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Roylion

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Well done . So because supernatural/miracles etc are impossible and no matter the evidence any natural explanation no matter how improbable will still be better.
The objective evidence that such a supernatural event occurred is non-existent. By their very nature (or rather lack of it) supernatural events are more improbable and implausible than any naturalistic explanation.

The "facts" more probably and plausibly support the scenario I presented earlier, rather than the supernatural scenario put forward by apologists.

Why is a supernatural explanation is the best explanation of the "facts'?

Yet you say you aren’t an atheist. So you are still open to supernatural events ?
I see no evidence that supernatural events actually occur.
 
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Boston tiger

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The objective evidence that such a supernatural event occurred is non-existent. By their very nature (or rather lack of it) supernatural events are more improbable and implausible than any naturalistic explanation.

The "facts" more probably and plausibly support the scenario I presented earlier, rather than the supernatural scenario put forward by apologists.

Why is a supernatural explanation is the best explanation of the "facts'?



I see no evidence that supernatural events actually occur.
So we go back to the beginning . If resurrections were a natural common event the evidence for Jesus’s resurrection would be overwhelming.
However because resurrections are impossible ..there was no resurrection.
 

Roylion

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So we go back to the beginning . If resurrections were a natural common event the evidence for Jesus’s resurrection would be overwhelming.
Why is a supernatural explanation is the best explanation of the "facts', when there are more probable and plausible natural explanations?
 

Boston tiger

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Why is a supernatural explanation is the best explanation of the "facts', when there are more probable and plausible natural explanations?
What about Jesus had a twin that the disciples kept quiet about. Plausible well more plausible than a supernatural event.
One of the apostles dressed like Jesus.. unlikely but more likely than a supernatural event.
I am I doing this right?
 

Roylion

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What about Jesus had a twin that the disciples kept quiet about. Plausible well more plausible than a supernatural event.
Certainly more plausible than a supernatural event. Not as plausible perhaps as some other natural explanations, one of which I've already presented.

For example:

There are traditions from Syriac Christianity that Jesus’ brothers, who are mentioned in the Gospel of Mark, one of whom was named Jude, was particularly close to Jesus and that one of these brothers, Jude, otherwise known as Judas Thomas, was Jesus’ twin brother. In fact, we have interesting stories about Jesus and his twin brother in a book called the Acts of Thomas, in which Jesus and his twin brother are identical twins. So after Jesus’ death, Judas Thomas and all others connected with Jesus went into hiding, and he escaped from Judea. Some years later one of Jesus’ followers saw Judas Thomas at a distance, and they thought it was Jesus. Others reported similar sightings. Word spread that Jesus was no longer dead. The body in the tomb by that time had decomposed beyond recognition. The story became more widely accepted that Jesus had been raised from the dead, and in the oral traditions more stories started up and told about the event, including stories about them discovering an empty tomb.

There is nothing implausible about this! People have twins and there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions - at least - of identical twins in the world. It’s still highly unlikely, but it fits the four “facts” and is still more likely than the idea that God raised Jesus physically from the dead because it doesn’t appeal to the supernatural, which historians have no access to.

One of the apostles dressed like Jesus.. unlikely but more likely than a supernatural event.
I am I doing this right?
Not going to answer the question in the "Ask a Christian" thread?

I'll ask again.

Why is a supernatural explanation is the best explanation of the "facts', when there are more probable and plausible natural explanations?
 
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Boston tiger

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Certainly more plausible than a supernatural event. Not as plausible perhaps as some other natural explanations, one of which I've already presented.



Not going to answer the question in the "Ask a Christian" thread?

I'll ask again.

Why is a supernatural explanation is the best explanation of the "facts', when there are more probable and plausible natural explanations?
You will have to explain which of those you are choosing and I’ll go through them if you like .
 

Roylion

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You will have to explain which of those you are choosing and I’ll go through them if you like .
Why?

Quite apart from the fact I've already provided an explanation, surely if atheists should "get on board the Christian train because it’s got a pretty water tight story to go with it", it should be immaterial which natural explanation is provided.

Aren't you going to explain why a supernatural explanation is the best explanation of the "facts"?
 

Boston tiger

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Why?

Quite apart from the fact I've already provided an explanation, surely if atheists should "get on board the Christian train because it’s got a pretty water tight story to go with it", it should be immaterial which natural explanation is provided.

Aren't you going to explain why a supernatural explanation is the best explanation of the "facts"?
I’m staying away from Gospels as I know this will be problematic for you.

Resurrection/ lie/ badly bashed up Jesus that goes about his business then quietly snuffs it later on. This is roughly the scenarios that cover the foundation of the Church.

The motivation of the early Christians after the crucifixion/ the immediacy of the resurrection story / is best explained by the disciples believing they saw a supernatural event in a resurrected Jesus.
 

Roylion

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The motivation of the early Christians after the crucifixion/ the immediacy of the resurrection story / is best explained by the disciples believing they saw a supernatural event in a resurrected Jesus.
That it is "the best explained" is merely your contention. How?

Why can this not be explained by other means, other than a supernatural miracle took place?

For a start, the reported appearances of Jesus to his followers after his crucifixion and death vary in number and detail, depending on what account is read. The reported appearances are not consistent between Gospels, (and absent from the original version of Mark). I can even accept that given that much of history is written from a different persepctive and that we develop a fuller picture from combining different sources.

What is interesting is a key detail in Gospel reports of a risen Jesus, is that many include initial misidentifications.

That this is so, makes perfect sense if the disciples reported visions or impressions of the voice and likeness of Jesus in others, which later became interpreted as a physical resurrection. People of the first century commonly believed in possession by demons or spirits, visitations by gods, and the transmigration of souls, and the Old and New Testaments are full of references to such things. Of course the Bible relates that Jesus predicted his own resurrection on eleven different occasions, so it would not be surprising if reports of feeling the presence of a post-crucifixion Jesus in another person were readily accepted by disciples.

For examples in Luke 24:15–32 a resurrected Jesus walks, talks, and eats with disciples but they don’t recognize him. "But their eyes were holden that they should not know him".

One of their number speaks to the unrecognized Jesus as a stranger; "…Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem..?" (Luke 24:18).

The disciples walk with an unrecognized Jesus, and prevail upon him to eat and spend the evening with them, all the while being harangued by Jesus for not believing. (Luke 24:25–30)

It seems very plausible that they didn’t initially recognize the stranger as Jesus because it wasn’t Jesus.

Modern studies clearly document how intense grief can result in the hallucination of a loved one, and mass hallucinations are a well-documented phenomenon.

For example the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared to thousands in Egypt, such as was reported by many advocates of Our Lady of Zeitoun over a period of 2–3 years from 1968-1971 or the Miracle of the Sun in October 1917 when before a crwod of 30,000-40,000 people, the Sun was reported to have careened towards the earth before zig-zagging back to its normal position. Witnesses reported that their previously wet clothes became "suddenly and completely dry, as well as the wet and muddy ground that had been previously soaked because of the rain that had been falling.

If this phenomena has been well documented in the past two thousand years in a variety of places and to different people, why is not plausible to suggest that it happened at this time as well?

Adding to the above, there are several other examples of Jesus not being recognised in the Gospels.

Luke 24:36–37 “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” John 20:14–16

“And when she (Mary Magdalene) had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”

It is hard to imagine such a close follower of Jesus as Mary Magdalene not recognizing him, much less thinking him the gardener. No suggestion is made that Jesus was in disguise. Mary Magdalene thought it was the gardener because, very possibly, it was the gardener, and she came to feel, in her distressed state, that there was something of her master in the person before her.

Again, in John 21:4 “But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.”

Mark 16:9–12 “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked into the country.”

The Gospels depict Jesus as resurrected in the body that was buried, but Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:44–54 (which is generally regarded as the older tradition) implies that the risen Jesus left his old body behind and appeared in a glorious new body.

This contradiction can plausibly be reconciled by concluding that the first Christians, including Paul, thought Jesus was resurrected in a new body, and that the appearances were visions and dreams. The belief in a physical resurrection of the body that was buried, and appearances in the flesh, as reported in the Gospels, evolved later on and appeared in the later Gospels. A clear progression of embellishment / detail can be seen from the earliest gospel Mark through Matthew and Luke and lastly to the latest gospel of John

Paul also claimed that Jesus has appeared to him in the same way he did to Peter, James and the others who had known Jesus in life.

In Galatians 1 Paul explained that his experience was a revelation both from Jesus ("The gospel I preached ... I received by revelation from Jesus Christ") and of Jesus ("God ... was pleased to reveal His son in me").

In 2 Corinthians 12 he tells his readers of "a man in Christ who ... was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows;" Elsewhere in the Epistles Paul speaks of "glory" and "light" and the "face of Jesus Christ," and while the language is obscure it is plausible that he saw Jesus as a vision... exalted, enthroned in heaven at the right hand of God.

Paul has little interest in Jesus' resurrected body, except to say that it is not a this-worldly one: in his Letter to the Philippians he describes how the resurrected Christ is exalted in a new body utterly different to one he had when he wore "the appearance of a man," and holds out a similar glorified state, when Christ "will transform our lowly body," as the goal of the Christian life. Paul says little about the crucifixion of Jesus, perhaps because the Roman world thought it abominable to worship a crucified god, (as crucifixion was thought of as the most horrible, painful, tortuous, and humiliating form of execution possible and was mainly reserved for slaves, disgraced soldiers and foreigners) and this was a major impediment to proselytization.

If modern believers can see an image of Jesus in a piece of toast (and claims of visions and conversations of Jesus persist to this day), it isn’t hard to imagine that the first disciples believed they felt the person of their master in other people.
 
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Boston tiger

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That it is "the best explained" is merely your contention. How?

Why can this not be explained by other means, other than a supernatural miracle took place?

For a start, the reported appearances of Jesus to his followers after his crucifixion and death. vary in number and detail, depending what account is read. The reported appearances are not consistent between Gospels, (and absent from the original version of Mark). I can even accept that given that much of history is written from a different persepctive and that we develop a fuller picture from combining different sources.

What is interesting is a key detail in Gospel reports of a risen Jesus is that many include initial misidentifications.

This makes perfect sense if the disciples reported visions or impressions of the voice and likeness of Jesus in others, which later became interpreted as a physical resurrection. People of the first century commonly believed in possession by demons or spirits, visitations by gods, and the transmigration of souls, and the Old and New Testaments are full of references to such things. Of course the Bible relates that Jesus predicted his own resurrection on eleven different occasions, so it would not be surprising if reports of feeling the presence of a post-crucifixion Jesus in another person were readily accepted by disciples.

For examples in Luke 24:15–32 a resurrected Jesus walks, talks, and eats with disciples but they don’t recognize him. “But their eyes were holden that they should not know him”.

One of their number speaks to the unrecognized Jesus as a stranger; “…Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem..?” (Luke 24:18).

The disciples walk with an unrecognized Jesus, and prevail upon him to eat and spend the evening with them, all the while being harangued by Jesus for not believing. (Luke 24:25–30)

In Luke 24:31 they recognize the stranger as Jesus, even as he vanishes from their sight. Luke 24:32 describes the apostles reminding themselves of how their hearts burned while the stranger talked to them.

It seems very plausible that they didn’t initially recognize the stranger as Jesus because it wasn’t Jesus. This episode in Luke is plausibly explained as a memory of seeing and feeling the presence of Jesus in others soon after the crucifixion.

Modern studies clearly document how intense grief can result in the hallucination of a loved one, and mass hallucinations are a well-documented phenomenon.

For example the Virgin Mary for example supposedly appeared to thousands in Egypt, such as was reported by many advocates of Our Lady of Zeitoun over a period of 2–3 years from 1968-1971 or the Miracle of the Sun in October 1917 when before a crwod of 30,000-40,000 people, the Sun was reported to have careened towards the earth before zig-zagging back to its normal position. Witnesses reported that their previously wet clothes became "suddenly and completely dry, as well as the wet and muddy ground that had been previously soaked because of the rain that had been falling.

If this phenomena has been well documented in the past two thousand years in a variety of places and to different people, why is not plausible to suggest that it happened at this time as well.

Adding to the above, there are several other examples of Jesus not being recognised in the Gospels.

Luke 24:36–37 “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” John 20:14–16

“And when she (Mary Magdalene) had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”

It is hard to imagine such a close follower of Jesus as Mary Magdalene not recognizing him, much less thinking him the gardener. No suggestion is made that Jesus was in disguise. Mary Magdalene thought it was the gardener because, probably, it was the gardener, and she came to feel, in her distressed state, that there was something of her master in the person before her.

Again, in John 21:4 “But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.”

Mark 16:9–12 “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked into the country.”

The Gospels depict Jesus as resurrected in the body that was buried, but Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:44–54 (which is generally regarded as the older tradition) implies that the risen Jesus left his old body behind and appeared in a glorious new body. The belief in a physical resurrection of the body that was buried, and appearances in the flesh, as reported in the Gospels, evolved later.

This contradiction can plausibly be reconciled by concluding that the first Christians, including Paul, thought Jesus was resurrected in a new body, and that the appearances were visions and dreams.

Paul claimed that Jesus has appeared to him in the same way he did to Peter, James and the others who had known Jesus in life.

In Galatians 1 Paul explained that his experience was a revelation both from Jesus ("The gospel I preached ... I received by revelation from Jesus Christ") and of Jesus ("God ... was pleased to reveal His son in me").

In 2 Corinthians 12 he tells his readers of "a man in Christ who ... was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows;" Elsewhere in the Epistles Paul speaks of "glory" and "light" and the "face of Jesus Christ," and while the language is obscure it is plausible that he saw Jesus as a vision... exalted, enthroned in heaven at the right hand of God.

Paul has little interest in Jesus' resurrected body, except to say that it is not a this-worldly one: in his Letter to the Philippians he describes how the resurrected Christ is exalted in a new body utterly different to one he had when he wore "the appearance of a man," and holds out a similar glorified state, when Christ "will transform our lowly body," as the goal of the Christian life. Paul says little about the crucifixion of Jesus, perhaps because the Roman world thought it abominable to worship a crucified god, (as crucifixion was thought of as the most horrible, painful, tortuous, and humiliating form of execution possible and was mainly reserved for slaves, disgraced soldiers and foreigners) and this was a major impediment to proselytization.

If modern believers can see an image of Jesus in a piece of toast (and claims of visions and conversations of Jesus persist to this day), it isn’t hard to imagine that the first disciples believed they felt the person of their master in other people.
Well if we can use the Gospels then please let me give you the answer straight from the Church’s mouth. There’s plenty more as you can imagine with the brightest minds having nothing better than pondering over the beginnings of the church and the subsequent writings available to them,

“645 By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion.509 Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ's humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father's divine realm.510 For this reason too the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.511

646 Christ's Resurrection was not a return to earthly life, as was the case with the raisings from the dead that he had performed before Easter: Jairus' daughter, the young man of Naim, Lazarus. These actions were miraculous events, but the persons miraculously raised returned by Jesus' power to ordinary earthly life. At some particular moment they would die again. Christ's Resurrection is essentially different. In his risen body he passes from the state of death to another life beyond time and space. At Jesus' Resurrection his body is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit: he shares the divine life in his glorious state, so that St. Paul can say that Christ is "the man of heaven".512
 

Roylion

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Well if we can use the Gospels then please let me give you the answer straight from the Church’s mouth.
This still does not answer the question.

Once again. Why is a supernatural explanation is the best explanation of the "facts', when there are more probable and plausible natural explanations? It's clear why the Church wants their followers to believe there is a divine aspect to the founding of their religion.

I've explained that the motivation of the early Christians can be more plausibly explained by natural means other than them actually observing a supernatural event in a physical resurrected Jesus.
 
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Boston tiger

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This still does not answer the question.

Once again. Why is a supernatural explanation is the best explanation of the "facts', when there are more probable and plausible natural explanations? It's clear why the Church wants their followers to believe there is a divine aspect to the founding of their religion.

I've explained that the motivation of the early Christians can be more plausibly explained by natural means other than them actually observing a supernatural event in a physical resurrected Jesus.
The founders believed that there was a divine aspect to the founding of the church.

Yes and people will always take the low plausible over the supernatural except in the early Christians case. Why? Because they saw God himself embodied in the human form.
So strong that they were prepared to be persecuted for it.

It is what it is ...

Not sure what your argument was expect that you admitted it had low plausibility? 500 different visions. Some visions lasting a long time. One vision / or some bloke visiting Thomas with holes in hands . Soldiers under threat of death letting a live Jesus of the cross etc . Shenanigans over tombs ?

Jesus toast.
 

Roylion

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The founders believed that there was a divine aspect to the founding of the church.
Of course they would say that. That's how they attract followers.

Yes and people will always take the low plausible over the supernatural except in the early Christians case. Why? Because they saw God himself embodied in the human form

So strong that they were prepared to be persecuted for it.
That doesn't make a claimed event factual. History is littered with individuals and groups prepared to die for their belief - both political and religious.

Persecution of early Christianty wasn't that prevalent anyway.

In the 300 years from the crucifixion of Christ to the conversion of Emperor Constantine, polytheistic Roman emperors initiated no more than four general persecutions of Christians. Local administrators and governors incited some anti-Christian violence of their own. If we combine all the victims of all these persecutions, it turns out that in these three centuries, the polytheistic Romans killed no more than a few thousand Christians.

None of the Gospels or Epistles mention anyone dying for their belief in the "physical" resurrection of Jesus. The only martyrdoms recorded in the New Testament are, first, the stoning of Stephen in the Book of Acts. But Stephen was not a witness. He was a later convert. So if he died for anything, he died for hearsay alone. But even in Acts the story has it that he was not killed for what he believed, but for some trumped up false charge, and by a mob, whom he could not have escaped even if he had recanted. So his death does not prove anything in that respect. Moreover, in his last breaths, we are told, he says nothing about dying for any belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus, but mentions only his belief that Jesus was the messiah, and was at that moment in heaven. And then he sees Jesus - yet no one else does, so this was clearly a vision, not a physical appearance, and there is no good reason to believe earlier appearances were any different.

The second and only other "martyr" recorded in Acts is the execution of the Apostle James, but we are not told anything about why he was killed or whether recanting would have saved him, or what he thought he died for.

In fact, we have one independent account in the Jewish history of Josephus, of the stoning of a certain "James the brother of Jesus" in 62 A.D., possibly but not necessarily the very same James, and in that account he is stoned for breaking the Jewish law, which recanting would not escape, and in the account of the late 2nd century Christian hagiographer Hegesippus, as reported by Eusebius, he dies not for his belief in a physical resurrection, but, just like Stephen, solely for proclaiming Jesus the messiah, who was at that moment in heaven.

That is the last record of any Christian martyrdom we have until the 2nd century. Then we start to hear about some unnamed Christians burned for arson by Nero in 64 A.D. but we do not know if any eye-witnesses were included in that group and even if we did it would not matter, for they were killed on a false charge of arson, not for refusing to deny belief in a physical resurrection or any of their other beliefs. So even if they had recanted, it would not have saved them, and therefore their deaths also do not prove anything, especially since such persecution was so rare and unpredictable in that century. We also do not even know what it was they believed - after all, Stephen and James did not appear to regard the physical resurrection as an essential component of their belief. It's not what they died for.

We therefore have to look outside the bible for the familiar stories of the early Christian martyrs, which come primarily from the 2nd and 3rd century authors Hippolytus and Eusebius. Written over a hundred years after the disciples supposedly met their various ends, these accounts can only be chalked up to tradition, and the authors did not disclose their sources. However, Hippolytus reports natural deaths for four of the twelve disciples (John, Matthew, Thaddeus, and Simon the Zealot), which means that, along with Judas/Matthias, nearly half of the disciples were not martyred under any tradition.

When we turn to the gospels we also see that their traditional authors Matthew and John died of natural causes, and Mark and Luke were not among the twelve disciples or among those who witnessed the resurrection. Mark and Luke, even if they had died for their faith, were not present at the tomb or the ascension and so would not likely have known their beliefs to be misplaced. Paul, who purportedly authored almost half the New Testament, was also not present during the resurrection, only seeing Jesus in a vision sometime later.

Traditions of martyrdom for figures like Thomas and Philip don't come until approximately 100-150 years after their deaths. This should be enough to raise suspicion as to the authenticity of such martyrdom legends, and it is also worth noting that people have been made into martyrs after the fact by their followers, when they may have been killed without any chance to recant their faith.

So here's another naturalistic explanation, which is far more plausible than Jesus being physically resurrected from the dead.

The Gospels were clearly written to show how Jesus was the Messiah and his coming fulfilled ancient Jewish scripture. Jesus' followers were expecting him to be the messiah, and part of that role involved surviving long enough to be the messiah! As most devout religious sects do when their expectations fail, the disciples sought an explanation, and they found one in the idea of resurrection. If anything, it looks more like they would've had every predisposition not to face reality, if their messiah died.

In an essay titled, "When Prophecy Fails and Faith Persists” social psychologist Lorne L. Dawson explained the various ways in which religious groups deal with prophetic failure. If the group is large enough and willing to retain a sense of community, there is a great chance of stemming off disappointment. If the leaders act quickly to provide some rationalization or explanation of the failure, labeling it as a "test of faith", elaborating that the event really did happen on a spiritual and unseen level, or chalking it up to human error, there is an even stronger chance that the group will survive. Quoting two other social psychologists, Dawson writes that, "Beliefs may withstand the pressure of disconfirming events not because of the effectiveness of dissonance-reducing strategies, but because disconfirming evidence may simply go unacknowledged". In other words, deeply invested believers may be known to count the hits and just ignore the misses.

Here’s some more naturalistic explanations that fit the so-called “historical facts” far more plausibly than the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Jesus is hastily buried in a tomb because of the Sabbath. Two of Jesus’ family members are upset that an unknown Jewish leader has buried the body. In the dead of night, these two family members raid the tomb, taking the body off to bury it for themselves. But Roman soldiers on the lookout see them carrying the shrouded corpse through the streets, they confront them, and they kill them on the spot. They throw all three bodies into a common burial plot, where within three days these bodies are decomposed beyond recognition. The tomb then is empty. People go to the tomb, they find it empty, they come to think that Jesus was raised from the dead, and they start thinking they’ve seen him because they know he’s been raised because his tomb is empty.

This may be an unlikely scenario not supported by specific evidence, but you can’t object that it’s impossible to have happened because it’s not impossible at all. People did raid tombs. Soldiers did kill civilians on the least pretext. People were buried in common graves, left to rot. It’s not likely and we have no real evidence that it ever happened, but it’s FAR more likely than the miracle of bodily resurrection, which is so unlikely, that you have to appeal to supernatural intervention to make it work. The alternative explanation above is at least plausible, and it’s historical, as opposed to the idea that Jesus physically rose from the dead, which is not historical. In fact, bodily resurrection from being literally dead, is the LEAST likely explanation for the “facts”.

Here’s another theory related to your earlier comment about twins.

There are traditions from Syriac Christianity that Jesus’ brothers, who are mentioned in the Gospel of Mark, one of whom was named Jude, was particularly close to Jesus and that one of these brothers, Jude, otherwise known as Judas Thomas, was Jesus’ twin brother. In fact, we have interesting stories about Jesus and his twin brother in a book called the Acts of Thomas, in which Jesus and his twin brother are identical twins. So after Jesus’ death, Judas Thomas and all others connected with Jesus went into hiding, and he escaped from Judea. Some years later one of Jesus’ followers saw Judas Thomas at a distance, and they thought it was Jesus. Others reported similar sightings. Word spread that Jesus was no longer dead. The body in the tomb by that time had decomposed beyond recognition. The story became more widely accepted that Jesus had been raised from the dead, and in the oral traditions more stories started up and told about the event, including stories about them discovering an empty tomb.

There is nothing implausible about this! People have twins and there are hundreds of thousands - at least - of identical twins in the world. It’s still highly unlikely, but it fits the four “facts” and is still more likely than the idea that God raised Jesus physically from the dead because it doesn’t appeal to the supernatural, which historians have no access to.

And here’s Bart Ehrman’s theory about the resurrection.

"The one thing we know about the Christians after the death of Jesus is that they turned to their scriptures to try and make sense of it. They had believed Jesus was the Messiah, but then he was crucified, and so he couldn’t be the Messiah. No Jew, prior to Christianity, thought that the Messiah was to be crucified. The Messiah was to be a great warrior or a great king or a great judge. He was to be a figure of grandeur and power, not somebody who’s squashed by the enemy like a mosquito. How could Jesus, the Messiah, have been killed as a common criminal? Christians turned to their scriptures to try and understand it, and they found passages that refer to the Righteous One of God’s suffering death. But in these passages, such as Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 and Psalm 61, the one who is punished or who is killed is also vindicated by God. Christians came to believe their scriptures that Jesus was the Righteous One and that God must have vindicated him. And so Christians came to think of Jesus as one who, even though he had been crucified, came to be exalted to heaven, much as Elijah and Enoch had in the Hebrew scriptures. How can he be Jesus the Messiah though, if he’s been exalted to heaven? Well, Jesus must be coming back soon to establish the kingdom. He wasn’t an earthly Messiah; he’s a spiritual Messiah. That’s why the early Christians thought the end was coming right away in their own lifetime. That’s why Paul taught that Christ was the first fruit of the resurrection. But if Jesus is exalted, he is no longer dead, and so Christians started circulating the story of his resurrection. It wasn’t three days later they started circulating the story; it might have been a year later, maybe two years. Five years later they didn’t know when the stories had started. Nobody could go to the tomb to check; the body had decomposed. Believers who knew he had been raised from the dead started having visions of him. Others told stories about these visions of him, including Paul who even claimed to have experienced one himself to add weight to his story. Stories of these visions circulated. Some of them were actual visions like Paul, others of them were stories of visions like the five hundred group of people who saw him. On the basis of these stories, narratives were constructed and circulated and eventually we the Gospels of the New Testament appeared, written 30, 40, 50, 60 years later."

Jeffery Jay Lowder proposes that a more likely alternative to resurrection is that Joseph of Arimathea, who was a pious member of the Jewish High Court, simply buried Jesus in his own grave temporarily, out of respect for the Sabbath. Once it passed, he returned the body to the authorities or to a mass grave, as was customary treatment for crucifixion victims. The empty tomb is found by the disciples who proclaim of Jesus that "He is Risen!!". Jesus is then 'seen' or purported to have been seen, along the lines of social psychologist Lorne L. Dawson's explanation (above)

Any of the above theories fits the so-called historical ‘facts’ far better – than the physical resurrection of Jesus’ dead body. Any of the above three theories can be judged historically, once the facts have been generally agreed upon. And of course don't forget the original fourth theory I presented in an earlier post.

So basically the physical resurrection of Jesus' dead body, is the LEAST likely explanation of the "facts", even if we agree that the "facts" are the "facts".

Whatever the case, there is no evidence of a miraculous strength under persecution that is exclusive to Christians, though, nor is there any reason to think that the disciples' willingness to die for their beliefs makes their beliefs any more plausible than the martyrs of Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, or any other religious group or cult.

Not sure what your argument was expect that you admitted it had low plausibility? 500 different visions. Some visions lasting a long time. One vision / or some bloke visiting Thomas with holes in hands . Soldiers under threat of death letting a live Jesus of the cross etc . Shenanigans over tombs ?
You still haven't answered the question as to why a supernatural explanation should be regarded as better as any of the above naturalistic explanations.
 
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jason pm

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The belief in a religious institutionalized creator is clear demonstration of the immense gullibility of the human race, this fairy tale has been going on for eons, it really is laughable in the extreme.
 

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Of course they would say that. That's how they attract followers.



That doesn't make a claimed event factual. History is littered with individuals and groups prepared to die for their belief - both political and religious.

Persecution of early Christianty wasn't that prevalent anyway.

In the 300 years from the crucifixion of Christ to the conversion of Emperor Constantine, polytheistic Roman emperors initiated no more than four general persecutions of Christians. Local administrators and governors incited some anti-Christian violence of their own. If we combine all the victims of all these persecutions, it turns out that in these three centuries, the polytheistic Romans killed no more than a few thousand Christians.

None of the Gospels or Epistles mention anyone dying for their belief in the "physical" resurrection of Jesus. The only martyrdoms recorded in the New Testament are, first, the stoning of Stephen in the Book of Acts. But Stephen was not a witness. He was a later convert. So if he died for anything, he died for hearsay alone. But even in Acts the story has it that he was not killed for what he believed, but for some trumped up false charge, and by a mob, whom he could not have escaped even if he had recanted. So his death does not prove anything in that respect. Moreover, in his last breaths, we are told, he says nothing about dying for any belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus, but mentions only his belief that Jesus was the messiah, and was at that moment in heaven. And then he sees Jesus - yet no one else does, so this was clearly a vision, not a physical appearance, and there is no good reason to believe earlier appearances were any different.

The second and only other "martyr" recorded in Acts is the execution of the Apostle James, but we are not told anything about why he was killed or whether recanting would have saved him, or what he thought he died for.

In fact, we have one independent account in the Jewish history of Josephus, of the stoning of a certain "James the brother of Jesus" in 62 A.D., possibly but not necessarily the very same James, and in that account he is stoned for breaking the Jewish law, which recanting would not escape, and in the account of the late 2nd century Christian hagiographer Hegesippus, as reported by Eusebius, he dies not for his belief in a physical resurrection, but, just like Stephen, solely for proclaiming Jesus the messiah, who was at that moment in heaven.

That is the last record of any Christian martyrdom we have until the 2nd century. Then we start to hear about some unnamed Christians burned for arson by Nero in 64 A.D. but we do not know if any eye-witnesses were included in that group and even if we did it would not matter, for they were killed on a false charge of arson, not for refusing to deny belief in a physical resurrection or any of their other beliefs. So even if they had recanted, it would not have saved them, and therefore their deaths also do not prove anything, especially since such persecution was so rare and unpredictable in that century. We also do not even know what it was they believed - after all, Stephen and James did not appear to regard the physical resurrection as an essential component of their belief. It's not what they died for.

We therefore have to look outside the bible for the familiar stories of the early Christian martyrs, which come primarily from the 2nd and 3rd century authors Hippolytus and Eusebius. Written over a hundred years after the disciples supposedly met their various ends, these accounts can only be chalked up to tradition, and the authors did not disclose their sources. However, Hippolytus reports natural deaths for four of the twelve disciples (John, Matthew, Thaddeus, and Simon the Zealot), which means that, along with Judas/Matthias, nearly half of the disciples were not martyred under any tradition.

When we turn to the gospels we also see that their traditional authors Matthew and John died of natural causes, and Mark and Luke were not among the twelve disciples or among those who witnessed the resurrection. Mark and Luke, even if they had died for their faith, were not present at the tomb or the ascension and so would not likely have known their beliefs to be misplaced. Paul, who purportedly authored almost half the New Testament, was also not present during the resurrection, only seeing Jesus in a vision sometime later.

Traditions of martyrdom for figures like Thomas and Philip don't come until approximately 100-150 years after their deaths. This should be enough to raise suspicion as to the authenticity of such martyrdom legends, and it is also worth noting that people have been made into martyrs after the fact by their followers, when they may have been killed without any chance to recant their faith.

So here's another naturalistic explanation, which is far more plausible than Jesus being physically resurrected from the dead.

The Gospels were clearly written to show how Jesus was the Messiah and his coming fulfilled ancient Jewish scripture. Jesus' followers were expecting him to be the messiah, and part of that role involved surviving long enough to be the messiah! As most devout religious sects do when their expectations fail, the disciples sought an explanation, and they found one in the idea of resurrection. If anything, it looks more like they would've had every predisposition not to face reality, if their messiah died.

In an essay titled, "When Prophecy Fails and Faith Persists” social psychologist Lorne L. Dawson explained the various ways in which religious groups deal with prophetic failure. If the group is large enough and willing to retain a sense of community, there is a great chance of stemming off disappointment. If the leaders act quickly to provide some rationalization or explanation of the failure, labeling it as a "test of faith", elaborating that the event really did happen on a spiritual and unseen level, or chalking it up to human error, there is an even stronger chance that the group will survive. Quoting two other social psychologists, Dawson writes that, "Beliefs may withstand the pressure of disconfirming events not because of the effectiveness of dissonance-reducing strategies, but because disconfirming evidence may simply go unacknowledged". In other words, deeply invested believers may be known to count the hits and just ignore the misses.

Here’s some more naturalistic explanations that fit the so-called “historical facts” far more plausibly than the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Jesus is hastily buried in a tomb because of the Sabbath. Two of Jesus’ family members are upset that an unknown Jewish leader has buried the body. In the dead of night, these two family members raid the tomb, taking the body off to bury it for themselves. But Roman soldiers on the lookout see them carrying the shrouded corpse through the streets, they confront them, and they kill them on the spot. They throw all three bodies into a common burial plot, where within three days these bodies are decomposed beyond recognition. The tomb then is empty. People go to the tomb, they find it empty, they come to think that Jesus was raised from the dead, and they start thinking they’ve seen him because they know he’s been raised because his tomb is empty.

This may be an unlikely scenario not supported by specific evidence, but you can’t object that it’s impossible to have happened because it’s not impossible at all. People did raid tombs. Soldiers did kill civilians on the least pretext. People were buried in common graves, left to rot. It’s not likely and we have no real evidence that it ever happened, but it’s FAR more likely than the miracle of bodily resurrection, which is so unlikely, that you have to appeal to supernatural intervention to make it work. The alternative explanation above is at least plausible, and it’s historical, as opposed to the idea that Jesus physically rose from the dead, which is not historical. In fact, bodily resurrection from being literally dead, is the LEAST likely explanation for the “facts”.

Here’s another theory related to your earlier comment about twins.

There are traditions from Syriac Christianity that Jesus’ brothers, who are mentioned in the Gospel of Mark, one of whom was named Jude, was particularly close to Jesus and that one of these brothers, Jude, otherwise known as Judas Thomas, was Jesus’ twin brother. In fact, we have interesting stories about Jesus and his twin brother in a book called the Acts of Thomas, in which Jesus and his twin brother are identical twins. So after Jesus’ death, Judas Thomas and all others connected with Jesus went into hiding, and he escaped from Judea. Some years later one of Jesus’ followers saw Judas Thomas at a distance, and they thought it was Jesus. Others reported similar sightings. Word spread that Jesus was no longer dead. The body in the tomb by that time had decomposed beyond recognition. The story became more widely accepted that Jesus had been raised from the dead, and in the oral traditions more stories started up and told about the event, including stories about them discovering an empty tomb.

There is nothing implausible about this! People have twins and there are hundreds of thousands - at least - of identical twins in the world. It’s still highly unlikely, but it fits the four “facts” and is still more likely than the idea that God raised Jesus physically from the dead because it doesn’t appeal to the supernatural, which historians have no access to.

And here’s Bart Ehrman’s theory about the resurrection.

"The one thing we know about the Christians after the death of Jesus is that they turned to their scriptures to try and make sense of it. They had believed Jesus was the Messiah, but then he was crucified, and so he couldn’t be the Messiah. No Jew, prior to Christianity, thought that the Messiah was to be crucified. The Messiah was to be a great warrior or a great king or a great judge. He was to be a figure of grandeur and power, not somebody who’s squashed by the enemy like a mosquito. How could Jesus, the Messiah, have been killed as a common criminal? Christians turned to their scriptures to try and understand it, and they found passages that refer to the Righteous One of God’s suffering death. But in these passages, such as Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 and Psalm 61, the one who is punished or who is killed is also vindicated by God. Christians came to believe their scriptures that Jesus was the Righteous One and that God must have vindicated him. And so Christians came to think of Jesus as one who, even though he had been crucified, came to be exalted to heaven, much as Elijah and Enoch had in the Hebrew scriptures. How can he be Jesus the Messiah though, if he’s been exalted to heaven? Well, Jesus must be coming back soon to establish the kingdom. He wasn’t an earthly Messiah; he’s a spiritual Messiah. That’s why the early Christians thought the end was coming right away in their own lifetime. That’s why Paul taught that Christ was the first fruit of the resurrection. But if Jesus is exalted, he is no longer dead, and so Christians started circulating the story of his resurrection. It wasn’t three days later they started circulating the story; it might have been a year later, maybe two years. Five years later they didn’t know when the stories had started. Nobody could go to the tomb to check; the body had decomposed. Believers who knew he had been raised from the dead started having visions of him. Others told stories about these visions of him, including Paul who even claimed to have experienced one himself to add weight to his story. Stories of these visions circulated. Some of them were actual visions like Paul, others of them were stories of visions like the five hundred group of people who saw him. On the basis of these stories, narratives were constructed and circulated and eventually we the Gospels of the New Testament appeared, written 30, 40, 50, 60 years later."

Jeffery Jay Lowder proposes that a more likely alternative to resurrection is that Joseph of Arimathea, who was a pious member of the Jewish High Court, simply buried Jesus in his own grave temporarily, out of respect for the Sabbath. Once it passed, he returned the body to the authorities or to a mass grave, as was customary treatment for crucifixion victims. The empty tomb is found by the disciples who proclaim of Jesus that "He is Risen!!". Jesus is then 'seen' or purported to have been seen, along the lines of social psychologist Lorne L. Dawson's explanation (above)

Any of the above theories fits the so-called historical ‘facts’ far better – than the physical resurrection of Jesus’ dead body. Any of the above three theories can be judged historically, once the facts have been generally agreed upon. And of course don't forget the original fourth theory I presented in an earlier post.

So basically the physical resurrection of Jesus' dead body, is the LEAST likely explanation of the "facts", even if we agree that the "facts" are the "facts".

Whatever the case, there is no evidence of a miraculous strength under persecution that is exclusive to Christians, though, nor is there any reason to think that the disciples' willingness to die for their beliefs makes their beliefs any more plausible than the martyrs of Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, or any other religious group or cult.



You still haven't answered the question as to why a supernatural explanation should be regarded as better as any of the above naturalistic explanations.
You will have to ask them Roy. I didn’t see the resurrected Jesus.. they did. 2000 years later we can all come up with naturalistic causes no matter how far out and wacky and silly they are.. low plausibility and all and say wait for wait for it ...why should a supernatural explanation be regarded as better explanation than low plausible naturalistic explanation.

It’s been fun Roy but as I said .. if you don’t believe in the miraculous no matter what the evidence ... it didn’t happen because why Roy? .. it’s impossible.

But it’s been great witnessing your journey going from a mythical Jesus ;to a historical Jesus ;to quoting the Gospels as fact. Was it your favourite historian stating that the tomb was empty that did it for you?

Roy this existence we share is all one big miracle. God bless.

If you woke up tomorrow and there was a huge bearded figure appearing over the clouds and in a big booming voice yelled “ I am God your creator” that would just be aliens just mucking about. Because any natural explanation .. you know the rest.
 

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The belief in a religious institutionalized creator is clear demonstration of the immense gullibility of the human race, this fairy tale has been going on for eons, it really is laughable in the extreme.
Not so sure it's laughable. The human mind or condition wonders about the world around them and requires answers. The answers take many forms including science and religion. Just because to many religion has answers that to many would be considered ridiculous, science if furthered by in some ways by the same search for the truth.
 

jason pm

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Not so sure it's laughable. The human mind or condition wonders about the world around them and requires answers. The answers take many forms including science and religion. Just because to many religion has answers that to many would be considered ridiculous, science if furthered by in some ways by the same search for the truth.
I agree that both are a search for answers based on wonder, curiosity etc but that is where the similarity ends IMO.

Science- a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject based on experimentation and a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

Religion- Faith, based on an ancient time when the human race did not understand natural processes such as earthquakes, volcano's, thunder, lightning, plagues, droughts, floods etc. Classic god of the gaps that was built on for power and control.

Although I am open to and expect there to be more to this thing we call existence/reality than we know or can even comprehend at this moment in time, I am a devotee of Yoga, meditation and introspection but IMO any connection we have to each other or the natural world around us will prove to be just that ie. natural, not a bearded judgmental, omnipresent, omniscient man in the sky who is pre occupied with among other things what we do with our own and to each others genitals, which is laughable to me.
 

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You will have to ask them Roy. I didn’t see the resurrected Jesus.. they did.
They claim they did. Why do you believe claims of the supernatural made 2,000 yeara ago, at a time when there was widespread belief in visitations by angels, gods and spirits, possession by demons, the transmigration of souls as well as magic, sorcery and witchcraft?

2000 years later we can all come up with naturalistic causes no matter how far out and wacky and silly they are.. low plausibility and all and say wait for wait for it ...why should a supernatural explanation be regarded as better explanation than low plausible naturalistic explanation.
Why should it? You still havent answered the question.

It’s been fun Roy but as I said .. if you don’t believe in the miraculous no matter what the evidence ... it didn’t happen because why Roy? .. it’s impossible.
I can only ask again. Why is the resurrection the best explanation of the "facts'? (i.e the "evidence")

But it’s been great witnessing your journey going from a mythical Jesus to a historical Jesus ;to quoting the Gospels as fact.
I've certainly presented the arguments that the Jesus of the Gospels is possibly not a historical figure. And that was to emphasise the point that the evidence for the Jesus of the Gospels is very flimsy in the first place. If the evidence for his actual existance is so poor then the evidence for the miracles he is claimed to have performed in his lifetime followed by his physical resurrection from the dead and ascension to heaven is non-existant.

As for the quoting of Gospels as fact I've made the point several times that the Gospels are not history and the "facts" presented in them are biased and unreliable in many respects. However apologists cling to them as "fact" so let's find some common ground and argue a different conclusion using some shared "facts".

Was it your favourite historian stating that the tomb was empty that did it for you?
Did what for me? Whether the tomb was empty or not, it's still not a piece of evidence for the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Actually I'm fortunate to have been to both the Garden Tomb and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Roy this existence we share is all one big miracle.
Really? A miracle is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws. Is our existence a miracle?

If you woke up tomorrow and there was a huge bearded figure appearing over the clouds and in a big booming voice yelled “ I am God your creator” that would just be aliens just mucking about.
I look forward to seeing that. Somehow I don't think I'm going to though.

Because any natural explanation .. you know the rest.
....no matter how unlikely is still more plausible as an explanation of the "facts" than a supernatural events such as physical resurrection from the dead. I still look forward to an explanation as to why a resurrection from the dead is the best explanation of the "facts' (unreliable as they are) presented in the Gospels.
 
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Present Not Past

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Not so sure it's laughable. The human mind or condition wonders about the world around them and requires answers. The answers take many forms including science and religion. Just because to many religion has answers that to many would be considered ridiculous, science if furthered by in some ways by the same search for the truth.
There have been many great Scientists who were devoutly religious and pursued their quest for knowledge in the name of God.
I think they certainly would have been very unhappy to be associated with what we find today - a Godless vision of Science:
They are:
Nicholas Copernicus
Francis Bacon
Johannes Kepler
Rene Descartes
Pascal
Isaac Newton
Robert Boyle
Michael Faraday
Gregor Mendel
Max Planck
 

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There have been many great Scientists who were devoutly religious and pursued their quest for knowledge in the name of God.

I think they certainly would have been very unhappy to be associated with what we find today - a Godless vision of Science:
They are:
Nicholas Copernicus
Francis Bacon
Johannes Kepler
Rene Descartes
Pascal
Isaac Newton
Robert Boyle
Michael Faraday
Gregor Mendel
Max Planck

John Lennox and Hugo Ross and still trying to fly that flag.
 

skilts

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There have been many great Scientists who were devoutly religious and pursued their quest for knowledge in the name of God.
I think they certainly would have been very unhappy to be associated with what we find today - a Godless vision of Science:
They are:
Nicholas Copernicus
Francis Bacon
Johannes Kepler
Rene Descartes
Pascal
Isaac Newton
Robert Boyle
Michael Faraday
Gregor Mendel
Max Planck
In matters religious, scientists' opinions hold no more weight than the average Joe or Josephine. Not their area of study.

Your fantasies now extend to an ability to speak for the dead, Impressive.
 

Present Not Past

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In matters religious, scientists' opinions hold no more weight than the average Joe or Josephine. Not their area of study.

Your fantasies now extend to an ability to speak for the dead, Impressive.
I've got a live one here :p
I think to an able-minded person they could look past their irrationality and see that these scientists did actually write about their areas of study.
As for speaking for the dead - I don't have to. I have these wonderful inventions called books.
 
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