Re: [John_Lit] Foolishness
----- Original Message -----
From: "McGrath, James" <jfmcgrat@...>
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 11:24 AM
Subject: [John_Lit] Foolishness
> I will try not to reply with the same polemical tone - although since
> John sounds very polemical at times, it is perhaps not inappropriate on
> a John list!
If by polemics, you mean the art of argumentation, then thank you. I was
simply making a point that basing an entire theory on the absence of
evidence is foolish. There is *ample* evidence that this is true. The
halls of academia are littered with the carcasses of pet theories that have
died in the light of evidence.
We all should know by now that it is impossible to prove a negative. Why
would you then want to base a theory on it?
> All I will say is that there is, to my mind, nothing wrong
> with speculating and creating hypotheses in the absence of definitive
Now you're hedging. There is a difference between no evidence and "a lack
of definitive evidence", and this is precisely what I was trying to point
out. In the case before us, there is *no* evidence that the story of
Lazurus is a legend or fabrication. There *is* evidence that the story is
based upon fact. The story is a part of the record. We must deal with it
as it stands. So, how do you account for it?
The lack of corroboration means we cannot be sure that it is a true story,
but what evidence is there that it's a legend or a fabricated story? I
submit there is none. Appealing to the tradition of Jewish death requiring
three days and three nights is begging the question. (Wouldn't that be the
very reason the story was worth retelling?) What evidence is there to
suggest that the Lazurus story is legend or myth?
> Scientists do it, historians do it, lawyers do it.
I'm shocked to hear this. :-)
> Would you
> suggest that lawyers should not attempt to tie the threads of what
> evidence they have together because it is possible that new evidence
> will make their earlier arguments look foolish?
I would submit that more than one person has been jailed and more than one
person has escaped jail because lawyers are skilled at twisting the facts to
fit a theory that benefits their client. I would sincerely hope that this
same skill is not widely used in academia. Unfortunately, not many people
are taught to question such theories rather than accepting them simply
because they sound good or seem to make sense.
> Hopefully we can drop this. Feel free to have the last word if you want
Is it really necessary to succumb to ad hominem rather than address my
arguments? I'm very interested to see how an a priori assumption that an
uncorroborated story is myth can be supported by "less than definitive
evidence". I am not joking, provoking or otherwise trying to sidestep the
argument. I'm asking you to provide more framework on the bones that you've