Pharyngula

The Crucifixion of St PZ

Many people have noticed the ad for the ghastly Jesus documentary at the top of the pages here. I’m not thrilled, as you might guess—I think this is almost certainly a load of pseudoscientific fluff. Since it is so prominently promenaded across the pages, I’m now feeling obligated to watch the silly thing, so the ad has won them one viewer, at the cost of personal pain to me.

Since I am taking on the sins of our advertiser, however, I will suggest to you readers that you can consider yourselves redeemed and should feel no compulsion to watch it yourselves. If you want to, you may, of course…or you can just wait for my summary on the day after.

Also, since our family TV is in the basement which gets awfully cold this time of year, I’ll probably watch it on Skatje‘s TV, so she’ll probably see it, too. Maybe I’ll have her pass judgement as well. (Maybe the metaphor would be more apt if Skatje is Jesus, and I can be her father who forces her to experience torment to relieve the rest of the world of sin? Ah, it doesn’t matter, the whole story makes no sense anyway.)

Comments

  1. #1 Fnord Prefect
    February 27, 2007

    The One Revelation that Could Change Everything!

    In the interest of theist apologists though, this is one of few cases I can think of where science and religion are equal in their rejection of this BS.

    Of course the way they go about rejecting it (it can’t be Him because he rode a magical helicopter to heaven or some such) is significantly different.

  2. #2 Frank Anderson
    February 27, 2007

    Is it just the version of the ad I’m seeing, or does it say:

    Sunday March, 9PM EP

    Um, not that I’ll actually watch anyway, but…March what? Or maybe there’s some festival called “Sunday March” that I (in my benighted secular state) am unaware of?

    Good advertising, guys!

  3. #3 Steve_C
    February 27, 2007

    Yup. Someone failed to proof read that sucker.

  4. #4 MikeQ
    February 27, 2007

    If Jesus rose from the dead, why does he have a tomb? Unless they’re suggesting this is the tomb he rose from, I could see this as being a big problem for Catholicism especially.

  5. #5 Uber
    February 27, 2007

    I don’t know. If they did find a tomb and inscription with Jesus and Mary and children. That would be a pretty big hurdle for any apologist to overcome and it certainly would do alot of harm to many people of religion.

  6. #6 quork
    February 27, 2007

    In the articles I’ve seen, the usual suspects line up to criticise this different theory, and point out how flimsy the evidence is. Somehow the articles never get around to discussing the evidence for the other hypothesis that all these suspects support.

  7. #7 Faithful Reader
    February 27, 2007

    OK, never mind the theology; where’s the archeology blog that demolishes the archeology of this nincompoopery?

  8. #8 Milo Johnson
    February 27, 2007

    What I haven’t been able to determine is if this is the same ossuary of which it has been determined that the inscriptions were forgeries recently scribed on a real ossuary of the period. Anyone?

  9. #9 J-Dog
    February 27, 2007

    IMO this will only be getting the fundies panties all in a bunch, and they will be hating more on all us atheists, even if this show is really alll about entertainment, not science.

    This appears to be some kind of marketing thing the DI would put on, like Privaleged Planet… a couple of sciencey sounding things, and a whole lot of words like “could”, “maybe”, and “might indicate”.

    I sure as hell don’t need James Cameron to disbelive in the Sky Father, Zeus, and J.C, and I think the main entertainment value of the program will be the cries of outrage emanating from Falwell, Robertson, Dembski and a certain Seattle “faith tank”.

    Of course if would be great if Pope Benedict said “Damn. You’re right, you caught us. It’s all been a scam since day 1. Thanks for supporting us all these years”.

    Anybody want to buy a couple of Basillicas in Rome? Could be going cheap…

  10. #10 TAW
    February 27, 2007

    At first I didn’t get what everyone was talking about… I even refreshed the page a couple of times to see if any ad would come up… but then I remembered that I have adblock plus!!! Those of you with firefox should definitely install it. It’s GREAT at blocking ads. Those of you without firefox… what’s wrong with you?! lol.

  11. #11 Evolving Squid
    February 27, 2007

    With Adblock Plus, I don’t see the ad. I never even knew you had ads until this very moment 🙂

  12. #12 Krystalline Apostate
    February 27, 2007

    PZ:

    Since I am taking on the sins of our advertiser

    Oh my: a modern-day sin-eater, ey?
    Chances are (very) strong it’s all hogwash, but it should be fun to watch the xtians go into a fanatical feed frenzy.

    PS – how does 1 re-enable regular fonts after using a blockquote?

  13. #13 Orac
    February 27, 2007

    I don’t know. If they did find a tomb and inscription with Jesus and Mary and children. That would be a pretty big hurdle for any apologist to overcome and it certainly would do alot of harm to many people of religion.

    Not necessarily. As one rabbi and historian sai, these names were very common 2,000 years ago. I’m more interested in what the heck they’re talking about when they claim to have “DNA evidence” to support their thesis.

  14. #14 Warren
    February 27, 2007

    … you can just wait for my summary on the day after.

    It would be much more fitting for you to offer your commentary on the third day after your sacrifice.

  15. #15 Bazza
    February 27, 2007

    Ads? What ads?

    Ahhhh, you mean the ones Adblock is silently and obediently removing from Firefox?
    😉

  16. #16 quork
    February 27, 2007

    What I haven’t been able to determine is if this is the same ossuary of which it has been determined that the inscriptions were forgeries recently scribed on a real ossuary of the period. Anyone?

    No, that was the ossuary of “James, the brother of Jesus.” This current find is the ossuaries of Jesus, Jesus’ mother Mary, Jesus wife Mary (the master), and Jesus’ son Judah. I’d be checking the UPCs though to see if they all came from the same factory.

  17. #17 quork
    February 27, 2007

    It would be much more fitting for you to offer your commentary on the third day after your sacrifice.

    Um yeah, the third twelve hour day.

  18. #18 Kristine
    February 27, 2007

    Yup. Someone failed to proof read that sucker.

    Or maybe the show should be called The Lost Time of Jesus.

  19. #19 Dave
    February 27, 2007

    Well, for those of you with Adblock, I have another ad that was pretty good. A while ago there was an ad for “God, the failed hypothesis”. It is actually the first item I have ever bought because of an ad, and it is a quite enjoyable read.

    (no, no relation to the author, I just enjoyed the book)

    Dave

  20. #20 Sarcastro
    February 27, 2007

    What I haven’t been able to determine is if this is the same ossuary of which it has been determined that the inscriptions were forgeries recently scribed on a real ossuary of the period. Anyone?

    Mmmmmm…. could be.

    There is speculation that the “James Ossuary” was originally from the Talpiot Tomb that this documentary is about. There were originally ten ossuaries discovered in the Talpiot Tomb in 1980 and between then and 1996 one of the ten disappeared. However, at least one of the photos of the James Ossuary presented in the recent trial appears to be from the 1970s which would rule out it being the lost Talpiot ossuary.

  21. #21 Skeptico
    February 27, 2007

    Just another comment praising Firefox’s ad blocker. I never knew there were ads on this blog.

  22. #22 Blake Stacey
    February 27, 2007

    I had already heard about Stenger’s God: The Failed Hypothesis, so you’ll have to work a little harder to find something good which AdBlock is keeping from me!

    🙂

  23. #23 Sarcastro
    February 27, 2007

    I’m more interested in what the heck they’re talking about when they claim to have “DNA evidence” to support their thesis.

    I believe the thesis supported by DNA testing is something like that the child in the “Judah” ossuary is the offspring of the people contained in the “Jesus” and “Mary” ossuaries and that the person entombed in the “Jesus” ossuary is the offspring of the “Other Mary” ossuary.

    Apparently they then have a statistician work over the chances of this being the for-real Jeebus using some, to judge from the quick blurb I read, highly suspect methods and data so it comes out as “almost certain” (c) (TM) that this is da reeel deeeel.

    Color me skeptical.

  24. #24 Carlie
    February 27, 2007

    Heh. Ads? Firefox rocks.

  25. #25 Scott Hatfield
    February 27, 2007

    I, too, am skeptical. The blurb that I read claimed odds of 600 to 1 of this being the historic tomb of Jesus. Which is hardly overwhelming. Even if the odds were 6,000,000 to 1, even if the methodology was sound, even if everyone agreed that the tomb was identified as that of the Nazarene, what would this demonstrate?

    Merely that it was the historic tomb of Jesus, nothing more. The ontological status of the historical Jesus would still be unresolved.

  26. #26 Mena
    February 27, 2007

    I clicked on the link to find out if this was indeed someone telling us that this *has* to be Jesus’ tomb or if it will present evidence that it may or may not be. None of the links other than “Explore the Tomb” seem to work. Proof reading, flash animation, who cares!
    Discover, A&E, TLC, and SciFi haven’t polluted my channel line up with my remote in over a decade. Basic cable bites. At least they aren’t the History Channel running ads about the Godless(their word) violence of the Dark Ages. Between that, Drive Through History, and all of those UFO shows they really are going for the trailer audience aren’t they? They do mention that a civilization lost its way. Gee, how did it do that…

  27. #27 fyreflye
    February 27, 2007

    I’m testing the new beta release for Camino, Firefox’s Mac based kid brother; it allows you to just check a box in the preferences to block all ads. It’s faster, too.

  28. #28 RedMolly
    February 27, 2007

    Keith Olbermann had a rather disappointing take on this whole shebang last night. He presented the story as a clash between Science and Faith, as if either Science had “proven” that these were undeniably the bones of Jesus ‘n’ pals, or that Faith would win out and the heresy would be exposed. In the process, his commentary completely ignored the very large swathe of reasonable people out there who agree that (as I yelled at the TV, to my cats’ great amusement) “It’s all bullshit on both sides!”

    But his Special Comment on Condoleezza Rice’s shocking ignorance of historical facts kinda made up for it.

  29. #29 Despard
    February 27, 2007

    Can’t believe I didn’t know about this before… but now I have installed AdBlock. Thanks. 🙂

  30. #30 tom
    February 27, 2007

    I put up Richard Dawkins “Nice guys finish first” an excellent documentary on altruism in groups:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzeCn02l_Rw&watch_response

  31. #31 jpf
    February 27, 2007

    Ads? Not seeing them in IE. Windows’ hosts file rocks!

  32. #32 Blake Stacey
    February 27, 2007

    As long as we’re plugging our favorite plug-ins, I also like Flashblock.

  33. #33 The Science Pundit
    February 27, 2007

    Can’t believe I didn’t know about this before… but now I have installed AdBlock. Thanks. 🙂

    Ditto here.

  34. #34 nal
    February 27, 2007

    It is not on Discovery HD Theater. Therefore, I won’t watch it.

  35. #35 KiwiInOz
    February 27, 2007

    May I be the first to say:

    “PZ Myers is not the Messiah … he’s just a very naughty boy”

    Hmm. I feel a t-shirt coming on.

  36. #36 Dan
    February 27, 2007

    Serious, fellow skeptics, don’t get to crazy on this…it is worth at least considering the possibility, regardless of the number of silly Oscars on the producer’s desk.

    1. Yes. Jesus, Joseph and Mary were common names. Add in Matthew and Jude and the greek version of Mary (Magdelene)’s name, the odds start climbing. I haven’t seen the statistical analysis on what they are claiming, but these names in same place, all associated with 1st century legend is worth something.

    2. No one has denounced the provenance of these ossuaries, though they have been around for almost three decades. They (apparently) really come from the 1st century.

    3. The forgery on the old James Ossuary is the “brother of Jesus” part, not the actual inscription “James, son of Joseph”. 10 ossuaries were originally found, and one is missing. Apparently, tests show that the patina between the two matched.

    There is much to be determined: How was the DNA testing done? How was the patina match determined? How were the stats done?

    My understanding is that the statistical analysis is going to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Most of what I read intimated that the DNA and patina tests will similarly be offered up.

    From what I have read, this isn’t Ron Wyatt or Ken Hovind, this is real scientists making real claims.

    I am not saying we should buy them outright, I’m just saying that until the data is in a verdict shouldn’t be issued. You and I agree the documentary won’t show a thing, but rather any published efforts that evolve from it.

  37. #37 TW
    February 27, 2007

    Um, where is Adblock in Firefox? It doesn’t show up in Help>Search.

  38. #38 Goffr
    February 27, 2007

    It’s kind of funny though when you think about it.

    Whenever they find a reference to a Jesus in ancient texts or journals, it must be “the” Jesus.

    They find a tomb that could be Jesus, and they say its a common name and chances are its not him.

    Surely if its a common name then the few pieces of evidence relating to a historical jesus must also be put under the same scrutiny.

  39. #39 Ken Muldrew
    February 27, 2007

    I remember watching a series on ancient Egypt by John Romer from many years ago where he described talking to a fellow archaeologist about a dig in Jerusalem. That fellow dug up an ossuary that read, “Yeshua, bar Yosef”. Romer was all excited and said to the guy, “Wow! Do you think it was the tomb of THE Jesus?”. The other archaeologist replied, “Don’t be silly. Jesus went to heaven. He didn’t leave any bones behind”.

    Since the ossuaries of the TV show were actually discovered about 25 years ago, or so, I wonder if it’s the same.

  40. #40 Max Udargo
    February 27, 2007

    I’m not a scientist, but I think the past year of reading science blogs and following the ID debate has taught me one thing: Until they publish their research in a credible peer-reviewed journal and their peers have reviewed their research and deemed it sound, nobody should be taking this seriously. This feels more like marketing than science.

  41. #41 KiwiInOz
    February 27, 2007

    TW – go to the Firefox web site, search for AdBlock and install.

    Cheers

  42. #42 Steve_C
    February 27, 2007

    They fixed the date in the ad banner.

    The lucky number is 4.

  43. #43 Greco
    February 27, 2007

    Those of you without firefox… what’s wrong with you?!

    You mean the same Firefox that erased my bookmarks twice?

  44. #44 El Christador
    February 27, 2007

    If I understand correctly, their claim regarding DNA testing is that they obtained mitochondrial DNA from the Jesus and (purported) Mary Magdalene ossuaries, which established that the two are not siblings.

    It falls far short of all the DNA testing that they need to do to confirm the proposed relationships, of course, and they would also need nuclear DNA to do that. I do not know if they purport to have nuclear DNA but just haven’t got around to testing it, and I also don’t know if they have DNA from the other ossuaries besides those two.

  45. #45 TAW
    February 27, 2007

    Greco- I don’t know… FF messed up once or twice with me, but I managed to fix it and after upgrading to FF 2.0 it has been a good boy….err… fox. You might want to try the jeteye add-on https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/1508/ I just found it a couple of days ago and I think I’ll like it.

  46. #46 El Christador
    February 27, 2007

    See here, for example.

    [T]he documentary’s director, Simcha Jacobovici, says that mitochondrial DNA has been recovered. He says analysis shows that the occupants of the box inscribed “Jesus son of Joseph” and that with the name “Mariamne” (said to be a name for Mary Magdalene in early Christian texts) were not related on their mothers’ side.

    From this he concludes that the couple buried together were husband and wife. DNA analysis has not been conducted on the purported son, but in any case, since mitochondria are inherited maternally, it would not be able to tell if “Judah” was the son of “Jesus”.

    Why hasn’t a DNA test been done on Judah? Jacobovici’s answer is revealing. “We’re not scientists. At the end of the day we can’t wait till every ossuary is tested for DNA,” he told the The New York Times. “We took the story that far. At some point you have to say, ‘I’ve done my job as a journalist.’ ”

    Does this remind anyone of the old hack’s quip “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”?

  47. #47 Carlie
    February 27, 2007

    Greco, good to know I’m not the only one. Netscape erased my bookmarks twice, when I went to Firefox it has also erased them twice. All during automatic upgrades. Grrr.

  48. #48 Mike Haubrich
    February 27, 2007

    All you adblockers – how do you think these blogs get paid for? Why are you better than the rest of us? Unblock your ads for scienceblogs so that they don’t end up getting sent out on cheap parchment in the future. Damn your eyes!!!!

    And as for the destruction of faith because of these ossuaries, you should take a peek at Tom Robbins’s first novel Another Roadside Attraction or you can read about it at my blog http://tuibguy.blog-spot.com

  49. #49 MikeTV
    February 27, 2007

    Is it me, or does this wreak of “Al Copones Glove-Box”

  50. #50 Sastra
    February 27, 2007

    Max is right — until this has gone through peer review, it’s all suspect. There really was a 2,000 year old cave with 10 stone caskets which discovered about 20 years ago, but the names are common. Some of the names were Jesua, son of Joseph; Mary; Mary; Mathew; Jofa; and Judah, son of Jesua. A few of the details sound more than a little vague: they did some sort of statistical analysis on the odds of those particular names appearing together, but seem to have neglected to include all the names in the tomb. The tomb would also be in a surprising place, and quality, if it was the legendary Jesus and his family.

    My understanding is that this isn’t another breathless Christian discovery of Noah’s Ark that “proves” the Bible is all true. The filmmaker involved here is the guy who produced The Titanic, and he is purportedly trying to “sink Christianity.” Jesus had a son — and, worse, no Empty Tomb and bodily resurrection. Wow, just like the Da Vinci Code, except it’s all archeology and science.

    I’d be very skeptical on this.

  51. #51 MikeG
    February 27, 2007

    Take heart, Safari users! Style sheets to the rescue!
    (It doesn’t block the Jebus ad, but it blocks many others.)
    Try this for the file and an easy protocol.

    MikeG

  52. #52 Alison
    February 27, 2007

    If they test the Jesus bones and find no genes at all, does it prove he was intelligently designed?

  53. #53 Torbjrn Larsson
    February 27, 2007

    Unblock your ads for scienceblogs so that they don’t end up getting sent out on cheap parchment in the future.

    Really, why should we suffer at the cross? Bad blogs, adblocks, what you gonna do…

  54. #54 Torbjrn Larsson
    February 27, 2007

    Unblock your ads for scienceblogs so that they don’t end up getting sent out on cheap parchment in the future.

    Really, why should we suffer at the cross? Bad blogs, adblocks, what you gonna do…

  55. #55 John Emerson
    February 27, 2007

    Come on, guys, if they find a cadaver Chrstianity is finished!

  56. #56 Merg
    February 27, 2007

    TW – It’s an extension. You have to add it on yourself.

    Go to the tools menu and select “extensions”or “add ons”, depending on version of firefox. From there there’s a “get extensions/addons” option, IIRC (all from memory, I’m afraid.)

  57. #57 Greg Laden
    February 27, 2007

    ah, THIS is why we don’t have cable! (I’ve managed to blog on the show without looking, as it turns out… this one is a no brainer).

  58. #58 ryogam
    February 27, 2007

    Ok all you skeptics, all you doubters, all you unbelievers, you want scientific proof that the DNA in the casket belongs to the ONE TRUE Jesus, I offer this FOOLPROOF method.

    First, you need to find one Church-approved piece of the REAL Jesus ™ from which we can take a sample of DNA. And where is this Jesus piece? Well, look right here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus%27_foreskin

    Now, according to the article there were apparently up to 18 of these little Jesus prick skins floating around Europe at one time, (must have been quite a pecker) but all have been lost. So, alls we need to do is locate of of these relics, compare the DNA to the DNA found in the crypt and, presto, scientific proof that you’ve found the REAL Jesus and not some 1st century name-alike.

    And, you’re welcome.

  59. #59 Coin
    February 27, 2007

    Somehow the articles never get around to discussing the evidence for the other hypothesis that all these suspects support.

    Maybe you’re just not reading the right articles:

    First to react was the ultimate authority on the subject, Israeli Bar-Ilan University Professor Amos Kloner. He is the Jerusalem District archeologist who officially oversaw the work at the tomb-cave in 1980 and has published detailed findings on its contents, on Saturday night dismissed the claims. “It makes a great story for a TV film,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “But it’s impossible. It’s nonsense.”

    Kloner’s work is well known in biblical archeologist circles and beyond.

    “There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb,” Kloner said. “They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the 1st century CE.”

    “It’s a beautiful story but without any proof whatsoever,” Professor Amos Kloner, who had published the findings of his research in the Israeli periodical Atigot in 1996, told DPA Friday.

    “The names that are found on the tombs are names that are similar to the names of the family of Jesus,” he conceded.

    “But those were the most common names found among Jews in the first centuries BCE and CE,” he added.

    Kloner dismissed the combination of names found in the cave as a “coincidence.” “The claim that the burial site has been found is not based on any new idea. It is only an attempt to sell,” Kloner said after watching the documentary.

    “It’s a waste of money.”

    This idea that this is a tomb belonging to a middle class Jerusalem family incidentally happening to have the most common names of the time period sounds like a pretty straightforward hypothesis; apparently was the hypothesis which was standing before this documentary maker came along and decided to reinterpret the whole thing; and is certainly more in line with occam’s razor than assuming the tomb belongs to an individual who, last I checked, can’t even be conclusively proved to have existed.

  60. #60 Chris
    February 27, 2007

    I guess I’ll add another endorsement for Adblock and Firefox 🙂

  61. #61 Graculus
    February 27, 2007

    However, at least one of the photos of the James Ossuary presented in the recent trial appears to be from the 1970s which would rule out it being the lost Talpiot ossuary.

    The chain of custody is highly suspect. They are missing a box supposedly discovered in 1980, but they are matching a box that’s been around since the 1970’s. I smell something piscine.

    It also doesn’t take 20 years to decipher short inscriptions in well known languages. These puppies are fake, fake, fake.

  62. #62 mjs
    February 27, 2007

    The only way to satisfy Christianists that the ossuary in question is Jesus’ tomb is to proclaim that his bones were not found therein, and by dint of this non-appearance it must then follow that this locale is indeed his final non-resting place. However, if the bones in question are somehow proven to be Jesus of Nazareth’s skeletal remains then they are most certainly not his bones, and so, in faith, they do not truly exist. Caution: if one is to be taken seriously as a defender of the One True Disappearing Act then one most certainly must must refrain from giggling when discussing these dreadfully serious matters.

    +++

  63. #63 Mike Haubrich
    February 27, 2007

    Greco, good to know I’m not the only one. Netscape erased my bookmarks twice, when I went to Firefox it has also erased them twice. All during automatic upgrades. Grrr.

    Whenever you upgrade with a mozilla product, esp a browser such as seamonkey or firefox, follow the instructions for deleting the old browser and backing up the files. And yep, Netscape is Mozilla but with a whole bunch of adware.

  64. #64 Carlie
    February 27, 2007

    That was the frustrating thing – I wasn’t upgrading, a few times it just updated by itself without asking for permission or anything. I opened the program, got a hoorah it’s downloaded itself some updates message, and everything was gone.

  65. #65 TAW
    February 27, 2007

    That’s strange. Nothing bad has ever happened to me after FF has upgraded itself. The only complaint I have about FF is that I can’t play windows media player files in the browser itself, but an add-on lets me play them outside of firefox.

  66. #66 Damien
    February 27, 2007

    It also doesn’t take 20 years to decipher short inscriptions in well known languages. These puppies are fake, fake, fake.

    It might if the inscriptions were in a bunch of fragments which had to be pieced back together.

    “There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb,” Kloner said. “They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the 1st century CE.”

    I think uncertainty about whether Jesus exists uncomfortably next to assertions that he came from a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. How do we know whether Joseph or Mary — or their preacher son who founded a successful cult — had any ties to Jerusalem? And what’s middle class for a carpenter father or a rabbi son?

  67. #67 Kseniya
    February 27, 2007

    [ Nothing bad has ever happened to me after FF has upgraded itself. ]

    Same here. But FF has a bad habit of grabbing the CPU and running away with it for no apparent reason, an annoying habit to say the least. So despite the advantages that FF does offer, I get less frustrated with IE. Hard to believe, but true.

    I agree this program will probably be a waste of time. Another Roadside Attraction comes to mind (again) and the only way this could literally “change everything” is to a) convert everyone on earth to Christianity and then b) prove that the central belief of Christianity is based on a fiction (thereby making everyone alive into an instant atheist).

    But given that both a) and b) are impossible (and that no material proof could ever trump Belief in the minds of most True Believers anyway) I don’t expect much to change. Certainly not “everything.”

    I dunno. Call me a Jane if you will, but I think the item about chimps hunting with spears is a lot more compelling.

  68. #68 Ichthyic
    February 27, 2007

    The only way to satisfy Christianists that the ossuary in question is Jesus’ tomb is to proclaim that his bones were not found therein, and by dint of this non-appearance it must then follow that this locale is indeed his final non-resting place.

    perfect. sounds like a perfect story for the Onion.

  69. #69 Mothra
    February 27, 2007

    Party at Mecca!!! (overflow at the Wailing wall) Mullahs & Rabbis only. Remember to park your credulity on the west side of the city. Evening topics: Dancing angels on pin heads, Lex and Martin- conspiracy of the ages, ‘Ayatolla so,’ Report on the Discovery Institutes’ first Middle Eastern Archaeological Expedition, with commentary on the vast left-wing conspiracy at Fox News.

  70. #70 PMembrane
    February 27, 2007

    Take heart, Safari users! Style sheets to the rescue!

    PithHelmet provides Safari with functionality comparable to Adblock Plus.

  71. #71 Don
    February 27, 2007

    It can’t be as bad as the time they let Geraldo Rivera into that pyramid. At least Cameron might make this entertaining.

    Besides, anything that gets fundies’ knickers in a twist is probably worth a watch.

  72. #72 Ancarett
    February 27, 2007

    Yet another stupid bit of pseudo-scientific religious fluff that I will have to spend precious class time debunking! And because it’s televised pablum, it’s all the worse in that the poorer students invariably think this absolves them of the need to actually read anything scholarly on the subject because they saw it with their own eyes.

  73. #73 beepbeepitsme
    February 27, 2007

    It’s obviously crapola. There is no way to conclusively show that the bones in the ossuary boxes belong to jesus, or his family. But many a christian has their panties in a bunch over it, so I am enjoying this spectacle from the sidelines.

  74. #74 TW
    February 28, 2007

    Thanks for the advice on adding Adblock. It appears some sites, like the Washington Post aren’t too happy with it.

    Regarding FF erasing bookmarks during an auto-update. It’s happened twice to me too, but not for a while. I’d bet they got a ton of grief and fixed it.

    But if it happens again – Go into the Application Data/Mozilla/Firefox/profiles/default.lxi folder and find the bookmarkbackups folder. In there you will find five backups, one for each of the last five days. If FF ever erases the bookmarks.html file again, you can use one of these to get it back.

    I made a Desktop shortcut to that folder so I can find it fast.

    HTH

    TW

  75. #75 dorid
    February 28, 2007

    I really want this to be true. Just think: Bones… No Bodily Resurrection and Ascension. Just a guy. I like it.

    Now, even if the evidence WERE overwhelming, I don’t think it would make an iota of difference to Christians. They’d just chalk it up to a different kind of miracle.

    Just think of what was happening back when Harry Gove was trying to get a piece of the Shroud of Turin. Then look how that all worked out. Now the Catholic Church is saying the reason the age on the artifact seems so young is that it’s divinely preserved.

    If this WERE the tomb of Christ, they’d pull something else out of their hat to explain away the evidence.

  76. #76 Ichthyic
    February 28, 2007

    they’d pull something else out of their hat

    hmm, I was rather thinking of someplace else they would pull it out of.

    do they really say the dates for the shroud are because of divine intervention???

    can you point to a reference for that?

    that’s a keeper.

  77. #77 TAW
    February 28, 2007

    Because I know someone is going to ask (took me a while to figure it out), here’s how you get to where TW mentioned: go to my computer, C drive, documents and settings, owner, application data (it’s hidden so go to tools, folder options, view, and check the “show hidden files and folders” thing, OK) and then what TW said.
    You can also go there by typing something in the “run” window, but I forgot what it is (I had to do stuff when FF messed up a while ago)

  78. #78 beepbeepitsme
    February 28, 2007

    In honour of being added to Pharyngula’s blog roll, I will be posting an article about invertebrates. This may be called : – “Do Invertebrates Go To Heaven?” (title of article is subject to copyright)

    Afterall, if they are jesus’s bones, he didn’t take them with him.

  79. #79 amph
    February 28, 2007

    Only slightly off topic: What really pisses me off are the ads you see on sites and forums dedicated to particular diseases. Patients, often uneducated and ignorant, visit these forums for comfort and information. One of the things they may find are ads of snake oil sellers who have the miracle cure for their (incurable) disease for only $99.99. Even worse, sometimes these ads do not only show up in the corners or on top of the page, but they disguise as postings that are mixed with serious and sincere messages. Totally immoral. (Case in point: the Meniere’s disease forum (menieres.org) where Chinese herb sellers and the likes are trying to sell their trash to desperate sufferers of this debilitating disease.) Installing AdBlock is way over the heads of many visitors of such sites.

  80. #80 Kristjan Wager
    February 28, 2007

    I’m more interested in what the heck they’re talking about when they claim to have “DNA evidence” to support their thesis.

    Well, it should be fairly easy to obtain some of Jesus’ body or blood – it’s handed out in church every sunday. From there, it’s pretty straightforward.

  81. #81 Paul
    February 28, 2007

    @Kristjan

    And the results are that Jesus was a miraculous hybrid of Triticum aestivum and Vitis vinifera.

    All hail Plant Jebus! 🙂

    (Isn’t there a drinker’s rule of thumb against mixing grape and grain?)

  82. #82 Paul
    February 28, 2007

    Oh, and while we’re at it, here’s a choice piece of nonsense from the BBC report on it (alluded to by Mena in the previous thread):

    “Academic Stephen Pfann, a scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, said he did not expect Christians to accept the film’s findings…”But sceptics, in general, would like to see something that pokes holes into the story that so many people hold dear.””

    Umm – no, Stephen. Sceptics are sceptical about claims on the basis of the evidence, not because it furthers some sort of ideological or theological agendas.

    Unlike Christians, other religious believers and scholars at the University of the Holy Land, it seems.

  83. #83 RavenT
    February 28, 2007

    (Isn’t there a drinker’s rule of thumb against mixing grape and grain?)

    Not against mixing so much as against doing it in the wrong order:

    1) “Wein nach Bier–das lob’ ich mir! Bier nach Wein–lass’ das sein!”

    or:

    2) “Wein auf Bier–das rat’ ich dir! Bier auf Wein–lass’ das sein!”

    More or less:

    Wine after (1) or upon (2) beer–I praise that (1), or I counsel you (2). Beer after (1) or upon (2) wine–leave that alone.

  84. #84 nat
    February 28, 2007

    Ichthyic, I saw a better explanation than the divine intervention : the recent date comes from the fact that all the samples were voluntarily taken from the same area of the shroud, but this area had been repaired during the time period determined by the datation… nice, isn’t it ?

  85. #85 arakasi
    February 28, 2007

    83 comments and no one has mentioned the T-shirt slogan:
    Easter’s been cancelled. They found the body

  86. #86 MorpheusPA
    February 28, 2007

    84 comments and nobody’s spelled it “crucifiction.”

    And you call yourselves godless athiests. Bah.

  87. #87 Trogdor
    February 28, 2007

    Excuse my naivete, but how certain is it that the Jeebus of the bible actually existed? A lot of posters here seem to take it as a fact that he really existed as a person if not as the son of a skydaddy. Is there any corroborating evidence outside of the bible that he was a real person? Again, pardon my ignorance, I am not well versed in biblical studies or biblical history.

  88. #88 Steve_C
    February 28, 2007

    Actually there’s not alot of evidence for the Jesus if the bible actually existing.
    There were alot of prophets and messiahs running around at the time.

    The romans didn’t seem to ever notice him. From what I recall.

  89. #89 Sonja
    February 28, 2007

    RavenT, here’s the rhyming English version:

    Beer before wine, you’ll feel fine.
    Wine before beer, you’ll feel queer.

  90. #90 misterbowen
    February 28, 2007

    > There were alot of prophets and messiahs running around at
    > the time.

    “And I should know, I followed a few…”

    :-\

  91. #91 Jud
    February 28, 2007

    For those with the Opera browser, no need to download anything to block ads. For per-page, per-item content blocking, just right-click somewhere on the page other than in the ads themselves, and choose “Block content” from the menu that comes up. Then left-click the bits you don’t want to see any more.

    When you’re done, go to the top of the page where Opera’s conveniently placed a yellow bar and click the “Done” button. Voila! You won’t see the bits you blocked.

  92. #92 RavenT
    February 28, 2007

    Much better, Sonja–I had only the words, but you captured the music :).

  93. #93 dorid
    February 28, 2007

    Ichthyic, the Catholic Church OFFICIALLY remains neutral on the subject of the Shroud. Yet they have a feast day for the Shroud (May 4) My experience with the responses of the Catholic Church come from discussions with my former priest, and with Harry Gove (back in the early 80s)

    I guess now they’re trying to use the “preservation” theory a more scientific sounding spin… this was recently published in a Catholic Journal:

    In 1993 Garza-Valdes discovered that the linen fibers of the shroud contained fungus and bacteria that had formed a symbiotic relationship, creating a “bioplastic coating” on the fibers, which rejuvenated the linen.

    Whiting quoted the scientist as saying that laboratories had tested “a mixture of carbon from the original linen and new carbon from the bioplastic coating produced by the bacteria. It was this that caused the shroud to be dated as medieval.”

    [LINK TO CATHOLIC NEWS STORY]

    or you can buy one of the many videos available through Catholic bookstores:

    Jesus and the Shroud of Turin DVD – This film reveals new evidence to debunk the skeptical modern scientists and shows convincing evidence of the authenticity of the Shroud as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. It presents an in-depth study of the Shroud and its incredible history as one of the most celebrated religious artifacts in the world. [BUY VIDEO]

    if you want to wade through some of the other nonsense, here’s a link that quotes a number of articles: http://www.british-israel.ca/shroud.htm (this is of course a Christian site)

    and the above contians this little nugget:

    When the Piltdown man hoax was uncovered in 1953, sophisticated chemical analysis techniques, developed in part by Teddy Hall, showed that skull fragments and other bone pieces had been expertly dyed to look older and match each other. This was done to fool people into thinking the bones were very old. People were fooled and many thought that the Piltdown man might be the missing link.

    In the case of the Shroud of Turin, it was threads were dyed to look older and to match other threads. But it wasn’t the threads of the Shroud itself that were dyed. It was a small area in one corner of the Shroud where some mending threads had been dyed to look like the rest of the age-yellowed Shroud. Chemical analysis proves this. There is absolutely no doubt about that.

    In the case of the Shroud it was the carbon 14 testers that were fooled. And they should not have been fooled. There were clues that warranted investigation…

    Ever notice when religious nutjobs want to refute science they ALWAYS bring up Piltdown Man, no matter HOW relevant it is to the argument at hand?

    Sorry I couldn’t get a direct quote from someone on that. It’s generally accepted by both the Catholic and Orthodox churches that certain relics are miraculously preserved by God, bodies of saints kept in tact for example… and even some cases where long dead bishops give blessings.

    Here is a page from the Orthodox Information Center on Veneration of Holy Relics which touches on the “fact” that God preserves the relics of Christ and of the Saints and refutes scientific evidences:[CLICK]

    now, if you want to see this on an OFFICIAL church site [CLICK HERE

    The basic doctrine here is that Saints (and Christ) are imbued with divinity which is incorruptable, and the relics are extensions of that divinity:

    “What is of the earth remains earthly, and when fire consumes matter, it returns to the dust from which it came. But the divine fire neither destroys nor annihilates. The miracle of the burning bush is perpetuated in eternity. The fire will kindle the whole world. The entire creation will some day be permeated by divine rays” (The Living God, Bishop Kallistos Ware, p. 91).

    I hope this helps 😉

  94. #94 dorid
    February 28, 2007

    EEK!
    this should have been in the blockquotes… they aren’t MY words!

    In the case of the Shroud of Turin, it was threads were dyed to look older and to match other threads. But it wasn’t the threads of the Shroud itself that were dyed. It was a small area in one corner of the Shroud where some mending threads had been dyed to look like the rest of the age-yellowed Shroud. Chemical analysis proves this. There is absolutely no doubt about that.

    In the case of the Shroud it was the carbon 14 testers that were fooled. And they should not have been fooled. There were clues that warranted investigation…

  95. #95 Merg
    February 28, 2007

    Another rhyme in a similar vein — this one well known in my birthplace of North-East England:

    Beer on Whisky, always risky.
    Whisky on beer, never fear.

  96. #96 kmarissa
    February 28, 2007

    That’s strange, *I* always thought it was:

    Beer before liquor, never been sicker,
    Liquor before beer, never fear.

    Good thing I never paid attention to it either way.

  97. #97 Steve_C
    February 28, 2007

    Liquor then Beer never fear.
    Beer then Liquor never sicker.

  98. #98 Steve_C
    February 28, 2007

    Funny.

  99. #99 Kseniya
    February 28, 2007

    Avoiding alcohol altogether works pretty well, too. 😉

  100. #100 Kagehi
    February 28, 2007

    Seen a few of these myself. They are not too bad. They tend to focus on Biblical locations, but not in the sense of trying to “prove” that they happened exactly as in the Bible. For example, the one of Soddam and Gomora more or less concluded that some cities did exist, they had different names, some major catastrophy did hit them, and that it might have had something to do with the brimstone you could literally pick out of the walls of the cliff faces there. They didn’t go into providing theory or evidence of “how” that may have happened, but the implication, to a non-believer, was that it could easilly have been a natural event, which later got blown out of proportion. To a believer, it might be interpretted as, “See! There is no actual explanation for how the fire got so hot the cities showed burn scars on the ground and walls and needed to be abandoned, so it must have been how the Bible said!”

    Not exactly critical of the believers interpretation, but not exactly conclusive on the side of Bible thumpers either. Same with the Grail one. Sure, it *may* exist in some obscure temple no one is allowed in, where some relics of the original priesthood is still found and the descendents still claim to guard it, and which the show traced its supposed path to, but that only says its possibly a real artifact, nothing more, nothing less. And certainly not that it actually shot bolts of lightning at people in wars. And the host basically says as much in talking about it, though not so much so that, again, a believer might get a way more absurd interpretation out of it.

  101. #101 Kagehi
    February 28, 2007

    Actually, I would say that the worst thing about these shows is that they try *not* to draw specific conclusions that might offend either side.

  102. #102 beepbeepitsme
    February 28, 2007

    What are we going to compare the “jesus DNA” with? The shroud of turin? (Ok, I have had my laugh for the morning.)

  103. #103 autumn
    March 1, 2007

    Kagehi, I think you mean the arc of the covenant, not the grail.

  104. #104 Paul
    March 1, 2007

    In what can only be a move to give its readers a good giggle over their lattes (all liberals drink lattes, right? I prefer cappuccino myself, so that probably makes me a centrist), the Guardian serves up this morsel of undercooked reasoning:

    A medical doctor and a doctor of theology! Another one of those Collins-esque doublethinkers, it seems.

    It is maddening to see someone apply a little bit of logic when it suits their dogma and then fling all critical thought to the winds when it comes to actually challenging their beliefs.

  105. #105 Hugh
    March 1, 2007

    The problem with anyone saying that they’ve found “the” historical Jesus is that there’s no screen for excluding almost any sort of false positive “Jesus bar Joseph” someone might dig up. The gospels even say that you can’t find the body!

    Of course, if someone finds a 1st century tomb inscription referencing Jesus and identifying him as a religious leader with his own sect, that’s different. Given the mythic character of the stories, I don’t think such evidence ever existed, however.

    If someone wasn’t wealthy and couldn’t afford an elaborate tomb, why should we expect any evidence of that person’s life to be accessible to archeology?

  106. #106 Keith Douglas
    March 3, 2007

    Trogdor: Basically none at all. There is basically a tiny amount of possible fraudulent, possibly not evidence in Josephus. That’s it. Additionally, Paul (if you read him carefully) says a lot of things which are inconsistent with an earthly person, and Hebrews 8 outright denies it. (!)

  107. #107 Arno Wouters
    March 3, 2007

    > Take heart, Safari users! Style sheets to the rescue!

    > PithHelmet provides Safari with functionality comparable to Adblock Plus.

    Another excellent option is SafariBlock http://fsbsoftware.com/SafariBlock.html

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