A Murder of Atheists, part 4

FYI: this post has been moved here.


  1. Maybe Mariano should get his kid a hat, while his head is still small enough to fit into one.

  2. Mariano's kid is going to eventually have a Pete Rose haircut and a ham tounge.

  3. Second, Price’s rejects the argument that a text is “innocent till proven guilty.” Indeed, he argues just the opposite.

    Response: But if this were so, hardly anything could be believed from the past or present. For life would be a chaos if we assumed that road signs, speed limits, food labels, and restroom signs were wrong until proven right!

    When evaluating the truth of a road sign, a historic text, or anything else, it's important to consider:

    1) How easily could I find evidence to falsify this claim? The easier it is to falsify, the more confident we should be. Restroom signs? Easy to falsify. Uncle Ned's UFO sighting? Hard to falsify.

    2) What are the consequences if the claim is discovered to be a lie? The stronger the consequences, the more confidence we should have. This is one reason why I rarely trust politicians. When they are found outright lying, the consequences are usually pretty mild. I do, however, trust food labels (to some degree), because of potential lawsuits and government regulation.

    3) Does the claim-maker have a motive to claim something other than the factual truth? It would be hard for me to imagine why a CalTrans worker would place a "No U-turn" sign where a "Speed Bump Ahead" sign was needed. However, it is understandable why someone being waterboarded would lie about their neighbor's involvement in terrorism.

    These are all just heuristics with many counterexamples. They are, nonetheless, very useful for practical reasoning under uncertainty.

    Even if it is not, there is no reason why it cannot be true.

    The next time you find yourself writing "no reason why it cannot be true", I hope that you'll stop and recognize what a weak statement that is. There are infinitely many things that could be true (in the logical sense) that are, in fact, false. If we believe every claim that could be true and not just those for which we have evidence, our minds would fill up quickly with false beliefs.

  4. @GregK

    If we believe every claim that could be true and not just those for which we have evidence, our minds would fill up quickly with false beliefs.

    You mean like arguing that the list provided in 1st Corinthians is later assertion and not part of the original text? With no proof that that is what happened! I'd agree with the point you raised. Sure wish people would tell that to Robert Price.

  5. The Bible says it, I believe, that settles it.

    Need I say more?

  6. Mariano, again demonstrates his lack of reading comprehension: Price does not try ‘to shift the burden of proof’ and go to a ‘guilty till proven innocent’ standard. What he said was:

    “The whole judicial verdict analogy is inappropriate to Wisse's argument anyway. In the one case, we have two choices, to put a man in jail or not. In the other, we have three choices: certainty of an authentic text, certainty of an inauthentic text, and uncertainty. A suggestive argument that nonetheless remains inconclusive should cause us to return the third verdict, but Wisse will not consider it. The logical implication would seem to be textual agnosticism, but Wisse prefers textual fideism instead. “

    In other words, we can’t know for sure but there is good reason to doubt. The bulk of the essay is a discussion on the different views, his assessment of other people’s arguments and he makes a case that the verses in question really do deserve to be looked on with suspicion.

    Mariano’s comment about the status of the Christian Church in the mid first century shows that he has completely misunderstood the basics of the argument. It is one thing to disagree with Prices argument but really, Mariano, you should at least try to understand it. Price’s point about the ‘victors writing the history’ is that all the extant documents are from the period after Catholic Christianity has become dominant. He is presenting the idea that those verses are best understood as a later addition. The status of the Church in the mid-first century is irrelevant.

    It would be a pointless exercise to go through each and every one of Mariano’s mistakes, misunderstandings and logical errors. Anyone that is interested in what Robert Price actually wrote, as opposed to what Mariano mistakenly thinks he wrote should read the essay here: