Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The New Anti-Intellectualism and the Passion for Certainty

I think that at the back of this is the desire for absolute certainty. If you are in the intellectual community, living as a Christian means living with doubts and uncertainties. I don't mean worrisome doubts necessarily, but you can't make the people who say you are mistaken go away. "God said it, I believe it, that settles it" is something intellectuals are going to have trouble saying. But Dawkins says he offers near-certainty (which is what someone in science has to say), and that is the closest anyone in the intellectual community is going to get. All the "evidence" is on our side, all the "motives" are on the other side, so that's as close to settling it as anything can be. 

Gnus can't imagine in their wildest dreams that they're anti-intellectual. But that is exactly what they are.

54 comments:

John Moore said...

The problem is that theology isn't really an intellectual pursuit, according to the scientific-minded people. So it's not anti-intellectualism, in that sense.

Crude said...

The problem is that theology isn't really an intellectual pursuit, according to the scientific-minded people.

No, it's not really an intellectual pursuit, according to Cultists of Gnu - many of whom say they are scientifically minded, but aren't. They do not exhaust the number of 'scientifically minded people'.

Further, the issue isn't just theology, but also philosophy and other topics.

As for Dawkins, he's already devolved in the public eye from 'brilliant evolutionary biologist' to 'cranky old atheist / man who yells at clouds'. His own intellectual relevance is pretty much done for.

Hugo said...

So you're into insulting others now Victor? You think you can read minds and pretend that the so-called 'Gnus' are so self-centered, so oblivious to the world around them that they 'think' they cannot possibly be wrong? That's kind of sad... but not really surprising coming from a self-labeled 'intellectual' who apparently has fallen so low that he is now pretending that no secular case against slavery can be made... How can anyone reason when being so one-sided is beyond me; how can you debate anyone and have meaningful conversation about diverging opinions if only your opinion is what you know and understand?

Something changed; I am not sure what exactly, but I feel like since you came back from your accident, the tone of your posts is different. There are more of them than usual, but with lesser quality content. Oh well, time to move on I guess; not that anyone cares of course ;)
Cheers!

Crude said...

You think you can read minds and pretend that the so-called 'Gnus' are so self-centered, so oblivious to the world around them that they 'think' they cannot possibly be wrong?

I'd gather Victor doesn't think he can read their minds so much as read their books and articles.

who apparently has fallen so low that he is now pretending that no secular case against slavery can be made

When did Victor say 'no secular case against slavery could be made'? He said he doubts a persuasive case could have been made, and challenged people to 'Provide a convincing argument against slavery that would be convincing to anyone who thinks slavery isn't wrong, without any explicit or implicit theological appeals.'

See, this sort of thin skin is remarkable - especially when the Gnus range from declaring their opponents mentally unfit and in need of interventions, and otherwise. Oh, but the moment someone insults them back, it's revealed that their skin is tremendously thin.

Papalinton said...

It seems Victor is experiencing, and thus the reactive 'New Anti-Intellectualism and Passion for Certainty" rallying cry, is the incremental but discernible dismantling of the christian narrative and supernaturalism as the principal explanatory tool. The inexorable transition from theology and theo-philosophy to an evidence-based and epistemologically more robust paradigm [explaining about us, about our environment, the world, the universe, and about gods], is probably of immense discomfort for those unprepared or unwilling to engage that transition. No less so for Victor. Many and exponentially increasing numbers of intellectuals of great insight have embraced this transition. Some have not. This move is best characterized as a translation from scientifically-uninformed philosophy to scientifically-informed philosophy.

From a Culture Wars perspective it describes and represents the move from supernatural superstition to metaphysical naturalism as the embodied explanatory paradigm.

BenYachov said...

Hugo

Gnus are mere fundies except without god-belief.

Why would any self-respecting Atheist who
truly loves reason and intellectual pursuits
ever want to be one?

Hey be an Atheist. I could call you friend and
I will pray for you in my heart & rationally discuss matters with you like Pope Francis mixed with some Pope Benedict.

But don't be a Gnu show some pride and self-respect.

Dave Duffy said...

Dr. Reppert: “I think that at the back of this is the desire for absolute certainty”

Reply: "It seems Victor is experiencing, and thus the reactive 'New Anti-Intellectualism and Passion for Certainty" rallying cry, is the incremental but discernible dismantling of the christian narrative and supernaturalism as the principal explanatory tool.”

There you go

Jakub Moravčík said...

Many and exponentially increasing numbers of intellectuals of great insight have embraced this transition. Some have not.

Can you please give some examples of the ones from the first group and some from the second?

B. Prokop said...

Oh, Jakub. Don't encourage him!

Papalinton said...

Jakub, I'm sure you are capable of distinguishing philosophers that have made the transition to scientifically-informed philosophy and those that continue to promulgate philosophy founded on supernatural superstition, mysticism, and mythos.

Once again I am reminded of Prof David Eller, renowned anthropologist, when he noted:
"The 'new atheism': "Normal' atheism operates on the god-paradigm, but 'normal' atheism operates on the same paradigm, only in the negative (arguing against gods).
The revolution in atheism, a truly new atheism, will only come when we have a paradigm shift - when we discard the god-paradigm and stop speaking god-talk at all."


But humanity is maturing and the reliance on god-talk will continue to ebb as the process is a function of learning.

im-skeptical said...

On Anti-Intellectualism

Victor Reppert said...

Hugo: I am talking about someone who said that it is not necessary to engage one's opponent's best arguments, if that opponent is supporting religion. This is also a post that appeals to the "Courtier's Reply" as a justification for attacking something without making any effort to even listen to what the opponent has to say, presumably on the grounds that their practice is pseudo-academic.

Now no one is obligated to address every idea out there. But New Atheists do address religious belief. They want to address it while, in the name of not giving any respect to what they are opposing, feel that they don't have to follow any of the basic rules for engaging opposing ideas.
They argue against religion without treating it as an arguable subject. Boghossian talks about sending believers to the children's table, Dennett talks about putting religionists in zoos, and so it goes.

This is not a normal intellectual project. Insofar as it becomes influential, it is socially dangerous.

William said...

I'll bite on the remark 2 posts up.

The referred-to article on "anti-intellectualism" by Reppert asserts that persons of religious faith are not willing to admit to anything that would change their faith. I think this is wrong, at least as far as believing a particular organization's doctrinal positions goes.

There are any number of highly fanciful and implausible scenarios that would change the average Christian's doctrinal position. In my case, the invention of a working and widely used genetic modification that granted emotional and rational perfection and healthy immortality to ordinary people in their current lives would change mine. (SO not holding breath here.)

That would compare to the "TURN OR BURN, MISTER [your name here]" rearrangement of the sky's stars scenario for the atheist.

It's more likely that this means that that poster is complaining that he's been told they cannot see how _the poster of the note_ could _simply argue_ them from their beliefs. Might be the argument was wanting.

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

"The referred-to article on "anti-intellectualism" by Reppert asserts that persons of religious faith are not willing to admit to anything that would change their faith."

William,

I have more than once on this website laid out the conditions under which I would drop Christianity like a hot potato. Namely, show me the verifiable body of an unresurrected Jesus, or otherwise somehow prove that the Resurrection is not a literal, historical event, and I will immediately cease being a Christian. The article's claim "I have asked Christians what evidence would convince them that their religion is not true. ... Yet the Christian never has an answer for this question." is thus demonstrably false, and is indicative of the author's penchant for either lying or refusing to hear what his interlocutors are saying.

So I will once more repeat here, for the record: No Resurrection - no Christianity. *

* And by "Resurrection" I mean a literal event - the physical return to life on Easter morning, A.D. 33, of a man killed the previous Friday. No symbolic, allegorical, or otherwise non-historical interpretation will serve. It must be the Real Thing.

Papalinton said...

Bob: "* And by "Resurrection" I mean a literal event - the physical return to life on Easter morning, A.D. 33, of a man killed the previous Friday. No symbolic, allegorical, or otherwise non-historical interpretation will serve. It must be the Real Thing."

So, no mention of the 'ascension' bit, the actual physical levitation of a fully physical, living, breathing, eating, drinking, defecating body, to sit at the right of himself, is off the table? Now reduced to symbol, allegory and non-historical interpretation?

Whether christians concede to believing only half the jesus mythos or the full biblical fable, is moot. Theistic philosophy is and of itself a thoroughly tendentious and epistemologically tenuous enterprise. In following up Skep's point, what we as a community is experiencing is the paradigmatic transition from supernatural explanations to naturalistic explanations as the preferred model of choice. Why? It has been astoundingly successful. Indeed history has demonstrated again and again that when a naturalistic explanation accounts for why and how an event, occurrence, experience, or happening occurs, the transition has a directly proportional and inverse effect on the earlier supernatural explanation.

If there is an archetypal case of anti-intellectualism and a passion for certainty, then one need not look further than the belief in the revivification of a putrescine 3-day old corpse. After all Judaism never bought into the mythos from its very inception, and Islam, with the benefit of 600 years of hindsight were still not convinced to subscribe to the jesus-god narrative. So, who's kidding whom? No. a belief in jesus-god cannot be predicated on anything other than purely emotional, psychological reasons and a personal predilection to such believe.

This is being borne out time and again as theistic philosophy is robustly challenged to define its epistemological credentials in a much freer market place of ideas, ideas based on research, data, facts, evidence, and all subjected to the test of falsification.

B. Prokop said...

"So, no mention of the 'ascension' bit, the actual physical levitation of a fully physical, living, breathing, eating, drinking, defecating body, to sit at the right of himself, is off the table? Now reduced to symbol, allegory and non-historical interpretation?"

Well, I wasn't talking about the Ascension, so why should I be expected to mention it? But since you "bring it up"... Yes, the Ascension is to be understood literally as well.

B. Prokop said...

And to preempt any other unwarranted assumptions on your part, the following are also to be understood as literal historical events:

The Virgin Birth
The visit of the Magi
The temptation in the wilderness
The various miracles of Christ, to include (not a comprehensive list):

Turning water into wine
Calming the storm
Feeding the multitudes
Walking on water
Casting out demons
Healing various diseases
Raising the dead
The Transfiguration
The descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost

OK?

Papalinton said...

That's fine, Bob. Believe as you will. It is your prerogative. As it is for a Wiccan or a Satanist. But as with Wiccan belief or Satanic belief, christian belief must of necessity have its unwarranted influence in public policy settings mitigated to a level one would expect in a democratic secular society if we are all to practice our religious faith without fear or favour. We don't want to see the rise of Satanism or Islam unduly take over the US or Europe do we now, now that christianity is quite properly being downsized across the first world?

Dave Duffy said...

When you are typing in the "Leave your comment" box, how do you put in italics a comment from a previous post?

This seems to be the standard format of referring to a previous post.

B. Prokop said...

"We don't want to see the rise of Satanism or Islam unduly take over the US or Europe do we now"

Absolutely not! We at least appear to be in agreement there. And to prevent such from occurring (God forbid!) is one (although not the most important) reason why I will continue to do all within my ability to ensure that the Gospel is preached to every living creature, and that all lies spread to counter it are rebutted.

B. Prokop said...

Dave,

Type < then the letter i then > in front of what you want to put in italics. At the end, again type < followed by /i and then another >.

Give it a try.

To bold something, replace the i with the letter b.

Dave Duffy said...

Type < then the letter i then > in front of what you want to put in italics. At the end, again type < followed by /i and then another >

I'm giving it a go.

Okay Mr. Prokop, let's see how this looks.

Dave Duffy said...

It worked, thanks

B. Prokop said...

You're welcome!

(See, you can both bold and italicize simultaneously. I just wish there was a way to underline.)

Dave Duffy said...

Here's one more Bob.

When you want to link to another website in the "Leave your comment" box with the blue underlined "Here," how do you do that?

As an example, I have a weakness for satire about the Anglican Church. How do I take the address:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZVjKlBCvhg

and make that into the blue, clink here, link?

B. Prokop said...

Dave,

THIS SITE will show you how.

B. Prokop said...

Dave,

I remember "Cake or Death" from my time living in the UK. Hilarious!

Dave Duffy said...

Okay Bob, I'm going to give this a go on something I liked that you linked to in a previous Dangerous Idea discussion.

http://www.howardastro.org/halforum/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=382&sid=ce9ac867354e53f64d53f5e72c621b8e

Let's see if it works.

Dave Duffy said...

Dang, what did I do wrong? I'm going to try again

Dave Duffy said...

here

Dave Duffy said...

Got it, thanks Bob

B. Prokop said...

Dave,

I just hope we haven't created a monster! Be sure and use your new powers for good, and not for evil...

Walter said...

Bob: So I will once more repeat here, for the record: No Resurrection - no Christianity. *

I am curious if you would also give up on theism simpliciter if Jesus' bones were ever positively identified? I ask because I don't believe in the resurrection, but I also am strongly skeptical of ontological naturalism.

* And by "Resurrection" I mean a literal event - the physical return to life on Easter morning, A.D. 33, of a man killed the previous Friday. No symbolic, allegorical, or otherwise non-historical interpretation will serve. It must be the Real Thing.

I daresay that many of your brethren would simply retrench and reinterpret the Gospel accounts to allow for the shedding of Jesus' earthly flesh and bones to make way for his new incorruptible post-resurrection body.

B. Prokop said...

"I am curious if you would also give up on theism simpliciter if Jesus' bones were ever positively identified?"

Doubt it. I'd probably convert to Hinduism. I agree with C.S. Lewis on that one - even given its serious shortcomings, Hinduism is really the only serious contender to Christianity out there.

"I daresay that many of your brethren would simply retrench and reinterpret the Gospel"

I daresay you'd (unfortunately) be correct. But I wouldn't be one of them. The glory of Christianity is the Incarnation, its physicality. The Gospel is not just some warmed-over package of feel nice platitudes - it is literal, objective, reach out and touch it Truth. God is not some ideal, some "force", some philosophical principle - He is Being Itself, who's become flesh, capable of being seen, felt, smelled, listened to, and who can listen to us.

And by the way, that is also one of the chief attractions of Catholicism to me - its physicality. Sacraments, the Eucharist, the liturgy, cathedrals, statues, music, rosaries, holy cards, sacred images... all of these are echoes of the Incarnation. It's one of the reasons the Church insists that the bread and wine in communion are the literal Body and Blood of Christ (the main reason being that He told us they were, in no uncertain language) and not some symbol.

Walter said...


I daresay you'd (unfortunately) be correct. But I wouldn't be one of them. The glory of Christianity is the Incarnation, its physicality.


In my hypothetical reinterpretation the incarnation would still be physical...so too the resurrection. The only difference would be that Jesus would have sloughed off his old flesh (accounting for the discovery of his bones) for new incorruptible flesh.


Doubt it. I'd probably convert to Hinduism. I agree with C.S. Lewis on that one - even given its serious shortcomings, Hinduism is really the only serious contender to Christianity out there.


What appeals to you about Hinduism that would cause you to consider it next after Christianity but ahead of other theistic worldviews or religious traditions?

B. Prokop said...

"What appeals to you about Hinduism that would cause you to consider it next after Christianity"

Its messiness. That is one of the aspects of The Bible which is so appealing to me, that gives it a "ring of truth" that neither the Koran nor the Book of Mormon has. Apologies in advance if this is not an intellectual argument, but rather one from the gut. The idea of God handing down revelation neatly packaged and tied up with a bow is something I find literally unbelievable - i.e., I am not capable of believing it. Far more plausible to me is a God whom we can see (to borrow a term from amateur astronomy) only with averted vision. (See Exodus 33:18-23)

I see from your profile that you are a self described former YEC fundamentalist. The biggest problem, as I see it, with that kind of thinking is that it attempts to shoehorn into a round hole of literalism the very square peg of what God has revealed to us of Himself and of His works.

Even the blazing light of Christ's presence among us was, in a fashion, veiled. Perhaps Peter, James, and John caught a glimpse of what Moses saw on the mountain (in the above referenced passage), but for the rest of us, we see as Paul said "through a glass, darkly."

Now it's my turn to be curious. You say you're a former fundamentalist who now disbelieves in the Resurrection. Why?

B. Prokop said...

For more on averted vision, see HERE.

Walter said...

You say you're a former fundamentalist who now disbelieves in the Resurrection. Why?

My problem is not so much with the resurrection claim in particular but with Christian theology in general. I also have a serious issue with secondhand claims of divine revelation. For myself the only authoritative revelation to be found is nature itself. General revelation is accessible to all mankind, at every geographic location and every point in history.

B. Prokop said...

"General revelation is accessible to all mankind, at every geographic location and every point in history."

Interesting. Saint Paul says the exact same thing: "For what can be known about God is plain to [all people], because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made." (Romans 1:19-20) And as for "secondhand claims", pay attention to what Saint Peter wrote: "First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation." (2 Peter 1:20) Looks like he perceived the same "serious issue" as you do.

Jakub Moravčík said...

Namely, show me the verifiable body of an unresurrected Jesus, or otherwise somehow prove that the Resurrection is not a literal, historical event, and I will immediately cease being a Christian.

Really, Bob? I hope you won´t be angry if I write that I doubt it a little ... but you may surprise me.

B. Prokop said...

"Really, Bob?"

Yes, really. No actual, literal, physical, historical Resurrection - no Christianity. Can I make it any plainer?

John Bavinck said...

Excellent points Victor. Careful observers will note that the new atheists wear the mantle of intellectualism only when they are permitted to do so - namely, when talking down to religious strawmen.

When confronted by their intellectual betters, we get something entirely different; A pouty lip, and a rallying cry to meet at the ivory towers of academia with the torches and pitchforks.

Jakub Moravčík said...

Bob:
What you said - no ressurection, no christianity - is a conditional (I hope that that is also the correct term in english, I know it only in czech). But according to catechism, you have to regard it as a conditional with impossible antecendent, it means antecendent that is apriori false, and if you wouldn´t, you would commit a sin against first commandment (as far as I understand catechism), because you would practiclly admit, that Church´s teaching could be possibly wrong, which is what you are banned to do.

B. Prokop said...

Jakub,

All I can say just now is that you seriously misunderstand the Church's teaching on belief and surety. I unfortunately have no time today for the lengthy response your comment deserves, and for that I apologize. But think about this: what you say here would make heretics of nearly every last saint right back to the First Century. Far from being prohibited, Catholics are actively encouraged to doubt, to question, to "prove all things" - the complete opposite of what you are saying here.

Jakub Moravčík said...

Bob

I am looking forward to your lengthy reply, if you write it later.

what you say here would make heretics of nearly every last saint right back to the First Century.
I am really not sure why ...

Catholics are actively encouraged to doubt, to question, to "prove all things"
Well, there are questions:

- what exactly is meant here by the word "prove" (but didn´t you want to write "probe" instead? if you allude to 1Tes, 21 ...)
- by "all" could me paradoxically meant "not all" (similarly as in Matthew 24,36, where, according to catholic interpretation, verse "nor the Son, but the Father only" means "Son and Father only") and thus by "all things" may be meant "all things of nature" (but I am not sure, it´s only a suggestion)

Rasmus Møller said...

C.S.Lewis quote on thick and thin religions (for Walter and Bob):

http://dangerousidea.blogspot.dk/2009/10/thick-and-clear-religions.html

John Bavinck said...

Bob:
What you said - no ressurection, no christianity - is a conditional... But according to catechism, you have to regard it as a conditional with impossible antecendent, it means antecendent that is apriori false, and if you wouldn´t, you would commit a sin against first commandment..
-----

While christians certainly accept that the conditional:

(C) If the resurrection is false, then the christian God exists is false

is true, christians don't regard this antecedent as necessary. Christians hold that incarnation and atonement (and hence resurrection) are *free* acts of God, that is to say, God could have refrained from incarnation and resurrection. If God could refrain from incarnation and resurrection, then there is a possible world where God is not incarnate/resurrected. And if all that is true, then its not necessary that God the Son is resurrected, despite the truth that he is *in fact* resurrected.

At most, christians regard the *consequent* of the above condiitional as necessary, rather than the antecedent.

As for the a priori, it plays no role here, since clearly the antecedent is not knoweable a priori. For that we need special revelation, historical testimony etc.

Its an open question whether the consequent of the conditional is knoweable a priori. If by "Christian God" we restrict ourselves to the God of the Philosophers (say, Anselm's God) then perhaps we know that truth a priori.

Jakub Moravčík said...

John
Thanks for the correction. I agree with what you wrote about possible world etc. I have to change my wording a little: according to catechism, you have to personally, voluntarily regard the antecendent of this conditional as apriori false in our (actualised) possible world, in other words, you have to avoid the seek for possible evidence of possibe falsity of ressurection.
(of course, objections are welcome)

There is maybe one way how to escape this "conditional trap": to distinguish between the object of faith and the presupposition of faith. For example, God´s existence is not object, but presupposition of faith. So the escape would lead through placing the resurrection into the set of presuppositions, but AFAIK (from credo, for example), the resurrection is not the presupposition, but an object of faith, and so the escape way is closed.

Jakub Moravčík said...

Bob:

Yes, really. No actual, literal, physical, historical Resurrection - no Christianity.

OK, I believe you Bob (or at least I´m trying to :-) ) But there is still one more thought in my mind. Let´s suppose for a while that Christianity will be proven false one day. If it was so, wouldn´t you still regard it as a wonderful religion, much more wonderful than hinduism, which is your "second favorite" next to Christianity, as you expressed? Wouldn´t you wish it to be true instead of hinduism, although you would admit that you have to adhere strongly to hinduism because of its (epistemically "accidental") verity (and falsity of Christianity)?

It´s hard for me to express why exactly I am asking about this, but maybe because I find fascinating that our minds (and also feelings and imagination) are capable of creating almost infinite variety of possible concepts and I wonder if there could be "invented" a religion that christians would encompass even more warmly than their beloved (and "accidentaly" true) religion ...

John Bavinck said...

...according to catechism, you have to personally, voluntarily regard the antecendent of this conditional as apriori false in our (actualised) possible
world,
---

I don't think I'm following you here. With regard to the conditional

(C) If the resurrection is false, then the christian God exists is false

Christians would of course think that this antecedent is fact false (though as noted before, not false in all possible worlds), but our belief that its false would certainly not be "a priori", but rather a posteriori.

The a priori typically pertains to conceptual matters of logic, mathematics and so forth, not contingent historical phenomena like resurrections or incarnations.

In other words, we don't believe the antecedent is false as a matter of pure armchair conceptual analysis, we believe it on the basis of
special revelation, personal testimony, historical documentation and the usual avenues of evidence.

>in other words, you have to avoid the seek for possible evidence of
possibe falsity of ressurection.
---

I'm not a catholic, but I'd be interested in seeing some exegesis from the catechism to this affect. I just browsed Part 1, Section 1, Chapter 3, Article 1 and didn't see anything explicitly stating the faithful are to guard themselves against looking at disconfirming lines of argument or reasoning.

Speaking for non-catholics, there is no such prohibition. Christians are free to investigate evidence, provided they (like in everything else), do so responsibly. That is, not fixating on one line of evidence to the exclusion of contrary evidence.

What may be sinful in all this are the *motives* we may have for investigating evidence. For example, if we *want* to believe there is no God, and go digging for evidence to support that belief, then this motive would of course be sinful.

On the other hand, if one does not hope that there is no God, but is concerned that he may be deluded, as his atheists critics insist, and thinks he ought to consider their reasoning, I don't see how that activity would be sinful, provided he conducts his investigation responsibly.

John Bavinck said...

... I wonder if there could be "invented" a religion that christians would encompass even more warmly than their beloved (and "accidentaly" true) religion ...
---

This is interesting question, and its one I think contemporary christian philosophy has made progress in addressing.

We christians believe that the death and resurrection of the incarnate Word is the "Greatest Story Ever Told" (compared to all the stories told by other religions). But some christians of a more philosophical bent have recently argued that the christian story is not only the greatest story that ever has been told, but the greatest story that ever *could* be told.

So no, I don't personally think its possible to "invent" a religion that could warm the heart more than the christian message already does.

Jakub Moravčík said...

For example, if we *want* to believe there is no God, and go digging for evidence to support that belief, then this motive would of course be sinful.


Why exactly do you think so, John?
Do christians wish islam or hinduism to be false?
Once I made up an example about young muslim who meets secular western culture which impresses him, but he sees all the restriction of his islamic faith that bans him to enjoy it. In such case - is it wrong if he, with this motivation, starts to search for evidence for falsity of Islam? How would reply a christian who regards Islam as false religion?

Papalinton said...

John Bavinck: "We christians believe that the death and resurrection of the incarnate Word is the "Greatest Story Ever Told" (compared to all the stories told by other religions)."

Actually, given all the research, information, knowledge and understanding that is now available, the contemporary intellectual appreciation of the christian mythos is that it is the "Greatest Story ever Sold". See HERE [Part1], and HERE [Part 2] and HERE [Part 3]

And the Licona, Habermaas response is not a debunking but rather a jejune and obfuscatory apologetical attempt at misinformation. In other words a little attempt at propagandizing the christian mythos.