Monday, June 7, 2010

Most Incredible Prophecy: Incredible Horse Hooey

I obtained a copy of The Most Incredible Prophecy via an inappropriate proselytizer – a doctor who forces it on her HMO patients! That's unethical, but I figured as long as I had the video it might make good blog material. So I sat down with my Coke and notepad for a good study ...

It's so bad I couldn't even watch it to the end. I hereby nominate the producers and writers to The Liar's Club. It's incredible all right. Incredibly bad science.

Let's start with the most obvious: Can you call something prophecy that was written starting thirty years after the event, by authors who didn't even know Jesus? I don't think so. Most biblical scholars, including virtually all Protestant seminary schools, teach that the stories of Jesus' life in the New Testament were altered by their authors to match the prophecies of the old testament.

It's nothing more than what magicians and stage psychics do all the time. The audience thinks the trick is unfolding randomly, but in fact the trick is designed so that the answer was "forced" in advance.

I don't mind honest debate, but the people who put this video together must know that their statistical analysis is wrong. These people are not stupid. They're capable of scholarly Biblical research, of getting contributions to fund their movie, of producing a movie, and distributing it. They're probably college educated. Someone on this team must have had at least one course in elementary college-level statistics.

Yet they break virtually every rule of statistical analysis. Worse, they deliberately simplify the statistics in a cynical trick to fool non-mathematical people into thinking these are valid techniques. It's not just ignorance – they are deliberately presenting bad science and bad statistics as truth. Either that, or they're the dumbest college-educated people I've ever encountered.

Coincidentally, I'm reading Bart Eherman's excellent book, Jesus, Interrupted, which explains this in great detail. I highly recommend this book. His other excellent book, Misquoting Jesus, was one of the most important books that influenced me while writing The Religion Virus. It shows in fascinating detail how the Bible was changed, sometimes radically, as it traversed two thousand years of human history.

If you really want to understand how Jesus "fulfilled" the Old-Testament prophecies, read Erhman's book. It's quite a story.

How many scientific flaws can you discover? Can you find a half dozen in the first two minutes? Let me know! There are statistical errors, historical errors, conclusions with no supporting evidence, analogies used as evidence, mixing up correlation with cause-and-effect ... the list goes on and on. Give it a try, it's lots of fun!

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Dear readers -- I am no longer blogging and after leaving these blogs open for two years have finally stopped accepting comments due to spammers. Thanks for your interest. If you'd like to write to me, click on the "Contact" link at the top. Thanks! -- CJ.

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