Gospel Disproof #39: The Sign of Jonah

In Matthew 12, Jesus makes a prophecy concerning his own burial.

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for asign; and yet nosign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

This same story also appears in Luke 11 in more general terms, and there’s a further reference to the Sign of Jonah in Matthew 16, but Matthew 12 is unique in specifying exactly three days and three nights. And it’s a problem, because according to the Gospels, this prophecy got the duration wrong.

[Read more…]

God loves cheaters

You know that old saying, “Cheaters never prosper”? According to a report from Science, that may be just clever propaganda designed to conceal the wealth-producing secrets of the rich.

The team’s findings suggest that privilege promotes dishonesty. For example, upper-class subjects were more likely to cheat. After five apparently random rolls of a computerized die for a chance to win an online gift certificate, three times as many upper-class players reported totals higher than 12—even though, unbeknownst to them, the game was rigged so that 12 was the highest possible score.

via Shame on the Rich – ScienceNOW.

If you think about it, it does make sense: if you have an environment where some people value fairness and fair play, and other people are willing to do whatever it takes to maximize their rewards, then over time the fair play folks will see more of their rewards shared with others (meaning less reward for themselves), while the whatever-it-takes folks will end up with more rewards for themselves, provided they’re reasonably wily about getting away with it.

And once they get enough to start buying their own news media, lobbyists, and political candidates… Hmmm, I wonder how long it would take this process to divide society into 99% fair-players and 1% wealthy cheaters? Part of me says this is over-simplified and too plausible to be true. On the other hand, it would explain a lot.

Gospel Disproof #38: The guards at the tomb

At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, there’s an interesting story that appears nowhere else in the Bible. According to Matthew, the chief priests were worried that the disciples might steal Jesus’ body to fake a resurrection, so they went to Pilate and got permission to post a guard on the tomb. When Jesus rose from the dead, the guards reported it to the priests, and the priests bribed them to claim that disciples stole the body while they were asleep. And thus, says Matthew, the Jews were reporting “to this day” that the body was stolen by the disciples.

Cool story, bro, but if you look at it a bit more closely, there’s something kinda fishy about it…

[Read more…]

Follow-up on Lazarus

This is way overdue, but I hate to leave a loose end dangling. I wanted to go back and spend a little more time with Jayman’s comment on the Gospel Disproof about Jesus and Lazarus. There were a couple of points where I think he misunderstood me, plus a few difficulties he doesn’t really resolve, so if you’ll forgive me for digging this up again (groan), I’ll go into detail below the fold.

[Read more…]

Who said it?

Here’s a bit of a riddle for some of you. Who said the following?

I don’t want to go to a trade war, I want to beat China. I want to go to war with China and make America the most attractive place in the world to do business.

Need a hint? He also said this:

I do not want to make black people’s lives better by giving them someone else’s money, I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.

[Read more…]

Santorum on questioning science

Now here’s an interesting quote.

[Presidential candidate Rick] Santorum told the audience that “what’s taught in our school system as a result of liberal academia, is evolution is an incontrovertible fact. There is no suspicion of it. It is decided science that cannot be questioned. There cannot be any doubts about it. If you have any questions or doubts, it’s trying to inject religion into the science classroom. So it is above reproach.”

(Source: Santorum: Evolution Promotes Atheism, Creationism Is ‘Academic Freedom’ | The New Civil Rights Movement).

Santorum was speaking at a forum entitled “The Press & People of Faith in Politics,” hosted by the Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life. How much can you spot that Santorum gets wrong in those six short sentences?

[Read more…]

Mr. Bond, call your office.

If you thought WikiLeaks was something, wait till you see The Transparency Grenade.

Equipped with a tiny computer, microphone and powerful wireless antenna, the Transparency Grenade captures network traffic and audio at the site and securely and anonymously streams it to a dedicated server where it is mined for information. Email fragments, HTML pages, images and voice extracted from this data are then presented on an online, public map, shown at the location of the detonation.

Because the best way to sneak a high-tech spy device into a sensitive high-security meeting is to make it look like a bomb.

via “The Transparency Grenade”.

Night of the living…plants?

The Washington Post reports that a team of Russian scientists has successfully reanimated a flowering plant from some old seeds. Really old seeds.

The Russian research team recovered the fruit after investigating dozens of fossil burrows hidden in ice deposits on the right bank of the lower Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia, the sediments dating back 30,000-32,000 years.

What makes this so remarkable is that according to top scholars at ChristianAnswers.net, this is three times longer than the entire earth has been in existence, making it clear that the Russians have not only resurrected an extremely ancient species, but have found a way to recover plant materials from some other dimension, like maybe heaven. Or something. It’s probably quantum.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Quantum.

Gospel Disproof #37: Lazarus

In Gospel Disproof #36, we looked at how the resurrection story of Lazarus shows that the resurrection of Jesus is not about resuscitating the latter’s physical body. Even apart from the question of Jesus’ resurrection, though, there are some significant inconsistencies in the story of Lazarus and his alleged resurrection.

[Read more…]

Phone companies want fewer consumer protections

What do you do when consumer protection regulations are interfering with profits? Well, if you’re as big as AT&T, you just buy yourself some new laws.

The industry is pushing Senate Bill 135, referred to as “the AT&T bill” by its sponsor and others because it originated with that company’s lobbyists. The bill would strip the Kentucky Public Service Commission of most of its remaining oversight of basic phone service provided by the three major carriers — AT&T, Windstream and Cincinnati Bell — such as the power to initiate investigations into service problems.

via Kentucky telephone companies pushing for option to end basic service | Politics and Government | Kentucky.com.