Category Skepticism

Does Matthew’s Gospel Pre-Suppose a Supernatural Star of Bethlehem?

A few days ago at the National Catholic Register, a blog post was put up about the Yuletide star that I have been so interested in. The author of the piece, Jimmy Akin, wrote up about how the text of the Gospel of Matthew does not necessarily talk about a Star that moves around in such a way that it can only be supernatural. Akin, who besides having a cool red beard, is a Catholic apologist, and he categorizes his efforts here about the Star under apologetics (as seen on the blogs tag). I read the blog entry after I saw it come up in a search on Twitter, and the first thing I noted was that he said that the text does not support the supernatural reading, but he never actually cited the Greek text!

A Review of The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the story of the flood (Guest Post by Peter)

It’s been known since the 19th century that there are striking parallels between the Ark story contained in the Bible and a narrative episode included in the Mesopotamian story of the Epic of King Gilgamesh. In Gilgamesh, a hero Utnapishti is tasked with saving both human and animal life from a destructive flood (for which somewhat surprisingly, no reason is given) by the god Ea. Like Noah, Utnapishti builds a boat, fills it with animals, and finds himself lodged on the top of a mountain. What’s more, just like Noah, Utnapishti sends out birds on three test flights to establish that the flood waters were receding:

My books and Onus Books now on Kobo

Kobo is an e-reader device as well as a publishing platform in the same way as Kindle (Direct Publishing) and iBooks. It apparently has up to 20% market share, though this is probably generous. That said, being originally a Canadian company taken over by a Japanese parent company, it does do well in these and other countries and has some good strategic partnerships which mean it IS a viable alternative to the monopolising Amazon (who are taking over the word – be warned). I think you can use the Kobo website to buy EPUB files for various devices, not just the Kobo.

The Water and the Flood

OK, so most people of neutral, skeptical or commonsensical persuasion understand that the global flood claims of Genesis are nonsense. Yet the meme still persists amongst literalists and fundamentalists. I love GearHeadEd’s comment over on DC. It shows that that much water is truly a ridiculous concept. I wrote extensively once on why people believe such silly things. Here is Ed’s comment:

The Ark before Noah

There has been a number of articles on this due, perhaps, to a Channel 4 Documentary on this due to be shown in August (that’s a long way off!). It seems that instructions for the Ark in the Bible were lifted from an earlier source (which is no surprise since the flood account is lifted from the Gilgamesh or both from an earlier ancestor).

New Camel Domestication Research Challenges Biblical Historicity

A Tel Aviv University Press Release has built on work hinted at in Israel Finkelstein’s The Bible Unearthed which claimed that camels were not domesticated in the Ancient Near East to long after they are claimed to be existent and members of a goodly number of biblical stories. In other words, these anachronisms strongly suggest that the claims of the Bible are made up. Here is the story:

William Lane Craig is either lying, or getting things very wrong.

William Lane Craig is ubiquitous in conversations about theistic and Christian apologetics. Being the foremost modern philosopher/theologian still operating, he is often called upon or used as a source for theistic and Christian arguments, winning many debates in the process (on technique and rhetoric, in the main). I have part critiqued his Reasonable Faith book here.

Star of Bethlehem Year-End Wrap-Up

The year 2013 is nearly over, and it has been quite a good one for me. I’ve finished the research and been awarded my PhD in physics, I’m in the prospects for a new job to continue my research in physics education, and I published my first book on the Star of Bethlehem. And that last point I have seen get around in the news, thanks to the holiday interests of many media outlets.

Philosophy 101 (philpapers induced) #6: External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?

So having posted the Philpapers survey results, the biggest ever survey of philosophers conducted in 2009, several readers were not aware of it (the reason for re-communicating it) and were unsure as to what some of the questions were. I offered to do a series on them, so here it is – Philosophy 101 (Philpapers induced). I will go down the questions in order. I will explain the terms and the question, whilst also giving some context within the discipline of Philosophy of Religion.

“There is no association between evolution, science, academics, or the intellect. It does not exist.”

OK, it might take you a while to stop laughing. Now, these days, I don’t really get involved in evolution arguments with people who flatly deny evolution on such blatantly anti-intellectual terms. I see it as self-delusion, and having written before that such people are impervious to reason and evidence, and that showing such actually entrenches their views, I try not to be bothered by such positions. But often fail.