Since the original of this post I have added the last phrase to the title.
In response to my request for him to support his allegations of lying etc, Joel said quite bluntly that he doesn’t not have to bother being nice. — presumably “being nice” means little things like telling the truth about me. I have reproduced his comment in the comments section.
Joel Watts has published the following on his Church of Jesus Christ blog:
In responding to a rather juvenile post by Neil G., Dr. McGrath again steps into the water and wades out a little bit deeper. This is Neils bailiwick, in which he insults someone who he disagrees with, and then proceeds to spit out nothing by lies, misinformation, and logical fallacies about them and their positions along with the notion that Christ is nothing more than a myth. I would encourage you to read the posts in the series (click the tags at the bottom of this post, or the labels at Dr. McGrath’s site) for a better understanding of the issues and how it is academically handled.
I will return to the insult charge at the end of this post, though anyone who knows the history of James McGrath’s exchanges with me can well make up their own minds on that one.
Joel’s last sentence inviting readers to read my post implies it is linked at the bottom of his, but I did not see any links to it – only links to spread his own post on Facebook and Digg. But maybe I missed them.
Watts has blatantly accused me of “spitting out nothing but”
- lies about James McGrath and his arguments
- misinformation about James McGrath and his arguments
- logical fallacies in response to James McGrath’s arguments
- the notion that Christ is nothing more than a myth
He is referring to this post of mine.
Joel does not cite a single instance of a lie, a piece of misinformation or a single logical fallacy, and does not reference any part of my post arguing that Jesus is a myth. Given that he charges my post is “nothing but” a collation of these it should have been easy for him to have cited just one example of one of those.
What my post does is challenge the methodology of mainstream historical Jesus scholarship.
That I can get this sort of response to making that critique is most instructive.
I ask Watts — or anyone — to cite for me a single lie, a singe bit of misinformation, a single logical fallacy or sentence where that post contains an argument for mythicism.
So this is the level to which some mainstream Christian scholars are prepared to go when challenged on the logical validity of their methodologies.
(I should also add that a few weeks ago I put Joel Watts’ comments to this blog on Spam after a series of bullyboy mocking posts culminated in his sending one that began:
Guys, I am no fundie (takes one to know one, nanner nanner boo boo). I just don’t think you guys are worth a serious discussion. I mean, look at your subject matter? Hardly worth the free wordpress.com site it is pixelated on. I mean, I can come up with some silly stuff sometimes, but you guys….. If you guys were a TV show, you wouldn’t have made it past the pilot stage.
But seriously – wait, you guys don’t do serious. :)
Honestly, oh wait. You don’t do that either.
This is the level to which Watts resorts when commenting to posts on my blog and when posting about me on his own blog. (And Steph tells me that these scholars and gentlemen are so nice to each other and I need a reality check if I think they are not being reasonable with me, too!)
Watts shows his intellectual vacuity by concluding his post with the following “from a CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST no less!” (I mean a scientist who happens to be a faithful Christian.) Now that is sure gonna settle it!
And to note, a commentator there writes,
I am a scientist, and I also believe in Jesus as my savior. I do not see any conflict between my religion and my science. I think the main problem is that creationists take the bible as “word for word” literally. But then do they take even prophetic writing like the beasts in Revelation literally? The bible is not a science book. Would God try to explain to a rather limited scientific person like Moses basic physics, chemistry, or biology? I view Genesis as an allegory given to a “science-challenged” group of people. Maybe that is still true today. If God could use Babylonians and Romans as His instrument to carry out justice upon an unrighteous Israel (in 600 BC and again in 70 AD), He could certainly use evolution to carry out His plan for creation. To the people who take the bible “word for word” literally correct – could you please tell me about Leviticus 14. Does an animal’s blood on you right ear, right thumb, and right big toe, help you in your cleansing? Can I mention “priestly source” without being barbecued?
(I kinda had to throw that in)
If this is the level that Christian scholars resort to in response to challenges to their methods — note, not to arguments for mythicism, but challenges on the logical validity of their methods — then I guess it is no wonder they cry “Off with their heads!” (to extrapolate from my satirical post) and publish lying slander rather than bother to compose a reasoned and honest response.
I actually suspect that Joel did not even read my blog post. I suspect he felt confident enough (and contemptuous enough of me personally) to publish lies without bothering to read it. I suspect he drew his conclusions from James McGrath’s blogpost.
James also begins with an outright misinformation about me. He once again accuses me of making fun of his name when I modified it to “McGarth” – not in a mocking sense at all, but simply to create a second persona who stood in for him in an analogy I was making to illustrate an argument. (I can’t find where I made that reference now, but would welcome being given a link to it if anyone does know it.) James also brands my post as an argument for mythicism, which it is not. It is, as I said, a challenge on mainstream methodology. James also slanders me by innuendo when he associates one or two other peoples’ comments on my blog with my own words, one of which I did personally edit to remove something insulting when it came to my attention.
I am, I confess, a little surprised at the dishonest lengths respectable mainstream Christian scholars will go in order to deflect attention from the logical flaws at the heart of their historical methodology.