Sunday, May 9, 2021

my challenge to Timothy and Lydia McGrew

 I posted the following in the comment section to a YouTube video wherein Dr. McClatchie interviews Dr. Lydia McGrew and Dr. Timothy McGrew, here.

Barry Jones

if Lydia McGrew denies that her ceaseless loquaciousness constitutes the sin of word-wrangling which Paul prohibited in 2nd Timothy 2:14, will Lydia provide a few examples of fictional dialogue which she thinks DO constitute the sin of word-wrangling?  The Greek term merely means to fight over words, and since Paul left this unqualified in the context, I'm not seeing an academic basis to object to the interpretation which says it was precisely what we routinely see in modern scholarly Christian apologetics, that Paul was calling "word-wrangling.  That might be a fatal blow to Christianity, but so what?  There are arguments that are fatal to Mormonism, does that justify the Mormon to insist those arguments are false?

How does Lydia McGrew reconcile her undeniably mouthy nature, with those Proverbs that leave no logically possible room for mouthy people to be free of foolishness?

Proverbs10:19When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Will Lydia argue that in the social context of the Proverbs author, speaking thousands of words literally every day was normal, therefore, because Lydia doesn't speak thousands of words everyday, she's under the limit?

What would you do if you found out that reasonableness can sometimes exist even where accurate belief doesn't (e.g., you think other Christians are wrong in their eschatology, but you refuse to call them unreasonable)?  Would you become open to the possibility that resurrection skeptics might be reasonable even if their basis for skepticism is inaccurate belief?

How long does god want me to study the differences between Christian and non-Christian scholars on the resurrection of Jesus (e.g., McGrew v. Licona;  Ehrman v. W.L. Craig) before God will demand that I start drawing ultimate conclusions?  If you don't know, don't you forfeit the right to balk if I answer those questions for myself in a way you don't like?  

What rule of historiography requires those investigating ancient truth claims to believe the declarations first and not assume fraud or error until the declaration can be proven to contradict other known realities.  Don't say "Aristotle's Dictum", Josh McDowell was lying about that, it never existed, and it is never even mentioned by non-Christian historians.  And since when do Christian apologists recommend unbelievers follow the advice of pagan idolater?  But if there is no such rule of historiography, then it must be reasonable to conclude that skeptics are not violating any rule of historiography if they choose to completely disregard any and all forms of bible study.

Suppose God wanted me to study 1st Corinthians 15 starting tomorrow at noon my time zone.  What can I reasonably expect him to do to alert me to this aspect of his will?  A stranger bringing up that chapter in conversation?  A bible hits my windshield and it is opened to 1st Cor. 15?  What exactly, and how do you know God would act that way to get my attention?  How do you know when my failure to notice God's attempts to get my attention become unreasonableness on my part?  Will god alert me to this part of his will with the same obvious undeniability that the neighbor does when he says "hello"?

If it be true that not even spiritually alive people can correctly figure out biblical matters, wouldn't you have to be a scorching stupid fool to pretend that you expect spiritually dead atheists to do better at discerning biblical truth?  Or did I forget that Lydia McGrew violates 1st Cor. 2:15 by objecting like an atheist and saying "Being spiritually alive has zilch to do with it."

Posted by Lydia | November 14, 2017 5:15 PM

What is unreasonable about my demand that if God wants my attention, he stop being silent and start doing miracles?  I've already contacted the apologists like Craig Keener who hawk modern day miracles the most, with an offer to give me the one modern miracle they think is most impervious to falsification, and I'm getting no answers.

Lydia will say I would deny God even if he did a miracle, but that's not true.  I've disagreed with my bosses in the last 20 years, and personally hated some of them, but I still performed whatever lawful task they asked of me because I respected the fact that they were rightfully in a position of power over me.  So it wouldn't matter if I 'hated god', that does not justify you to dogmatically conclude that surely God would be wasting his time doing a miracle for me.  You actually don't know that, and there's plenty of evidence in your bible to the contrary.  Paul was more antagonistic toward Christianity than most modern atheist bible skeptic trolls, but Lydia must confess that God's miracle convinced Paul to change his mind.  Have fun pretending that you "know" that God views the conversion of Paul as a "special exception" which "doesn't normally apply".  You don't know that.  It could just as easily be that we never see  confirmation of conversions similar to Paul's because Paul's conversion story is fiction in the first place.

If it is reasonable to require that the more you entrust yourself to somebody else's care, the more strict the tests of authentication their claims to trustworthiness must pass, then what is unreasonable with the skeptical argument that says because my decision to accept Christ will affect where I spend eternity, the proofs for the trustworthiness of the bible must pass the strictest possible tests of authenticity?   My guess is you'd confess to losing that particular debate, since too many Christian  scholars deny the apostolic authorship of the gospels to pretend that they have any reasonable chance of passing the "strictest possible" authentication tests.  When I demand that Matthew appear to me and confess to his authorship of Matthew, is that stupid because I'm asking for a miracle of the sort the bible says happened (Matthew 17:3, Acts 16:9), or is it stupid because Lydia McGrew agrees with skeptics that we all know miracles are too unlikely to justify asking god to do them? 

Would a skeptic be stupid to make sure his book was historically reliable, while doing nothing about the fact that thousands of people disagree on how to correctly interpret it?  Then what shall we say of a god who makes sure his bible is demonstrably historically reliable, but does nothing to provide them a demonstrably correct interpretive key?  All Christian scholars admit the relevance of grammar, immediate context, larger context, social context and genre, yet apparently, when you employee these just as much as the next Christian scholar, you cannot avoid arriving at interpretations they disagree with.  What's wrong with the skeptical theory that God wants people to believe the bible is historically reliable, but doesn't want Christians to obey 1st Cor. 1:10?  It doesn't matter if it contradicts the bible, it sure does look like it is supported by obvious reality...unless you  insist that the only reason other Christians disagree with your interpretations of the bible is because they are not sincere in asking God to guide them.

If "god's ways are mysterious" doesn't sound convincing to you when a Calvinist or a Sabellian uses it to get away from a problem created by their theology, why should I find that excuse compelling when YOU use it to get away from a problem created by YOUR theology?  Is it written in the stars that sacramentalism is the right form of Christianity?

Is it reasonable to infer from the fact that Lydia McGrew and Mike Licona disagree on how to argue the resurrection, that one of these people is not as receptive to the Holy Spirit as the bible says they should be?  Or does Lydia deny that the Holy Spirit enlightens those who walk in the light of Christ?  If God has his reasons for refusing to enlighten some of his sincere followers, then how could you ever pretend that a skeptic's false understanding of the bible is unreasonable?  

Can it be reasonable for a skeptic to agree with the Christian scholarly majority that Mark was the earliest of the canonical gospels to be published?  Can it be reasonable for the skeptic to agree with the Christian scholarly majority that authentic Markan text ends at 16:8.  If so, then how could it possibly be unreasonable for the skeptic to draw the inference that the earliest gospel never said anybody actually saw the risen Christ?  How could the skeptic be unreasonable to draw the further inference that the stories of resurrection eyewitnesses in the later 3 gospels are the result of fictional embellishment with the passing of time?


Saturday, April 24, 2021

Did Governor Inslee encourage landlords to commit perjury?

here is an email I intend to send to several Washington law reform groups.  In a nutshell, Governor Inslee's eviction moratorium comes with two exceptions, the owner's intent to sell, or owner's intent to personally occupy.  While his requirement that they state such intent under penalty of perjury sounds nice, a review of the realities indicates the threat of being charged with perjury is so indescribably improbable that the whole purpose of making such a declaration "under penalty of perjury" has no actual teeth.


I was wondering whether your agency ever brought up the question of how absurd it would be for a dishonest landlord to fear the "penalty of perjury" required as part of the two exceptions the eviction moratorium in Inslee's March 18 order.  In short, declaring an "intent" under oath is so utterly ephemeral and subjective that it would be literally or practically impossible to falsify sufficiently as to give any cop probable cause to arrest, or to give any prosecutor sufficient grounds to charge any landlord with the crime of perjury.

Inslee's March 18 order allows two exceptions to the eviction moratorium; landlord intent to sell, or landlord intent to personally occupy:

  Landlords, property owners, and property managers are prohibited from serving or enforcing, or threatening to serve or enforce, any notice requiring a resident to vacate any dwelling or parcel of land occupied as a dwelling, including but not limited to an eviction notice, notice to pay or vacate, notice of unlawful detainer, notice of termination of rental, or notice to comply or vacate. This prohibition applies to tenancies or other housing arrangements that have expired or that will expire during the effective period of this Proclamation. This prohibition does not apply to emergency shelters where length of stay is conditioned upon a resident’s participation in, and compliance with, a supportive services program. Emergency shelters should make every effort to work with shelter clients to find alternate housing solutions. This prohibition applies unless the landlord, property owner, or property manager (a) attaches an affidavit to the eviction or termination of tenancy notice attesting that the action is necessary to respond to a significant and immediate risk to the health, safety, or property of others created by the resident; or (b) provides at least 60 days’ written notice of the property owner’s intent to (i) personally occupy the premises as the owner’s primary residence, or (ii) sell the property. Such a 60-day notice of intent to sell or personally occupy shall be in the form of an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury, and does not dispense landlords, property owners, or property managers from their notice obligations prior to entering the property, or from wearing face coverings, social distancing, and complying with all other COVID19 safety measures upon entry, together with their guests and agents. Any eviction or termination of tenancy notice served under one of the above exceptions must independently comply with all applicable requirements under Washington law, and nothing in this paragraph waives those requirements.  

See here

First, declaring an "intent" under penalty of perjury is practically pointless since the factual truth of the "intent" is so subjective as to be impossible to falsify to the degree necessary to meet the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard in a criminal trial.  In other words, if a landlord had no intent to sell, but stated he did under penalty of perjury anyway, there is no rational basis for such dishonest person to have the least bit of fear that his lie might ever be discovered and him prosecuted, still less than any 12-person jury would be unanimous about what was really going on in his mind at the second he signed his statement under penalty of perjury!

Second, the statute of limitations for perjury is 3 years for felony, 2 years for gross misdemeanor and 1 year for misdemeanor.  RCW 9A.72.020 ff, RCW 9A.04.080(1)(i, j, k).  Many sales of homes take longer than this, so if the dishonest landlord simply declined all offers for the next three years, he or she will have ensured that the statute of limitations now bars any possible criminal prosecution.

Third, any dishonest landlord would know that because of the Corona Virus, court cases have been severely backlogged, thus making very unlikely the prospect of some prosecutor deciding to put more pressure on this already backlogged system by charging somebody with the crime of perjury, a crime far less serious than, say, rape or murder.  So the "under penalty of perjury" matter simply doesn't carry the sobering inducement to truth and threat of jail that it used to.  I declare under penalty of perjury that I intend to eat a taco next Tuesday.  LOL

Fourth, perjury has no relation to somebody changing their mind later, it is only concerned with whether the declarant knew the declared fact was false at the time they signed it under penalty of perjury.  It would be literally impossible to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt as a criminal trial would require, that the landlord, at the time of signing, did not have an intent to sell.  Even if the prosecutor could produce another court document the landlord signed earlier the same day saying "i have no intent to sell the premises", the landlord could simply trifle that within the 5 hours between the time he signed those two documents that day, he changed his mind.  It is laughable to think that any reasonable 12 person jury would be unanimous in deciding what his true mental state was at the time he signed the "intent to sell" Declaration. The threat of a perjury conviction is nothing short of laughable, thus justifying the question of why Governor Inslee required landlords wishing to evict tenants to state an intent to sell under penalty of perjury.  I declare under penalty of perjury that I intend to sell my dvd player.  LOL, how the fuck would THAT ever be falsified "beyond a reasonable doubt"?

Fifth, Inslee's Order doesn't require the landlord to declare under penalty of perjury other facts that would be critically necessary to give teeth to the threat of a jail for perjury conviction that is supposed to impose itself on the Declarant's mind as a sobering reality.  Inslee's order neither expresses nor implies that landlords or owners who declare intent to sell under penalty of perjury, have to state:

a)  when they will be placing the property on the market, so a dishonest landlord with no intent to sell could state an intent to sell under penalty of perjury anyway, then defend his never selling in the next three years (the time the statute of limitations for felony and misdemeanor perjury runs out) with the argument that the order never required him to place the property on the market at any time.

b) what price they will be asking. So a dishonest landlord with no intent to sell could state an intent to sell under penalty of perjury anyway, then defend his never selling in the next 3 years (statute of limitations) with the argument that the order didn't prohibit him from declining fair offers from potential buyers with whom he had a personality conflict.

c) if they end up not selling, why they never ended up selling.  In which case the landlord could refute a charge of perjury by saying that he was not required by the Order to explain why he might decline any fair offers.

d) how the house to be sold will be advertised.  Hence,  a dishonest landlord with no intent to sell could state an intent to sell under penalty of perjury anyway, then defend his never selling within the next three years (the time the statute of limitations runs out)  by saying any implication in the Order that intent to sell result in advertisement of the property for sale, was fulfilled when he took out a single ad in the Jerkwater Gazette for a single day.   The landlord could also fulfill any implied advertising requirement by making a sale offer to a friend by email, a friend whom he knows probably won't purchase.  The Order's implication of a required sale advertisement wouldn't require more effort than this, an effort that any dishonest landlord would gladly fulfill.

Since the plain wording of Inslee's order carries the force of statutory law, and Courts are forbidden from deriving Legislative intent from plain wording if doing so would lead to an absurd, strained or unlikely result ("This court will avoid an absurd result even if it must disregard unambiguous statutory language to do so." Roake v. Delman, 408 P. 3d 658, 668 (2018)), then the Court could use the excuse of "judicial construction" to read back into Inslee's wording the critical facts necessary to make the threat of perjury real, but that would involve an awful lot of added verbiage.  here's what I propose, as minimally sufficient to cause property owners who invoke the "intent to sell" exception, to regard the threat of a perjury conviction as something other than laughable:

a)      WHEREAS, the COVID pandemic has increased the likelihood of certain types of landl
ords being willing to commit perjury to get rid of tenants;

b)      WHEREAS an intent to sell, when declared under penalty of perjury. is nearly impossible to falsify enough to meet the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard in a criminal trial, given that it is by definition an intent and thus 100% mental and thus virtually unfalsifiable, and

c)      WHEREAS society has not yet figured out the secret of mindreading, the only way the Courts can avoid concluding that Governor Inslee’s two exceptions allowing evictions lead to absurd, strained or unlikely results is to construe the Order as also requiring that the following conditions be met by any landlord declaration under penalty of perjury their intent to sell.

d)     The Affidavit showing intent to sell must state that the property will be advertised for sale to the public within 30 days after the tenants are moved out, unless the Declarant intends to remodel or demolish before selling.  If there is intent to demolish, demolition must be completed within 30 days after the owner declares the intent to sell.

e)      Where the owner intends to remodel before selling, the Affidavit showing intent to sell must state that the remodel will begin within 30 days after the tenants are moved out, and will be completed and ready for sale not more than 4 months later.  Inability to complete the work or obtain funding for such work shall not be a defense to a failure to complete the alleged remodel within 5 months of the day the tenants were moved out.

f)       When the property is placed up for sale, the owner is prohibited from taking it off the market for any reason until it is actually sold.  Intent to make improvements and thus boost the fair market value shall not be a defense.  Any such improvements must take place between the time the tenants are vacated/evicted and the end of the above-cited 4 month period.

g)      The Affidavit showing intent to sell must state the methods of advertising intended to be used, including but not limited to the services of any realtor.

h)      The owner must hire an independent third-party property appaiser to appraise the property, and the appraised amount must be stated in the Affidavit along with the appraiser’s name, address, phone number and license number.

i)        The price stated in any advertisement of the property shall remain the same until the property is sold.

j)        Inability to pay advertising and/or remodel costs shall not be a defense to a charge of perjury.  Inability to access existing funding to pay for advertising and/or remodel costs shall not be a defense to violations of this paragraph.

k)      If the property is not sold within 2 years of the date it is placed for sale, there shall be a rebuttable assumption that the declared intent to sell constituted the crime of perjury.

Here's hoping Inslee will incorporate these changes and declare them retroactive...or that the Courts will recognize this wording must be read back into his Order so that the plain wording doesn't force them to arrive at an absurd result.


Monday, March 22, 2021

my attempt to warn people that James Patrick Holding is a spiritual midget

 I posted the following to

1st Corinthians 5:11-13 requires you to disassociate yourself from any so-called Christian "brother" who is a "reviler"

11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one.
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?
13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (1 Cor. 5:11-13 NAU)
(note esp. v. 13, Paul equates the "reviler" with the "wicked man" which Deut. 13:5 and 17:7 say should be removed from the congregation). So any attempt on your part to trivialize the biblical seriousness of Holding's sin, will under biblical logically be equal to trivializing the seriousness of sinful activity which god through Moses said requires the congregation to excommunicate the member.

Holding is currently being sued in court because his "reviling" nature has caused him to commit libel (what the bible calls the sins of slander and gossip). A complaint that uses 534 pages to document Holding's sin of slander (including his numerous acts of lying under oath in court documents (perjury) can be downloaded for free here not associate with a gossip. (Prov. 20:19 NAU)

He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter. (Prov. 11:13 NAU)

Jesus condemns slander, Mark 7:22
Paul requires Christians to cease all slanderous activity, Ephesians 4:31
Paul condemns abusive speech, Ephesians 5:4, Colossians 3:8
Peter forbids slander, 1st Peter 2:.
He also condemns "insult for insult", 1st Peter 3:9, which Holding has made a living out of for the last 20 years.

Holding lauds the Context Group (or did before he found out they think he is a dishonest immoral perverter of basic biblical morality), and yet the Context Group thinks Peter requires modern Christians to avoid insulting the unbelievers who insult them: ... this is what John H. Elliott, chair of the Context Group, had to say about riposte when discussing the instruction given by Peter to the addressees of 1 Peter.
"First, the addressees are warned not to engage in the usual spitting match of riposte and retaliation. They are not to return "injury for injury" or "insult for insult" (3:9; see also the proscription of slander in 2:1), just as Jesus when insulted did not retaliate (2:23, echoing Isa 52:7and details of the passion narrative [Mark 14:61//Matt 26:63; Mark 15:5//Matt 27:12-14; Luke 23:9; John 19:9]). Rather, they are urged to bless their insulters (3:9c) and to disprove their slanderers with honorable and irreproachable modes of behavior within and beyond the community (2:12), for actions speak louder than words (3:1-2)."
See my entire argument here:

Holding has never "blessed" anybody who insulted him or did him wrong. Every time he can be documented to reply to somebody speaking negatively about him, he violates the Context Group's view, supra, and simply bites back at his opponent with hissing and spitting and verbal abuse.

Peter says the example Jesus left you was to avoid reviling others who revile you, 1st Peter 2:21 ff.

If you wouldn't attend the church of a pastor who committed adultery every day and seriously denied that this was sin, why would you accept arguments from an "apologist" who lives in the sin of "reviling" every day?

If you would speak out against any "Christian" who routinely engaged in the sin of theft, why don't you speak out against Holding for his ceaseless sins of "reviling" ?and slander?

Holding wrote an article defending his stupid trifle that the bible allows Christians to hurl insults at skeptics who publicly attack Christianity, but I've refuted that article in point-by-point fashion.

What we can be sure you WON'T be doing is pretending that you seriously believe Holding's trifling sinful bullshit.


Friday, March 19, 2021

Dear Mr. J. Warner Wallace: the atheists of the world thank you for your contribution

 This is my reply to an article by J. Warner Wallace entitled

The Fact The Other Side Can Make A Case Doesn’t Mean It’s True

So the fact that the Christians can make a case doesn't mean its true.  Congratulations, genius.

 I’m sometimes surprised to see how quickly young Christians are shaken when they first encounter a well-articulated objection (or opposing claim) from someone denying the truth of the Christian worldview.

Maybe that's because you preach a false gospel, and therefore, without any hope of the Holy Spirit giving a shit about them, they actually don't have anything more to facilitate their false Christian beliefs, except the marketing gimmicks that you refer to as "apologetics" or "cold case Christianity".

When we first started taking missions trips to the University of California at Berkeley, I watched my Christian students to see how they would react when confronted by impassioned atheists. Some were genuinely disturbed by what they heard. Protected by their parents for most of their young Christian lives, it was as if they weren’t even aware of alternative explanations.

That is true, i.e., Christianity's survival through the years was due to the private nature of parents teaching kids to be Christian in outlook.  It isn't like in the last 20 centuries Christian parents always made sure their kids were apprised of the alternative explanations equally as much as the "Christian" explanation.  We have to wonder how many kids would have grown up and given up their Christian faith if they had been exposed to the alternative explanations during childhood just as much as they were exposed to the "bible". 

Now, as juniors and seniors in high school, they were hearing the “other side” for the first time, and the atheist ambassadors we placed before them were eloquent, passionate and thorough. Many of these students wondered how these atheists could be wrong, given the length and earnest (even zealous) nature of their presentations.

That's also the basis that many Christians have for attending the church they currently do.  They couldn't give two fucks about spiritual progress or theological accuracy, they only care about hearing something that sounds nice. 

But after sitting in hundreds of criminal trials of one nature or another, I’ve learned something important: The fact the opposition can make a case (even an articulate, robust and earnest case), doesn’t mean it’s true.

Thanks for providing atheists with another justification to disbelieve Christianity even when they hear some apologist making a "case" for it.  You'll get proper credit in my future books.

Several years ago, I attended the sentencing hearing for one of my cold-case murder investigations. Douglas Bradford killed Lynne Knight in 1979 and we convicted him of this murder in August of 2014, nearly 35 years (to the day) after the murder. The investigation and trial appeared on Dateline (in an episode entitled, “The Wire”). I arrested Bradford in 2009 and he retained Robert Shapiro (famed attorney from the O.J. Simpson case). Shapiro and his co-counsel, Sara Caplan, presented a robust defense of Bradford, and he thanked both of them during the sentencing hearing. Along the way, Shapiro and Caplan articulated the opposing case thoroughly and with conviction. In addition, Bradford made a short, emphatic statement of his own at his sentencing, saying: ““The murder of Lynne Knight is a terrible tragedy. I want you to hear me very clearly now. I did not murder Lynn Knight. I am an innocent man, wrongly convicted. I’m mad as hell. I’m paying for somebody else’s crime. This is a horrendous, horrendous miscarriage of justice.” That’s a pretty direct (and perhaps convincing) denial, and these were the first words any of us heard from Bradford during the entire investigation, arrest, and trial (Bradford refused to talk to us and did not take the stand in his own defense).

So, Wallace, does God think Bradford is guilty of that murder, yes or no?  Or is god so concerned about giving truth to sincere seekers that he gives you nothing but fortune cookie "answers" in an ancient book, and leaves you nothing to discern his will for today, except your imperfect ability to interpret future coincidences?

His attorneys were even more passionate and direct in their statements to the jury during the criminal trial and the sentencing hearing. They spent hours articulating the many reasons why the case against Bradford was deficient and inadequate as they continued to proclaim his innocence.
My cold-cases are incredibly difficult to investigate and communicate to a jury.

But the Bradford testimony was only 40 years old.  Biblical testimony is between 4,000 and 2,000 years old...yet you act like the biblical testimony is so conclusive no rational person could disagree with the Christian interpretation of it LOL.

Most people, including Christian apologists, think personal testimony constitutes direct evidence...the problem being that Bradford never explained to the police how he could know, at the time of the first interview, that she had died.

Remember, these cases were originally unsolved, and for good reason. There were no eyewitnesses to any of my murders and none of my cases benefit from definitive forensic evidence like DNA (or even fingerprints). My cases are entirely circumstantial.

But the circumstantial evidence of Bradford's guilt is far more compelling than YOUR circumstantial case for god's existence and the bible's alleged "reliability".   Bradford's appeal admits that all of Lynne's prior boyfriends were cooperative, except Bradford, who confessed in 1979 "she was dead and was somebody he wanted to put out of his mind."  He also initially said he bought a necklace for her, then changed his story and said he merely helped her select it for purchase.  His alibi was that he was sailing at the time of the murder, at night, without lights, and because the engine died, he had to row a 4,600 lb boat back to shore using a 4 foot paddle. Upon case-reopening, another woman Bradford subsequently dated said Bradford mislead her about how the nurse (Lynne) he had dated years prior had died.  See here.

Defense attorneys love to argue against these kinds of cases, and I have seen many attorneys present compelling alternative explanations over the years. Jurors have sometimes been moved by these defense presentations. But none of them have been fooled. I never lost a single case in my career as a cold-case detective, in spite of the robust arguments of the defense attorneys involved.

Probably because the cold-case evidence you were dealing with was more compelling than the dogshit you call "apologetics".

A few years ago I investigated another cold-case (this time from the early 1980’s). Michael Lubahn killed his wife, Carol, and disposed of her body, telling her family she left him. This case also went unsolved for over 30 years. Lubahn’s attorney whole-heartedly believed Lubahn was innocent and passionately defended him in front of the jury. Unlike Bradford, Lubahn actually took the stand during his defense and repeatedly denied he was involved in any way. Lubahn and his attorney articulated their case ardently and earnestly, and Lubahn’s attorney presented a lengthy closing argument in support of his position. But, like Bradford, none of it was true. At his sentencing hearing, Lubahn eventually confessed to killing Carol. His attorney was dumbfounded. He truly believed Lubahn was innocent and had crafted a through defense. But Michael Lubahn was a killer all along (this case was also covered by Dateline in an episode entitled “Secrets in the Mist”).

And if we had eyewitness-confessions to Jesus' resurrection, you might have a point.  But since even Mike Licona refuses to use Matthew's and JOhn's resurrection narrative in his "bedrock" case, its pretty safe for atheists to conclude that the two gospels having the most prima-facie claim to apostolic authorship have too many authorship problems to pretend that clever little witticisms about "papias" and "Irenaeus" are going to solve anything.

Paul was definitely on the defensive and speaking to his gospel-enemeies the Judaizers, so we have a right to expect that he would make the best possible case that his view of salvation was what Jesus really taught...which means we have a right to expect that Paul would have made clear in Galatians that he had a vision of Jesus (Acts 26:19), at least.  But the closest Paul comes is 1:16 where he said either God was pleased to reveal his son "to" Paul or "in" Paul.  Paul's unwillingness to relate what Jesus said is a silence that screams.

Worse, Paul's trying to draw upon the OT for all Christian doctrine (2nd Timothy 2:15-16) is completely unexpected if he seriously thought the biological Jesus's theological teachings were the least bit important.  But what does Paul quote Jesus on?  The last supper, and the fact that laborers are worthy of their wages LOL.  

I’ve come to expect the opposing defense team will present a well-crafted, earnest, engaging, and seemingly true argument. But an argument isn’t evidence.

So then Christian argument isn't evidence either.  Unless you are a Pentecostal and insist that the doctrine of fairness is from the devil?

I’ve come to expect the opposing defense team will present a well-crafted, earnest, engaging, and seemingly true argument.

I've expected the same from apologists, yet never get it.  Instead I'm given some fool who thinks the rules of historiography are the 28th book of an inerrant bible, who would rather not talk about how bible inerrancy could serve a purpose given that those who believed it for centuries were not helped to be more like-minded it it.

But an argument isn’t evidence. Since that first trip to Berkeley, I’ve been teaching this to my students. Don’t be shaken just because the other side can articulate a defense.

Thanks for the advice.  So the next time an atheist hears a Christian apologist making an "articulate defense", YOUR advice to the atheist would be "don't be shaken just because the other side can articulate a defense" :) 

Wow, Wallace, I would never have expected that you desired to serve the devil by giving atheists more reason to stay confident when facing "articulate defenses" by Christian apologists.  But thanks again.

This happens all the time in criminal trials, even when our defendants are obviously (and even admittedly) guilty. Be ready in advance for passionate, robust, articulate, alternative explanations. But remember, the fact the other side can make a case doesn’t mean it’s true.

And YOU remember that the fact that YOU can make a case doesn't mean its true.  And yet you refuse to remember this, and you pretend as if the fact you can make a case requires that the Protestant Trinitarian evangelical interpretation of the NT is the only reasonable one.

However, you have neglected to note that juries often deadlock because even when people are discussing modern-day testimony, and heard the original eyewitnesses live in person, jurors can still be reasonable to disagree about the significance of such testimony.  If that is true for modern court cases where evidence is relatively recent and is put through an authentication process, you are a fucking fool to pretend that 2,000 year old testimony from people who viewed each other as heretics (Gal. 1:6-8) can only be reasonably interpreted one way.   Especially given that first 100 year gap in which the gospel texts were the most fluid, but for which we have no manuscript evidence.  We know that other Christian groups had gospels, and we'll never know whether and to what extent they actually claimed the same as the orthodox that their gospels were  apostolic in origin.

Wallace, if you believe you have some methodology that enables you to discover which theory of a case is the most reasonable, why don't you sell your ideas to America's court system?  After all, we wouldn't need juries, because any judge who purchased all of Wallace's marketing gimmicks would be able to tell which theory of the case is more reasonable.  Right?

If you can be so sure that only one interpretation of 2,000 year old testimony is correct, surely your methodology makes it a snap to correctly interpret testimony that has come into existence within the last 50 years?

Gee, Wallace, you have all these capabilities, yet nothing you offer Christians enables them to resolve their differences of opinion about how to interpret the bible, even though all of Paul's theology constitutes "testimony".

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The non-reliability of eyewitness testimony, a rebuttal to Paul Price

This is my reply to an article by Paul Price and promoted by J. Warner Wallace entitled:

by Paul Price
Published: 10 November 2020 (GMT+10)Wikimedia Commons

In our opinion, the cause of justice is not served by suggesting otherwise.”The majority of the focus for the many articles and papers documenting the alleged unreliability of eyewitness testimony is on cherry-picked examples where the witnesses have been tampered with and/or memories have been contaminated.

What you miss are the study's admissions that justify skepticism toward the resurrection narratives in the gospels, for example:

A good illustration of how contamination can reduce the reliability of information obtained from a police interview comes from an archival police study of 29 people who witnessed the murder of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh (Granhag, Ask, Rebelius, Öhman, & Giolla, 2013). In this case, only 58% of the reported attributes were correct, as corroborated by CCTV. According to the authors, the most likely explanation for the poor performance was memory contamination that occurred because the witnesses were gathered together before being interviewed, and they discussed the event. These findings underscore the fact that our claims about the surprisingly high reliability of eyewitness memory pertain to tests of memory that are conducted before memory contamination... (Wixted, Laura, et al, pp. 330-331)

Did the original eyewitnesses to Jesus' resurrection discuss it with each other before they reported it in the canonical gospels?  Obviously yes.  So your own source-study would require that the resurrection narratives,  including Paul's "eyewitness" testimony,  constitute "contaminated" testimony.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

I guess we can see how poorly James Patrick Holding will do in trial

 James Patrick Holding posted this point by point answer to another critic, and I show how fucking absurd Holding's logic is

tektontv1 day ago

All of these whines seem to designed to avoid engaging real arguments rather than answering them. It also hoists itself on its own petard repeatedly.

Empty rhetoric that any fool could use, but I'm sure your followers do what you do, and mistake rhetoric for actual substance. 

>>>"1. The vast majority of Jesus nation didn't accept him, despite the miracles he may have done.

So? the vast majority of the Egyptians, Moabites, Canaanites, etc never accepted Judaism in spite of the miracles of Moses, Joshua, Elijah, etc.

Probably because the Egyptians, Moabites and Canaanites never had any reason to think Moses, Joshua or Elijah could do real miracles. 

>>>So accepting the claims of small cult (of Jesus) is less rational than accepting the decisions of vast majority of the people back then.

You mean like Judaism, the small cult that came out of Egypt to found what, politically speaking, was a puny and insignificant nation?? Do tell.

That wasn't a rebuttal.   

>>>2. The Old Testament doesn’t prove Christianity, because we do see that Jews explain the same verses completely different. When you have more than one way to interpret something, it can't be a proof.

I don't know what he means when he refers to the OT "proving" Christianity. I would never say it does.

Then you never read 2nd Timothy 3:16.  It is talking about the OT when it says the scripture is profitable to the Christian for "doctrine", and apostle Paul curiously grounds doctrine always in the OT, never on the words of Jesus.  Paul's allegedly grounding completely obvious common sense on something Jesus said (1st Timothy 5:18) is less about grounding something and more about telling the world just how little Paul thought of the pre-resurrection Christ.  

>>>3. Christianity is no valid more than Islam or other religions, because that if God changed the religion so drastically (Old Testament commandments does not required anymore, and so on) - why stay there? Let's accept that God came again to Muhammad, or Joseph Smith.

Non sequitur.

No, your non-sequitur is a non-sequitur:  he wasn't arguing that God surely did change religions.  he was only arguing that it would be reasonable for a person to believe that was the case.  The only time "non-sequitur" can validly apply is when the critiqued argument was saying a certain conclusion "necessarily" followed.  You'd be surprised at how often apologists say "non-sequitur" to a skeptical argument, when in fact the argument is not about what is necessarily true, but what is reasonable to believe. 

>>>4. The trinity sounds absurd when you believe in monotheistic God, in comparison to the way Judaism see their God.

Too bad this dumbass never heard of Trinitarian precursors in Judaism like hypostatic Wisdom.

Except that Judaism's hypostatic Wisdom is equally absurd as Trinitarianism, unless you kick the Christians out of the room and stop pushing the personification of wisdom so literally.  But the jury will find it interesting that with the remark "dumbass", the world's smartest Christian apologist cannot stop insulting people.  Download the 534-page Complaint here, then start at page 486.  There's about 35 pages of proofs that Holding lied when he testified under oath that he has "never deliberately intended to insult anyone by his communications", a statement that both he and his lawyer choose to leave unqualified. 

>>>>5. Judaism apologists disprove Christianity proofs easily. As Judaism is non-missionary religion, they have no motive to religion debate everywhere. That’s why most of the "proofs" over internet are one sided and you miss the Jews real point of views in the matter.

I smelled the elephant he hurled but I don't see it.

Then read 2000 years of church history, that's how long the Jews have failed to be impressed by Christian arguments, so apparently, the OT statements that NT authors use to prove something about Christianity, are not quite as rock-solid as the tearful inerrantist on Sunday morning would like to think. 

>>>Most people are not resisting to Christianity or any other religion because they are evil or stupid or stubborn. There are many rabbis, priests, Muftis and others that knows the truth and can win any debate.

Basically this guy has nothing but slogans to offer.

That would hardly matter.  I could kick your fucking head off in a debate about bible inerrancy and Jesus' resurrection, and the most you could do about it is post a defamatory cartoon video to YouTube.  Then YOU accuse other adults of having the mentality of a two-year old (!?) 

By the way, Mr. Holding, if you are so fucking serious that God approves of you calling your enemies "dumbasses", do you plan on calling ME a dumbass when you take the witness stand in front of the jury?  It doesn't matter if the earthly judge prohibits this, the true Christian obeys the higher spiritual moral where it conflicts with an earthly secular rule.  Acts 5:29, "we must obey God rather than men", so you can forget about pretending that Romans 13 requires that you obey secular authorities.  The earthly judge would be violating your idea of higher spiritual ethics in telling you to address me in a courteous manner.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Refuting Matthew Flannagan's defense of Divine Command Theory

Inerrantist Christian philosopher and apologist Dr. Matthew Flannagan continues pressing his pro-Divine-Command-Theory (DCT) arguments and thus wrangling words repeatedly about doctrine as if he never knew that 2nd Timothy 2:14 condemns word-wrangling and thus condemns all Christians who obtained higher education in analytic philosophy.  The one discipline in the world that makes you the most prone to thinking word-wrangling is godly, is analytic philosophy.

Flannagan's latest paper is "Why the Horrendous Deeds Objection Is Still a Bad Argument" which Sophia accepted: 26 October 2020, Springer Nature B.V. 2021.

I posted the following challenge/rebuttal to him at his blog


Your paper apparently silently presumes that God would never command a man to rape a woman (and you'd be out of a job if you ever pretended God might possibly command rape).  

And it is clear in ALL of your apologetics writings that you want the world to know that unbelievers cannot be reasonable in accusing the bible-god of atrocities.

I offer a DCT argument to refute one particular belief of yours, namely, that those who accuse the bible-god of moral atrocities are unreasonable.  On the contrary, we are equally as reasonable as anybody who accuses the KJV of having translation mistakes.

The atheist's alleged inability to properly ground morals wouldn't help you overcome this rebuttal even if that accusation was true.  YOU believe burning a child to death is worse than raping him or her, so if I can show that your own presuppositions require that God caused people to burn children to death, you will be forced to logically conclude that your god has committed atrocities worse than rape.

God said through Isaiah in 700 b.c.  that He caused the Assyrians to commit their war-atrocities:

 5 Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hands is My indignation,

 6 I send it against a godless nation And commission it against the people of My fury To capture booty and to seize plunder, And to trample them down like mud in the streets. (Isa. 10:5-6 NAU)

Ashurnasirpal II was king of Assyria from 883 to 859, and  admitted "I burnt their adolescent boys [and] girls.”  You may trifle that this was typical semitic exaggeration, but the fact that we have pictorial reliefs portraying Assyrians "flaying alive" their prisoners certainly makes it reasonable for a person to conclude that Ashurnasirpal's boasts were true to reality.  The production date for such relief is 660BC-650BC, so the specific sort of Assyrians that Isaiah speaks about in 700 b.c aren't likely less barbaric than Ashurnasirpal II.

To say nothing of the fact that every Assyriologist I've come across acts as if the literal truth of the Assyrian war atrocities was a foregone conclusion.  One example is BAR 17:01 (Jan/Feb 1991), "Grisly Assyrian Record of Torture and Death"  by Erika Belibtreu, professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at Vienna University, where she has worked since 1963.  

You can hardly fault atheists for failing to notice all that "semitic exaggeration" when actual Assyriologists think such descriptions are  telling about actual realities.  Just like you cannot fault the ignorant teenage girl who "accepts Jesus" in an inerrantist Evangelical church on the basis of writings by Norman Geisler, and doesn't notice all the obvious philosophical blunders he committed.

 I can predict you will trifle that God's use of the Assyrians doesn't mean he "caused" them to burn children to death, but Isaiah continues in ch. 10 and uses an analogy that makes the Assyrian the axe, and God is the one who uses it to chop things with:

 12 So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, "I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness."

 13 For he has said, "By the power of my hand and by my wisdom I did this, For I have understanding; And I removed the boundaries of the peoples And plundered their treasures, And like a mighty man I brought down their inhabitants,

 14 And my hand reached to the riches of the peoples like a nest, And as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered all the earth; And there was not one that flapped its wing or opened its beak or chirped."

 15 Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood. (Isa. 10:12-15 NAU)

Hence, your theory that unbelievers can never be reasonable to accuse the bible-god of atrocities worse than child-rape, is false.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Answering R. Scott Smith on murder and rape

 This is my reply to an article by Dr. R. Scott Smith entitled:

There definitely is a place for appeals to utility in moral reasoning. E.g., when crafting public policy, we should consider the likely consequences of a proposed action, even when a deontological principle clearly applies.

So when Christian women consider the consequences of their decision to have an abortion (i.e., the child goes immediately to heaven and all chance they might end up in hell is infallibly preempted), then it is clear that the abortion has greater moral good, while allowing the child to grow up, gain freewill, and thus open up the possibility of being tortured in flames forever, is clearly immoral. Especially given that the aborted baby's entry to heaven is necessarily approved by God (how else would he let them in)?  

You couldn't be immoral to murder anybody, because according to Job 14:5, God has set an unchangeable number of days for a person to live.  If you murder somebody, you are necessarily carrying out god's will on what happens to them when their number of days are expired.  Gee, I never knew that obeying the will of God was immoral!

After all, people have to live with such decisions. Moreover, utilitarianism appeals to people, especially in secular societies, as apparently being morally neutral. There is no appeal to God or some other set of values to determine what is moral.

Fair enough. 

However, what gets to count as a “good” or “bad” consequence in the first place? Who gets to decide that?

In America, the "who" are the people who decide whether to vote on proposed legislation.  In certain parts of Africa, it is a witch-doctor.

According to whom is something (or someone) more valuable than another?

See above. 

Biases easily could enter the calculation here.

It would be impossible if they didn't, since morality is ultimately subjective.  There is no such thing as moral neutrality in that group of people who desire to cast a vote about proposed legislation.

To make such judgments seems to presuppose some outside standard, beyond utility.

No, making such judgments presupposes the basic morality of the individual that they have by reason of genetic predisposition and environmental conditioning.  Many people mistake such morals as objective, but they do, in fact, spring from those two sources, no need to posit any moral source that is "above humanity".

Another issue is that utilitarianism seems inadequate in terms of how it treats motives.

Indeed, because morality is relative, there is not going to be any system that will be satisfactory to everybody.  Some people simply prioritize the long-term and others the short-term, and history tells us nothing if it doesn't tell us that we are incapable of creating moral utopia.  There's enough commonality to explain creation of different moral groups (nations, states, towns, clubs, churches) but not enough commonality to justify efforts to unite the whole world in morality.  Exactly what we'd expect on naturalism.

Yet, surely they are morally important. If someone kills another, it makes a major difference if it was done intentionally or accidentally. We rightly recognize that difference in the law.

But only for people who care about the long-term stability of society, not for those of more independent persuasion.  That's a lot of people.  Most people do in fact go faster than the speed limit, cheat on their taxes, and many refrain from calling the police if they have seen a crime, judging the judicial system inadequate to meet their needs.

Relatedly, utilitarianism undermines acts of moral supererogation, ones that are heroic and praiseworthy, yet not required. Suppose someone is jogging but notices another person in danger of being attacked by a third person with a knife. While we should expect that jogger to at least call for help (call the police or cry out, to scare off the attacker), it would be above and beyond the call of duty for that jogger to fight off the attacker and save the would-be victim. Yet, on utilitarianism, that act would be obligatory if it would result overall in net good consequences.

Then have fun refuting utilitarian advocates who think their system covers all possible moral situations.  Count me out.

Perhaps most significantly, utilitarianism makes net utility the basis for what is moral.

That's why it cannot be the answer to all moral situations, as most people do not agree that whatever is best in the long term for the majority of people is best.  People will flout the law for their own personal moral reasons often without caring whether this would help or hurt the larger concerns. 

Consider again our core morals: murder and rape are wrong, and justice and love are good.

Murder is not always wrong, its a question of whether the law which criminalize certain types of killing might end up operating to create a greater injustice, which discussion is not pointless merely because morals are relative.  We live with each other hear on earth, we don't need to claim we speak for God in order to legitimately seek what we believe is moral justice.

If you think rape is always immoral, then you are saying God is morally wrong.  See the Good News Translation of Deuteronomy 21:14.  Christian translators would hardly render the Hebrew as "forced her to have intercourse with you" if they could have grammatically justified any less rape-sounding translation. 

If the good consequences of a murder outweigh the bad, then that act would be justified and even obligatory.

But whether the good consequences DO outweigh the bad, is a moral judgment call that not even Christians can agree on.

The same goes for rape, whether under act or rule utilitarianism.

No, you only establish this "core" value by arbitrarily preempting the opinion held by remorseless rapists.  That's not very objective or clinical, that's nothing more than "those people are yucky so their opinion doesn't count."  And there are plenty of women who have a "rape fetish", and there is counseling available for rape victims who orgasmed during the rape.  But the victim having an orgasm during the rape probably isn't something you hear about in the mass media.  But an atheist could pounce on that as a proof that either your god doesn't exist, or the god who exists is a barbarian.  But that's not difficult anyway:  girls become capable of bearing children when they reach 12 years of age.  The male's sex drive is strongest during their teen years.  Why?  Might it be that your god seriously thought that having a family and working the farm was far more important than literacy, college and capitalism?

But these results clearly are deeply mistaken, to say the least. If this justification held, it could be moral to rape another person,

You don't have an argument indicating that rape is objectively immoral.  You just blindly presuppose that is the case because you know most people will agree with it.  But popularity doesn't equal truth.  You have to ask WHY most people think rape is wrong.  That's easy, the way they were raised:  most of us were not raised to take advantage of other people., and we were raised to believe that we shouldn't be subjecting somebody else to misery unless only a greater evil would occur without it, so since the satisfaction of the rapists sexual drive is not viewed by most people as a high priority, while their being born and raised in a democratic nation tells them the girl doesn't deserve to be raped, most people naturally eschew rape.

or murder a racial minority person who is protesting peacefully for civil rights.

There is no doubt that such a statement as this will garner an awful lot of support for you because America as a whole is steaming over the white cops killing black men.  But again, you have nothing but popularity on your side.  Once again, you cannot prove the objective immorality of a racist cop killing a black man in a way contrary to the applicable state and federal laws.   

But, we deeply know such acts are wrong; otherwise, why would there be such uproars against these acts?

But WHY do we "deeply know" such acts are wrong?  Gee, is it sheer coincidence that our viewpoint on such things is in harmony with the way most of us were raised, and in harmony with the kind of mammalian genetic predisposition most of us are born with (i.e., don't do something which threatens the survival of the group)?

Furthermore, your implied belief that murder is objectively immoral is disproven from the bible, in which God takes personal responsibility for all murders (Deuteronomy 32:39, Job 14:5, see Deut. 28:15-63).  You don't have to be a hyper-Calvinist to argue as a Christian that god is responsible for evil and works it to his own good.  That logically requires that when some white cop guns down a black man, God was more responsible for why the atoms in the cops brain did what they did, than the cop himself.  Biblical statements about God's omnipresence contradict biblical statements supporting libertarian freewill.  There is no place God is absent from, and that includes brain synapses.  Unless you wish to argue that ancient Semitic peoples tended to include exaggeration in their religious texts?  Gee, that wouldn't create a serious problem for inerrancy, would it? A Bible whose statements about God often exaggerate him?  How about a Court of law declaring the Affidavit of some witness "inerrant" despite its containing exaggerations?

Likewise, justice would be reduced to whatever is the result of the calculation. A rape or murder would be just in a society that is predominately one race if that act would maximize the overall benefits for the majority. Yet, if these acts can be just on this moral system, we have lost justice.

No, we'd have lost our current sense of justice.  Once again, your arguments blindly and wrongly presuppose that you DO have unchallengable "core" moral elements.  You don't.  You just have a lot of mammals in the world whose genetic predispositions are similar enough to explain their grouping together, but not similar enough to create moral utopia...exactly what we'd expect in a godless mammalian world where trying to stay alive and thrive is the ultimate purpose.

Indeed, murder’s and rape’s wrongness, and justice’s and love’s goodness, seem to be intrinsically so.

And there you go again appealing to the emotions of the reader, but surely an apologist can do better to prove objective morality, than by remarking that certain morals "seem" intrinsic.

But "intrinsic" doesn't have to imply transcendance.  Morals become lodged in our minds as we are raised by our caregivers.  I'm not seeing why that naturalistic explanation is leaving anything unexplained. 

my challenge to Timothy and Lydia McGrew

 I posted the following in the comment section to a YouTube video wherein Dr. McClatchie interviews Dr. Lydia McGrew and Dr. Timothy McGrew,...