.

* 1970 – Morris co-founded the Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian College) with Tim F. LaHaye co-author of the fictional Left Behind series of books.  The college was a place where studies could be developed within the framework of creationism based on the Genesis creation narrative. Graduate of note: Carrie Prejean (Miss USA runner up and sex tape scandal victim)

* 1972 – Institute for Creation Research (ICR) is spawned from the Christian Heritage College over an organizational split.

* 1974 – Ken Ham became influenced by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris‘s The Genesis Flood in 1974 during college.

* 1976 – Carl Wieland (a medical doctor) formed the Creation Science Association (CSA), a South Australian creationist organization.

* 1978 – Evolution: The Fossils Say No! published by Duane Gish of ICR and of “Gish Gallup” fame.

* 1979 – Ken Ham quit teaching highschool and co-founded Creation Science Educational Media Services (CSEMS) with John Mackay.

* 1980 – Carl Wieland’s Creation Science Association (CSA) merges with Ham’s Creation Science Educational Media Services (CSEMS) to become the Creation Science Foundation (CSF)

* 1981 – ICR Graduate School opened for business. Here are some graduates:

  • Dave Jolly is an administrator with Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis
  • Dave and Mary Jo Nutting have formed a creationist ministry the “Alpha-Omega Institute”
  • Paul Anders, went on to get an M.Div. in the theological field and is teaching at Trinity Seminary
  • John Whitmore (Geology) teaching at Christian College
  • Lindy Lu Swanson teaching at Christian College
  • Pierre Willems teaching at Christian College
  • David Hillaker teaching at Christian College
  • John Rajca is Curator of the ICR Museum of Creation and Earth History
  • Bill Hoesch is on the ICR Geology Department staff
  • Debbie Brooks working for ICR
  • John Arend working for ICR
  • Cliff Paiva ICRGS says “had a distinguished career in scientific military research” but it seems he is now a conspiracy theorist (http://smtp.antelecom.net/blogs/BSMRAMainsite/) working on 9/11 conspiracies and serpents living in the SF bay.
  • Dr. Sharon Cargo is a practicing veterinarian
  • Mark Armitage is working for ICR
  • SEEMS all graduates don’t apply their education to any real world job.

* 1984 – Morris, in his 1984 book History of Modern Creationism, spoke glowingly of George Price’s logic and writing style, and referred to reading The New Geology as “a life-changing experience for me”

* 1987 – John Mackay accused Margaret Buchanan, then Ken Ham’s personal secretary, of being a demonically possessed practitioner of witchcraft attempting to undermine the Australian organization and Mackay, as well as of practicing necrophilia. John Mackay departs Creation Science Foundation (CSF) and later founds another organization called Creation Research (CR).

* 1987 – Ken Ham was seconded by CSF to work for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) in the US

* 1988 – Creation Science Foundation changes into Answers in Genesis.

* 1994 – Ken Ham left ICR to found Creation Science Ministry (CSM) which then became Answers In Genesis-USA!

* later 1994 – Creation Science Foundation (CSF) changes name to Answers in Genesis (AiG)

* 2006 – Answers in Genesis (AiG) split up. The US and UK branches retained the AiG name and control of the AiG website under Ham’s leadership. The Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and South African branches rebranded themselves as Creation Ministries International (CMI), under the leadership of Carl Wieland.

* 2009 – Dispute between AIG and CSI has been settled.

Funny fact: “CMI publishes Alien Intrusion, UFOs and the Evolution Connection, the author of which was featured on Coast to Coast AM. The description of the interviews says that “aliens are actually fallen angels who are not extraterrestrial in nature, but rather inter-dimensional. … He noted that some people had been able to stop alien abductions from taking place … by invoking the name of Christ. He suggested that this lends credence to the idea that the aliens are demonic in nature, and thus susceptible to invocations that run counter to them.” – http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Creation_Ministries_International

 

Early Views on Young Earth Creationism

Many modern Young Earth Creationist believe their current view to be one held by early Christians continuously until present times. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of the earliest recorded writings from after the birth of Christianity show us otherwise:

“And on the sixth day God finished his work which he had made.” It would be a sign of great simplicity to think that the world was created in six days, or indeed at all in time; because all time is only the space of days and nights, and these things the motion of the sun as he passes over the earth and under the earth does necessarily make. But the sun is a portion of heaven, so that one must confess that time is a thing posterior to the world. Therefore it would be correctly said that the world was not created in time, but that time had its existence in consequence of the world. For it is the motion of the heaven that has displayed the nature of time.

When, therefore, Moses says, “God completed his works on the sixth day,” we must understand that he is speaking not of a number of days, but that he takes six as a perfect number.” -Philo (c. 20 BC – c. 50 AD) from the Works of Philo book 2

 

“What man of intelligence, I ask, will consider it a reasonable statement that the first and the second and the third day, in which there are said to be both morning and evening, existed without sun and moon and stars, while the first day was even without a heaven? And who could be found so silly as to believe that God, after the manner of a farmer, ‘planted trees in a paradise East of Eden’? … And … when God is said to ‘walk in the paradise in the evening, … I do not think anyone will doubt that these are figurative expressions which indicate certain mysteries through semblance of history.” -Origen (c. 184 – 254 AD)

 

“Whether you call it a ‘day’ or whether you call it ‘eternity’, you express the same idea.” – Basil of Caesarea (c. 329 – 379 AD) in Hexaemeron

 

“Of what fashion these days were, it is either very hard or almost impossible to think, much more to speak. As for ordinary days, we see that they have no morning or evening but as the sun sets and rises. But the first three days had no sun, for that was made on the fourth day.” – St Augustine (c. 354-430 AD)

 

If we go back to the earliest Christian teachers we will find a substantial focus on metaphorical and spiritual meanings of the Bible, more than maybe a modern Christian might expect. Roger Forster and Paul Marston write in “Reason and Faith” (Monarch, 1989):

In [the Church Fathers] there was, compared with today, a much greater emphasis on allegorical meaning of scripture. Thus, for example, Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 led many of them to take an allegorical interpretation of the ‘days’ in Genesis 1 to mean millenia. This view is expressed, for example, by Barnabas, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Methodius, Lactantius, Theophilus and John of Damascus.

In the first half of the nineteenth century geologists like the evangelical Christian Cambridge Professor Adam Sedgwick developed the geological column much as it is today. He was a believer in the global flood and died a believer in a global flood. They knew the earth was very old, though none of them believed in evolution. By 1855 there was no serious theologian or scientist in Europe or America who believed the world made in six literal days six thousand years ago. Darwin published his book on evolution The Origin of Species in 1859. Darwin had supporters amongst all the major groups of Christians including evangelicals, and none of the famous figures who opposed him believed that the earth was a recent creation made in six days. Such ideas developed only in 20th century America.

Currently, science indicates an Earth some 4.6bn years old, but some people think the Genesis account of six “days” requires a geologically young Earth of 6,000-10,000 years. But that is not so. The historian, Professor David Livingstone, summarized a 19th-century perspective, when he wrote in Darwin’s Forgotten Defenders in 1987 that, “by and large, Christian geologists had both encountered and accommodated the issue of the age of the Earth long before the appearance of Darwin’s theory”.

http://www.academia.edu/793021/Interpreting_Genesis_in_the_21st_Century

http://noanswersingenesis.org.au/saintaugustine.htm

Does religion help societies more than it handicaps them?

http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2011/10/17/is-religion-good-for-society/11378

Caesar vs. Jesus – Historical Evidence

Could this be the dumbest or most ignorant meme ever created? :

bs

Yes. Yes it could.

First… let us handle this 13,000 manuscripts fib. They may as well say 13 billion and count every bible in existence.

If one has a receipt from the store saying they bought a gallon of milk and someone makes 13,000 copies of parts of that receipt, it doesn’t add to the historicity of them buying the gallon of milk. THE END.

The manuscript evidence for Jesus comes down to the four gospels and Acts. One cannot count parts of the new testament that don’t mention Jesus in real world situations as evidence for the historicity of a character.

The oldest “manuscript” in support of Jesus is a tiny scrap of the Gospel of John, called fragment P52 dated somewhere between 117 CE and 138 CE. (If you think Jesus died in 33 CE, then this means the earliest piece of text from a Gospel came 84 to 105 years after his death. Who do you know that died 84 years ago? What did you write about them?)

p52

This is one of the “13,000 manuscripts about Jesus” mentioned in the meme above. It measures at 8.9cm x 6cm. What does it say when translated?

the Jews, “For us
anyone,” so that the w
oke signifyin
die. En
rium P
and sai
Jews?”

on the back:

this I have been born
world so that I would test-
of the truth
Said to him
and this
the Jews
not one

We have six of these kind of scraps dating from the second century CE, but they may be later. (P52, P66, P77, P90, P103, and P104)

But what is the second oldest scrap of a manuscript?

Egerton Papyrus 2 containing portions from an unknown Gospel.

Jesus walked and stood on the bank of the Jordan river; he reached out his right hand, and filled it…. And he sowed it on the… And then…water…and…before their eyes; and it brought forth fruit…many…for joy…

So included in our “13,000 manuscripts” are evidence for a Jesus that Christians don’t worship and a story, an incomplete account of a miracle, they wouldn’t see as historical.

The truth is there are about 720 root texts for the New Testament. Most of those texts are medieval. Of the surviving texts very few are complete books. About 14 of these are before 200 C.E. Many of these fragments have fewer than 20 words.

But none of that matters. Like much work of the time, we don’t have any of it. We just have copies made hundreds of years after the fact. What matters is content. This is why we know so much about Caesar and his acts. We have extant manuscripts from various historians. Actual historians that weren’t just writing a religious novel about one man, but actual histories of various men living in their time. Further, for Caesar, we have letters to and from other people talking about Caesar. People that didn’t even like him. This is where we part from the gospel authors who have no historical writings to their name.

Are the Gospels evidence for the historicity of Jesus?

Based on historical method, the Gospels are extremely weak. They don’t name their authors and they don’t name their sources. They don’t name how they got their information or who they got it from. The traditional naming of the authors is complete fabrication. None of the evidence holds up the probability of this case. In fact, it goes against it.

Despite common belief taught in Sunday school, they don’t show their sources. None of them. Not even Luke (Who is often touted to be a “great historian.”)

If we look at the “Guide to the Historical Method.” We ask some question for external Criticism.

  1. When was the source, written or unwritten, produced (date)? Don’t know.
  2. Where was it produced (localization)? Don’t know.
  3. By whom was it produced (authorship)? Don’t know.
  4. From what preexisting material was it produced (analysis)? Don’t know.
  5. In what original form was it produced (integrity)? Don’t know.
  6. What is the evidential value of its contents (credibility)? Don’t know.

Based on the above. We don’t know much anything about the date, localization, authorship, analysis, integrity or credibility.

Further, all the accounts of the Gospels conflict with each other. This is often argued by apologist using the analogy of eyewitnesses to a car accident reporting slightly different stories. Sounds good on the surface but this isn’t what we are dealing with concerning the Gospels. These are huge differences that any reasonable person could not possible get wrong. If a detective was talking to these “witnesses” he would throw them in the drunk tank and let them sober up.

contradiction

 

What about extra-biblical evidence for the historicity of Jesus?

There is none. No contemporary historian in the area wrote about Jesus. All extra biblical evidence is from historians after Jesus’ death reporting hearsay from Christians or what they could have read in the New Testament. Most of the evidence they provide is for the existence of Christians. Nothing on any fact or act about Jesus’ life.

timeline

What about archeological evidence for Jesus or his followers?

There is none.

What about archeological evidence for Caesar?

We have coins dated to his lifetime:

coins

We have busts made during his lifetime:

bust

We have no such things for Jesus or his followers.

What about literary sources for Caesar?

  1. Diodorus Siculus (1st century BCE)
  2. Quintus Curtius Rufus (1st century CE)
  3. Plutarch (2nd century CE)
  4. Flavius Arrianus Xenophon (Arrian) (2nd century CE)
  5. M. Junianus Justinus (Justin) (3rd century CE)

How are they different than the Gospel writers?

The authors are not anonymous and they cite their multiple sources. We know who they are, when they lived, what they did. They wrote not just about one man, but many different men. We can judge their credibility based on their work. They didn’t write with the sole purpose of convincing people about the life and times of Caesar.

Further, they didn’t try to cram history into a literary style or structure like the Gospel writers.  For instance the “Markan Sandwich:”

A. Cursing of the fig tree
B. Clearing of the temple
A. Withering of the fig tree

The chances of actual history fitting into Markan Sandwiches is close to nil. These are used throughout Mark and encompass the entirety of Mark.

 

 

 

Does Atheism Make People Superstitious?

No.

Misrepresenting Mary Schweitzer

In 2005 paleontologist Mary Schweitzer lead a team that discovered the remains of blood cells in dinosaur fossils and later discovered soft tissue remains in the Tyrannosaurus rex specimen MOR 1125.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specimens_of_Tyrannosaurus#MOR_1125_.28B-rex.29

Schweitzer was the first researcher to identify and isolate soft tissues from a 68 million year old fossil bone. Prior to Schweitzer’s discovery, the oldest soft tissue recovered from a fossil was less than one million years old.

Schweitzer’s research has been misrepresented by young earth creationists, who claim that dinosaur soft tissue couldn’t survive millions of years. They assert her discoveries support their literal interpretation of Genesis and calculations of the age of the earth by a Church of Ireland Archbishop, James Ussher, who calculated the age of the earth in 1650 based on literal interpretations of the bible using character ages and lineages. (Such as Noah living to be 900 years old). Woohoo.
Schweitzer doesn’t seem to approve as evidenced in her interview with biologos.org in 2014:
One thing that does bother me, though, is that young earth creationists take my research and use it for their own message, and I think they are misleading people about it. Pastors and evangelists, who are in a position of leadership, are doubly responsible for checking facts and getting things right, but they have misquoted me and misrepresented the data.
On October 13, 2006, Young Earth Creationist and AM radio talk show host Bob Enyart called paleontologist Jack Horner about testing the soft tissue fossil for carbon 14. Enyart had people willing to write a grant to Horner in the amount of $20,000 just for permission to have the fossil tested for Carbon-14.
Horner didn’t refuse, but tried to explain that Carbon-14 dating doesn’t work on something like this. He then says he will talk to Mary about it. Bob Enyart says he will call back to find out what the determination is… but then it ends. We’ve yet to find anything about whether Enyart has called back. What the following conversations were like or if they even happened. Yet the Young Earth Creationist crowd upholds this YouTube video as a staunch rejection of the attempt even though no rejection was made.
Did Enyart call back? If so, why didn’t he post the contents of that conversation?
And…
Mary did further work on how the soft tissue could have survived so long and discovered that Iron acted as a preservative.
A role for iron and oxygen chemistry in preserving soft tissues, cells and molecules from deep time

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/281/1775/20132741

Even Answers In Genesis ( a creationist nuthouse) applauds her findings (while not necessarily agreeing with them):
Mary Schweitzer should be applauded for her team’s excellent detective work zooming in on that explanation. They deduced from observing iron’s ubiquitous presence in dinosaur soft tissue that iron might be a preservative. They determined, based on the observable biochemical behavior of iron, possible mechanisms showing how iron’s chemical behavior in life and death may enable it to function as a preservative. And most significantly Schweitzer’s team developed experimental support for the efficacy of iron as a postmortem preservative.

Sir Arthur Keith Misquote or Complete Fabrication

The following quote is sometimes used by fundamentalist creationist who think it somehow makes evolution less credible.

“Evolution is unproved and improvable, we believe it because the only alternative is special creation, which is unthinkable.”

(Sir Arthur Keith, a militant anti-Christian physical anthropologist)

Yet no one can find the source of the above quote.

There is a hypothesis that the above quote evolved from the quotes of others such as that of D.M.S. Watson

the theory of evolution itself, a theory universally accepted not because it be can proved by logically coherent evidence to be true but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.

This quotation of Watson is often used in Creationist writings in an attempt to show that Watson, and thus by extension promoters of evolution in general, dismiss creationism due to antitheistic bias. A slightly different version of the quotation, derived from a secondhand source, is sometimes used (e.g., by C. S. Lewis):

[Evolution is] accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or . . . can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.

Sometimes the words in square brackets are incorrectly incorporated into the quotation, and/or the ellipsis is omitted.

Watson’s original statement first appeared in a 1929 article, “Adaptation,” in the journal Nature:The second version of the quotation, given above, is formed by combining parts of two similar passages in Watson’s paper, one from the first page and one from the third. The first passage reads:

[1] Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or is supported by logically coherent arguments, but because it does fit all the facts of taxonomy, of paleontology, and of geographical distribution, and because no alternative explanation is credible.

The second passage reads:

[2] If so, it will present a parallel to the theory of evolution itself, a theory universally accepted not because it can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible

The ellipses in the second version of the standard quotation from Watson elide his statement in [1] that evolution fits “all the facts” of taxonomy, paleontology, and geographical distribution. They also omit his statement, which directly follows quotation [1] above, that “Whilst the fact of evolution is accepted by every biologist, the mode in which it has occurred and the mechanism by which it has been brought about are still disputable.”

Watson thus considered evolution a fact, belief in which was supported by its fit to a wide range of other facts. He thought “special creation” unbelievable and the mechanisms of evolution disputable (his article was devoted to emphasizing the inadequacy of contemporary theories of adaptation, and mentions “special creation” only in passing). This was in 1929, several years before the inception of evolutionary biology’s Modern Synthesis, which integrated Mendelian genetics into Darwinian thought and produced widespread scientific consensus about basic evolutionary mechanisms. Stephen Jay Gould describes 1900–10 as “the period of greatest agnosticism and debate about evolutionary mechanisms” and adds that even the 1920s were still “not happy times of consensus for evolutionary theory in general.”

When it was made, over 80 years ago, Watson’s complaint that the mechanisms of evolution were poorly understood was accurate. His statement that evolution was believed “because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible” was a provocative exaggeration, contradicted by his own remarks (i.e., evolution already “fit all the facts” of several major knowledge fields).

Colin Patterson Misquote used by Creationists

“One of the reasons I started taking this anti-evolutionary view, was … it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years and there was not one thing I knew about it. That’s quite a shock to learn that one can be so misled so long. …so for the last few weeks I’ve tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people. Question is: Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, ‘I do know one thing — it ought not to be taught in high school’.”


-Dr. Colin Patterson, Senior Paleontologist, British Museum of Natural History, London Keynote address at the American Museum of Natural History, New York City

http://www.skeptictank.org/files//evolut/missquot.htm

Not sure who wrote or said the above as it sure does conflict with things he has actually said:

"I was too naive and foolish to guess what might happen:
       the talk was taped by a creationist who passed the tape
       to Luther Sunderland... Since, in my view, the tape was
       obtained unethically, I asked Sunderland to stop circulating
       the transcipt, but of course to no effect.  There is not much
       point in my going through the article point by point.  I was
       putting a case for discussion, as I thought off the record,
       and was speaking only about systematics, a specialized field.
       I do not support the creationist movement in any way, and in
       particular I am opposed to their efforts to modify school
       curricula.  In short the article does not fairly represent my
       views.  But even if it did, so what?  The issue should be
       resolved by rational discussion, and not by quoting
       'authorities,' which seems to be the creationists' principal
       mode of argument."  (Letter from Colin Patterson to Steven W.
       Binkley, June 17, 1982).