Showing posts with label "David Marshall". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "David Marshall". Show all posts

A CSI Quote and David Marshall's Response

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I posted this quote on Facebook from a recent CSI episode:

"People lie. The only thing we 
can count on is the evidence."

This should be obvious and non-controversial, right? The evidence never lies. Only people do. But Christian apologist David Marshall felt threatened by the quote. Listen up, when apologists feel threatened by talk of evidence it should alert the rest of us they're not being honest about the truth. He responded:



From Alvin Plantinga who doesn't believe Christians need objective evidence for their faith, to William Lane Craig who claims the Holy Spirit trumps all objective evidence to the contrary, to David Marshall who dogs my steps, Christian apologists must denigrate science to believe. Here are a few other gems to look at from DMarshall:

DM: "All scientific knowledge depends upon human testimony."

DM: “Those who make wild claims about the scientific method often base their arguments not on good human evidence, but rumor, wild guesses, and extrapolations that would embarrass a shaman.”

DM: Actually, John, I would say that almost all scientific evidence COMES TO US as historical evidence. Science is, in effect, almost a branch of history, as it transmits knowable and systematically collected and interpreted facts to our brains.

It takes ignorance to defend the Christian faith; ignorance of science. I'd rest my case here but it'll flare up again and again since this is so important for faith.

Why David Marshall is not a Biblical Scholar

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An Apologist should not be confused with a "Scholar"
The recent post about David Marshall’s lack of expertise, when compared to Matthew Ferguson, points to a broader issue of who counts as a “scholar.”  
Since some of my posts were referenced in that discussion, let me just add my own comments on why David Marshall would not qualify as a scholar of the Gospels, while Matthew Ferguson would.
In general, a scholar is one who, at minimum, has the equipment needed to verify independently the claims made in the relevant field.  Usually, it is standard to have undergone some certification process as reflected in graduate degrees and peer reviewed published work. Self-proclamation as a “scholar” is not standard academic procedure.
In the case of biblical studies, one needs, at minimum, the ability to evaluate the primary biblical sources independently. That, in turn, means that one must have the ability to read biblical texts in the original languages.

When Will Apologist David Marshall Learn He's Out of His League? Never?

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I've gone round and round with Marshall, almost always to no avail (with at least one exception below). Where has he been lately? He's decided to challenge some fella named Matthew Ferguson who said: "...it is clear to me that the Gospels are not historical writing. These texts instead read like ancient prose novels . . . the Gospels all fall short from the criteria that can be used to categorize a piece of historical prose." Marshall all too quickly responded as if Ferguson was some kind of duffas, claiming he was the expert, and that Ferguson had not seriously studied the Gospels. So what are Ferguson's credentials? He says,
I am a Classics Ph.D. student who also holds an M.A. in the subject with an emphasis in ancient history. Such experience has involved studying multiple Greek and Latin authors in the original language, in addition to doing genre criticism and understanding the history of 1st century CE literature. I have likewise taken graduate seminars on the New Testament and Christian Origins.
Big Oops! So when Marshall heard this he does the backstep dance routine we're so used to here, rather than apologizing for rashly jumping to a conclusion like he did. Ferguson:
After Marshall posted his first comment on my essay, in which he claimed that I had not seriously studied the Gospels, he did not like the fact that my reply emphasized my experience studying Classical languages. Marshall accused me of “waving around my credentials” when I stated that I had studied a wide array of literature from the 1st century CE (including the NT) in the original language.
Which is it Marshall? You blamed him for not being informed but when it was clear he was more informed than you, then you blamed him for telling you he was an expert. To read a serious take down of Marshall, his level of competence and his behavior when caught red-handed read through this.

There are a few additional items we've written on Marshall's style and substance here at DC. Notice the titles, if nothing else:

John Loftus vs David Marshall: "Does Christianity Pass the Outsider Test for Faith?" Part 2

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Here is Part 2 of my discussion/debate with David Marshall on the Unbelievable? podcast. LINK. Part 1 can be found here. Since Part 1 was aired last week I've written a three part review of David Marshall's book to be read here, seen in reverse chronological order. There the listener can see exactly why my last comment in Part 2 of this program was that Marshall's book is "entirely irrelevant to the evidence demanded for testing one's faith. And I find that even though Randal Rauser has switched sides apparently, by recommending this book...Marshall doesn't even understand the problem." Now aside from what I've written earlier about Marshall's book, there are three more important things to say about it.

A Refutation of David Marshall's Book Rebuttal of My OTF, Part 3

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This should be my final post refuting Dr. David Marshall's “rebuttal” to my book The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). Marshall's book, How Jesus Passes the Outsider Test: The Inside Story,is really bad. In fact, it's so bad I'm using the word "refutation" for what I'm doing in these posts. If I'm largely successful then it also says something about Dr. Randal Rauser, that he will say and endorse anything in order to defend his Christian faith. No educated intellectual worthy the name would have written Marshall's book. No educated intellectual should think it's worthy of any kind of a blurb either.

A Refutation of David Marshall's Book Rebuttal of My OTF, Part 2

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I've decided to write more than just one post about Dr. David Marshall's “rebuttal” to my book The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). I will attempt to show why Marshall's book, How Jesus Passes the Outsider Test: The Inside Story,is really bad. In fact, it's so bad I'm using the word "refutation" for what I'm doing here. I hardly ever use that word because refutations are usually unachievable in these kinds of debates. So let's continue, shall we?

A Refutation of David Marshall's Book Rebuttal of My OTF, Part 1

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I've decided to write more than just one post about Dr. David Marshall's “rebuttal” to my book The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). I will attempt to show why Marshall's book, How Jesus Passes the Outsider Test: The Inside Story,is really bad. In fact, it's so bad I'm using the word "refutation" for what I'm about to do to it. I hardly ever use that word because refutations are usually unachievable in these kinds of debates. If I'm largely successful then it also says something about Dr. Randal Rauser, that he will say and endorse anything in order to defend his Christian faith. No educated intellectual worthy the name would have written Marshall's book. No educated intellectual should think it's worthy of any kind of a blurb either. Rauser blurbed it saying, “Delightful riposte . . . rhetorical wit and the cosmopolitan vision of a true world citizen!” On his blog Rauser additionally recommended it saying, "While I don’t think much of Loftus’s faltering attempt to make an enduring contribution to serious academic discourse, I do think highly of Marshall’s eloquent rebuttal of it." Drs. Miriam Adeney and Ivan Satyavrata also recommend Marshall's book.

Here we go then, little ole me against four, count 'em, four Ph.D.'s. What chance might I have? How dare I even try?

John Loftus vs David Marshall: "Does Christianity Pass the Outsider Test for Faith?" Part 1

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Justin Brierley hosts the very popular Christian podcast Unbelievable? He's an amicable guy, but he's clearly not as neutral or objective of an interviewer as he portrays himself. Before agreeing to have this discussion with David Marshall, who had written a book on the OTF, I had insisted on equal time. However, it was a bit annoying up until the 28 minute mark to sit and listen to so much drivel without a good chance to respond. So when I was given a chance to speak at length (after the 28 minute mark) I came up with 5 objections to what was being said. Justin subsequently took each one of my objections and had a discussion about them. This is not what he did when Marshall spoke. There were many times in the interview where Marshall said things I wanted to respond to, but wasn't given the same chance. LINK. It was very annoying. Part 2 is next week. It was pre-recorded.

David Marshall's Newest Book

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Christians have had different responses to the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF), probably because they don't know what to do with it. Christian apologists Norman Geisler, Victor Reppert, Thomas Talbott, Mark Hanna, Randal Rauser and Matthew Flannagan have all rejected it. David Marshall is inclined to embrace it, so I welcome that. He's agreed to shoulder the burden of proof. Now we need to hold him to that. His previous chapter on it can be found in True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism.

I'm a bit curious to see what Marshall says that might be new in his book, but I can't find it on Amazon yet. Marshall writes about it here. What I'd like to know is how Randal Rauser can reject the OTF and yet endorse Marshall's book. In any case the Arizona Atheist wrote a nice review of Marshall's chapter in "True Reason" seen here.

A lot of atheists instantly embrace the OTF since it seems so intuitively obvious. What they don't realize is how much effort it takes to defend it from believers who are impervious to reason. What I predict is that when the OTF comes up in an online forum, Christians will bring up Marshall's book, or some other one, and say I've been answered. If you as an atheist intend to use the OTF, you had better know how to defend it. So you should read how I do so in my book, The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True.I cover every major objection to it such that neither Marshall nor anyone else can even put a dent in its armor.

Our Debates Are Not Unproductive: I Recommend David Marshall's Chapter On "The Outsider Test For Faith" To My Critics

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Who would ever think I would say this? But I do. Marshall and I have gone around on this test and I have harshly criticized him here at DC, on Amazon where he reviewed my book, and in the previous ebook edition of "True Reason," edited by Tom Gilson and Carson Weitnauer. But having received a paperback copy of this book and after reading Marshall's revised chapter in True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism,I now report there is progress. The most ignorant criticisms of the OTF come from Christian scholars Matthew Flannagan and Mark Hanna. They are so bad, so delusional I only recommend them in so far as they show us how intelligent people with a delusion cannot even read with comprehension. The less ignorant criticisms of the OTF come from Victor Reppert, Randal Rauser and Thomas Talbot (all of whom were instructional to me in many ways). Maybe I'm going soft, but I think rather than taking a hard-line approach against Marshall it would be counter-productive for me to do so, since he embraces the OTF (with some caveats). I adjure my critics to read Marshall's chapter even though he is still wrong to claim Christianity passes the OTF. All I'm saying is that this is progress. I'll comment later on where he's wrong, but for now I recommend his chapter to my critics. Hopefully they will listen to him.

*Sigh* On David Marshall's Review of My Book: The Blind Leading the Blind

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Over at Amazon.com Dr. David Marshall, a Christian apologist, author, lecturer, debater and editor, reviewed my new book, The Outsider Test for Faith.I find it strange that it's one of the most helpful "reviews" so far (as of this writing). Since Marshall has edited his review in response to my criticisms I'll edit this post as well. Let me just say I think I already effectively dealt with all of his so-called "substantive" objections in my book, all of them. In fact, he repeats a few of his arguments as if he didn't even read the book. What intellectuals must do, rather than repeat an original argument, is to respond to the objections. It's called offering counter-arguments. He didn't do what an intellectual is required to do. As far as I know, he may not even know that he didn't do this.

In fact, this isn't a real review at all. It's a hatchet job. It wouldn't even marginally pass as a book review in any magazine. It's a knee jerk reaction to the things I wrote of Marshall's arguments in my book instead. In his "review" he's more interested in offering a response to them than reviewing the book as a whole. Since Marshall mischaracterizes me I have seven things to say for starters:

Give Drs. Rauser and Marshall a Big Welcome!

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Christian apologists Drs. Randal Rauser and David Marshal seem to have conspired together to comment here as a tag team in a wrestling match against me at DC. Why? Because I have "a big audience," said Rauser in a comment, an audience of atheists, agnostics and skeptics. And so it seems with Marshall as well. Give them a big warm DC welcome. No, seriously, I welcome them. Now I don't want to be over-run with Christian apologists, but I suppose they will be met with more atheists who want to debate them over the issues that divide us. So I would welcome this too. Just be careful when it comes to my involvement. Don't assume that if they have the last word that I cannot answer them, and don't expect me to have the time to answer them either, since I now have a second job (I had told my readers this might be necessary for a long time, and the time has come. I'm tired of living on a meager income). I'd like to say some additional things about this development, if it's something that will continue into the future (and of this I don't know).

David Marshall On the OTF Again

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A new Christian ebook has hit the #2 spot of atheism categorized books on Amazon, True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism eds., Carson Weitnauer and Tom Gilson. The reason I was interested in looking at it was because David Marshall has a chapter in it on my Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). I wanted to see if Marshall did any better in his chapter for this book than what I saw on his blog which I subsequently reviewed in 4 parts. [Warning: Spoiler Alert. He didn't.] ;-)

More Straw Man Arguments, This Time by David Marshall

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Christianity can only be defended by blind ignorance involving so many informal fallacies it can make one's head spin. Case in point today is David Marshall, a nice guy and budding scholar who has written a few books. I guess he was feeling left out since I have been highlighting these things with other Christian scholars. Now it's time to turn my attention to him. ;-)

Another Failed Attempt to Disabuse Me of the Outsider Test for Faith

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David Marshall's latest critique of the OTF confuses the success of a particular religion with passing the OTF, which, if correct, would make contradictory religions true by virtue of being successful. And he falsely assumes there is one brand of Christianity. Hence this is no critique of the test at all. He raises some issues that need to be addressed, but that's all. The issues he raises are addressed by Richard Carrier in chapter two of my forthcoming anthology, The End of Christianity, titled "Christianity's Success Was Not Incredible." And I've already explained why Secular Humanism (or atheism) can't win (or be successful).

Where David Marshall Goes Wrong, Part 4, the Final Part

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This is the Final Part of my response to David Marshall's criticisms of the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). Part 1 can be read here, with a link to Part 2 and so on.

Where David Marshall Goes Wrong, Part 3

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This is Part 3 of my response to David Marshall's criticisms of the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). Part 1 can be read here, with a link to Part 2.

Where David Marshall Goes Wrong, Part 2

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This is Part 2 in response to David's criticisms of the Outsider Test for Faith. Part 1 can be found here.

Where David Marshall Goes Wrong, Part 1

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In this post I will examine in detail David Marshall's criticisms of the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). I do think he outlines things very well. I like it when someone tells us how he will proceed and then follows that outline. But it's no substitute for substance.

David Marshall

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In my next post I'll examine in detail David Marshall's criticisms of the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). I have seen him in action a few times on Amazon and here at DC and he’s like Paul Newman in the movie Cool Hand Luke who gets beat down time after time by George Kennedy only to keep getting back up to get beat down again. George just got tired of beating on him and walked away. I suspect David will not be satisfied with my response and won’t admit defeat just like Paul Newman and I’ll just tire of beating on him and walk away too. Here's the clip below: