Some old bones have stirred up new hope among the gullible that Jesus really did live, die, and live again (Wouldn’t that mean he didn’t die though?). It’s all based on some radiocarbon dating and molecular analysis of genetic material that Christians may now suddenly find irrefutable:
Reuters— claim to have unearthed six bones belonging to John the Baptist has received a boost from scientists who have concluded after dating them and analyzing their genetic code that they could indeed be relics of the man who baptized Jesus.
The remains, which include a molar and a piece of cranium, were found in July 2010 in a marble sarcophagus in the ruins of a medieval church on the island of Sveti Ivan, or Saint John, off Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast near the resort of Sozopol.
If you read down a little further, the bones were radiocarbon dated to roughly 2000 years ago and genetic markers suggest they all came from the same individual, who in turn probably lived in or near the Middle East.
That’s it. Nothing about how old the person might have been, any diseases present, what sex they were, how tall or short they may have been, etc. What we have here are a handful of bone frags that probably date to the approximate time of Augustus Caesar and which bear signs suggesting the individual was of Eastern European or ANE descent and not from African, Asia, or the pre-Columbian Americas. And this data was gathered using two methods creationists and their flocks will tell us otherwise cannot be trusted and might even represent a scientific conspiracy of some sort.
That’s the same sort of molecular biology that shows how closely we are related to chimps, monkeys, mammals, vertebrates, and metazoans. That’s the same sort of physics showing the earth is ancient, the universe far older, and which places transitional hominids in the precise chronological order they need to be in for human and primate evolution to make sense. Will the faithful now embrace those fields of study? Don’t hold your breath.
It’s entirely possible that there really was a person who came to be known as John the Baptist, and it’s remotely possible that these are his remains. I’ skeptical that there would be anyway to ever nail that down, but it’s not impossible. The idea that it proves a magic invisible sky wizard impregnated a virgin female with his celestial offspring, who went on to fake his own death and rule the cosmos with daddy, that’s a bit of a stretch and that’s saying it nicely. Because a tall tale like that doesn’t sink or swim based on the existence or non existence of a minor mortal character doing routine things like dunking someone’s head below water. It’s not the John or the baptizing that makes it hard to accept on face value — that’s kind of like saying we know Santa exists because how else can you explain Rudulph’s red nose? It’s the magic invisible sky wizard part that lacks credibility.