A quick preview

We’ve looked at the evidence, and we’ve all seen (though some of us have mixed feelings about admitting it) that the real-world evidence is consistent with the expected consequences of the Myth Hypothesis, and inconsistent with the expected consequences of the Gospel Hypothesis. “Big deal,” you may say. “So what?” After all, it’s possible that some variation of the Gospel Hypothesis will work better. Maybe by adding things and/or taking things away we can come up with a New Gospel Hypothesis that will be as consistent with the facts as the Myth Hypothesis.

Well, yes and no.

It’s true that we can try modifying the Gospel Hypothesis, or even replacing it completely with a new hypothesis created from scratch. But here’s the interesting thing: we’ve already discovered that the original Gospel Hypothesis, as I originally gave it, is inconsistent with the facts. That means that any new, true hypothesis must also be inconsistent with the Gospel Hypothesis, because truth is consistent with itself.

That may be too obvious to be visible, so let’s look at that again. The Gospel Hypothesis is inconsistent with the real world facts because it predicts consequences that don’t match real-world conditions. Any true hypothesis must predict consequences that do match the real-world conditions, which means they’re going to fail to match the predictions of the Gospel Hypothesis. So any new hypothesis, in order to prove more consistent with the facts than the Gospel Hypothesis, is going to need to contradict the Gospel Hypothesis in some way. The Gospel Hypothesis does not fit the facts, so to fit the facts, we’re going to have to find a hypothesis that’s inconsistent with the Gospel Hypothesis.

That’s going to be especially tough for the Christian apologist to pull off. But why bother? We already have a hypothesis that fits the facts perfectly. Not only does the Myth Hypothesis predict with 100% accuracy the conditions we’re going to find in the real world, it even explains why and how the Gospel Hypothesis is going to fail to fit the facts. What is the point in looking any farther?

This is a replay of the situation with the battle between the geocentrists and the heliocentrists. The heliocentrists had a hypothesis that predicted the movements of the planets with astonishing accuracy: the earth was moving just like the other planets were, in a gravitationally-dictated orbit around the sun. The geocentrists tried to maintain a competing theory: that all celestial bodies moved in mathematically perfect circles, as befits the perfect work of a perfect creator.

To try and eliminate the differences between geocentrism and heliocentrism, the geocentrists introduced the notion of “epicycles”—everything that moved through the skies was moving in a perfect circle, but the circles themselves were also being moved in circles, which in turn were being moved in circles, and so on. By building elaborate schemes of nested circles, and complicated proportions of radii, they hoped to approximate the same predictions as the heliocentrists did with their relatively simpler calculations of gravitational interactions.

What the geocentrists were doing, in short, was setting up a Loser’s Compromise: trying to eliminate the difference in the predictions of each hypothesis so that they could claim that their view could be true, and we could never know. They were pursuing the unscientific goal of irresolvable agnosticism in order to avoid having to admit that their traditional beliefs were scientifically incorrect.

But why go to all that work? Heliocentrism produces the same answers a lot more easily and reliably, without raising unanswerable questions like how you account for the mechanics it takes to cause abstract mathematical concepts like circles take up physical orbits in a physical universe so as to drive the physical motion of entire planets. Today, geocentrism is a by-word for refusing to bow to the facts.

It may indeed be possible to follow the geocentrists’ example, by creating epicyclical variations on the Gospel Hypothesis in an endless and fruitless attempt to find one that predicts real-world conditions as elegantly and accurately as the Myth Hypothesis does. But why bother? The best we could achieve by such an approach is a Loser’s Compromise. Agnosticism is not knowledge; it does not give us grounds for claiming that we are justified in concluding things we have no justification to conclude.

So that’s why I’m not particularly concerned by objections that claim my Gospel Hypothesis is flawed. Truth is consistent with itself, and even if my Gospel Hypothesis were different from what the Bible says, we can still learn a lot about real-world facts by measuring how consistent the Hypothesis is with the evidence.

And by the way, there’s no such thing as a “cherry-picked” hypothesis. “Cherry-picking” is an error that occurs during the evidence-gathering phase, after your hypothesis has been defined. It biases your conclusions by seeking out only evidence that supports your preferred conclusion and suppressing the evidence that is inconsistent with it. In our discussion of the evidence, we have not suppressed any evidence, and have even encouraged people to submit any evidence (that is, any verifiable evidence) that would be contrary to our hypotheses. No one has.

Meanwhile, back in the hypothesis stage, it is perfectly legitimate and even commendable to take a broader hypothesis and zero in on specific details for closer investigation. Truth is consistent with itself, so a valid hypothesis will hold up whether you step back and look at the big picture or zoom in and focus on the individual details. My Gospel Hypothesis is closer to the big-picture end of the scale, and that’s going to pose problems for anyone looking for an epicyclical rebuttal to the evidence I’ve presented. You can agree that the Gospel Hypothesis is not consistent with the facts, and you can offer alternative hypotheses that are inconsistent with the Gospel Hypothesis, but you can’t do either without admitting that there are serious flaws in traditional Christian dogma.

And you can’t come up with a hypothesis that fits the facts better than the Myth Hypothesis. The Myth Hypothesis is already 100% accurate, so the best rebuttal you can hope for is a Loser’s Compromise. And that, too, is just what the Myth Hypothesis predicts.

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Posted in Evidence Against Christianity, Loser's Compromise, Unapologetics. 53 Comments »

53 Responses to “A quick preview”

  1. cl Says:


    Sounds great to me. If you’d like – feel free to drop by and add my feed, or leave a comment on any pre-existing thread. That way I can notify you of my next post should I not come around here over the next few days (right now there is no reason to).

  2. cl Says:

    R.C. Moore,

    …more than one would be nice, but really, enough to show that it is “patently false” that most of the Bible (the entire OT for the most part) is not about Pauline faith.

    “Behold, his soul [which] is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” (Hab 2:4)

    If you say “That’s not Pauline faith,” I’ll say, “So now you’re moving the goalposts on us?”

    Then I’ll remind you that you made a two-tier claim and you have zero response to the second tier, as I’ve shown. In fact, twice now, you’ve moved the goalpost, as any reasonable observer can see from your original claim:

    ..for much of the Bible faith is not even mentioned, and pleasing God is impossible on any terms. R.C. Moore

    That’s the claim I said was ‘patently false,’ and it is. Again, it’s true that self-effecting salvation IS impossible according to scripture – as we both later agreed – but if that’s what you meant, that’s what you should have wrote. Back to the first tier – New Testament writers speak of Old Testament faith, too. But don’t take my word for it, because remember – I don’t know anything about science, or apparently the Bible either, as you now claim.

    What I do know is that it’s NOT my responsibility to disprove that most of the Bible or the entire OT for the most part is not about Pauline faith. Of course “Pauline faith” is not mentioned in the OT! How could it be if it’s intrinsically connected to the risen Savior? This is clearly a poor argument. Again, if that’s what you meant, concession to sloppiness (which is only a minor offense) would behoove pursuit of truth much more so than the amateur atheist apologetics you currently engage in.

    Now – kind sir – please leave me well alone – unless and only unless you’re going to say something positive or at least constructive, and/or unless you’re willing to make some concessions, and/or from here forward you give me the same respect you’d give, oh I don’t know – John Morales, Arthur or anyone else here.

    Try it, you’ll see it works both ways. If we can get far enough, I’ll gladly remove your presence from my “Blog of Infamy.” Gladly!

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