Sunday, April 15, 2012

Reply to Apostate Abe from July 2011 on

A user at replied to one of my messages about the Mythical vs Historical Jesus debate. I had forgotten that I had registered with freeratio and hence did not log in for nine months. Last week I was looking for a message board like and found it only to be surprised that I was already registered. Upon logging in, I was greeted by Apostate Abe's fallacy and falsehood laden message.

My line by line reply is too long to send through's PM system so I am posting it here so as to send a link to AA.

apostate abe

I had forgotten that I had registered to FRDB and hence have not used FRDB for the past 9 months and thus did not read your message until today, 4-15-12.

I doubt you'll read this as its quite likely you too went away to pursue more profitable pursuits.

To answer all your errors would require more time than I have so I shall only deal with your most egregious. Your comments are prefaced by A>, mine by R>.

A> robert_bumbalough, I wrote this for you, mainly (Sally Ride quit the Yahoo! group a while ago), but Toto moved it to storage and then retrieved it for me. I hope it fulfills your challenge.

R> No it does not fulfill the Challenge. You points have already been thoroughly refuted by others well before you made them. Others would point out that your non-case here is indicative of intellectual dishonesty or incompetence. I, however, will let it speak for itself.

Originally Posted by Toto
here it is:
Sally Ride,

A> First of all, to fulfill your challenge: "If you are able to cite an example of a recognized historical figure whose existence is established using the same methods as those applied to the gospel Jesus, please do so," I give you: John the Baptist. Cited by no contemporary historical figures, but a set of Christian sources 40 years later and Josephus 60 years later, his existence is well-accepted among all historians of that period and region. Using the criterion of dissimilarity and the criterion of plausibility, the same criteria applied for the arguments concerning Jesus, we can conclude that John the Baptist very probably existed. The same as Jesus, he founded an apocalyptic cult in 1st-century Judea, which grew in popularity after his martyrdom.

R> Since Jesus is not attested by any source, your claim is patently false. The Gospels stories are entirely fictional. Paul's Jesus was a space ghost, and Paul got his Jesus story from mining "scripture" or by his fantasy imaginary revelations from his fantasy imaginary god.

R> The criteria of dissimilarity is bull shit and cannot establish the Jesus hypothesis. It is correctly used to eliminate sayings and pericopes that were similar to those in earlier religious fantasies. John the Baptist and Jesus were like Elijah and Elisha. Mark's story of the baptism of Jesus by John is parallel to Elijah and Elisha and the endowment with the spirit. A midrash repetition of 2 Kings 2, where, near the Jordan, Elijah bequeaths “a double portion” of his own miracle-working spirit to Elisha, who henceforth functions as his successor and superior. The similarity between the two stories disqualifies both Jesus and John from consideration as historical persons by the criteria of dissimilarity.

A> I disagree with many "criteria" on your list.

A> You say, for criterion #1, "The figure [Jesus] is completely unknown among his or her own people, as well as to all other (near) contemporaries. No original knowledge of the figure occurs in his or her homeland."

A> However, this is an extraordinary claim, and you will need a good argument for this.

R> This is not an extraordinary claim. It is exceedingly obvious. No body knew squat about Jesus. The later fantasy Gospel stories are entirely midrash on earlier Jewish religious fantasies and thus by criteria of dissimilarity must be rejected as potentially historical.

A> Contemporary silence is not a sufficient argument, because writing was rare and difficult to preserve.

R> Wrong. Silence is both a necessary and sufficient condition when the HJ fantasy stipulates Jesus was a major cult figure with a huge following that every body knew about.

A> There was only one writer corresponding to the same time and place as Jesus whose writings are still known. Just one writer--Philo of Alexandria.

R> It depends on what is meant by "known". If you meant extant and available for examination, then you are partially correct. The fucking moron delusional Christians preserved the majority of Philo's writings; however, they discarded Philo's book about Pontus Pilot probably because Philo did not therein mention Jesus. We do know, however, that Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, 9th Century did remark in his Bibliotheca that 1st century historian Justus of Tiberias was silent on Jesus in his History of the Jews. Justus' work survives in fragments according to the author of the wiki article.


The silence is deafening. There should be many notices of Jesus as a major cult leader who was martyred, but an obscure small cult honcho could not be the founder of Christianity. The principle of analogy from Josephus' descriptions of the cultic movements of Theudas, Judas of Galilee, The unnamed Egytptian, Menahem ben Judah can be seen that large religious cults with charismatic leaders who were martyred and their followers slaughtered by the Romans did not start any large world religions, so a small obscure cult leader is much less likely to have started Christianity.

A> He writes of Pontius Pilate and the culture surrounding the time of Jesus, but he wrote of neither Jesus nor John the Baptist. He would have written about them only if he had both heard about them and found them relevant to his topics.

Irrelevant! However, as Philo was very much interested in second temple Judaism and Platonic philosophy, he would have been likely interested in Jesus had he know anything about the rascal. Moreover, the big bang hypothesis of Christian origins stipulates that Christianity started from a major big time cultic movement that swept to popularity across the eastern Mediterranean basin. All that is required to falsify that hypothesis to show there were no 1st century valid sources of info regarding Jesus or Christianity. That is the case. The big bang hypothesis of Christian origins is falsified. When a hypothesis calls for evidence to be found in a certain context and place, and no evidence is found, the hypothesis is falsified. Besides the idea that Jesus was a small time charlatan or cult guru is not sufficient to have started or originated Christianity. To assert the contrary is indeed an extraordinary claim for which HJ people have no evidence to present.

A> He may have heard of them, but he wrote almost exclusively about Jewish history and politics, not minor cult leaders. If Jesus were just a lower class doomsday cult leader (like most of secular scholars believe), then we expect no such mention from Philo.

R> Such a person could not be a founder of Christianity as The big bang hypothesis of Christian origins, which HJ people are obliged to defend, say Jesus was in the big time. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

A> All arguments from silence need those perspectives of ancient history--the lack of writing, the lack of preservation, and the non-matching ideas of relevance. Presumably, there were thousands of cult leaders who existed throughout ancient history, but we know about only a small handful.

R> So what? Jesus was supposed to be a really big deal and not some small potato.

A> We do, though, have two mentions from the historian Josephus. One of these mentions is interpolated, but the pre-interpolation passage is attested by the writer Origen, who wrote that Josephus believed that Jesus is "not the Christ." In order to propose that the passage was completely invented by an interpolator, it would require that the same passage was interpolated drastically twice at two completely different times and the first interpolator wrote that Jesus was not the Christ. The second passage of Josephus is not in the least bit suspect--he says Jesus is the brother of James and "called Christ." If you believe that both of these passages are completely interpolated, then it is merely an ad hoc belief for you, not a problem for anyone else, because the prima facie evidence is what matters.

R> Pure bull shit. The testamonium is a forgery in its entirety and the 20.9 reference is most likely a scribal gloss. Origen's lost reference argues for interpolation for the reasons Doherty has argued. You seen completely unaware of the right-on scholar ship that has falsified the Josephus claims as well as the other usual suspects. Are you sure you are not a Christian? Do you think Jesus was the son of god? Are you that fucking delusional?

A> You claim, for criterion #2, "Any primary attestors to the figure's existence [Jesus] are unknown and unidentifiable."

A> However, we have attestation in passing in the writing of the Paul in his epistle to the Galatians that he had met, "James, the Lord's brother" (James being the brother of Jesus according to Mark, Matthew and Josephus), and he wrote that he got into a bitter dispute with Cephas (Peter) at the Jerusalem Council. The prima facie evidence is against your claim. If you have ad hoc methods of explaining these attestations, then it is still does not help your proposed problem remain a problem.

R> There is no way I can avoid saying you are way off base. The word adelphos has multiple meanings. It can mean son of the same mother, kinsman, colleague, a term of address used by kings in letters, a term of affection between spouses, a fellow member of a religious community, a term referring to related things like Leviathan's scales, a general reference to things brotherly or sisterly, or generally of anything double or twin in pairs.

If the author of Gal. 1:19 (Marcion's version of Galatians did not have verses 1:18-24.) had meant to infer a sibling relation between James and Jesus, why did he not say James kasignêtoio tou Jesus?

Kasignêtoio only has the meaning of a sibling or family relationship, a brother esp. of those born from the same mother, or in later usage of sisters of the same mother.

If the Gal. 1:19 interpolator had meant to infer James as son of the same mother, he would have used Kasignêtoio. But he did not. Thus Galatians 1:19 falls and cannot be used as an excuse for faith a historical Jesus existed.

Also Paul nowhere in what is thought of as his genuine corpus used the word adelphos to mean sibling sons of the same mother. To make the extraordinary claim that Paul did indeed intend to use the word adelphos to mean sibling sons of the same mother you have to explain two things.

a. If Paul wrote Gal 1:18-20, then why didn't Paul use the word Kasignêtoio that was only used to identify sibling sons of the same mother when Kasignêtoio is obviously a better choice for such identification? On the HJ hypothesis, one must assume Paul to have been a bad writer who used poor diction.

b. Why is no evidence found of policing directives in earliest Christianity's scant surviving documents that attest to leadership directing adherents and acolytes to reserve usage of the phrase kyrios adelphos for siblings of Jesus?

The later point is fatal to the HJ position because if early Christian leaders were keen on claiming authority from kinship to a martyred cult leader, then they would have asserted their followers reserve special terms to so designate such relations as would empower themselves.

The passage in question is likely an interpolation consider who the Galatians were. They were barbaric tribesmen who lived in north central Anatolian highlands. Why would they give a shit about niceties of Greek philosophy and Jewish law? Consider what the interpolator wrote in Gal 1:20 "In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!". This sounds like someone defending what they consider to be obviously a lie. And again why would warrior barbarian, Phyrgians and Gaulic Celts ,who likely could not speak any of the languages Paul might have know. of that region give a shit about whether some shaman or preacher visited Jerusalem?

The story of the first visit to Jerusalem is obviously fabricated. Even Tertullian did not know of it in his rants Against Marcion, 5.3.1, does not mention the alleged first visit
of Paul to Jerusalem.

Your appeal to Gal 1:18-20 is a week reed at best.

A> You claim, for criterion #5, "The figure's existence [Jesus] is completely unattested by identifiable witnesses who would necessarily have known of and been interested in the figure, creating a severely anomalous silence." This seems to be a repeat or criterion #2. See what I wrote previously.

R> The claim is correct. There is no primary attestation to Jesus from Paul or the Gospels as the former know nothing of any HJ as his Christ Jesus was a space ghost that he learned about from mining scripture or imagining God talked to him about it. While the later fairy tales are entire based on midrash. Matthew copied from Mark and added his own imaginary stuff for his theological agenda. Luke copied from both Mark and Matthew and used Josephus along with a healthy dose of his fantasy world. Q, L, M, Signs Source, pre Mark passion narrative are all wildly speculative and as such cannot be admitted as evidence otherwise anything goes.

A> John the Baptist plainly fits all of the criteria, but he is not the only fit. We also have Apollonius of Tyana, Pythagorus, and King David. The consensus of historians are in favor of each of their histroricity, though they are each more uncertain than Jesus to have existed historically. The Prophet Muhammad also fits all of the criteria.

R> No they don't fit. That Josephus mentioned John does not establish his historicity as Josephus' John story is wildly different from that in the Gospel fairy tales. There must be coherency between multiple sources to establish a greater than .5 probability of historicity given back ground knowledge. The Bayesian priors are very small, so back ground knowledge has a formidable task. The Gospels and Josephus are not sufficient.

R> As for Apollonius, Philostratus book is not multiple attestations. Historians tend to make much ado about very questionable sources as to do less would put them out of a job. Yet the internal quality of "Life of Apollonius of Tyana" is very different from the Gospels, so indeed many do think Apollonius was an actual person. In contrast the Jesus stories have no table talk or incidental details about Jesus. Every pericope and saying in the Gospels is there because the Church found them useful. That is a sure sign the Jesus stories are fictional mythology rather than transmitted oral history.

R> As in a game of telephone so it is to argue for core historicity of the Gospels; it is special pleading to maintain that initial story elements A, B, C were partially preserved so that only A and B were replaced by D and E leaving C intact, or that B and C were replaced by E and F leaving A intact,or that A and C were replaced by D and F while B was left intact. The same processes that replaced any of A, B, C would have worked to replace all A B C with D E F. The Gospels cannot be used a historical sources. That leaves only Paul, and he knew nothing of any historical Jesus.

R> As for Pythagorus, there is nothing reliable about the guy. He might as well be completely mythical. See [url][/url]

R> Regarding King David, there is only one piece of evidence, the Tel Dan Stele, and the problems with the findings range from valid suspicions the deposit was salted, fogery, the stratigraphy and pottery conronology were suspect, to confirmation bias on the part of the principle field investagators. See Hector Avalos' "The End of Biblical Studies" p.128-130 for a run down on these problems.

A> The consensus of historians are in favor of each of their histroricity...

R> That's a sweeping gneralization fallacy. Unless you can document who the alleged historians are and show their cases valid and sound, pointing to unnamed supporters of your position is also akin to lying with statistics and appealing to common belief.

R> Overall you did not meet Sally Rides Challenge and exhibit what seems to me naivete and uncritical thinking regarding orthodox assertions of the HJ and other religious figures of antiquity.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Against Altruism

I wrote this essay, Against Altruism, in July of 2009.

Existence actually exists. We are aware of existence; therefore our consciousness actually occurs. Consciousness can distinguish things and actions one from another. There is identity. Identity in action is causality. These are axiomatically obvious and result in realization that knowledge constitutes conscious apprehension via casual process of the facts of existence. That knowledge is a metal causal process of apprehension of the facts of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation means that understanding of what is the good is also a mental casual process. Understanding can only occur via means of reason. Reason is the faculty of individual human beings that identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses; it integrates the individual’s perceptions by means of forming abstractions or conceptions, thus raising the individual’s knowledge from the perceptual level, which she shares with animals, to the conceptual level, which she alone can reach. The method which reason employs in this process is logic—and logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. Individual human beings operate via means of reasoning. To live, individuals must employ reasoning in a rational manner to obtain that which is necessary for life. To improve their circumstances such that a greater degree of benefit is obtained, to thrive, individual human beings must manipulate their environment via means of rational action. The good then is that which is beneficial to the life of a rational individual human being; all that which destroys it is the evil. The good is neither an attribute of “things in themselves” nor of an individual human being’s emotional states, but an evaluation of the facts of reality by an individual human being’s consciousness according to a rational standard of value. (Rational, in this context, means: derived from the facts of reality and validated by a process of reason.) The good is an aspect of reality in relation to individual human beings. It must be discovered, not invented, by the individual human being. It is that which is of value to the life of individual human beings. There is only one fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or nonexistence—and it pertains to a single class of entities: to living organisms. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional, the existence of life is not: it depends on a specific course of action. Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist. It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it dies; its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence. It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible. It is only to an individual living entity that things can be good or evil. Since the valuation that is foundational for the good only applies to individual rational human beings, then the good can only occur relative to an individual rational human being. The concept of good does not permit the separation of “value” from “purpose,” of benefit from beneficiaries, or of human action from reason.

Human beings are called rational, but rationality is a matter of choice, and the alternatives human nature offers are: rational being or suicidal animal. Human beings have to be what they are by choice; they have to hold their individual lives as a value by choice; they have to learn to sustain it —by choice; they have to discover that which is beneficial to their lives and value those things by choice. To be rational, human beings must understand the requirement for and then practice their virtues. A code of values accepted by choice is a code of morality. The objective standard of value in ethics is the standard by which one judges what is good or evil. And that is the individual human’s life, or that which is required for survival and thriving as an individual human. Since reason is the individual human’s basic means of survival, that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; that which negates, opposes or destroys it is the evil. Since everything humans need has to be discovered by their own mind and produced by their own effort, the two essentials of the method of survival proper to a rational being are: thinking and productive work.

Altruism is the doctrine that human beings have no right to exist for their own sake, that service to others is the only justification for human existence, and that self-sacrifice is the highest moral duty, virtue and value. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice—which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction—which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good. Altruism is not about being kind or loving towards others; its not about making donations to charity. The issue is not whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether human beings are to be regarded as a sacrificial animals. Any human being with self-esteem will answer: “No.” Altruism says: “Yes. You must die so other may live.”

An understanding of what constitutes the good operates as a valid and sound premise leading to the conclusion that altruism is evil. The good is that which is beneficial to and proper for the promotion and enhancement of the lives of individual rational human beings. All that hinders or obstructs individual human beings in their quest for life is evil. Altruism is in the later category; therefore, altruism is evil. Any justification of the State that depends upon altruism thus is evil and must fail as an argument against human freedom and self-determination, human dignity and self-esteem, or human voluntary cooperation and free market exchanges, or as an argument for violently suppressing human beings allegedly for the sake of an imagined human collective.