Creative Challenge #21: Knock, Knock

This has been a supremely dull weekend for our kind of news. It is therefore up to you, dear reader, to provide the entertainment. We offer the following challenge, for you to complete in two places, each with reasonable brevity: (1) as if you were a creationist knocking on a sane person’s door; and then (2) give us the sane person’s response. This is the setup:

Creationist: Knock Knock.

Sane person: Who’s there?

Creationist: The Truth™!

Sane person: What truth?

Creationist: ____________________

Sane person: ____________________

You know the rules: A successful entry should be self-explanatory. You may enter the contest as many times as you wish, but you must avoid profanity, vulgarity, childish anatomical analogies, etc. Also, avoid slanderous statements about individuals. Feel free to comment on the entries submitted by others — with praise, criticism, or whatever — but you must do so tastefully.

There probably won’t be a winner of this contest, but if there is, your Curmudgeon will decide, and whenever we get around to it we’ll announce who the winner is. There is no tangible prize — as always in life’s great challenges, the accomplishment is its own reward. We now throw open the comments section, dear reader. Go for it!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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27 responses to “Creative Challenge #21: Knock, Knock

  1. Dave Luckett

    Creationist: This TROOOOOOOOTH! Huk…uk… uk…. TROOOOTH! (Wipes mouth) Oh, man. Better out than in, y’know.

    Sane Person: What is truth?

  2. Creationist: Jesus rode a dinosaur!
    Sane person: There’s no compelling historical evidence that Jesus existed.

  3. Creationist: The infallible Truth as reveled in the Bible. Everything you need to know about science, history, and the future is right here.

    Sane person: I don’t exist. There is no “The Truth”, only knowledge as revealed by science and research.

  4. Creationist: The eternal unchanging truth as revealed by God

    Sane Person: ….you have reached a recording…beep.

  5. Once again, I have a much different take that most of you:

    Creationist (Discoveroid “kind”): It’s not ID’s task to answer that question.

    Sane person: Thanks for admitting that evolution’s “pathetic level of detail” wins out over your zero level of detail.

  6. @Anonymous: Hi, Kenny Boy. Glad to see that you’re sticking around for a few threads; You may learn something if you open your mind to it.

    BTW, didn’t you mean “revealed”, instead of “reveled”, in the sentence
    “Creationist: The infallible Truth as reveled in the Bible.” Or did you mean “reviled”? (No, surely you didn’t. But when you let typos slip through, you make your meaning rather ambiguous, which certainly doesn’t fit such a literalist as yourself.)

    (Oh — again, if you are not Ken Ham, I apologize for insulting you so.)

  7. Sane person: There’s no compelling historical evidence that Jesus existed.

    So, are readers to conclude that the historians of the academy lack sanity?

  8. Prof. Tertius: “So, are readers to conclude that the historians of the academy lack sanity?”

    Not to mention the ~50% of fellow “Darwinists” who believe in a divine Jesus, plus many more “Darwinists” who think a non-divine one may have existed.

    If one must associate Creationism with some Jewish guy, David Klinghoffer is a much better choice.

  9. Frank J: “If one must associate Creationism with some Jewish guy, David Klinghoffer is a much better choice.”

    Or perhaps Jonathan Sarfati.

  10. @retiredsciguy

    Oh, well spotted. I hadn’t realized that comment was The Return of Anonymous — in fact, I’d read it as a deliciously witty piece of meta-wotsit. But you’re right: our pal is actually being serious.

  11. @Prof Tertius, Frank J

    Arguments from authority, wot? Although my joke was meant to be no more than a joke, the fact that ~50% of US Darwinists think that Jesus actually existed is kind of irrelevant. As I understand it, the evidence for there having been a real Jesus is indeed extraordinarily thin: I’m working from memory here, but I think it’s the case that there are two references, one of which is ambiguous and the other of which is almost certainly a later forgery. (Cue for Prof Tertius to produce 5000 words of impassioned mockery.🙂 )

    who think a non-divine one may have existed

    A reasonable stance. Yet it says nothing about the likely or unlikely historicity of Christ.

  12. @Realthog tries to count: “there are two references”
    So neither the Gospels nor Acts refer to someone called Jesus? That’s new to me.
    Plus the methods historians use consist more of just counting references.
    Two questions. If Jesus was not historical, ie made up, why would the authors of the Gospels include his end time prophecies, given the fact that those Gospels were written in a time they already knew the end of time hadn’t come yet? Plus why Matth. 27:46, which gave exegetes a headache for about 20 centuries?
    Secular answers based on a historical Jesus are remarkably simple …..

    Also you might try to get your terminology right next time.

    “historicity of Christ”
    is exactly zero, History doesn’t research divine descent – only claims by humans of flesh and blood who make such claims. The name of the guy was Jesus of Nazareth.
    Talking about the historicity of Christ is something like talking about indermediate species.

  13. So neither the Gospels nor Acts refer to someone called Jesus?

    Could you point out to me the contemporary references to Christ contained in either of those?

    “historicity of Christ”

    Seems to me a damn’ good term to describe the question of whether or not there was a historical figure corresponding to the Christ of the gospels. I’m afraid you’re just nitpicking here.

    @Realthog tries to count: “there are two references”

    Actually, according to the Wikipedia links that Prof Tertius gives on his own blog, where he chooses to pan me without specifying the object of his pannery, there are three references (I misremembered), of which one’s likely “largely” (i.e., perhaps entirely) a forgery, one’s a bit dubious, and one seems basically a name-check.

    I personally have no strong views on whether or not Christ existed: the evidence is certainly extraordinarily thin, but it can’t be entirely ignored. If some good archaeological evidence turned up tomorrow I’d be fascinated rather than upset. I have no ax to grind in the argument you’re choosing to pick.

    As I’ve already said, my initial comment was a joke: the Sane Person chooses the wrong bit of dubious history to snark about. If you don’t get that joke, well . . .

  14. Arguments from authority, wot?

    You realize that Young Earth Creationists complain likewise whenever someone tells them that the academy’s consensus is overwhelming, right?

    As I understand it, the evidence for there having been a real Jesus is indeed extraordinarily thin: …

    I have no doubt of your sincerity and your confidence in your “as I understand it.” Truly I do.

    I suggest you investigate why denialists of virtually every settled issue make the same confident claim about the alleged lack of evidence for whatever it is that they deny. (e.g. “There are no transitional forms in the fossil record.”; “There is no evidence for macroevolution.”; “There is no evidence of an airliner crashing into the Pentagon on 9/11.”; “There is no evidence of astronauts actually reaching the moon.”; “There is no evidence that Jesus actually existed.” See a pattern? I know: The response is always, “Yes, but what I’m denying is actually very different from those other claims. There actually is a bias on this issue. And I can name real Ph.D.s who agree with me on this.” Been there. Done that.)

    Whenever I’m asked about Jesus Mythicism, I like to cite yet another random and unexpected blogger doing his best to address the issue from his own semi-unique perspective. And because I’m always told that every scholar who affirms the existence of Jesus is hopelessly biased and afraid of losing his/her job, I always……. wait. Forget that.

    To tell the truth, I simply like to see how others handle what has to be one of the most…..[sorry, truly I’m sorry to say it]…predictable and…..[I apologize] boring questions I never get from academics but could expect to get whenever camera crews showed up at the Annual AAR/SBL conference. In a crowded convention center—where between 8,000 and 12,000 professors arrayed as far as the eye can see make it impossible to swing a dead cat around your head three times without annoying at the very least two atheist rabbis arguing with lots of hand-waving, a twice-married ex-priest catching up with seminary friends, another dozen textbook publishers, a retired Anglican bishop, a polyglot-publishing preterist, and if one is really REALLY lucky, the entire world’s supply of Syriac Peshitta scholars—the local PBS affiliate’s camera crew could always be counted upon to walk up to me and say, “Bob Funk [now deceased but best known among media types for founding The Jesus Seminar and a master of getting media attention] sent us over said that you’d know who could give us some sound bites on the idea that Jesus never existed.” [Yes. I managed that entire sentence in one breath. At my age one hopes for such small accomplishments with great effort. Why? No idea. I’ll blame it on the eccentric professor stereotype.]

    This was a bit of an inside joke between friends because Bob knew that if one were very very lucky, you might among those 10,000+ professors be able to find perhaps half a dozen tabloid-worthy lovers of limelight eager to defend that Internet meme on camera. (And if you don’t see Richard Carrier or Robert Price holding up their “Will Debunk Jesus Myth for Ca$h or Airtime” signs outside the Press Room, expect to do a lot of looking and search.)

    One year I took the WGBH PBS Boston affiliate’s crew to the interview room where newly-minted Ph.D.s wait expectantly and nervously for their appointments in various states of discouragement. I told the reporter, “Anybody you see in this room who looks twenty-something and is wearing a very worn corduroy sports jacket with elbow patches will snap to attention if you say the word ‘interview’ within earshot. They’re desperate.” Sure enough, the young blonde reporter walked up to the closest candidate and said, “I’m with the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour. Would you like to answer some questions?” The candidate perks up and says, “Sure!” His smile turns sour when she asks about the “discovery” that “Jesus never existed”. He looks at her and then at me and leaning towards my right ear asks, “Is this some kind of a test of our ability to interact with non-majors without belittling them?” Yep. True story. “Literally.” (Or was it?????)

    Here’s my latest random pick for the question de jour:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessindixie/2014/09/04/an-atheists-defense-of-the-historicity-of-jesus/

    He’s a high school geometry teacher so he can’t be ignored on the basis of his professional standing within the academy. Here’s an excerpt:

    When climate change deniers want to insist that our actions have no impact on global temperatures, they display a remarkable disdain for an entire discipline populated by credentialed professionals in that field who say otherwise. It doesn’t seem to bother the deniers that they themselves have no specialization in the academic field they disparage because in any field of study there will always be at least some small contingent who go against the consensus. The existence of those outliers is justification enough for the deniers to say, “This business is far from certain, you know. Just look at these four people who disagree!”

    That’s how I feel when people in the skeptic community argue that Jesus never existed.

    Yes, I could have saved a lot of verbiage by saying that myself but somehow it feels less snooty and condescending if it comes from a high school geometry teacher.

    Anticipating question #2: Yes, Bart Ehrman is not the world’s greatest debater. But he’s basically saying what 99+% of the academy would say if they felt like treating the Jesus-never-existed meme as a credible issue. Let me put it this way: It has nothing to do with theist or atheist. It’s just that somebody like Price gets reactions from the professors of the academy much like what Lord Christopher Monckton or Jason Lisle gets from Potholer54.

    To put it another way: I’m just about as likely to sit through another Robert Price paper as Dr. Christine Janis is likely to consult with Stephen Meyer on the next edition of her Vertebrate Life textbook.

    Nevertheless, if someone feels shortchanged if they don’t see enough snooty condescension on the Jesus Mythicism issue, they find a full dose of it at the Bible.and.Science.Forum blog:

    https://bibleandscienceforum.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/young-earth-creationists-dont-have-a-monopoly-on-thinking-they-know-better-than-the-academy/

    However, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s far too similar to my dismissiveness towards “creation science”. Nevertheless, I do like to think that I’m an equal opportunity doubter of denialists.

    And to all denialists, I give them the same advice: “If you think you have the evidence and analysis to overturn the consensus of the academy, by all means publish it in a peer-reviewed journal and give it your best shot. If you succeed, I’ll be happy to say that I witnessed your rise to fame.”

    Truly I will.

  15. Dave Luckett

    IF… I say “if”… you completely discount the Gospels and the letters of Paul, which were written about two and one generations, respectively, after the supposed life of Jesus, then the number of direct early references to Jesus shrinks to three, two in Josephus and one in Tacitus. The passage from Josephus called the “Testimonium” has obviously been adulterated, but the overwhelming opinion is that original material has been augmented by some Christian copyist, much later, rather than that the entire passage has been manufactured. The reference in Tacitus is extremely slight, and reports only the hearsay circulating among Christians by 116 CE, but it does confirm the crucifixion.

    Then there is the Mishnah, which was beginning to report older material by about 200 CE. It reports Jesus in five places, describing him, as you’d expect, as a magician, but confirming his crucifixion – which was contrary to the Rabbis’ own interest, since by that time it would have made him a Jewish patriot rather than a criminal, in their eyes. But the very hostility of the Mishnah’s references to Jesus is a form of confirmation that there was something there. Otherwise it would have been very much in the interests of those compiling it to have denied his very existence.

    Arguments against the actual existence of Jesus as a real person (no matter how fabulated) usually also involve argumentum ad silencio from his non-mention in other early historians or writers. All such arguments are very shaky.

    And all involve simple dismissal of the entire New Testament as pure fabrication. I think that’s a bit excessive.

    I don’t buy non-existence. I think there was a Galilean nabi named Yesu, who was crucified by the Romans for claiming Messiahship, and I think it’s very likely that he said many of the things he’s quoted as saying. The rest, as they say, isn’t history.

  16. robert van bakel

    Creationist: ‘The answer to meaningful existence, that the Lord is Risen, that you can be saved, that eternal life can be yours for the asking. The answer to life, the universe and everything.
    So, what’s your answer unbeliever?’

    Sane Person: ’42’.

  17. Neil DeGrasse Tyson said it on Sixty Minutes — (I might be paraphrasing) —

    “the nice thing about science is that it’s true whether you ‘believe in it’ or not.”

  18. @Prof Tertius

    You have, my friend, spent a lot of words attacking something I didn’t say.

  19. “Actually, according to the Wikipedia links that Prof Tertius gives on his own blog, where he chooses to pan me without specifying the object of his pannery …”

    Realthog, you were not “specified” in the Bible.and.Science.Forum essay because I had no reason to assume that you sent me any of the emails which prompted that essay’s topic. Likewise, you were not the inspiration for my previous treatment of that same topic in the spring of this year: https://bibleandscienceforum.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/why-doesnt-professor-tertius-deal-with-the-jesus-never-existed-debate/

    Yes, I get a lot of Jesus-never-existed email. It’s actually reassuring. I feel better knowing that YECs don’t have a monopoly on denying peer-reviewed scholarship and that truly premium denialists are like a famous ice cream chain: they come in 31 flavors.

    “You have, my friend, spent a lot of words attacking something I didn’t say.”

    Realthog, I agree with you yet again. I didn’t mention you in my Bible.and.Science.Forum blog article because I was responding to emails which did make those points which you “didn’t say.”

    I generally avoid identifying inquirers/commenters (unless responding to material under specific copyright) because I’m usually responding to multiple parties and trying to address several arguments or versions of arguments at the same time. There’s an old maxim–probably attributed to Ben Franklin by default, as so many old maxims are–which says that a general goal of both essays and sermons is to convince as many people as possible that they were the sole target. (Is inducing paranoia really a desirable goal?? I wonder.) Nevertheless, I don’t give much thought to old maxims unless I’m looking for a good way to end a paragraph.

    Even though I began my post-retirement research into the “creation science” movement in order to better understand its sway among so many millions of Americans so that its destructive influences could be neutralized more effectively, I soon discovered that we Homo sapiens sapiens are incredibly prone to many of the same logical fallacies and to remarkably similar propensities toward poorly supported ideological biases. And that’s why I soon found myself collecting the ubiquitous examples from both sides of so many controversial debate topics in order to illustrate the same shared-in-common human foibles.

    Among those many illustrations are the interesting admonishment emails, and sometimes more public comments, telling me that I should do more to “win” imagined “points” [my term for the intangible measure of merit which is so often implied] for “our side” [what side is that?] against “those uneducated fundamentalists” [theist or atheist fundamentalists?] by tutoring them on various other alleged “assaults to human reason.” One of my favorites of those types of emails asked me to help convince a well-known Christian celebrity that “the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition represent the ultimate proof of the dangers of mixing Church and State.” (In any list of major contradictions between what the general public believes to be factual and what the academy considers factual, popular perceptions of the Spanish Inquisition must surely be near the top, a prominent ranking which is also well deserved in any compilation of the most successful propaganda smear-campaigns of all time. My correspondent’s shock at my reply followed by her tortured logic [no pun intended] and explanation of why Professor Tertius was obviously the “biased scholar”—and “certainly idealogically driven” in regards to the Spanish Inquisition—would give even Ken Ham pause, if not outright heavy competition, under the infamous and celebrated Laws of Presumptuous Pontification.)

    Indeed, it’s probably high time I give the Spanish Inquisition its own blog article. After all, I’m far past due on my maintenance dose of sobering admonishment and public indignation. And as Abe Lincoln never actually said but really should have:

    “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time. But to find a sauropod dinosaur in the Bible and claim an Ice Age coincident with Noah’s Flood—all while denying real science with “Were you there?” and begging more donations for an Ark Park in rural Kentucky—for that ya gotta be genuinely bat-guano crazy. Same goes for your groupies.”

  20. Prof T:
    “And to all denialists, I give them the same advice: “If you think you have the evidence and analysis to overturn the consensus of the academy, by all means publish it in a peer-reviewed journal and give it your best shot. If you succeed, I’ll be happy to say that I witnessed your rise to fame.”

    Now, I have great respect for your knowledge in the field of theology — but aren’t you in this instance asking for someone to give proof that something does not exist? You know dam’ well that’s impossible.

    Rather, we should put the burden of proof on your shoulders — where is the solid evidence that Jesus of Nazareth, He who is called Christ, Son of God and God Himself, One-Third of the Holy Trinity — actually existed? Isn’t this really something that must be taken on faith? It is so deeply believed by so many people because so many people have been thoroughly indoctrinated since early childhood with the notion that if they don’t believe, they will not attain heaven.

    Now, don’t misunderstand. I’m not denying the existence of Christ. I’m an agnostic, with a lower-case “a”. All I’m saying is that we really don’t know, one way or the other. And if we take the message ascribed to Jesus to heart — the Golden Rule, love thy neighbor as well as thine enemy, turn the other cheek, and so forth — isn’t that what really matters?

  21. The whole truth

    Creationist: Knock Knock.

    Sane person: Who’s there?

    Creationist: The Truth™!

    Sane person: What truth?

    Creationist: The whole truth

    Sane person: Nah, I’m The whole truth
    🙂

  22. The whole truth

    “I suggest you investigate why denialists of virtually every settled issue make the same confident claim about the alleged lack of evidence for whatever it is that they deny. (e.g. “There are no transitional forms in the fossil record.”; “There is no evidence for macroevolution.”; “There is no evidence of an airliner crashing into the Pentagon on 9/11.”; “There is no evidence of astronauts actually reaching the moon.”; “There is no evidence that Jesus actually existed.” See a pattern? I know: The response is always, “Yes, but what I’m denying is actually very different from those other claims. There actually is a bias on this issue. And I can name real Ph.D.s who agree with me on this.” Been there. Done that.)”

    Professor Tertius, the claims are different. So different that the word “very” should be replaced by the word ‘totally’. There is no evidence that a guy who is depicted as the biblical character ‘Jesus’ ever existed. There is only hearsay (and I’m being generous), and ridiculous, monstrous, impossible fairy tales. And even if a guy named Yeshua, or Yehoshua, or Jesus, or whatever did exist and was a street corner preacher, that doesn’t and wouldn’t even begin to support the claims made about him in the bible or any other text/scroll/book/etc.

    And no, I’m not going to appeal to any so-called ‘authorities’, whether they have Ph.D.s or not, and I feel that your or anyone else’s appeals to what you call “the academy” or any other so-called ‘authorities’ or ‘scholars’ are worthless and pompous. No amount of assertions by so-called ‘academies’, ‘authorities’, or ‘scholars’ will make up for the total lack of evidence for the existence of ‘Jesus’, and especially the lack of evidence for the way that ‘he’ is depicted in the bible, etc.

    Just so you know, I find much of what you write here to be interesting and informative, but I very much prefer your comments about the shenanigans of IDiot-creationists and their ilk. When you try to support biblical fairy tales or the characters in them I feel as though you’re just another pusher of an imaginary sky daddy and associated gibberish.

  23. The whole truth

    Inthe first paragraph of my comment directly above, in the sentence that starts with “And even if a guy named Yeshua, or Yehoshua, or Jesus whatever did exist…” I mistakenly left out an ‘or’ (without the accent marks) between the words “Jesus” and “whatever”.

    [*Voice from above*] Miraculously fixed.

  24. retiredsciguy says: “where is the solid evidence that Jesus of Nazareth, He who is called Christ, Son of God and God Himself, One-Third of the Holy Trinity — actually existed? Isn’t this really something that must be taken on faith?”

    One should doubt the existence of clearly fictional characters like Zoro, but I don’t see much reason to doubt the existence of Jesus. It was traditional among the Hebrews to get conquered, then to rebel, and then attribute divine influence to all of it. They had lots of messiahs, both before and after Jesus — see Jewish Messiah claimants. It wouldn’t be surprising if there were many other rebels during the Roman occupation, of whom no record exists. The Romans were good at dealing with such. They probably arrested and executed them routinely, leaving no enduring historical record. So it’s easy to believe that Jesus existed.

    But as everyone knows, aside from the gospels there is no record of the supernatural deeds attributed to Jesus. The gospels indicate that Jesus had a cadre of extremely dedicated followers; but by itself that demonstrates nothing other than the likelihood of his existence. Concerning the truth of what they wrote, that’s a separate matter — see The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Miracles.

  25. Creationist: What Truth Who…
    Sane Person: What Truth You
    Creationist: What Truth You Who …
    Sane Person: Yoo Hoo to You too

  26. @SC: What? What?? Zorro is fictional? But – but … I saw him! With my very own eyes! He would even carve the letter “Z” with his sword!

  27. BTW, I am not claiming there was no Christ. I was calling out Prof T for asking for proof of Jesus’s nonexistence.