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Re: Daniel's prophecy of the 70 `weeks': My response to Jim Lippard (was Daniel prophecy)

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  • Stephen E. Jones
    Jim (bcc CED) On Sat, 10 Jul 2004 09:42:42 -0700, James J. Lippard wrote: Thank you for your post. As is my long-standing policy of transparency in the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 11, 2004
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      Jim (bcc CED)

      On Sat, 10 Jul 2004 09:42:42 -0700, James J. Lippard wrote:

      Thank you for your post. As is my long-standing policy of transparency in
      the creation/evolution debate that when I receive a private message
      regarding creation/evolution issues, I reply to the sender, bcc to my Internet
      discussion group, CreationEvolutionDesign (CED):
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/ . Usually I
      remove the sender's personal identifying information, but this is impossible
      in your case. If you regard this as breaching your confidentiality, I
      apologise, but then please don't send me any more private messages, as I
      will reserve the right to post them also to CED.

      You are free to join CED if you wish and debate Daniel's prophecy of the
      70 `weeks' or any other matter relating to creation, evolution or design.

      JL>Mr. Jones:
      >I just today came across your posting of a critique of my "Fabulous
      >Prophecies of the Messiah," which it appears you published in January

      Yes, as it says, I posted it to CED on 29 January 2004:

      From: "Stephen E. Jones" <sejones@...>
      Date: Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:27 pm
      Subject: Re: Daniel 9:24-27: Response to Jim Lippard's `The Fabulous
      Prophecies Of The Messiah'


      Here is my 30K+ response to that part of Jim Lippard's "The Fabulous
      Prophecies Of The Messiah" regarding Daniel's prophecy of the
      70 `weeks' (Dan 9:24-27):


      JL>It is a pity you didn't see fit to bring it to my attention.

      It is not my policy to send unsolicited posts to my opponents, since it could
      be resented. There are members of CED (and non-members who monitor CED,
      including a list called anti-CED http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anti-ced/),
      who I understand post also on atheist and anti-Christian forums like Talk.origin,
      so I assumed that you would find out about it eventually and get back to me if
      you wanted to. It comes up on the first page of a Google search on "Jim Lippard"
      + "Daniel" + "prophecy":

      JL>(I take
      >this as supporting evidence for the thesis that most Christians don't really
      >believe what they claim to believe, since their actions are not consistent
      >with their claimed beliefs.

      Well, *I* do believe what I "claim to believe", e.g. that Jesus is the Messiah,
      and Daniel in the 6th century BC predicted the Messiah would appear in 27AD,
      be killed in 30 AD and Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed soon
      afterwards as a consequence.

      I am slowly going through Daniel's prophecy of the 70 `weeks' in my morning
      devotions and posting the results at "Daniel's prophecy of the seventy `weeks'
      (Dn 9:24-27)" (http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/dn924-27.html). I am already
      sure of my conclusion, having read widely on it and having debated it over
      several years, but I feel it necessary to work right through the prophecy,
      word-by-word, documenting all major alternative hypotheses, in order to
      show where they all (but one) do not fit the facts (both Biblical and
      historical). So it is still a work-in-progress and will be for some
      time to come.

      JL>If you really believed that I am bound for hell
      >as an atheist and you really don't want anyone to go there, surely you would
      >have brought your refutation to my attention.

      Since you raised the subject, as a Christian I *do* believe that "as an
      atheist" you are "bound for hell", but I (and fellow evangelical Christians I
      have discussed it with these last 30+ years) have found from experience that
      it is counterproductive (i.e. it does no good, and a lot of harm) to just say
      it to strangers whose friendship I (we) have not earned.

      For example, on a C/E list I was on before I started CED, there was a
      Christian who used to constantly tell non-Christian members that they were
      "bound for hell". It just poisoned the atmosphere, which is why I don't tell
      non-Christian members of CED that they are "bound for hell", although I
      believe it to be true. However, when it has come up, usually brought up
      by an atheist/anti-Christian, I have made it clear what I believe (i.e.
      what the Bible teaches) on this issue.

      And what if I *had* "brought [my] ... refutation to [your] ... attention"?
      Would it have made any difference? You say below that "I have apparently
      heard these verses much more frequently than you have (perhaps because I
      have more people trying to convert me than you do)", which indicates that
      you would (and no doubt have) just lumped me along with all those "people
      trying to convert" you.

      JL>BTW, this thesis is
      >defended in more detail by the philosopher Georges Rey, here:
      >http://www.pefri.hr/novosti/MetaAthF3F!.fin.505.rtf, and which I think is
      >implicit in a work cited by Rey, Pascal Boyer's _Religion Explained_.)

      Thanks. But since I regard this is a false "thesis", I see no reason for
      wasting my scarce time reading it.

      JL>I have requested that a link to your website containing your Daniel
      >comments be added to the Internet Infidels website where my article is
      >hosted, since I believe those who read my essay should be informed of
      >arguments against it.


      JL>Although your commentary claims that I am
      >"unscrupulous," I do consider myself to be concerned about accuracy
      >and welcome your criticisms.

      I stand by my comments in respect to the point at issue, by playing off
      my position that "the end of the `sixty-two weeks' to be the beginning of
      Jesus' ministry", with a position that you believe is false, namely that
      "the end point to be the crucifixion":

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/message/7915 [...]
      But just notice how *unscrupulous* Lippard is. He rejected "The decree of
      Artaxerxes to Ezra" which "was issued in 458 B.C.E." and "which would
      put the coming of the Messiah at 26 C.E." (27 AD), noting that "This works
      fairly well if you take the end of the "sixty-two weeks" to be the beginning of
      Jesus' ministry" but then rejecting this (in effect) on the grounds that "most
      Christians take the end point to be the crucifixion due to the reference in
      verse 26 of the Daniel prophecy to the Messiah being "cut off"". [...]

      Clearly if my position is correct, then playing of a false position against it,
      does not make my position false! What you *should* do is show why my
      position is false *in its own right*. That you failed to do so, shows that you

      But I make no claim (nor do I even think) that you are "unscrupulous"
      generally. Indeed, I have sympathy for you, because my position *is*
      correct, and if you were not "unscrupulous" in dismissing it, you would
      have to accept it, which means renouncing naturalism and becoming a Christian.
      That would be *very* hard for such a prominent atheist, anti-Christian and
      `skeptic' such as yourself.

      JL>The thread in the CreationEvolutionDesign forum includes a post of
      >response to your article which criticizes your "Freudian slip"
      >argument, and I second that criticism. Your statements about the
      >"convincing" nature of the Daniel prophecy actually misconstrue what I
      >wrote. You wrote:
      > I take this as a revealing `Freudian slip' by Lippard, in that he himself find
      > this prophecy "extremely convincing". The reason I say that is because in
      > my ~37 years personal experience as an evangelical Christian, I have rarely
      > heard Dan 9:24-27 mentioned. Most Christians in my experience become
      > Christian by being convinced of the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ
      > crucified as a sacrifice for their sins).
      >While I have apparently heard these verses much more frequently than
      >you have (perhaps because I have more people trying to convert me than
      >you do),

      That doesn't change what I said.

      JL>you err in your inference that I am claiming that most people
      >have been converted by this prophecy, or by prophecy at all. What I
      >actually wrote was:
      > It is probably no exaggeration to say that this prophecy,
      > more than any other, convinces Christians that Jesus was the Messiah.
      >That is, for those who are convinced by prophecy, it is this prophecy, more
      >than any other, that they find persuasive.

      I must have missed the "more than any other". My apologies. But even then,
      in my experience Isa 53 and Mic 5:2 are cited much more often by Christians
      as evidence from prophecy that "Jesus [is] ... the Messiah" than Dan 9:24-27.

      And I stand by what I said that "Most Christians in my experience become
      Christian by being convinced of the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ
      crucified as a sacrifice for their sins)" and not as a result of fulfilled
      prophecy. In my experience, fulfilled prophecy is a *confirmation* to
      Christians of their *existing* belief, that "Jesus [is] ... the Messiah".

      JL>I do agree with you that most
      >people who become Christians do not do so on the basis of prophecy. I think
      >your conversion experience is much more common--it's not an intellectual

      I disagree that "Christian by being convinced of the preaching of the gospel
      of Jesus Christ crucified as a sacrifice for their sins)" is "not an intellectual
      decision". Jesus made it clear in the Parable of the Sower (and it agrees with my
      ~37 years experience as a Christian), that only "the man who hears the word and
      *understands* it" (my emphasis), will survive in the Christian life:

      Mt 13:20-23 "[20] The one who received the seed that fell on rocky
      places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with
      joy. [21] But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When
      trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls
      away. [22] The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns
      is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the
      deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. [23] But the
      one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who
      hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a
      hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

      JL>Ultimately, I do not find your response convincing--it still appears to me
      >to be a selection of best fit from a wealth of ambiguous data, while ignoring
      >that which doesn't, similar to the "Bible Code" arguments. Your argument
      >that many considered the time of Jesus to be when the messiah was imminent
      >I find as weak as the fact that the time of the second coming has been
      >considered imminent for two millennia.

      I return the compliment: "I do not find *your* response convincing"!

      While many (if not most) Christian arguments on Daniel's 70 `weeks' are
      no doubt "similar to the `Bible Code' arguments', i.e. they reason from
      Jesus being the Messiah to the combination of starting point and time units
      (which doesn't necessarily make it false if their staring premise that
      Jesus is the Messiah is correct), it is nevertheless possible to
      present the evidence in an objective and scientific way, eliminating
      erroneous hypothesis, and at the end, the *objectively best* theory
      will stand that: 1) Daniel in the 6th century BC; successfully predicted
      that; 2) the Messiah would appear in 27AD; and 3) die in 30AD; and 3)
      Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed soon after as a consequence.

      That is what I will establish in my "Daniel's prophecy of the seventy `weeks'
      (Dn 9:24-27)" above.

      Having established that, it would then follow that: 1) naturalism is false;
      and 2) Christianity is true. This will be included in my "Problems of
      Evolution" book, which I am posting an outline of to CED:

      2. Refuted by supernatural
      1. Biblical prophecies
      1. Daniel's prophecy of the 70 `weeks' (Dn 9:24-27)
      The objectively best combination of: 1) terminus a quo (starting point), the
      decree of Cyrus in 457 BC authorising Ezra to restore and rebuild
      Jerusalem; 2) method of calculation of the 70 `weeks', each `week' is 7
      ordinary solar years; 3) yields: a) the correct end of the post-exilic
      restoration of Jerusalem in 408 BC [457 BC- (7x7) = 408 BC]; b) a
      terminus ad quem (ending point) of the 69th week at the time of Jesus'
      public ministry, 27 AD [(69x7)+1-457 BC = 27 AD], and c) His death 30
      AD [(69x7)+1+7/2-457 BC = 30 AD], followed by d) the Jewish final
      rejection of their Messiah in the martyrdom of Stephen at the end of the
      70th week in 34 AD [(69x7)+1+7-457 BC = 34 AD or (70x7)+1-457 BC =
      34AD], and e) the consequent destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans after
      the 70th week in 70 AD! (Newman, 1988; Newman, 1997, pp.223-224;
      Archer, 1964, pp.386-387; Archer, 1982, pp.289-291; Archer, 1985,
      pp.111-119; Pusey, 1885, pp.184-229; Strobel, 2000, pp.248-249; Unger,
      1966, pp.391-392; Finegan, 1964, pp.320,336,468-469). [...]

      JL>I have also read your testimony, which I found quite interesting. I
      >am impressed that you do not fall in lock-step with fellow Christians,
      >but have pursued your own path and are apparently a progressive


      JL>I think it would be worth your while to get in contact
      >with Glenn Morton, a Christian who nearly abandoned his faith due to
      >the clash he saw between creationism and the evidence (he is a
      >geologist working in the oil industry), but found his own way to
      >reconcile them. His views are in some ways similar to yours, I
      >suspect. (I would be happy to put you in touch, if you desire.)

      I debated Glenn for many years on the Calvin Reflector, and quite
      frankly I do not regard him as a Christian, but as a Gnostic.

      JL>I am not surprised that you were drummed out of Phil Johnson's mailing
      >list. Johnson does not strike me as an honest truth-seeker.

      I do not agree that "Phil Johnson" is not "an honest truth-seeker", except
      in the sense that you aren't either. Both he and you are not willing to
      "follow the evidence *wherever* it leads". In Phil's case, he is unwilling
      to follow the evidence for common ancestry *wherever* it leads, and accept
      it. In your case, you are not willing to "follow the evidence *wherever*
      it leads" (e.g. Daniel's 70 `weeks') that Jesus is the Messiah and become
      a Christian.

      But the *consequences* for Phil in accepting Christianity but not accepting
      common ancestry are comparatively minor compared with the consequences for
      you not accepting Christianity but accepting common ancestry.

      JL>A couple
      >of recent books which you may find illuminating are Barbara Forrest
      >and Paul Gross's _Creationism's Trojan Horse_ and Robert Pennock's
      >_The Tower of Babel_.

      I have the latter but not the former, although I have read reviews of Forrest
      and Gross's book and articles they have written.

      JL>Both books are about the intelligent design
      >movement, the former about the Wedge strategy and its history and cast
      >of characters, and how it's really about everything *but* the science;
      >the latter is about the philosophical, mathematical, and scientific
      >arguments and what's wrong with them (with the emphasis on the

      I disagree with the extremist view of Pennock, et al. (including you),
      "that the intelligent design movement ... [is] really about everything
      *but* the science".

      However, I agree (and I said so within the ID movement) that the rejection
      of common ancestry by *some* (not all) of its leaders, e.g. Johnson and
      Wells (but not Behe and Dembski), when generic ID should have no
      problem with common ancestry (it being a problem only for Biblical
      literalism), provides enough evidence for ID's critics to continue to charge
      (falsely) that ID is just a front for YEC.

      JL>There are some more recent books that have come out
      >addressing Dembski and Behe in more detail, but I haven't read them
      >and so can't offer a recommendation at this point.

      Great! The more "books that have come out addressing Dembski and Behe"
      and other aspects of the ID movement, the better. That will force the ID
      movement to improve its arguments, or go under.

      JL>I completely agree with your statement when you left ID that Johnson
      >engages in false dilemmas.

      I only said it in respect of Phil's claim that it is either: 1) descent
      without design; or 2) design without descent; when there is a third
      alternative 3) design *with* descent:

      From: "Stephen E. Jones" <sejones@...>
      Date: Tue May 18, 2004 10:08 pm
      Subject: Re: I have felt I have had to leave the ID movement due to my
      advocacy of common ancestry [...]

      It is a Fallacy of False Dilemma for Phil to claim that it is either: 1)
      "a common designer" or 2) "a common physical ancestor"; because
      there is a third alternative, 3) "a common designer" who *realised* His
      design through "a common physical ancestor". Does Phil *really*
      claim that physical reproduction is not designed?" [...]

      From: "Stephen E. Jones" <sejones@...>
      Date: Thu May 20, 2004 8:30 am
      Subject: Re: Common descent not compatible with ID? (was: I have felt I
      have had to leave the ID movement due to my advocacy of common ancestry)
      5) "biochemical similarities ... may be evidence of a common designer
      rather than a common physical ancestor". This is a fallacy of false (or
      faulty) dilemma, i.e. presenting a choice of only two alternatives, when
      there may in fact be more: [...]
      which is all the more surprising given that Johnson claimed his "specialty
      [is] in analyzing the logic of arguments": [...]
      But in this case there are at least three (3) alternatives: 1) descent with no
      design; 2) design with no descent; or 3) design *with* descent. This last is
      Behe's (and my) position which in fact Johnson above acknowledges. [...]

      The ironic thing is that ID's critics like Pennock, et al. (and you?), would
      *agree* with Johnson's "false dilemma" that it is either 1) descent without
      design; or 2) design without descent; ignoring the third alternative 3)
      design *with* descent!

      JL>You might be interested in critiques I
      >wrote of Johnson's arguments for the incompatibility of theism and
      >evolution about a decade ago:
      > http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/johnson.html

      Again I don't have the time or inclination to read it, although I might
      already have done so in the past.

      But I *agree* with "Johnson's arguments for the incompatibility of theism and
      evolution"! The word "evolution" was invented by Spencer and taken up
      by Darwin in his "Descent of Man" to *rule* out "theism", i.e. God
      intervening supernaturally in His creation. IOW, "theistic evolution" is
      an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. The right term for theists to use
      is *creation*, since the Biblical concept of creation includes God
      creating through natural processes, as well as supernaturally.

      JL>While my free time is unfortunately limited, as I'm sure yours is as well,
      >I welcome further interaction with you as time permits.

      Thanks for the interest but as my very first post to CED states, my
      longstanding policy is only to discuss C/E issues publicly:

      From: "Stephen E. Jones" <sejones@...>
      Date: Wed Feb 7, 2001 9:49 pm
      Subject: Re: Personal Introduction [...]
      My policy is not to get involved in private discussions on
      creation/evolution/ID because: a) I don't have the time; and b) I
      regard these as topics which should be discussed *publicly* . [...]

      i.e. via CED (since, what with my Biology degree and writing my book outline, I
      barely have enough time to keep up with that forum, without getting
      involved in any others.

      BTW CED members, I have just checked my results online and I passed (distinctions)
      all three units, so I now only have two units to go! However, I will also do an
      extra (`fun') unit, Human Evolution, next semester.

      JL>For some reason,
      >when it comes to Australians, I find myself occasionally on better terms with my
      >intellectual adversaries than with my purported compatriots--if you read my
      >"How Not to Argue with Creationists" and its sequels, you'll know what I mean.

      I think I read it a long time ago, and I applaud you for it:

      How Not to Respond to Criticism
      Barry Price Compounds His Errors
      by Jim Lippard
      Copyright c 1993-1997


      In the Winter 1990-91 issue of Creation/Evolution appeared an article I
      authored titled "How Not to Argue with Creationists." In that article, I
      strongly criticized Australian skeptics Ian Plimer and Barry Price for their
      tactics in combating creationism. Specifically, my major criticisms were
      that: (1) Plimer behaved poorly in a debate with Duane Gish in 1988; (2)
      Plimer misrepresented the views of Michael Denton, author of Evolution:
      A Theory in Crisis, in that debate, falsely claiming that Denton had
      "admitted he was wrong" (apparently with respect to his entire book) and
      that "he was unaware of the fossil record when he wrote it"; (3) Plimer
      issued a challenge to creationists in 1986 and 1987 (which Price quoted in
      his book) to produce evidence for their claims that fossil gold chains had
      been found in Australian coal seams, when in fact the creationists made no
      such claim; (4) Barry Price's book, The Creation Science Controversy,
      contains numerous errors and ad hominems; (5) Both Plimer and Price have
      made unsupported (and false) claims about alleged financial fraud
      involving the Australian Creation Science Foundation, which led to an
      apology for Plimer's remarks by the magazine Media Information Australia;
      (6) One error in Price's book has led to a defamation suit by former CSF
      director Robert Stephen Gustafson, and Price's book has been withdrawn by
      the publisher; (7) Plimer falsely claimed on an Australian national radio
      broadcast in 1989 that the CSF had not submitted financial reports for
      1986, 1987, or 1988, a claim which led to an apology by the Australian
      Broadcasting Company; Price claimed in his book that the 1986 and 1987
      reports "do not seem to be available"; (8) Price and Plimer have both
      quoted from an article in a Christian school magazine on "Reviewing and
      Correcting Encyclopedias" about how to remove sections on evolution,
      followed by reporting that book vandalism discovered at the University of
      Newcastle--implying that the vandalism was performed by creationists
      inspired by the article; (9) Plimer wrote a letter to a creationist following
      the debate with Gish in which he offered unsupported sexual innuendo
      about Gish.[...]

      >Jim Lippard lippard@... http://www.discord.org/
      >GPG Key ID: 0xF8D42CFE

      Again you are welcome to join CED and debate Daniel's prophecy of the
      70 `weeks' (or any other creation, evolution and design topic).


      PS: Thanks for the opportunity to post this tagline quote from St. Augustine
      (354-430 AD) which shows that the early church had worked out that Dan
      9:24-27 predicted "the time when Christ was destined to come and to
      suffer, by giving the-number of years that were to intervene"!

      "Then again, during the actual period of the Babylonian captivity there were
      two other major prophets, Daniel and Ezekiel. They prophesied in the
      earlier part of the exile. Of these Daniel specified the time when Christ was
      destined to come and to suffer, by giving the-number of years that were to
      intervene. It would be a tedious business to demonstrate this by
      computation, and it has been done by others before us." (St. Augustine,
      "The City of God," [1467], Bettenson H., transl., Penguin: London, 1984,
      Stephen E. Jones http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
      Moderator: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign
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