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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

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I'm not fond of labels, particularly pejorative labels, but sometimes they are well deserved. I do not like to use the word "accomodationist" but Jerry Coyne is justified in using it this time.  Psychologist (evolutionary psychologist?) Matt Rossano argues at the HuffPo that the resurrection of Jesus is not really incompatible with science. Why, because Pope Ratzi wrote in a book that Jesus's resurrection is not as banal as giving back life to a corpse (as if that would be "banal"), it is something else altogether, something that naturally we cannot comprehend, because it is a "different state". Matt Rossano takes the Pope at his word and therefore concludes that skeptics and believers can then talk nicely about the resurrection because it does not contradict science, it is simply something "new" that science has not yet explained. This is moving the goal posts at its best. This is serious, serious nonsense. I detest it when somebody uses seemingly complicated concepts that are totally made up and give them an aura of intellectual credibility buy simply stating that it is something "we cannot comprehend yet".

 

Here is the core of Rossano's argument, judge for yourself:

 

The scientific case against resurrection is pretty straightforward: once dead you stay dead -- that's just the way it works. Coming back to life after having been dead (I mean really dead) would constitute a violation of natural law -- a miracle -- and miracles just don't happen. Fair enough. But in his recent book on the last days of Jesus (Jesus of Nazareth Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection), Joseph Ratzinger (aka Pope Benedict XVI) argues that reckoning Resurrection as resuscitation of a corpse is to misunderstand its true significance. Jesus' Resurrection, he contends, was an utterly singular event, straining the very limits of human understanding:


"Anyone approaching the Resurrection accounts in the belief that he knows what rising from the dead means will inevitably misunderstand those accounts and will then dismiss them as meaningless" (p. 243).

In fact, if Jesus' Resurrection were "merely" coming back to life in any way that we might comprehend, then it would be of little significance.

So what then does Resurrection mean? For Benedict it represents a new dimension of reality breaking through into human experience. It is not a violation of the old; it is the manifestation of something new.

"Jesus had not returned to a normal human life in this world like Lazarus and the others whom Jesus raised from the dead. He has entered upon a different life, a new life -- he has entered the vast breadth of God himself..." (p. 244).


I love this kind of discourse! The Pope says that anyone who thinks they understand what "raising from the dead" means will misunderstand the accounts of the resurrection. This must include the Pope himself, doesn't it? If he misunderstand it too, why should we take his word seriously? It's just another misunderstanding! And if he understands it (because he is the Pope, or something), then he should be able to explain it to us.

Rossano then continues with this:

 

Thus, in this view, Resurrection (as with all true miracles) is not contrary to science, but an indicator that science does not (yet?) describe the full expanse of reality. Indeed, some may argue that science itself contains similar "indicators." The 11 (or so) dimensional universe required by some versions of string theory, the multiverse theory of the universe where ours is but one of an infinite array of universes with variable physical laws, quantum entanglements, "spooky" action at a distance, the mysterious emergence of consciousness from inorganic matter -- all push the limits of human reason and imagination, suggesting to some that reality may be far more complex than the human mind can grasp.

 

OK, so "true miracles" are those that one day will be able to be explained by science. Doesn't this make them NOT MIRACLES? Then of course, he throws in the words quantum, string theory and multiverses, to make it all sound very scientific. Yes, that's it! Jesus must have disappeared through a portal to another universe? All possibly explained by strings and quantum entanglement!


He concludes his piece by saying:

 

The believer's argument, however, remains unconvincing to the skeptic. However impressive they might be, a change of heart and steadfast commitment do not necessarily add up to a new dimension of reality. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Fair enough. So a key question regarding the interpretation of Resurrection is this: Is the post-crucifixion history of Christianity extraordinary? Does it compel the dispassionate observer to concede that a categorically unique event could plausibly be its best explanation?

There's a message here, one quite in keeping with the Easter season when the notion of something radically new breaking through is uppermost in our minds. It ought to be upon questions such as those above that skeptics and believers respectfully engage one another, rather than the simplistic and often acrimonious sloganeering that has increasingly become the norm.

Happy Easter, everyone!

 

Please, Rossano, this is just kissing up to the believers, feeding their delusions by giving them a patina of a possible scientific explanation. If he wanted to wish Christians a happy Easter, just do so without all the pseudo-scientific platitudes.

 

Read Jerry Coyne's deconstruction of the Rossano article here.

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"Anyone approaching the Resurrection accounts in the belief that he knows what rising from the dead means will inevitably misunderstand those accounts and will then dismiss them as meaningless"

 

We know what rising from the dead means and we do dismiss the tales as meaningless.

 

In fact, if Jesus' Resurrection were "merely" coming back to life in any way that we might comprehend, then it would be of little significance.

 

What we comprehend is that it is impossible. So the only significance of that tale is its persistence as a legend. 

 

For Benedict it represents a new dimension of reality breaking through into human experience. It is not a violation of the old; it is the manifestation of something new.


Something new like time travel perhaps?

..what Michel said.

My biggest pet peeve is this: if Noah managed to cram all those animals in a boat, why couldn't he save the dinosaurs too? We would ALL have loved to see T.rex and Apatosaurus! And how about some pterodactyls? They could fly, would have come in handy to spot the land. LOL.

 

"Sophisticated" nonsense is still nonsense, isn't it?

My challenge isn't even that they presumably happened, but if they were real events, why haven't they happened again?

 

It's because they just don't understand nature and science. The laws of nature, physics, etc., are called laws because they happen over and over and over. "Unique" events like resurrection are not natural events, period, otherwise they would have happened over and over.

...what Michel and Curly Girl said.

 

;-)

ive seen a spider that walks on water. is it the jesus spider?


Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.
Inigo Montoya: What's that?
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

LOL.

 

Someone in Jerry Coyne's blog correctly commented that the belief in resurrection comes from a mistaken understanding of what life is: most people still think it's some kind of "spark", a "spirit", something that one can just infuse into a system and boom, get it going again, like in Frankenstein. But life and death do not work like that. when an organism is dead-dead (really dead), myriads of biochemical processes go awry from lack of oxygen and nutrients, cells auto-disintegrate through very precise processes; you can't just give them as "spark" and restore the processes, you'd have to reverse the effects of death in the majority of cells, etc. If more people understood life as a series of very precise biochemical processes, they would have much more difficulty believing in resurrection. Resurrection and science are NOT compatible. Because faith and science are opposite poles.

It ALWAYS boils down to the same thing. People who don't respect facts and evidence (imperialism essentially) can be bamboozled and will fall victim to superstition.  All you have to do is create an apparent loophole for science using some stupid fallacy and they jump up and yell "yeah, that's it, proof!". Stupidity is a human constant. I hate it but it's a fact like just like the existence of fungus is.

Yeah, xtians, do crave proof, and explanations of the stuff that makes zero sense, they try and try, and seem triumphant when they feel they have come up with an explanation, or "proof"...

 

...yet, whenever you debate one online, if you corner them onto some fact that is absolutly nonsensical, they dismiss it with, "We don't need proof (or, sensible, rational explanations)for our beliefs, we have faith. <--- That is WHY we weren't given proof, so we could enjoy the meaning of faith." and then,

they go on looking for more exmaples of things that they can call 'proof'...

So true, hopelessly circular.
Exactly. They're proud special pleaders.

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