REPLY #74 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
(R) I believe I can answer some of your question without stretching for the truth or making illogical assumptions.
(MB) Such attempts are always welcome. Let's see what you have to offer...
(R) 1) The death of Judas. In looking through several translation NIV, New American Standard, New King James and other that I don't have on hand currently, no where in these does it say that Judas burst open and died, or does it say for how long Judas was hanging until he was cut/fell down. Therefore both statements, Judas hanged himself, and he fell head first and his bowels spilled out can be accurate.
(MB) This is a bit strained. There are plenty of Biblical references to people being hanged and no cases where the hanged person did not die. It is difficult to imagine a hanging being mentioned if that was not the cause of death. The only reason for Matthew to have mentioned the incident at all would be to point out the reaction of Judas to his betrayal of Jesus. If the death of Judas was the point, it is difficult to see why a non-fatal detail would have been related and not the actual cause of death. It is also difficult to see why it would have been necessary to specifically mention that Judas died from the hanging. Such a thing would be a natural assumption. After all, if he did not die, he would have merely "tried" to hang himself. The same logic applies to a report that somebody burst open in the middle and had all his bowels gush out. Is it reasonable to believe that anybody in that day and age (or in modern days, for that matter) could have survived such a thing?
(R) I could not find a translation that stated he landed on his head and died.
(MB) The Simple English translation says it just that way.
(R) Also looking and statement such as he landed on his head does not mean he dove into the ground head first.
(MB) In this case, it does. Acts 1:18 says that Judas "fell headlong". The word "headlong" means "head first". There's no other way to read it.
(R) Example of an incorrect common statement is "he fell head over heels" for somebody falling foreword does not go head over heels, as the heels are the back of the body this statement is incorrect but it is understood what actually happened. Another example would be "Having your cake and eating too." this statement is also incorrect as it is really easy to have your cake and then eat it, but to eat your cake and still have is much more difficult.
(MB) Those are certainly bogus phrases, but neither is used in the verse under discussion. In fact, no idiomatic phrase of any kind is used. The wording is quite clear.
(R) 2) The conflicting Genealogies of Jesus:
a) Difference in the numbers can be accounted for by the fact one of them does not include the years captive in Babylon.
(MB) That doesn't work. Matthew's genealogy specifically includes that period and matches Old Testament accounts. Most of the names from the same period in Luke's account are of unknown origin.
(R) b) Difference in names is because it seems to have been a common practice to have multiple names at that time i.e. Matthew was Levi, and Paul was Saul, possible relating to one being of Hebrew, one of Greek, or Roman derivation.
(MB) Again, this doesn't work, since Matthew's account is largely corroborated in the OT, while Luke goes off on his own tangent that has little or no Biblical basis. In any case, there is no support for any claim that any of the particular people in either genealogy were known by any other names or that this would account for any discrepancies. This also does not account for the problems where name changes are clearly not a factor.
(R) 3) The report of different numbers by Joab to King David, the first record was very easily the number reported to the King as recorded at that time, the second reported number could be the accurate number as the tribes of Levi and Benjamin where not reported to the King.
(MB) I've already addressed that harmonization in a previous reply. See Reply #68a for the details.
(R) 4) The odds of Life beginning randomly have been calculated to be extremely small. Evolution state that this is a miscalculation as there may be many different types of combination of the building blocks that would cause life. This is an assumption on their part as it assumes that their is another combination that does produce life. Forgive me for wanting proof but show me.
(MB) I think you've misunderstood something here. The argument is not that there are many combinations which might produce life, but that the particular combination that produced life on Earth is self-assembling and not a purely random circumstance. Also, besides the Creationists' bogus calculations, they don't seem to understand that "improbable" does not mean "impossible".
(R) 5) Once again I ask for 1 show of specification that has happened since man has been around with no missing links. There is some restriction on this however,
a) Must show an improvement in the species i.e. being able to fly in something that couldn't.
b) Must be truly random not coming from breeding experiment by man.
c) Must be a new phylum(a major taxonomic division in the animal kingdom) not a new breed of the same. Here again the fish cannot be a fish, the difference should be at least of that of cat to a dog. While I understand that about the shrimp that can no longer interbreed neither can a Doberman and a chiua, yet the two dogs are of the same species.
(MB) Why must these artificial restrictions be applied? Why must evolution always result in something that Man might consider to be an obvious and dramatic "improvement"? Why is it invalid for Man to accelerate a natural process? Why can evolution not be accepted at any level below that of phylum? What about the class, order, family, genus, or species levels? Since neither fishes nor dogs are a phylum, I think you have your taxonomy a bit confused here. This is a basic problem with most pro-Creationist argument.
(R) 6) The resurrection, you state because the Bible shows other people coming back from the dead, makes this is meaniless. Here you forget one key element, all the other people where raised by a somebody else using the power of God, Christ rose by his own power.
(MB) Impossible. If Christ was truly dead, he could not have risen by his own power. If he rose by his own power, he was not truly dead. If he was not truly dead, he could not possibly have "sacrificed" himself on the cross. If he didn't sacrifice himself, a major tenet of Christianity is proven to be invalid.
(R) 7) Prove that Woodstock happened to me over the internet. I don't think it did, and the one person who I know that says he attended it is just saying so even though he is the right age, and is from that area where it is supposed to have happened. Just remember I will not accept any articles on as they are all made up, eyewitness accounts, these people all have something to gain by saying they attended a festival of this nature. It being the supposed first of it's type and a moment that in history that has assumed almost mythical proportions.
If you can't give proof over the internet of this recent event how are we to give you acceptable proof that Christ rose from the grave and was seen by 500 or more people?
(MB) I know of no major religion or no system of belief for which a major part of its validity rests on whether or not Woodstock actually happened. I am not going to be promised eternal life in heaven or threatened with eternal damnation in hell based upon whether or not I believe in Woodstock. Large numbers of people don't assemble on a regular basis in fancy buildings to worship Woodstock. Nobody holds up Woodstock as the ultimate answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. As to whether or not it has assumed "mythical proportions", that might be true only in the minds of a very few people -- most of whose opinions have been chemically enhanced. In summary, it matters not one whit whether or not anybody believes in Woodstock or whether or not it actually happened.
Do you really want to compare the proof of such an event to the proof of the resurrection of Jesus? Do you really consider ignoring all the still-existing evidence for Woodstock to be the equivalent of skepticism over a single claim made by Paul nearly 2000 years ago for which there is absolutely no corroboration? To make arguments such as this is simply to reinforce the validity of skepticism over the resurrection since it advances no positive evidence and ties belief in it to questionable argument over another issue.
(R) 8) Good argument showing the flaw in the evolutionary theory is put forth by a gentleman one the CNN Evolution topic board. See message numbers 1694 to 1696. His basic argument is on the construction of suspension bridges and how engineer using data from smaller bridge and then calculated for the longer bridges, and ended up have bridges that would tear themselves apart. This shows that will change can happen, their often is a limit to how much change is viable. His argument is much better than I can put it, so I will let you read what he wrote and then paraphrase, or respond to it.
(MB) This is an old argument which incorrectly ties the characteristics of inanimate objects like bridges to those of living things. It also forgets that many changes which happen to living things (i.e., "mutations") *do* have non-viable results. It is only the successful variations which endure and are passed on. Finally, it assumes that there is only one way to attempt to improve on things or that human ideas about limits are all valid.
(R) As for assumptions, we all make them, no matter how open minded we claim to be. Just as all my assumptions will go in favor of God, and creation yours will go to the opposite the non-existence of God, and evolution as fact.
(MB) The important difference being that all of my assumptions are based upon the facts and evidence that are available for all to see and evaluate and that I have no cherished beliefs or presuppositions which must be preserved even in the face of everything to the contrary. That is the realm of the religious believer and is why so many have no problems even with silly arguments in support of those beliefs. The bottom line for them is their beliefs. Anything else is just a niggling detail that is simply brushed aside if it is inconvenient.