The Bathroom Wall

With any tavern, one can expect that certain things that get said are out-of-place. But there is one place where almost any saying or scribble can find a home: the bathroom wall. This is where random thoughts and oddments that don’t follow the other entries at the Panda’s Thumb wind up. As with most bathroom walls, expect to sort through a lot of oyster guts before you locate any pearls of wisdom.

33553 Comments

There is a God!

And he is a plumber. The Bathroom has been flushed.

Thank you Reed.

Great!

Course, that still leaves what happens when the new plumbing acquires a big drip…

Wait, what am I saying?

Ingeborg Esbrandt said:

Hey, nice post :) - well, even though I came via Google searching for “justfaces spreadshirt” wondering why this post came up on top??? Greetings xoxo

Spammer alert!

To make one point about the previous thread. John Kwok wrote:

“Sorry Jim, but your invocation of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy is not helpful here. Incidentally there are many Muslims and Muslim Americans who oppose its construction, simply because they recognize that building it near Ground Zero is needlessly offensive to the families of the victims and the survivors of the 9/11 attack. Some of the most prominent critics - who are Muslim Americans - include Wall Street businessman Mansoor Ijaz (who tried to assist the Clinton administration in extraditing Osama bin Laden from the Sudan) and former United States Navy officer Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser.

[…]

If you are going to call Miss USA, a Muslim American, Rima Fakih, a bigot, then be my guest. Same is true for those two prominent Muslim Americans I had mentioned. Or other Muslim Americans who, like them, have spoken out against building the “Cordoba House” Islamic Center (Of course I am also against it, but am definitely not a bigot.).”

Unless YOU are a practicing Muslim your opposition to this cultural center is pure bigotry, so your saying that you’re “definitely not a bigot” is false. Your ruse of hiding behind the Muslim-Americans’ backs is the same as of the racists who think that using the n-word is OK because so many African-Americans use it. If you are a Muslim, well then, I find your views on the issue just silly, not bigoted.

Kris,

You can’t possibly know what I know.

mrg said:

DS said: Kris has certainly demonstrated that he doesn’t deserve anything more.

Actually, I was suggesting we all insult and abuse DH. If he wants to invite it, why not oblige?

We already tried that on Kris. You can only call someone an @$$hole, a bastard and crazy so many times before it gets tiresome. What’s the point of bashing me?

Kris has called me a liar for stating the obvious facts about him. We can all see what he has done, so why would he deny the stunts he has pulled? He is the one who invaded our space to attack the cause of the blog, yet he expects us to be tolerant and respectful of him no matter what he says? There is no law or principle I know that demands any such thing.

Kris said:

What you said about me is a complete lie. I didn’t start the insults and attacks. You and your asshole buddies here did. And trying to con FF with lies about me and that swill about respecting people you and they (“we”) don’t agree with is yet another one of your acts of deliberate dishonesty. You and most others here wouldn’t know what respect is if it hit you like a freight train going 60 miles per hour.

Since the statements you make about me are false, you’re a deliberate liar, according to your own standards for others. Of course your standards for yourself are completely different. How convenient for you.

The ONLY reason you and most others aren’t now viciously attacking FF is because she said she’s a woman. Even then, some of you have been pretty blunt to her, and especially rude before she said she’s a woman, even though she has been nice the whole time.

My questions to her are not an attack or a trap. They are sincere. You are grossly misrepresenting me and are just showing yourself to be the hypocritical, dishonest, delusional liar you are.

You are a seriously fucked up lunatic with delusions of godhood who needs a good ass kicking.

By the way, Mr. theological agnostic, unitarian, universalist, dis-honorable, bushido, liberal, un-scientific pseudo-skeptic, what are you going to add to or subtract from your self-created, self-serving, bogus religion tomorrow?

You just keep piling up your lies and hypocrisy Dale. You said “You do what you like, but I’m done with Kris for good.” yet you’re still bashing me and lying about me.

You also said you respect people with whom you disagree but then you say “I went after him anyway.” when you first saw me here. When I first came here I didn’t say anything that warranted you going after me.

Plus, you said you respect people with whom you disagree but then you say “I’d go after Ann Coulter if that bitch showed up here too.” So much for you respecting people you disagree with.

As usual the things you claim about yourself, and me, are false, which makes you a chronic LIAR, according to your standards for others.

You admit to slamming me a lot but of course you try to make it look like you’re a saint for doing so. Whether you or anyone else here ever accepts it or not, I’m just giving you and others shit back because you and/or they started it, either with me or someone else who didn’t or doesn’t deserve it.

I didn’t escalate the situation. You and your fellow, lying, arrogant hypocrites did.

It really cracks me up to see you guys acting exactly like some of the creationists you hate and condemn so much. You accuse and attack them for not listening and having closed minds, and for playing what you think are ridiculous games, but you do the same thing. Congratulations, you have become your enemy.

FODS

I haven’t lied about anything, you jackass! The simple fact is that you have invaded Panda’s Thumb and have been a disruptive force from the beginning and have played us like suckers. I’m not fooled by you and no one else is. Even if you were insulted by one or two people in the beginning, you could have ignored it and just responded to the ones who were being positive to you, like flowersfriend has been, but instead you started throwing shit at everyone who dared to reject your tactics. We insulted you because that seemed to be what you liked, but I get tired of that after a while. You don’t, appearantly.

If you seriously think you have made ANY positive contributions to this community here, you are even more delusional than most Creationists!

Dale Husband said: What’s the point of bashing me?

None whatsoever, but since any comments to a troll are going to produce nothing but bashing in response, that leads to what the point of the comments was.

John often fails to read for comprehension. A poor highschool education , no doubt.

Ghrom said:

To make one point about the previous thread. John Kwok wrote:

“Sorry Jim, but your invocation of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy is not helpful here. Incidentally there are many Muslims and Muslim Americans who oppose its construction, simply because they recognize that building it near Ground Zero is needlessly offensive to the families of the victims and the survivors of the 9/11 attack. Some of the most prominent critics - who are Muslim Americans - include Wall Street businessman Mansoor Ijaz (who tried to assist the Clinton administration in extraditing Osama bin Laden from the Sudan) and former United States Navy officer Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser.

[…]

If you are going to call Miss USA, a Muslim American, Rima Fakih, a bigot, then be my guest. Same is true for those two prominent Muslim Americans I had mentioned. Or other Muslim Americans who, like them, have spoken out against building the “Cordoba House” Islamic Center (Of course I am also against it, but am definitely not a bigot.).”

Unless YOU are a practicing Muslim your opposition to this cultural center is pure bigotry, so your saying that you’re “definitely not a bigot” is false. Your ruse of hiding behind the Muslim-Americans’ backs is the same as of the racists who think that using the n-word is OK because so many African-Americans use it. If you are a Muslim, well then, I find your views on the issue just silly, not bigoted.

Malchus said: A poor highschool education , no doubt.

Oh Bob, I can hear the howls now: “Set phasers to SLAUGHTER!”

Kris said:

Mike Elzinga said:

With a troll’s profile ready at hand, and with sufficient discipline on the part of the regulars, that could be cut to zero.

Profile ready at hand? What exactly does that mean Mike? Ready for what or whom? Do you have printed profiles of all the people you’ve labeled as trolls and hand them out to passersby on street corners? Or, do you create a profile file in your computer containing your intricate and exhaustive (LMAO!) calculations and determinations about each alleged troll and somehow send a copy of it to everyone on Earth to warn them of impending doom? Or, do you only dispense it to other regulars here who are able to contact you personally and who request a copy because they let you do their thinking for them?

Or, do you just think that your stupid ‘profiles’ actually matter, when in reality they actually don’t? Do you really believe that what happens on this website, or your asinine profiles, or what you do with them, matters one iota to the vast majority of the people on Earth? Get over yourself Mike.

Hey, if you have my profile handy, why don’t you post it here? I could use a good laugh.

Your “profile” is a person who needs attention and does not even try to get it by behaving in any consistent or coherent fashion. You are a manipulative jerk who takes ANY response from others and uses it as an excuse to attack. You bash us for not being tolerant enough of Creationists, while stating Creationist fallacies yourself. Then you turn around and deny being religious and question why certain others who are Creationist take their religion so seriously. Such strange behavior is pathological in the extreme.

Gee, this website seems VERY important to you, considering how much time you spend here.

You are either crazy or a fraud, Kris.

The fun thing about the BW is that the trolls either have to cave in and respond on the BW – which they don’t want to do – or pass up responding – which they REALLY don’t want to do.

Kris said:

Whatever you do, don’t even consider that when people come here and sincerely want to ask, discuss, debate, learn, and/or contribute in some way, that when they’re mercilessly insulted and attacked and erroneously lumped into your hated group of ID/creationists, they just might not like it and may fight back, and especially when they offer reasonable explanations of their words and the explanations (and the person) are ignored, misinterpreted, misrepresented, slammed, bashed, and ridiculed by you and the rest of the mindless haters here. Yeah, don’t even consider that for a second. You and the other haters and bashers here are way too perfect to have to consider such things. It’s never your fault.

Your track record is too well known here for us to consider that you are sincere about anything. You are even WORSE than the average Creationist troll because you keep going back and forth between acting non-religious and acting like a Creationist. You cannot be both, so you must be bullshitting us. Nobody here can take that seriously.

Expressed violent thoughts a number of times?? Yeah Mike, I would thoroughly enjoy kicking your ass and the asses of anyone else who has called me a liar, but I haven’t “expressed violent thoughts a number of times” in the way you’re implying. You’re the one who needs a psychiatrist, along with some others here. If you’re considered sane, I’d rather be considered crazy. And comparing me or anyone else you simply don’t agree with to a serial killer just helps show how paranoid and delusional you are.

If you don’t like being called a liar, stop being one. At least I have ALWAYS told the truth about YOU.

DH, a very minor issue here: the first part you cited above was addressed to me, and personally I find it amusing to watch such comments fall into a hole of resounding silence.

However, as far as the rest goes, carry on.

mrg said:

DH, a very minor issue here: the first part you cited above was addressed to me, and personally I find it amusing to watch such comments fall into a hole of resounding silence.

However, as far as the rest goes, carry on.

Oh, did you want to answer him here first? Be my guest. But I figured I’d just make a note of ANY inappropriate thing Kris says elsewhere and post it here, answer it here, and wait for Kris to take the hint and stop attacking us everywhere else and just slam people here.

Dale Husband said: Oh, did you want to answer him here first? Be my guest.

Why would I want to do that? But if my own rejoinder is indifference, I can at least politely ask that the effect not be spoiled.

Kris threatens: “I would thoroughly enjoy kicking your ass and the asses of anyone else who has called me a liar,…”

Lotsa bluster; everybody’s collective asses are exposed right here.

Mike Elzinga said: … everybody’s collective asses are exposed right here.

AARGH! I am so outa here!

Kris said:

Mike Elzinga said:

mrg said:

Serial killers are maybe a bit much of a comparison.

The point was the sociopathic needs of such an individual. This troll has expressed violent thoughts a number of times. But a psychiatrist would have a better handle on this that I.

I think people like attention; it’s just a question of what kind of attention. When I was the factory contact guy in my corporate life, a colleague in marketing told me that it was true I put up with a lot of abuse – I did – but added: “People thank you sometimes.”

And they did. I get thanks on occasion for my current efforts as well – not often, and maybe thanks aren’t the be-all and end-all of the effort … but on the other side of the coin, if nobody ever thanks me, what reason would I have to honestly believe what I was doing actually did anyone good?

Now take the negative mentalities that show up here … does anyone ever thank them for what they’re doing? It’s obvious it never happens, and just as obvious that they haven’t any expectation that it will.

They still want attention, and lacking any concept that they will ever be praised, they have no alternative but to be disruptive. If one cannot build, then they can only take satisfaction in destruction.

Yeah; you are pointing out common desires that nearly everyone has. But sociopaths also know this and manipulate these.

But I suspect most of us can simply walk away from these kinds of manipulations when we have other things to do that are satisfying; and I suspect most of the moderators here on PT do in fact have other things vying for their attention.

Hell, I’m retired and I can’t get through everything I want to get through in a week. The only reason I even show up here is that the PT topics are often very interesting, and I have a high speed connection that allows me to look in from time to time when I happen to be working on my computer. So most of the time I’m multitasking up a storm when I’m here.

Expressed violent thoughts a number of times?? Yeah Mike, I would thoroughly enjoy kicking your ass and the asses of anyone else who has called me a liar, but I haven’t “expressed violent thoughts a number of times” in the way you’re implying. You’re the one who needs a psychiatrist, along with some others here. If you’re considered sane, I’d rather be considered crazy. And comparing me or anyone else you simply don’t agree with to a serial killer just helps show how paranoid and delusional you are.

Whew! Glad I never called Kris a liar. I only called him a coward and a bully.

Mike Elzinga said: Lotsa bluster; everybody’s collective asses are exposed right here.

So it’s like “one of these days Alice, POW! To the mooning”?

Another collection of Kris’ delusional rants.

Kris said:

And of course your insulting comments, and the insulting comments by the other hypocrites here, don’t violate any of those rules you posted, eh?

Apparently, all that matters here is that any insults have to be aimed at creationists or anyone who doesn’t blindly and viciously attack them right along with you guys/gals.

Giving you back your own shit isn’t allowed. Questioning you isn’t allowed. Having a mind of my own isn’t allowed. Calling you on your bullshit isn’t allowed. Anything less than total devotion and obedience to you and your creationist hating ‘cause’ isn’t allowed. Hypocrisy, by you and your cohorts, is allowed, and encouraged.

Kris said:

And of course you and others going on and on about “trolls”, and repeatedly posting “DNFTT”, isn’t “SPAM”. Yeah, whatever.

Why do you think that a “dissenter” is automatically a “troll”? You’ve said you’re a Christian. Would your Christian God approve of your insulting, hypocritical, hateful behavior?

Kris said:

Maybe, just maybe the moderators are getting wise to the hypocrisy and other bullshit you and others are guilty of.

Now STFU spamming troll.

How do you like your own shit thrown back at you?

Panda’s Thumb is a blog made for defending evolution and promoting proper science education, and since Kris was the one who invaded the blog to spew both Creationist arguments that we were expected to “tolerate” (like we are supposed to tolerate falsehoods?) and then claim to be non-religious at other times, why shouldn’t we regard him as unwelcome, inconsistent and disruptive? Why shouldn’t we treat him like he is the enemy, when that’s all he has ever acted like since he arrived here?

An example of hypocrisy would be us invading and attacking ID promoters on Uncommon Descent. I’ve never done that, and never will. Maybe Kris can go over there and drive the ID people crazy for a while, to prove to us once and for all that he is an equal-opportunity critic, and not a bigoted Creationist concern troll.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/

Kris the creationist wrote:

“If, however, “descent with modification” is defined as showing that speciation (evolution) occurs and/or occurred, then that’s a different ballgame, and requires greater evidence. While a lot of evidence points to a persuasive probability that descent with modification, including divergence/speciation, occurred throughout(?) the history of life, there’s a lot more work to do to before it can reasonably be said that it has been established close to 100%, and I’m not sure it can be reasonably said that it can be established ‘empirically’. Many inferences have been and have to be made, and inferences are a matter of opinion.”

This is of course incorrect. I already posted a link to a web page entitled:

29+ Evidences for Macroevolution

If Kris wants to discuss the point, he can do so here. Maybe someone will want to discuss it with him. Unless of course he is just plain chicken shit.

DS said: Kris the creationist wrote:

You might just leave a short bland note on the original thread to invite him to come to the BW for discussion. He’ll ignore it, of course, but that works too.

Yawn.

(Bored.)

All the spamming at The Immune System Cross-examination Still Burns, and other forums, is very unChristlike, don’t you think?

Makes you wonder if these anti-science creation-supporters are Christians? (Never known a real creationist who wasn’t.)

It’s funny how trolls stubbornly resist being prodded to direct their comments to the BW. They know that once they do, they don’t have any real nuisance value any more: “What’s the point of trolling, then?”

Kris huffs and puffs and squeaks “What are you afraid of?” hiding behind his mommy’s apron. Afraid to mix it up on the big kid’s playground, he’ll sit in the sandbox and cry.

Poor widdle Kwis! Mean old scientists call you out on your stupid shit? Maybe if we ignore the little wanker he’ll go back into the closet and play with himself.

Geeze, I’m beginning to miss FL! I tell you, the neighborhood is going to hell.

I knew the asshole was chicken shit. All he haas to do is come here and provide a better explanation for the 29 different independent data sets that are all consistent with common descent. Until he does, I guess he will just be someone who believes in evolution but not in common descent. Yea right.

Everyone should remember, he had his chance to discuss science, he chose to quote mine and insult instead. He can cry all he wants to now, but everyone is wise to his crap.

This is an interesting comment on Wikipedia about the Library of Congress classification:

LCC has been criticized for lacking a sound theoretical basis; many of the classification decisions were driven by the practical needs of that library rather than epistemological considerations. Although it divides subjects into broad categories, it is essentially enumerative in nature. That is, it provides a guide to the books actually in one library’s collections, not a classification of the world.

It would seem to me that determining the author’s intent would be quite difficult - especially when religion, power or greed drives rewriting of science or history. Should for instance L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics be in religion (BP), psychology (BF) or literature and language (PS)? It is in BP.

It still makes me laugh every time I see it, but the Bible is in subcategory BS - go figure.

Wikipedia says the following about the Library of Congress categories:

LCC has been criticized for lacking a sound theoretical basis; many of the classification decisions were driven by the practical needs of that library rather than epistemological considerations. Although it divides subjects into broad categories, it is essentially enumerative in nature. That is, it provides a guide to the books actually in one library’s collections, not a classification of the world.

It would seem very difficult to determine an author’s intent - especially when multiple things might motivate their writing - religion, power, greed might drive someone to rewrite science or history for instance. Should L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics be in religion (BP), psychology (BF), or US literature and language (PS)? It is in BP.

Call me childish, but it makes me laugh every time I see the Bible in subcategory BS - go figure that one.

oops! sorry about the double post.

The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary definition:

fiction: 1 gen A thing feigned or imaginatively invented; an invented statement or narrative; an untruth. 2 gen the action of feigning or of inventing imaginary events etc… 3 Literature consisting of the narration of imaginary events and the portrayal of imaginary characters… 4 A conventionally accepted falsehood or pretence…”

One usage example: How much is fiction and how much is true?

Note the centrality, not of author intent, but of truth vs. falsehood.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/[…]zWpyVj8bds_Q said:

First off Dave let me apologize for misrepresenting what you have written. I went back through the series and I think I can reconstruct you thoughts.

See if this makes sense:

1) Jesus was killed by the Romans. 2) Several other “messiahs” were killed by Romans in that same time period. 3) These “messiahs” were killed because they were fomenting armed rebellion and the overthrow of Roman rule. 4) Jesus was also likely seeking the overthrow of Rome in Palestine.

This is why he was killed and why you believe the whole crucifixion story except the resurrection to be credible. This also means that meaning of the Gospels is very different than thought by most Christians.

Dave was asked why he thought it was plausible that the priests would have jesus killed and if they had a history of that kind of behaviour. Dave provided evidence that they had done that plenty. He never argued that Jesus was trying to foment a rebellion and overthrow roman rule. he argued that his popularity and proclamation of kingship was enough for rome to justify killing him and enough of a threat to the priests’ power base for them to encourage rome to kill him.

I am wondering why you are willing to generalize here, but not in areas such as Christian borrowing from other religions? Jesus was a Jew and as far as I can tell was not seeking to start a new religion. My readings of the era suggest that many of the ideas incorporated into Christianity were already being debated among Jewish sects. An apt analogy might be the Reformation.

Dave essentially said it’s obvious that christianity has borrowed from prior or contemporary religions and has been the commonly held view among scholars for hundreds of years. However, it is incredibly difficult to document those borrowings in a way that proves they happened. With the exception of the romans stealing all the greek gods, there’s just not a paper trail.

i don’t have a plausible explanation how you got the exact opposite conclusion from what he wrote.

Up to this point, I had laboured under the impression that the various instantiations of Masked Pandas were a single individual.

Who is who? And why? And what are the respective names of those involved?

A Masked Panda (7cad) said:

There’s nothing strange about calling any number of the stories and events in [the Bible] “fictions” or as being “fictive.” The word “fiction” as something made up is rather older than the genre of Fiction, and etymologically means “manufactured” or “made.” The meaning “made up” has stayed true to its etymology, and by no means has ever only meant the literary genre “fiction.”

Etymology is of course quite useful, but usage trumps etymology. As I said before, the use of the term “fiction” to refer to anything other than the literary genre is typically metaphorical; it explains the origins/truth value of a particular tale by reference to the genre of fiction.

Historical Fictions and Hellenistic Jewish Identity: Third Maccabees in its Cultural Context By Sara Raup Johnson

Just one example of how “a fiction” or the plural “fictions” is used to discuss made-up stuff in sacred (depending) literature.

This is a perfect example of “fiction” being used metaphorically. It’s an obvious play on words; “historical fiction” is an immediately-recognizeable fiction genre, but by pluralizing it the author has changed the meaning to “things about history which are fictions” which is entirely different.

“Fiction” is a convenient term for something made up without necessarily having to ascribe nefarious purposes to those making up said “fictions.”

On the contrary, I think it does ascribe nefarious or at least disengenuous intent. If you say that something obviously intended to be taken as fact is actually a fiction, then you’re implying that someone somewhere along the line is dishonest.

…the stories are just what would be made up, the account in Mark especially being thought to have been tacked onto an account that had ended with the empty tomb.

I think the Gospels have stories which are just would be made up and stories which aren’t just what would be made up. And this is beside the point, but there is equal probability that the current ending of Mark was replacement as that it was addition.

Dave Lovell said:

david.starling.macmillan said:

If we are to figure out what use the gospel narratives can be to us, then we should work to identify which individual stories have evidence of fabulation and which do not. And we must be able to do that without simply resorting to “anything with miracles is invented” because there may well be non-supernatural elements that are ahistorical.

That seems to me to read as claiming that ‘anything with miracles is invented’ precludes the inclusion of non-supernatural event reporting, but maybe I’m reading it wrong.

I mean that a critical analysis of the text requires that we do our best to determine which elements are more likely historical and which elements are not. Since this goes for non-supernatural elements as well, our metric for analyzing the text shouldn’t be based on content alone.

Nobody can work out which is fabulation. If it could be done, the world would have converged on a single interpretation of one religion a long time ago.

I couldn’t disagree more. A nuanced approach to religious texts has been the minority approach. Most often, religious people will be advancing inspiration and/or inerrancy and aren’t going to look for evidence of fabulation at all. On the opposite side, all too often the approach is to say “it’s all BS” and not look at evidence at all. So total convergence is completely impossible.

Even in the minority who do look for evidence of fabulation, it’s still possible to use the same approach but differ on judgment calls. Doesn’t mean the approach is flawed or pointless.

Implicit in that statement is the notion that only ideas from the mouth of Jesus have merit.

Not at all. By determining which things are original and which things are additions or interpolations, we gain a better understanding of how Christianity evolved and the cultural and social basis of its teachings.

Dave Luckett said:

Sons of god? Pagan myth is full of them. Triune Gods? Hinduism has one, too. Dead gods being resurrected? Have a look at the Horus-Isis-Osiris legend. Afterlife? Plenty of those. (Mind you, Christianity seems to have added some features - eternal bliss or eternal torment, for instance.)

Christian eschatology? (That is, accounts of the end of the world.) Well, that seems to be a development of some ideas in Judaism, but it runs an awfully long way with them.

But yeah, anyone looking for possible borrowings by Christianity from other religions - mixing and matching, as you say - will easily find them. It’s much more difficult to demonstrate that these possible borrowings actually happened that way.

Clouding the issue is that a lot of tropes which are often offered as “borrowed” elements…aren’t. Many are not part of the gospels at all, but are elements of Christian practice which were added much later (December 25 being the most common one); others exaggerate or entirely invent parallels that don’t exist (e.g. the 12 disciples of Horus).

Of those that remain, the “parallels” are usually pretty tenuous. I haven’t yet seen one that seems convincing. Well, maybe the whole “star over Bethlehem” thing, but that’s more of a general literary trope than a borrowing from another specific tradition.

phhht said:

Just Bob said:

I would submit that the LoC has to qualify as the final arbiter on the correct classification or works of literature. If not the frigging Library of Congress, then who?

Me.

I get to say what I mean by fiction.

And what I mean is invention or fabrication, as opposed to fact.

Okay, we can use that ad hoc definition, but this still gets you nowhere. Both invention and fabrication require a specific intent from the author who is doing the invention or the fabrication.

I’m still waiting for a definition of fiction that invokes the intent of the author.

You are missing the point: by asserting “invention or fabrication”, you are already implying an authorial intent.

The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary definition:

fiction: 1 gen A thing feigned or imaginatively invented; an invented statement or narrative; an untruth. 2 gen the action of feigning or of inventing imaginary events etc… 3 Literature consisting of the narration of imaginary events and the portrayal of imaginary characters… 4 A conventionally accepted falsehood or pretence…”

Note the centrality, not of author intent, but of truth vs. falsehood.

And you’re STILL missing it?

Authorial intent is central to every single one of those definitions. “Feigned or imaginatively invented” – a conscious choice to invent or deceive on the part of the author. “feigning or inventing” – same. “narration of imaginary events” – imaginary, meaning known-to-be-not-actual. “falsehood or pretense” – deception. There is nothing about this that is not 100% author-intent based.

A Masked Panda (ds_Q) said:

Did you have a point Dave? Or are you just blowing steam? Christianity is pure and based on fact while all the other religions aren’t - that’s likely. Like I said before want to buy a bridge, cheap?

How is this anything remotely close to what Dave is saying?

(Many) other religions may be just as based-in-fact as Christianity. Muhammad certainly existed. Moses may not have existed, but King David obviously did, etc etc. Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha was absolutely a real person and he certainly founded a monastic order. The Kurukshetra War was, if scholars are to be believed, a real conflict.

Most religious texts that make assertions about historical events are based, to varying degrees, on real historical events (the scriptures of Mormonism being one obvious exception). I don’t see why this fact is so controversial.

It’s much more difficult to demonstrate that these possible borrowings actually happened that way.

The Middle East was a mishmash of cultures and religions. Religions try to answer a few universal questions - questions of interest to all humans. It is likely they borrowed from each other - much more so than not.

Borrowed ideas, certainly. As far as specific claimed events are concerned, though, it is very difficult to show that any specific “borrowing event” is particularly probable.

I mentioned the reformation while my father is deparately trying to cut me off. My grandmother replies that the Baptists were never an offshoot of Catholicism, but can traced right back to John the Baptist with no papist taint whatsover.

Particularly ridiculous because Baptists have nothing whatsoever to do with John the Baptist; Baptists actually trace most directly to the Anabaptists (lit. “not baptizing”), so called because they opposed paedobaptism.

I have heard people say that Jesus being crucified was so humiliating that no religion would start with their god being killed, but it was exactly what this sect required to demonstrate eternal life - that death is not the end.

Well, let’s try not to equate email-forward-quality evangelical soundbite sermon illustrations with objective tools of historical criticism.

callahanpb said:

phhht said:

I’m still waiting for a definition of fiction that invokes the intent of the author.

David has scored rhetorical points for redirecting the discussion to the above question.

I thought the original question was whether there were any rational grounds for accepting the resurrection of Jesus as a fact. I have not seen much progress in that department.

The challenge to progress so far has been phhht’s staid insistence that religious texts cannot conceivably be used as a rational basis for believing anything because they are all “fiction”. Unfortunately, he has continually treated from any useful definition of what he means by “fiction” or how he intends to support that claim.

Which is unfortunate, yes.

If I were to follow David’s analysis, I would have to accept literary theory as the basis for setting a dividing line between fact and everything else (whatever you want to call it). I can see this as an appropriate way to determine the likelihood of facts about some elements of literature, such as authorship and intent, but nothing else.

It’s no so much about using literary theory to set a dividing line between fact and non-fact…I don’t think that’s possible at all…but rather more about using literary theory to identify the way a text has come together and thus trace its origins. Once we have a better understanding of a text’s origins, we are better informed to make a judgment call about how plausible its claims are.

I never thought that there was a rational basis for accepting the resurrection. That is why it is an article of faith, part of the Nicene creed, and recited weekly by many believers.

I don’t think there is an evidential basis for accepting the resurrection. I think there is a reasonable and rational basis for doing so, though. That’s what’s at issue here.

david.starling.macmillan said: I don’t think there is an evidential basis for accepting the resurrection. I think there is a reasonable and rational basis for doing so, though. That’s what’s at issue here.

Thanks for admitting that. Any further discussion of the matter is pointless.

david.starling.macmillan said:

The challenge to progress so far has been phhht’s staid insistence that religious texts cannot conceivably be used as a rational basis for believing anything because they are all “fiction”.

This is a gross distortion of my position, to quote Dave Luckett.

Unfortunately, he has continually treated [retreated?] from any useful definition of what he means by “fiction” or how he intends to support that claim.

I’ve cited several definitions of “fiction” which I accept. You cannot or will not offer a definition which incorporates author intent.

I don’t think there is an evidential basis for accepting the resurrection. I think there is a reasonable and rational basis for doing so, though. That’s what’s at issue here.

In other words, there is no reason to believe in the factuality of the resurrection beyond your conviction that the stories are plausible.

phhht said:

I’m still waiting for a definition of fiction that invokes the intent of the author.

Dictionary.com (1st 2 definitions): noun 1. the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, especially in prose form. 2. works of this class, as novels or short stories: detective fiction.

Collins English Dictionary: noun 1. literary works invented by the imagination, such as novels or short stories

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: Literature that is a work of the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact. Some examples of modern works of fiction are The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov.

Encyclopedia Britannica: literature created from the imagination, not presented as fact, though it may be based on a true story or situation. Types of literature in the fiction genre include the novel, short story, and novella.

Wikipedia English - The Free Encyclopedia: Fiction is the form of any work that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not real, but rather, imaginary and theoretical—that is, invented by the author. Although the term fiction refers in particular to novels and short stories, it may also refer to a theatrical, cinematic, or musical work. Fiction contrasts with non-fiction, which deals exclusively with factual (or, at least, assumed factual) events, descriptions, observations, etc.

Jeez, this is getting more FL-ish all the time: pick a position and then never yield an inch, regardless of evidence to the contrary.

Note in all the above, the examples listed: novels, short stories, etc. True, none of them say explicitly that with a novel or short story the author intends to make up things, and the reader understands, accepts, and desires that. At least part of the author’s intention in making up things is to entertain the reader. Does that HAVE to be stated explicitly? Doesn’t everyone know that that’s what a novel IS?

Note that NONE of them provide examples (in the primary definitions) of lies, mistakes, outdated information, or otherwise incorrect ‘facts’ that an author might publish with the intention of giving correct information and expecting readers to accept it as true. Note the “or, at least, assumed factual” in the Wikipedia entry. Counter-factual? No problem. It’s still nonfiction if the author assumed it was factual – if he intended to give facts.

I feel no need to beat this deceased equine further, so I’ll submit to the judgment of a Higher Authority, since that’s what you keep asking for. Here’s the question that I’m submitting to the Library of Congress ‘general inquiries’: “How does the Library of Congress determine if a work should be classified as fiction or nonfiction? What are the criteria for making that determination?”

They promise an answer within 5 business days. I promise to post it here unedited.

Just Bob said:

Note in all the above, the examples listed: novels, short stories, etc. True, none of them say explicitly that with a novel or short story the author intends to make up things, and the reader understands, accepts, and desires that. At least part of the author’s intention in making up things is to entertain the reader. Does that HAVE to be stated explicitly? Doesn’t everyone know that that’s what a novel IS?

Apparently not. Indeed, eminent experts see no role at all for author intent. Including the experts you cite.

Note that NONE of them provide examples (in the primary definitions) of lies, mistakes, outdated information, or otherwise incorrect ‘facts’ that an author might publish with the intention of giving correct information and expecting readers to accept it as true. Note the “or, at least, assumed factual” in the Wikipedia entry. Counter-factual? No problem. It’s still nonfiction if the author assumed it was factual – if he intended to give facts.

Not according to those who define words professionally. Author intent does not arise.

I feel no need to beat this deceased equine further, so I’ll submit to the judgment of a Higher Authority, since that’s what you keep asking for. Here’s the question that I’m submitting to the Library of Congress ‘general inquiries’: “How does the Library of Congress determine if a work should be classified as fiction or nonfiction? What are the criteria for making that determination?”

They promise an answer within 5 business days. I promise to post it here unedited.

Thanks, that will be interesting, but it will not obliterate the reality of the definitions and usages I have cited.

Can anyone tell us what the intent of the Gospel authors was? And how he or she knows that intent?

Were the Gospels intended as a history of Jesus’ life and ministry? Or was that added later? If as someone noted the foundation was a “sayings of Jesus”, was it intended as a list of theological tenets and a means of distinguishing it from other Jewish sects?

I also think that people are trying too hard to put things into categories to either denigrate or elevate.

Fiction as a literature form can contain all kinds of truths. It can accurately describe a time, a place, a culture - even if the story and characters are from the author’s imagination. It can accurately convey philosophical, theological or scientific understanding in the same setting. A fictionalized account, need not be entirely made up.

david.starling.macmillan said:

Most religious texts that make assertions about historical events are based, to varying degrees, on real historical events (the scriptures of Mormonism being one obvious exception). I don’t see why this fact is so controversial.

Mormonism is an interesting case because Mormons refer to scripture that nearly every non-Mormon will immediately conclude is not of ancient origin, and was in fact written during the 19th century. So unless Joseph Smith actually transcribed a golden tablets of apparently miraculous origin, there is no way he could be privy to factual details in the Book of Mormon. Thus, the only reasonable hypothesis (without accepting Smith’s own account) is that he (or some contemporary) made it up.

Given an ancient text, there is often little or no positive evidence that it contains an actual historical account, but its sources are so distant that the negative evidence is also missing. It may have been written by a contemporary who was privy to the details, or handed down a few generations in oral tradition. It may also have been entirely made up. In fact, the existence of the Book of Mormon (as well as Scientology’s Xenu mythology) shows that people have made stuff up recently enough to get caught at it. There is no reason to think people did not do this in ancient times.

None of this is to suggest sacred texts are necessarily devoid of history. There is probably a mix. There are probably unintentional composite figures and composite events. Something like the Trojan war may have happened, but certainly not in the same way.

While I am amazed that anyone can accept a holy book of such recent vintage, I also believe that people will accept many things that are part of their formative experience. If you needed a natural experiment to test whether a holy book could be fabricated and taken seriously by ordinary people, often accomplished in other fields and not unusually gullible in matters outside of faith, then this is probably one to study. What is says applies to everyone whether their sacred text is ancient or not.

david.starling.macmillan said:

I don’t think there is an evidential basis for accepting the resurrection. I think there is a reasonable and rational basis for doing so, though.

The problem that I have with that, is that, by acknowledging that you haven’t read the “holy” books of other religions, you have shown that your “reasonable and rational basis” is pure special pleading.

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