Dr. Avalos v. Triablogue: Moses is a Basket Case of Bad History

Dr. Hector Avalos responds:

In their supposed "debunking” of my critique of their position on the legend of Sargon, the Triablogue authors simply show how woefully unprepared they are to discuss this issue.


First, Triabloguers admit they really do not have the knowledge to judge which scholar is correct about anything they discuss.

Triablogue’s main defense is that it is addressing a lay crowd. There is nothing wrong with having a blog that addresses a lay crowd. However, the authors should at least be honest and up-front with readers about the tentative nature of their conclusions and the level of their expertise in making judgments.

Yet, Triablogue repeatedly issues pontifications that do not warrant the level of certainty that they offer to readers. Thus, they mislead readers into thinking they are offering solid information.

Their next defense was that the bloggers on Debunking Christianity are vulnerable to the same charge of lack of expertise to judge my arguments. This is a bad argument because the fact that others also are vulnerable to my objection does not invalidate the objection itself against Triablogue.

And there is one BIG difference between DC and Triablogue. DC knows and is humble about its limits, while Triablogue is not. John W. Loftus, for example, does have formal training in theology. Yet, he has invited me to guest post on his blog when he recognizes that some issues are beyond his expertise. In other words, he invites an actual expert when he recognizes the limits of his expertise.

If Triablogue were as wise, they might have Dr. Hoffmeier to guest post on their behalf. But perhaps Triablogue does not have enough credibility to attract experts on their side.

Nonetheless, let me just address a few of the issues where Triablogue attempted some semblance of rational and factual challenge to my critique.


It is important to show that one is able make expert judgments about the issue under discussion. That is why I stated what my expertise was. My arguments are not meant to be arguments from authority. None of my arguments are of the form “because I say so.”

But it is one thing to dismiss my expertise, and it is another to misrepresent it. Notice this quite dishonest statement:
Incidentally, since Avalos is fond of flaunting his credentials, does he also think that we should judge a book by its publisher? Hoffmeier’s monograph was published by Oxford University Press. The book by Avalos was published by Prometheus Press. Which would you rather see on your resume?
Triablogue makes it appear as though I have one book (“the book”) that is relevant. The fact is that I have eight books (6 solely authored; 2 as editor and contributor) and numerous articles which are published by a variety of Christian, secular, and university venues, including:

A. Harvard Semitic Monographs (Illness and Health Care in the Ancient Near East [1995]).

B. Oxford University Press (my articles in the The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East and in The Oxford Companion to the Bible).

C. Abingdon (a Methodist press; Strangers in our Own Land: Religion in U.S. Latino/a Literature [2005])

D. Hendrickson (a Christian press; Health Care and the Rise of Christianity [1999]).

At times, Dr. Hoffmeier and I have written for exactly the same reference works-e.g., Anchor Bible Dictionary.

Dr. Hoffmeier is a well-regarded scholar, but I think I have published more items on Assyro-Babylonian law than he has in peer reviewed journals and/or standard reference works. These include the following:

-"Exodus 22:9 and Akkadian Legal Formulae," Journal of Biblical Literature 109 (1, 1990) 116-17.

-"Daniel 9:24-25 and Mesopotamian Temple Rededications," Journal of Biblical Literature 117 (3, 1998) 507-11.

-"Legal and Social Institutions of Canaan and Ancient Israel," Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, J. Sasson, ed. (4 volumes; New York: Scribner's, 1995) Vol 1: 615-631.

My expertise is sufficiently recognized to be appointed a reviewer of books dealing with Near Eastern law-e.g., Bernard M. Levinson, ed. Theory and Method in Biblical and Cuneiform Law: Revision, Interpolation, and Development. (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994) in Hebrew Studies 37 (1996) 153-156.

I don’t see anything comparable from the authors of Triablogue. Similarly, note this very uniformed statement:
For example, he’s a very vocal and public opponent of Intelligent Design theory. But that lies far outside his field of expertise.
Apparently, they disregard the fact that I have also published my views on Intelligent Design in a very respected astronomical journal—“Heavenly Conflicts: The Bible and Astronomy,” Mercury: The Journal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (1998).

I also have a formal degree and graduate work in anthropology, which is the center for the study of human evolution. Intelligent Design and evolutionary theory are the issue.

So I am not sure what qualifies Triabloguers to override the expertise assigned to me by my peers. In fact, I have written extensively on science and religion. To say that Intelligent Design this lies outside of my field of expertise IS A FACTUAL ERROR (or they offer no proof that it is outside of my expertise).

Since Triablogue cannot win the credentials game, then it should focus on refuting the actual evidence I presented (again, none of it has to be accepted on my authority—they can check my sources if they can read them).


In deciding whether an Egyptian or a Mesopotamian origin for the Moses wet-nurse was more likely, I cited a parallel with the Sumerian-Akkadian ana ittishu legal texts. The parallels are:

1. A foundling
2. Raised by a wet-nurse
3. Until weaned

The fact is that one need not treat foundlings the same way in all cultures. For example, you could:

1. Kill the foundling, and not raise it at all.
2. Give it to one wet-nurse, but not until weaned.
3. You could put it up for adoption.

Thus, it is clear that the Triablogue authors have no experience in analyzing the complexities and diverse options available in ancient Near Eastern law.

In fact, they show that they have not read the Legend of Sargon carefully at all. In the Sargon legend, Sargon is not given over to a wet nurse but he is adopted.

However, there are also other parallels in adoption that show that the Sargon legend was related to laws of the ana ittishu series. So, it is the fact that BOTH the Moses and Sargon stories take different options that are both found in the ana ittishu legal series that is a good argument for a Mesopotamian, rather than Egyptian, parallel here.

Therefore, Lewis’ conclusion (that a Mesopotamian parallel is stronger than an Egyptian one here) has more evidence for its side.

To refute the force of the legal parallels, Triablogue’s riposte also included this gem:
But do case laws deal with hypothetical situations (“legends”) which never occur? Or do case laws deal with real life situations?
Hypothetical legal situations do not lessen literary parallels between those laws and some later text. Rather, it is the FORM and CONTENT of laws that are more important in establishing literary dependence.

Thus, Hammurabi’s laws about an eye for an eye are quite verbally similar to those in Exodus 21:22. Many scholars doubt whether Hammurabi’s laws were applied in real life, but the form and content of Hammurabi’s laws are so similar to some in Exodus that most scholars do see some literary relationship.

Otherwise, Triablogue offers nothing but rhetoric to dispute the parallel between Moses and the ana ittishu laws. They could not find a better Egyptian parallel for all their boasted knowledge of Hoffmeier’s writings. The reason, of course, is that Hoffmeier also does not have a better parallel.

Whether the Moses story is historical or not will not detract from the fact that the Moses story matches some directives found in those Sumerian-Akkadian laws.


In judging literary dependence, one must address these parallels listed by Lewis (The Sargon Legend, p. 255):

I. Explanation of abandonment
II. Noble birth
III. Preparation for exposure
IV. Exposure
V. Nurse in an unusual manner
VI. Discovery and Adoption
VII. Accomplishment of the hero

The Sargon and Moses story share ALL elements except number V (Sargon legend lacks this). Of course, there are differences, but one must ask the likelihood that two people independently would experience 6 of 7 events in this sequence. One could say it was coincidence, but this is statistically improbable.

It is not at all analogous to the example cited by Triablogue, where the parallel is a man driving a vehicle in a S. King story and in a Steinbeck story. In finding literary parallels, the statistical frequency of an event matters, and so does the sequence of events.

Many modern stories have people driving cars, but let Triablogue find another story in the ancient Near East that has all the event parallels of Sargon. There are not that many. Besides, driving cars in stories is a motif that can be traced culturally. It did not exist in 1800. It is part of the common cultural repertory of the 1900s and thereafter.

My contention is not so much that the Moses story is copied directly from the Sargon story, but clearly there is a relationship in at least 6 motifs that are present in the Sargon story.


And there are more parallels between Sargon and Moses that are found in other types of documents mentioning Sargon. One document is a liver omen text from the Old Babylonian period (ca. 2000-1600 BCE, though variant parameters exist). The omen is reproduced by Lewis (p. The Sargon Legend, p. 136), and reads:
...omen of Sargon who made an incursion during darkness and saw a luminous phenomenon.
The Akkadian term for “luminous phenomenon” is “nĂ»ru(m),” which also has a Hebrew cognate (ner). It is also noteworthy that one of Sargon’s achievements is to climb mountains, and Moses also climbed a famous mountain (Sinai).


Perhaps the weakest response involves the supposed existence of materials from Moses’ lifetime. Here is how Triablogue phrased this pearl:
Actually, we do have something from Moses’ supposed lifetime that mentions him and his features. We have Exodus-Deuteronomy. Those books contain many autobiographical references to Moses.
But where do they get the idea that Exodus and Deuteronomy are from Moses’ lifetime? Apparently, being set in Moses’ lifetime is the only evidence they need to conclude that the books about Moses are from his lifetime.

By this logic, therefore, The Story of Sargon, must also be from Sargon’s lifetime, since the text is set in his lifetime and it is portrayed as autobiographical. Yes, this is what passes for historical reasoning by the Triabloguers.

Indeed, with Sargon it is MUCH different because we have actual archaeological artifacts with his name from his supposed lifetime. And then we have references to Sargon in subsequent centuries and all the way down to the existing copies of his story in the seventh century BCE.

Nothing like that for Moses. If I am wrong, let Triablogue give us a document or artifact mentioning Moses that actually comes from around 1400 BCE, 1300 BCE, or 1200 BCE. The fact is Hoffmeier can’t do it. Triablogue can’t do it.

Again, the fact is that all we have are stories of Moses extant in manuscripts from the 1-3 centuries BCE, and that alone cannot tell you that those stories were there in 1400 BCE or even in the 7th century BCE. Whether the story of Sargon is true or not, we have actual evidence from his lifetime that shows he was a real person at some point.


Triablogue deploys another standard apologetic technique (arguing against something a scholar did not say) with this response to my comments on textual criticism:
But Avalos just told us that textual criticism
can’t help us to reach earlier or original compositions.
But, I did not say that textual criticism cannot help us reach “earlier” compositions. My skepticism is in regard to our ability to reconstruct “original” compositions in ancient times. Deciding which of two readings is earlier is possible depending on how far back one reaches.

Without new or additional evidence, there is no way that we can tell from 1-3 c. BCE manuscripts, that a Moses story existed in ca. 1400 BCE.

If Triabloguers had read The End of Biblical Studies, they would realize that some arguments are based on simple logic, and they don’t require more than a good logical mind to examine them. No other expertise is always required.

Triablogue is still dealing with an increasingly outdated notion that textual criticism is only about finding the “original.” Triabloguers apparently think themselves as sophisticated by using the term Urtext, without realizing how increasingly outdated this concept is for biblical materials.

Triabloguers might benefit from the article by Eldon J. Epp, “The Multivalence of the Term ‘Original Text’ in New Testament Textual Criticism,” Harvard Theological Review 92, no. 3 (1999):245-281.

Since the concept of an Urtext is eroding, textual criticism is focusing increasingly on textual histories (earlier compositions and relationships are included, even if “originals” are not.).

We can do textual criticism to determine what might be the earliest readings among the Sargon manuscripts, even if we do not have to find the “original” reading. This brings me to another FACTUAL ERROR made in Triablogue in this statement:
I SAID: Avalos appeals to Lewis as the standard monograph. Lewis says the story was written in the reign of Sargon II.
Lewis DOES NOT SAY THIS, and no direct quote is presented for evidence. This is what Lewis actually said on p. 273 of The Sargon Legend:
Only the extreme limits of the possible date of composition can be determined with confidence. The Sargon legend had to be composed after 2039 and before 627 B.C....Nevertheless, a date of origin between the thirteenth and eighth centuries seems likely on the basis of internal evidence such as the use of idiomatic expressions that are first attested in the royal inscriptions of the Middle and Neo-Assyrian Kings.
Notice also how Triablogue uses an ad hominem argument to dismiss my conclusions (they call me an “apostate” as though that invalidates my arguments for parallels between Moses and Sargon).

Yet, as Evan has so insightfully pointed out, Alan Millard, who is a rather conservative Christian Near Eastern scholar, also thinks that the Sargon traditions were in circulation about a thousand years prior to the 7th century manuscripts. See A. R. Millard, “How Reliable is the Exodus,” Biblical Archaeology Review 26, no. 4 (July/August,2000).


In an apparent attempt to fend off the flood of evidence that cuneiform literature was present in Palestine, Triablogue states:
The Epic of Gilgamesh is a red herring. We’re not debating the literary dependence (or not) of Gen 6-9 on the Epic of Gilgamesh. (Incidentally, notice that Avalos doesn’t give the date for this Palestinian fragment.)
In establishing the direction of literary influence, it is important to document and presence of literary traditions in specific cultural areas. The so-called Megiddo fragment of the Gilgamesh epic was first published by A. Goetze and S. Levy, “Fragment of the Gilgamesh Epic from Megiddo,” Atiqot 2 (1959) 121-28.

Goetze and Levy date the fragment to the fourteenth century BCE, partly on the basis of paleography. However, newer estimates suggest the fifteenth or sixteenth century BCE (see “Copies of Gilgamesh Tablets by A. Westenholz” in W. G. Lambert, Wisdom, Gods, and Literature (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2000), p.445.

But Gilgamesh is not alone. About 89 cuneiform objects have now been catalogued in Palestine. See Wayne Horowitz, Takayoshi Oshima, and Seth Sanders “A Bibliographical List of Cuneiform Inscriptions from Canaan, Palestine/Philistia, and the Land of Israel,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, 122, No. 4, (Oct. - Dec., 2002), pp. 753- 766.

That does mean that scribes in Palestine could be familiar with the Epic of Gilgamesh and other Mesopotamian stories. In contrast, we have ZERO biblical Hebrew texts in Mesopotamia from the equivalent periods. This alone shows that cuneiform literature was established BEFORE Hebrew literature, even in Palestine.

And why should the Sargon legend be different? If Gilgamesh was known in Palestine, what is so difficult about hypothesizing that the Sargon legend became known in Palestine or among Hebrews living in Babylon?


I am not arguing that the Moses legend is copied directly from the Sargon legend. However, the similarities are too many to posit that two people experienced so many similar things independently. We have one reasonable explanation, and that is that there was some literary relationship, even if indirect, between these stories.

If we were to assign a literary priority, we would have to start with what we actually have. Of the two stories (Moses and Sargon) the ONLY one present as late as the seventh century BCE is that of Sargon. Moses is not in the archaeological and textual record until HUNDREDS OF YEARS later.

Triablogue can argue all it wants that Moses was around ca. 1400 BCE. But they have not offered a single piece of extra-biblical archaeological evidence for their side. Not one. So we can at least conclude that:

I. There is no actual evidence that a Moses river-story was present in the seventh century BCE.

II. There is plenty of evidence that the Sargon river-story was present in the seventh century BCE.

III. Sargon’s presence in actual documents can be attested from the late third millennium BCE and far into the first millennium BCE.

IV. Moses’ presence cannot be found in any extra-biblical record before around 1-3 centuries BCE.

Whatever else Triablogue may argue about the priority of Moses, it is arguing this on the basis of theological speculation, and not on actual archaeological or historical evidence.


Ty said...

Simply fantastic! Thanks Dr. Avalos. Even if no one at Triblogue took the time to read your response, I did!

Can someone direct me to a resource where I can learn more about dates of extant manuscripts versus the alleged date the manuscripts are being written about in the Bible?

Jon said...

Thanks again, Dr. Avalos, for another interesting and informative post.

Of course not all Christians are as unreasonable and hostile as the Triabloggers. For instance an article at Christianity Today says:

The fact is that not one shred of direct archaeological evidence has been found for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob or the 400-plus years the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. The same is true for their miraculous exodus from slavery.

A person could be forgiven for ignoring Triabloggers with their aggressive rhetoric, which to my mind indicates that they feel quite threatened by our alternative viewpoints. But thank you for putting up with them so as to provide us with this information.

Go Cyclones!!

Kyle P. said...

I'm always really impressed by Dr. Avalos. He seems like a guy who is just too freakin' smart.

Oppositely, I have been unable to find anyone at Triablogue who is even remotely as logical as Dr. Avalos. It's a funny thing, how these many Christians were raised to purely insult other people and try to just scare them away, then claim victory. It's high time they learned that such a thing does not work against a real scholar - that real scholars are not going to fall for such garbage.

Thanks, Dr. Avalos.

Evan said...

As the source of all this trouble I would personally like to thank Dr. Avalos for his excellent work (far superior to anything a layperson such as myself could create) in trying to fend off the radical claims of the triabloggers.

They are against science, against literary criticism, against historical methods, against any facts from any source which contradict their presuppositions (something they actually admit to). It's important to address their complaints and show where they are wrong so that those who have ears and eyes can hear and see the truth.

Thanks again Dr. Avalos.

Oliver said...

This is such a good discussion of the available evidence for the Exodus story. I enjoyed this post.

Lee Randolph said...

Thank you Dr. Avalos and Evan.
I'm envious!

Touchstone said...

(responding here, as I am banned at Triablogue, John)

Over at Triablogue, Jonah says (Jonah is in italics):

How do you know that's Plato? Just because someone says it is?

Pressed on it, we may be somewhat dubious. But there's nothing the least bit implausible about Plato as a historical figure. He didn't walk on water. He didn't turn water into wine. There were not earthquakes caused in recognition of his death, and the undead did not climb from their graves and roam the countryside, re-animated by Plato's resurrection on the third day, presumably because by all accounts, Plato stayed dead, just like everyone else does when they die.

With all things under the lens of reason, there's the test for plausibility, and incredulity with respect to the accounts. We don't have a hard time accepting that Paris may have been a real, historical figure in the seige of Troy, but we reasonably are incredulous at the account of Paris' being miraculously spared from Greek swords by Aphrodite. Moreover, the admixture of plausible history and fantastic tall tales tends to undermine the historical vectors, if they are there at all.

Indeed, Paris is a more dubious proposition as a historical figure by virtue of the fabulous accounts attached to him; it's not that we can't conceptualize a historical figure being adorned with myth and legend -- that can and does happen. But the tall tales *do* provide a basis for suspecting the historicity may be purely synthetic, a "prop" to be used as a vessel for the tall tales.

In any case, Plato is really a good example of a character who is uncontroversial as a historical character simply by virtue of his being boringly plausible as a bit of history.

Plato is attested to by numerous other sources in a way that Paris and Jesus are not, but that's beside the point, here.

And you didn't address my argument. I posited that the evidence that Plato really existed was suspect. You replied by saying it doesn't matter whether he was a real person or not. However, if he was not a real person, why should I take the statements attributed to him seriously? Because someone tells me to?

No, because many ideas do not derive their value or any truth they may convey from being historical accounts. Christians should naturally understand this from Jesus use of parables -- truths conveyed on purpose detached from historical pinning. In reading Plato, one does not need to rely on Plato's historicity to either understand or evaluate the ideas -- they stand on their own, and this is why they should be taken seriously; Evan's answer simply leapfrogged my Plato-is-plausible answer above, and seized on this. Jonah gives away his authoritarian disposition, perhaps, in asking: "because someone tells me too". That question should not even *occur* to one familiar with the words of Plato.

You are correct that Jesus' life and teachings are more significant than Plato's, at least to the Christian. However, that's not the issue. The issue is whether two historical personages actually existed and said what they are purported to have said. If so, we have warrant to place importance on them.

This is post facto assignment of warrant. Warrant doesn't obtain from the ultimate disposition of the question -- as if warrant is contingent on being correct in the ultimate case. That's exactly what warrant does *not* involve.

If not, we don't. The fact that you prefer the comments of one over the comments of the other is irrelevant to whether they really said what they said.

Sure, but this now widely misses all the issues being raised here. Plato just isn't the reasonable target of much skepticism about his status as a historical figure because he's not controversial as a historical figure. If Jesus was recorded as just an eschatologial Jewish Rabbi with a highly developed social conscience, who started a minor movement and got killed by the Romans for it, there'd likely not be very much skepticism leveled at Jesus as a historical figure, recorded thus.

But extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and here is the stark asymmetry. Plato doesn't stretch the bounds of 'plausible at all', and Jesus, from his *conception* shatters all notions of plausibility.

We can, however, find many truths in Jesus' words, even if he is completely fictional as a matter of history. "Love your neighbor as yourself" is a recapitulation of reciprocity, a foundational moral concept for man of any (non)religious disposition. Those truths are not the ones that give the church temporal power, though. It's the fabulous claims as historical fact that must be maintained for Chrisitianity to anchor its power.

I'm simply saying that it is irrational to believe that Plato existed and Jesus of Nazareth did not simply based on the extant evidence.

As above, this is false, for the simple reason that the skeptical, reasoning mind finds nothing implausible about the accounts of Plato as a historical character, and an enormous list of accounts that no reasoning, skeptical mind would consider remotely plausible based on the available evidence.

As Jonah has it, all accounts are created equal -- and one can claim to be a *deity* and to have risen from the dead as plausibly as one can be reported to have run The Academy. There's a profound difference in the nature of those two kinds of accounts.
And it is likewise irrational to maintain that Plato's attributed words are reliable and Jesus' are not, for the same reason.
If it were announced tomorrow morning that documents had been discovered that represented compelling evidence that Plato was in fact a made up character, no more real than Shakespeare's Hamlet, Plato's words would retain their value, and whatever truth or value they had would remain; the value of Plato does not obtain from his historicity.

And paradoxically, this is why it's not controversial to begin with. It wouldn't change much to learn that Plato was a nom de plume for Speusippus.
Now, we can argue about the significance of the respective words, and which philosophies or worldviews are superior, but only if we agree with historians that both personages are real historical figures. If not, all we are doing is mental gymnastics.
This is exactly wrong for the reasons given above. If David Hume or Voltaire or Immanual Kant or Spinoza or Augustine were revealed to be historical fictions, the ideas attributed to them would stand on their own. The same goes for much of what Jesus' said. The parable of the Good Samaritan conveys a moral message that is not diminished by Jesus' being considered a made up character (the Good Samaritan is made up too, right?).

The historical claims of Jesus' resurrection are in a different category than abstract moral discourse, which can be "disembodied" and detached from the speaker while retaining its full force and value (if any). Much of Jesus' words apply this way as well. But at the end of the day, Christianity hinges upon claims that offend the reasoning mind, that demand extraordinary evidence that is not forthcoming. This is why Plato gets a "pass" and Jesus (er, his early followers, more precisely) does not. Plato as historical figure just doesn't represent an extraordinary or even sensational claim.


Touchstone said...

Oh, I also wanted to affirm the asymmetry here; no one's holding their breath waiting for Dr. Hoffmeier to jump into the fray at Triablogue, least of all the T-Bloggers. Debunking Christianity isn't academic as a rule, but it's "academy-friendly", or "academy-compatible". It's a retail blog, after all, and that's no knock on it.

Triablogue is a retail blog, too, which is no knock on it either. But in contrast, it's solidly anti-academic. Hoffmeier's ideas may be useful in tactical situations, but that's the extent of it -- an academic's ideas are precisely as valuable as they are friendly to the cause for the T-Bloggers. That's a vulgar train to hitch your car too, if you are an honest academic, even (or especially!) a conservative theist academic.

I often wonder what it would be like if someone with the established expertise were to do some slumming just for fun and address some of the mumbo-jumbo that regularly issues from Triablogue. On one hand it's manifestly a waste of time -- just a little reading back in the archives would tell any academic considering a trip through the Triablogue ghetto what is in store for the conversation. But nevertheless, I'm sure Dr. Avalos is aware that others are reading who aren't quite so incorrigible.

Whatever the case, it's quite interesting to see just a taste of real exposition and expertise on the subject matter get laid over Triablogue polemics. It still confounds me that Avalos has time to squander like this, but I appreciate it all the same.

Maybe it's time to launch into the skeptical doubts of Dr. Avalos' historical actuality, like Plato's. Has anyone here actually *met* Dr. Avalos in person? Hmmm? If not, why should we take his ideas seriously? ;-)


Anonymous said...

Touchstone, I can't imagine you being banned for any good reasons. You are such a respectful contributor that the only reason I can think of is that they just didn't like what you argued for!

Congrats to you!

HeIsSailing said...

WOW, Dr Avalos is published in JASAP?? I will have to check this article out next time I visit my university library.

Robert_B said...

Thanks Dr. Avalos. I'm ordering your book tonight.

Best Regards and Wishes

Anonymous said...

Heissailing, this is from Dr. Avalos:

The full bibliographical information on this article is as follows:

"Heavenly Conflicts: The Bible and Astronomy," Mercury: The Journal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 27 (2, March/April, 1998) 20-24.

Pro-ID advocates hated the fact that a biblical scholar published in an astronomical periodical so much that William Dembski tried to say that I was misrepresenting my CV. Dembski had to retract his accusation.

The reason is that ID advocates were trying to support the tenure case of Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, an astronomer who had not published anything on ID in a peer reviewed astronomical journal. And there was a biblical scholar whose work had at least passed editorial review of an astronomical periodical.

You can read a humorous description of this dustup here.

DingoDave said...

Well that certainly was a comprehensive smackdown of all the Triabloguer's empty bluffs and blusterings. I think it might be time for them to adopt a new advertising slogan.

It could go something like this;

"Visit Triablogue: Where we never let the facts get in the way of a good story"

These guys appear to be so disconnected from reality that it would be funny if it weren't so tragic.(or vice versa)
But what else could we expect from a bunch of adults who claim to believe that;

'Donkeys can talk,
People can fly,
And a man named Jesus lives up
in the sky.'

Or how about this variation on the same theme?

'A donkey spoke,
And so did a snake,
And Jesus ben Joseph was more
than a fake.'

(Sorry, but I simply couldn't help myself). : )