Can I avoid the awkward talk by sending my kids this video? »« Mary’s Monday Metazoan: A friendly, welcoming face

What blessed drivel is this?

haploidchrist

Every once in a while, an obscure science journal somewhere just has to demolish their reputation by allowing their editors to publish garbage. Case in point: The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, has published an editorial titled, “Can modern biology interpret the mystery of the birth of Christ?” It’s five pages of embarrassingly goofy nonsense. Nonsense from the very first paragraph:

With the advent of Enlightenment, the intellectual movement that challenged principles and views grounded in tradition and faith and affirmed that knowledge should be advanced through a scientific method, science and religion began to drift apart and today, they are often considered irreconcilable. We believe that, since both aim at finding the same truth, whether by evaluating natural processes or through revelation, a positive dialogue can and should be established.

And this article is apparently intended to demonstrate that they aren’t just considered irreconcilable, but are irreconcilable. That last sentence is just plain wrong. Science attempts to determine verifiable truths that can be objectively and independently examined and tested. Religion claims to have the truth already, in their musty dusty old books, and attempts to manipulate the evidence to make it fit their preconceptions. Their goals are contradictory, and since religion will always attempt to corrupt the evidence to reconcile it to their dogma, we should not establish a dialog at all — we should simply dismiss this theological bullshit.

For example, this article assumes that there existed a person named Jesus who was born of a virgin and a god; despite the fact that its conclusion is that nothing in biology can explain this phenomenal claim, it doesn’t reject the hypothesis. It can’t; it’s taken as a given. It blithely cites the Bible as reasonable evidence throughout (Hint: any science article that includes the Holy Bible (4 times!), the Catholic Catechism, the Catholic Encyclopedia, and CARM.org in its reference list, alongside articles from Cell and Nature, ought not to be trusted), and takes for granted the most ridiculous articles of the Christian faith.

There is some entertainment value, though. The review of the literature attempting to explain the Virgin Birth is amusing.

Aiming high within the field of reproductive biology, we decided to attempt a scientific analysis of the first, most miraculous and fundamental of all events described in the New Testament, that defined by John at the beginning of his Gospel: “And the Word became flesh”. We are definitely not the first to address this complex topic. For instance, Edward Kessel and Robert Berry have amply discussed fundamental aspects of the Incarnation and mentioned several mechanisms by which the virgin birth of a male child might have occurred. Kessel, in particular, held the opinion that “Jesus was not only conceived as a female but remained chromosomally such throughout life. Through the natural process of sex reversal Jesus became male, not instead of female but as well as female, assuming the phenotype of a man while retaining the chromosomal badge of a woman. Thus Jesus was born and lived as the androgynous Christ”. Berry, on the other hand, believes that “Some form of distinctiveness like a Virgin Birth is theologically required if Jesus is to be divine as well as human, and there are several mechanisms by which the virgin birth of a male child could occur”. In his opinion, “The reason for recognising these is not to suggest that God necessarily used any of them, but simply to point out that apparent scientific difficulty should not determine the acceptability of a theological concept”.

You know, when you have to resort to increasingly twisted and complicated rationalizations to explain an undemonstrated event, wouldn’t it be easier to simply declare the event unlikely to have occurred, especially when there is absolutely no evidence for it, other than a word-of-mouth claim? At least, that’s what a scientist would do.

These authors, after going over some of the basic facts of sex determination, have another source to fall back on, though. When evidence fails, yank some hokum out of the Bible.

Even theists consider the birth of Jesus a “double miracle”, in the sense that, even if parthenogenesis could be possible in humans, the offspring of such an event would be a female, not a male. In this respect, there is a somewhat obscure prophecy by Jeremiah, a Jewish prophet almost a contemporary of Isaiah. He wrote: “The Lord has created a new thing upon the earth: a woman shall compass a man”. This text has been interpreted in many opposing ways, but one intriguing option, put forward by Ewald is “a woman shall change into a man”. Although this interpretation has been considered hardly faithful to the original text, if correct, it would be a premonition of what might have occurred in the case of Jesus, a “parthenogenically” born man.

Yeah, try telling that to the Christians. Maybe they’d quit freaking out over transgender.

Really, the whole idea makes no biological sense at all. The only way this parthenogenesis thing could work is if Mary had a copy of SRY to pass along (but then she’d be male!), but then maybe she had androgen insensitivity syndrome too (but then she’d be sterile!) but then she’d pass that on to Jesus (who would be female!) unless he had a reversion mutation. It’s a long chain of malarkey.

To their credit, the authors also recognize that none of the explanations are worth a good god damn.

The reason we attempted a scientific analysis of this mystery was simply the hope that a review of present knowledge of parthenogenic mechanisms may stimulate a debate among theologians and advance the search for truth. Limiting ourselves to biology, the only conclusion we can reach is that – after reviewing present knowledge about parthenogenesis – we are unable to identify any known natural biological mechanism that can account for the virginal birth of Christ.

Very good. So why did you waste our time publishing this tedious codswallop?

Take the next step. Reject the hypothesis.


Benagiano G, Dallapiccola B (2014) Can modern biology interpret the mystery of the birth of Christ? J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. Apr 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Comments

  1. A Masked Avenger says

    Why are they also implicitly assuming God didn’t whip up some sperm and put it in his handmaiden? Or I guess, being divine, he’d only need one spermatozoum. Is the idea of Yahweh getting carnal so unthinkable?

  2. playonwords says

    I await, with interest, their article explaining the conception and birth of Horus

  3. ah58 says

    Why jump through all these hoops at all? Couldn’t god have magically made an entire zygote appear in Mary’s uterus? Isn’t this the same god that made an entire person from dust? I’d love to see the author tackle that one by the way.

    Honestly, does it really matter what the genetic makeup of Jesus was? If I was writing their book, I’d simply say he stuck a divine soul in whatever male baby was growing in her. It doesn’t matter how it got there.

  4. says

    It doesn’t matter how it got there.

    Wrong. From a Christian perspective, it’s very important how it got there — Mary is required to be a virgin, because their translation of the bible said so.

    It’s that dogma thing again. That unscientific dogma thing.

  5. Anri says

    Can their next paper be about the potential causes of clotting selective super-action caused by contact with the sheath of Excalibur?

    Even better – spectroscopic analysis of flow patterns in Princess Celestia’s mane: what’s it made of and how does is wave in otherwise still conditions?

  6. birgerjohansson says

    gijoel,

    In Pratchett’s “Small Gods” there is mention of a book “Gods; A Spotter’s Guide”.

  7. azhael says

    @5 gijoel

    A cryptobranchid, of course. Well, at least supossing this god had any taste whatsoever…

  8. U Frood says

    Jesus’s birth was the most miraculous event in the New Testament? Hardly. Jesus’s birth is the most easily explained of the miracles in the Bible. It can be explained simply as Mary not being a virgin. The rest of the miracles in the New Testament take more work to explain if you’re going to assume they really happened.

  9. playonwords says

    @ PZ Myers #7 My sigoth has IBS does that mean she’s God!!! I knew there was something she was keeping from me.

  10. peterh says

    “… because their translation of the bible said so.”

    Actually, it’s their MIStranslation that’s at fault. The phrase in Isaiah simply refers to a young woman.

  11. csrster says

    “Couldn’t god have magically made an entire zygote appear in Mary’s uterus?”

    Not for christians, actually. Jesus has to be “begotten, not made”. Or something.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    El/Yahweh simply teleported the appropriate set of chromosomes into the egg.

    That is why Jesus passed on a perfect genome to humankind, inducing immunity to cancer, Alzheimers and a lot of other diseases.

    Not.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    Also, a perfect Zod-designed zygote should contain nanotech to repair damage to stem cells so we all can live to 130 years of age. And get a bunch of superpowers along the way.

    Look at the line of kings in Gondor! They all lived much longer than a century.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    BTW did Jesus have a his optical neres leaving the retina in the rational, cepalophod manner, without a blind spot? If this was the case I am willing to listen to the godbotherers…

  15. birgerjohansson says

    Nerves not neres.

    And a Zod-designed zygote should have setae on the fingertips, allowing Jesus to climb vertical rock walls.

  16. birgerjohansson says

    …and Jesus should be able to hibernate, in case he is stuck in the desert waiting for the rain period. The genes for hibernation are apparenly extant among all mammals but few use them.

  17. Sastra says

    The real reason Mary had to be a virgin (well, one of many reasons) is that both mystical religions and the Catholic Church think it very important to distinguish the holy, sacred character of the higher spiritual realm from the vile, disgusting character of the lower physical realm. A man-god would be defiled if he was the result of a carnal act.

    Sex was considered so obscene that the Church even had to invent the idea of the Immaculate Conception — which wasn’t about Jesus’ conception, but Mary’s. When her mother Anne and her father Joachim had sex God miraculously removed the sin element from it. Otherwise, not even a virgin would be pure enough to bear the son of God. Mary was also a miracle, though a lesser one.

    The reason we attempted a scientific analysis of this mystery was simply the hope that a review of present knowledge of parthenogenic mechanisms may stimulate a debate among theologians and advance the search for truth.

    Ha ha ha “theologians” ha ha “search for truth” ha ha ha ha ha!

    The purpose of the “scientific analysis” is to embed the popular notion that science and religion aren’t at odds. My guess is that the actual point wasn’t so much to justify science bowing to religion as to encourage religion bowing to science.

  18. wcorvi says

    I’ve never understood why god couldn’t have just decided to open the gates? I mean, the reason Jesus had to die for our sins was the gates were closed after the apple. But, WHY would an all-powerful god have to jump through hoops to open gates? But then, why couldn’t an all-seeing god realize the dumb corner he had painted himself into and just not put the apple there in the first place?

    I set out to write a talk on pseudoscience, with an example so ridiculous NO ONE would argue with it. I tried canals on Mars – and got a bunch of face-guys arguing. Next time, I tried a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and again, some argued it is true. I even tried that kissing a frog will turn it into a handsome prince – and AGAIN, there were those who claim it can happen. Is there ANYTHING some people won’t believe?

    It turns out there IS! Some people will NOT believe in anything a real doctor tells them.

  19. colnago80 says

    Re PZ Myers @ #6

    Actually, it is my understanding that the Hebrew word referred to in the Hebrew Bible is used elsewhere to refer to other female actors who were manifestly not virgins. I once got into a discussion on another blog on this issue and my opposite number claimed that, in fact, there is no word in Hebrew that translates as virgin and that one must examine the context. Unfortunately, he (or possibly she) was unable to describe how the context implies that the word should be translated as virgin. Richard Dawkins in one of his books has an appendix which discusses this issue.

  20. says

    We believe that, since both aim at finding the same truth…

    The entire thesis fails because it is based on a premise that is, at best, unproven.

  21. gingerbaker says

    “…wouldn’t it be easier to simply declare the event unlikely to have occurred, especially when there is absolutely no evidence for it, other than a word-of-mouth claim? “

    Word of mouth? That implies a possibility of a historical reportage, for which there is, I believe, no evidence at all. Nobody seemed to pass the news to Paul, whose whole purpose in life was to roam the region and talk about (his vision of) The Anointed Saviour.

    As far as I know, no one spoke about THE resurrection as fact until it was introduced in a gospel many, many decades after it supposedly occurred. Of course, people may have spoken about a possible resurrection of Jesus before it was written – but only because it was a very popular fictional motif used many times over the previous thousands of years in regards to fallen hero gods.

  22. gardengnome says

    This article brings to mind an ancient cartoon strip of Andy Capp. Shamed by his long-suffering wife into staying home one night to watch the TV instead of going to the pub, he sits for a while and then asks for some salt. “What for?” asks the missus; “To go wi’ the tripe!” he replies. The last pane, inevitably, has them walking to the pub.

    This article makes me want to ask for the salt…

  23. colnago80 says

    Re #27

    A little Googling finds that the Appendix in question in in The God Delusion.

  24. Kevin Kehres says

    Even if the OT was mistranslated, the concept of a virgin birth or a really truly “god”father is quite common.

    Socrates, Romulus (the founder of Rome), Alexander the Great, and many, many others were all alleged to have “heavenly” fathers.

    It really just shows how much ancient Greek culture influenced the “gospels”. Almost as if the people writing them were living in Greece, writing in Greek, and were otherwise steeped in Greek culture.

    … oh wait …

  25. rodw says

    ” So why did you waste our time publishing this tedious codswallop”

    Maybe they were hoping this paper would get them invited to one of those Vatican parties! I hear they can be pretty bangin

  26. says

    I won’t be surprised one bit if we soon see Ed Brayton making a post about some outraged fundie who learns about this paper, and denounces it as a plot by scientists to deny Jesus was the Son of God.

  27. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Nice (uhm, Interesting) to see Accommodationists on THAT side, for a change. Seems the “science” side has had a monopoly of accommodationist blathering, it’s about time the theist adopted some accommodationistic blather, instead of the usual Rejection blather they are so proud of. …. looking at OP again to write down the name of the Journal to avoid from now on …

  28. Erp says

    Could it be a April 1st type article?

    BTW claiming that Jesus was chromosomally female could be a dig at the Roman Catholic Church’s view that only male humans can be priests because Jesus was male.

  29. maryt1 says

    Parthenogenesis is possible, but very unlikely in mammals. The only case I know was induced (in the lab). It’s more likely that it was all a hoax to escape from punishment (as someone else here already sugested).

  30. ernezabet says

    What I have always wondered is after this ” miracle” birth with shepherds and kings, that this GOD “baby” wasn’t walking and talking and with laser beam eyes curing all illness and disease around the whole world forever. Shouldn’t he have been able to fly also, and where was the damn media when you need them.
    All there is is that talk with the priest at 12. We don’t know a birthday a death day or any real hard hitting news about this guy (where oh where was FIX news).
    I’m ranting I know….quietly leaves now…..

  31. says

    Actually it seems a simpler explanation could also resolve 2/3rds of the trinity myth.

    god just extracted an egg from Mary and performed somatic nuclear transfer from his own (23 pair and XY) chromosomes and zapped the eggs with a little lightning and implanted the egg back in Mary. So the son is a clone of the father and thus one. Let nine months of normal biology occur and send down an angel with advanced medical skills for a quick Caesarean and the hymen is preserved for later inspection (doesn’t some verse get interpreted that an inspection did occur).

    Poof, all solved.

    Now where did that silly ghost get unified in the trinity.

    Only minor miracle needed, too bad the earlier church folks didn’t have revelations about 21st century technology.

  32. Jerry says

    The several comments about Mary ‘lying to avoid stoning’ have the severe flaw that they accept the Biblical assertion that there ever was a Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in the first place. People much better versed in Roman and Jewish history than I have stated that there are no Roman or local historical records showing any trace of Jesus or his miracles, of a census requiring travel back to ones’ city of birth, nor of King Herod trying to kill a bunch of unrelated first born children in his town. I read that Herod did kill his own children and was a real nut job, and the ‘first born’ story parallels the Moses in Egypt legends, but there’s not much else. Romans were decent historians for the period, and they did like a rousing God story, so it is implausible that they would have missed not just some but all of the Son of God’s entire existence from birth to death to resurrection. So basically folks, I’m saying don’t try to explain a small detail in what is most likely a whole made up myth in the first place.

  33. Randomfactor says

    The phrase in Isaiah simply refers to a young woman.

    Who is decidedly NOT Mary.

  34. Erp says

    Surviving Roman records from Judea/Galilee of that era are practically nil (try finding any official records for what Pontius Pilate did) so not surprising there are no records of Jesus having lived or being crucified (the only people who we have records of being crucified are leaders of major insurrections and not even always then though we know many more nameless people were crucified). The birth stories (there are two that contradict each other on key points) are later inventions (Mark, generally considered the earliest of the gospels, makes no mention of them and Jesus is simply the son of Joseph and Mary and John which is quite independent of the synoptic gospels also has no legends about the birth) so it is not surprising no one else mentioned it (it isn’t even mentioned in the gospels that include them after the initial stories). The existence of birth legends neither proves nor disproves the existence of Jesus since plenty of historic figures of the time (see Augustus or Julius Caesar) acquired them.

  35. says

    Erp #43:

    . . . and Jesus is simply the son of Joseph and Mary and John . . .

    Now there’s a “theory” I’d never heard before. Do elaborate!

    (Just punctuation? Oh. :( )

  36. wpjoe says

    They trace JC’s genealogy twice in the book to show he is descended from the house of David. The two versions don’t match, so so much for inerrancy, but they both trace the line to Joseph. So clearly Joseph is the father of JC if the book is to be believed.

  37. mothra says

    My guess is that the actual point wasn’t so much to justify science bowing to religion as to encourage religion bowing to science.

    My guess is their circulation was on the decline.

  38. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Is it possible that the article was intended as satire?

  39. Gnumann+,not bloody bleeding Gnumann (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun) says

    Is it possible that the article was intended as satire?

    Nathan Poe says “Yes”.

  40. mnb0 says

    “a positive dialogue can and should be established.”
    Whenever I read this I always want to know: what positive things has religion to contribute to science? How can it help for instance to answer one of the hardest questions in physics: how is superconductivity at relatively high temperatures possible, despite the predictions of BCS theory?
    Nothing? It can’t? Then the dialogue is a waste of time for scientists.

  41. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Whenever I read this I always want to know: what positive things has religion to contribute to science?

    Of course, Religs can’t contribute to collecting data and analyzing that data in great, exacting, detail; no, they can only contribute to the attitudes of the scientists doing the data analysis. They try to contribute their “philosophy” to the “Why?” questions, not the “How?” questions. They just want to be able to add their “metaphors” to soften the “hard data” Scientists present. Their only function, to my cold brittle mind, is that of soothing people who become distressed when hearing about hard facts [looking at you, "climate change"]. And that, to my cold rock hard heart, is the only “compatability” Religs can hope for; and I only barely grant it that; cuz my cold hard heart has a little soft spot for them to try to comfort (but it ain’t workin. ever).

  42. Pierce R. Butler says

    Kevin Kehres @ # 33: … Alexander the Great, and many, many others were all alleged to have “heavenly” fathers.

    Alexander’s mother had a wild enough reputation that it would never have occurred to anyone at the time to describe her as virginal (lest their audience rupture themselves laughing).

    So, big Al’s PR crew put out the story that, nine months before his birth, Olympias was struck in the, ah, crotch, with a bolt of lightning. The Journal of Meteorological Physics has a review of this currently under embargo (true story!)

  43. CJO says

    The existence of birth legends neither proves nor disproves the existence of Jesus since plenty of historic figures of the time (see Augustus or Julius Caesar) acquired them.

    I agree that the obviously fictional nativities don’t prove anything, but it’s important not to make a false equivalence with the legends that got attached to this other sort of person. First of all, the Julian gens had been claiming descent from Aeneas, and hence from Venus, long before Caesar adopted Octavian. Furthermore, in the cases of individuals like Augustus, or Alexander, stories like these were actually intended to explain the accepted fact that they were in truth semi-divine. This is commonly misunderstood. Augustus went around with the grandiose name Imperator Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Divi Filius (“Son of the God”) Augustus –blatant propaganda, of course, and so the unwarranted assumption that many make is that such legendary tales as his mother’s somnolent encounter with Apollo were crafted by the regime to bolster it. But these actually take on the flavor of legitimization, not of the ruler himself, but of the great acclaim and singular status given to him, really, of the society itself. “We knew it all along, there was something special about that one from the day he was born.” And the way Suetonius makes rhetorical use of the omens surrounding Octavian’s birth is instructive. He’s already related his birth at the beginning, without any particular fanfare; the miracles come at the end, in the build-up to narrating his death. Even one such as this, with the very blood of gods in his veins, must go the way of all flesh.

    Utterly different from the nativities of Matthew and Luke, which are told in the manner of tall tales. There is no hedging as we always have in ancient rhetoric regarding matters divine and miraculous. And the nature of the claim being made is different too. As I said, rulers and great men were shown to be divine by their great deeds and lofty positions of authority; omens and miracles explained this fact, they were not intended to assert it. Greco-Roman society included its gods; the gulf between the all-powerful and unseen creator of the cosmos and a lowly Galilean in a Judean context starkly opposes the pyramid of power and glory in which some mortals, the greatest of men, may occupy a position just below the immortal powers as necessary mediators between the realms. They’re just two fundamentally different kinds of stories, told and believed –or not– in divergent contexts and for opposing reasons.

  44. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Kessel, in particular, held the opinion that “Jesus was not only conceived as a female but remained chromosomally such throughout life. Through the natural process of sex reversal Jesus became male, not instead of female but as well as female, assuming the phenotype of a man while retaining the chromosomal badge of a woman. Thus Jesus was born and lived as the androgynous Christ”

    Right.
    Permit me to translate:

    The idea that a male child was born in Roman-occupied Judea in the manner imagined by the gospels is so laughably ridiculous that even we, who desperately want it to be true, cannot seriously entertain the thought.

    So the obvious conclusion is that an *intersex child* was born in Roman-occupied Judea in the manner imagined by the gospels.

    Once again, we freaks are ignored until we are needed as a convenient tool for the non-freakys’ benefit.

    Don’t wait for the authors to advocate measures to improve the lives of intersex folk on the basis that the second coming is nigh.

  45. says

    Now where did that silly ghost get unified in the trinity.

    That would be the spaceship in which the angel traveled and did its operations. It was cloaked, naturally, giving it a ghost-like appearance.

  46. anuran says

    To quote Muhammed Ali on the Virgin Birth:

    “Ain’t no woman gonna make a baby without no man.”

  47. says

    There is a small silver lining: there is now an article written by a believer and published in a reputable journal with the stated conclusion that there is no plausible biological explaination for the virgin birth.

  48. Amphiox says

    Why bothering with the tricky physical transformation? Why did the article skip over the simplest of all and scientifically consistent explanation.

    That, after being born biologically female, he simply lived his life as a man? And the few who handled his body after death were in on the secret and kept the secret?

  49. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    SallyStrange @ 58:

    That would be the spaceship in which the angel traveled and did its operations. It was cloaked, naturally, giving it a ghost-like appearance.

    I’ve long been an advocate of the idea that if some “god” did interact with one particular tribe of flea-bitten sheepherders, that it was much more like Ardra than YHWH.

  50. CJO says

    Arguments from silence are inherently weak. Silence from ancient sources is especially problematic, as so little has survived. The silence from ancient sources regarding Jesus is consistent with mythicism, so it’s necessary to show. But in order to tip the scales, a reconstruction of the origins of earliest Christianity needs to be put forward, and it needs to explain all the evidence better than current reconstructions featuring a historical figure. Not saying it can’t be done, just emphasizing that the argument cannot rest on silence.

  51. anteprepro says

    I find it odd how frequently the narrative of “religion is just another method for obtaining truth” is put forward. And actually believed by intelligent people to boot! Just look it fucking religion. Look at it. Look at your own, look at other flavors of your own, look at other religions, look at even the religions that are considered “cults” if you really need to. There is no “method” there. Dogma is not a method. Bald assertion is not a method. Saying “this is the truth” is not a way of fucking finding out the truth. For fuck’s sake.

    And they go out of their way to explain how Jesus can biologically look male without having a Y chromosome. Here’s a better puzzler: how is Jesus biologically alive with only half of his mother’s chromosomes and no other chromosomes? Fucking sophisticated theology. Waste of fucking time when it all boils down to “It’s A Magical Mystery!!!” in the end.

  52. unclefrogy says

    I am continually amazed that religion seems to feel the need to try and use reason and science to prove that their faith is a fact when as I was taught it is faith that is important. It is the miracles that are illustrative they are not the reason to believe because god is the reason to believe.
    This struggle to fit the dogmas of religion into scientific reality (is there any other?) sounds to me like they really are having a very hard time believing that the mythology surrounding their god is true and are trying to convince themselves that it is true because of all this improbable inconsistent contradictory logic and mismatched data.
    The question is why don’t they just accept their faith as faith and the “miracles” as miracles or magic that happened long ago.
    The BS they pile up just makes them sound mentally ill.
    uncle frogy

  53. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I won’t be surprised one bit if we soon see Ed Brayton making a post about some outraged fundie who learns about this paper, and denounces it as a plot by scientists to deny Jesus was the Son of God.

    I will be. :P

  54. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Mary lied to avoid stoning. Five pages? I only needed five words.

    “Our Lady Of The Splash Conception

    …okay, six words, but I like mine better. :P

  55. Amphiox says

    Arguments from silence are inherently weak. Silence from ancient sources is especially problematic, as so little has survived.

    Indeed, it is quite equivalent to argument from “lack of fossils.”

  56. woozy says

    Surely, the authors are aware of the old joke:

    How do we know Jesus was Jewish?
    He thought his mother was a virgin and his mother thought he was God.

    Okay, that may be arguably offensive but it was gangbusters in the house I grew up in. I’m not going to waste to much time defending it so I’ll pre-emptively apologize in advance….

  57. dccarbene says

    I am full of confuses :(

    First I thought they meant that Jesus had Klinefelter syndrome (47, XXY) – see, that way (s)he was female AND male!!

    But the Holy Bible very clearly states that there was NO aneuploidy here.

    But how, how could (s)he be “chromosomally female” (46, XX) yet have dangly guy parts?

    Was it de la Chapelle syndrome or SERKAL syndrome?

    And – crisis of faith – I have re-read the entire gospel and it does NOT clarify this. This is dangerous stuff – I feel a schism coming that will make Martin Luther’s little memo to the church of Rome look like a garden party…

    More confuses: what about this “natural process of sex reversal”?

    I did not realize this happened to humans (at least not without hormones and surgery, which of course ARE natural – as they are not supernatural).

    So Jesus had sex reassignment surgery? Man, you’d think someone would have made an historical record of that one, eh? Betcha The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine would have been willing to publish that one.

    But no – I simply cannot believe that. They just didn’t have the technology. Really. I know this. On faith.

    But there is one other explanation – and it DOES fit the historical facts, especially the original symbolism used by the christians.

    You want the Natural Process of Sex Reversal?

    Jesus was a fish! Probably talapia.

    And this makes perfect sense – that talapia be damn tasty – I’d eat that flesh every day and twice on Sunday.

    Wow. It all makes sense. Thank you, guys – thinking this through and applying Biblical Clarity has make all my confuses go away!

  58. Ichthyic says

    and it needs to explain all the evidence better than current reconstructions featuring a historical figure.

    yeah, you skim over the big problem there.

    “the evidence”

    frankly, MOST of that “evidence” is either entirely manufactured by the authors pushing a PoV, or else misinterpreted for the same reason.

    there is no resolution to the issue, because there never was enough evidence of ANY kind to actually form a stable hypothesis to begin with.

  59. Peter B says

    Luke 2:21 King James Version (KJV)
    21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

    If one believes the above Jesus must at have appeared to have been male.

  60. says

    CJO#65

    But in order to tip the scales, a reconstruction of the origins of earliest Christianity needs to be put forward,

    This is trivially easy to do, however. There are many discussions, easily found, of similarities between early Christian practice and the Graeco-Roman mystery cults, notably those of Dionysus and Mithras. As such, it is entirely plausible that Christianity’s roots lie in a synrectism of these mystery cults and the Jewish mystisicm of e.g. the Essenes (hence the prominence of John the Baptist), with bits added from stories of the various supposed messiahs that history does record who were wandering around Judea at the time.

  61. twas brillig (stevem) says

    BTW, instead of going for immortality through resurrection, Jesus could have tried this:
    http://wpcomics.washingtonpost.com/client/wpc/pb/2014/05/11/

    Ahhh, so that comic explains why the (deceased) show Fringe had a plot device that would preserve characters (with no time passage inside), using a substance they called “Amber”. Some characters were ambered for centuries. I know reality-amber is a good preservative, but “immortality?!” Never considered that possibility. Gobsmacked.

  62. David Marjanović says

    I await, with interest, their article explaining the conception and birth of Horus

    …especially because Osiris was dead when he got a boner of divine proportions and conceived Horus.

    God, according to Haeckel, is a gaseous vertebrate.

    Oh, Haeckel never made that claim. Some Jesuit or other said that Haeckel had claimed it.

    A cryptobranchid, of course. Well, at least supossing this god had any taste whatsoever…

    Please explain.

    BTW, cryptobranchids have external fertilization.

  63. azhael says

    @79
    I thought i already had….any self-respecting deity that could choose its own physical manifestation would no doubt adopt the form of a cryptobranchid. Sure, there are other worthy physical forms like the octopus or the king cobra, but nothing says “god come to earth” like a fat cryptobranchid to me…They even have the complacent smile built in…

    As for the external fertilization, it’s a god, if it can’t work around that it doesn’t deserve the name. Plus the scriptures don’t address the possibility of Jesus having been conceived in an egg sack which Mary then put ins…no…fuck it i can’t do it.

  64. azhael says

    And i just embarrashed myself for a second time by implying that cryptobranchids have egg sacks…which they don’t…
    But come on, work with me on this…if there was a god wouldn’t you want it to look like a cryptobranchid…with those tiny little eyes..that broad smile…