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Thread: Another Rant About Research

  1. #1
    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Another Rant About Research

    Please do your homework people. Please.

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    Should you share that claim so quickly? Letís plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    Christians are supposed to be people of truth. Some claims, of course, cannot be verified easily. They also cannot be falsified easily. Some are very controversial and have intelligent people on both sides. However, some claims are just bogus or at least highly insufficient. Sadly, too often I see these and get incredibly frustrated.

    This is the internet. Imagine if you woke up one day and saw a story being shared on Facebook that you were a pedophile. You go about and refute the charges the best you can and most people believe you, but some do not. Stories are shared all over the Facebook and your reputation can be destroyed just like that.

    That might be extreme, but consider whenever you spread false information about another person on the internet, you are doing just that. This is especially worse if youíre a Christian since you claim to be a person of truth. You are doing what James said not to do and using your tongue, or in this case, your keyboard, to destroy.

    Not only that, you want people to believe you when you tell them Jesus rose from the dead. Right? Even if all you have is your personal testimony, you want people to believe that. Why on Earth should anyone believe you on stuff that canít be studied in five minutes, if they cannot believe you in what could have been easily checked with an internet search?

    So letís look at some claims this weekend that I came across.

    You know that Trump was supposed to hold the Republican convention in Florida? He was, but he cancelled. What was the reason? Well, believe it or not, it was because Black Lives Matter had a bunch of buses lined up ready to get protesters and rioters to the meeting and make a scene.

    I also want to say that I do say this as someone who voted for Trump and who does not support the movement Black Lives Matter. Of course, black lives matter, but the organization itself stands for a number of issues that I cannot support. Therefore, in saying what I am saying, I am actually calling out a fellow conservative who shared false information.

    So the claim was Trump cancelled this because of the protesters. What was the evidence? Pictures of the buses lined up. Letís take a look at these.

    BLMBuses.jpg

    BLMBuses2.jpg

    In the first picture, the buses could hypothetically say Black Lives Matter, but you canít tell for sure. It could say Black Ladies Aboard. It could say Black Looks Beautiful. Thereís any number of things it could say. The second picture has a bunch of buses that say absolutely nothing like that.

    Doing my own research on the picture, the nearest I can figure is that the top buses do say Black Lives Matter, but that they were also from the Toronto Raptors who were in Florida. Even if that wasnít the case, letís consider something else. Whether you love Trump or hate him, does anyone think he shies away from confrontation and/or a fight? I found it amusing that I, as a conservative, was questioned because I dared to ask questions about the evidence, but alas, the evidence for this one is lacking.

    Sometimes people send me YouTube videos that are really conspiracy theories. Please donít. I hardly watch two minutes of these things if that much before I know theyíre absolute nonsense. Last night, I got sent one that said that anything in history before the 1600ís is highly questionable.

    Please donít bother sending me stuff like this. I really find it highly embarrassing to see this stuff and to see Christians spreading it. On that, letís give a brief caveat.

    I have said something about conservatives and Christians and I am both, but this is not a conservative or a Christian problem. This is a human problem. We are all inclined to believe things that tend to go with our biases at the time. Liberals spread conspiracy theories. Atheists spread conspiracy theories. (Yes. Jesus mythicism I count as a conspiracy theory for atheists) Letís not go on about how one group is so stupid. Itís all of us.

    Also, for many atheists, itís really hard for me to take you seriously as a person of reason and evidence when I see you blindly believing something about Christianity. Many Christians are skeptical of evolution. That cannot be studied in five minutes, and yet they see you sharing Jesus mythicism stuff and you expect them to take you seriously on this topic?

    So letís go with a final one. Someone shared this and I went directly to the source material which apparently was another Facebook page. So whatís the claim? Apparently, Lady Gaga has a new album called Chromatica where she celebrates extracting blood from the pineal glands of traumatized children. Here, you can see a picture of her covered with blood and her children drinking blood.

    LadyGaga.jpg

    Wow. Thatís pretty serious isnít it? Look at Gaga covered in that blood and those children with zombie stares on their faces drinking blood. Thatís pretty serious.

    Or is it?

    If you saw the real picture, it would say Entertainment Weekly on the bottom left. Why would that be the case? Because this is a picture of Lady Gaga on the set of American Horror Story where she played a character called the Countess.

    This is probably the worst offender on this list today because this is an accusation of moral turpitude. None of us would like to be accused of this. It doesnít matter what you think of Lady Gaga. I donít particularly care for her stuff, but itís wrong to share this information about her. I have my opponents on political issues, for example, but if you want to say something against Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, youíd better make sure itís true or at least has darn good evidence for it. I only want my opponents taken down in truth.

    Christians. Please be better about sharing things like this. Please do your own research independently. Itís too easy to hit that ďshareĒ button on Facebook and share it immediately. You are damaging your reputation though if itís false and someone elseís reputation as well.

    I would just advise you to avoid conspiracy theories altogether. The best conspiracy to pull off, as J. Warner Wallace has said, is two guys working to commit a crime and at the end one of them shoots the other one. Please donít jump on board with these things immediately. Do your homework. Do your research.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

  2. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber ReformedApologist's Avatar
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    I'm seeing some Christians posting the same type of stuff in other areas. For example the coronavirus is caused by 5G. Forgetting that there are many countries that are affected well that do not currently have that technology. But yet they still believe it. It's disturbing based on the fact that one of the main persons espousing this theory is New Ager David Icke.
    Last edited by ReformedApologist; 07-28-2020 at 06:46 PM.

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    tWebber Christianbookworm's Avatar
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    I'll post Snopes links(not reliable for political stuff, but most urban legends are bias proof) for urban legends on Facebook when someone posts something that is not true and thinks it is.
    If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

  5. #4
    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    A follow-up

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    How can you better do research? Letís plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    So in the discussion portion of my blog on research recently came a discussion on what to do about it. There really is no easy answer. This is especially so since it requires the masses do research and most people canít maintain focus for less than a minute on something. Thatís why so many shows have soundbites instead so you can get a quick grab.

    For those of us who do care, here are some tips I recommend.

    First, always if possible go with books. Now note that this is talking about serious topics and not entertainment topics. I like to watch YouTube videos about video games and pop culture. If you were doing an academic study of pop culture, that wouldnít work, but for popular interest, going to popular sources is fine.

    However, if you want to learn about a topic in-depth, unless you know the source very well and know them to be accurate, do not go to YouTube videos. Naturally, if itís the author of a book himself talking or something of that sort, thatís fine, but donít go with the YouTube expert. They might know what theyíre talking about or it might be a bunch of bunk. You donít know.

    Second, even with a book, you need to get the information that is from a good source. With Kindle, many people can self-publish easily. You can get some good material, but like with YouTube, you can also get garbage. You need to consider the source. However, publishing houses donít want to publish books they think they will lose on and if a book doesnít look good, it wonít be published. (Consider all the publishing houses kicking themselves who got the first Harry Potter novel and never published it.)

    So, when youíre looking for a book, go with the publishing house you think has the best credentials as well. The more academic the better. Now letís talk about the author some.

    For the author, go with someone who has a degree, preferably a doctorate, in a field related to the topic. Richard Dawkins is just fine if you want to do zoology and biology. He is not fine when he stumbles into philosophy or history or Biblical studies. Thus, you can read a book like The Blind Watchmaker and learn stuff about biology and evolution, but when he pulls it over into philosophy in the book even if it is subtle, Dawkins is then speaking out of his area of expertise.

    Meanwhile, take someone like N.T. Wright. N.T. Wright is just fine if youíre talking about religion, the Bible, church history, New Testament, that sort of thing. However, he is not an expert on scientific matters and is not the person to consult on evolution. If you meet someone who thinks they know something on everything, they donít.

    This is also something important to do period. So many people come to me and think that since Iím an apologist, I must know something about everything and will ask me questions about science. Sorry. I donít answer those. I will gladly point you to friends who do, but I am not an authority in those areas.

    Another tip to follow is when it comes to recent discoveries in something like science or archaeology, donít jump on a bandwagon immediately. For me, it mostly happens in archaeology. I have many friends who will jump on the latest finding that supports Scripture. I get it. It makes sense. However, I recommend that you wait until the material gets peer-reviewed and then share it. This could take a couple of years, but it beats going out triumphant only to have a flaw with the data be shown. The same can apply to scientific findings.

    This also goes for atheists. Donít be so quick to jump on something because you think itís a disproof of the Bible or something like that. Give these discoveries time.

    Also, please donít go with those people who are sensationalist and go to the press before going to the scholars. This happened with Joseph Atwill who many reporters claimed was a Bible scholar when he just had Jesus mythicist garbage. No. He wasnít a scholar. He never went to the scholars because none of them would have taken him seriously.

    This is also a problem with conspiracy theories. If you think you alone know something that all the experts out there think there is zero evidence of, then you are likely wrong. If you hear a strange story you can honestly wonder why no one in the news has covered it. This can range all the way from conservative news sources to liberal news sources. If no one is covering it, thereís probably a reason for that. Keep in mind also, there are crackpots on all sides.

    For atheists, itís often Jesus mythicism. So many atheists have fooled themselves into thinking theyíre in the know on this great secret scholars have missed. I still laugh thinking about someone saying to me in a debate on the Facebook page of a local news channel when I lived in Knoxville that scholars donít even know if Jesus existed. Yeah. They do. Mythicism seems to come with a bit of arrogance. I personally have a mathematical theory that the arrogance of many internet atheists is in direct proportion to their ignorance.

    For Christians, it can more often be arguing against evolution. Now readers know I donít say yea or nay on evolution because I am not a scientist, but I have a problem with Christians who go out and argue against evolution and yet have never read a scientific book in their life. If you do that, you will get embarrassed, but more than that, you will make Jesus look like an embarrassment.

    By the way, this is also an important point. Read both sides as much as possible. Naturally, you canít read everything, but I have found in the past few years an interesting question to ask people is ďWhen was the last time you read something academic that disagreed with you?Ē Very few people seem to answer this question. I am sure thereís a reason for that.

    Also, realize the other side can always teach you something. If you are an atheist and read William Lane Craig or Edward Feser and learn nothing, you are not paying attention. If you are a Christian and read Bart Ehrman and Richard Dawkins and get nothing out of it, you learn nothing. For me, Ehrman has sometimes given me interesting ideas on how to read a passage that have been enlightening. With Dawkins, while the guy knows nothing about areas outside of his expertise, when he writes about animals and nature, it is simply beautiful and amazing.

    Of course, also learn good logical reasoning. Learn how to make a syllogism and logical fallacies. Learn what it takes to demonstrate a point or at least provide good evidence as not all cases can be demonstrated. They can just have really good evidence. Itís a mistake today to insist on ďproof.Ē In many cases, it doesnít exist.

    Those are some of my recommendations and naturally, it will just depend on us. What people have to ask themselves is if they want to be informed or not. Even if you disagree, try to have an informed disagreement. If you donít, then those who do know something will look at you like you donít know what youíre talking about, and rightly so.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters
    And I affirm the virgin birth.

  6. Amen Christianbookworm amen'd this post.

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