Experts and their consensus.

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.

and ….

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!”



85 thoughts on “Experts and their consensus.

  1. Ah, but they have a place on display called “the tomb” and you can view it for just a small fee. Of course, there is no way to verify that this is actually they tomb they say it is and since they have such a long history of fakery, many reasons to doubt them. Plus if they really had such a tomb, there is still no evidence that Jesus was resurrected as tomb robbery (by supporters) is far more likely.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I went to a cave once and found it empty. Clearly, this is not only proof that Batman is real, but that he once used the very cave I stumbled upon as his “Batcave” out of which he fought crime and took down super villains. Yep. I see no flaw AT ALL in my logic here. Evidence is evidence whether we like it or not, and I say I’ve found the Batcave. Period.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Ark, if I remember correctly, most all 20th century “experts” in physics offered dissent and taunts at Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity… until 1919. Now the Hubble telescope confirmed further Einstein was right and the general consensus was wrong.

    For me, “general consensus” is an excellent litmus test, however, the major hangup for too many is that they want, their HEART bleeds for 100% certainty in this beautiful, daunting Universe/Cosmos in which we are guests, but very VERY rarely is 100% certainty EVER achieved from humanity’s POV. The general consensus is that we should be ecstatic with 80% or a bit more. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Now on that point you are utterly correct IMO. But for better or worse many humans are guided by emotions, or in this case “faith,” intuition with little to no evidence, even off of absurdity. They are also heavily guided by fear and by peer-pressure/assimilation. Life is more easily survivable when MOST accept you, include you, than they disown or exclude you — i.e. Mob-Herd mentality, safety in numbers, etc, etc. All of this has much less to do with facts, truth, or cumulative evidence… and much more to do with taking the road much more traveled. 😉 The religious must stay with the herd. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I would happily join both of you with my yogurt. 😉

            One must not only examine the overall accrued picture painted by the individual atomic evidence and data available and provided. There is where 90%+ Christians choose not to do. They refuse to venture outside of known 2nd thru 4th century CE independent sources and evidence — i.e. non-Apostolic/Patristic Hellenic Church Fathers — that clearly demonstrate the Gospels are unreliable and do not reflect ANY true, pure Second Temple Sectarian Judaism/Messianism of 1st century Syria-Palestinia-Nabotea… the Arabian-Judean Rabbinical Judaism the Nasoraeans followed, i.e. Yeshua the Nazorean. A great start would be 3-5 year study and understanding of the Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran and NOT from a Xian POV. But the vast majority of Christians are too lazy to do most of this equitable work for several obvious reasons. 🙄


          2. I see the oldest known example of a scroll of Leviticus has recently been ”read” using computer imaging.
            Pretty damn amazing what technology can do these days.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Exactly. And if they are able to continue and/or find new non-Hellenic, non-Roman Christian sources and evidence, I think it’s only a matter of time and newer technology — ala constantly improving DNA/genetics — that myths and legends from Antiquity become merely children’s bedtime stories along the lines of Harry Potter, Peter Pan, or the more fictitious fantastical Chronicles of Narnia. 😉


        1. That’s laughable, Prof. You notice he says ‘maybe’ he’ll convert. You and he know full well he wouldn’t contemplate such a move even if he saw the empty tomb – which would need to be proven to have been that of the body of Jesus. Why do sceptics agree with each other so readily? I see no discussion here, only cow-towing to the master blogger.


          1. @ Cumbeia
            There is no need for atheists and non believers to ”discuss” – we all agree – well most of us do.
            The claim is made in the bible.
            It is not evidence.
            Feel free to substantiate it.
            Any time you’re ready, chief, we will be here.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I lost all interest in any of your future personal opinions CDD, and this one now, when you never answered my question (challenge) from many weeks back about WHY there were 21 Ecumenical Councils… the full contextual reasons. And rest assured, I have near 50-60 more questions/challenges for you should you ever decide to answer this one.


          3. The ecumenical councils appear to have formed the doctrine of the Roman church, so why is so important that I should research them when the scriptures that comprise the Protestant Bible pre-date the councils? What is it about the councils that cause you to challenge me on this?


          4. Wow. The implications of that answer — and I say this with as much courtesy as possible — speaks enormous volumes of your naivety CDD. What about the first 7 Ecumenical Councils? And a portion of my question/challenge to you involved the context and purpose of canonization… which it appears you are also either ignoring here or are naive about as well.

            I am going to give you MUCH TIME to do your own equitable research and study — from a non-Xian viewpoint! — because I do not have the time, nor the wish, to do it for you. Come back to us or me when you’ve done this. Thank you.

            Sincere regards to you.


          5. I don’t have the time either, Prof., because I have a lot of preparation to do before Sunday. Please spill the beans in simple language for me and others following this thread, because you’re essentially challenging them to do the same research. I would hope you can boil it down to one or two sentences. Thanks.


          6. 1 or 2 sentences like YOUR 4th-century CE canon or the entire collection of ALL testaments, gospels, and epistles? LOL

            Again, I am not going to do this work for a lazy, mislead Christian. Sorry.

            Have a good day.


          7. For anyone else that MIGHT be following this very brief discussion and how badly CDD is misguided…

            This will help as a very basic starter into WHY the Ecumenical Councils were a byproduct of over 45-60 various “testaments, gospels, and epistles” about Yeshua’s/Jesus’ nature, teachings, and purpose.


          8. Thanks. So now we all have to dig in and find out why some writings were accepted, some rejected and others not even mentioned. The reasons are obviously the important factors here and Prof, who has obviously done that research in great detail, has concluded that the Bible as we have it is corrupt and inaccurate. I do know that many of the rejected or ignored writings were far later than the gospels and the so-called writings of Paul, so it’s right that they should not be included in the Canon. Some were also proven to be fictional. The plot thickens.


          9. What do you mean ‘some’ ? It is all historical fiction and myth.

            There isn’t any evidence.
            This was the point of the post.
            A point you still don’t seem to understand.

            Liked by 1 person

          10. I understand your point but I don’t agree with your conclusion. Do you understand what I mean when I say that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?


          11. You are still missing many other explicit and implicit answers and reasons to those first four centuries, all of them critical, but especially what took place from 4 BCE to 75 CE Syria, Palestine, and northern regions of Nabotaea.

            You are welcome to carry on CDD. The more you do so, the more you are demonstrating exactly what I meant earlier, here on Ark’s blog-post and several weeks back in our too brief discussion on this subject of the seeds, roots, and development of your “Protestant Bible.” Very very few Faithers understand anything about its historical context or the historicity of Yeshua and his Nasoraeans in light of Hellenic Apotheosis and Roman political and military history.


          12. LOL… Ark, as I’m sure you can surmise over the years we’ve known each other, I have been doing most of the work for lazy Christians for near 30-years. Eventually you get tired of so many face-palms after face-palms. As the old adage goes You can lead a horse to water…

            but more to this case here… You might be able to lead them to the Emergency Exit from the prison walls of exclusive Apostolic/Patristic Church Father indoctrination, but they very rarely take 1-2 steps more outside the threshold of self-perceived safety. 😉


          13. It is not just unfortunate indoctrinates like CCD, but also so called experts as well, and when you have intelligent people like Crossan or Wright actually stating that there was an empty tomb and it is an historical certainty or similar term then what chance do people like the average Pew Warmer have of ever shrugging off the mantle of such idiotic inculcation?

            The onus has to come from them as individual – as it did for all the deconverts who visit here.
            All one can do is present the alternate version – the one firmly anchored in evidence based reality – and hope that a tiny spark will be lit, that one of them will mumble, ”Now wait a moment. This bloke Crossan is saying the Empty Tomb of Jesus is as certain as anything. So what evidence does he have?
            And just where is this tomb, then?”

            Liked by 1 person

          14. Can’t you ever be serious for a second?
            Godsdammit, Jeff we are trying to have a serious discussion here and you show up with your red underpants over your blue tights, red cloak billowing in the wind.
            And by the way …. Superman … you forgot to remove your bloody glasses.
            And I’m definitely telling Lois on you.

            Liked by 4 people

          15. Ahhhhh, NOW you are beginning to venture into the field of neurology and the cognitive sciences like social psychology and the ever expansive and burgeoning field of exceptional mental-health vs mental-illness! Those are a cup-o-teas I thoroughly enjoy Sir! If this goes way down that path, I might stay and participate. 😉 ❤


          16. Hahaha… g’nite. You watch, my prediction of a 2-goal difference win will come true!

            (whispers under breath: As the empty tomb as my witness!) 😈


          17. Oh, forgot to mention that Crossan admitted himself back in the mid-80’s that he could never FULLY abandon his lifetime Catholicism. So that answers your question about him and those similar.

            Liked by 1 person

          18. And for those who wish for a broader perspective WAY OUTSIDE of those who choose to wear tight, cranial-restricting blinders… stop and consider for a moment more questions and their fairly easy answers…

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Do you mind if I am sceptical of your claim, Ark? Is that a healthy approach, or should I simply believe you, agree and give up my faith?

    Demand impossible-to-provide evidence and you can’t fail to cast doubt, but doubt is all it can be. It’s a cop-out which every atheist must use if he/she is to discount the Bible. But the problem then arises as to who wrote the Bible and why, and if I am to be convinced that it’s made up you must provide irrefutable evidence of its actual writers, that they were not simply scribes (taking dictation) and that they fabricated it. So as far as I’m concerned you too are making it up as you go along.

    There are no such beings as unbiased, independent experts, by the way.


    1. Hilarious!
      Would you accept the word of a pilot if he said Jesus would land the plane as he had faith?
      Evidence should always stand on its own irrespective of those that interpret it.
      And this has little or nothing to do with expert opinion.
      There is no evidence for the empty tomb. There is only a claim.
      And that claim is totally unsubstantiated.

      Your comment perfectly demonstrates the thrust behind the post.
      You are indoctrination personified.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You can’t ‘cast serious doubt’ that something as mundane as the burial of one particular dead body didn’t happen simply because no physical evidence for it can be found 2000 years later. But that’s what Bart Ehrman is trying to claim. He’s just not thinking logically.


        1. lol.
          I give up. I think I will go to my fridge and chat with a tub of Yogurt. It has more sense and more culture.
          It is safe to let go of your pee-pee by the way. It won’t fall off.
          You are a delusional fool.


          1. You always end up insulting me, and that’s a sign that you’ve lost the argument, so I don’t know why you post your rubbish ‘evidence’ in the first place. I love your photos, you’re brilliant at photography, so best keep that hobby up rather than attempting to disprove Christianity.


          2. No, it is an argument we have all had many many times with believers such as you and as to date you have never been bothered to engage at anything resembling an intellectual/scholarly level on this or any other related subject, and continue to engage like a Ray Comfort Fan Boy you deserve everything you get.
            Comment in a manner befitting genuine inquiry and a genuine desire to understand then you will be treated with due respect.


          3. Your original post wasn’t exactly ‘scholarly’, so why try to raise the bar now? And have you seen how many more ‘scholarly’ comments you haven’t received in response? Most are just boot-licking followers who can’t be arsed to add to or challenge anything you say.


          4. Oh really? You don’t consider Ehrman scholarly enough?
            I’ll stick with Bart …. and the yogurt if it’s all the same with you.


          5. You said: “Would any neutral reader consider the likes of Habermas, Licona, Lennox, Craig to be experts?”

            These men are all sceptical of atheism and are experts in their own fields, researching existing evidence in all its forms and and highly intelligent philosophers, so what are your reasons for dismissing their credentials and abilities?


          6. Experts? They are fundamental christian apologists for the gods sake!
            Once again. There is NO EVIDENCE for the tomb, empty or otherwise.
            Do me a favour, go and read some genuine scholarship from people who are NOT christian or religious in any sense of the word.
            I won’t recommend as you will accuse me of atheist bias or some other crap.
            Take your time. Research, study; then come back, and perhaps we can have a meaningful dialogue?


          7. Come on, Ark. Haven’t you heard of testimonial evidence? You CANNOT claim there is NO evidence, so stop doing it.


          8. There is no evidence. To use the bible as an example of testimony also demonstrates you don’t even understand the correct definition of testimonial evidence either.
            The bible is a compendium of ancient writings made up of historical fiction, and myth.

            The tomb incident is part of the story. It is nothing but a claim. An unsubstantiated claim.
            Do you understand this ?


          9. Do you dismiss the “credentials and abilities” of scientists like Einstein, Newton, Tesla, Hawking, etc.? Using your reasoning, they have contributed far more to the world than the individuals you named.

            Liked by 1 person

          10. CUM:

            I posted what seemed to me to be a reasonable notion, a while back:

            Triggered by a photo of an ark-eologist holding (and peering whimsically at) an ancient Viking coprolite (fossilised poop). Given that JC is/was eternal, and stuff … how come the Holy Land isn’t covered in ancient Holy coprolites? Or did the holy poops stink and corrupt and decay just like anyone else’s?


      1. Exactly, Nan. Who WAS responsible for the gospels if it wasn’t the four guys after whom they were named? Names and evidence please. And remember, conjecture is not evidence.


        1. Who cares who wrote them? Scholars know the names attributed to them were added in the second century. Don’t you ever do any research?
          I’m serious, what do they teach people like you at Uncle Bob’s Bible School?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You care to try to prove who did NOT write them, so why don’t you care who actually did? If someone is wrongly accused of a murder it always helps to have an alibi and it’s even better if they can prove who actually did it.


          2. What kind of answer is that? I know what evidence is, and what evidence isn’t, thank you. There are various kinds of evidence and absence of evidence is unable to prove the absence of anything.


          3. That’s like saying my great grandmother’s grave has never been found, therefore my great grandmother never existed. Don’t you see how illogical that is?


        2. No … it’s not up to me to provide names and evidence. YOU are the one who believes “four guys” wrote the bible.

          See … this is the thing with “believers.” You believe Jesus existed. You believe God exists. You believe the stories in the bible were written by “four guys.” Yet none of it, including the “empty tomb” can be verified.

          As difficult as it is for believers to understand, atheists simply are not convinced by proclamations made by people who base their entire belief system on a BOOK.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I don’t believe that God exists—not on the ‘evidence’.
            I accept that “contradictions are impossible” … and the three greatest stated defining ‘qualities’ of God are blatant contradictions.

            AND (oops) His omniscience is in direct contradiction to/with any (r) any notion of Mankind having (SFX: insert giggle here, please) ‘Free Will’.

            If Cum would like to resolve the apparent contradictions here I’ll be all ears … hell, I’d even shove over in the kennel so he could speak pearls of wisdom at me.


  5. Wasn’t it you last year that brought up the fact, “why was the stone rolled back?” Here, the immortal Jesus who can pass through crowds and time and space, had to have the stone moved to get out. Or, it’s all for theatre. Hmm.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. If Jesus had walked through the stone as he supposedly walked through walls – ‘appearing in their midst’ what bloody difference did it make that the stone was rolled away? He could have stood around doing calisthenics or yoga or playing naughts and crosses on the boulder with a piece of chalk to pass the time until his groupies showed up.

          It is fairly obvious that whatever church you attend saw you coming from miles away.
          Do they ask you to drop your credit card in the collection plate?


      1. The wannabe tomb under discussion. And I know it’s real, ‘cos I seen piccies of it. And it was empty in them pictures too. So still empty after two thousand years … that’s gotta be pretty conclusive. Yep!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Say “Hi” for me … dum yoghurt, goes green just when it’s getting interesting … like Jesus …


        1. An empty tomb doesn’t prove a resurrection any more than an empty bank account demonstrates that I had a million dollars that I then spent.

          Liked by 1 person

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