Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Did Ray Bradbury exist?

Bradbury died Tuesday night in Los Angeles, his agent Michael Congdon confirmed.


Bradbury’s daughter confirmed his death to the Associated Press on Wednesday morning. She said her father died Tuesday night in Southern California.


Legendary science-fiction author Ray Bradbury passed away Wednesday morning in Los Angeles.


How do we account for discrepant reports regarding the death of Ray Bradbury?

“This is evidence that the obituaries for Bradbury were written decades later,” said Bart Ehrman, professor of religious studies at Chapel Hill. “Bradbury really died on Wednesday morning. The report that he died Tuesday night, but his death was confirmed on Wednesday morning, is an orthodox scribal harmonization of two contradictory traditions.”

“It's a telltale clue that Bradbury never existed,” said Richard Carrier, renowned author of Proving History. “If Bradbury really was the world-famous figure that legend imputes to him, it’s inconceivable that major news outlets would bungle the date of his death–especially in the information age.”

According to Robert Price, “The statement that ‘he died Tuesday night in Los Angeles, his agent Michael Congdon confirmed’ is a legendary embellishment, redacting the earlier tradition that he died Wednesday morning. The redactor is deifying Bradbury as an exalted, celestial figure. Notice that his agent is named after the Archangel Michael. Angels are “agents.” In the Bible, angels appear to people at night in dreams. And notice that the legendary place of his demise is the ‘City of Angels.’ So this represents the apotheosis of Bradbury, as a dying and rising god–like Hercules and Adonis.”

26 comments:

  1. "How do we account for discrepant reports regarding the death of Ray Bradbury?"

    Time Zones!

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  2. I wonder how Bart Ehrman, Richard Carrier, and Robert Price would explain and account for the various historical accounts about Barack Obama.

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    1. Nice one, TUAD. Come to think of it, the similarities with Ergun Caner are eerie.

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  3. If some seer had prophesied around 1970 that "Hussein will stalemate George Bush... then Clinton will defeat George Bush... Then George Bush will defeat Hussein... then Hussein will succeed Bush... then Clinton will defeat Hussein...", we would have assumed it was an incoherent mushroom trip.

    And yet it does describe accurately, albeit poetically, US/ Iraqi politics 1990-2012.

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  4. "This wouldn't have happened if he had wings" -John Loftus

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  5. Wow, Steve, you must know all about prior probability.

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  6. Very funny. Cuts right to the bone. Academics tend to lose track of the origins of their own arguments - why would anyone call "legendary" a bunch of accounts about JC, all written within a (Biblical) generation or so of his death? Where did they wander off into such a Fairy-tale land of self-generating legends?

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  7. Ben Schuldt

    "Wow, Steve, you must know all about prior probability."

    You can't assess reality by prior probabilities, for prior probabilities are worldview-dependent. Unless you know what's real, you don't know what's probable.

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    1. Absolutely wonderful! Thanks for it!

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  8. "I think there's enough evidence that Ray Bradbury existed. But I don't think the books attributed to him are what he wrote. I mean, there are a lot of copies, so they were copied over and over again. It's like the game, 'Telephone', where new errors creep in every time it's copied. Can anyone really say they have the original copies? See? So I don't think we can know what he really wrote." - Bart Ehrman

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  9. I would suggest you read a book or take a class on critical thinking skills...

    Fortunately Ray Bradbury did not:

    1.) Claim to be the son of a god who created the universe
    2.) Demand my soul or a life of servitude
    3.) Command his followers to go forth in to the world to preach his message, which ultimately led to family and friends attacking me on a regular basis, fearing I will be lost to an eternal hell along with my wife and children.

    Since Ray didn't do those things, his existence is trivial, and it obviates the need for further investigation.

    If Jesus was the son of a god, I would reason that he would find a clear way of communicating that to me. Simply telling me I need faith is absurd, how I am I too discern Jesus from Muhammad or any of the many religious alternatives?

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    1. andrewmyers

      "I would suggest you read a book or take a class on critical thinking skills..."

      I'd suggest you take your own advice.

      "Since Ray didn't do those things, his existence is trivial, and it obviates the need for further investigation."

      i) You miss the point. My analogy wasn't based on the prior probability of Bradbury's existence. Rather, it was based on how we ought to evaluate the reported death of Bradbury if we applied to discrepant accounts of his death the same methods and assumptions that guys like Ehrman, Carrier, and Price apply to alleged discrepancies in the Gospels.

      ii) Moreover, my analogy took for granted differences between Bradbury and Christ, and built on those differences. The differences reinforce the comparison. For, by atheistic criteria, Bradbury was far better known than Christ, and our sources of information are far better and more abundant. Therefore, there's all the less reason to expect disagreement over basic biographical facts like when he died.

      Rather than demonstrating your superior thinking skills, you raise canned objections to the historicity of Christ which are irrelevant to my actual argument.

      "Command his followers to go forth in to the world to preach his message, which ultimately led to family and friends attacking me on a regular basis, fearing I will be lost to an eternal hell along with my wife and children."

      i) So by your own admission, your opposition to the Christian faith is emotional rather than rational. Based on anger and resentment rather than reason and evidence.

      ii) If atheism is true, then sooner or later you are bound to lose your family and friends forever. Either you will predecease them, they will predecease you, or some combination thereof, and that's the last you will ever see of them.

      The Gospel is your only hope and their only hope of postmortem reunion.

      "If Jesus was the son of a god, I would reason that he would find a clear way of communicating that to me."

      He's clearly communicated to you in the historical NT records.

      "Simply telling me I need faith is absurd."

      There's nothing absurd about believing the historical record of the Gospels–or Messianic prophecy, for that matter.

      And if he's the Son of God, then he's entitled to your trust.

      "...how I am I too discern Jesus from Muhammad or any of the many religious alternatives?"

      The respective evidence is hardly comparable. What have you actually read on the subject?

      Delete
    2. Aside from a doctored entry in Josephus there is no more evidence that Jesus ever existed, let alone that the NT writings are true, than Muhammad. There is no evidence that Jesus ever lived, except for books written 30 to 100 years after his death. Another interesting fact, they have found zero evidence that Solomon EVERY existed, and based on Biblical descriptions of his homestead, it would be hard to miss.

      Your proffering that Jesus, Son of God - A God who created the entire universe, has left the fate of our soul to the scribbling of desert dwellers who mostly put these stories to parchment 50 years or more after Jesus died?

      In regards to "how much have you read on the subject": I spent my entire life in church, moving from pentecostal to AG, eventually to Bible College and Seminary after "God" called me to the ministry. I led nearly 50 friends and strangers to Christ in that time, and I was certain I was communicated with God. In my early 20's, armed with a lifetime of Apologetics, I realized how very disconnected this all was from reality. All I had to go on was my dad's word (indoctrination) and the bible, which is hardly "evidence". Oh yeah, and the "spirit" ministering to me.

      Troubling to me was the realization that with out Constantine's adoption of Christianity this religion would have died off a long time ago. Constantine was an atheist, but he sought to consolidate religion to one manageable form. This is where the Roman Church came from, and for hundreds of years if you had been born a Catholic is the only option you would have had. Your coffee serving Vineyard christians were no where to be found.

      Another contributing factor to my descent from Christianity was the discovery of all the brilliant science I had ignored and treated as the trick of the "enemy" for more than a decade. Evolution, Abiogenesis, The Big Bang Theory (that name was given by a Christian radio host attempting to make fun of a scientist in the 50's by the way, more than 30 years after the Rapid Expansion Theory was published and proven).

      Where is the God that consumed an entire alter doused in water with fire from the sky?

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  10. @andrewmyers.com -- Don't you think with the existence of free will that you would always have the option to explain anything away that seemed like clear communication? No matter how hard you might think you have clear communication, you can always come up with "brain-in-a-vat"/Matrix like examples ... basically the sky's the limit. If you can explain away anybody else's testimony, you can explain away yours. BTW, I clicked on your name to go to your site and am looking forward for some MacGuyvering posts.

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    1. Thanks Jeremy, I am looking forward to finding Macgyver-worthy things to post about.

      I understand your position, but a 2,000 year old book is far from being a Matrix situation. There are many books of religious, with equally outrageious claims. Even if there were just the Bible I can't see how one would afford it any more value than any other story of fiction.

      I am not sure why anyone would assume anything other than "free will" would make sense in nature.

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  11. andrewmyers

    "Aside from a doctored entry in Josephus..."

    It's easy to reconstruct the original statement.

    "...there is no more evidence that Jesus ever existed, let alone that the NT writings are true, than Muhammad."

    That's patently absurd. We have one primary source for Muhammad, and that's the Koran. A one-man book, written by himself about himself.

    By contrast, the NT consists of many independent accounts testifying to the existence, life, teaching, and character of Christ.

    "There is no evidence that Jesus ever lived, except for books written 30 to 100 years after his death."

    i) Well, even if we accept your fanciful chronology, that's quite a spread. 30 years is hardly comparable to 100 years. I remember lots of things from 30 years ago. I remember lots of things from 45 years ago. If I live to be 80, and I'm not senile, I'll remember lots of things from 70 years ago.

    You're a typical apostate: can't think for yourself. Can't evaluate what you read. Just regurgitate what you read in pop atheist literature.

    ii) What's your evidence that some NT books were written in 130 AD? You'd have to push up the dating of the apostolic fathers to accommodate that revisionist dating scheme. Indeed, other 2C fathers would also be affected.

    "Another interesting fact, they have found zero evidence that Solomon EVERY existed, and based on Biblical descriptions of his homestead, it would be hard to miss."

    How would that be hard to miss? His palace was made of ceder. Why do you think that would survive for 3000 years, especially when Jerusalem was sacked on two separate occasions, not to mention Muslim occupation, &c?

    "I spent my entire life in church, moving from pentecostal to AG, eventually to Bible College and Seminary after "God" called me to the ministry."

    In other words, you're a textbook apostate. You started out in an anti-intellectual, unsophisticated theological tradition. You were predisposed to fall away.

    "Troubling to me was the realization that with out Constantine's adoption of Christianity this religion would have died off a long time ago. Constantine was an atheist, but he sought to consolidate religion to one manageable form."

    Revealing to see how little confidence you have in the NT, but how much confidence you have in ancient documents regarding Constantine's true motivations.

    "Another contributing factor to my descent from Christianity was the discovery of all the brilliant science I had ignored and treated as the trick of the 'enemy' for more than a decade...Where is the God that consumed an entire alter doused in water with fire from the sky?"

    That's a non sequitur.

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  12. "It's easy to reconstruct the original statement."

    I can't qualify that as a response. Most Christian scholars I know believe that this is an entry inserted years later, they have even found manuscripts lacking the entries about Jesus. It doesn't disprove Jesus, but it does prove how far man will guy to validate his belief system to others.

    ========

    "You're a typical apostate: can't think for yourself. Can't evaluate what you read. Just regurgitate what you read in pop atheist literature."

    These are things I learned in Bible College and Seminary. LOL.

    ========

    "How would that be hard to miss? His palace was made of ceder. Why do you think that would survive for 3000 years, especially when Jerusalem was sacked on two separate occasions, not to mention Muslim occupation, &c?"

    Many of the claims made about Solomons temple and do not match up to what we know about that time and era. There were only 300 or so residents in Jeruselum, and the entire Kingdom of Isreal was smaller than a city state. That would not support the supposed 66 talents of gold he was reported to receive every year in the bible. While Solomon likely existed, there is a major lacking in cultural development to verify the time and era. It is believed the stories were modified later on to suit religious prejudice.

    ============
    "
    In other words, you're a textbook apostate. You started out in an anti-intellectual, unsophisticated theological tradition. You were predisposed to fall away."

    Incorrect, the AG church is full of self-described intellectual elitist like you who refuse to think objectively. I could give you a list if you are interested...

    ==========

    "Revealing to see how little confidence you have in the NT, but how much confidence you have in ancient documents regarding Constantine's true motivations."

    At least you are acknowledging that all you have are these desert writings sketched out long ago to hide their lust and immorality behind the supposed word of a god. Polygamist child molesters upholding slavery, abuse and bigotry comprise most of the Bible.

    But interesting you should bring up motive. Is it not obvious to you that the OT is nothing more than a manifesto of land ownership, with it's endless "hohem begat jophat begat nimrod" and so on. The simple message the OT brings is this "This land is ours, God says so, God will smite you if you try to take it, here is our lineage traced back to the beginning of time and creation of the universe"

    Thing about that. Everything I have ever encountered in Religion is obviously motivated by someone's desire to control or take from others.

    The OT wants to establish ownership of Jeruselum. I picked up on this one day in seminary, like a bolt of lightening hit me. I guess you won't find that in your "atheist pop culture reading".

    The NT documents several Carleton's stories. Jesus, who was likely a con artist (if he ever existed at all). The other authors of the NT I believe were rallying a cause, possibly to retake Jeruselum. This would explain the odd dating of all of the texts, and the missing Q document.

    The Q document is though to containt the logia, which contained everything Jesus ever said on earth. Could some of Jesus's statements have been inconvenient? Whenever multiple writers work on a project today they have a common source to draw from that guides character and plot development. Perhaps one man created the story and everyone was given a couple to devise their own version for their own tribes.

    You ever wonder why the NT keeps shrinking. You Bible has lost a number of books over the last few hundred years, thanks to King James.

    "That's a non sequitur."

    I don't think that phrase means what you think it means.

    ==========

    I enjoy the friendly joust, hope you are not offended. LOL.

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  13. "andrewmyers

    "I can't qualify that as a response. Most Christian scholars I know believe that this is an entry inserted years later, they have even found manuscripts lacking the entries about Jesus. It doesn't disprove Jesus, but it does prove how far man will guy to validate his belief system to others."

    You don't name who the "most Christian scholars" are. But to take a specific example, Edwin Yamauchi, in Strobel's Case for Christ, doesn't regard the entire Testimonium Flavianum as a scribal interpretation. And he's hardly alone.

    "Many of the claims made about Solomons temple and do not match up to what we know about that time and era."

    You don't cite your sources, so there's nothing to respond to.

    "Incorrect, the AG church is full of self-described intellectual elitist like you who refuse to think objectively. I could give you a list if you are interested..."

    Gordon Fee was the first AG scholar of note.

    "At least you are acknowledging that all you have are these desert writings."

    The NT wasn't written by Bedouins. Neither was the OT.

    "Polygamist child molesters upholding slavery, abuse and bigotry comprise most of the Bible."

    Okay, we've now confirmed that you're deranged.

    "But interesting you should bring up motive. Is it not obvious to you that the OT is nothing more than a manifesto of land ownership...Everything I have ever encountered in Religion is obviously motivated by someone's desire to control or take from others."

    So you're a conspiracy theorist, fed on warmed over Marxism.

    "The NT documents several Carleton's stories."

    Your genre analysis is utterly anachronistic.

    "Jesus, who was likely a con artist (if he ever existed at all). The other authors of the NT I believe were rallying a cause, possibly to retake Jeruselum."

    I see that your tinfoil hat fits snugly.

    "This would explain the odd dating of all of the texts, and the missing Q document."

    So you don't believe in extant documents, but you do believe in hypothetical documents.

    "Could some of Jesus's statements have been inconvenient?"

    The canonical gospels already contains some "inconvenient" statements. Remember the criterion of embarrassment?

    "Perhaps one man created the story and everyone was given a couple to devise their own version for their own tribes."

    You have a fervid imagination.

    "You ever wonder why the NT keeps shrinking. You Bible has lost a number of books over the last few hundred years, thanks to King James."

    The status of the OT apocrypha hardly began with the Reformation.

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  14. "You don't cite your sources, so there's nothing to respond to."

    That's because there is no room or time to list thousands of christian scholars. If you are unstudied in this matter just say so and I will lay a path for you.

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    "Gordon Fee was the first AG scholar of note."

    I'm glad your google works. He isn't even on my top 10 list.

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    "The NT wasn't written by Bedouins. Neither was the OT."

    I'm glad you got to use your word of the day, but my point stands.

    ============

    The rest of your replies aren't even substantive, just a bunch of hyperbole.

    Wassup?

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    1. andrewmyers

      "That's because there is no room or time to list thousands of christian scholars. If you are unstudied in this matter just say so and I will lay a path for you."

      You're bluffing with your back to a mirror. You have a losing hand.

      "I'm glad your google works."

      Since I've read many of his books or articles, as well as corresponded with him, I hardly need to google his name. But don't let the facts spoil your theory.

      "He isn't even on my top 10 list."

      And you're not even on my bottom list.

      "I'm glad you got to use your word of the day, but my point stands."

      Your point was another one of your imaginative assertions.

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  15. Also, you spelled "You're well researched and educated theorem regarding the entire canonization of the Bible and it's ever changing purpose is intriguing, and I respect the huge investment in time and meditation you have obviously made. I am intimidated by your knowledge, to be frank" wrong.

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    1. If you're going to play Grammar Nazi, then you shouldn't forget to include yourself in the game. You've misspelled words in the past. Also, you've made poor grammatical constructions. Not to mention you've had other errors in the use of the English language. For example, here's what you said in a previous thread:

      "Oh, and misrepresentation does not mean 'Believing in something false'. Sort of a definition fail, wouldnt [sic1] you agree? I saw that coming a step ahead [sic2] but I thought I would let you play it out [sic3]. Your [sic4] welcome. Do you enjoy talking in circles? I must say you are a pithy one. LOL. Good show so far, but you are pretty much unraveling right before me [sic5] friend."

      sic1. The word "wouldnt" should have an apostrophe and be "wouldn't".
      sic2. You're mixing metaphors.
      sic3. If you saw "that" coming, referring to the mistake, then the subsequent half of your sentence should read "let it play out".
      sic4. "You're", not "Your."
      sic5. You should insert a comma between "me" and "friend."

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    2. Andrew Myers said:

      "Also, you spelled 'You're well researched and educated theorem regarding the entire canonization of the Bible and it's ever changing purpose is intriguing, and I respect the huge investment in time and meditation you have obviously made. I am intimidated by your knowledge, to be frank' wrong."

      By the way, it's "wrongly", not "wrong".

      The entire sentence you quote isn't misspelled "wrong". At best, there may be a couple of misspelled words in the sentence.

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    3. andrewmyers.com

      "Also, you spelled 'You're well researched and educated theorem regarding the entire canonization of the Bible and it's ever changing purpose is intriguing, and I respect the huge investment in time and meditation you have obviously made. I am intimidated by your knowledge, to be frank' wrong."

      I never said that. That's your misattribution.

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