Posted: Nov 12, 2015 11:15 am
by proudfootz
Cito di Pense wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
It's not that these tidbits are not interesting, but they won't convince anyone who has an argument to the contrary,

To the contrary? Anyone is free to argue that the church organisation was not an utterly corrupt industry and business during antiquity and the middle ages. But I have not seen too many explicit arguments like that made in any forum. It is usually IMPLIED. And it is not supported by the historical evidence.

... which is why such arguments are fundamentally non-scientific. Note that I'm not saying all arguments should be scientific, but some arguments do bang on for awhile.

The argument does not require science. It's simple logic. Any given historical source may be forged or corrupt. In the case of the historical literary sources preserved by the church industry since antiquity, they are more likely to be forged or corrupted, because the entire organisation was utterly corrupt (from the beginning).

These historical arguments are rarely either made or defended by the same biblical scholars who call jesus mythicism "denialism", but I believe that this argument is both valid and appropriate for the field of history and discussion.

Indeed, but it is only one of a number of scams that humans run on each other. The fact that this one is so successful is not a product of how clever it is, but of how deeply gullible its victims are.

You justify your enterprise by saying you're trying to help people. Instead of trying to apply Bayesian analysis to a bunch of missing data, you were better off trying to understand the mechanism of indoctrination. This works statistically, not victimising adults through corruption, but victimizing children via the vain wish of their parents for immortality. It's not just the dumbest of the dumb who are victimised by the scam.

It's true that a scam which victimises people's infantile wishes is corrupt, but that's not really saying much. Saying that it's utterly corrupt is just self-righteous rhetoric. By the same token, for example, gambling casinos are 'utterly' corrupt. Another moralistic crusade is always right around the corner, and you know where the idea of moralistic crusades originates.

By all means study this and discuss it as politics and entertainment, but don't purport it to me as a serious academic inquiry. The people who defend religion mainly do so because they accept that it's morally reprehensible to obstruct a fool from relieving himself of his money. Religious institutions are now so wealthy, they don't need people in the pews in order to continue enriching themselves. All they have to do is place their money in sound investments, such as real estate.

Let me know when you figure out a way to persuade governments to levy taxes on their religious institutions. Documenting the history of church corruption in abstruse 'academic' detail is not the shortcut to this, although it will be a fine addition to the literature on the history of corruption in human society.

Just to remark on the bolded bit:

It seems to me the application of Bayesian analysis to a theory might be a good way to draw attention to the serious lack of data and highlight the silliness of adherents who claim the issue is settled to the point that their conclusions are unquestionable.

For me the entertainment value is in how the debate is conducted.