The Irrefutability Of Remsberg
The Immutability Of Christianity
Your title page introduces John Remsburg's book "The Christ" as "irrefutable". I'm not sure whether that is intended to say that the book will never be entirely refuted, or that no point of it may be refuted. If the latter, I am unimpressed by this claim in the light of the first chapter.
This claims that "The world is governed, not by chance, not by caprice, not by special providences, but by the laws of nature; and if there be one truth which the scientist and the philosopher have established, it is this: THE LAWS OF NATURE ARE IMMUTABLE." It's not clear without external context to which philosophers Remsburg refers, and I am not a philosopher. However, I am a scientist with a philosophy of science. One of the axioms of this philosophy of science, which I believe all scientists would share, is that there are immutable laws which we can attempt to discover by observation and reasoning from observation. Since "THE LAWS OF NATURE ARE IMMUTABLE" is thus an axiom, it follows pretty much by definition that it cannot be "established".
We may, however, ask what basis there is for believing this axiom to be true, and here there is divergence. I do know that I am not alone in believing that the fundamental basis for the consistency of behaviour of physical processes is that they are sustained by a consistent God.
Hume's "masterly argument against miracles [which] has never been refuted" also appears to fall at the hurdle of philosophy of science: in this case, the 'scientific method'. I hope I am not doing him injustice in summarising this argument as 'Observations must be consistent with scientific laws'. This neglects the fact that we cannot know scientific laws: the best we can do is approximate them with theories based on our observations. Rather than rule out observations which are inconsistent with our theories, the scientific method is to rule out theories which are inconsistent with our observations.
From: "Positive Atheism" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Our Critics: Immutable!
Date: January 19, 2002 7:26 PM
I don't get your point: I use a word to draw attention to Remsberg's main argument, that the Christ of Christianity is mythical. The word I use to describe Remsberg's main argument is irrefutable. I do this as a deliberate poke and challenge to those who think that the Bible and the claims of Christianity are "irrefutable" as well as "infallible" and "immutable" and many other absolutistic, all-encompassing promises made in the name of this religion. I do this also as a satire on Remsberg himself, specifically his approach to his work in the form of this book. Perhaps his wife just had a baby and he must now find something to do that will keep him out of harm's way -- so he wrote this book!
Now you come along, take my poke in fun wa-a-ay too seriously, and talk about axioms and science and the like? What does any of this have to do with the claims for the Christ of Christianity?
I would hope that anybody who is familiar with scientific method at all (at all) would think real hard before taking the scientific pronouncements of a 100-year-old theology book seriously! You mean to tell me that you have a philosophy of science and still don't take with salt the scientific ponderings of writers such as Charles Darwin, Thomas Paine, John Locke, Isaac Newton, or even Leonardo Da Vinci's alleged pronouncement about the testicles of the beaver (me being from the Beaver State itself, Oregon). Even their greatest accomplishments are great only in light of what we know today. Does this not show that we ought not take seriously the scientific ponderings that we make today?
I guess what I'm asking is, how would you say that Remsberg's main argument (that the Christ of Christianity is mythical, not supernatural or even truthful) is most challenging, while hinting that his work is, at times, anything but serious, and yet say it in a way that would both intrigue as well as poke fun at, those most in need of checking it out (those who would use words like irrefutable to describe the claims of the Christian religion), if all you had was the space allotted for a single line on our front page? How would you say all that in, say, eleven letters (give or take)?
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