Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This Joyful Eastertide

From Steve:

Last year, Prometheus Books published The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave. Sympathetic reviewers consider this missive to be the definitive refutation of the Resurrection.

Needless to say, I'm of a slightly different opinion. If you follow this link, it will take you to an extensive review which I've written of the title in question.

In addition to my modest contribution, Gene Bridges and Jason Engwer, my able cobelligerents at T-blog, have contribtued an excursus which is, alone, worth the price of the book--especially when you consider that the review (in ebook format) is free for the taking!

Steve Hays

23 comments:

  1. Great blathering away! It follows from its sheer length that Hays' rebuttal to Carrier & co.'s presumed folly is airtight and insurmountable. And still it's not clear why anyone would believe the Christian myth to begin with...

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  2. From the Preface: The Empty Tomb1 (hereafter ET) positions itself as a full-frontal assault on the Resurrection. I wouldn’t be surprised if unbelievers reference this book as the definitive
    refutation of the Resurrection for years to come. Hence, it merits an extended review.


    Translation: We're so worried about what unbelievers might think and say that we're spending the next 487 pages of text that very few will likely read anyway in an attempt to settle the matter in our minds that The Empty Tomb fails in its task of undermining the Christian religion.

    I suppose Hays and his team think it's time for ET to phone home?

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  3. Brigitte Fiasco8/16/2006 11:12 PM

    Interesting stuff, Steve. Did you know it reads like an extended blog entry...?

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  4. Great blathering away, it follows from it's sheer pithyness that Ted's response shows that Steve's book sucks. And still, it's not clear why anyone would think atheological arguments successfully rebut the robustness of the apologetical arguments for the faith.


    Anonymous,

    If the text were made into a paperback book it would be around 250 pages. But, Michael Martin, for example, spends over 400 pages in his book, APJ, setteling the matter in the minds of atheists that Atheism is philosophically viable; even though hardly anyone will read it.

    Translation:

    We're so worried that Hays and his team have rebutted atheist starts that we need to comment in his combox before we even read the book. We're like poloticians - what matters is dammage control, not the facts.

    cheers

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  5. "poloticians"? Steve, you really should edit before you hit the publish button.

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  6. That wasn't Steve.

    That was ~Ted.

    But, anonymous, you really should try to attack the *substance* of the post rather than picking on spelling. Or, is that all you have to pick on? ;-)

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  7. "it follows from it's sheer pithyness that Ted's response shows that Steve's book sucks."

    Actually, it follows from Steve's own inability to piece together a decent argument for his worldview that his book likely sucks. Ted's pithiness (or puniness, as it may be) notwithstanding.

    "And still, it's not clear why anyone would think atheological arguments successfully rebut the robustness of the apologetical arguments for the faith."

    The clarity is spelled out in your own phrasing of the issue: "arguments for the faith." You hang yourself without even knowing it.

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  8. "But, anonymous, you really should try to attack the *substance* of the post rather than picking on spelling. Or, is that all you have to pick on? ;-)"

    That's the problem, Steve, there is NO substance to attack. Just polemic invective, a man beholding himself in a mirror.

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  9. "That wasn't Steve. That was ~Ted."

    How would someone know that Steve is not "~Ted" unless it really were Steve, in which case "~Ted" really must be Steve incognito, out defending his image?

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  10. Bilbo,

    Actually, that doesn't follow, Bilbo. Not logically at least.

    I may hang myself based upon your straw-man definition of faith. But two-can play at that game. Atheism = knowing for certain that no gods existence anywhere in the universe, or at all in reality. To know that for certain you'd have to be omniscient. Classicaly self-refuting. How do you handle this? You don't define atheism that way. So, if we want to define our positions into the grave that's fine, we can do that. It's not very interesting, though.


    Anonymous,

    There was substance. The substance was that the two commenters posts were self-refuting.

    Brad, if I'm not Steve then I would know it, woudn't I? Are all atheists this slow, or just the teenage ones?

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  11. The book didn't impress me in the least. It's stuff I read off of the web anyway. Save your money because you won't read anything new.

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  12. Thanks, Steve.

    I am eager to read it. I have written a response to Chapter 4 (1 Corinthians 15 as Interpolatioin) which can be found here. Responses to other chapters can be found at the CADRE site, here.

    If you do not mind, I'd like to link to your book as well.

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  13. I note a couple of errors in your work.
    1. Medieval Churches were dedicated not to Saints, but to festivals. Hence the Churches dedicated the The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    2. The title 'Pontifex Maximus' was one of the Imperial titles, and was appropriated by the Church after the fall of the Western Empire.

    The length of any piece of writing is no guide as to its merit, Ted. I do suggest you read something before critiquing it, not firing off some childish piece of invective. You want to ignoe it? Fine, otherwise you appear foolish.

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  14. Should be 'ignore', sorry.

    Ted, might I suggest that, as 'blather' is defined as unnecessary verbiage (at which the English are experts), your initial comment also counts as it.

    From the absolute lack of substance as to your comment, is it safe to assume that you have nothing to say.

    On your final comment, might I observe that the historicity of Christ and of the Resurrection have been presumed for the best part of 2,000 years. Does that make it clear why someone would believe Christianity to begin with?

    Yours, with an absolute disgust of arguments which open, 'I can't understand', and 'it's not clear' when a child of five would understand and/or find it clear.

    1st Anonymous. Oddly enough, much ink has been spilled on transitory controversies in religion, politics and philosophy. I suspect many of these works were never read by very many people. The same could be said of atheist attempts to refute Christian apologetics. Your point is?

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  15. Here the theists show themselves at odds with each other again. Steve writes: "The substance was that the two commenters posts were self-refuting."

    Then Hiraeth states: "From the absolute lack of substance as to your comment, is it safe to assume that you have nothing to say."

    Hiraeth's comment was directed to the author of one of the commenters that Steve was addressing.

    So, where one theist finds substance, another theist finds "absolute lack of substance."

    Keep it up, guys! This is all very funny how seriously you want to take yourselves.

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  16. Steve,

    How do you find the time to write so much? It will be interesting to hear the responses from Lowder and company.

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  17. So, let's review your evidence, shall we? You declared:

    '[...]Steve, there is NO substance to attack. Just polemic invective, a man beholding himself in a mirror.'

    In answer to which ~Ted declared:

    'There was substance. The substance was that the two commenters posts were self-refuting.'

    I read this as ~Ted referring to HIS posts having substance. The substance of which was that your post and Ted's Post consisted of no more than rhetoric, and that rhetoric could be turned around to refute itself.

    Now, in addressing these words of Ted's:

    'Great blathering away! It follows from its sheer length that Hays' rebuttal to Carrier & co.'s presumed folly is airtight and insurmountable.'

    I pronounced them to be without substance as a critique of Hay's rebuttal, as it does not address the substance of the review.

    At most, then ~Ted (who may or may not be Steve Hays) and I disagree as to whether Ted's remarks possessed substance. This obviously has nothing to do with Christianity. What exactly is your point? Do you have a point?

    Or are you still using semantics in place of argument? Once a person starts criticising spellings, disagreements between different posters (I have no connection with Triablogue), it is obvious that they have no desire to engage with issues of substance. I would suggest that people should draw their own conclusions.

    Equally, you seem to have decided that '~Ted' is Steve Hays. May I ask why?

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  18. Yes, my man Hiraeth is correct. I was referring to the substance of *MY* post. The atheist had said that *MY* post ahd no substance for him to respond to.

    Man, are all atheists this stupid, or just the teenage ones?

    And, Hiraeth, I can assure you that ~Ted is ~Steve. Actually, I appreciate the compliment. But, Steve would never lower himself to calling the atheist poster a zit headed teenager, while I do.

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  19. Here the theists show themselves at odds with each other again.

    Here Anonymous displays his manifest ignorance. In The Empty Tomb, the book to which TJE is responding, the atheists are at odds with each other. In fact, they offer no less than half a dozen different and mutually exclusive competing theories for the resurrection. One of them offers 4 of his own, each one different, each one excluding the other. What's more these are done in the same work, a work that purports to present a unified front. So, we have atheists stating the gospel accounts are contradictory, yet these same atheists in a work that is supposedly edited to present a unified front, can't agree on their stories.

    It's one thing for theists to present the same story and dispute among each other on the minute details related to the way the end came about. It's quite another for atheists to posit several mutually contradictory alternative stories. Yet we are supposed to trust these atheists not the gospels and not the theists. Uh-huh. Riiight.

    Now, we have a commenter who thinks that because theists here allegedly disagree that they can't be trusted. Think about that one.

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  20. Steve:

    I'm still reading through it. It's great so far; thanks for making it available for free!

    I did find a few typographical errors, though, that I thought I'd point out in case you ever wanted to re-edit it:

    Page 41 (pdf: 53): Footnote 53 would indicate that Paul Helm is being quoted rather than Martin.

    Page 50 (pdf: 62): There shouldn't be a question mark at the end of the first sentence on this page.

    Page 73 (pdf: 85): In the second line of the second block quotation on the page, the number 1 is inserted into the middle of the word 'quite.'

    Page 81 (pdf: 93): In the second line from the bottom of the page, the word 'that' should be 'than.'

    Page 87 (pdf: 99): The second occurance of the word 'it' in the second line from the bottom of the page should be 'in'.

    Sorry if this seems nitpicky, but I would want someone to point out any such minor errors to me. :-)

    Great job on the book, though. Praise God: Christ is risen indeed!

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  21. Steve and company:

    I would be interested in turning this into a eBook for Microsoft Reader and Palm Reader, if you are willing.

    I'll need the original Word document or whatever to do it justice, though.

    If you need somebody to vouch for me, I believe Patrick Chan posts and emails you regularly. I'll do no copy editing unless you direct me to do so. You can email me at csebold at gmail.com if you want to pursue this.

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  22. A few more as I progress through the book. If you want me to stop just tell me. :-)

    Still *really* profiting from the book, Steve. Again, thanks for doing it, and praise God for your labors.

    Page 140 (PDF: 152): In the line above the block quote at the bottom of the page, a word appears to be missing between 'very' and 'role.'

    Page 143 (PDF: 155): In the fourth line from the top of the second block quote, the word 'an' should be 'and.'

    Page 208 (PDF: 220): In the second paragraph from the bottom of the page, 'low' should be 'lower.'

    Page 219 (PDF: 231): Throughout the page, you write 'Josephus' instead 'Joseph'.

    There are also a few instances of quotation marks being turned the wrong way, coupled with a spacing problem. But I forgot to document those...

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  23. So far, this looks like a great book. I have come across a statistical error which needs to be corrected.

    You state on pages 41-42:
    "The odds of a royal flush are about 1 in 650,000 whereas the odds of a straight flush are about 1 in 72,000.
    "This means that the odds of drawing 9 straight flushes in a row are about the same as drawing one royal flush. But while I could get away with a royal flush, were I to draw 9 straight flushes in a row, casino security would be fitting me with a pair of concrete galoshes."

    The odds of two consecutive straight flushes would be 1 in (72,000 * 72,000) = 1 in 5,184,000,000. The odds of drawing 9 straight flushes in a row are so astronomically improbable that you would deserve your concrete galoshes. [72,000 to the 9th power is 5.2 x 10^43 -- a 5 followed by 43 zeroes.]

    In an otherwise excellent book, this error jumps out and would be entirely too easy for a critic to use as a reason to dismiss the rest of the arguments made in this book.

    Thanks.

    dnstat
    M.S. Statistics, University of Florida (1997)

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