Accepting expert consensus on almost every subject is usually the best – or at least the safest – way to go.
Or is it?
Such acceptance presupposes that such experts are truly experts for one thing.
However, that aside, on the face of it one should still demand to see the evidence.
Unfortunately, even this term -evidence – is often fraught with ambiguity.
In this post I am specifically referring to the so-called expert consensus regarding the Empty Tomb of Jesus.
In a somewhat strained dialogue with a fellow non-believer, who has thrown his hat in with a theist over this issue, I am battling to get across the fact that an unsupported claim is not evidence of the fact, no matter how many experts agree.
And when one reads stuff like this from his theist co-conspirator :
I am under the impression that you don’t really quite understand “evidence” from the standpoint of an historian. (and, no, I don’t mean to be either smug or condescending)
( and of course this is exactly how it comes across, to which we can add smug bastard ) I am ready to spit feathers at the intransigence and blatant ignorance.
To accept unsubstantiated consensus on any issue, let alone tales in the bible is to jettison critical thinking and one’s integrity.
Remember the meme:
Eat Horse Shit. 100 billion flies can’t be wrong!
And unlike our bible ”experts” when it comes to shit flies really are expert.
Furthermore, a great many of these so-called bible experts are lecturing out of a school, university or other educational institute with strong theist leanings. Would any neutral reader consider the likes of Habermas, Licona Lennox, Craig to be experts?
I most certainly wouldn’t.
So the next time you are confronted with expert consensus on any matter religious or biblical, demand to see the evidence.
And on the expert consensus of the Empty Tomb …. here’s Ehrman.
The discovery of the empty tomb presupposes that there was a tomb in the first place, and that it was known, and of course that it was discovered. But if serious doubt is cast on whether there ever was a tomb, then the accounts of its discovery are similarly thrown into doubt. Christian apologists often argue that the discovery of the empty tomb is one of the most secure historical data from the history of the early Christian movement. I used to think so myself. But it simply isn’t true. Given our suspicions about the burial tradition, there are plenty of reasons to doubt the discovery of an empty tomb.
But all of this is beside the point, which is that we don’t know whether the tomb was discovered empty because we don’t know whether there even was a tomb.
In this connection I should stress that the discovery of the empty tomb appears to be a late tradition. It occurs in Mark for the first time, some 35 or forty years after Jesus died. Our earliest witness, Paul, does not say anything about it.
To paraphrase the immortal words from Life of Brian:
”They’re making it up as they go along!”